Workers and Businesses in All 50 States Would Benefit

The 2.8 million National Right to Work Committee members are now lobbying hard to build Capitol Hill support for H.R.785, and ultimately to persuade U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc., at podium) to allow a recorded floor vote on this much-needed legislation. Image: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

For more than 80 years, federal labor policy has explicitly authorized the termination of employees for refusal to join or bankroll a union even if they never personally wanted or asked for one.

But H.R.785, legislation introduced  in the U.S. House of Representatives at the beginning of this month by Congressmen Steve King (R-Iowa) and Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), would finally repeal all the current federal labor-law provisions that authorize compulsory union membership dues and fee payments as a condition of employment. (See the news story linked below for more information.)

Under Section 14(b) of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Amendments to the original National Labor Relations Act of 1935, states have the prerogative to protect private-sector employees from federally imposed forced unionism. Five days before H.R.785 was introduced, Missouri became the 28th state to pass a Right to Work law barring forced union financial support as a condition of employment.

Since early 2012, six states have adopted bans on compulsory union dues. Right to Work supporters are appropriately jubilant over their recent series of victories. But no one should forget that it’s Congress, not any state legislature, that spawned the evil of private-sector forced union dues in the first place.

Even in the 28 states that have now enacted Right to Work laws, because of federally imposed loopholes union bosses still wield the power to get railroad and airline employees and employees on so-called “exclusive federal enclaves” fired for refusal to pay dues or fees.

Fortunately, H.R.785 would close these loopholes, which were drilled into all existing and future state Right to Work laws by Congress and the federal courts.

And this legislation would almost certainly spur faster economic growth in every state.

Union bosses funnel a huge portion of the forced dues and fees they collect with federal policy’s abetment into politics. And the federal, state, and local union-label politicians who routinely get elected and reelected because of their forced dues-funded support overwhelmingly favor higher taxes and more red-tape regulation of businesses both large and small.

The actions of forced dues-funded politicians thus result in slower revenue growth for business, and that generally means slower growth in cash pay and benefits for employees. Of course, Big Labor does the most damage in states where union bosses rake in the most forced-dues money.

But if Congress repealed all the forced-dues provisions in federal labor law, this massive impediment to income and job growth nationwide would quickly be lifted.

Businesses and employees based in current Right to Work states would share the benefits as their major out-state suppliers and customers were freed from the burden of compulsory unionism.

The fact is, even as the Right to Work movement gains more and more strength, Congress continues to perpetuate the problem of private-sector forced union dues. Ultimately, Congress must solve it once and for all by passing the National Right to Work Act.

GOP introduces national right-to-work legislation