‘Wrong Way’ Northam Scores For Big Labor

Gov. Ralph Northam has opted to foist monopolistic unionism on Virginia even as other elected officials are desperately rolling it back. Credit: Credit: Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch, via AP

Governor Signs Legislation He Plainly Knows Will Hurt Virginia

Today, more than 55 years after it occurred, Minnesota Vikings player Jim Marshall’s notorious 1964 “wrong-way run” at a game in San Francisco, during which he recovered a fumble and returned it 66 yards into his own end zone, resulting in a safety, remains an iconic NFL moment.

Emulating former Minnesota Viking Jim Marshall’s notorious run into his own end zone. Credit: Credit: Wikimedia Commons, special to The Forum

Fortunately for the Vikings, they went on to win the game anyway. But Virginians may not be so lucky now that their Big Labor governor, Ralph Northam (D), has decided to emulate “Wrong Way” Marshall.

In April, at a time when other states like Minnesota and Nevada had greater reason than ever before to regret they had ever enacted laws authorizing union monopoly-bargaining control over public employees in the first place, Mr. Northam approved legislation ensuring the Old Dominion will be similarly impaired in the future.

Big Labor Lawmakers Push for Union-Boss Control Over Employees

Thanks to Big Labor support, union-label Democrat politicians managed to seize control of Virginia’s General Assembly last November.

With majorities in both the House and the Senate, they promptly introduced legislation to repeal Virginia’s ban on government union monopoly bargaining, institute a so-called “prevailing wage” law, and repeal the state’s ban on union-only project labor agreements (PLAs).

National Right to Work Committee Vice President John Kalb commented:

“H.B. 582 and S.B. 939, which together remove the statutory ban on government-sector monopoly bargaining that has benefitted Virginia since 1993, are simply a vehicle for union bosses to take charge over Virginia’s public workers.

“The Committee made it our priority to inform Right to Work supporters in Virginia of the dangerous direction the General Assembly was heading in.

“And thanks to mobilized, freedom-loving Virginians, we were able to help shut down bills in both the House and the Senate that would have repealed the Old Dominion’s treasured 73-year-old Right to Work law.

“Unfortunately, union-label Democrats in Richmond chose to ignore the voices of their constituents as they passed a number of Big Labor power grabs to force Virginia’s public servants and private construction workers under monopoly bargaining.”

By the end of the session, Democrat majorities in the House and Senate passed H.B. 582 and S.B. 939, as well as prevailing wage and union-only PLA bills.

Current Crisis Highlights Dangers of Union Monopoly

By the time the special-interest legislation was placed on Mr. Northam’s desk on March 20, the coronavirus pandemic was having a national impact.

In other states, the crisis has ramped up serious damage caused by public-sector monopoly bargaining, as union autocrats interfere with state and local government officials’ capacity to take emergency action.

In Minnesota, for instance, Gov. Tim Walz (D) decided he had no choice but to roll back union contracts covering state employees.

In Nevada, Service Employees International Union bosses threatened to sue to make sure their monopoly-bargaining privileges were sustained.

“With this crisis as an example, Gov. Northam should have looked to other states to see the follies of public-sector monopoly bargaining,” Mr. Kalb noted.

“The fact is, sound fiscal decisions necessary for good governance are all the harder for states that authorize monopoly bargaining, even in more normal times.”

However, Mr. Northam chose not to veto any of the Big Labor legislation, instead approving every bill with recommendations delaying their effective date to May 1, 2021.

“The recommendations were a feeble admission that monopoly bargaining is going to hurt taxpayers,” Mr. Kalb pointed out.

“If government union monopoly bargaining is wrong now, it’s always wrong.”

Mr. Northam’s recommendations were quickly approved by the Democrat majorities in the General Assembly.

Mr. Northam could have picked up the ball and carried it in the right direction by vetoing these bills. He chose to do the opposite.

 Committee Will Fight Back By Informing Public About What Politicians Have Done

But the National Right to Work Committee intends to fight back by making sure citizens are aware of the choices their politicians made during this critical time.

“While the current financial crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic highlights how much strain public-sector bargaining will put on Virginia, it is always important for the Commonwealth to support the interests of independent-minded employees and taxpayers,” emphasized Mr. Kalb.

“The Committee will continue to urge Right to Work supporters to put the pressure on their legislators to oppose monopoly bargaining, or face the potential political consequences.”