With Joe Biden promising to be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen,” Big Labor officials are full steam ahead in their efforts to obtain more government-granted powers over rank-and-file workers. To persuade voters and lawmakers that these powers are necessary, it’s no surprise union bosses and their allies frequently bend the truth.
For example, President Biden said via Twitter: “I believe every worker deserves a free and fair choice to join a union — and the PRO-Act [a bill pending in the U.S. Senate] will bring us closer to that reality.”
But the president should rejoice: We already live in that reality, even without the enactment of the so-called “PRO-Act.” All workers have the freedom to join any labor organization they like. No law in America prevents anyone from joining a union or paying union dues.
When forced unionism advocates like President Biden talk about the ability to “join a union” they’re actually talking about union officials’ power to subject an entire workplace to union monopoly control. This means forcing a union contract on workers who don’t want it and who believe they would be better off without it.
An analysis of National Labor Relations Board data from over 40 years of union elections found that 94% of workers under such union monopolies had never even voted for the union that “represents” them.
The fact is, unionization is not a choice for most workers who labor under a union contract.
But that’s not enough for union bosses. Big Labor wants the power to bypass secret ballot elections entirely. They prefer so-called “card check” unionization — which is included in the PRO-Act — where professional union organizers approach individual workers to pressure and demand they sign cards that later count as “votes” for unionization.
Once in power, union boss “representation” can’t be removed unless workers undergo the arduous process of filing for a federally-supervised decertification election subject to numerous limitations that force workers to wait years before even petitioning for such a vote. For companies that have been unionized for decades, few current workers who participated in the original vote to unionize are still around.
While President Biden tweets that he wants to make union membership a “free and fair choice,” he and his Big Labor allies are pushing for the opposite. They support monopoly bargaining, the current rule that “elected” union officials have the legal authority to bargain for, and collect dues from an entire workplace.
So while workers can remain “nonmembers” on paper, they can still be required to pay union fees (which can be equal to full union dues) while being forced to accept union “representation” they oppose.
The good news is a majority of states have passed Right to Work laws that protect workers from being forced to pay money to a union as a condition of employment, but the central provision of the Big Labor-backed PRO-Act is to repeal all 27 state right to work laws and forever ban right to work laws nationwide, allowing union bosses to force even more workers to pay up or be fired.
Union officials choose coercion despite the option of only representing voluntary union members.
A simple review of labor law shows union officials aren’t legally required to represent every employee in a workplace, as longtime AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka claimed in a C-SPAN interview. They can negotiate “members-only” contracts with employers that only apply to union members.
Instead, to maximize their influence and their ability to collect forced dues, union officials demand monopoly control over the whole workplace, then demand forced payments from members and nonmembers alike.
Union officials have even fought to keep workers under their so-called “representation” when every single worker opposes unionization.
The PRO-Act would expand union monopoly “representation” to new categories of workers, including freelancers and independent contractors like drivers who pick up customers using apps like Uber and Lyft.
Union officials attempt to justify their use of coercion by claiming that forced association and forced dues are good for workers, but even Vice President Kamala Harris has admitted that’s not true. As California’s Attorney General she filed a Supreme Court brief acknowledging that “unions do have substantial latitude to advance bargaining positions that … run counter to the economic interests of some employees.”
Unions regularly oppose merit-based pay, protecting unproductive workers at the expense of productive workers. Union-imposed seniority causes newly hired workers to face layoffs no matter how effective they are at their job.
These are just two examples of how one-size-fits all monopoly union contracts actively harm many rank-and-file workers, even as union bosses insist those workers should be required to pay for their “representation.”
A provision of the PRO-Act helps union bosses foist even more harmful contracts by empowering government arbitrators to impose new union contracts over the objections of workers and employers.
Union bosses claim to know better about what’s in workers’ interests than the workers themselves. That’s why, rather than convince workers to willingly become a member and voluntarily pay dues, they repeatedly turn to the government to force workers to do what they won’t do without compulsion.
The so-called PRO-Act doubles down on the coercion. It would eliminate right to work laws, forcing millions of workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment, allow coercive “card check” unionization so union bosses can gain power without a secret ballot election, and further restrict workers’ ability to remove an unwanted union.
Understand the truth behind union bosses’ lies, and you’ll see the PRO-Act for what it is: a coercive bill that increases Big Labor’s power at the expense of rank-and-file workers.
Mark Mix is president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the National Right to Work Committee. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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