Joe Biden has repeatedly urged Congress to pass the so-called “PRO-Act,” a bill that would dramatically expand union bosses’ ability to force workers to join a union.
Union officials already have sweeping powers not enjoyed by any other private organization: In a unionized workplace, even workers who completely reject union membership have to accept union bosses as their so-called “representatives,” and in the 23 non-Right to Work states, workers can be forced to pay for this “representation.”
The “PRO-Act” would make it easier for union bosses to capture entire workplaces with little worker support, and kill all 27 state Right to Work laws so workers everywhere could be forced to pay union dues or fees just to get or keep a job.
The bill would radically reduce workers’ ability to resist unwanted unionization. But union bosses don’t plan on stopping with the “PRO-Act.”
For years, Big Labor officials and their allies in academia have been dreaming up ways to eliminate the issue of worker dissent entirely. Forget going workplace-by-workplace or company-by-company trying to persuade workers to join a union. That only creates opportunities to for them to say no. Instead, the union advocates argue, unions should get monopolies over entire industries.
A plan for establishing industry monopolies was outlined in a Harvard University report described as “the product of a nearly two-year effort to elicit the best ideas from a broad array of participants” that included representatives from the AFL-CIO, SEIU, CWA, AFSCME, UFCW, and Teamsters unions:
“When a worker organization has a membership of 5000 workers in a sector or 10 percent of the workers in a sector (whichever number is lower), the Secretary of Labor will—upon request of the worker organization—establish a sectoral bargaining panel for the sector… Sectoral bargaining agreements will become binding on all firms and all workers in the sector…”
You heard that right. Under their plan, the federal government will hand over control of entire industries to union bosses with support from just a tiny fraction of the workers who would be impacted. It’s not just an academic theory: Self-described “union guy” Joe Biden promised to explore “sectoral bargaining” in his 2020 campaign platform.
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Sectoral bargaining proponents want to increase the scope of union monopolies to entire industries and forcibly conscript millions of workers into union ranks and dues payment – which cannot happen if workers have the legal right to say no.
That’s why, like the Biden-backed “PRO-Act,” the Harvard report calls for the elimination of Right to Work laws as a necessary step towards establishing a Big Labor empire of industry monopolies.
Long ago, even dogged union organizers like Samuel Gompers, the founder of the American Federation of Labor, still thought it best to seek voluntary support. He understood that for workers, compulsory systems are “not only impractical but a menace to their rights, welfare and their liberty.”
But union boss attitudes have changed since Gompers’ day. Those who spoke of rights and liberty now speak of power and influence. Union bosses want to call all the shots in Washington and spend billions from their forced dues-funded treasuries to affect government budgets, regulations, and even CDC guidelines supposedly crafted by scientists.
When workers choose not to support Big Labor’s agenda, union bosses blame them for being ignorant, and lobby the government for laws that force workers to comply.
They can’t fathom why anyone would reject union membership, even though there are perfectly sound reasons to do so. Besides the controversial politics, there’s also the rampant corruption; multiple United Auto Workers union bosses are headed to prison for accepting bribes from carmakers.
But the particular reasons aren’t what’s important. The liberty Gompers spoke of means letting individuals make decisions for themselves. Only an individual worker can decide if union membership is really right for them.
Sectoral bargaining is the ultimate rejection of voluntarism. It decimates union officials’ pretense that they seek power through voluntary worker support. In reality, they want raw government-granted privileges bought with political influence.
Union bosses already have unmatched coercive powers. That coercion should rolled back and repealed, not exponentially expanded.
Mark Mix is President of the National Right to Work Committee.
Syndicated with permission from Real Clear Wire.
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