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April 11, 2019
CONTACT: Ryan Williams
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Democrats Want To Turn The Clock Back To Before 1947
April 10, 2019
Democrats in Congress want to turn back the clock.
In 1947, amid a period of labor unrest so extreme that the public had taken notice, Congress passed the Labor-Management Relations Act, better known as the Taft-Hartley Act, over the veto of President Harry S. Truman. The bill was an effort to strike a reasonable balance in labor relations where the decade-old Wagner Act had failed.
Among Taft-Hartley’s critical reforms was that it permitted states to adopt what are now known as right-to-work laws. These laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate against nonunion workers. In right-to-work states, no one has to pay union dues as a condition for keeping his or her job. In all other states, unwilling workers can be forced to pay into union coffers, which in practice often means they are forced to pay for political advocacy they oppose.
In the 72 years since Taft-Hartley became law, 29 of the 50 states have adopted right-to-work laws, including six states since 2012. Two states, including New Hampshire in 1949 and Missouri in 2018, later repealed right-to-work, and in West Virginia, the new right-to-work law is temporarily on hold pending a possible state Supreme Court ruling.
More and more states have been going right-to-work in recent years, and it isn’t hard to see why given the economic evidence. Between 2001 and 2016, right-to-work states experienced job growth nearly twice as great, 27% compared to 15%, as forced-unionism states. They have also consistently outpaced the other states in wage growth and economic output. Business owners prefer to locate their firms in right-to-work states, all other things being equal, and domestic population migration has consistently moved this decade away from forced-union states to right-to-work states.
Right-to-work is usually a good deal for workers and even for union members. It ensures their freedom of association and helps create a local climate of prosperity, a rising tide that lifts all boats. And a substantial number of union members and fee-payers, if given the choice not to pay union dues, would quit their union in a heartbeat, as has been demonstrated among public employees since the 2018 Supreme Court Janus decision. In Wisconsin, for example, in the time since forced dues by public employees were banned in 2011, 52% of public sector employees have left their unions, according to government data compiled at UnionStats.com.
Union bosses hate right-to-work because they don’t like being forced to work for their pay. It isn’t easy to keep members happy, as they must in states where union membership is optional. The bosses would much prefer to trap those in a prison of forced payments and default monopoly representation. Some unions have even cut deals with company management at their members’ expense, then turned to federal law to prevent the workers from decertifying them.
Despite labor unions’ sharp decline in popularity among workers, congressional Democrats are more or less owned by union bosses. That is why House Democrats are proposing a bill outlawing state right-to-work laws. This would turn the clock back to before 1947.
There are two Americas: a right-to-work America that is growing economically and gaining population and a forced-union America that is stagnant, losing congressional seats with each successive census. More and more states are opting to join the vibrant and dynamic America. This is why Democrats are trying to kill off right-to-work, to help their political cronies. The bill will not pass the Republican-controlled Senate, but it should serve as a reminder of how important it is not to put Democrats in positions of power.
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