Did You Know This About Big Labor?

Katie Gage
April 5, 2011

Yesterday, Big Labor bosses decided to use the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a means to promote collective bargaining.  And while much was said about the rights workers should have to come together and form a union, little to nothing was said about the rights workers should have to come together and dissolve that same collective bargaining unit.  There was also scant mention of Big Labor’s opposition to state right to work laws that give a worker the right not to be a member of a union, pay dues, and support its political and social agenda with which the worker may strongly disagree.

The more one learns about the organizing process espoused by American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) President Richard Trumka the clearer it is that the end is more money and power for labor bosses, not greater rights for workers.  The reasoning is simple, you can’t fairly support the right of workers to organize without supporting the right of those same workers to oust the union.  Yet, that’s exactly the stance held by Trumka and Big Labor bosses.

These actions by labor bosses are largely a function of necessity as the percentage of those in unions has dropped to historic lows with less than seven percent of workers in the private sector.  Today, public sector unions sustain Big Labor but even in the public sector organized labor has seen its numbers fall.  Therefore, every step of the way, union bosses have demanded that government force workers into unions, and behind the scenes they have worked to make the decertification of the union more difficult.

Big Labor uses hundreds of millions of dollars of workers’ union dues not for collective bargaining, but to buy a seat at the table and demand bailouts.

For example, the now lifeless Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act required a card check process for union organizing meaning the workers’ vote would be subject to the scrutiny of third parties and they could be pressured, intimidated, even coerced into supporting the union.  But the law preserved the secret ballot election to decertify the union.

Secondly, the actions of the so-called “independent” National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) demonstrate a decided prejudice in favor of unionization even advocating that small businesses must post a notice about workers’ right to have a union, but nothing about the workers’ right to decertify and remove the union.

Thirdly, and possibly the most obvious example of the disparity between advocacy in favor of certification versus decertification are the actions of another so-called impartial and unbiased government agency namely the National Mediation Board (NMB).

Under the Obama administration, nearly a century of precedent was upended when the NMB set aside majority rule resulting in a policy allowing a minority of workers to decide for the entire workforce whether a collective bargaining unit had been formed.  Just last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of reversing the NMB’s actions, a rare rebuke by Congress of a regulatory agency.

And while the NMB’s actions concerning certification of a union gained attention, little was made about the virtual impossibility of decertifying a collective bargaining unit once created in the airline and railroad industries.  Under the Railway Labor Act – the law that regulates labor relations for railroads and airlines – workers must wait two years after a collective bargaining unit has been certified to begin an effort to decertify with what’s called a “straw man” election.  At least 35 percent of workers must support the effort to decertify the collective bargaining unit and even with that, a vote is not to remove the union, instead workers must support a “straw man” or fictitious organization challenging the union that is in place.  The reality is that a major union in the airline and railroad industries has never been decertified in modern times under these rules.

So, as Americans watch or read news reports about Big Labor’s push in favor of collective bargaining on April 4th, they should ask themselves: if these same union bosses really cared about workers wouldn’t they also stand up for the equal right of workers to end union representation when they conclude it is no longer in their best interests.

Tell Congress: Stop the PRO Act

WFI is working to prevent passage of the so-called Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act)—a wholesale labor reform package that takes the current careful balance of labor rules and tips it greatly in the favor of labor bosses and forced collective bargaining.

The PRO Act robs workers of the right to a secret ballot to form a union, forces union contracts on workers without a vote of approval, and expose workers’ personal contact information to union bosses seeking to organize a workplace. And that’s just the start.

Help us speak out against this woefully misguided and blatantly anti-worker legislation. Review and send the message below to your members of Congress today.

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WFI Key Vote Letter: Opposition to PRO Act

— 02.10.2020 —
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy: On behalf of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI), I am writing to share our organization’s vehement opposition to H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). WFI has serious concerns with the broad, overreaching nature of this legislation and the many ways in which it would undermine worker freedom and privacy, while simultaneously threatening businesses and entire industries that keep America’s economy thriving. Please note that WFI will include votes on the PRO Act and its amendments on our Congressional Labor Scorecard, which scores and ranks legislators based on their activity associated with workplace issues. WFI was established to fight for American employees and employers as well as our entire economy. We believe in worker empowerment, the right of workers to be fully informed of the options available for worker-involvement in the workplace, and the right to freely choose whether to organize or not. No individual or group – government, a union or an employer – should be able to intimidate or restrict workers’ in exercising these rights. In an attempt to boost flailing union membership at the expense of workers’ rights, the PRO Act would upend decades of established U.S. labor law and institute myriad anti-employee and anti-employer policies that have already been soundly rejected—by Congress, various federal agencies, or the courts. Among its most blatant affronts to workers’ rights, the PRO Act would eliminate the right to a secret ballot when determining whether to unionize and enforce a “card check” system, exposing workers to the potential for harassment, intimidation, and coercion. The PRO Act would also enforce binding arbitration in union negotiations by a government- appointed bureaucrat; repeal and eliminate right-to-work laws in 27 states, force workers to fund union activities regardless of whether they support them; and threaten the ability of individuals to operate as independent contractors, eliminating traditional economic and employment opportunities and threatening the independence and flexibility of the emerging gig economy. On top of all that, the PRO Act would force all workers’ personal and home contact information to be provided to a union during organizing campaigns – in an electronic, searchable format no less, with no limit on what a union can do with that information. WFI believes in advancing sensible policies that protect and preserve the rights of both employees and employers, and we welcome the opportunity to work with legislators who also support these efforts. However, the PRO Act does not achieve these goals and would instead threaten the rights of both while jeopardizing our entire economy. WFI urges members of the House to strongly oppose the PRO Act. Sincerely, Heather Greenaway Executive Director Workforce Fairness Institute See the letter here.
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