FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The Union Agenda Part One: So, you think your Right-To-Work state is safe from unions?
This is the first of several posts about the union agenda to end the Senate filibuster….
Ending the Senate filibuster? Not so fast…
There is, and has been since 2010, a concerted effort by union bosses to get their union-bought cronies in the U.S. Senate to end the filibuster. Why?
The obvious answer is: So, unions can enact legislation that they want. However, let’s break that down to more specifics, shall we?
Teamsters union boss James P. Hoffa is the most blunt in decrying the use of the filibuster being used by unions to effectively end secret-ballot elections.
The Employee Free Choice Act would be the law of the land today if it weren’t for the modern filibuster.
The Employee Free Choice Act, or EFCA, would have made it easier to organize a union. In 2008, it easily passed the House of Representatives. A solid majority of U.S. senators supported the bill. But they never got a chance to vote on it, and EFCA died.
While effectively ending secret-ballots in union certifications is one of the major reasons union bosses like Hoffa have spent billions on Barack Obama and Democrats in the last five years, there is more to ending Republicans’ ability block legislation than card-check that is on the union agenda.
Your Right-To-Work state is not as safe as you think.
At the end of last year, Michigan’s GOP-led legislature and governor enacted Right-to-Work laws for both public and private-sector workplaces, making the home of the once-mighty United Auto Workers the 24th state that forbids unions from getting workers fired for refusing to pay union dues or fees.
While it happened in less than a week’s time, once again, America was treated to the spectacle of union protesters laying violent siege to yet another state capitol–all over the issue of money going to union bosses coffers.
Despite union rhetoric to the contrary, state Right-To-Work laws do not abridge unions’ ability to collectively bargain.
Rather, Right-to-Work laws merely forbid unions from negotiating “union (income) security” clauses into contracts that enable unions to have workers fired for failing to pay union dues.
What many Americans realize–especially those who grew up in Right-To-Work states and take the freedom to choose whether or not to pay union dues for granted–is the fragility of Right-To-Work laws.
A brief history of state Right-to-Work laws…
When the National Labor Relations Act was enacted in 1935, it was an extremely one-sided, pro-union law that gave union bosses the ability to require workers to pay dues (or fees) to unions as a condition of employment. In other words, pay up or be fired.
After 12 years of union abuse, Congress sought to amend the NLRA and passed the Taft-Hartley Amendments. While President Harry Truman vetoed the amendments, there were enough voted to override the President’s veto and Taft-Hartley was added to the NLRA.
Among other items that curtailed abusive unionism was Section 14(b) that allowed states to pass so-called Right-to-Work laws.
- It should be noted that Right-to-Work laws do not exist for workers not covered by the National Labor Relations Act. For example, workers in the airline and railroad industries work under the 1926 Railway Labor Act. Even though an airline or railroad worker may reside and work in a Right-to-Work state (like Texas, or any of the other 23 Right-to-Work states,) that individual can still be fired for failing to pay union dues or fees under a union contract.
Under the Taft-Hartley Amendments to the NLRA, the only thing that permits Right-to-Work laws to exist is this single statement:
Sec. 14 (b) [Agreements requiring union membership in violation of State law] Nothing in this Act [subchapter] shall be construed as authorizing the execution or application of agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment in any State or Territory in which such execution or application is prohibited by State or Territorial law.
If this single statement is removed from the National Labor Relations Act, all Right-to-Work states disappear.
Union-bought Democrats have repeatedly tried to destroy Right-to-Work states…
Ever since the Taft-Hartley Amendments were added to the National Labor Relations Act, unions have sought to have it (or sections of it) repealed.
In 1965-66, after huge Democrat gains in Congress, unions tried to repeal Section 14(b)–the Right-to-Work section of the National Labor Relations Act. However, union bosses’ effort failed…due to the use of the threat of a filibuster in the Senate.
The repeal bill passed the House with 221 votes, but a cloture vote in the Senate secured only 51 votes, far from the necessary two-thirds.
In 1978, under the Carter administration, when unions again tried to pass the Labor Law Reform Act, it was stopped by threat of the filibuster.
As National Right-to-Work Foundation president Mark Mix recently stated:
In 1978, Big Labor’s so-called “Labor Law Reform” power grab was fast-tracked by a union-label Congress, and Jimmy Carter was eager to sign them into law. Only the filibuster let us carry the day.
And all the way back to 1966, when they tried to wipe out all our state Right to Work Laws at one stroke by repealing Section 14b of the Taft-Hartley Act, it was the filibuster that enabled us to block their bill.
Without the filibuster, there would be no state Right to Work laws today, and Big Labor’s power would be nearly absolute.
In 2010, although the bill didn’t advance to a House vote, union-bought Democrat Congressman Brad Sherman introduced legislation to repeal Section 14(b). [Sherman was repeating his 2008 failed attempt to repeal Right-to-Work states.]
In 2011, Sherman and his union-bought colleagues introduced this one-page piece of legislation again to repeal Section 14(b).
With Blue-Dog Democrats facing extinction and more radicalized union-bought politicians replacing them, should Democrats regain control of the House, repealing Right-to-Work laws will be easy in the House.
Once again, as in years past, the only thing that may save Right-to-Work states will be the filibuster.
This is why union bosses and their Democrat pets are fighting to change the rules now–preemptively–as 2014 mid-term elections are right around the corner.
If you really think your Right-to-Work state is safe from unions, think again.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com
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