The new administration’s desperate measures to prop up flagging union membership, like the newly proposed “Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2021,” illustrate perfectly why the Freedom Foundation’s recently announced national expansion comes at an opportune moment in this nation’s history.
If the PRO Act obtains the necessary votes in the U.S. Senate and is sent to President Biden for his signature, it would mean the end of “right-to-work” laws for private-sector union members in 27 different states across the country.
One of the most troubling aspects of the proposed law is a massive change to collective bargaining agreements requiring the payment of union dues as a condition of employment, at the risk of workers losing their jobs.
State right-to-work laws, as currently constituted, allow employees to decide for themselves whether to join a union.
Right-to-work laws have proven not only to be beneficial to workers’ rights, but to be economically beneficial. Studies have indicated these laws have a positive effect on manufacturing and economic growth without causing wage depression.
There is also a growing body of literature suggesting they have a positive effect on employment and personal income. RTW laws have a strong influence on the location decision of businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector. This leads to net increase in available jobs, and more specifically, higher paying jobs.
But under the PRO Act, the federal government would ban these laws outright.
If Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress can succeed in imposing mandatory union dues requirements on private employees, they’ve already made it clear they have their sights set on mandatory unionization of public-sector employees, as well.
It is noteworthy, of course, that the two Democratic Senators from the state of Arizona have yet to endorse the bill. Arizona is a state where the right to work has been in place for 75 years.
It is hoped that Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly will listen to the approximately 20 Arizona Chambers of Commerce (not counting the opposition of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) that oppose the PRO Act, but there are no guarantees.
There is a great deal of irony in the characterization of the PRO Act as pro-worker legislation by its proponents. The truth is, this law is designed to force Americans into unions, with their employment status and future prosperity on the line.
One cannot simultaneously justify this law as a defense of worker’s rights while stripping workers of a right they enjoy in over half of the states.
The recent national push to protect unions — the conduit through which a large percentage of the Democratic Party’s campaign contributions flow — is hardly a mystery. Union membership has been on the decline because many unions have not only become overly political, but because they do not provide a service for which people are willing to pay.
Unions have increasingly become an instrument of the political left, relying on the dues of their members to fund partisan political speech.
When looking at campaign contributions from the last election, the numbers do not lie. They show that that labor organizations gave $27.5 million to the Biden campaign and entities that backed him, compared to the $360,000 given to the Trump campaign.
Enter the Freedom Foundation. In recent years, the Freedom Foundation has had significant success in helping taxpayer-funded employees exercise their First Amendment rights to leave unions they may disagree with.
Since the Supreme Court’s 2018 landmark ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, the Freedom Foundation has helped nearly 100,000 workers leave their unions, mostly in the labor strongholds of the West Coast. The Freedom Foundation has also made significant strides in helping to reduce the undue political influence of unions in states on the East Coast and across the Midwest.
And now we have officially taken our mission national. Going forward, wherever workers’ rights are threatened, whether it be at the national level like the PRO Act, or questionable activities in the states, the Freedom Foundation will be there to fight back for American workers.