Presidential candidate and Democrat Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) promised to fight against “right-to-work” laws while campaigning at the National Forum on Wages and Working People. The right-to-work law in 26 states preserves workers’ freedom NOT to join a union and pay union fees.
The National Forum on Wages and Working People says it is a conference sponsored by the SEIU and the Center for American Progress. The conference website explains:
“Economic and political power is increasingly concentrated in the hands of corporations and billionaires, leaving most Americans—of all races—overworked, underpaid, and struggling to provide for their families. No one should have to work multiple jobs just to get by; no one should have to live paycheck to paycheck; and everyone should have the opportunity to join a union, no matter where they work. All discussions about the future direction of our country must boil down to what economic policies can do to shift power to working people.”
You get the sense of what sort of wild rhetoric was flying around that place.
Harris’ comments came after years of states like Michigan and Virginia debating controversial right-to-work laws — which would allow workers to exempt themselves from joining a union or paying its fees — as well as last year’s Supreme Court decision, in Janus v. AFSCME, which said mandatory public union fees violated the First Amendment.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a fellow 2020 contender, also said in April that he would work to ban right-to-work laws, which exist in 26 states.
Can the government force workers to join a private union? If workers think they need to unionize to negotiate for better working conditions, why does the government need to force them to do so?
“The barriers to organized labor being able to organize and strike are something that have grown over a period of time,” Harris said at the event, organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Center for American Progress.
One man’s “barrier” is another man’s “freedom,” I suppose.
Ever since the Janus decision, unions have been hit hard financially.
This exodus is hurting the union’s bottom line. Between 2017 and 2018, AFSCME reported a $4.2 million drop in revenue. The SEIU did not report a similar loss although the latest reporting may not be updated. Regular union membership remained stable meaning only the people who were robbed by the unions opted out of the shake down fees. But as you can see, that’s a respectable amount of coin.
“Most agency fee payers left,” said Patrick Wright, vice president for legal affairs at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a conservative advocacy group. “The big question going forward is how many full members are going to join them.”
It looks like Harris doesn’t like the choices people make with their freedom and she plans to fix it.
Image from Getty Images.