After becoming president-elect, Joe Biden made a clear promise to unify Americans. However, this promise was in stark contrast to what his campaign promises would actually achieve.
Giving unions their sincerest wishes is clearly part of Biden’s labor policy, as illustrated by his statement that “I’m a union member. Period ”in its opening address for the 2019 campaign and its website opposition to the“ war on organizing, collective bargaining, unions and workers ”under the current administration. And International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) president Lonnie Stephenson has asserted that a Biden administration would advance unity because it would be “a victory for all workers.”
The problem is that Biden’s support for unions, especially the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which is the primary means of making their wishes come true, would help unions at the expense of the vast majority of American workers, a blow to unity. .
The PRO law was passed in February in the Democratic-controlled House, but without the approval of the Republican-controlled Senate. Carl Horowitz wrote that this would “dismantle virtually all existing safeguards against union monopoly in the private sector workplace.” Eric Boehm described it as “a real purse of policies that unions have been pushing Congress to adopt for years” to further benefit unions at the expense of the freedom of association of others.
Unions are already depriving many Americans of their freedom of association. As the Supreme Court found in Janus, the unions inflict a “significant attack on associative freedoms which would not be tolerated in other contexts”.
Trade union “rights” already take away the freedom of workers to associate with another union, to choose other forms of group representation, such as voluntary unions, and to represent themselves in negotiations with employers. They take away the freedom of workers to associate with non-union employers or to resolve workplace issues directly with employers, forcing arrangements exclusively through unions.
They take away the freedom of employers not to join unions or to employ only workers who have no union involvement. In heavily unionized industries, they undermine consumers’ freedom to partner with low-cost non-union producers and force taxpayers to face more costly government services due to government employee unions. In each of these ways, freedom of association is only applied as a special privilege for unions and denied to others.
In addition, unions violate the most basic freedom of association of many current union members. Many have never had the right to vote on organizing and those who might try are often brought to their knees. Indeed, once a majority of workers for an employer votes to certify a particular union, it becomes the monopoly negotiator for all workers. No other election should ever take place and attempts are littered with roadblocks. Thus, workers added after certification of a union never need to vote on the union, those who voted for it should never be given the opportunity to reconsider it. This means that no one who started working in GM Michigan factories since 1937 has voted to certify their union, and hardly anyone who started working in government in the past half century has done so. more, revealing that even the freedom of association of unionized workers is also a victim. .
The PRO law would exacerbate all these denials of workers’ freedom of association. It would repeal right to work laws, twenty-seven states of which must protect workers from being forced to join a union and pay union dues involuntarily. It would force employers to provide private information about employees (including cell phone numbers, email addresses and working hours) to union organizers, violating the association rights of those who do not want to join or be approached. by unions. This would allow unions to launch early elections in non-union workplaces more quickly, limiting the ability of opponents to present opposing positions. And it would codify “card control” elections, removing the protections against coercion provided by a secret ballot.
This would allow the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to strike down a vote against unionization for virtually anything it deems to be “employer interference.” This would force entrepreneurs and franchisees to negotiate with unions, whether or not they have control over wages, benefits, etc., to ban employment arbitration clauses, to allow “boycotts”. secondary ”by unions against companies having a commercial relationship with a target company, etc. .
Far from unions benefiting all workers and advancing unity, they in fact create disunity not only by restricting competition in the workplace, but by denying many others their freedom of association. In addition, those deprived of this fundamental right include many union members, whose interests are supposed to represent unions. And the PRO Act for which Joe Biden is deeply will increase the discriminatory treatment of Americans. It is a strange way to advance our unity, regardless of words that claim otherwise.
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