Federal legislation would ban state Right to Work laws harming workers and economy

Today our friends at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) released a report that analyzes the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2019 (H.R. 2474), which the House of Representatives is expected to vote on in September. The bill tilts the playing field in favor of unions without regard to the negative consequences on workers, employers, and the economy.

It reflects the interests and desires of the hard-left “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party like those that dominate New Mexico’s Legislature and recently voted to prohibit local governments from adopting “right to work” ordinances.

The PRO Act effectively repeals all state right to work laws by requiring compulsory dues payments by non-members. Eliminating such laws removes a crucial check on labor unions’ coercive powers.

Once a union successfully organizes a workplace, it is certified as the exclusive bargaining representative of all employees in the bargaining unit, including workers who voted against unionization. As an exclusive representative, the labor union has the authority to represent and negotiate a contract that sets work rules for all employees.

As such, right to work laws represent a compromise. Unions may represent dissenting workers, but right to work laws provide a check on this union authority by providing them with the ability to opt out of paying representation they do not want.

Right to work laws offset another problem that arises from exclusive representation. Under current law, labor unions never face reelection. This creates a situation known as “inherited unions,” where workers are represented by a union chosen by past employees and which they had no say in selecting. As little as 10 percent of private sector workers voted for the union that represents them.

In addition to lessening the negative impact of exclusive representation, right to work laws enable workers to hold union officials accountable. Right to work laws place the burden on union leadership to continually prove the organization’s value to their membership.

To learn about how the PRO Act harms employee free choice, view the report here.

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