Right-to-work laws allow employees to choose whether they want to join a union. But Big Labor would rather workers are forced into indentured servitude when they become gainfully employed. Mr. Biden is only too happy to provide the chains. “We should change the federal law (so) that there is no right to work allowed anywhere in the country,” Mr. Biden said at a Teamsters candidate forum in December. “For real. Not a joke. Not a joke.”
No, it isn’t a joke. It’s an outrage. How does compulsory unionism comport with the principles of a free society, including the right to freely associate?
This radical proposal is just another scheme designed to reverse a long decline in private-sector union membership, thus beefing up the coffers of groups that are among the most aggressive Democratic donors. Labor officials have failed miserably in recent decades to convince nongovernment workers that they have something of value to offer, so they now seek a return on their investment by enlisting friendly Democrats to wield the awesome power of the state to achieve the same objective by force.
Unions argue that right-to-work laws allow nonmembers to “free-ride” because the union negotiates contracts for both union and non-union employees. But non-union workers don’t ask for such consideration. Instead, unions insist on exclusive representation. Imagine the embarrassment if nonmembers negotiated higher salaries in exchange for better performance.
Nor is eliminating worker freedoms the only way Mr. Biden wants to favor unions over employees. He’s pledged to allow unions to organize by “card check.” This would allow a labor organization to establish itself simply by presenting an employer with cards signed by a majority of workers. There’s a reason why unions love card check rather than secret ballot elections: It’s much easier to manipulate and allows labor officials to more effectively pressure workers into jumping on board.
It’s unclear how Mr. Biden’s proposals would interact with the Supreme Court’s Janus decision, in which the majority justice ruled that allowing public-sector unions to impose fees on nonmembers — money that is often diverted to support political activism — violated the First Amendment. But there’s little doubt that a constitutionally dubious federal law forcing all 50 states to adopt compulsory union membership will eventually make it’s way to the high court.
Everybody has the right to join a union. But they should also have the right to decline. Just like any other organization, unions should have to earn voluntary support rather than be allowed to conscript the power of the state to force workers to pay for unwanted services.