Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris indicated Saturday that if elected president, she intends to continue catering to the interests of powerful, politically connected unions over those of individual workers by banning what are known as right-to-work laws.
Speaking at the so-called National Forum on Wages and Working People, she specifically said that wants to use “legislation” and “the bully pulpit” to strengthen the alleged rights of unions.
“Let’s be more specific — it has to be about banning right-to-work laws,” the 2020 hopeful said.
Right-to-work laws protect individual workers from bullying by unions. In states that lack right-to-work laws, unions may force fees on all workers, even those who prefer to not be in a union.
Imagine for instance that you work as a plumber for a local company, and you and your co-workers generally enjoy your work and are happy with your pay. Then suddenly a group of politically connected bureaucrats descend into town and demand you join their union.
Suppose though that you and your coworkers don’t want to join because you don’t want to pay their ridiculously exorbitant $450 annual fee. In a state that lacks right-to-work protections, you and your coworkers would have no other choice but to bend the knee and sign up.
If you lived in one of the following mostly Republican-operated states, on the other hand, you’d have the right to tell the bureaucrats to bugger off and leave you and your co-workers alone:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
Notice that Harris’s home state of California isn’t on the list …
Because of the state’s lack of right-to-work laws, an estimated 5,000 local government employees were forced to pay “millions of dollars in fees” to one of the most powerful unions in the country, the Service Employees International Union. Led by William Hough of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), last year these 5,000 workers reportedly tried to fight back by filing suit against the SEIU with the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
“Hough has worked at the VTA since 2005. He exercised his right to refrain from joining SEIU Local 521 because he did not wish to support it in any way. However, he and other non-union member employees were forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment under state law,” the foundation wrote in a press release at the time of the suit’s filing last August.
“California’s law authorizes SEIU Local 521 and its affiliates to extract union fees from non-union members as a condition of employment. In the lawsuit, Hough claims that the applicable statute, and any other statute that authorizes Local 521 to collect forced union fees from public employees without their affirmative consent, violates the First Amendment. He asks the court to declare those laws unconstitutional.”
In the liberal utopia envisioned by Harris, such lawsuits would be dead on arrival, regardless of the state. In fact, as it stands the Democrat-led House is reportedly planning to introduce legislation that would essentially repeal and invalidate all currently active right-to-work laws.
“The legislation, dubbed the ‘Protecting the Right to Organize Act’ includes several other changes that would benefit unions. A House Education and Labor Committee source confirmed that Democrats plan to unveil the bill in a matter of weeks,” the Washington Examiner reported earlier this month.
Given the 2020 contender’s relentless promotion on social media of unions, it’s probably fair to assume that she’s a zealous supporter of this planned legislation.
Case in point:
When Republicans attack unions, we need to remind them that unions built the middle class. People have a five-day workweek because of unions. They have sick leave because of unions — we have safe working conditions because of unions.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 3, 2019
Unions built the middle class in this country and during our campaign we are going to remind people of that fact. pic.twitter.com/7d5IhjLF6D
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 4, 2019
A few things we have to thank unions for:
✅ 5-day work week
✅ Paid sick leave
✅ 8-hour workday
✅ Safer working conditions
I fight for unions because they fight for working people.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 10, 2019
Perhaps someone needs to remind the California senator that workers’ rights should be about the workers, not about unions. Not that she would care. Many have long argued that unions are — much like the liberal mainstream media — nothing but yet another arm of the Democrat Party.
The good news for some workers is that last year the Supreme Court ruled that public-sector unions may not force agency fees on workers. Not surprisingly, Harris responded to the ruling at the time by issuing a statement falsely deriding it as bad for workers.
“Court’s decision today undermines the basic American premise, held up by courts for more than four decades, that if a union represents all employees in negotiating and administering a collective bargaining agreement, then all employees ought to share the costs of that representation,” she said.
Never mind the fact that some employees don’t want to negotiate or bargain for anything because they’re already perfectly happy with both their work and their compensation.
“We also cannot ignore that this decision is part of an ongoing trend of the Roberts Court that has repeatedly sided with employers over employees, corporations over consumers, and special interests over vulnerable Americans,” Harris’s statement continued.
“Congress must act to bolster the American labor movement that built the middle class of this country. It is up to all of us to fight to protect the ability of working families to make a living wage and pursue the American dream now more than ever.”
It’s clear from both what she said Saturday and the manner in which she responded to last year’s SCOTUS ruling that she intends to continue catering to the interests of powerful, politically connected unions over those of individual workers. How unfortunate.
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