As Democrats look for unique ways to pitch themselves to 2020 voters, many of them are arguing for a system that has been dormant for decades.
Cory Booker was the latest Democrat to back the idea of unionizing entire industries. The New Jersey senator is behind the idea of “sectoral bargaining,” something that has not been used in the United States since the ’30s and ’40s. The concept was only tried at the time because the United States was dealing with the Depression and World War II. The National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act had also just passed.
The concept was abandoned in the ’50s and unions have been dying a slow death ever since. Unions today only represent roughly 10 percent of America’s workforce. Sectoral bargaining would greatly increase the power of unions, as well as the government. It would drastically change the ability for companies to grow and produce too.
What sectoral bargaining does is create union-management committees that meet with leaders of industries and negotiate wages and work standards. If adopted, all workers in the United States would be represented by small committees of union representatives.
If this sounds like a dystopian nightmare from an Ayn Rand novel, that’s because it is. We have finally reached the point where Democrats are openly endorsing the same business-killing ideas authors like Rand predicted they would decades ago.
Booker endorsed sectoral bargaining in his new “opportunity and justice plan,” likely the last gasp of a presidential campaign that has gone nowhere. Booker is calling for bringing “multiple employers across an industry to the table, including through wage boards, that set wage and other workplace benefits and standards.”
Booker is far from the only Democrat looking to inject a shot of steroids into the power of unions in the United States.
Pete Buttigieg has pushed for “multi-employer bargaining.” His plan doesn’t go as far as Booker’s in forcing all workers to be represented by union committees, but it does call for multiple unions to “be allowed to decide to bargain on a multi-site or multi-employer basis, and their employers will be required to bargain.”
Bernie Sanders has unsurprisingly thrown his support behind the concept of sectoral bargaining. He said in August that as president he would “establish a sectoral collective bargaining system.” It’s just one part of his socialist “workplace democracy plan.” Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have co-sponsored Sanders’ plan. Sanders may endorse socialism, but people have witnessed his own campaign struggle to implement it.
“What Sen. Sanders seems to be supporting is setting up a 50-state wage board, which be presumably housed in the Department of Labor, which would be tasked with negotiating some collection of employer representatives and a group of union reps,” Glenn Spencer, senior vice president for employment policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told the Washington Examiner.
He continued, “It would negotiate with those groups and then come up with a national wage standard for that sector.”
“With the wage board-type system, you have a few union reps negotiating for all workers in all 50 states,” Spencer added.
With Democrats calling for enormous increases in taxes and endorsing empty ideas like an increase in the minimum wage, just take a moment to imagine the economic destruction these “wage boards” and union committees could do. Sectoral bargaining essentially deprives the American worker of choice, gives a frightening amount of power to the government, and makes it much harder for companies to compete. With a committee negotiating directly with industry leaders, it will be much harder for smaller companies to survive or even thrive. The government will need to pick winners and losers just to keep this system functioning.
And ask yourself why unions only represent 10 percent of the current workforce. People don’t like them. They shift control and just like the Democrat politicians endorsing them, they work against the American worker while turning around and claiming to be working for them.
A Gallup poll from August of this year asked people whether they approve or disapprove of labor unions. 64 percent of respondents said they approve, while 32 percent say they disapprove. Only in a Democrat’s head could it make sense to nationally mandate something that is clearly so divisive among Americans. And just because 64 percent of people view unions favorably does not mean they want to be part of them. Only 10 percent belong to unions today and that says everything you need to know about the ideas 2020 Democrats are currently pushing.
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