Testimony: Current labor law promotes forced unionism and is ‘antithetical to American values of free speech and free association’
Washington, D.C. (March 26, 2019) – A National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorney will testify at a U.S. House of Representatives committee hearing today, urging reform of current labor law that hinders American workers from exercising their rights under the U.S. Constitution and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
Veteran Foundation staff attorney Glenn M. Taubman, who has represented hundreds of workers in cases before the NLRB and in federal court, will speak to the House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions at its hearing on “The Need for Labor Law Reform.”
Taubman points out that, under current labor law, millions of private sector workers are forced to accept representation from a labor union, a private organization, whether or not they agree with the union and want its representation. Additionally, many workers are forced to subsidize a union under threat of losing their jobs.
In his statement, Taubman brings up several problems with current labor law that violate workers’ rights. He points out that “current law makes it easier for employees to form and join a union than it is for those same employees to decertify the union,” describing the plethora of red tape designed to block employees from removing a union the representation of which they no longer want.
He argues that forced dues and monopoly bargaining, also known as “exclusive representation,” violate workers’ rights to free speech and free association by forcing them to be represented by and pay fees to a private organization. Even in states with Right to Work legislation, which protects employees’ right to choose whether or not to subsidize a union, union officials impose obstacles to prevent employees from changing their minds and stop paying union dues.
Despite the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Beck decision that provides some protection for workers against being charged for political and certain other union expenditures, union officials have continued to collect forced dues for political activity. Taubman provided free legal aid to nurse Jeanette Geary in her landmark case, in which the NLRB ruled earlier this month (nine years after Geary first filed her case) that union officials can never charge nonmembers for lobbying expenses.
Additionally, Taubman urges reform of the standards for financial transparency as to how union dues are spent, citing recent examples of corruption and abuse of union funds. He also suggests the passage of several pieces of legislation to safeguard workers from compulsory unionism’s abuses, including the National Right to Work Act, which would give individual workers the freedom to decide whether or not to fund union officials’ activities.
“Changes to current labor law are long overdue, but the House Committee majority’s push to make it easier for workers to be forced into union ranks would move the law in the wrong direction,” commented Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “No American worker should be forced to surrender their workplace voice to a private organization, let alone be compelled to give chunks of their paychecks to union bosses for their unwanted so-called representation.”
“Reforms to federal labor laws are certainly long overdue, but what is needed is a reorientation towards voluntary unionism,” added Mix. “For inspiration, Congress should familiarize themselves with the voluntary principles promoted by AFL-CIO founder Samuel Gompers, who observed that compulsory systems are a menace to workers’ rights, welfare, and liberty.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.