by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Democrat-led House is set next week to vote on legislation to override the 27 states that have given workers a right to work without being forced to join a union or to give it a cut of their paycheck.
House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat, argued that such “right-to-work” laws are unfair to unions and the workers that back collective bargaining, necessitating his bill, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.
“Under current law, unions are required to negotiate on behalf of all employees, regardless if they belong to the union or not,” Scott told the Washington Examiner. “The PRO Act simply allows workers to decide that all workers represented by the union should contribute to the costs associated with negotiating on their behalf.”
Scrapping the state laws would force potentially millions of individual workers to give away part of their salaries, whether they wanted to or not, said Greg Mourad, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee, which represents workers in cases against unions. “The term ‘right to work’ means the right to not have to pay for union so-called representation that workers don’t want, didn’t ask for, and believe actually goes against their interests,” he told the Washington Examiner.
The PRO Act is a collection of far-reaching pro-union reforms intended to strengthen the movement and boost membership. It is the centerpiece of the Democrats’ labor agenda in Congress and is backed by White House contenders, including Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. The latter three are original co-sponsors of the Senate version of the bill.