by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
David Harsanyi writes at National Review Online about a “dirty secret” involving labor unions’ survival tactics.
It was heartening, though not particularly surprising, to see workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., decisively reject unionization efforts last week. When employees are afforded a choice, they usually snub organized labor. In fact, without coercive policies and interference from the National Labor Relations Board, any substantive union membership in this country would have evaporated long ago.
That certainly goes for public-sector unions, tax-funded monopolies that compel workers to pay dues that are then used to fund more political advocacy to perpetuate their monopoly. In any other sphere of American life, this is called “racketeering.” Janus v. AFSCME — a case in which Mark Janus, a non-union child-support specialist in Illinois, argued that his First Amendment rights were violated because he was forced to pay “agency fees” to a public-sector union — was supposed to put an end to this kind of coercion, but many unions simply ignore the law.
Though writers at progressive news sites are still fans — and all of us who watched unions help destroy hundreds of newspapers across the country find this highly counterintuitive — the idea of the labor unions is an antiquated one. And their influence is fading. If unions truly preserved “workers’ rights,” then membership would not have plummeted to its lowest levels in 80 years — even before Janus. In 2019, the year before COVID hit, the economy added more than 2 million jobs, but unionized workers fell by 170,000.
Organized labor exists because it is a big money-maker for Democrats. Former president Barack Obama attempted to push through a “card check certification” that would have compelled employees to decide on unionization in the open, where they could be intimidated by labor activists, rather than in secret ballot like any other fair election.