Labor Day is about celebrating workers, not union bosses. But as union bosses rush for face time to show they "stand with workers," what is often forgotten on Labor Day is why 93 percent of private-sector workers have chosen not to stand with a union, bringing union membership to a historical low. Perhaps the reason why more workers are refusing to affiliate with a union now than any other time in almost a century is because union boss political activism takes precedence over protecting worker rights.
Even as private-sector voluntary union membership continues to steadily decline, an analysis published by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research last week found that union officials spent a whopping $1.7 billion on politicking and lobbying during the last election cycle. This forced dues-funded political machine enables union bosses to wield an immense amount of clout in Washington, D.C., and state capitals. Modern unions are built on their government-granted legal privileges of compulsion and extortion. You see, in the 26 states without Right to Work laws, nonunion employees can be fired for refusing to pay union dues. What's more, millions more nonunion workers have no choice but to accept union bargaining over their wages and working conditions, even if they want nothing to do with the union. And why should union officials bother with the hard work of representing employees if they're sitting on a revenue stream guaranteed by the government? Well, because workers are waking up to the fact that this flood of cash also breeds extravagance, abuse and corruption. Poll after poll shows the American people, and even union members, overwhelmingly oppose forced union dues and affiliation. As a result, union organizing is no longer a shop floor movement of workers. Instead union organizers collude with employers to organizer workers top-down, often using coercive card check organizing schemes.
For instance, Martin Mulhall, a groundskeeper at a Hollywood, Fla., casino, first caught wind of a card check unionization scheme at his workplace in 2008. His employer had entered into a so-called "neutrality agreement" that handed over employees' personal contact information and home addresses to union organizers, agreed to a "gag clause" allowing the union to control workplace communications, and gave union organizers access to company property. In return, union officials promised not to strike or boycott the company and spent well over $100,000 supporting a ballot initiative favored by the company.
Thanks to the dogged determination of Mulhall and National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, in November the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the agreement was illegal under a long-neglected section of the Labor Management Relations Act that outlaws bribery and collusion between company and union officials. Foundation attorneys are helping thousands of employees like Mulhall in nearly 200 active cases nationwide stand up for their rights against union official corruption, intimidation, and even violence. Perhaps this Labor Day union officials should take a step back and reexamine why millions of American workers like Mulhall want nothing to do with a union. Here's a hint: follow the money.
Mark Mix is president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.