News Release

National Worker Advocates Issue Labor Day Statement: “Big Labor’s Political Ambitions are Unprecedented”

Leading union watchdog groups warn of looming power grabs and resulting damage to employee rights and America’s fragile economy

Washington, DC (September 4, 2009) – Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and National Right to Work Committee, released the following statement regarding this year’s Labor Day holiday.

“This Labor Day, many Americans will enjoy a well-deserved long weekend. But as we celebrate the free-enterprise system and the value of hard work, union officials are mounting an unprecedented effort to grab more coercive power. At its core, their basic goal is simple: expand the number of workers forced to pay union dues and accept mandatory union representation just to keep their jobs.

“Unfortunately, the union hierarchy’s ambitions go well beyond the scope of previous years. Now that union operatives have helped install a President who in his own words says ‘he owes these unions,’ Big Labor is focused on a series of unprecedented power grabs.

"Their first priority is coercive ‘card check’ legislation, which would shove millions of unwilling workers into unions, disenfranchising workers from the process, and forcing struggling job-providers to knuckle-under to government-imposed contracts. Other legislative plans include the newly-revived Police and Firefighter Monopoly Bargaining Bill, which threatens America’s first responders with federally-mandated unionization. The National Right to Work Committee is mobilizing its 2.2 million members to combat these and other bills designed to force even more unwilling workers into unions.

“Throughout the United States, more than 12 million American workers are already compelled to pay union dues as a condition of keeping their jobs. And millions more are required by law to accept a union’s so-called ‘representation,’ even if they never asked or voted for it.

“Meanwhile, many workers feel they have no choice but to pay for organized labor’s extensive political activities, while others are still unaware of their right to object. That’s why the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is providing free legal aid to thousands of employees nationwide.

“This Labor Day, we commend all workers brave enough to stand up to union intimidation, harassment, and even violence as they defend their cherished freedoms. While we look forward to the day when no American is forced to pay tribute to an unwanted union, we must steel ourselves for the legislative and judicial battles ahead to defend employee freedom.”

To download Mark Mix's statement as an MP3: Click here.

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

Right to Work Experts in the News: Labor Day Highlights Injustices of Compulsory Unionism

Experts from the National Right to Work Foundation and Right to Work Committee took to the airwaves and opinion pages across America to remind us what Labor Day is really about —  the individual worker.

Mark Mix, president of National Right to Work, reminded Americans that "It's 'Labor' Day, Not 'Union' Day" in his nationally published op-ed which appeared in over 20 newspapers across the country.  In his article, Mix offers a stouthearted rebuke to the usual union boss propaganda which has become commonplace on Labor Day:

This Labor Day, big labor bosses will dish out their usual Labor Day propaganda about how awful our lives would supposedly be without them.  The reality is that millions of workers and indeed our economy are continuing to suffer greatly under the scourge of compulsory unionism.

...

Labor Day should be about honoring the hardworking Americans who make our country’s economy prosper — not union bosses who rely on forced unionism privileges for personal and political gain.

Mark Mix also took to the airwaves, appearing on The Dom Giordano Show, The Martha Zoller Show, and the national CBS radio network.  He also appeared on WFTL Morning News the morning after Labor Day.  Meanwhile, Mix's Labor Day statement was aired on at least 10 radio stations in Right-to-Work states and forced-unionism states alike. 

Mix was also published in the Detroit News discussing how union boss monopoly bargaining is bankrupting Detroit’s public schools -- pointing out the reality that "[t]he Detroit school district would be much better off if state legislators and [Michigan] Gov. Jennifer Granholm repealed or dramatically rolled back state policies promoting union monopoly bargaining in public schools."

Mix also was published on National Review Online exposing the stunning resemblance forced unionism has to the launching of President Barack Obama's political career:

Why is Obama so comfortable with this coercive approach to workplace organizing? Perhaps because his political career was launched under similar circumstances. Few remember it now, but Obama’s electoral debut came in 1996, when he won a seat in the Illinois state legislature. “Won” is a bit of a misnomer, however, as candidate Obama ruthlessly eliminated his opponents by disqualifying signatures collected for ballot eligibility.

As former National Review political reporter David Freddoso detailed in his 2008 book on Obama, voters’ signatures were thrown out for a variety of spurious reasons, including one woman’s failure to list her married name instead of her maiden name. Other voters were struck from the lists for printing instead of signing their names on the eligibility petitions. Obama not only had his main opponent disqualified, he also succeeded in forcing a protest candidate off the ballot. Obama has personally admitted he felt “uncomfortable” with this hardball political tactic, but success has evidently allayed any guilt. After his opponents were disqualified, Obama won a seat in the state legislature by default.

...

In 1996, Obama’s team of political operatives succeeded in bypassing an entire election. President Obama now seeks to end elections in every workplace in the country. He has already issued a series of executive orders designed to pressure government contractors to submit to compulsory unionism. Next up on the administration’s checklist: rolling back basic union financial-disclosure guidelines. Forced unionism via card check may not be far behind.

Under card check, employees would have only one choice: submit to unionization and forced union dues. As some Chicago voters discovered in 1996, having only one choice is not a real choice at all.

 

The National Right to Work Committee also capitalized on the Labor Day holiday to spread the message of individual liberty.  Committee Vice President Doug Stafford appeared on the Lars Larson Show on the lead up to Labor Day.  Stafford also sat down with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to talk of the dangers of card check forced unionism and Big Labor's political muscle.

The effort for workplace freedom continues.  National Right to Work will continue to expose the evils of compulsory unionism as we work toward a day in which no American if forced to be a member of, or pay tribute to, an unwanted union.

News Release

Employees File Federal Class Action Suit to Halt Abusive Mandatory Union Dues Scheme

Right to Work Foundation helps employees challenge national union’s illegal “annual objection” policy

Aberdeen, Maryland (September 21, 2009) – Today, two employees filed a class action federal suit challenging the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union’s nationwide policy requiring employees to object year after year to paying union dues they cannot be lawfully forced to pay.

With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, Jacobs Technology Incorporated employees Rick Gorham and Robert Negosta are challenging the IAM union officials’ scheme intended to thwart non-union members’ legal rights to refrain from paying union dues for union electioneering and other non-bargaining activities. Foundation attorneys filed the complaint in Maryland’s U.S. District Court on behalf of the two employees and all of Jacobs Technology’s other similarly-situated employees.

In the Foundation-won Communication Workers of America v. Beck (1988), the U.S. Supreme Court held that union officials can lawfully compel nonmembers to pay union dues as a job condition, but not the part of dues spent for non-bargaining activities like political activism, lobbying, and member-only events. However, these limited rights have been difficult to enforce, as union officials often concoct illegal schemes such as these “annual objection” policies to burden or thwart employees from exercising their rights.

While the IAM union hierarchy’s annual objection policy should not apply to employees who have refrained from IAM union membership, IAM union officials still illegally require nonmember employees nationwide to file formal objections every year. Additionally, IAM union bosses regularly change the dates for the annual thirty-day window period ostensibly to create additional confusion.

Foundation attorneys won a similar case challenging the IAM’s annual objection policy under the Railway Labor Act in a U.S. District Court in Virginia. The court forced the union to abandon the policy, but the union lawyers are trying to keep the policy in force in all workplaces not governed by that statute. Foundation attorneys are now challenging the policy that applies to employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

“These workers are taking a courageous stand against funding the Machinist union bosses’ radical political agenda and fat-cat lifestyles,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “No worker should be compelled to hand over their hard earned dollars so that IAM union bosses can play politics or take vacations with the union’s $2 million private jet.”

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

Employees File Federal Class Action Suit to Halt Abusive Mandatory Union Dues Scheme

News Release

Employees File Federal Class Action Suit to Halt Abusive Mandatory Union Dues Scheme

Right to Work Foundation helps employees challenge national union’s illegal “annual objection” policy

Aberdeen, MD (September 21, 2009) – Today, two employees filed a class action federal suit challenging the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union’s nationwide policy requiring employees to object year after year to paying union dues they cannot be lawfully forced to pay.

With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Foundation, Jacobs Technology Incorporated employees Rick Gorham and Robert Negosta are challenging the IAM union officials’ scheme intended to thwart non-union members’ legal rights to refrain from paying union dues for union electioneering and other non-bargaining activities. Foundation attorneys filed the complaint in Maryland’s U.S. District Court on behalf of the two employees and all of Jacobs Technology’s other similarly-situated employees.

In the Foundation-won Communication Workers of America v. Beck (1988), the U.S. Supreme Court held that union officials can lawfully compel nonmembers to pay union dues as a job condition, but not the part of dues spent for non-bargaining activities like political activism, lobbying, and member-only events. However, these limited rights have been difficult to enforce, as union officials often concoct illegal schemes such as these “annual objection” policies to burden or thwart employees from exercising their rights.

(Continue reading this news release...)

Fact Sheet: States with High Rate of Union Monopoly Bargaining Suffering a Horrific "Lost Decade"

Last week, the pro-worker think tank National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR) released a Fact Sheet entitled “Negative Employment Growth Since November 2001” that details how highly-unionized states are suffering a "lost decade" in terms of private-sector job growth, while the least-unionized states have benefited from a nearly 1.5 million private-sector job growth:

As of 2001, the year of the last national recession prior to the current one, 9.7% of private-sector employees nationwide were under “exclusive” union representation. But in 16 states – Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania,. Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin – 11.0% or more of private-sector workers were unionized.

From November 2001, the trough of the last recession, through June 2009, the most recent month for which non-preliminary, state-by-state payroll jobs data are available at this writing, these 16 heavily unionized states suffered an aggregate private-sector job loss of 990,000 – or 2.2% of their November 2001 total. Ten of the 16 states, or nearly two-thirds, had fewer private-sector jobs in June 2009 than they had had nearly eight years earlier.

...

The overall job losses in states with average private-sector unionization were far smaller than in heavily unionized states, and the 16 states which had private-sector unionization of 6.0% or less in 2001 actually gained jobs.

These low union-density states are: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Virginia. They gained an aggregate of nearly 1.5 million private-sector jobs from November 2001 through June 2009. That constitutes a 4.5% increase.

Even with recent setbacks taken into account, fifteen of the 16, or 94%, of the lowest union-density states have experienced net job gains since November 2001.

Putting aside the inherent abuse of workers' rights, the data clearly indicates that job growth is negatively impacted by Big Labor's government-granted monopoly bargaining special privileges.  Yet NILRR's findings should come to no surprise to regular Freedom@Work readers, as we reported recently:

NILRR recently found an especially strong correlation between a state’s Right to Work status and its job growth, while employees in Right to Work states are benefiting from faster job growth and higher real purchasing power than their compulsory unionism counterparts.

History clearly demonstrates how union monopolists have hindered the creation of new jobs with costly operating procedures and wasteful work rules, especially during times of financial hardship.  Meanwhile, union bosses use their monopoly bargaining and other special forced-dues privileges to fill their political coffers while proliferating Big Government-mandated regulations on job providers and higher taxes on employers and employees alike. 

Obama Administration Ethics Coverup? Right to Work Foundation Responds to Labor Department Stonewalling

After President Barack Obama made numerous promises for a more transparent government, the Department of Labor (DOL) has, for nearly six months, hidden Big Labor insiders Hilda Solis and Deborah Greenfield activities from National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Witnessing the Administration's corrupt Big Labor political paybacks, the Foundation swiftly sprang into action requesting all documents showing exchanges between Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and union bosses and all documentation regarding policy enforcement concerning Big Labor, the pro-compulsory unionism group American Rights at Work, and ACORN.  The Foundation also seeks all documents showing communications between AFL-CIO union lawyer Deborah Greenfield and her former bosses.

Greenfield, a member of Obama's presidential transition team, is a high-ranking official inside Obama’s Labor Department. One item sending red flags is the fact that Greenfield is an AFL-CIO lawyer in a lawsuit challenging DOL union disclosure rules -- the very disclosures that the Obama Administration intends to end.  Greenfield and her fellow union partisans have fought for and succeeded in rolling back union disclosure rules that provide details to rank-and-file workers about the use and misuse of their forced union dues.

Freedom@Work readers may remember that the Foundation filed its disclosure demand (pdf) in April.  Foundation attorneys are now reiterating that demand and gearing up to litigate if necessary.  (To view a pdf copy of the appeal, click here.)

Upon entering office, President Barack Obama claimed his Administration would be transparent -- but his Administration's behavior has failed to keep the President’s word.  The Obama Administration's delay in this particular raises questions that DOL may be attempting to cover up some embarrassing ethics violations.

You can watch the Foundation's video regarding the original FOIA request here on our Youtube.com channel.

Sickening Blagojevich Legacy Ready to Metastasize to Rest of Country

The alarming trend of politicians forcing workers into union ranks continues in Illinois as Governor Pat Quinn -- in order to win Big Labor's political support -- is resurrecting the sordid legacy of disgraced Governor Rod Blagojevich (and Gray Davis of California) subverting workers' rights to benefit forced dues-hungry union bosses.

Quinn recently signed an executive order arbitrarily reclassifying state-reimbursed in-home health-care providers as state employees -- thereby opening them up to forced unionism under state law.  Service Employee International Union (SEIU) and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union organizers, armed by the state with the addresses of Illinois's nearly 3,500 in-home health-care providers, are competing to corral home health-care providers into compulsory union membership by going door-to-door to solicit support for their respective unions.

Pam Harris, a mother who stays home to take care of her son with special needs, was visited by two aggressive out-of-state SEIU organizers at her front door.  Understandably, Ms. Harris is worried that the Detroit-style labor relations that destroyed America's auto industry could also destroy her right to care for her son as she wants. (To say nothing of the union dues she will be forced to pay for the "privilege.")


Because she does not live in a state with Right to Work protections, if SEIU union bosses are successful in corralling all home health-care providers into forced dues membership, Ms. Harris will be forced to pay tribute to union bosses just to continue to take care of her own son -- even if she refrains from formal union membership.

However, as many Freedom@Work readers may already be aware, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Just last month, National Right to Work President Mark Mix reiterated in the Wall Street Journal NRTW's previous warnings that union bosses are working to unionize the health-care industry and that under Obamacare, the very thing that is happening in Illinois will happen nationwide:

Following [the Davis/Blagojevich] playbook, pending government-run health care bills create a "personal care attendants workforce advisory panel" that will likely impose union affiliation on hundreds of thousands of folks like Ms. Harris to qualify for a newly created "community living assistance services and support (CLASS)" reimbursement plan.

Ms. Sebelius will be taking her marching orders from the numerous union officials who are guaranteed seats on the various federal panels (such as the personal care panel mentioned above) charged with recommending health-care policies. Big Labor will play a central role in directing federal health-care policy...

 

NRTW In the News: Forced Unionism Radical Craig Becker Dangerous to Workers' Rights

Today, President Barack Obama's nomination of pro-compulsory unionism radical Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is scheduled to be taken up in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

National Right to Work President Mark Mix warns in today's Washington Times of the grave dangers Becker's possible confirmation will pose to workers' rights:

When the union bosses have the NLRB in their fold, workers who try to exercise their legal rights to dismiss unwanted union monopoly bargaining agents - or even to stop their forced dues from being used to elect handpicked Big Labor candidates - are denied even the most basic protections.

That's why, especially considering Mr. Becker's record, it's not a stretch to believe that - should he be confirmed by the U.S. Senate - Mr. Becker wouldn't think twice about rubber-stamping even the most abusive forced unionism schemes cooked up by union militants.

In fact, as a former AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) lawyer, Mr. Becker is solely responsible for forcing tens of thousands of workers under union boss control.

In one case, reports from a Los Angeles SEIU local union revealed that almost 63,000 people rejected membership in the union in 2007, but thanks to Mr. Becker, were still forced to pay dues.

And Mr. Becker's own words explain why. He was even so bold as to say unions were "formed to escape the evils of individualism and individual competition ... their actions necessarily involve coercion."

With that kind of anything-goes attitude, it's no surprise Mr. Becker supports "home visits," in which union militants repeatedly harass workers at home until they sign union-authorization cards, and even advocates letting Mr. Obama's handpicked arbiters impose contracts on workers, without even allowing the workers to vote on their own contract.

In fact, Mr. Becker is so extreme he actually believes the only choice workers should have is which union they should be forced to join and pay dues to!

In Mr. Becker's view, if an independent worker refuses to pick, he and the rest of Big Labor's lackeys on the NLRB should be able to choose a union for that worker. This kind of Big Labor kowtowing is not only outrageous, but it's also dangerous.

To read all of Mark Mix's op-ed in the Washington Times click here.


Terms of Web Site Use      Related Links: National Right to Work Committee | National Institute for Labor Relations Research

Copyright © 2010 National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation
 National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation, Inc.
8001 Braddock Road / Springfield, Virginia 22160
(703) 321-8510 | (800) 336-3600 / (703) 321-9613 fax - general (703) 321-9319 fax - legal department