Is The NLRB Trying To Undermine Right-To-Work Laws?
Federal labor board officials attracted mix reviews Wednesday by issuing a request for legal briefs on state right-to-work laws.
The policy, which has passed in 25 states, outlaws mandatory union membership or dues as a condition of employment. The call for legal briefs from policy experts by the National Labor Relations Board looks to examine whether unions should have the ability to extract dues payments from nonmembers.
Such a decision could potentially reverse nearly 60 years of established laws under the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act which has allowed states to decide whether or not they want to be right-to-work. Opponents of the policy often argue it is unfair to unions because they are still required to represent workers, even if the workers are not obligated to join or pay.
“The problem with the Board’s rule is that it allows workers, in right-to-work states, to demand individual representation from the union (for example in grievance proceedings) while refusing to pay anything for that representation,” Harvard Law Professor Benjamin Sachs wrote for On Labor. “There is no seeming rationale for this inequity, and nothing in the federal labor law nor in state right-to-work laws requires it.”
Though the argument is popular among union supporters, others have argued the claims are very misleading and in fact, unions are not required under the Nation Labor Relations Act to represent nonmembers. Though they are required to do so if they choose to be the Exclusive Representative for a company, they may also choose to be a Member Only union which only requires it to represent its workers.
“Federal law does not require a union to act as an Exclusive Representative,” James Sherk, a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, has previously argued. “The choice of whether to be an Exclusive Representative or Member Only remains with the union.”
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, was particularly concerned with the NLRB move. Mix fears this most recent action signals the agency plans to undermine the law in states that have it. Mix and other critics have previously accused the NLRB of being biased in favor of unions which have for the most part opposed right-to-work policies.
“As right-to-work expands across the country, it is unfortunately not surprising that the Obama NLRB is now actively working to undermine the 25 state Right to Work laws,” Mix declared in the video.
“The fact is that union officials choose monopoly bargaining control over all workers in a workplace, even though they are free to instead negotiate a members-only contract,” Mix went onto say. “And union officials continue to do so because they enjoy and often depend on the power derived from that monopoly.”
“Right-to-work laws should continue to protect workers from being forced to subsidize that unwanted union boss monopoly representation, including through the union-imposed grievance process,” Mix concluded.
Nevertheless, Americans for the most part approve of right-to-work laws. According to Gallup, union approval is at 53 percent while right-to-work is at 71 percent.
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