Roughly 90% of workers in America aren’t unionized, but if Joe Biden gets his way he’ll give preferential treatment to the unionized 10%.
Currently 27 states, and the territory of Guam, have right-to-work laws which prohibit workers from being forced to join a union. Kentucky became the latest right-to-work state in 2017. But the former vice president, who officially become the Democratic Party’s nominee for president last week, has pledged to repeal state laws that give workers a choice.
“The Biden Plan for Strengthening Worker Organizing, Collective Bargaining and Unions,” calls for eliminating the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which enables states to pass right-to-work laws. If Biden is elected and follows through on this pledge, millions of workers will be forced to join unions and pay dues to unions if they want to keep their job.
That’s not all.
Team Biden would also reshape the National Labor Relations Act into a criminal law by imposing “stiffer penalties on corporations” and holding “company executives personally liable when they interfere with organizing efforts, including criminally liable with their interference is intentional.”
Think about what this means.
Business leaders would instantly become the targets of potential criminal prosecution in the event of a union organizing drive. There are any number of gray areas of the federal labor law open to interpretation. But what manager is going to explain the down sides of unionization if they could face steep fines and even jail time? The whole point is to silence opposition.
Biden also embraces the Protecting Right to Organize Act (PRO) of 2019 that would preempt state labor laws to allow “ambush elections,” which condense the time frame between the filing of a petition for a union election and the date when an election in held. Ambush elections leave little room for informed debate, which is the point.
At every turn, these positions serve to undermine the rights of the individual worker. After all, in addition to more personal freedom, these workers make more than workers in non-right-to-work states when you adjust for the cost of living.
The giveaways and favors to union bosses from the career politician in Delaware does not end with labor issues. Biden’s “Plan to Build a Modern, Sustainable Infrastructure and an Equitable Clean Energy Future” is filled to the rim with proposals that would provide organized labor with preferential treatment. The plan claims by moving America toward a carbon free power sector by 2035, Biden would not only “meet the existential threat of climate change,” he would also create “millions of jobs with a choice to join a union.”
The PRO Act is cited here again as a top priority that would “make it easier for workers to organize a union and collectively bargain with their employers.”
Pennsylvania’s lack of right-to-work is arguably the single biggest reason why the commonwealth is ranked in the bottom of half of states in terms of economic outlook and performance in the latest report from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) evaluating “rich states” and “poor states.” If Joe Biden's proposals are implemented, every state will be stuck with the same union mandates that has made Pennsylvania less competitive than nearby states like West Virginia, Virginia, and Michigan that are right-to-work.
The Biden presidency would lead to more aggressive unionization efforts across the country and more union campaign donations flowing into the coffers of big government politicians. Here in Pennsylvania, unions remain the largest political contributor with more than $17 million in government union PAC contributions going to (mostly Democrat) state candidates in 2018.
It’s not difficult to understand the motivations standing behind Biden’s labor plans. But it is impossible to square the idea of worker choice and freedom with more giveaways for unions. American workers deserve an even playing field with opportunities for robust debate, not more powerful special interests.