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Empower Workers, Not Union Bosses

Today, Committee Democrats held a subcommittee hearing claiming that federal labor law must be reformed to protect workers’ right to join a union. Federal law unequivocally protects workers’ right to organize, and Republicans and Democrats respect this right. Nevertheless, organized labor has pushed for changes to federal labor laws that would give union bosses even more power than they already have today.

“There’s no question that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) are in need of targeted reforms. However, the answer should not be to alter these laws in a way that tilts the balance of power toward special interests at the expense of the hardworking men and women who drive our economy,” Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), Republican Leader of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, said in his opening statement.

Each year, unions collect as much as $14 billion from unionized workers in the form of dues, fees, and assessments. Union bosses are under little obligation to disclose to members what their dues are being spent on, leading to increasing worker disillusionment as many unions have become unresponsive to members’ needs.

Since 1983, union membership has fallen from over 20 percent to just 10.5 percent in 2018, and less than 7 percent in the private sector. Of the workers that are still represented by unions today, almost none have ever voted for the union that represents them.

Mr. Glenn Taubman, a legal expert and workers’ rights advocate from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, explained to members of the subcommittee that in certain states, employees in unionized workplaces are forced to pay union dues, even if they don’t want to be a union member and wish to represent themselves in the workplace.

“Union officials fought tooth and nail for the abusive power to force their so-called ‘representation’ on all workers. By exercising this monopoly power, they forbid individual workers from representing themselves. Then, rubbing salt in the wound, these same union officials turn around and falsely complain that since they’ve forced those workers to accept their representation, they should also be able to force those workers to pay for it. This is like being kidnapped by a cab driver, driven all over town against your will, and then being forced to pay the driver an exorbitant fare for the ‘services’ he allegedly rendered,” Taubman said.

“Workers deserve the right to make free and informed decisions about joining a union, and reforms to the NLRA and LMRDA should put workers, not union leaders, first. That is why Republicans have introduced numerous pieces of legislation in recent years that would protect and expand workers’ rights within their union and increase financial transparency, so workers can see with greater detail how unions are spending the dues taken from workers’ hard-earned paychecks,” Republican Leader Walberg said.

As the economy continues to flourish thanks to Republican-led pro-growth policies, Committee Republicans will keep working to expand access to opportunities that better the lives of union and non-union workers alike.
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