Tag Archives: Right to Work

In California, even non-members of labor unions pay to advance secular left causes

Most people know that public sector unions are among the largest donors of the secular left. But most people don’t know that Christians and conservatives are often forced to join unions in order to work in a particular job, and that some of their salary is automatically taken to push causes favored by the secular left.

Here is an article from the Daily Signal:

A large California teachers union and its national affiliate are forcing nonunion teachers to pay for political activism, according to a disclosure form acquired by The Daily Signal.

Under a category called “human rights,” both the National Education Association and the California Teachers Association require nonunion teachers to finance LGBT leadership training and other political goals that may run counter to the teachers’ convictions, The Daily Signal’s analysis of the disclosure form shows.

The form shows that unions charged $1.1 million in “human rights” costs to nonunion teachers as well as members in 2013-14, while identifying another $1.2 million in the same category as not chargeable to those who weren’t members.

A separate page lists $20,228 in chargeable costs for “Women and LGBT Issues” as a line item under the category  of human rights. The same page includes a line item on “unconscious bias training” for which nonmembers must cover $5,436.

The teachers unions also spend a pretty penny on annual conferences described as focused on education, some of which appear designed instead to further political causes.

For the 2013-14 school year, the teachers unions charged nonmembers as well as members a total of $49,739 for an “Equity Human Rights Conference,” nearly twice as much as the $25,622 deemed not chargeable to nonmembers, the disclosure form shows.

The unions charged nonmembers as well as members a total of $17,108 for an “LGBT Conference,” referring to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement, with a lower amount, $11,358, that wasn’t charged to nonmembers.

The only way out of paying for secular left causes seems to be passing right-to-work laws, but those are strongly opposed by the Democrat Party. Why would the Democrats be in favor of forcing people to pay unions money and not letting them opt out?

Most unions donate almost exclusively to Democrats

This Wall Street Journal article explains that unions donate mostly to Democrats.

Excerpt:

Corporations and their employees… tend to spread their donations fairly evenly between the two major parties, unlike unions, which overwhelmingly assist Democrats. In 2008, Democrats received 55% of the $2 billion contributed by corporate PACs and company employees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Labor unions were responsible for $75 million in political donations, with 92% going to Democrats.

So how much money are we talking about?

Total political contributions in 2014 election cycle
Total political contributions in 2014 election cycle (click for larger image)

To see how much unions control government, take a look at this story from National Review, written by economist Veronique to Rugy.

It says:

  • The top campaign donor of the last 25 years is ActBlue, an online political-action committee dedicated to raising funds for Democrats. ActBlue’s political contributions, which total close to $100 million, are even more impressive when one realizes that it was only launched in 2004. That’s $100 million in ten years.
  • Fourteen labor unions were among the top 25 political campaign contributors.
  • Three public-sector unions were among the 14 labor groups: the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; the National Education Association; and the American Federation of Teachers. Their combined contributions amount to $150 million, or 15 percent of the top 25’s approximately $1 billion in donations since 1989.
  • Public- and private-sector unions contributed 55.6 percent — $552 million — of the top 25’s contributions.

Where does the money go? The Daily Caller notes:

“Nearly all of labor’s 2012 donations to candidates and parties – 90 percent – went to Democrats,” the report from CRP concluded. “Public sector unions, which include employees at all levels of government, donated $14.7 million to Democrats in 2014.”

Although unions helped a great deal in the past to protect workers from unfair practices, their primary function now seems to be to confiscate money from their members to give to themselves and to Democrats. When we make the collection of union dues optional, then unions will have to be more responsive to their members, and less responsive to their Democrat allies.

Ohio union employees paid twice the average salary of Ohio teachers

Ohio union officials make much more than Ohio teachers
Ohio union officials make much more than Ohio teachers

Striking story from the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

Ohio’s largest labor union is in the business of selling worker “solidarity,” and for union bosses, business is good.

Ohio Education Association president Becky Higgins was paid $209,039 to preside over a union that took member dues and mandatory fees from 121,625 teachers during the fiscal year ending Aug. 31.

Regular OEA dues for full-time teachers are $504—$42 a month—in addition to local OEA chapter dues and $183 in National Education Association dues sent to NEA’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Union staff and officers working for OEA’s Columbus headquarters were paid an average of $109,789 with money taken from teachers’ paychecks; Ohio teachers were paid an average of $55,916 during the 2013-14 school year, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

For some reason, Ohio, under liberal governor John Kasich, has not yet followed other midwestern states and enacted a right to work law. Right to work laws allow teachers to work without being forced to pay dues to labor unions.  Although Ohio doesn’t have a right to work law yet, one is being drafted now. Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and other states all have right to work laws already. Kentucky and West Virginia have laws in the works.

Right to work laws 2015
Right to work laws 2015

Why should Christians and conservatives care about all the money that is taken from the paychecks of teachers for their unions?

Most unions donate almost exclusively to Democrats

This Wall Street Journal article explains that unions donate mostly to Democrats.

Excerpt:

Corporations and their employees… tend to spread their donations fairly evenly between the two major parties, unlike unions, which overwhelmingly assist Democrats. In 2008, Democrats received 55% of the $2 billion contributed by corporate PACs and company employees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Labor unions were responsible for $75 million in political donations, with 92% going to Democrats.

So how much money are we talking about?

Total political contributions in 2014 election cycle
Total political contributions in 2014 election cycle (click for larger image)

To see how much unions control government, take a look at this story from National Review, written by economist Veronique to Rugy.

It says:

  • The top campaign donor of the last 25 years is ActBlue, an online political-action committee dedicated to raising funds for Democrats. ActBlue’s political contributions, which total close to $100 million, are even more impressive when one realizes that it was only launched in 2004. That’s $100 million in ten years.
  • Fourteen labor unions were among the top 25 political campaign contributors.
  • Three public-sector unions were among the 14 labor groups: the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; the National Education Association; and the American Federation of Teachers. Their combined contributions amount to $150 million, or 15 percent of the top 25’s approximately $1 billion in donations since 1989.
  • Public- and private-sector unions contributed 55.6 percent — $552 million — of the top 25’s contributions.

Where does the money go? The Daily Caller notes:

“Nearly all of labor’s 2012 donations to candidates and parties – 90 percent – went to Democrats,” the report from CRP concluded. “Public sector unions, which include employees at all levels of government, donated $14.7 million to Democrats in 2014.”

Although unions helped a great deal in the past to protect workers from unfair practices, their primary function now seems to be to confiscate money from their members to give to themselves and to Democrats. When we make the collection of union dues optional, then unions will have to be more responsive to their members, and less responsive to their Democrat allies.

New study: right-to-work laws do not lower wages

Obama with some of his supporters from a labor union
Obama with some of his supporters from a labor union

I support right-to-work laws because I think people should be able to work without being forced to join a union and pay them union dues.

The study is discussed in the Washington Examiner.

Excerpt:

Labor union activists often push back against right-to-work laws with the quip, “Right-to-work for less.” Their claim that right-to-work lowers wages has made many state legislators hesitant to vote for the anti-union laws. But new research from the conservative Heritage Foundation counters the claim that right-to-work decreases wages.

Right-to-work laws prohibit an employer from forcing employees to join a union or pay union dues.

“When living costs are fully taken into account, private-sector workers in RTW states enjoy real wages equivalent to those in non-RTW states,” Heritage Research Fellow James Sherk writes in an issue brief published Tuesday. “Policymakers considering RTW legislation may do so confident that it will have no negative impact on private-sector wages.”

A surface-level analysis may make it seem as if right-to-work leads to lower wages. States with right-to-work laws do have lower wages than non-right-to-work states, but right-to-work states also have lower costs of living. Virginia is the only right-to-work state with a higher cost of living than the national average.

After adjusting for differences in costs of living, private sector wages in right-to-work states and non-right-to-work states are virtually equal, according to Sherk’s analysis.

Here’s the map of right-to-work states:

Right to work states as of March 2015
Right to work states (in red) as of March 2015

I don’t really mind unions if they stay out of politics. My problem is when they get into politics and line themselves up with Democrats on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. If the labor unions get involved in pushing for abortion and gay marriage, then it makes sense to pass these right to work laws. Every time a worker chooses not to join a union, it means that unions get less money to donate to Democrats at election time. Every little bit helps, and the workers can use the money better than any union executive can.

Scott Walker signs right-to-work: workers not forced to join a union in order to work

Scott Walker signs right-to-work law
Gov. Scott Walker signs right-to-work bill

He has a diary up at Red State, the grassroots conservative web site, where he explains why he did it.

He writes:

When I took office as governor of Wisconsin in 2011, I called together our new Republican majority in the legislature and told them it was time to “put up or shut up.” As the elected leaders of our state, we owed it to our fellow Wisconsinites to follow through with our promises and to tackle the big issues head on.

Our first order of business was reclaiming power for the people of our state. For too long, the big government union bosses had called the shots in our state capital.

At the time, Wisconsin faced a $3.6 billion budget shortfall. We needed to reduce spending, yet collective bargaining by public employees had limited the ability of taxpayers and local governments to control that spending. Taxpayers picked up the tab for all pension contributions and most health insurance contribution. The unions even had a virtual monopoly on schools’ health insurance business by having negotiated requirements to use a union-owned insurance company. Unions didn’t even have to collect their own dues—taxpayers footed the bill for that too.

To change all this, we enacted legislation that became known as Act 10.This is the bill that prompted all the protests in our capitol building and even in front of my personal home. But for all the attention, it was really pretty commonsense legislation.

With Act 10, we reformed the collective bargaining laws so that public employees now make modest contributions to their healthcare and pensions—much like private sector employees. Public employees can now decide for themselves whether to join a union. And while unions can still collectively bargain for wages, they can’t bargain over things like the size of bulletin boards or getting paid time off for union business.

Act 10 also allowed local governments and districts to pay employees based on merit and not just seniority. Teachers can get raises and promotions for a doing a good job—not just being there the longest. Taxpayers get a better deal because local governments can shop around for the most affordable employee insurance plans.

Because Act 10 freed up funds for school districts, fewer have had to lay off teachers. In fact, the three districts with the most teacher layoffs following Act 10 were ones that did not adopt the reforms.

In short, Act 10 ensured that the state government treated taxpayers fairly and spent tax dollars more effectively. While the D.C.-based special interests have attacked us for it, the people of Wisconsin like what they see. We have been re-elected three times in four years.

Now we are once again presented with another chance at big and bold reform—taking on the special interests a second time. Yesterday, the Wisconsin state Senate passed Freedom to Work legislation, which will mean no Wisconsin worker can be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. I will sign the bill into law.

I’ve supported Freedom to Work for years, dating back to my time in the state legislature when I co-sponsored it. And now the people of Wisconsin have voiced their support through their state Senators and representatives. According to polling, 69 percent of Wisconsinites support the policy, and a majority of union households—51 percent—also support the law.

Here’s why I’m signing Freedom to Work in Wisconsin: it is good for economic growth. In the last decade, forced unionization states have had about half the rate of wage growth, job growth and manufacturing growth as Right to Work states. Adjusted for cost of living, employees in forced unionization states have almost $2,000 less disposable income. Bottom line, this reform is pro-freedom and pro-work for Wisconsin.

Here’s the right-to-work map now:

Right to Work Map 2015
Right to Work Map 2015

Please see below to learn more about Scott Walker. If you look over the stories below, you can see how he took an incremental approach to getting the support for this law. First, reformed collective bargaining, to prevent unions signing deals with health care providers they own, etc. Second, cut off automatic deduction of union dues, to force unions to spend their own money to collect the dues, further limiting their ability to interfere in politics. Third, pass this right-to-work law, to allow conservative blue-collar mid-Westerners to work a job without having to shell out money to the unions. The law passed with a majority of union households supporting it. They want their take-home pay! Walker is sitting in a blue state that has gone for Democrats in every presidential election since 1984. He knows how to get conservative reforms passed – by chipping away at his opponents and building consensus.

Get caught up!

The Weekly Standard has an excellent re-cap on Walker’s accomplishments as governor. If you don’t know Walker’s history in Wisconsin, please read it!

One snippet:

Which is that Scott Walker is a very bad man. And not merely because he opposes the progressive agenda and would like to roll back its successes. Hell, all kinds of right wing pols want to do that.  Or say they do, anyway. You shake a Republican tree and half-a-dozen of them fall to the ground, talking about repealing this and defunding that. But Scott Walker is unusual, maybe even unique, and recalls the old joke about the graduate student out doing sociological research on religion in the rural South.  He comes upon an old son of the soil and after a bit of conversation to soften him up, says delicately, “I’m wondering, sir, since you are a religious man, if you believe in Baptism by immersion.”

The old fellow squints and spits and says. “Believe in it?  Hell, sonny, I seen it done.”

When it comes to rolling back the progressive agenda, you see, Walker has actually done it. That’s what the recall election was about. His enemies, many of whom still bear the tread marks of his tires on their backs, know that he is not another hapless Republican who makes it his business to raise taxes to pay for the excesses of the other party and calls that good government. Instead of enabling bloated government, he takes it on.

Walker’s appeal, one suspects, is based on a sense among the demoralized citizenry that government at all levels lives high, doesn’t deliver, and fears no man.

There is a reason that people like this guy. He talks moderate, and then mauls his opponents in horrible ways. I almost feel sorry for them, except not really. We have an $18.5 trillion dollar debt, and we need to have a grown-up at the helm in 2016.

Related posts

Right-to-work states gained jobs three times faster than forced union states

Gallup poll on right-to-work, August 2014
Gallup poll on right-to-work, August 2014

This is from economist Stephen Moore writing in Investors Business Daily.

He writes:

Wisconsin is poised this week to become the 25th “right-to-work state,” ending forced unionization and allowing individual workers to decide if they want to join a union or not.

The Wisconsin Senate just recently passed right-to-work, and our sources in Madison say that the House, which is controlled by Republicans, will enact a similar law in the days ahead.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a leading presidential candidate, is sure to sign the bill when it gets to his desk. “This isn’t anti-union,” insists Walker. “It restores worker rights and brings jobs back to Wisconsin.”

Some 3,000 liberal protesters stormed the Capitol in Madison over the weekend to reverse the momentum for the new law. This isn’t Walker’s first dust-up with union bosses. Four years ago, nearly 100,000 activists grabbed nationwide headlines when they protested his reforms in Wisconsin’s collective bargaining process with public employee unions.

If the new law passes, Wisconsin would join two other blue-collar, industrial Midwestern states — Michigan and Indiana — to recently adopt right-to-work. “If you had told me five years ago that right-to-work would become law in Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, I wouldn’t have thought it was even remotely possible,” says economist Arthur Laffer.

Laffer and I have conducted substantial economic research showing three times the pace of jobs gains in right-to-work states than in the states with forced union rules that predominate in deep blue states such as California, New York and Illinois.

In the 2003-13 period, jobs were up by 8.6% in right-to-work states, and up only 3.7% in forced union states. Most of the southern states, with the exception of Kentucky, are right-to-work

Many auto jobs in recent decades have moved out of Michigan and Ohio and into states such as Texas, Alabama and South Carolina, due in part to right-to-work laws in Dixie.

But as union power recedes in the Midwestern states, many of the region’s governors see factory jobs returning to their backyards. “Right to work is already lowering unemployment in Indiana and causing a manufacturing revival here,” says Gov. Mike Pence.

Companies are more attracted to right-to-work states, and that means more jobs become available.

Here is Congressional testimony from James Sherk, senior policy analyst in labor economics at The Heritage Foundation. I really recommend bookmarking this article. Even though it is very long, it is up-to-date and comprehensive. I am linking to it because he responds to objections to right-to-work laws raised by unions.

Do right-to-work laws hurt the middle class?:

Union Strength and the Middle Class. Unions and their supporters frequently claim the opposite: that unions helped build the middle class and weaker unions hurt all workers—not just union members. To make this point they often juxtapose the decline of union membership since the late 1960s with the share of income going to the middle class. The Economic Policy Institute did exactly this when criticizing the possibility of RTW in Wisconsin. These comparisons suffer from two problems. First, the absolute standards of living for middle-class workers have risen substantially over the past generation. Inflation-adjusted market earnings rose by one-fifth for middle-class workers between 1979 and 2011. After-tax incomes rose at an even faster pace. Middle-class workers today enjoy substantially higher standards of living than their counterparts in the 1970s.

Secondly, these figures conflate correlation with causation. During the time period EPI examined union membership correlates well with their measure of middle-class income shares. Extending the graph back another two decades eliminates this correlation. U.S. union density surged in the late 1930s and during World War II. It peaked at about a third of the overall economy and private-sector workforce in the mid-1950s. During this time period America had few global competitors. From the mid-1950s onward global competition increased and U.S. union membership steadily declined. Between 1954 and 1970 union density dropped from 34.7 percent to 27.3 percent. Unions lost over a fifth of their support in just over a decade and a half.

During this period middle-class income and living standards grew rapidly. No one remembers the 1950s and 1960s as bad for the middle class, despite the substantial de-unionization that occurred. Over a longer historical period changes in U.S. union strength show little correlation with middle-class income shares. Liberal analysts come to their conclusion by looking only at the historical period in which the two trends align.

Do right-to-work states have lower wages?:

Unions Argue RTW Hurts Wages. In the same vein, unions argue that RTW laws lower wages. As the Wisconsin AFL-CIO recently claimed:

These anti-worker Right To Work laws just force all working families to work harder for lower pay and less benefits, whether they’re in a union or not. The average worker makes about $5,000 less and pensions are lower and less secure in Right to Work states.

This statement contains a degree of truth: average wages in right-to-work states are approximately that much lower than in non-RTW states. This happens because right-to-work states also have below-average costs of living (COL). Virtually the entire South has passed RTW, but no Northeastern states have passed an RTW law. The Northeast has higher COL and higher average wages; the South has lower living costs and lower wages.

[…]All but one right-to-work state has living costs at or below the national average. All ten of the states with the highest COL have compulsory union dues. Analyses that control for these COL differences have historically found that RTW has no deleterious effects on workers’ real purchasing power.

Recently the Economic Policy Institute has claimed that workers in RTW states make 3 percent less than workers without RTW protection, even after controlling for living costs. Heritage replicated this analysis and found that EPI made two major mistakes: it included improper control variables and did not account for measurement error in their COL variables. These mistakes drive their results. Correcting these mistakes shows that private-sector wages have no statistically detectable correlation with RTW laws. The supplement and the appendices to this testimony explain the technical details of this replication. Properly measured, RTW laws have no effect on wages in the private sector.

Although the history of unions shows that unions were a valuable and necessary check on the power of greedy corporations in times past, today unions are using the dues they collect from workers to elect Democrats. The vast majority of political contributions made by the big unions go to Democrats.

Here’s one example, using the Service Employees International Union numbers:

Service Employees International Union
Service Employees International Union

(Click for larger image)

So if you oppose what Democrat politicians are doing, it makes sense to free workers from being forced to pay union dues for causes that are against their values. The average rank-and-file member of a union does not share Democrat values on things like abortion and gay marriage, in my opinion. Why should they be forced to pay union dues that go to elect politicians who oppose their values?