Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), in an act that’s worthy of a 2012 U.S. presidential candidate (more on that in a moment), is standing up to the unions. On Tuesday, DeMint introduced the National Right to Work Act, to do away with forced unionism. He and seven other cosponsors seek to protect the free choice of individuals to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities. “No American should be forced to join a union and pay dues to get a job in this country,” says DeMint.
DeMint is joined by seven Republican senators, including freshman Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), James Risch (R-Idaho), freshman Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), and David Vitter (R-Louisiana), who are fighting the union blob created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a.k.a. the Wagner Act, in 1935.
FDR’s Wagner Act started the mess we’re in today with unions. The act allowed unions to require, as part of their collective bargaining contracts, that every employee pay union dues or be fired. FDR never intended for public employees to have such rights. He stated as much in his 1937 letter to Luther C. Steward, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees. Yet the hard legislative work was done with the stroke of a pen. In 1962, President Kennedy signed executive order 10988, allowing the unionization of the federal workforce. Wisconsin was the first state to allow collective bargaining by public employees in 1959.
Rewind back to 1947, when the Taft-Hartley Act was passed to amend the Wagner Act. Section 14b of the act, the right-to-work section, eliminates forced union dues as a condition of employment. The issue became a states’ rights question, and it was left up to the states to fight unions and deal with the difficult legislative work required to become a right-to-work state. This brings us to the 22 states today that are right-to-work states, but what about the other 28 where it’s legal to force workers to join a union as a condition of employment? Jim DeMint’s National Right to Work Act changes this.
With the stroke of a pen—or rather, an eraser—the National Right to Work Act will eliminate forced-union laws by removing language in the Wagner Act that gives union officials the power to extract dues from nonunion workers. It will eliminate the requirement that employees pay dues to unions as a condition of employment. Literally overnight, business conditions will improve for those living in noncompetitive, non-right-to-work states.
Jim DeMint is making a stand that any 2012 presidential hopeful should get behind. In addition, the act will require a very public vote that will flush out the progressive congressional Democrats for all of America to see. Weakness is not what the GOP needs right now. The 2010 midterm mandate demands that some tough votes be cast.
Isn’t it great to see senator Rand Paul getting right down to business as a freshman? What’s not to like about having Jim DeMint and Rand’s dad, congressman Ron Paul, on a DeMint/Paul presidential ticket? With one vote, you’ll take down the public union blob and the fat cats on Wall Street, and put an end to the Federal Reserve. This is what conservative Republican, Democrat, and independent Americans want.
Finally, you can’t tell me Mitch Daniels is up for the fight, especially in light of his recent caving on Indiana’s right-to-work law. This should have been a lay-up for him with the support of an all-Republican legislature. And don’t tell me about his 2005 collective bargaining victory. That was done through the peace and quiet of an easy-to-overturn executive order, not a down-in-the-trenches all-out legislative battle like that being won by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
Jim DeMint is prepared to put the pressure on in just the way that Americans are hoping for. He and a handful of leaders like him have the guts to make a stand. He gets it. Ron Paul gets it, and so do his son, Rand, and the other Right to Work Act cosponsors. Unfortunately none of them are mentioned as mainstream candidates for president. Yet, I might add. And the ones that are up for the 2012 presidential election aren’t up to the task.
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