Republican Rep. [crscore]Luke Messer[/crscore] denounced organized labor for not caring about its members Monday because unions focus so much energy on keeping bosses in power.
Messer argued the labor movement is no longer based on the ideals of democracy. He noted the people he represents in his district could replace him in office, but many union bosses aren’t held to the same level of accountability. Messer wrote in an opinion piece for the Washington Examiner that the shift from democracy occurred when unions stopped caring about their members.
“For a while, union representation led to better working conditions and higher wages for workers who, in many cases, were being exploited,” Messer wrote. “But, somehow in the last 100 years, that’s changed. The focus of unions has shifted from empowering hard-working Americans to keeping big labor bosses in power.”
Messer added some of the problems could be fixed if union elections were done differently. The Employee Rights Act (ERA), for instance, is one pending piece of legislation Messer says could help improve union elections. The pending measure would require unions to hold renewal votes and guarantee workers the right to a secret ballot election.
“Where unions provide value to their members and provide workers true choice, unions will continue to survive and thrive,” Messer noted. “But, where big labor bosses have usurped power from individual workers, this bill will help give those workers their power back. The ERA makes the unionization process democratic once again and puts individual workers back in charge of their workplace.”
The bill would also allow workers to choose whether they want a portion of their union dues going to political expenditures. Workers can pay a non-political fee, as opposed to full dues, but the process to opt-out is often burdensome. Unions argue the measure would undermine worker rights by hindering their ability to collectively bargain.
“This is yet another in a long line of systematic attacks on working-class and middle-class Americans at the local, state and federal levels,” American Federation of Government Employees President David Cox said Feb. 4. “The sole objective of these anti-labor actions is to make it as difficult as possible for working people to join unions and to diminish basic rights and protections that all employees deserve.”
Republicans have previously tried to enact the proposal, only to have it fail. The measure stalled in the Senate back in 2013 when Democrats held a majority. The measure would not outlaw a workplace from voting in favor of unionizing. Additionally, labor unions are known to target workers by publicly releasing scab lists of those opposed to unionizing.
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