Fred Wszolek

Even as union enrollment has plummeted to its lowest level in history, American labor bosses have reason for optimism: the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In the pantheon of big government patrons, this largely-unchecked federal agency tops the list having jolted otherwise-stalled union membership rolls through the Specialty Healthcare decision creating micro-unions.

It was no mere coincidence the NLRB’s decision came at the height of labor's crisis of obsolescence. Progressives cheered the cause, and now they’ve found yet another, feigning labor’s decline as one born of a war on workers.

Leo Hindery, Jr., a telecommunications executive-cum-think-tanker, offered last week in Politico a truly confusing proposition. Reflecting on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights,” which the former president unveiled at his last State of the Union address, Hindery suggested an addition: “workers’ right to freely join a union.”

In the self-determination of workplace organizing, it would seem, the interests of labor opponents and supporters have dovetailed. If only.

Hindery made no attempt, even feeble, to demonstrate that such a right already exists, of course. “But since the ’60s, when up to 35 percent of private-sector workers were unionized, the U.S. labor movement has declined significantly,” he wrote. “Today, only about 7 percent is are [sic] unionized.”

The agent of labor’s spiral isn’t management or even disagreeable lawmakers. Quite simply, it’s would-be members freely rejecting their offer.

In spite of Big Labor, the “right to freely join a union” exists – though for far too many, enrollment is a forced proposition. Nearly half of U.S. states have codified the right of workers to “freely” join a union, but the dynamic is one Hindery won’t explain.

Implicit in the freedom to associate is the freedom to refrain from doing so. Yet for a majority of workers here in America, the choice to join a union is one the government made for them.

In those 23 states where self-determination has been enshrined, workers have drifted from labor unions for obvious reasons, political and pocketbook objections chief among them.

Union bosses now do little more for their membership than extract compulsory dues to fund political operations. The unfiltered political leanings of union bosses often wildly diverge from those of dues-paying members.

But while labor has lost the confidence of American workers, they still have friends in high places – the highest of places – working diligently to keep them a relevant force.

Look no further than the most recent intercession by Big Labor’s patron agency, the NLRB, in the unprecedented green lighting of micro-unions. The agency’s new rule provides for the formation of multiple unions within a single business, ratcheting up the costs on small business owners already struggling to keep up with burdensome regulations.

It was one of the most brazen breaches of labor laws in the last half-century. And yet, somehow, union flacks like Hindrey would have you believe that unions are being unfairly edged out. Such hypocrisies are simply par the course for Big Labor, though.

Until such a time as labor organizers and their allies stop conflating the freedom to organize with forced unionization, labor unions and their leaders will never address the fundamental issue driving their decline. Workers don’t trust them.


Fred Wszolek

Fred Wszolek is a spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).