Mike Needham

It is good policy and the economic effects of incentivizing successful employees are well documented. Performance-based pay allows the average worker’s earnings to rise by 6-10%. Hard working employees will be rewarded, while the ones that slack off will not. At companies that were allowed to provide performance pay, the typical union member received bonuses and merit-based pay increases worth $2,600 to $4,300 each year.

In an era of stagnant wages and enormous economic uncertainty, the RAISE Act seems like something politicians of all stripes could support. Unfortunately, lawmakers who are beholden to Big Labor are in no hurry to embrace the concept which the unions would characterize as “union-busting.”

As The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk points out, “Unions were originally established to protect workers from making too little money, not too much. The RAISE Act would still allow union contracts to set the minimum that workers can earn.”

The RAISE Act would not undermine the original purpose of unions, nor would it allow employers from unfairly rewarding non-union workers with raises just to punish union workers. It is not union busting, it simply allows exceptional employees to be compensated as such.

Union members, the media and Members of Congress should ask union officials why they oppose eliminating the wage ceiling. Will the officials admit their objective is to empower the unions, as opposed to empowering individual workers? Probably not, but that is the real consequence of their actions.

The union-above-worker dynamic is front-and-center in the NLRB’s assault on Boeing, which built a plant in South Carolina to ramp up production of its 787 Dreamliner. However, the NLRB thought the plant should have been built in Washington. The NLRB’s legal campaign it putting 1,800 jobs in South Carolina in limbo because they are not union jobs. That’s not looking out for workers, it is looking out for unions.

Conservatives need to make it about the workers. Introducing and passing the RAISE Act is a good place to start.


Mike Needham

Mike Needham is the Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action for America, a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to advancing legislation that promotes freedom, opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.