Big Labor in recent years has fought hard to unionize workers in the South, largely unsuccessfully. Just last year the United Auto Workers lost an election at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant, and in 2017, Boeing workers in South Carolina rejected unionization. However, the labor union bosses have not given up. They are desperate to unionize workers in right-to-work states for political reasons and use the workers’ dues to fund the political campaigns of Democrats.
In fact, the next big labor campaign has already begun. On March 6 the National Nurses Organizing Committee - North Carolina/National Nurses United filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to represent registered nurses at Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina.
While some politicians, including Senator Bernie Sanders, and others are supporting the unionization of these nurses, what is not being discussed is just how radical this union really is.
The union unsurprisingly endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President in 2016, but National Nurses United actually jumped to endorse Sanders back in August of 2015. Top recipients in 2016 also included Representative Pramila Jayapal, a member of the far-left Democratic “squad.” None of the campaign donations in 2016 were given to Republicans, and none were given to North Carolina representatives.
In 2019, the union again was one of the first unions to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders. In fact, many unions have only recently started endorsing Democratic candidates for president.
The union also stated on its financial report to the federal government in 2019 that it spent over $1 million on political activities and lobbying for that year. Some of the bills it lobbied for include the “Medicare for All” legislation. This legislation would turn the best health care system in the world into a government-run health care system, imposing massive new taxes on workers and reducing care. The Heritage Foundation has found that workers would have to pay an additional 21.2% on all wage and salary income. This would increase the total federal payroll tax rate to 36.5% for most workers. Most households would, therefore, pay more in taxes than they would save from the health insurance premiums that they no longer pay.
Another radical piece of legislation that the union supported was the Protecting the Right to Organize Act or PRO Act. That bill forced employers to turn over the private contact information of their employees to labor unions. In addition, it would have adopted California’s ABC test on a national level. California’s ABC test has left many writers, Uber and Lyft drivers, and other gig economy workers unemployed. Further, the PRO Act would effectively eliminate state right-to-work laws.
A recent report shows once again that right-to-work states have more job growth that forced unionism states. In fact, the report states that right-to-work states have enjoyed an overall employment growth of 16.9% from 2009 – 2019, compared with a 9.6% job growth rate for forced unionism states. Right-to-work states also have higher cost of living-adjusted, after-tax mean income per household. In fact, in 2018, right-to-work states had a $57,416 income versus $52,922 income for forced unionism states.
In addition to the economic reasons, there are also a number of growing scandals in multiple unions, most particularly in the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, of corruption and sexual harassment. Recently, former UAW President Gary Jones was even charged for conspiring to divert over $1 million in worker dues for his personal use. There have already been 13 convictions in this case.
Instead of just being non-profit advocacy organizations for workers, unions today hold significant power with limited oversight and use their influence with worker dues to promote progressive, high-tax policies that hurt American workers.
Mission Hospital nurses should consider the decision to unionize very carefully.
Olivia Grady is Senior Fellow at the Center for Worker Freedom, a project of Americans for Tax Reform.