Chapter 95, Article 10, of the North Carolina General Statues harbors one of the most powerful sentiments that has maintained its prominence in the Tar Heel State for almost 75 years: “The right to live includes the right to work.” On March 18, 1947, North Carolina’s right-to-work law was ratified, and since then, the freedom of workers to decide whether to join, pay dues to, and be represented by a labor union has been protected. It should be kept that way.
Considering that we’re about to celebrate our own right-to-work anniversary and that North Carolina’s workers have overwhelmingly chosen not to support unions, it’s rather puzzling that Vice President Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh are coming to North Carolina this week to parrot the talking points of union bosses. Do they not know how to read the room, or did they make a wrong turn somewhere along I-95? One could argue both.
Let’s not forget that the administration’s touting of “good-paying, union jobs” comes as Democrats in Congress are pushing legislation to change the rules so that unions, but not workers, can flourish. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would overturn right-to-work laws across the country – including North Carolina. But what’s particularly interesting about the Democrats’ thirst for more Big Labor control is that they’re claiming it’s part of strengthening and protecting America’s workforce – per their own party platform. The only thing union coercion does is strengthen and protect the bottom lines of union bosses.
The PRO Act deserves much more than a passing glance; it must be exposed for the political hack job it really is. Aside from overturning right-to-work laws, it undermines workers’ ability to vote on whether to join a union by secret ballot, exposing employees to union pressure and harassment. To make matters worse, the PRO Act requires employers to hand over workers’ private, personal information to union organizers, including home addresses, cellphone and landline numbers, personal email addresses, and more—without the consent of workers.
Not surprisingly, while the PRO Act would seize all this information, the Department of Labor recently issued a final rule in late December that eliminated a Trump-era reporting requirement that added transparency to labor organization finances and union boss spending. Seems contradictory, no?
If that doesn’t turn your stomach, the PRO Act also assesses new penalties of up to $100,000 on small businesses for unfair labor practices, potentially shuttering thousands of small businesses that are already struggling to stay afloat. In fact, Republicans on the Education and Labor Committee developed a full analysis of this abysmal legislation, so that everyone can see how damning it is.
Democrats continue to operate off the claim that unions are what built the middle class here in America. No, they did not. Hardworking entrepreneurs and individual workers are the ones who helped build the middle class. Those same people helped build the middle class here in North Carolina. We would all do well to remember that.
But what’s looming on the horizon that has Democrats so adamant about touting their union-led schemes now? November. November is what’s looming on the horizon. With 31 current incumbent Democrats not choosing to seek reelection, this administration is trying to save face and prevent the inevitable red wave. North Carolinians are not interested in hearing about union jobs because they know the real price tag that comes with them: crushing coercion and limiting freedom.
This is exactly why we should tell the union bosses to take a hike.
U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx represents North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and is Republican Leader of the House Committee on Education and Labor.