Walker and Unions

Governor Scott Walker has some plans for unions, if he’s elected President. Walker says he would

eliminate the National Labor Relations Board, prohibit federal employee unions; institute right-to-work laws nationwide; and repeal the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which requires the payment of local prevailing wages to workers on federal construction projects, often boosting pay and project costs.

There’s much to like here. All of these boost competition and lower costs to American consumers, which in turn will be highly stimulative of our economy.

The only one I disagree with is the elimination of federal employee unions. Unions greatly simplify contract negotiations, and that can lower costs, even for a government employer. However. The right-to-work position applied to federal unions, and as Walker applied to Wisconsin government unions, is a good move. What Walker did in Wisconsin was to take away the unions’ privilege of collecting union dues from non-union members as a condition of working at all. He also took away the privilege of state government unions to direct a portion of member dues to political purposes unless the member agreed to the diversion. He also took away the privilege of state unions to strike. These all are worthy of application at the Federal level.

On his right-to-work proposal as a Federal law: it’s not a blanket right; Walker fully respects the 10th Amendment. Accordingly his proposal is structured to make right-to-work the baseline, but individual states can vote themselves as union shops if they wish.

Of course, if these proposals look like they’re taking off, we can expect very vociferous misbehavior by unions and their Democratic Party pets as they try to intimidate the proposals into defeat. It’s only necessary to review union and Democrats’ thuggery in Wisconsin as Walker worked his will there a few short years ago. Here, for instance. And here. And here.

Most of these are sound ideas, regardless of union fireworks and threats and actions, and they should be supported by whomever gets the Republican nomination for President, and they should be pressed for in Congress should that candidate be elected. That President, too, should go over Congress’ heads to their—and his—boss, us American citizens if Congress hesitates. That President should identify, clearly and by name, those Representatives and Senators who remain in union pockets.

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