Organized labor suffered its first major legislative setback due to the 2016 elections on Saturday, when Kentucky Republicans gave final approval to right-to-work legislation and repealed the state’s prevailing wage law. Both bills are expected to be signed into law by the governor, and will take effect immediately.
Labor leaders were equally troubled by the legislature’s move to gut the state’s prevailing wage law. Such laws require that employers pay certain minimum wages on work funded by public money. Backers of the laws say they help make sure companies accepting taxpayer dollars don’t drive down wages and working conditions. Opponents argue they inflate the cost of public works projects.
The repeal means prevailing wages will no longer apply to construction workers building schools and government buildings.
Charlie Essex, the financial secretary for Local 369 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Louisville, called the measure “an attack on union people.” He estimated that the prevailing wage law applied to more than 30 percent of union construction work in Kentucky.
Backed by business lobbies, Republican lawmakers around the country have been aggressive in pushing right-to-work bills and prevailing wage repeals in recent years. When Democrats lose control of a statehouse chamber or the governor’s mansion, they are often powerless to stop them.
Long confined to the South and West, right-to-work proponents have recently made inroads elsewhere in the country, including even the industrial Midwest. Since 2012, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia have all gone right-to-work. Kentucky will be the 27th such state, making it more the norm than the exception around the country.
Crux of the Matter
Congratulations to Kentucky. The state will now be able to avoid overpaying for schools and paving roads.
Prevailing wage laws guarantee overpaying.
Unions’ Misguided Sense of “Fair”
Under U.S. labor law, a union must represent all employees in a unionized workplace, even those who may not want representation.
Unions argue it’s only fair that all workers share the costs of bargaining and maintaining the union contract.
There is nothing fair at all about forcing someone to join an organization against their free will. In fact, it’s compelled servitude to do so.
Even FDR Understood the Problem
Public unions get into bed with management and politicians and work out sweet deals for themselves at taxpayer expense. No one looks out for the taxpayer. Even FDR understood the problem.
Message from FDR
Inquiring minds are reading snips from a Letter from FDR Regarding Collective Bargaining of Public Unions written August 16, 1937.
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.
The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.
Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.
A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.
Here are a couple of YouTube videos to consider, showing typical public union thug tactics.
SEIU Spokesperson Threatening California Lawmakers with Union Retaliation
National Legislation Needed
Hopefully Trump will revise or completely toss the National Labor Relations board out the window.
National legislation is the only hope for dysfunctional states like Illinois.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock