While all eyes were on who would win the presidency on Election Day, something interesting and perhaps unexpected was happening down-ballot: union members were defying union leadership and voting for candidates and measures likely to increase employee freedom in the future.
Mackinac Center’s F. Vincent Vernuccio, Chantal Lovell and Jarrett Skorup wrote about the opportunity for pro-worker reform in a series of op-eds published by national news outlets following the election. In The Wall Street Journal,Vernuccio and Lovell explained that shifts in the party makeup of legislatures and executive branches could result in right-to-work legislation passing in Missouri, New Hampshire and Kentucky.
The fight is far from over, but the country is moving away from union dominance. Since 2012, four states have enacted right to work, and more may be on the way. Those who support workers’ freedom have reason for optimism—and vigilance.
Reform could spread beyond those states when the existing Supreme Court vacancy is filled, as the pair wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner.
With one seat on the Supreme Court already vacant and more expected to open up in the next few years as aging justices retire, President-elect Trump — already dubbed the "Nominator-in-Chief" — has great power to shape the future of public sector unionization. If Trump nominates one of the roughly two dozen people he pledged to consider to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, it's likely public employees nationwide would earn freedom from being forced to support politics they disagree with.
All this momentum suggests a widening rift between union members and leadership. In this election, members rejected the preferred candidates and positions of their unions, Vernuccio and Skorup detailed in The Washington Times.
Unfortunately union leadership, through their political giving, endorsements and support, have discounted members who disagree with them. Right-to-work can provide a remedy. If union leadership does not listen to their members, their membership can simply stop paying. Instead of going “all in” on one political party, union leaders should focus on what they are supposed to do in the first place: represent the interests of their members.
Read the full op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.
Read the full op-ed in the Washington Examiner.
Read the full op-ed in The Washington Times.
Read an article about labor reform and the election at Inside Sources.
Permission to reprint this blog post in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author (or authors) and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are properly cited.
Permission to reprint any comments below is granted only for those comments written by Mackinac Center policy staff.