By Ford Motor Co -, CC BY 2.0,

In early February congressional Democrats launched an effort to allow unions to implant themselves once again into the lives of workers – whether they’re wanted there or not. The PRO ACT, which the U.S. House of Representatives will soon consider and which, ironically enough, stands for “Protecting the Right to Organize,” would let big labor once again establish a stranglehold over the American economy.

For decades, since President Jimmy Carter’s epic mismanagement of the U.S. economy, the percentage of workers in the private sector belonging to unions has plummeted. The increased cost of membership along with diminishing satisfaction with what unions were able to do to protect the jobs of their members has led more and more of them to seek alternative arrangements. 

In some states, worker independence from big labor is made easier by the existence of laws prohibiting agreements between employers and labor unions concerning the extent to which an established union can require employees to be members or to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment either before or after they’re hired. 

This concept, known popularly as “right to work” has worked well since it was first introduced in the period just after the end of World War II. It’s now law in more than half the states and others are moving toward adopting it. If the PRO Act passes, right-to-work laws would be eliminated, meaning workers could be forced to join a union or pay fees equivalent to membership dues as a condition of getting or keeping their job.

To protect against this possibility, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has introduced the National Right to Work Act to preserve the options right-to-work laws make available to workers in states that have them and extend to workers in states that do not.  The key point, he says, is that workers, not the unions themselves, should make the relevant decisions regarding membership. 

“The National Right to Work Act ensures all American workers have the ability to choose to refrain from joining or paying dues to a union as a condition for employment,” Sen. Paul said. There are 27 states with right-to-work laws on the books, the Kentucky Republican said, adding “It’s time for the federal government to follow their lead.”

More than eight in ten workers believe preserving worker choice in such matters is a preeminent concern, according to a Gallup Poll, with more than seven in ten saying they would vote for a ballot measure protecting right-to-work.   

The survey data indicates workers already in unions would like to see their options expanded, likely to leverage efforts at reform. One survey conducted nearly a decade ago for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund found that 91 percent of private-sector union members believed there was too much secrecy in how their dues money was spent, 79 percent said union membership should be voluntary, and 63 percent said they would vote out their union leadership for spending dues money on political ads if it could be done by secret ballot to protect them from retribution. 

The Paul legislation would repeal six existing statutory provisions allowing private-sector workers and airline and railroad employees to be fired if they don’t pay dues or administrative fees to a union, putting bargaining power back, the senator said, in the hands of America’s workers. A companion bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Joe Wilson, R-S.C.

Peter Roff is a former U.S. News & World Report contributing editor now affiliated with several Washington, D.C. public policy organizations. He appears regularly as a commentator on the One America News network. Reach him by email at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @PeterRoff.

Peter Roff is affiliated with several Washington, D.C. public policy organizations and is a former U.S. News and World Report contributing editor who appears regularly as a commentator on the One America News network. He can be reached by email at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @PeterRoff.


  1. Unions have outlived their usefulness. There’s no common sense to their collective bargaining, which eventually erodes profit margins to the point where their companies fold (Or, they send their factories and other processes to foreign labor markets.) Though I have never been anti-union, the outfit that I joined to represent me didn’t do anything to stop the management’s efforts to change our work hours, or arrange for ‘certain’ people (brown-nosers) to be promoted ahead of deserving and more qualified personnel. As much as our dues were, we should have seen better.

  2. I watched, just today interviews of the men and women that lost their jobs the day biden shut down the Keystone pipeline, that number is conservative 8000!!!! These people were living the American dream, they have house & car payments, bills &biden, pelosi,schumer, aoc all the criminals STOLE THAT FROM THEM!!! And j. kerry, they weren’t offered “solar power installation ” job’s, HELL THEY GOT NO JOBS!!!
    Hr-1 bill, is anything but the peoples bill. They award themselves 7.2 million EACH for there campaigns, thats TAX DOLLARS PEOPLE, is that what you want your tax dollars going to??
    SAD, SAD, SAD!!!

  3. American worker need to be protected in every place of employment including in billionaire companies /places of employment especially when accidents happen, what was done to me under the Clinton’s when I took 2 falls & it was covered up , as I lay on the ceramic tile , I lost 4 joints, 2 neck discs, 2 back discs , it was covered up all of it was, it was reported, but they are nasty people , inhuman , out for themselves, out for the money in their own pocket they don’t care how they hurt anyone, trust me , all the hell I have been put through , the photos of the bruises of the falls on my leg, arm taken after the falls, were sent to channel 2, officls they did nothing democrats cover up for themselves. I have all of the proof.

  4. If the Dumbocrats want to push labor unions, then why would they want government-run healthcare? That and a pension are two of the biggest reasons for a union and if you can negotiate a good wage somewhere with a good 401k and a Roth401k and matching money and reduced taxes (from the non-Roth portion), why do you need a Union. I work for a big company that is a big leftist supporter but they do everything they can to get rid of the unions ….because they’re hypocrites.

  5. The “right to work” should be passed in every state. Unions should be a thing of the past. They certainly did not stand with their workers in not confronting and allowing Biden to stop the work at the Keystone Pipeline. Thousands of workers are out of work. Where were the unions’ support of their workers?? Every worker should have the freedom to decide whether to join a union or not, but with more than half the states claiming themselves as “right to work” states it demonstrates unions are not as popular or needed as once believed and workers can do without.

  6. Unions had a purpose in the past, but they have outlived their usefulness to the employees in most cases. They have become a tool of the democrat party to use union dues to support democrat candidates – against the beliefs of many of their members. This is part of the campaign laws that should be changed. NO unions, businesses or PACS should be able to fund a campaign or put out ads on their behalf. Only INDIVIDUALS who are registered voters should be able to contribute. Everyone should have the right to work without being forced into a union in order to get or keep their job. Government unions should be permanently abolished! This isn’t likely to get passed with the democrats in control.

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