President Biden’s “American Jobs Plan” supposedly focuses on “infrastructure,” but actually forwards a grab-bag of left-liberal goals — including a huge but stealthy boost for government unions.
It’s not just that he’s dumping unspecified tens or hundreds of millions to “promote union organizing and collective bargaining.”
Crucially, the plan would roll back states’ right-to-work laws, which allow workers to refuse to join unions. And the main impact will be a huge bonanza for public-sector unions — which have been growing nationally even as “real” unions shrink.
Coupled with Democrats’ longstanding agenda to use the National Labor Relations Board to ease unionization drives, right-to-work repeal would soon see teachers, police and other public employees across America every bit as unionized as they are here in New York.
No less than President Franklin Roosevelt actually opposed public-sector unionization entirely, and for good reason: Because the “bosses” who bargain with these unions are themselves elected officials spending taxpayer money, it’s all too easy for them to give away too much — even as they win union votes and donations for their trouble.
And if any official (like former Mayor Mike Bloomberg) refuses, the unions just wait him out until a bigger sap (like Mayor Bill de Blasio) comes along to give them “back pay” for all the years they refused to sign a new contract.
It can be a big winner for the Democratic Party: Expand unions with new members paying new dues, a fat cut of which becomes new campaign donations.
All across the Empire State (and other blue states), public unions regularly get their members ever-earlier retirements and ever-higher pension and health benefits. New York teachers even won guarantees that their health benefits can never be reduced, even though they’re not technically subject to collective bargaining at all.
Union power is what’s kept so many schools closed all across America. Those in right-to-work states are near-universally open. And police unions are responsible for many of the privileges that rightly drive criminal-justice reformers crazy, including secret disciplinary processes and laws that give cops the right not to talk to prosecutors for weeks after they’ve committed a possible crime.
“I support unions,” Biden said as he rolled out the plan Wednesday, and “it’s about time they start to get a piece of the action.” You likely heard that as meaning traditional, blue-collar unions, but this president is far less straightforward than he seems — remember, he still insists there’s no “crisis” at the border.
FDR was right about public unions, but Biden by all accounts is looking to outdo the New Deal in how he transforms America. And, as we’ll review in coming days, the right-to-work ploy is only one sneaky part of how he’s trying to do it.