Trade Union Movement Is Ever More Political

This post was originally published on this site

March 18, 2021 4:16 pm ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, joined by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, promotes the PRO Act in Washington, Feb. 5, 2020.

Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Maxford Nelsen’s “Unions and Democrats Attack the Right to Work” (op-ed, March 12) on the passage of the PRO Act in the House of Representatives tells what’s happening but doesn’t tell why. We only need read the significant changes in the direction by the unions in the 2017 AFL-CIO’s new constitutional preamble that emphasizes the labor movement’s priority for political action over collective bargaining in a way previous AFL-CIO constitutions did not. We can see the result of this paradigm shift in the AFL-CIO’s Commission on the Future of Work and Unions in its 2019 report and the integration of these stated objectives in the 2020 Democratic Party platform to complete the fusion with the party.

These documents have declared an all-out political war on the existing two-party political structure and the traditional bipartisan approach. In these documents, the AFL-CIO isn’t asking for a seat at the table as it previously had done, but claims the seat outright. In its list of grievances the union included a belief that, from the corporate board rooms to governors’ mansions to the U.S. Supreme Court, antiworker interests are trying to wipe all unions from existence. The primary stated objective by the AFL-CIO constitution of 2017 is to increase the American workers’ collective bargaining power through political action. If accomplished, the nation can certainly expect conflict equal or greater than that experienced in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. This won’t be good for ensuring domestic tranquility and promoting prosperity for all, nor for their posterity.

Michael Bennett

Gulf Breeze, Fla.

For all their clamoring about voter suppression, the Democrats are in support of the most blatant of voter suppressions: eliminating the secret ballot. I was involved in a union organization attempt, and two or three persons would show up at a worker’s house at dinner time and insist the worker sign a card to authorize a secret-ballot vote for the union. If the union got 30% of the workers to sign a card, there would be a secret ballot. However, this was intimidating: Only one side’s information was presented and the worker often wasn’t sure what he or she was signing.

You don’t need much imagination to see what will happen under the PRO Act, when getting 50% plus one of the workers to sign union cards can certify a union despite a lost secret ballot, at least in some cases.

Allen M. Nixon

Farmington, Conn.

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