Aaron Withe: 2020 Dems are courting unions and it doesn't bode well for regular Americans

As we draw closer to Election Day, 2020 candidates on the left are continually jostling to outflank each other to win endorsements. Chief among these has been the fight for the almighty support from the nation’s labor unions.

From Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., promising teachers a pay raise to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., releasing a budget-busting climate plan that goes out of its way to secure union power, candidates are doing anything they can to appease the unions.

No wonder Warren received a "make America union again" hat from a union boss last month. But this all begs the question, what will unions do if they do get back in power?

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Well, a look at their policy proposals and a new bill that is about to become law in Oregon answers that question, and it isn't pretty.

It’s long past time to remind lawmakers they were elected to serve the people, not the union special interests that bankroll their campaigns.

Big tax increases, stifling regulations on businesses and individuals, cap-and-trade legislation, and freeing violent criminals are all part of the labor-backed agenda to continue the state’s descent into socialism while enhancing the influence of public-employee unions over government at every level.

However, since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark right-to-work ruling almost 12 months ago in Janus v. AFSCME, advocates of freedom have implemented a full-scale outreach strategy to inform all public employees about their rights to leave their unions.

The success of the effort has been well documented on the West Coast, with the state of Oregon reporting that 26 percent of state employees are no longer paying dues to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, Washington is reporting 24 percent of its state employees have left the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE). All in all, more than 50,000 public employees have left their unions in Oregon, Washington and California since Janus — more than any other region in the U.S. is reporting.

These rapid declines for government unions on the Left Coast have left them with some large holes in their budgets. Consequently, they’re ordering their brought-and-paid-for henchmen in elected office to pass their losses on to the taxpayers.

Exhibit A is Oregon House Bill 2016, better known as the Union Wish List. The bill was approved by the Senate on June 6 and sent to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature. And since she’s in hock to the unions right up to her eyeballs, too, there’s little question how she’ll respond.

HB-2016 bill has five objectives:

  • exempting unions from liability when they collect dues illegally from employees who have either not consented to them or demanded they cease;  
  • allowing taxpayer dollars to be used to fund union activities;  
  • allowing unions to authorize dues deductions over the phone while requiring hand-delivered hard copy documents when request to opt out;  
  • requiring government agencies to turn over all member contact information to the unions with no limits to them sharing that information with their PAC’s or any other liberal group. At the same time, preventing the state from disclosing that information with anyone else;  
  • allowing unions exclusive time with all new hires during which employees can be pressured to authorize dues deductions and allowing the union to determine what is reasonable conduct in those, and all, union meetings.

All of these have been brazen attempts to circumvent the Janus decision and continue the reign of government unions over politicians.

And Salem’s uber-liberal lawmakers will, of course, do their bidding, because their campaign cash depends on it.

Oregon has become an incubator for bad liberal ideas, meaning you can expect to see versions of this bill coming to a state near you — wherever unions are fighting to remain relevant and losing.

Unions are attempting to delay the inevitable, while Janus and advocates of freedom are ensuring that their best days are truly behind them.

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It’s high time for unions to emulate other private-sector benefit providers who compete in the free market by offering customers a service worth paying for, rather than buying a monopoly with someone else’s money.

And it’s long past time to remind lawmakers they were elected to serve the people, not the union special interests that bankroll their campaigns.

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