Right-to-work won on election day
The 2016 election was a major defeat for Big Labor and forced unionization. As the results get further dissected, the magnitude of the defeat inflicted on the liberal agenda becomes more apparent with each passing day, especially when down-ballot results are analyzed.
One aspect has to do with the right-to-work, which was well articulated by Chantal Lovell and F. Vincent Vernuccio in a Wall Street Journal piece. Here is a summary of what they saw.
Since 2012, four states have enacted right-to-work legislation, bringing to 26 the number of states that are RTW. However, at least three additional states came close, but the effort was defeated by intransigent Democrats who have now been swept away.
1. In Missouri, the legislature passed right-to-work by strong majorities (92-66 in the House and 21-13 in the Senate),but the effort was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat. Nixon has been term-limited, and his hoped for successor was defeated on Nov. 8. The Republican governor-elect, Eric Greitens, is for right-to-work.
2. In New Hampshire, the story is similar. In 2011, the legislature passed right-to-work, but then Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, vetoed the bill. But the 2016 election will usher in Republican Chris Sununu as governor, and he looks favorably on RTW. The odds are looking up for the Granite State to be the first New England state with right-to-work protection for its workers.
3. Last year in Kentucky, RTW passed the state senate but stalled out in the assembly. But now, for the first time in nearly a century, the GOP has taken firm control of both houses. On top of that, Gov. Matt Bevin has said in a post-election op-ed that right-to-work is one of his priorities for 2017.
Other states may well harbor RTW aspirations in the near future. Ohio would be a natural one. Republicans control both houses of the legislature and even have a supermajority in the Assembly. Unfortunately, GOP Gov. John Kasich has historically been hostile to RTW.
Then there is the question of whether coerced union membership of public-sector workers violates a person's First Amendment rights. This is a matter before the courts. As Lovell and Vernuccio point out:
That case could be Janbus v. Afscme which is currently being appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. It also hinges on the argumnet that forcing public employees to pay a fee for a union as a condition of employment violates the first Ameddment. If the Supreme Court, with President Trump's nominees in place, accepts that line of thinking, it could free government workers nationwide from forced unionism.
A Supreme Court ruling here reaffirming First Amendment rights would ripple through the entire public sector, which up until now has been the only growth area for unionization.
Also, there is the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal government's top labor arbiter. The NLRB is a quasi-judicial body that decides labor questions. It is a powerful entity that the Obama administration has skewed to the left.
Since 2010, the NLRB has been staffed by a majority of pro-union Democratic appointees by the Obama administration. During that time, the agency has overturned decades of precedents to allow for ambush elections, micro-unions, and liability for franchisers -- all of which have been criticized by labor attorneys and congress as hand outs to labor unions.
As a Trump administration makes appointments to the NLRB, its composition will change from one being radically pro-union to a balanced membership that doesn't believe that its mandate is to always bend over backward to accommodate Big Labor.
The combination of all the above will drastically change the favorable environment in which unions have operated for the longest time. The government's thumb on the scale for unions will shrink. This will be painful for the union bosses and the Democratic Party, which receives massive funding from unions. But as Barack Obama lectured congressional Republicans in 2009 soon after his election victory, "Elections have consequences." Thank you, Mister President. That is something you and I can agree on.
Yes, November 8 was an earthquake defeat for Big Labor, and its effects and aftershocks will ripple well into the future. Let 'em roll.