Labor’s legislation to mandate recognition of unions using “card check” failed to advance during the Obama years. An aggressive campaign to protect workers’ secret ballot—by among others former Sen. George McGovern—made card check politically radioactive.
The upshot of the A-B-C test is that any contractor using a platform would have to be classified as an employee of the platform because at the very least the platform’s “usual course of the business” is whatever work the worker is using it to facilitate.
After AB 5’s enactment, the repercussions came swiftly: Journalism outlets that had supported AB 5’s adoption cut their California-based paid freelancers. Uber and Lyft announced that without court relief they would have to cease operating in the state.
The Biden administration and Congressional Democrats’ PRO Act would likely kill application-based work platforms nationwide, putting workers out of work, and taking options from customers. Administration-connected industries would clamor for carve-outs.
The public response was wrath. The GOP-backed Taft-Hartley Act limited unions’ strike objectives, established rules that violations of which would be unfair labor practices by unions, and allowed states to ban “closed shops” that required employees to pay dues to a union.
For Big Labor, the closed shop debate is a simple one: They get more money from a closed shop than an open shop. By banning right-to-work, the PRO Act would make collecting forced dues easy for the Big Labor allies of the new administration and congressional leadership.
Labor activists are frank about why they want secondary strike powers. Before he became a reporter for the “objective” Bloomberg News, labor organizer Josh Eidelson put it succinctly for the socialist website Working In These Times: “Secondary targets make for soft targets.”
While these formal link-ups never completed, Big Labor’s institutional and alumni-network linkages with the rest of the Left propagate an ideology sometimes called “social justice unionism.”
In social justice unionism, rather than focusing advocacy on members’ economic status or even broader social-democratic welfare-state policy, the union movement aligns with full-spectrum liberalism to an even greater degree than that normally indicated by coalition politics.
Knowing that the power to destroy civic life and ruin the economy would give Big Labor and its left-wing allies a chokehold on the nation, unions demand removal of important checks on their institutional power. And they are an ally of the full-spectrum “woke” Left.
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