Biden’s Pick For Labor Secretary Will Hurt American Workers

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - DECEMBER 08: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announces the members of his health team, including his pick for secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, at the Queen Theater December 08, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. With the novel coronavirus pandemic continuing to ravage the country with daily records for infections and deaths, members of Biden's health team said they will make fighting COVID-19 the priority. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden signaled with his choice of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as Labor secretary that he means to keep his promise to craft the most union-compliant administration in history.

Good news for the nation’s labor leaders, but not so much for the rank and file — and a looming disaster for the 89 percent of American workers who aren’t represented by a union but whose taxes will now be used to generate a handsome return on the sizable investment unions made in Biden’s candidacy.

Walsh, one-time president of the Boston Building and Construction Trades Council, checks all the boxes as far as the left is concerned. For the record, however, the official mission statement of the U.S. Department of Labor says nothing about unions. In fact, the agency exists to:

“…foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; (to) improve working conditions; (to) advance opportunities for profitable employment; and, (to) assure work-related benefits and rights.”

For Democratic presidents, of course, those objectives can only be achieved through union membership, and the post must be filled by someone whose slavish devotion to organized labor is beyond question.

Walsh fills the bill, and other union scions quickly voiced their approval.

“Marty is a star, and he could hit the ground running as far as dealing with the issues and impact on working families,” American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) President Lee Saunders said even before the appointment was announced. “He’s a card-carrying union member who has executive experience running a large city. There’s no doubt he’d be a high-profile and passionate fighter for workers’ rights.”

“I think Marty Walsh is a great idea for labor secretary,” echoed American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, insisting he both understands labor and has a close relationship with the president-elect, which would be important in advancing a pro-labor agenda.

And when the interests of Big Labor conflict with those of individual workers, there’s little question in the minds of Weingarten, et al, where Walsh’s loyalties must lie.

Case in point, Biden has already publicly declared he supports changing federal policy so that “there is no Right to Work (laws) allowed anywhere in the country.” President-in-waiting Kamala Harris, likewise, was bitterly critical of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which outlawed mandatory union membership and payment of dues and/or so-called “agency fees” for government employees.

Harris preposterously asserted it is a “basic American premise” that all workers subject to union monopoly-bargaining control should be forced to bankroll the union as a job condition, whether or not they personally benefit from unionization.

By definition, allowing workers to decide for themselves whether to support a union and its activities is entirely consistent with the DOL’s duty to “foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States.” By contrast, compelling millions of public employees to bankroll with their dues dollars a powerful special interest and the almost-exclusively ultra-liberal political candidates and causes its leaders prefer is the essence of oppression.

Not surprisingly, while government employee unions are going gaga over Walsh’s selection, private-sector unions are somewhat more muted in their praise. According to Politico, the United Auto Workers and Utility Workers Union of America sent letters to Biden’s transition team backing another candidate, as did the National Nurses United, the Communications Workers of America and the United Farm Workers of America.

That Biden chose to curry favor with actors like AFSCME, AFT, the National Education Association, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Teamsters and others presuming to speak for millions of government employees only exposes the fallacy of the modern labor landscape.

Where once unions were necessary to fight against child labor abuses and in favor of workplace safety standards, membership in the private sector has shrunk to its lowest levels in decades because most of those duties have been assumed by government regulators, and workers see little reason to pay exorbitant dues for a service they no longer need.

In the public sector, however, union membership numbers remain inflated because government employees are compensated with higher taxes rather than profits. And because, until 2018’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, workers had little hope of opting out, allowing unions to confiscate billions of dollars in dues every year with which to corrupt politicians only too willing to do their bidding.

Modern unions in general and government employee unions in particular have morphed into little more than the funding arm of the political left.

In recent years, with the passage of Janus and other reforms, the endless cycle of more government and less accountability had been slowed noticeably. Joe Biden, however, is determined to roll back these gains.

And now we know his choice to be point man for the assault on our freedoms.

Aaron Withe is acting CEO for the Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization advocating for free markets and limited, accountable government.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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