Congressman Steve King

Representing the 4th District of Iowa


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Pay Up - Or be Fired

Jan 1, 2007

From the Desk of ...

Representative Steve King
5th Congressional District of Iowa

Pay Up - Or be Fired 

January 2007

Big Labor believes it should have the power to force Iowa workers to pay union dues or fees -- or be fired.    

In attacking our state Right to Work law, that's exactly what Big Labor's Washington lobbying machine is trying to convince the Iowa General Assembly to do.

Iowa's Right to Work law gives employees the right to choose whether or not they want to join a union and pay its dues. Passed in 1947 -- the same year Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act, which authorizes states to pass laws barring forced union dues as a condition of employment -- Iowa's Right to Work law has enjoyed tremendous popular support for decades.

In fact, 80% of Americans agree that no worker should be forced to pay union dues or "fees" just to get or keep a job.  Our state Right to Work law assures that this never happens to hardworking Iowans.

Pro-Right to Work Iowans understand that Right to Work protections are an invaluable tool for rank-and-file workers.  Quite simply, Right to Work "compels" union officials to listen to the concerns of their membership and act accordingly.  Workers know Big Labor bosses have to earn union dues payments instead of being given a free ride on the backs of rank-and-file members. 

Of course, the last thing union officials want are checks on their power which is why they're going all out to convince the General Assembly to repeal or gut Right to Work so they can force the Iowa worker to pay up or be fired. 

This year, with union-label Democrat control of both houses of the Iowa General Assembly -- and the Governor's mansion -- Big Labor believes this is their best opportunity in decades.

Of course, with such a popular law, the forced-unionism lobby knows that to have any chance of ending forced unionism in Iowa, they can't tell you the truth.  That's why we must look at the facts about Right to Work -- and Big Labor's plans to force dues on Iowa workers.

First, it's essential to understand that Big Labor's entire argument for repealing Right to Work in Iowa rests on their abuse of current federal law.

The fact is, instead of representing only their own voluntary members, an option they are given under federal law, union bosses take advantage of a provision of federal law that gives them the tyrannical power to force every worker to accept monopoly bargaining -- also called "exclusive representation."

By exercising this monopoly bargaining power, individual workers are forbidden to represent themselves. 

Unfortunately, after exercising monopoly bargaining power, the union bosses then turn around and falsely complain that since they represent non-paying workers -- the very same workers whose right to self-representation the union bosses stripped away -- they are entitled to forced dues and Right to Work must be repealed.

In actuality, forcing workers to pay dues to a union that they do not wish to be represented by is like being forced into a taxicab, driven wherever the driver chooses and then expected to pay the fare for it.  If this were to happen, the driver of the taxi would be arrested for kidnapping and extortion.  Forced unionism makes no more sense.

Every election cycle, union officials take full advantage of their forced-dues special privileges, spending over one billion dollars nationally in forced dues collected from rank-and-file workers to elect their handpicked politicians, many of whom are opposed by rank-and-file workers.

Study after study shows that Right to Work states far outpace forced-unionism states when it comes to creating economic opportunity, including job creation and income growth.

If Iowa’s Right to Work law is repealed, Big Labor bosses will simply sit back and enjoy their free ride on the backs of Iowa workers while the forced dues roll in.  Union officials will ignore the wishes of the rank-and-file, and seize control of Iowa's political system through spending exorbitant amounts of their members' forced union dues on radical causes and political candidates, and strangle our economy.

Unless we can convince the General Assembly to stand up and stop Big Labor's assault on Iowa's Right to Work law, this nightmare will become the reality in Iowa.

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