Frustrated by the failure to enact its pro-union agenda in Congress, President Barack Obama’s administration has unleashed its bureaucratic minions at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to achieve it through regulatory fiat. The core agenda is to reverse decades of eroding union membership by eliminating the right to secret ballot in union organizing.
The NLRB’s latest salvo is a lawsuit against Arizona. Arizona is one of four states where voters last fall resoundingly added to their constitutions the right to secret-ballot elections in union organizing. The lawsuit is the most recent of many recent cases pitting state power against federal power. The outcome will determine in large measure the amount of individual autonomy Americans will enjoy in the years to come.
Private-sector unionization has steadily plummeted since the 1950s, when roughly one in three private-sector workers belonged to a union. As of 2008, only 7.6 percent of private-sector workers were unionized. In 2010, that number fell further to 6.9 percent. Meanwhile, the number of unionized public-sector workers eclipsed those in the private sector for the first time in 2010, with close to eight million public-sector employees (or 37.4 percent) enrolled in unions compared to slightly more than seven million in the private sector.
(photo credit: mandiberg)