MADISON — At a gathering of Big Labor officials in August 2020, the candidate who would become President Joe Biden said, “We should change the federal law (so) that there is no Right to Work allowed anywhere in the country. For real. Not a joke. Not a joke.”
It was another classic Biden gaffe. Presumably he meant to say there should be no “right to work” laws anywhere. But Biden’s real meaning is scary enough.
Wisconsin is one of 27 states with such worker freedom laws, prohibiting compulsory union membership and union dues. If Biden and his Democrat allies in power in congress could, they would wipe out such worker protections because that’s what their Big Labor overlords want.
Still, under Joe Biden, Big Labor is getting a lot of what it wants. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
As Politico’s Christopher Cadelago recently noted, Biden’s personal recovery plan is to pump up unions and squeeze businesses. The president “is hoping his political fate — and the Democrats’ standing among (the) white working class — can be saved by organized labor.”
As Cadelago wrote:
Joe Biden has long identified as a proud union man, having cultivated relationships with top labor leaders over decades in Washington. Now, with his presidency facing intense peril, Biden is hoping those bonds and that image can lift his fortunes in time for the midterms.
Biden is leaning into his association with organized labor more aggressively than any president in modern times. Over the last few weeks alone, he’s warned major businesses that their workforces will seek to unionize, with his support. He has backed a push on Capitol Hill that is paving the way for congressional staffers to unionize. He recently met with a new generation of union organizers at the White House and put out a video of the meeting on Wednesday in which he jokingly told one of the organizers he was “[good] trouble.”
Biden, who has only slightly rebounded from rock bottom polling numbers, desperately needs Big Labor money and Big Labor votes for Democrats if he hopes to have any congressional backing of his far left agenda. And Big Labor needs Joe Biden to do through executive orders and action what a Democrat-controlled congress can’t get done.
“His policies, when it comes to the executive orders that he’s doing and some of the appropriations that are slipping through, have empowered union officials,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
But Biden’s policies have also weakened the spending power for union workers and the member prospects of labor organizations, Mix notes. One of the president’s first acts in office was to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline, simultaneously killing thousands of union jobs and signaling to the energy industry that Biden had declared war on fossil fuel producers. The latter is a big reason why workers everywhere — union and non-union — are paying record high fuel and energy prices.
So Biden is doing what he can to bring back the love from Big Labor.
Mix said that starts with a federal National Labor Relations Board heavily tilted to unions — and forced unionism. The board is stocked with Obama-era appointees, and Jennifer Abruzzo, Biden’s appointee as NLRB General Counsel, previously served as Special Counsel for Strategic Initiatives for the Communications Workers of America.
Mix said the number of cases the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has taken over the last year-plus has increased dramatically.
Abruzzo has wide discretion in her decisions to bring charges against employers or defeat charges filed by employees against unions. Mix said she is taking full advantage of that power to the benefit of Big Labor.
“She basically has gone farther and is asking more than union officials have asked for,” Mix said.
Biden isn’t shying away from what right-to-work experts see as a clear abuse of his power.
“There’s the expression where I come from. ‘You go home with them that brung you to the dance.’ You all brought me to the dance,” Biden recently said at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International convention.