For many years now, Right to Work supporters have striven to focus public attention on the fact that monopoly unionism leads, most often, to less pay for the most productive front-line workers in an enterprise.
Union bosses almost always resist pay plans that take into account individual effort and/or ability. Consequently, union contracts routinely lower the earnings of more productive workers. Over time, businesses that are unable to offer their front-line employees incentives for good performance inevitably find that fewer employees bother to perform well. The firm becomes less competitive, and all employees suffer the consequences.
The best solution to this and other ill effects of union monopoly bargaining is to repeal the federal labor law provisions that empower officials of one union to act as “exclusive” spokesmen for all employees, including union nonmembers, in their dealings with their employer.
However, there are possible ways to mitigate substantially the damage done by union monopoly bargaining without actually repealing the federal authorization for it.
James Sherk, the senior policy analyst in labor economics for the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation, discussed one such proposal in a blog post last week for National Review Online. Mr. Sherk’s insightful post is linked above. He cites a couple of especially appalling examples of how Big Labor imposes “wages ceilings” on employees with the help of National Labor Relations Board bureaucrats:
In fact, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will strike down any higher pay that’s not in the contract. So when the Brooklyn Hospital Center rewarded its best nurses with $100 gift cards, the NLRB ordered it to cease and desist. The Register Guard Publishing Co. wanted to promote a new advertising contract. The company rewarded employees who sold ads under that contract with a commission — on top of their regular pay. The NLRB struck that down, too. Companies may not pay more than the union rate without their union’s permission.