President Joe Biden's 2023 Labor Day proclamation is heavy on praise for unions. But as we mark this end-of-summer holiday, the attention should be on workers.
Data now shows only 6% of workers belong to a union. Most of these unions are government or public sector unions, such as teachers. And there's a big difference between a private trade union and a public sector union.
These public employee unions negotiate for pay and benefits against a seemingly endless source of cash - tax revenue. Public sector union negotiations pit neighbor against neighbor. And that is precisely the problem, as President Franklin Roosevelt wrote:
"All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management."
In fact, right now in Washington State, some teachers are striking against the taxpayers and children they are supposed to serve. This is a clear violation of Washington State law. Washington's courts have consistently ruled:
“As public employees, the defendants have no protected right to strike under Washington law, and are currently engaged in an illegal strike against the District.”
As a right to work state, Idaho law says you cannot be required to be part of a union in order to hold a job. This should be the reality in every state. No one should be forced to be part of any private organization in order to work.
We should respect the right of every worker to choose what is best for themselves, whether that be joining a private organization such as a union or exercising the freedom not to.
So as we mark Labor Day, let us remember that most Americans contribute to the fabric of our society by working, but that doesn't mean they are or want to be part of a union.