This is a story that crossed my inbox today. I doubt many of you have heard about it. A bill was introduced by Sen. Marko Rubio (R-FL) in the US Senate to allow employers to provide incentive pay raises to union members. The idea was to provide incentive rewards for higher performance. The SEIU and other union lobbyists were able to block this bill in a 45-54 vote.
The bill would allow employers to raise, not lower, but to reward good performance. Why would unions not want this? According to the Heritage Foundation, this was their motivation.
When you’re in a union, raises are usually all or nothing. They are not necessarily forbidden; the unions just have to sign off on them. Only about 20 percent of union contracts permit performance-based raises, less than half the rate in nonunion firms. This means 80 percent of workers can’t get an individual raise for doing good work—a raise must be negotiated for everyone. That certainly takes away the incentive to go above and beyond, because there are no performance-based bonuses or even merit increases.
Instead, unions typically base pay on seniority and job classifications—not individual effort or productivity. Workers cannot bargain individually for more. By law, hard-working union members get the same pay as those who slack off.
The bill would also weaken the union. Members would suddenly realize that they could get raises, upgrade benefits, and other job improvements without a union. All they would need was to work—hard and improve performance. A radical idea! For unions.
For over a century, unions were supposed to protect worker rights, working conditions, and job safety, among other work issues. Somewhere along the line the unions went astray. Instead of being primarily a worker support organization, they became a socialist power wielder. Their first interest became expanding their personal (union) power and push their socialist agenda. Unions became a leveler—equality across the board for the strong and willing as well as for the weak and lazy. Leveling lowers standards instead of raising them.
The RAISE Act, which has yet to garner a vote in the House but has been introduced there by Representative Todd Rokita (R–IN), would enable 2.8 million women and 4.8 million men to earn higher wages through their individual effort. Heritage research indicates that if Congress passed the RAISE Act, the average union member’s salary could rise between $2,700 and $4,500 a year.
But union bosses don’t want that. They want to preserve the collective bargaining agreements that keep union members’ wages down.
“Collective bargaining agreements are intended to prevent employers from making arbitrary decisions about wages,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. The word “arbitrary” can have negative connotations, often meaning that someone made a decision that wasn’t rooted in fact. But really, what worker would mind if his boss “arbitrarily” decided to give him a raise? He probably wouldn’t argue too much.
Obama’s NLRB has blocked previous attempts to provide union worker raises outside of the union contact. Unions no longer aim to improve their member livelihoods. Their prime purpose now is to wield political power. The union effort to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was one such attempt. Fortunately, it failed. The Wisconsin union money laundering scheme was exposed and halted. Unions also lost a Supreme Court decision this week that would have allowed them to increase union dues to non-members in California and other states.
The score this week for unions is won one, lost one. This action this week to block Rubio’s R.A.I.S.E (Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees) bill will not block the continuing losses of union membership. Such actions as this will only increase the reduction of union roles when members realize they don’t need a union, operating under a separate agenda, as their representative. Individuals can and do manage their employment quite well. I did for forty years. Union members can too.