Leaders of organized labor in the United States face in Donald Trump what may be the most anti-union administration since before Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
The New Deal gave labor unions a legal right to bargain collectively and enter into binding contracts. Subsequently so-called “right to work” laws imposed on unions the obligation to bargain collectively even for workers who choose not to join the union.
Many observers expect the Trump administration and Republican Congress to enact a national right to work law. Under such a law, workers could join a company with a union contract, refuse to join the union or pay dues and enjoy all the benefits of the contract. Why, union leaders ask, would anybody join a union if they could enjoy all the benefits of union membership without any of the obligations?
Trump’s likely choice for Secretary of Labor is said to be Andrew Puzder, head of the parent company of the Hardee’s and Carl Jr. restaurant chains. He is an outspoken opponent of minimum wage increases and of Obamacare.
Other contenders who’ve been mentioned in the press are Victoria Lipnic, one of two Republican members of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and Scott Walker, the fiercely anti-union Governor of Wisconsin.