• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • According to Union, Raising Wages Attacks Workers' Rights

    “Collective bargaining rights are under attack—again,” warns the SEIU. The union claims employees face a “federal attack on your rights at work.” How? From a bill that would let employers pay union members higher wages.

    Union rates are not just minimum wages. They also set maximum wages. Employers may not pay union members more than the union rate without the union’s permission. Most unions, however, reject individual raises. They prefer, in Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa’s words, that “[c]ollective bargaining agreements create uniform standards for all employees.” Everyone gets the same amount, no matter how hard they work.

    Senator Marco Rubio (R–FL) wants to let productive employees earn more. The Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees (RAISE) Act specifies that nothing in the National Labor Relations Act:

    shall prohibit an employer from paying an employee in the unit greater wages, pay, or other compensation for, or by reason of, his or her services as an employee of such employer, than provided for in such contract or agreement.

    The Senate will soon vote on the RAISE Act as an amendment to the farm bill. It lets unionized businesses reward their employees for working harder and being successful. Heritage research shows this would be a win-win for everyone. Workers would earn higher pay, and their employers would get higher profits. Unions say they want workers to earn more. Why do they oppose the RAISE Act?

    Because employees earning performance-based pay know they do not need protection from their bosses. Why would a worker making more than the union rate pay union dues? Unions want everyone to get the same amount, even if that means they make less.

    So the Teamsters complain that Rubio’s bill would allow “employers to violate contracts and ignore agreed upon wages and benefits for any reason”—even though the bill only allows higher pay. The SEIU objects that RAISE prevents them from negotiating “contracts that create a uniform, fair process for granting wage increases. Employers would be allowed to ignore what they agreed to in collective bargaining agreements—and that’s not fair.”

    What’s not fair is unions turning down raises on their members’ behalf.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to According to Union, Raising Wages Attacks Workers' Rights

    1. @lulubell247 says:

      How ironic is that?Unions have lived way past their time.When they first started they were indeed needed in most cases.Now days their nothing but a way for union bosses to make big bucks off the backs of workers.Go Marco Rubio!!!

      • George says:

        I worked for Teamster employers for about 30 years or so. I worked the last 31 years for a Fortune 50 company. We were union, but decertified the union in 2002. We got the same working conditions and better pay and retirement. Anyway, to the point, about 20 years ago, the company offered us the option of trading in 5 of our holidays for a weeks vacation. Allowing us to get an additional weeks vacation. All of the employees wanted it, the company wanted us to have it, but the Union said NO! since it was not in the present contract. We had to wait almost two years till the next contract to get that benefit. Thank you Teamsters.

    2. KJinAZ says:

      It is this kind of thinking that makes unions and antiquated dinosaur from another time. These values no longer ring true to anyone. They certainly do not promote fairness, they only serve to enslave. It is time for unions to go the way of the dinosaurs.

    3. Don Lindberg says:

      It just goes to show how much control they have over their members. They really can't stand individual achievement, it dilutes their position with the employers. You can't blame the membership because in many cases in Union shops they wouldn't be able to get hired, you can however blame the leadership and the laws that allow them to step on the rites of individuals.

    4. Migwar says:

      The point this article misses is that most employers do not have unlimited resources. Paying "favored" employees more than the contracted amount means there will be less in the employer's "pot" for which to negotiate for ALL employees when the contract is up for renewal. Most contracts allow for a higher pay rate for overtime, so employers are already free to assign their most productive employees extra hours, assuming those employees are willing to work extra hours. Employers also often manage to find creative ways to reward favored employees without raising their basic pay rate: "employee of the month" programs with various perks, for example, and other productivity "prizes." Management positions are often offered to highly productive employees. That perk is called a promotion. There is enough favoritism in most workplaces without the need for legislation to encourage it.

      • Nybbler says:

        The legislation doesn't encourage or mandate it Migwar; it just allows it. And once a contract is negotiated the "pot" can't get smaller that's why it's called a "contract", but the employer, if he is getting additional productivity from an employee, which translates to increased revenue and/or lower cost, is free to pass those profits/savings along to the person who helped produce them. Personally if I was constrained by a contract that restricted my upside what incentive would I have to go above and beyond? I'm thinking none.

      • George says:

        One thing that you might not understand. When overtime comes up, it is offered on a seniority basis, not merit

    5. PaulE says:

      Migmar,

      Is your definition of "favored" employees to mean an employee who is simply more productive in is or her assigned duties or someone willing to go beyond the bare minimums of the job to produce a better or more cost efficient outcome? If so, what purpose is served in stifling personal initiative and drive of employees to excel at their jobs? Certainly the goal can't be to lower standards to the level of the least productive among us, so that no one "feels bad". That makes no economic sense.

      At the end of the day, we live in a global economy and have to compete with workers doing similar tasks all around the world. So I would think we would want to motivate our employees to improve quality and keep costs competitive in order to win more business and grow our economic pie for everyone.

    6. Todd says:

      "…that “[c]ollective bargaining agreements create uniform standards for all employees.” Everyone gets the same amount, no matter how hard they work."

      Sounds like a communist/socialist manifesto.

    7. martin fee says:

      And people wonder why union shops have or produce the lowest quality items/services. the hardest worker gets paid the same as the drop out pot smoking wannabe community activist. This leads to the attitude of why should i bust my butt when i will get nothing for it

    8. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      What's not fair, at least to union leadership, is when one worker feels bad that another worker is doing better than themselves and being rewarded for it. Statists punish success.

    9. Stack says:

      Republicans just hate regulation. Just hate it. Except when they want it.

    10. Bobbie says:

      UNIONS attack the rights of the employees to earn a worthy pay. Refusing employer increase pay what the employer appreciates his ("workers"- government, union, communistic term) employees' (respectful) worth! A fair process for granting wage increases is between the boss and his employee and where the union is intrusion, non productive, no longer a purpose. Some people deserve better pay than the liabilities the government unions "wrongfully" protect with equal pay and benefits who aren't deserving of employment and know it but continue as they have the support of a higher authority.

      "Employers would be allowed to ignore what they agreed to in collective bargaining agreements—and that’s not fair." Really? gosh, to who isn't it fair? There's nothing worse than a monkey in the middle which is what unions have become. How can the unions even utter "uniform pay" as being "fair" when employees have different standards of work ethic that time commends recognition by the employer as is the only "fair" and "proper" reason to increase pay? Unions are no longer needed in the 21st century. Employees can negotiate with the boss if the boss doesn't have a pay scale at the time of interview. No monkey necessary, No cost, No instructions, No monitoring, No riots, No union thugs. Now that government regulated (union fighting) principles in businesses people can use their own voice of reason without paying union fees to negotiate for them less results had they presented themselves.

    11. Leon The Electrician says:

      It isn't a mystery to me. This is all about Redistribution Of Wealth. I was a Union Electrician and in my later years I could not earn more that the crappiest electrician in the field even though I was well experienced. The essence of it is Socialism, and sure the Unions paid higher wages but the Dues took all the extra money so from the Worker's standpoint we actually earned less. I think paying more for the better worker, more productive worker would pay off for the Company's bottom line. Some guys didn't perform so well, but we had to keep them anyway. Unions do not represent the Worker's interest. I heard a CSPAN conference where Union Leaders admitted they got into the Union because they wanted the Power, so they could pursue their Social Justice agenda. It had nothing to do with the Workers and everything to do with Socialism. Union Leaders laughed about it! Meanwhile the Construction Industry went South. They didn't care, instead they made jokes about Organizing the Unemployed! James, you are absolutely right and the Bill would help the workers (which is why it will never pass.)

    12. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      I believe it.

    13. Frank Selig says:

      I am a member of a labor union and am very thankful, because I am still working. The reason that the unemployment rate keeps getting higher is not our fault. It is the fault of big businesses which pay billions to greedy politicians, and greed is very dominant in politics. There is a measure in the state legislature that is really going to make it impossible for unions to save important jobs so that greedy politicians get paid more money by big companies. Politicians are the ones to blame, not people who want to work.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×