Bernie Sanders thinks federal workers should be able to strike; would repeal private-sector state-level ‘right to work’ laws

By Jon Dougherty

(NationalSentinel) Perhaps feeling like his second bid to become the Democratic presidential nominee is slipping away once more, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is moving hard Left in an effort to salvage his campaign.

Earlier this week Sanders proposed his own multi-trillion-dollar ‘green new deal’ plan — an unaffordable $16 trillion climate boondoggle he claims will pay for itself and would see U.S. taxpayers shelling out $200 billion to “poor countries” so they, too, could ‘comply’ with his climate plan.

Now, the Sanders campaign has unveiled a massive plan modeled on the Workplace Democracy Act the senator has routinely introduced for years in Congress and is designed “to restore workers’ rights to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.”

Specifically, it calls for allowing federal workers to strike — which has never been legal in the U.S. — but also attacks state-level “right-to-work” laws in which protects private-sector workers’ rights to be employed without having to join a union.

So far, 26 states have right-to-work laws.

The proposal also endorses industry-wide bargaining instead of at individual firms, and ends “at-will” employment, the legal status of most private-sector jobs in most states.

It would also mandate a “card check” system, thereby empowering the National Labor Relations Board to certify new unions when a majority of a company’s employees sign cards supporting the formation of one.

Card check eliminates secret balloting in the workplace and has long be a goal of organized labor. However, unions have never managed to convince enough members of Congress to approve it.

The plan comes amid falling union membership across the country, which has been occurring for decades. Currently, union membership is at an all-time low — 6.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sanders believes his plan would double union membership nationwide in four years.

“Under current law, federal employees are not guaranteed the same labor rights as workers in the private sector. While they have the ability to unionize, they are prohibited from going on strike,” a plan summary said, according to Roll Call. “Under this plan, federal workers would have the right to strike.”

The news site noted further that the Sanders campaign used a recent government shutdown during the Trump administration — in which hundreds of thousands of federal employees were required to show up to work without getting paid — as the driver behind allowing them to strike.

“In December, Trump shut down the federal government for 35 days — the longest in history — depriving over 800,000 workers of their paychecks. Adding insult to injury, hundreds of thousands of TSA agents, air traffic controllers, IRS employees, members of the Coast Guard, and other federal government employees were forced to work without pay and without recourse,” the campaign said.

In fact, the workers were not ‘deprived’ of pay; it was only delayed. And supporters of the president argued that Congress is responsible for passing spending bills, not the Executive Branch.

Still, Sanders’ plan already has substantial backing.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Mary Kay Henry endorsed Sanders’ Marxist-style plan.

“This morning, I’m joining workers in Milwaukee to demand every #2020 candidate release a detailed plan like Bernie Sanders, explaining how they will make it possible for all working people to join unions. This is no time for minor tweaks to our broken system,” she wrote on Twitter.

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The SEIU has 2 million members, a number of whom could become volunteers for Sanders’ campaign.

Sanders won’t tell the truth about federal workers, however, and, specifically, how their wages stack up to workers in the private sector.

The Epoch Times noted Friday the Cato Institute once calculated that total average compensation for federal employees “was $130,429 for federal workers in 2017, which was 79 percent higher than the private-sector average of $72,992.”

Also, there has historically been bipartisan opposition for allowing federal workers to strike. Back in the day President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Democrats’ favorite president, called federal employee strikes  “unthinkable and intolerable,” and Democrats since then have generally opposed allowing federal strikes, same as Republicans.

Jimmy Williams, former senior economics adviser to Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), told The Epoch Times that “my duty as a public servant was to the American taxpayer. Federal employees should not have the right to strike, as a matter of national and economic security. Our troops can’t, so why should someone at the Department of Labor?”

Donald Devine, a Republican who once served as U.S. Office of Personnel Management director under President Ronald Reagan, told the news site that Sanders’s proposal “would turn a resistant bureaucracy into a completely unmanageable one.”

Also, Taxpayers Protection Alliance President David Williams said, “This is a ploy for votes, this is something Sanders is trying to do, endear himself to millions of federal workers by giving them the right to strike.”

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