“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.