- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Last month, citizens across the country sent a strong message to politicians - Republicans and Democrats alike - that they do not want more congressional meddling.

But the leaders of the lame-duck Congress didn’t listen. One of Big Labor’s top objectives is to ram the so-called Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (reintroduced last week as S. 3991) into law. Under this cynically mislabeled legislation, all states and localities would be denied the option to refuse to grant a single public-safety union the power to speak for all front-line employees, including those who don’t want to join.

S. 3991 would override all state and local laws and force countless police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians to accept as their monopoly-bargaining agent a union they never voted for and want nothing to do with.

Since the beginning of 2009, union lobbyists have had hefty majorities in both chambers of Congress and a president who supports Big Labor’s public-safety power grab. But so far, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has been unable to deliver it to the White House because of intense public opposition.

Since the 2010 primary elections began, it’s become clear just how serious freedom-loving Americans are about defeating the police-fire monopoly-bargaining scheme.

For example, in April, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who had been the overwhelming favorite to capture the GOP nomination for the Sunshine State’s open Senate seat this year, decided to drop out of his primary after falling far behind. Mr. Crist had upset many voters in his state because, unlike GOP rival Marco Rubio, the governor refused to pledge opposition to the federalization of public-safety monopoly bargaining.

In May, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson made the same mistake as Mr. Crist and lost the U.S. Senate primary, in which he had been favored, to 100 percent pro-right-to-work rival Rand Paul.

Also last month, two Big Labor-favored Democrats who had long records of supporting police-fire monopoly-bargaining legislation, Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania and Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, were defeated by Republicans affirming their willingness to stand up to union bosses.

If Mr. Reid cared one whit for what ordinary Americans think, he would respond to such electoral drubbings for his fellow Big Labor Democrats and GOP fellow travelers by backing away from federally mandated union-boss control over public-safety officers. Instead, he announced over the weekend that he will file for cloture and force a vote on this draconian bill on Wednesday. Among those voting will be 14 defeated or retiring senators who won’t be back in January.

Federalizing union monopoly bargaining over public-safety employees would be ill-advised under any circumstances, but at a time when taxes are already poised to skyrocket and cities and towns across America are already struggling to get through the worst fiscal crisis in decades, Congress would have to be incredibly reckless to enact this harmful legislation.

By tipping the scales even further in favor of government employment growth over job growth, S. 3991 could damage the hopes of reviving America’s private-sector economy. Moreover, as former Service Employees International Union second-in-command Anna Burger boasted, a federal public-safety union mandate would “create a national collective,” i.e. monopoly, “bargaining standard for all [state and local] public workers.”

That’s why thousands of Americans are showering Capitol Hill with faxes, postcards, e-mails and phone calls, urging their senators to oppose S. 3991 on all votes. Having won an uphill battle to stop enactment of police-fire monopoly-bargaining legislation up to the 2010 elections, and having dealt this scheme sharp setbacks in both the primary and the general election cycles, pro-right-to-work Americans aren’t about to quit now.

Mark Mix is president of the National Right to Work Committee.