Conservatives across the country are calling on President Donald Trump to reverse a controversial labor-management law that has been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, the conservative groups FreedomWorks and Heritage Action said Trump’s move on Wednesday to allow states to override the Supreme Court decision would undermine the fundamental right of workers to form unions.
The legislation would give employers the right to refuse to pay union dues and to require that employees have a union card or membership card.
The Supreme Court ruled in June that the law violated workers’ constitutional right to free association.
“The president should reverse this decision, immediately,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said in a statement.
“President Trump and President Trump’s administration should now put their full power behind the right-to–work bill to ensure that the United States can continue to be a fair, just, and secure society for all of its citizens.”
The group is a supporter of Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, the No. 2 Senate Democrat who is one of the bill’s most vocal critics.
Trump said on Wednesday that he would support the legislation.
“This is an important bill that is needed to strengthen our economy and create good paying jobs for all Americans, and it is a bill that will protect American workers and ensure that workers in our country are protected from wage theft,” Trump said in the statement.
Murray has been leading a bipartisan effort to end the right of states to enact right-in-work laws.
“Today, the president made a historic decision to protect the right for workers in the private sector to form and join a union without paying union dues,” Murray said in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday.
“And so it’s important that we continue to work together on this important bill to protect workers in all sectors of the economy from unfair labor practices, and that is exactly what this bill is designed to do.”
Trump has threatened to veto legislation in 2018 that would repeal the federal law, but that hasn’t stopped the effort to change it.
The White House on Wednesday released a statement that said the president was “disappointed” that his administration has allowed a law to be challenged in the courts.
“We are hopeful that this is just the beginning of the fight to repeal this law, and to make sure that this law is not implemented anywhere in our nation,” the statement said.
“It is critical that this bill be repealed and replaced with legislation that protects American workers from unfair union practices, that protects our economy from wage-stealing employers, and makes sure that American workers can join together to bargain collectively for better wages and benefits.”
Murray is the second Senate Democrat to sign on to the bill, which she said is “about ensuring that workers can form unions without paying dues and that workers have the right and the ability to form a union.”
Murray and other progressive Democrats say the bill is not just a good starting point to repeal the so-called right- to-work law, it is also a necessary measure to protect employees from wage discrimination, protect against retaliation, and give workers the right, among other things, to organize in order to form workers’ unions.
But opponents say the legislation could be used to attack public sector unions and threaten the health and safety of workers.
“A lot of the workers that we have in the public sector right now are working very hard to make a living wage, they’re making very good wages, and they’re not being paid a fair wage,” Murray told MSNBC.
“So, in order for us to be able to get the public to support this, we need to pass this bill and be able do what we need in order that the public support this.”
Murray said that while the law will be a “major boost” to the economy, she believes it will be used “as a weapon of repression” by right-wing politicians to force unions to give up their right to form union-free organizations.
“What the president has done, as a matter of course, is to protect private employers from being able to discriminate against people who are not like him,” Murray added.
“They will be able and they will be going to the public and the public will be calling for their employers to be out of the business of discrimination.
And so, what he has done is really the last gasp for the right.”