Statement on Labor from Prominent Conservatives: “Strong Worker Representation Can Make America Stronger”

Sep 07, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC — As American workers and communities seek to rebound from the current economic crisis, conservative leaders are turning their attention to the vital role for a strong labor movement. In a statement on the importance of labor, a prominent group of current and former government officials, policy experts, and legal specialists argue that workers’ ability to take collective action and gain representation and bargaining power in the private sector can contribute to (1) economic prosperity, (2) limited government, and (3) strong communities. Rather than cheer the demise of a once-valuable institution, conservatives should seek reform and reinvigoration of the laws that govern organizing and collective bargaining. In replacing the today’s dysfunctional system, approaches to consider include: regulatory override, sectoral bargaining, works councils, board representation, and benefits provision.

Signatories: Jonathan Berry (Boyden Gray & Associates); Oren Cass (American Compass); Kirk Doran (University of Notre Dame); William J. Kilberg (Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher); G. Roger King (HR Policy Association); Eli Lehrer (R Street Institute); Yuval Levin (American Enterprise Institute); Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL); Terry Schilling (American Principles Project); Richard Schubert (National Job Corps Association); former Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Michael Toscano (Institute for Family Studies); J.D. Vance (American Enterprise Institute).

Click here to read the full statement.

The statement kicks off a month-long program at American Compass on a conservative future for the American labor movement. The series includes:

  • Essays from Brian Dijkema, Amber & David Lapp, and Michael Lind on organized labor’s role in the American economy, in partisan ideological debates, and in the lives of actual workers;
  • Multi-part exchange between American Compass executive director Oren Cass and former SEIU 775 president David Rolf on sectoral bargaining;
  • Conversation with Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union, about alternative organizing models;
  • Report by American Compass research director Wells King on European labor models; and
  • Potentially bipartisan policy proposals for labor reform from Benjamin Sachs and Sharon Block of Harvard Law School and Eli Lehrer of the R Street Institute.

Click here to read more.