Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Do most labor unions provide an overall benefit to their workers in the US?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, stated the following in the June 14, 2011 video "Gov. Gary Johnson Responds to Every Question Asked in CNN Debate He Was Excluded From," available on Gary Johnson's YouTube Channel:
"I support the notion of right-to-work [legislation that let employees decide for themselves whether or not they want to join a union or financially support it] and worked hard to see that happen in New Mexico. It didn't while I was governor of New Mexico, but that didn't take away from my support. The only basic problem that I have with unions is the union gives me two workers. One is the worst worker that I've ever seen, the other is the best worker that I've ever had. I can't reward the best, I can't get rid of the worst. Right-to-work, I think, is a decision that states should make. I think based on right-to-work legislation in states across the country, those states that have passed right-to-work have shown much greater economic prosperity as a result of that legislation." June 14, 2011 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, was quoted as having said the following in the Apr. 2, 2008 article "Remarks for Senator Barack Obama: AFL-CIO," available on Barack Obama's official candidate website:
"...[A]s I look out on this crowd and as I travel across this country, the one thing I know for certain is that labor unions are still mobilizing. Labor unions are still organizing. And you're still fighting to give America's working people a voice in Washington.
I'm tired of playing defense. I know the AFL-CIO [American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization] is tired of playing defense. We're ready to play some offense. We're ready to play offense for a decent wage. We're ready to play offense for retirement security...
We're ready to play offense for organized labor. It's time we had a President who didn't choke saying the word 'union.' A President who knows it's the Department of Labor and not the Department of Management. And a President who strengthens our unions by letting them do what they do best - organize our workers. If a majority of workers want a union, they should get a union." Apr. 2, 2008 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following in his Sep. 6, 2011 document "Believe in America: Mitt Romney's Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth," available at www.mittromney.com:
"Too often, unions drive up costs and introduce rigidities that harm competitiveness and frustrate innovation. The statistics tell an unkind story. Studies conducted by non-partisan scholars have shown that labor unions reduce investment and slow job growth. Compare the economic performance of states that have embraced Right-to- Work laws, under which workers cannot be compelled to pay union dues, with states that have retained more union-friendly policies. Over the past ten years, Right-to-Work states have added more than three million jobs, while the others have lost nearly a million... In the midst of an economic crisis, with 25 million people needing work, policies that strengthen the hand of labor unions at the expense of both businesses and workers are probably the last thing the country has needed." June 6, 2011 Mitt Romney
Jill Stein, MD, former Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, stated the following in her Jan. 2012 speech "A People's State of the Union: A Green New Deal For America," available at www.jillstein.org:
"The Green New Deal begins with an Economic Bill of Rights that recognizes our rights to an economy that serves people. This means that everyone willing and able to work has the right to a job at a living wage. All of us have the right to quality education, health care, utilities, and housing. Each of us has the right to unionize, to fair taxation, and to fair trade...
We will honor workers rights, including the right to a living wage, a safe workplace, to fair trade, and to organize a union at work without fear of firing or reprisal. The idea that the Bill of Rights does not apply to you when you enter your workplace is an idea that says that you are only free when you are not working. That’s not acceptable in America." Jan. 2012 Jill Stein
Michele Bachmann, US Representative (R-MN), stated the following at the Palmetto Freedom Forum in Columbia, SC, on Sep. 5, 2011:
"Well, I support the right-to-work law [legislation that let employees decide for themselves whether or not they want to join a union or financially support it], both nationally and at the state levels as well. I think it's very important that all American workers have the right to work. South Carolina has that right. Unfortunately, President Obama has been seeking to deny that right, in particular when it comes to the Boeing Corporation, through the NLRB [National Labor Relations Board]. When President Obama appointed on the NLRB someone who has a pro-union vote and a pro-union world view, they have denied to the people of South Carolina literally thousands of high-paying jobs in this state. And it isn't just this one company that's being impacted. It's other companies from other nations that are looking at South Carolina. They would love to come and start businesses and build businesses here. I spoke with the governor of South Carolina. She told me that companies from as diverse areas as Japan, Canada and Germany would love to be able to put new jobs and new businesses in this state, but they're wondering what the ruling of the NLRB will be." Sep. 5, 2011 Michele Bachmann
Herman Cain, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and Chairman of Godfather's Pizza, stated the following in the article "Unleash Economic Growth," available at www.hermancain.com (accessed Sep. 28, 2011):
"The federal government also impedes economic growth by interfering in the employer and employee relationship. While labor unions once provided a representative body to lobby for fair wages and safe working conditions for employees, they now principally serve as a political mechanism for the Left. Forced unionization through the dishonestly named 'Employee Free Choice Act,' or 'card check,' would drive up the costs of goods and services, cause hundreds and thousands of jobs to be lost and ultimately, a more powerful system of liberal fundraising to be maintained." Sep. 28, 2011 Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives (R-GA), stated the following during the June 13, 2011 CNN Republican presidential debate held in Manchester, NH:
"And one of the things the Congress should do immediately is defund the National Labor Relations Board which has gone into South Carolina to punish Boeing, which wants to put 8,000 American jobs in South Carolina, by fundamentally eliminating right-to-work [legislation that let employees decide for themselves whether or not they want to join a union or financially support it] at the National Labor Relations Board (there are more than 22 states with right-to-work laws -- laws that do not force people to pay union dues as a condition ofemployment). That's a real, immediate threat from the Obama administration to eliminate right-to-work. And I think that it is fundamentally the wrong direction. I hope that New Hampshire does adopt right-to-work. I frankly keep it at the state level because as each new state becomes right-to-work, they send a signal to the remaining states, don't be stupid. Why you want to be at California's unemployment level when you can be Texas's employment level? Or North Dakota's? And I think... that if you believe in the 10th Amendment, we ought to -- let the states learn from each other. And the right-to-work states are creating a lot more jobs today that the heavily unionized states. The public employee union question is a totally different issue." June 13, 2011 Newt Gingrich
Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, stated the following in his article "NH Should Protect Personal Liberty with a Right-to-Work Law," published Aug. 12, 2011 in the Union Leader:
"Right-to-work legislation [laws that let employees decide for themselves whether or not they want to join a union or financially support it] shouldn’t generate controversy. The law would protect a worker’s basic right to freedom of association by preventing individuals from being forced to give part of their paycheck to a union for the privilege of going to work.
In this country, no one should be forced to join or finance a private political organization against his or her will…I witnessed firsthand the fruits of that advantage in Utah, which is one of 22 states with a right-to-work law. Our state was first in the nation for job growth, largely because of policies — like right to work — that create an environment for small businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive." Aug. 12, 2011 Jon Huntsman
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), wrote the following in his Sep. 9, 2011 article "Ron Paul: The War On Jobs," available at www.fitnews.com:
"If the Obama administration succeeds, it could result in the virtual destruction of right-to-work laws all across the country: No longer could private companies decide for themselves where to move or open new facilities; the government would now take on that responsibility and make decisions based solely on what benefits the big-labor elite. Right-to-work states would be left out in the cold.
According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, right-to-work states had more than double the job growth of forced-unionism states over the past decade. In other words, big-labor control over American workers is a drag on our economy.
It was organized labor's stranglehold that drove the big three automakers to the brink of bankruptcy — until American taxpayers were forced to rescue them. And it's not just in the private sector. Big labor's control of government workers in California, Illinois and elsewhere has driven those states to the brink of bankruptcy...
As a congressman, I've been a consistent cosponsor and supporter of national right-to-work legislation. Such a law won't put more federal code on the books or make government any bigger; in fact, it will help shrink government by repealing forced-dues mandates in federal labor law passed under FDR.
Along with cutting taxes, spending and regulations, passage of right to work would go a long way toward getting our economy moving again.
With so much at stake in this fight, and considering the ever-declining state of our fragile economy, it's never been more important that the Republican nominee for president be 100 percent committed to standing up for fighting forced unionism." Sep. 9, 2011 Ron Paul
Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana, stated the following in a June 24, 2011 television interview with Tom Griffith on WMUR-TV 9 New Hampshire, available at www.wmur.com:
"I believe in the freedom of a union, but I don’t believe in the guarantee of one. One of the reasons that we lost a lot of jobs in America is because of the intransient and aggressive nature of the unions. You know they feathered their own nest and look what happened to the automobile industry. Watch what happens to the education industry… the trouble with unions are it’s either all their way or nothing." June 24, 2011 Buddy Roemer
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following in the Sep. 22, 2011 Fox News/Google Republican presidential debate held in Orlando, FL:
"I -- I think the most important area that we have to focus in on when it comes to unions is public employee unions. That's the area of unionization that's growing the fastest and it's costing us the most money. We've seen these battles on the state level, where unions have -- have really bankrupted states from pension plans to here on the federal level, for example, 30 percent to 40 percent union -- union employees make above their private-sector equivalents. I do not believe that -- that state, federal or local workers, unions, should be involved in unions. And I would actually support a bill that says that we should not have public employee unions for the purposes of wages and benefits to be negotiated." Sep. 22, 2011 Rick Santorum