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Union officials are some of the undisputed beneficiaries of “Bidenomics.” Bidenomics pro-union boss agenda (which is far from the same thing as pro-worker agenda) reaches beyond the Labor Department and the National Labor Relations Board. For example, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) head Lina Khan has made promoting unions part of her “holistic” antitrust agenda. Biden has also made exporting compulsory unionism a major part of his trade agenda, which his trade representative Katherine Thai inaccurately calls a “worker-centered trade agenda.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the largest federal agency to use its regulatory authority to advance the interests of the union bosses and other special interests favored by Democrats and progressives. The SEC has recently unveiled a “proxy” rule, governing the materials provided to shareholders so they can vote in the yearly election of board members without having to attend the board meeting in person. The SEC’s new “universal proxy” rule requires all candidates for board seats to be listed on the same proxy card as those candidates favored by the existing board. The effect of this rule is to makes it impossible for shareholders to distinguish between those with a long-term interest in the company and those who want to use a board position to advance an agenda—like giving union officials undue influence in the company—that may or may not be in the shareholders' best interest.

An organization called the “Strategic Organizing Center” (SOC), which is an alliance of the Service Employees Union, the Communication Workers Union, and the Farm Workers Union, is using the proxy rule to put three pro-union progressives on the board of the popular coffee company Starbucks. SOC’s candidates include former President Bill Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff and senior fellow of the left-wing Center for American Progress Maria Echaveste, and former government employee and current “guest scholar”at the center-left Brookings Institute Josh Gotbaum. The piece de resistance of SOC’s candidates is Wilma Liebman, Barack Obama’s Chair of the National Labor Relations Board. Anyone who understands the relationship between the union bosses and the Democratic Party knows the job of a NLRB chair in a Democratic administration is to do everything possible to advance the agenda of union bosses.

SOC defines its mission as working with “with affiliated unions and progressive allies on transformational campaigns” designed to enhance union power. So why would this group take interest in the Starbucks board? Because the popular coffee company has long been a top union target. SOC no doubts expects the three board members to use their influence to minimize Starbucks’ resistance to unionization. They can also ensure that not only is the workforce unionized, but that Starbucks’ management agrees to all of the demands of union bosses.

The proxy rule allows SOC to use Starbucks’ resources to promote its slate even though SOC is far from a major shareholder in Starbucks. SOC owns 161 shares in the coffee company, which amounts to roughly $16,000 of Starbucks’ $105 billion-dollar capitalization! Yet, thanks to the Biden Administration, SOC can use its small investment to stage a pro-union boss insurrection.

The SOC is successfully bringing together union field groups, and progressives will use the proxy rule to stage instructions in other board elections. The result will be that many large companies will have to divert resources away from serving consumers, growing their businesses, creating good jobs, and rewarding investors. Instead, they'll waste precious resources on progressive causes like the “green economy.”

Congress could repeal the proxy rule via legislation. But since support from the union political machine is key to the Democrats maintaining control of the Senate and the White House—and maybe regaining control for the House of Representatives—Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is not going to move any legislation rolling back the SEC’s gift to union leadership. That shouldn’t stop the Republican-led House from holding hearings and passing legislation to stop this trick to make shareholders vote to increase union power. At the very least, this will force Congress to defend what it's doing for unions in public. 

Norm Singleton is a senior fellow at the Market Institute. 

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