Lawmakers Looking to Revisit Union Exemptions to Extortion Laws

-By Warner Todd Huston

So, imagine a law that gives those most prone to breaking the law a permanent get out of jail free card. That’s what you get when you have unions exempted from extortion laws and that is exactly what has happened since 1946. But some lawmakers are finally trying to change this sorry state of affairs.

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Bill McMorris reports that Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) is trying to close the loophole that allows those most prone to lawbreaking to get away with it.

Labor groups are immune from prosecution under the Hobbs Act, a 1946 provision that criminalized extortion and robbery using the threat or fear of force. Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) attempted to close that loophole last year with the Freedom from Union Violence Act (FUVA).

So, what does this all mean? Well, unless Lee is successful the unions will continue getting their get out of jail card. As it now stands any time unions commit crimes, sabotage the workplace, intimidate people (whether other workers or employers) or in any way act criminally, they are actually immune from prosecution. In other words, union thugs really can act with total impunity.

“[The Hobbs exemption] is really an amazing special privilege only granted to unions,” Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, told McMorriss. “We are trying to clarify the provisions of the act so that picket line violence is treated the same as rioting and other forms of violence, but union influence has killed [the bills] every time.”

McMoriss goes into detail on the history of this horrible law and the efforts to defeat it.

Naturally, union supporters are trying their level best to defeat Senator Lee’s efforts to hold unions accountable for their common law breaking. Let’s hope they fail and Lee succeeds.

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