Serial No. 106-11


Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce



















Wednesday, March 17, 1999



The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 11:25 a.m., in Room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John A. Boehner [chairman of the committee] presiding.

Present: Representatives Boehner, Petri, Ballenger, McKeon, DeMint, Andrews, Kildee, Romero-Barcelo, Wu, and Owens.

Staff Present: Lauren Fuller, Professional Staff Member; Peter Gunas, Professional Staff Member; Jason Ayeroff, Staff Assistant; Mark Rodgers, Workforce Policy Coordinator; Robert Borden, Professional Staff Member; Michael Reynard, Media Assistant; Deborah Samantar, Office Manager; Peter Rutledge, Senior Legislative Associate, Labor; Brian Kennedy, Minority Labor Counsel; and Shannon McNulty, Minority Staff Assistant, Labor.


Chairman Boehner. [presiding] Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. A quorum being present, the subcommittee will come to order.

I welcome our witnesses and those who have come today to show their interest in this issue. Under Rule 12(b) of the committee rules, any oral opening statements are limited to the chairman and the ranking minority member. This will allow us to hear from our witnesses sooner and help members keep to their schedules. Therefore, if any members have opening statement that they wish to submit, they can include those in the hearing record. Without objection, all members' statements will be inserted into the record.



Today's hearing begins a bipartisan look during this Congress at the issue of union democracy. I plan on conducting a series of hearings to lay the groundwork for strengthening the rights of rank-and-file union workers. By the term ``union democracy,'' I mean all of the rights granted to union members by the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, and this will be the only time you will hear me give the entire title of that statute, or commonly referred to after its sponsors, the Landrum-Griffin Act.

We will hear today from three of the country's foremost experts in this area. They will educate the Subcommittee about the LMRDA, what the intent of the law is, how it has been working, where it has fallen short, and, hopefully, point us in the right direction to make sure Congress is doing all it can to protect the rights of American workers.

The LMRDA is all about making sure union rank and file have a full, equal and democratic voice in their unions' affairs. The Act was drafted to ensure that individual union members have enough information about, and say in, their union affairs that they can completely regulate themselves. Through democratic participation and the public disclosure of union financial matters to their members, the drafters of the LMRDA sought to ensure union officials would be accountable to their members, and thereby protect members from corrupt or otherwise unwanted or undemocratic leadership. In addition to giving a right to financial information, the LMRDA protects, among other rights, free speech and assembly, the right to nominate candidates and vote in union elections, and the right to impose fiduciary obligations upon union officers, particularly in the use of union funds.

This subcommittee held four hearings in the last Congress on the issue of union democracy. Two of today's witnesses, Professor Clyde Summers of the University of

Pennsylvania Law School and Mr. Herman Benson of the Association for Union Democracy, testified last year and assisted in the drafting of the ``Democratic Rights for Union Members Act,'' introduced last October. During this Congress, I trust we can continue to work together on both sides of the subcommittee to improve the LMRDA.

The subcommittee has seen, and as we will hear in testimony today, the goals of LMRDA are not always reached. Some union members, those who belong to purely public sector unions, are not even covered by the LMRDA. I want to discuss that gap in the law and what should be done about it. We are pleased to have Professor Stanley Aronowitz of the City University of New York here today to speak specifically to the public sector issue.

But some general thoughts before I introduce the witnesses. It seems to me that a union is not a private, profit making enterprise. Rather, unions exist to express the will of their members. Unions belong to the members, and the bottom line for any labor organization should be the will of the membership. It seems to me that most of the time, the media carries a story about organized labor and some injustice involving a RICO suit, or some other action by the Department of Justice. But there already exists on the books a law, the LMRDA, which is supposed to protect members. Unfortunately, it seems that too many are unaware of the law, and it also appears that the Department of Labor, which has jurisdiction over this Act, is not aggressively enforcing the law.

As the Subcommittee moves forward with this series of hearings, my intent is to look in a bipartisan manner at a vital piece of legislation passed four decades ago, and to examine whether we need to dust off the LMRDA and make some improvements.


Our first witness today will be Professor Clyde Summers of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. It was Professor Summers, who, at then Senator John F. Kennedy's request in 1957, served on a committee of experts to draft a ``Bill of Rights'' for union members which ultimately became Title I of the LMRDA. We are pleased that he is back before the subcommittee again to help us as we launch this series of hearings.


Our next witness will be Mr. Herman Benson. Mr. Benson is founder and former director of the Association for Union Democracy in Brooklyn, New York, a foundation formed in 1969 to promote the principles of internal union democracy. He currently serves as the Association's Secretary Treasurer and we are happy that he has returned as well.


Our next witness will be Professor Stanley Aronowitz of the City University of New York. Mr. Aronowitz will enlighten us regarding the applicability of the LMRDA to public sector unions. He was recently interviewed in a 60 Minutes segment on the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which we will play momentarily as background for the kinds of issues we talk about when we say ``union democracy'' and for our discussion on public unions.


Let me say that our fourth scheduled witness, Dr. Seymour Martin Lipset, of George Mason University, is unable to attend today, but we will leave the record open for his written statement. At this time, I would like to ask my friend and the distinguished ranking member from New Jersey, Mr. Andrews, if he has an opening statement.

[The statement of Chairman Boehner follows:]




Mr. Andrews. Good morning, Mr. Chairman. I want to begin by apologizing to you and the fellow members and the staff and to the panel for my tardiness today. I had blood work done at home. I was back in New Jersey this morning at a lab for a 7:00 a.m. appointment and they got to me about 8:15 a.m., so I do want to announce we will be having a new section of the Patient's Bill of Rights the next time we look at that.


Thank you for this opportunity. I am delighted we have such a distinguished panel today. I share your intent and the spirit of your remarks that we want to take a bipartisan look at the operation of this statute and its improvement.

I do want to say that I come at this from a perspective that may be somewhat different than yours, and I want to be clear that it is on the record. I believe that collective bargaining works. It is not perfect. Unions are not perfect. The collective bargaining process does not always work flawlessly. But I believe that collective bargaining, under the body of statutes and case law we have established and administrative decisions we have established in the country in the last five or six decades, has served the economic growth and the causes of economic justice very well.


I come at these hearings by asking a couple of basic questions. How might we consider fine tuning or improving the basic underlying statutes to make collective bargaining work better, to make unions work more responsibly for their members? No institution is without its flaws.


And the second question, which I think we should ask is what kinds of other changes might we consider in labor management practice? For example although it is outside the scope of this immediate statute, one of the areas which I think is flawed is the relatively light sanctions that are imposed on an employer who fails to bargain in good faith. We have had in my area several instances where unions have won organizing elections. There has been a failure to bargain in good faith, as found by the National Labor Relations Board, in a matter of competent jurisdiction. And the penalties that are imposed for that failure in good faith are minimal to non-existent. It seems to me that if we are going to have a serious sanction or rather a serious right, the right to collective bargaining after a duly constituted election, then there needs to be a serious remedy as well. And that is one area that I would like to see us get into.

Finally, let me say with respect to the initial part of today's hearing and the airing of the 60 Minutes segment. It is worth seeing. It is indisputable that something terribly wrong happened to the rights of union members in New York City. It is indisputable.

But I do think the record should be balanced by some statements of some good things that occurred in the aftermath of this scandal occurring in New York City. The International Union of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees stepped in very forcefully and took what I believe are significant actions to clean up the mess that we are about to see.

Second, that international union has stayed on top of the situation and has introduced tough, stringent, effective new accounting, auditing, and election procedures, which I believe will benefit the members of that union very significantly.


And third, and I think the record would bear this out, there has been exemplary cooperation with law enforcement authorities, both in New York State and at the Federal level, by the members and leaders of the international union because they clearly understood the gravity of the problem that we are about to see.

It is very important that we look at this anecdotal and significant piece of evidence of a problem, and I concur that we need to look at it. But I also think it is important that the record show that where something egregiously wrong has happened, it be balanced by the finding that something significantly right has happened. And what has happened right here is that the international union has taken an aggressive, proactive posture in response to the problem; it has enacted remedial procedures in both the financial and election areas, and it has actively cooperated with the law enforcement activities that are ongoing.

So, I, again, want to thank the panelists for giving us their time this morning. I, again, apologize for my tardiness. It is the fault of the unregulated health care insurance industry here in America, and with that, I would yield back to the chairman.


Chairman Boehner. Well, thank you. We will now view the segment from 60 Minutes.


[The transcript of the videotape follows:]



Chairman Boehner. Before we begin, we are going to remove this TV that separates the witnesses from the members. Given that we have just one panel today and with just three witnesses, I think we will waive the customary five-minute rule as long as you do not get carried away.


And with that said, Professor Summers, you may begin.



Mr. Summers. My name is Clyde Summers. I am Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania. I have studied, written, and been involved in these problems of internal union affairs and union democracy for a little over 50 years, and it is from that experience that I want to speak. My limited purpose here today is to give some background concerning the Landrum-Griffin Act, I will not use the long name, and to explore its premises and purposes because it seems to me that only if we understand fully what the purpose and premises of that statute were that we can make any sense out of what might be done to improve the statute.

To do that, we have to start with the roots. And those roots go back to the passage of the Wagner Act in 1935. The essential premise is that the statute declared it to be the national policy to encourage the practice and procedures of collective bargaining. And the premise of that statute, one which is, for the most part, lost sight of today was that it was to provide a system in which workers would have some effective voice in determining the terms and conditions of their employment. It was, in the words of those days, ``to establish industrial democracy.''

And Senator Wagner, who was the architect of that statute, explained its purposes in this way. And I will read the quote.

``The principles of my proposal were surprisingly simple. They were founded upon the accepted facts that we must have democracy in industry as well as government; that democracy in industry means fair participation for (sic) those who work in the decisions vitally affecting their lives and livelihood; and that workers in our great mass production industries can enjoy this participation only if allowed to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.''

Collective bargaining, however, could not serve this purpose if the unions were themselves not democratic, because industrial democracy could be meaningful only if those who represented the workers in the process of bargaining reflected the wishes of their members. So, the industrial democracy in unions is really an essential element for collective bargaining and the purposes of collective bargaining.

So I might put it this way: the basic premise of the Landrum-Griffin Act was that the ultimate goals of collective bargaining can be achieved only if union members are guaranteed their democratic rights with the union. And let me say that at the time of the passage of Landrum-Griffin, among the strongest supporters for that statute were those who believed the most in collective bargaining.

The focus of Landrum-Griffin, therefore, was to protect the democratic rights of union members and the democratic process in union decision making. Senator McClellan, whose investigation stirred the demand for legislation and lasted two or three years, in introducing his Bill of Rights for Union Members as a amendment to the committee proposal stated this:

"I do not believe that racketeering, corruption, abuse of power or other improper practices on the part of some labor organizations can be or ever will be prevented until and unless the Congress of the United States has the wisdom and courage to enact laws prescribing minimum standards of democratic process and conduct for the administration of union affairs. The Congress should prescribe and define by law what the rights of union members are, place in them by democratic process and (sic) power to secure those rights, and protect them in their efforts to do so. If this bill is enacted into law, it would bring the conduct of union affairs and to union members the reality of some of the freedoms from oppression we enjoy as citizens by virtue of the Constitution.''

And so the whole focus of the Landrum-Griffin Act was to protect the democratic rights of members as an instrument in collective bargaining. There was a guiding principle to limit governmental intervention to the minimum, to limit intervention in terms of union decision making, to leave unions free to make their own decision. But this was to be accomplished by guaranteeing the democratic process inside the union on the logic, the philosophy that if the union members made these decisions on their own, that these were democratically made, this gave a legitimacy to those decisions. And society generally should give wide deference to those substantive decisions.

So although the statute intervened in union affairs, it was for the purpose of guaranteeing a process which would enable government to stay out of union decision making. The statute is aimed at the procedures, not at the union decision, to guarantee the procedures and then accept the decisions made through the democratic process. The statute protects and enhances the democratic process by guaranteeing what I could classify as five basic rights.

First is the right to know. The union members can have an effective voice in the union only if they know what their officers are doing. And what you have just seen, I think, is a good example of that; that the members did not know what their officers were doing. And so in the statute, Title I, there is a provision that union members should be provided copies of the collective agreements that govern them. A simple matter.

Title II requires financial reporting of unions with the Department of Labor. But more important, it requires that financial reports be given to the union members so they will know. But of more crucial nature is the provision in the statute that a union member, on showing probable cause, has a right to examine the books; to see, in more detail, how the union finances are being managed. In what you have just seen, if we had that provision, all of this could have been uncovered by a member's suit to examine the records behind whatever reports were given.

The second basic right is the right of free speech and assembly. This is the right of the union members to speak their voice and to organize within themselves as caucuses so that they may criticize the union officers. They may charge the union officers with corruption. They may have the right to distribute the literature. And so free speech becomes, in a sense, the key element in terms of providing the democratic process. And so you can see from what you have just seen from the videotape, one man with the freedom of speech can ultimately work a very substantial change in union policy, and particularly in eliminating corruption.

The third basic right is the right to participate in decision making, so there in the Bill of Rights, is the provision that every member shall have equal rights to participate. Many courts, most of the courts, have said equal rights does not mean just formal equal rights. It means a meaningful vote, and so where union officers put something to a referendum, in a loaded proposition, or refuse to give full information about it and try to keep members from publicizing what the meaning of it is, this is considered a denial of equal rights. And it is a denial of equal rights because what it means is the union officers, the incumbents, by the control of the process can control the outcome. It is to prevent animal farm, which is, all pigs are equal but some are more equal than others. This right ensures that the members will have equal rights with the officers.

And the fourth basic right is the right to fair elections. Title IV has elaborate provisions concerning protection of the campaigning process and limiting the use of union funds for the campaign. So it has a rather comprehensive regulation, not just of the voting, because by the time of the voting, it is all taken care of. The problem comes in the right of equal participation on the campaigning that candidates have some kind of an equal choice.

And the fifth basic right is the right that union officers have a fiduciary relationship. So the statutes provides Article 5 for that fiduciary relationship. These are the basic rights.

Now, I would like to make one point that is frequently not recognized, and it is recognized only if you really become familiar with the way unions function. Unions are political institutions. And whether they are corrupt or whether they are dictatorial, or whether they are fully democratic, they are political institutions. But there is a character about unions which is different from our civic political structure, and that is that in unions there are no two party systems. The unions are a one-party system, because the incumbents in power have control over most lines of communication. They have the patronage of paid employees. They have favors to give out and there is no organized opposition party. You get democracy in unions only if you find some way of adequately protecting those who raise protests and give them some chance to organize and call the officers to be accountable. Freedom of speech in the union needs to be broader than freedom of speech in the civic society for the simple reason that, in terms of political speech, in the civic society, we have two parties and they provide a basis for debate. But without two parties, you have to protect the individual, like Mr. Rosenthal, to come out and speak as lonely individuals who then can bring attention to it.

So it seems to me that what is important is thinking about what to do in the statute. You have to think in terms of how to preserve democracy in a one-party system. How do you make it meaningful in a one-party system? That seems to me to be the great challenge of trying to manage this situation.

Well, I want to close where I began. The demand that unions be democratic derives from their role as collective bargaining representatives. It rests ultimately on the function of collective bargaining to give employees a voice in the decisions that affect their working lives. It has meaning as an adjunct, an element of collective bargaining. The commitment to union democracy must rest ultimately on our commitment to collective bargaining as an instrument of industrial democracy. For the ultimate goal is industrial democracy, and it can come only where workers can speak through representatives of their own choosing.

In my view, those who are not fully committed to promoting and encouraging the practices and procedures of collective bargaining have no standing to discuss, much less demand, union democracy. Thank you.

[The statement of Mr. Summers follows:]



Chairman Boehner. Well, thank you, Professor Summers. Certainly, after 50 years of working in this area, I think you qualify as an expert.

Mr. Benson, you may begin.



Mr. Benson. My name is Herman Benson. My background is a toolmaker and machinist, and I have been a member of several unions in that connection such as the United Automobile Workers, the Rubber Workers, International Union of Electrical Workers, the United Electrical Workers; and for six years I served as an aide to a great reformer, Frank Schoenfeld, when he was secretary-treasurer of District Council Nine of the Painters Union in New York City.

I have been active in this field since just before the Landrum-Griffin Act was passed, and I was a founder with Clyde Summers of the Association for Union Democracy back in 1969. The Association for Union Democracy I would describe essentially as a civil liberties organization for the rights of members inside their unions. And I would emphasize in this connection that we support the rights of unionists regardless of their ideological, social, or political leanings. We would support the rights of unionists from left, right, and center against abuse from anybody center, left, or right.

Now, in earlier sessions, the committee has already heard voluminous testimony, and Clyde Summers now has even amplified it further, about how important the Landrum-Griffin Act has been in strengthening the rights of members inside their unions. I am sure Professor Aronowitz will speak about how important it is to extend those rights to members of public employees' unions who are excluded from the Act.

At this point, private employees are covered by the Landrum-Griffin Act. Federal employees are covered, by extension, by the Civil Service Reform Act and, by analogy, have the rights written in Landrum-Griffin Act, with slightly different enforcement procedures.

But public employees are completely excluded, and this has been a real gap in the protection of workers rights because this is the largest growing sector of American unionism, which already encompasses close to 17% to 20% of membership of the American labor movement, and it is growing. So that if they are not included, you are excluding a vast proportion of the union membership from the rights that we take for granted.

Last Congress, the committee itself after hearing testimony came up with what I think is an excellent bill, H.R. 4770, which has two excellent proposals for remedying defects in the Landrum-Griffin Act. At previous sessions, we have heard from many members of various unions, including, at one point, some 200 carpenters who expressed their feelings about weakness in the Landrum-Griffin Act and the necessity for strengthening those provisions. And I think the committee has responded to those concerns in two of the major provisions that are included in H.R. 4770, which I think is an excellent proposal.

For at least the last 30 years, the Association for Union Democracy has functioned as kind of a private LMRDA enforcement agency. We have been in contact with literally thousands and thousands of union members in the course of these years, covering virtually every major union in the United States, helping them to understand what their rights are and actually assisting them in enjoying these rights.

And so, I wish you would bear with me when I cite some of our experiences in this connection and hopefully that the committee members will consider this experience as they continue their deliberations.

At first glance, this might seem to be a very simple area of work. We are dealing with motherhood issues of fair play, fair elections, free press, free speech, and who could possibly be against it. And yet, despite that appearance of simplicity, this has been a very difficult area to work in. I must emphasize that. This is one of our key lessons that we have learned in this 40 years of experience in trying to enforce workers rights.

And the reason why this is a difficult area, despite its apparent simplicity, is that we, the Association for Union Democracy and those that have been working with us, have been caught in a cross fire between two major contending partisan camps of the national, social, and political arena. I cannot think of any better code word to define them, despite its inadequacy. Let us call them conservatives and liberals.

Liberal political representatives are convinced that the public interest requires a strong labor movement, but that the labor movement today is too weak, and it has to be defended from any measure or attack that would undermine that strength. They are, therefore, so suspicious of any thing that smacks of criticism of unions that their knee-jerk reaction has been to reject any effort to strengthen workers' rights inside their unions as an attack on the labor movement. I am trying to describe here, and not evaluate.

Conservatives on the other hand, feel that unions represent a special interest group that already wields too much power and influence in America, and that the public interest requires that its powers should be curbed or controlled. I in that connection, they emphasize the goal of strengthening the rights of workers or even the rights of society as against unions. I must emphasize that.

And in this confrontation, between these two main wings of discussion on labor and collective bargaining problems, in an odd way they sort of buttress one another, because each side strengthens and stiffens the back of the other. The more union officials and their political allies resist fair play inside unions, the more they give ammunition to those who would curb unionism.

On the other hand, the more the other side demands restrictions on unions, demands rights as against unions, the more they strengthen the hand of those or give ammunition to those who resist the defense of workers' rights inside their union; that is, union democracy.

Those 200 construction workers who were down here at these hearings were cheering our proposals for LMRDA enforcement and strengthening. They were good union members who want stronger unions and stronger union democracy.

In any event, what I call a sort of symbiotic relationship between these two main contending champs, makes it very difficult to sound a clear call for improved union democracy. And what I would like you to really think about is the following: that if we get bogged down in the familiar old debates, we are off to the races. We can have the same old arguments for the same old sides in the same old way resolving nothing and accomplishing nothing.

I just want to recall to your memory that the Dunlop Commission, which came and went, to which we presented a whole series of proposals for reforming Landrum-Griffin, accomplished nothing. And the sharp divisions between these two camps, however you want to define them, are not likely to go away. If we are to make any legislative progress on union democracy after 40 years of Landrum-Griffin, we have to find some way of transcending that division and not get mired in it.

And the outstanding achievement of these subcommittee meetings, which I have followed very closely with optimism, has been its success so far in finding that line which remains strictly on the grounds of fair play in unions. H.R. 4770 does this very well. I think extending it, these same principles, to public employee unions would make the greatest advance in the field of union democracy since the adoption of the Landrum-Griffin Act in 1959. Thank you.

[The statement of Mr. Benson follows:]



Chairman Boehner. Mr. Benson, thank you. Professor Aronowitz.



Mr. Aronowitz. My name is Stanley Aronowitz. I am distinguished professor of sociology at the Graduate School of City University of New York. I am the author of four books on labor and many books on other things; and about 125 articles. I was myself a union representative for the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers International Union and for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, which is now part of UNITE. I was an officer of Local 1724 of the United Steel Workers. I worked in a plant for about eight years. And I have followed with my most recent research, the situation in public employees not only in New York, but also around the country.

When Landrum-Griffin was passed in 1959, unions in public employment represented a handful of employees. There were no contracts at the State and local level or at the Federal level for public employees. Teachers were not organized. Municipal administrative employees were not organized. Many other categories. State employees were not organized. My friend Herman Benson uses a figure for 1999 of 17 percent to 20 percent. The figure is more like a third of the labor movement today is in public employment. This is an enormous growth in the last 40 years. There are now more than 5,000,000 state, county and municipal employees in public employment and Federal employees in public employment who are in unions.

And since then, the burden of labor relations law for public employees has been carried by the States and by local communities. Nearly none of those laws provides for the reporting and disclosure procedures of Landrum-Griffin. None of those laws provides a full Workers Bill of Rights that is contained in Landrum-Griffin. And what you saw this morning in the segment on 60 Minutes about D.C. 37 is in some respects the fruit of the exemptions that were made in 1959.

I would propose to you the following proposition. While those exemptions in 1959 may have had validity in terms of the representation that unions had of public employees, and also with respect to the longstanding American tradition of States rights, in 1999, they have no validity. Today, we are de facto in the labor relations we have a two-tier discriminatory system between private and public employees with respect to basic civil liberties and civil rights. And that is really what needs to be remedied and remedied very seriously.

I have followed D.C. 37 very closely, and one of the reasons that D.C. 37 is so startling as an example is that it is unlike the McClellan hearings of 1957, which largely addressed corruption in unions that had been known for long-term corruption, like the Teamsters, the Longshoremen, many other unions like the current crisis in D.C. 37. D.C. 37, by the way, is a union of 120,000 municipal employees of New York, the largest single district council in the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, was led by people, as I said in the tape, by people who surrounded themselves with the mantle of civil rights, civil liberties, and what we be called by Herman Benson in his previous testimony, the liberal wing of the labor movement. These were not people who had had long-term, well-known mob ties or anything like that.

And I think that what is really at the bottom of this problem is the arrogance of power, that is to say knowing that workers do not have the kind of rights that private sector workers enjoy under Landrum-Griffin, knowing that there are really no strong oversight procedures from levels of State or local government on union finances, and knowing that all they had to do, which they did, was to get the approval of the executive board of the local for these almost a million dollars worth of expenditures for one local union president; $50,000 of turkey profiteering and so. They felt that they were well within the existing law.

When Mark Rosenthal, whom I have interviewed on these issues, asked for information and could not get it, he knew that he had to run for president because as a president in Local 983 of the State, County, and Municipal Employees, he would be entitled, at the very least, to his own local's financial information. And, of course, when he received his own local's financial information, he discovered terrible violations of members' rights.

I have known Stanley Hill, the executive director of D.C. 37, for many years. We are on first name basis, and I do not believe Stanley Hill or any of those individuals are bad people. That was not at what was at issue. It was the arbitrariness and the arrogance of power.

Now, in my written testimony, I have posed the one option that I thought was the most realistic today to remedy some of this situation. I suggested that there might be a mandate or a standard established by legislation that would require state and local law to have a Workers' Bill of Rights and adequate reporting and disclosure procedures and that they set up adequate agencies, investigation and auditing procedures to be able to do this.

Since then, I have thought about it with some help from my colleagues, and I think the simplest thing to do would be to remove the exclusions from the Federal Act for state, county, and municipal employees. If the Federal employees have a parallel Act it perhaps would not require that the Federal employees be included. That would have to be examined in terms of the relative merits of both of the laws. But, the local laws that govern state, county, and municipal employees do not, I promise you, contain in the vast majority these kinds of protections. So if the protections were extended, that would be the most expeditious way of proceeding.

Now, having said that, I must say that it would also require, and I think this is probably what is one of the most important reforms, that enforcement be improved. And improved enforcement really means that the Department of Labor needs staff to be able to make the investigations and to be able to make the audits for perhaps one-third more employees than they were covering in the past.

I think one of the great problems and dangers in the D.C. 37 case was brought to the attention of this subcommittee by Mr. Andrews. I think he is perfectly correct, not every union conforms to the mess that is D.C. 37. Many public employees' unions are actually very well run, very clean, and, relatively speaking, democratic. I use the word relatively speaking democratic because many of the provisions of the Workers' Bill of Rights are being observed.

However, that is not the point. If one group of workers, a single group of workers in this country, is deprived of their rights, then Congress has an opportunity and I believe an obligation to address it. But the fact is that it is not one group of workers. The arbitrariness that has been evidenced in other unions that have large numbers of public employees, and I would cite to you an example which the union itself had to take care of :the Service Employees International Union, Local 32B, 32J in New York, which is a union of 55,000 workers, in which the president of the union recently stepped down under a similar cloud. And, of course, you know that SEIU is under the leadership of today's president of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeney, who came out of that union.

This shows that no union is perfect and that members' rights are not being protected in other places. I am sure that if we actually did a significant national survey, and I intend to do one, we might discover problems exist in other public employees venues. It would be inevitable for the reasons that I have cited.

So, in summary, what I would like to propose is that the most desirable way of approaching this inequity is to, and I am reiterating what I said before, remove the exemption of public employees from the Landrum-Griffin Act for State, county and municipal employees.

I want to say finally one word of explanation, perhaps. Why was local and State law permitted to not conform to the Federal law in State labor relations and labor relations of public employees? I have ventured in my testimony two explanations.

The first explanation was that the greatest concern in the 1950's and the 1960's of the fledgling public employees was to gain representation and collective bargaining. And they were terribly interested in getting laws at the state and local level that would give them representation and the ability to represent unions of their own choosing. I may point out to you that in the State of Texas and the State of Virginia and many other States, they still do not have the right to collective bargaining in public employment. So there is another reason in terms of the NLRA to extend the NLRA to public employment, because we do have cases of blatant discrimination.

But the second reason was rather different. It was a political reason. In the period from the 1960's and 1970's until today, as public employees grew stronger, their unions and their union leadership had the capacity to restrain legislatures from making such provisions of Workers' Bill of Rights. As Herman Benson has said, it does not follow that because you are a civic democrat that you are union democrat. We have, as Clyde Summers has said, virtual one-party rule in most unions, and public employees are no exception.

So I think that we have no option at this point, unless we are going to maintain the inequities and a patchwork situation at the State and local level, we must make public employees' unions subject to the Federal law and move quickly and expeditiously. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.


[The statement of Mr. Aronowitz follows:]



Chairman Boehner. Well, Professor Aronowitz, we thank you for your testimony and thank all of the witnesses for coming in today and sharing with us their background and their experience with this Act.

Let me begin with Professor Summers. You have watched LMRDA over the years, can you briefly point out some of the successes and some of the failures that you have seen?


Mr. Summers. Well, let me point out one major success, and that is the United Mine Workers. The United Mine Workers had a contest for an election. And it was because of Landrum-Griffin that the government had the ability to move in and order a new election. In the new election, the opposition to the incumbent officers won the election, because it was a supervised election. And there have been other cases. You have situations of local unions. In local unions where some member begins to criticize, for example, in District Council Number Nine of the Painters' Union, a group criticized the courts, and then a member was expelled because of that. The court said, under Landrum-Griffin, you cannot do that. And the end result was that they were in opposition to what turned out to be a corrupt union leadership. They ultimately won the election and got control of the union. So there are a lot of these examples.

But let me say I think the greatest impact of the Landrum-Griffin Act comes in two points. First, the Landrum-Griffin Act said to union members, you have a right to a democratic union. You have democratic rights. And that symbolic statement of the statute gave union members a feeling that yes, we do have democratic rights. And so the operation of the political system in many unions changed. Because there are the protections, union members feel more free to criticize, more free to run for union office, so that we can see cases where it has this effect. But we cannot measure the effect it has when it does not come to the crisis that gets into litigation.

I think that it has had a major impact. I think there are points of weakness in the statute. The two that are in the bill that was proposed here earlier by the committee last spring. I think there are other points of weakness in the situation. I think that in the election article, there needs to be more protection of the opposition to get a more balanced approach. I think personally that there should be votes on union contracts, because that is the most important thing that unions do. And so the members should be able to vote on the union contracts. In my written statement I indicate a number of points at which I think the statute could be increased.


Mr. Benson. Could I add something to that?


Chairman Boehner. Certainly.


Mr. Benson. All right. The question is, to what extent has the LMRDA been effective? It has been ineffective in various other ways, but to what extent has it been effective.

In the most general way, I would say there has not been a single advance of any significance in the field of union democracy since the adoption of the Landrum-Griffin Act that has occurred without the support and intervention of government, either under the LMRDA or of courts, or law enforcement authorities.

The support of power of a democratic government is absolutely essential to any advances in the field of union democracy. Specific examples: the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, recently. The top officers took millions of dollars out of that union treasury. They went to jail, by the way. That union was transformed and is now a democratic and decent union because members utilized their rights under the Landrum-Griffin Act. They had a reform movement, which used those rights and threw out the old officials even before they went to jail.

The Master, Mates and Pilots Union. The union, which was guilty of corrupt and illegal elections, using its rights under Landrum-Griffin, threw them out and established a democratic new administration.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. For 40 years they had clauses in their contract, in their constitution, that were illegal under LMRDA, which expelled, disciplined, and fined hundreds, probably thousands, of members. Using their rights under the Landrum-Griffin Act, members went into court and succeeded in throwing out all those provisions so that members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers can now exercise their rights to form groups and run organized campaigns for office without being intimidated and expelled.

Iron Workers Union. The Iron Workers had a clause in their constitution which forbid any local union from communicating with any other local union about union business without permission of the international executive board. Sounds fantastic? It was there. Using their rights under the Landrum-Griffin Act, members went to court and expunged that clause from their constitution.

These are only some of the most outstanding examples. The greatest achievement, of course, was in the teamsters' union, where members exercising their rights were able to break the hold of organized crime over their international union office. So that the record is clear, the Landrum-Griffin Act has been effective in making a change in the internal atmosphere in the American labor movement. But there have been many serious defects. The Act is not enforced aggressively enough, and there are many extreme areas in which union officials were able to evade provisions of the law, and they should be changed. But the record is clear.


Chairman Boehner. Well, first, let me ask this question: Do most union members understand their rights under LMRDA, and is there some process for informing them of their rights under the law?


Mr. Aronowitz. May I answer that?


Chairman Boehner. Professor.


Mr. Aronowitz. The answer to your first question is no. I think most union members only become aware of their rights when they are violated or because the union member has decided to challenge the leadership of the union. And they do not normally understand what their rights are. Many unions still operate under conditions of extreme intimidation and ignorance.

One of the ways of dealing with that would be to have an extensive educational campaign among rank-and-file members; that is, a handbook, some kind of public affairs programming on the media that would allow members to understand what their rights were. To my knowledge, no such campaign has been conducted, at least not in recent years.

The problem is that there is no two-party system, because there is no institutionalized opposition in almost any union. You had professor Lipset scheduled today. He wrote a famous book, with James S. Coleman, called Union Democracy, about a union called the International Typographical Union, now merged with others, which had an institutionalized two-party system. No other union, to my knowledge, has an institutionalized two-party. It would always be in the interest of the opposition, the out party, to make members aware of their rights, because the out-party would be naturally interested in getting that kind of information out.

But at this moment, my guess is that when a union or Mark Rosenthal, for example, who you saw today, wanted to challenge his leadership, he had to find a lawyer to tell him his rights. And the number of lawyers available who would talk to a Mark Rosenthal, who is an outsider, in New York, or for that matter in other places around the country, are very small. And it is organizations like the Association for Union Democracy that makes the few lawyers who really will talk and tell people their rights available, to which we should be grateful.


Chairman Boehner. Mr. Benson.


Mr. Summers. Let me only say_


Chairman Boehner. Professor, go ahead.


Mr. Summers. A word about the particular question and that is that there is a provision in the Bill of Rights, Section 105, that is supposed to require this kind of information be distributed. But there is no enforcement provision. And AUD has been trying to litigate to get some court ruling to require unions to regularly provide union members with information concerning the provisions of the statute.

So we have the odd thing that an employer must post in the plant workmen's compensation law, EEOC, all of these, but there is no requirement or distribution concerning union members' rights and no effective device.


Chairman Boehner. Let me ask one more question, and then I will turn to Mr. Andrews. I will have other questions later and we will do a second round.

Mr. Benson, the examples you pointed to, of success with LMRDA over the years, all of the examples you used came about as a result of clear corruption, abuse of power, that became known in some way shape or form.

It appears to me that if LMRDA were going to work as it was intended, these abuses would not have occurred originally. If, in fact, there had been more information given to union members in a more timely way, in a more complete way, those abuses would not have occurred to begin with. And what I am trying to root out here is, as we look at how do we improve this Act, how do we dust it off and bring it up to the 21st century? How can we make changes that will prevent the abuse from occurring in the first place?


Mr. Benson. There is no way to prevent abuses.


Chairman Boehner. To minimize abuses then.


Mr. Benson. Yes, right. I mean, the only thing you can do is to afford recourse to those who want to get rid of abuses. You know, we are not only talking about these abuses in the labor movement, we are talking about humanity and society and civilization.

If we are talking about how can we strengthen the Landrum-Griffin Act, I can start talking about this at quite some length. Clyde Summers could double my time on it. And we have entered into the record our presentation to the Dunlop Commission, if you remember it, in which we, the Association for Union Democracy, have presented a long dossier on how to improve provisions of the law.

I will just cite a few, and I am not proposing that you do something about it at the moment. I will get to that in a second. But I will just cite. Well, let us take Section 105, which Clyde Summers mentioned. It is a simple provision that says, labor unions shall inform their members of the provisions of this act. Some of them did that once in 1959. Since then, no union has ever conformed with that Act. The provision for enforcement is by private suit so that members have to get a lawyer, pay a lawyer; and they have to risk retaliation from within their union in order to enforce it. Simple thing. Section 105 should be enforceable not only by private suit, but by the enforcement agency, which happens to be the Department of Labor.

Let us take the Department of Labor. The Department of Labor is not an ideal agency for enforcing the Act, because for 99 percent of their activity they have to maintain close relations, and they should. I am not saying that they should not. Just like the Department of Commerce is supposed to help business, the Department of Labor should help unions. Fine, I agree with that.

But if 99 percent of their work requires cooperation with unions, it is impossible for them to do an effective job with that one percent, which means antagonizing union officials. So you have got a problem with the very agency of enforcement. That is one of the problems. Tell me when you get tired?


Chairman Boehner. It is not that I am tired of listening, but I want to respect the time of my colleagues.

Let me ask you this very short additional question. If the Department of Labor should not be the enforcing agency, which department should be?


Mr. Benson. Well, there are different opinions. Some people say the Department of Justice should do it directly. Others say there should be a special agency, but the reason why I am mentioning this is to ask you to exclude that from your thinking at the moment, because if you try to get into, at this point, some of these very complex and difficult issues of Landrum-Griffin, you are not going to get anywhere.

To accomplish something at this point, and I am getting back to my original statement, we have to get something that is clear, simple, and almost incontestable. Something that really stands out as an easy, simple concentrated thing. The three areas that we have now are, first, removing the presumption of validity for 18 months on the trusteeships; second, the right of workers for the direct election of all union bodies which are take-over collective bargaining, like district councils; and third, which would be a tremendous advance, is removing the exemption of public employees from Landrum-Griffin. If you did that, you would be making a tremendous contribution.

To try to get into all the other complicated areas of Landrum-Griffin at this point I think would be self-defeating.


Chairman Boehner. Well, thank you, and the Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Jersey.


Mr. Andrews. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you to the panelists for very thought-provoking and well-reasoned testimony.

Professor Aronowitz, I think I read one of your books when I was in college.


Mr. Aronowitz. Many people do. False Promises, I bet.


Mr. Andrews. I think it was False Promises, and I enjoyed it very much, and it is a pleasure to have you here today along with your colleagues.

I want to begin with Professor Summers. On page four of your testimony, you make a statement that there is little question that direct elections make union officers more responsive to their members or strengthen the democratic process. And this is in the context of international or national or intermediate bodies.

What criteria did you use to measure effectiveness? Is it a quantitative set of criteria? Is it qualitative? How do you measure union officers who are more responsive versus those who are less responsive?


Mr. Summers. Well, you have to examine the political process. If you have officers that are subject to direct election, they are inevitably more responsive to the members who vote.


Mr. Andrews. Yes.


Mr. Summers. If you have a delegate structure, they are one step removed, and as a consequence, they are concerned with pleasing the delegates. They are not concerned with pleasing_


Mr. Andrews. But what do we mean by the word responsive? Would we measure it by raises that were gained in a collective bargaining agreement or by increases in pension benefits? What is the measurement of responsiveness that we are looking for?


Mr. Summers. The measure of responsiveness is the extent to which the union officers reflect the desires and demands of the members, and whatever those demands are. Of course, they cannot get everything the members want, but at least the members should make the decision and should have the voice. And what I mean by responsiveness is that the officers listen to and give weight and consideration to the voice.


Mr. Andrews. I guess my only question, and it is really a rhetorical question is that it seems self-evident that if you have to depend on someone for their vote, you are going to be more responsive to them in an anecdotal sense. You are going to return their goals. You are going to return their letters. You are going to attend their meetings. But is not a more forceful measurement of effectiveness for a union leader the benefits and economic advantages he or she accrues for their members?


Mr. Summers. No.


Mr. Andrews. You do not think so.


Mr. Summers. Because the root of the whole problem is that collective bargaining was to give voice to the members. It was not just to get them raises and benefits. It was to give them a democracy within the plant. And so if you simply measure a union by whether they deliver to the members, then it seems that you have excluded one of the fundamental purposes of the collective bargaining.


Mr. Andrews. Of course, I am not suggesting that that be the only measurement, but I am just wondering what the measurements ought to be.


Mr. Benson, I want to ask you a question.


Mr. Benson. Oh, could I add to the question you just asked?


Mr. Andrews. As we have limited time, I would prefer to just ask you a question.


Mr. Benson. Yes, okay.


Mr. Andrews. I assume that if a higher unit of a union, be it an intermediate or a national, does not have a presumption of validity on the first 18 months of a trusteeship, that they would be less likely to impose that trusteeship because it may visit some liability or some litigation or some other negative things. Is that a fair statement? Do you think they would be less likely to impose trusteeships?


Mr. Benson. It is a fair, but incomplete statement.


Mr. Andrews. Okay. Can I just follow up? Okay, finish.


Mr. Benson. If the 18-month trusteeship was the pride of the validity_


Mr. Andrews. Right.


Mr. Benson. Union leaders who wanted to impose a legitimate trusteeship_


Mr. Andrews. Right.


Mr. Benson. To end corruption or to improve democracy would not hesitate to establish such trusteeships. Union leaders, however, who use trusteeships in order to cover up for corruption and to prevent reformers from throwing out corrupt officials, or use trusteeships in order to silence dissidents in their unions would have to think twice and three times before they impose such improper trusteeships.


Mr. Andrews. But if the validity of the trusteeship were challenged, who would determine whether the trusteeship was valid?


Mr. Benson. Under current law, there would be two avenues to challenge the trusteeship, which already exists. One would be through the Department of Labor.


Mr. Andrews. Which is administrative litigation, correct?


Mr. Benson. Yes.


Mr. Andrews. You have to hire lawyers and do discovery and have hearings.


Mr. Benson. No, presumably you do not have to hire a lawyer. If I bring a complaint to the Department of Labor_


Mr. Andrews. Right.


Mr. Benson. Presumably, I do not need a lawyer. The only reason I need a lawyer is that it has not been an effective enforcement agency.


Mr. Andrews. No, but would not the officers of the international or the intermediate unit have to be represented by counsel in that kind of proceeding? Would not the people imposing the trusteeship have to hire counsel?


Mr. Benson. Not before the Department of Labor, no. They would probably need one in court. They could go pro se, of course.


Mr. Andrews. I would be very surprised if they did not retain counsel in a situation like that because of the complexity. I am just making the point that there is a risk and an expense involved with this that might deter the imposition of legitimate trusteeships. We just saw in this 60 Minutes segment the imposition of a legitimate trusteeship that I think deserves the presumption of validity because there is a clean up process going on. Do you think there is any risk that that would be deterred?


Mr. Benson. No, and the case of D.C. 37 trusteeship is a very poor example, because they acted in that case belatedly and reluctantly, and it was only under the pressure of the Manhattan District Attorney, who was pressing criminal charges. And it was under the pressure of the formation of a committee for responsible unionism that the union moved.


Mr. Andrews. In your experience.


Mr. Benson. But that trusteeship would be so obviously justified.


Mr. Andrews. In your experience, could you estimate what percentage of trusteeships you think are justified and what percentage are not?


Mr. Benson. I cannot answer that because the Labor Department has ceased giving information. I could at one point, it would be possible to answer that. But the Labor Department used to issue annual reports on its functioning under the Landrum-Griffin Act. Some years ago, they stopped making those reports, so it is now impossible in the ordinary course of events for any ordinary citizen to give you an informed answer to that question.


Mr. Andrews. That sounds like something we ought to correct. Professor Aronowitz, I want to ask you a question. You advocate the extension of the protections of this statute to public employees, and you note that it is presently limited to activities that related to interstate commerce.


Mr. Aronowitz. That is correct.


Mr. Andrews. On what constitutional basis could we extend the protections of this Act to public employees?


Mr. Aronowitz. Well, there are two possibilities. In my testimony I said one way of extending them would be to set a Federal standard and require States to meet the Federal standard.


Mr. Andrews. But what would be the constitutional basis for that?


Mr. Aronowitz. Well, I think the constitutional basis would be, among other things, the First Amendment of the Constitution, free speech. There are no free speech rights. Therefore, if we have one of the ten amendments, the free speech and assembly amendment, then you might as well lift the exclusion because you then are simply extending those provisions.


Mr. Andrews. The First Amendment requires the regulation of State action. I am not sure there is any State action here to provide the basis. Let me ask you one other question, and I know Professor Summers, being a law professor wants to answer this, but let me ask you one more. Do you favor the extension of OSHA protections to public employees?


Mr. Aronowitz. Absolutely. But I think what you have to deal with, Mr. Andrews, and I think this is a problem for the Congress politically more than it is legally, frankly.


Mr. Andrews. Right.


Mr. Aronowitz. And I think it is the States' right doctrines, which were invoked at the time of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960's. They have been invoked in terms of labor relations all the time and health and welfare enforcement and so on. These are serious problems, and I think this is part of that long-term march away from a narrow definition of State rights when it comes to the regulation of labor relations.


Mr. Andrews. Of course, one of our problems is we have a Supreme Court opinion that says the imposition of a minimum wage increase on public employees is unconstitutional, is protected by the Tenth Amendment. Professor Summers, on what constitutional basis_


Mr. Summers. That decision has been overruled.


Mr. Andrews. Has it been overruled in totality?


Mr. Summers. So that now the Supreme Court has held and is, indeed, the fact that State employees_


Mr. Andrews. In totality?


Mr. Summers. That is clear.


Mr. Andrews. Yes. Could you tell me the constitutional basis for us imposing this statute on public employees?


Mr. Summers. It would be the same basis as the minimum wage.


Mr. Andrews. Which is what?


Mr. Summers. Apparently, the Commerce Department.


Mr. Andrews. Because States are_


Mr. Summers. All have to have is an impact on commerce.


Mr. Andrews. Because States touch and concern interstate commerce? Okay. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.


Chairman Boehner. Thank you, Mr. Andrews. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Ballenger.


Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Benson, you mentioned H.R. 4770, and I had not read it last year when Harris Fawell finally introduced it, but you mentioned that it was, in your consideration, a comparatively good bill. So luckily for me our intelligent young lady here had a copy of it. And so I started reading, and it is the simplest bill I ever saw. Five pages. I cannot see where anything is very difficult in it. The point that the Congressman mentioned about trusteeships says that 18 months after the authorization of the trusteeship that the labor organization should show clear and convincing proof that a continuation of the trusteeship is necessary. This is so simple, but do you have any idea why it did not go anywhere last time?


Mr. Benson. Why what?


Mr. Ballenger. Why H.R. 4770, the bill itself that you said was comparatively speaking a good bill, did not go anywhere last time? I just wondered if you have any idea why?


Mr. Benson. Why the bill did not go anywhere?


Mr. Ballenger. Yes.


Mr. Benson. Well, I think in my opening statement, I was trying to indicate why that kind of bill has difficulty getting anywhere, and that is it does not have any great enthusiastic constituency. Without being specific, I mean, you would normally think that the pro-labor liberal civil libertarian would flock to this kind of thing. But there is something about union democracy that makes people reluctant, who normally you might think would be in favor of civil liberties and extension of workers rights and their unions, free speech, fair elections, fair play would flock to that kind of thing, but somehow, we have not been able to get a mass constituency on behalf of such a provision, which is the whole problem that I have tried to address in my opening remarks.


Mr. Ballenger. Right. Well, the point I was trying to bring up, and I am glad you said it, was this difficulty. You have to realize that I do not come from the liberal side. I come from the conservative side. And the basic point is that if we have difficulty getting something this simple through this committee, we are not trying. There is no working together as a group, shall we say. The first thing we do is introduce a bill and have it attacked, maybe from both sides, who knows. But it appears to me that this subcommittee ought to be able to sit down and find out what is wrong with this bill. Mr. Aronowitz, maybe you can give me some suggestion.


Mr. Aronowitz. No, I have a_


Mr. Benson. Well, I will tell you what I think the problem is.


Mr. Aronowitz. I defer to Herman.


Mr. Benson. The problem is as follows.


Mr. Ballenger. Okay.


Mr. Benson. You present this bill on the floor. It will be attacked from two sides. One side's attack is that this is a grave attack upon the rights of workers somehow. Do not ask me how they are going to get to this, but somehow this is going to mean an attack on the rights of unions and an attempt to, et cetera, et cetera. That would be one problem.


On the other side, you are going to have conservatives who are going to say, at last we have this bill before us. We are going to put onto this all the things we have been dreaming about to cut down the political influence of unions and so on and so on. Instead of this bill being considered in and of itself as a measure to strengthen workers' rights and their unions, everybody from every side is going to try to attach their favorite argument onto it. That is the problem. And the problem is how do you avoid that?


Mr. Aronowitz. I just have a suggestion, and this would be for the pro-labor people, and they might, or you might appreciate this, Mr. Andrews.


No, I say you might. I am not suggesting whether you did or not. I think there is union leadership and pro-labor people generally are making a bad mistake. Because I think the D.C. 37 scandal is a terrible, terrible blot on the reputation of unions. And it brings up the recidivism of anti-labor sentiment. And unless both conservatives and liberals, or conservatives and pro-labor people get together and say, we are at a point where we are going to besmirch American democracy, much less union democracy, then I think we are not going to get anywhere. And I think that was the virtue. Herman has said what had to be said about the lack of a constituency. But I think as we reach the election of 2000, it seems to me that both sides have it in their interest to deal decisively, at a legislative level, with the problems that were raised by the D.C. 37 scandal.


Mr. Ballenger. Let me ask any of you that would like to answer. It appeared to me from the very beginning that Landrum-Griffin, with proper enforcement, would have been a much better bill. Was it a problem back then that people did not want to have the enforcement procedures in there, or was it a problem that, as you said, the Labor Department is the wrong department to enforce it. I was just curious, Professor Summers.


Mr. Summers. What was involved at that time was that organized labor vigorously opposed any legislation, and the legislation was a product of conservatives and liberals who believed that union democracy was important. They believed that collective bargaining and union democracy is important. So you had, shall we say, a conservative wing and you had a liberal wing, which never spoke to each other. But they combined to provide the votes. And partly it was because there was enough sense, there was enough, shall we say, potential for generating support by saying that they were going to make unions democratic. That is not an unappealing argument to the general populace. And so it was done in that fashion. The unions opposed it to the end. Of course, the interesting thing is after it was passed, the Auto Workers hired Joe Rauh to go out and explain the statute to their locals. And what I heard him say in a meeting in New Haven was that the statute does not require anything that a good union would not do anyway. And in a sense, I think that one has to focus on the question of providing democratic rights to union members and put it in terms of democratic rights.


And I would like to emphasize that I think it is fundamental that nothing that relates to union-management conflict infiltrate the proposal. If you do, then as Herman says, all is lost. But it is more difficult for unions to make a point of opposing legislation which says, unions should be more democratic. And they will oppose, openly or not. But I think it is difficult for unions. I think it is more difficult for unions to do that now than it was in 1959, because now we have the acceptance of union democracy. I mean, in principle, that is in the statute. All you are doing is saying that we have this fundamental principle. Now let us fix it up.


Mr. Ballenger. I still go back to the point that it appeared that the whole idea of the bill was great, but that there was no enforcement of the bill or of the rights of the unions. Who was going to make them enforce it if they were not doing it. There is something lacking there, and maybe it was that they could not get that much into the bill.


Mr. Summers. Well, at the time of the consideration of the enforcement, there was this certain uneasiness about the Department of Labor being involved. But the better question is that nobody wanted the NLRB to do it, so it was put in the Department of Labor as the lesser evil.

In terms of other provisions of the statute, most of them are provided by private suits, and so violation of the Bill of Rights are enforced by private suits. Now those private suits create cost obligations. I mean, the question of getting a lawyer and so on, but the Supreme Court helped that by deciding that in those suits, the winning lawyer, if the union member won, the union had to pay the lawyers fees. So that is not in the statute, but that got read in by the Supreme Court. So that it is not perfect. There are obstacles. But I would say the enforcement procedures generally are all right.


Mr. Ballenger. Let me just throw the same question to Mr. Benson, because I know he had some thoughts that may be_


Mr. Benson. Well there has been enforcement. I cited various advances that had been made, every one of them was part of the enforcement of Landrum-Griffin.

The point is that the enforcement is there, but it is not strong enough. There have been many areas in which it is weak and where it could be better and where we would have many more improvements. And, as I say, I could bore you to death by talking about all the weaknesses in the Landrum-Griffin Act, but that would not obviate the fact that there has been enforcement, weak as it has been, and there have been many improvements.


Mr. Ballenger. Right. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Chairman Boehner. Professor Summers, as you know, Title II of the Landrum-Griffin Act requires reporting of unions, not only to the Department of Labor, but to their members. In what form does the reporting to members take place?


Mr. Summers. Well, they give an annual report that shows expenditures and income. The question is whether those are adequately broken down for a member to really understand what is going on. And from that standpoint, the provision that members can get access to see the past records becomes crucially important.

There is another, which showed up in a story in the New York Times on Sunday, which all of us were aware. It is that you will have a report from local union so and so, and the president is getting salary of $125,000. But then he is also chairman of the pension fund, for which he gets $50,000. He is on the executive board where he gets another $75,000, so that these reports do not consolidate the information.

Now, I understand the Department of Labor is trying to put these reports on the Internet, and in that circumstance, it may be easier for people to try and find out what is going on. It will improve. But there is this, and I do not really know how to solve that part of the problem. I think that_


Mr. Aronowitz. The union newspaper publishes the financial report, if the union has a newspaper. Or it will have an annual newspaper of some kind. And the report will be basically one that somebody has to have x-ray vision to be able to see in many cases. The details of the breakdown are virtually impossible, in many cases, to discern. So that is a kind of formal obligation that is being met. But actual information, actual details, that is not done. And most people in 32B and 32J who saw that, who see their union reports, would not know that Gus Bevona, who is the president, taking these kind of double and triple dippings, and nice strawberry cones that he was actually making, you know, $300,000, $400,000 a year. They would see the $125,000 or maybe not even that as his base salary and say, well, that is not very much.

So, these are really not in the true sense being made available. That is, I think, incontrovertible.


Chairman Boehner. I ask unanimous consent that we include in the record the New York Times article that was referred to by both of you entitled ``Finding Out How Much the Boss Really Makes,'' by Steven Greenhouse, which was in the New York Times on March 14.

Without objection, it will be included. I guess nobody really can object since I am the only one here. That is pretty good.



[The information follows:]



Chairman Boehner. Well, gentleman, when it comes to this reporting, I am one who believes that the best disinfectant is sunlight. And having reviewed some LM2s and their filings over at the Department of Labor, I would agree that they are almost useless.

Let me ask you this question that we have touched on a little. As I get into this issue and listen to your testimony, the first question that comes to my mind is, where in the world is the Department of Labor?


Mr. Benson. Well, it is a problem. Let me give you an example. The Department of Labor enforces the law insofar as it has to show a certain minimum result. But whenever it comes to any difficult question, they back away. That is the most general example I can give you.

Let me give you just one example of a problem. Let us take Section 610 of the Landrum-Griffin Act, which says that it is a criminal offense to deprive a member of his rights by violence or threats of violence. Simple. And it established criminal penalties and a fine or jail or so on.

Now the Landrum-Griffin Act has been in effect now for 40 years. How many times has this section been enforced? I tried to find out. I wrote to the Department of Labor under the Freedom of Information Act, because, you know, we get a lot of complaints about people who were beaten or threatened through their unions. And I said, well, how many times have you enforced this? What is your record? How many complaints? And the answer was that they do not keep any records of this, because they referred this to the Department of Justice. They made a deal with the Department of Justice that they will enforce this section of the Act, so ask the Department of Justice.

So I have a Freedom of Information Act before the Department of Justice to try to find out how many times they have ever tried to enforce this Act. So far, they have replied to me that they cannot give it to me right away because they have referred it to three different divisions of the Department of Justice, and I am waiting for answer. I suspect that nobody will be able to answer this question.

So here you have a clear section of the law, which is supposed to protect members from violence, and there is really nobody enforcing it.


Chairman Boehner. It kind of reminds me of this issue we have on the floor in the House today where we set out anti-dumping quotas on steel and try to pass a new law. Many of us believe that there are sufficient laws already on the books in this and many other cases that just are not enforced. And it goes back to the point that you made earlier, and that is, who really should be the watchdog agency? Who really should enforce it? And as we get into this further, we are certainly going to take a closer look at that.

At this point, I think we are about to wrap it up. Let me express my gratitude to each of the three of you for taking time to come down and work with this committee once again on what really is a very important issue. And I think we are going to have some additional hearings this year, and I would expect that I will work with Mr. Andrews to see if we can begin to make some changes that will help working men and women of this country. Thank you very much.


[Whereupon, at 1:07 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]