Serial No. 106-105


Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce

Table of Contents












Table of Indexes *





Wednesday, May 3, 2000

House of Representatives

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Committee on Education and the Workforce

Washington, D.C.

The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:05 p.m., in Room 2175 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Peter Hoekstra, Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.


Present: Representatives Hoekstra, Schaffer, Tancredo, Roemer and Scott.



Staff Present: Faith Cristol, Professional Staff Member; Stephen Settle, Professional Staff Member; Jonathan DeWitte, Staff Assistant; Rob Green, Workforce Policy Coordinator; Peter Gunas, Workforce Policy Counsel; Patrick Lyden, Professional Staff Member; Michael Reynard, Media Assistant; Deborah Samantar, Office Manager.

Chairman Hoekstra. A quorum being present, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Education and the Workforce will come to order.

Good afternoon. The Subcommittee is meeting today to hear testimony in exercise of its capacity to conduct oversight inquiries. Under Rule 12(b) of our Committee rules, any oral opening statement at this hearing is limited to the Chairman and the Ranking Minority Member. This allows us to focus on hearing from the witnesses sooner and helps members to meet their schedules. If other members have opening statements, they will be included in the record.

I ask unanimous consent that the record of this hearing be held open over the next 14 days for the submission of additional statement information or testimony relevant to this hearing.

Mr. Roemer. Without objection.

Chairman. Hoekstra. Without objection, so ordered.

I would like to make an opening statement, after which Mr. Roemer will also have the opportunity to do the same thing.





Today's hearing is a continuation of our commitment to review existing Federal labor policies as we begin the 21st century. The focus will be to objectively review and discuss the subject of union security agreements.

Federal law provides for these agreements for private sector employees under Section 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act and Section 2 Eleventh of the Railway Labor Act. Union security agreements are prohibited in Federal employment. Closed shop agreements, which require employers to hire only union members, have been prohibited for employees in the private sector since 1947, when Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act with amendments to the NLRA.

Today, only three forms of union security agreements remain legal for private sector employees. The first is union shop agreements, which require employees to join a union within a specific number of days after they are hired. The second is agency shop agreements, which do not require employees to join the union, but require those employees who choose not to join to pay the equivalent of union dues and agency fees to the union. And, finally, the maintenance of membership agreements, which require employees who choose to join a union to maintain their membership during the term of the collective bargaining contract with the option to withdraw from the union within a specified period of time after the contract, expires.

There are obviously differing views with respect to the benefits of union security agreements. I know that many Members are reviewing legislation that has been introduced and reintroduced by Congressman Bob Goodlatte, H.R. 792, which would repeal the above-mentioned sections of the NLRA and the RLA.

Welcome, Congressman Goodlatte. Thank you for attending our hearing and speaking to us on this issue.

Given the importance of ensuring that our country remains the best and most productive work environment in the world, it is necessary to explore the relevance of older workforce paradigms. Although an examination of union security agreements is certain to raise strong opinion both pro and con, holding a public dialogue on the issue will help us to evaluate our workforce values. For this reason, I look forward to this afternoon's discussion.




Mr. Hoekstra. Mr. Roemer?

Mr. Roemer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I ask unanimous consent to provide additional information or testimony relevant to this hearing.

Chairman. Hoekstra. Without objection, so ordered.

Mr. Roemer. I would appreciate it, sir.





Mr. Chairman, I must say that I am deeply disappointed that we are having this hearing this afternoon. The issue of whether we should have a so-called national right to work law has been around for 50 years. It is a subject well understood by most Members. There have been no recent developments that would change anyone's views on this issue, and the chances of this Congress passing such legislation is simply nonexistent.

A so-called right to work law gives no meaningful rights to workers other than the right to work for lower wages. What it does do is determine the ability of working people to improve their working conditions and wages through the collective bargaining process.

What Harry Truman said almost 50 years ago is true today, and I will quote from what he said. "You will find some people saying that they are for the so-called right to work law, but they also believe in unions. This is absurd," Truman said. "It is like saying you are for motherhood but against children."

Well, Mr. Chairman, I would like to believe I am a supporter of both motherhood and children, and I know that I support both unions and collective bargaining.

Some people complain that in Washington it is just one bad idea after another. This seems to be more of a case of history repeating the same bad idea over and over and over again.


Mr. Chairman, in an effort to be brief, and to bring an end to this hearing, I will yield back the balance of my time.

Chairman. Hoekstra. Thank you for your comments.

Before I introduce our witnesses, let me remind everyone that they have been invited to speak before the Subcommittee for approximately five minutes. As I mentioned earlier, each of our panelists may submit additional copy or information for the record, as they see fit.

We are pleased to have Representative Bob Goodlatte begin today's discussion. Mr. Goodlatte is an attorney by trade, who has served Virginia's 6th District since 1992. Although Mr. Goodlatte has many areas of expertise, given his assignments on the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees, today he will discuss his experience with his right to work bill.

Our second witness is Colorado State Representative Mark Paschall. Mr. Paschall is a former union member who will discuss his experience with that State's right to work initiative that recently passed the Colorado House but failed in its Senate.

Welcome to you, Mark.

Our third witness is Mr. Reed Larson, who is President of the National Right to Work Committee, a 2.2 million-member organization that he has served for 40 years. Mr. Larson has headed State and Federal legislative initiatives on this issue, including testifying before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee in March of 1996 on the proposed National Right to Work Act.

Mr. Larson, thank you for being with us today.

Finally we also welcome Mr. Jeremiah Collins, who is a labor attorney with the firm of Bredhoff & Kaiser, located in Washington, D.C.

Thank you, Mr. Collins, for joining our discussion today.

I think everybody is pretty well familiar with the procedures. We will hear the testimony, and then we will open it up for questioning by from the Members.

Mr. Goodlatte, we will begin with you. Welcome. Good to see you.




Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to this hearing, and I thank you for the opportunity to speak before your Subcommittee regarding this very important issue. U.S. labor law is in serious need of reform, and you should be commended for beginning this debate.

Let me begin by recalling the words of the founder of the American Federation of Labor and grandfather of the American Trade Union Movement, Samuel Gompers. Mr. Gompers said that, "The workers in America adhere to voluntary institutions in preference to compulsory systems which are not only impractical but a menace to their welfare and their liberty."

That is what today's hearing is about, beginning the debate on whether the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act and Railway Labor Act, which authorize compulsory unionism, have indeed been impractical and a menace to workers' welfare and liberty. I believe unequivocally that the answer to that question is yes.

Compulsory unionism blots the American tradition of individual liberty by stripping working Americans of their right to join, or not join or financially support a union. No other private organization in America possesses such power. By forcing independent employees to join or pay fees to a union, labor officials have embraced collectivism based on coercion, and discarded individual liberty.

As Thomas Jefferson said, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.'' The coercive powers that union officials wield courtesy of Federal law not only rob individual employees of fundamental freedoms but also exert a damaging and corrupting influence on workplaces, the economy, and other aspects of everyday American life.

As this Subcommittee's hearings on union democracy and your investigation of the 1996 Teamsters election have shown, individual employees who decide to stand up for their beliefs frequently find themselves the targets of orchestrated campaigns of harassment, intimidation, and physical violence. The antidote to compulsory unionism is Right to Work, the principle that Americans must have the right, but not be compelled, to join or financially support a labor union.

I agree with the Ranking Member, Mr. Roemer, that individuals should have the right to join a labor union, should have the right, with regard to private employment, to collectively bargain and, in appropriate cases, to strike. But that is not the issue here.

I am sponsoring the National Right to Work Act, H.R. 792. This legislation is co-sponsored by 134 of our colleagues, and polls show that nearly eight out of 10 Americans support it.

The National Right to Work Act is a simple one-page bill that does not add one word to Federal law. It simply repeals the provisions of the NLRA and RLA that took away the most precious liberty that an individual can have, and that is the right to decide for themselves what they are going to do with their life; whether, when they get a job, they are going to be required to pay dues or belong to something that they may or may not believe in.

I also want to make it clear that Right to Work takes nothing away from those who want to join labor unions. Right to Work allows individuals the right to organize, to collectively bargain, and even strike as permitted under law. But it leaves the choice of whether to join or organize to the individual, where it belongs. This, in fact, strengthens labor unions by ensuring that they are comprised of individuals who are united in their goals rather than those who are simply forced into membership.


Mr. Chairman, I am sure that after reviewing the facts this Subcommittee will find the time has come to repeal the provisions of the NLRA and the RLA that authorize compulsory unionism. They are indeed impractical and a menace to workers' liberty.

And while I am here, I want to take a moment to commend Reed Larson, the President of the National Right to Work Committee, for a lifetime of campaigning for this effort. There are now 21 states that have right to work laws, including my State of Virginia.

I believe it is time we restore that right to every American. It is not a states' rights issue because we are simply repealing a provision in Federal law that took away the right to work, by taking away the right to decide for oneself whether to join a union or to pay dues to an organization that may or may not be in agreement with the causes that are undertaken by the organization.

I thank you again for the opportunity to testify today.





Chairman Hoekstra. Good. Thank you for being here. Representative Paschall.





Mr. Paschall. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for the opportunity to be here today to share my views on Federal labor policy as it relates to compulsory unionism. It is my hope that my statements here will bring a unique perspective to this body.

First, as a former union member, I am familiar with many of the issues that arise regarding unions and how they operate. Secondly, as a State legislator, I have become increasingly aware of the policy issues regarding labor law. From this perspective, I can strongly recommend that the U. S. Congress consider an overhaul of the 65-year old labor laws, beginning with the provisions that force individual workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

It appears to me that our 65-year experience with Federal labor policy has produced one clear result; the rights of individual workers have been subordinated to the power of a collective.

I grew up in a family and next-of-kin environment that held the belief that if it were not for the union I would probably be dead or on skid row right now. I was close to my aunts and uncles who worked for General Motors in the '40s and throughout their life to retirement. As a young man, I learned the construction trade. I got my first job after offering the employer not to take a paycheck unless my work was worth something. I wanted to learn how to build houses, and I did. And within one year I was leading my own framing crew.

In 1973, I moved to California, and, while looking for work as a carpenter, had my first encounter with forced unionism. In order to work, I was told that I had to join the union. Ten years later I had my second encounter with forced unionism, this time with the United Food and Commercial Workers. As a life insurance salesman and financial planner for John Hancock, I had to join and pay dues to get and keep that job. This encounter continued the process of convincing me that forced unionism was wrong.

To this day, I still wonder what the Food Workers Union had to do with financial planning. But I paid my dues because 65 years ago Congress passed a law saying that I had to.

My observations and experiences, which relate to the unintended consequences of Federal labor policy as it stands today, are these. There is a tendency for work to become so segregated that efficiency suffers dramatically, and completion dates, of necessity, must be extended far beyond normal timelines.

For example, when I was working on a multi-family project as a union carpenter in California, there was a crew for each component of construction. Framing operations alone was subdivided as follows: a sub floor layout crew, a sub floor construction crew, a sub floor decking crew, sub floor nailing crew, wall layout crew, header crew, wall construction and tack crew, crew to finish tying in and nailing walls together, wall alignment, and squaring crew. And you had to repeat this process over and over until the top floor was finished, and then there was a truss and rafter crew, a roof decking crew, and, finally, a roof nailing crew.

The above-mentioned crews, again, only constituted the framing aspect of constructing the unit. This segregation of work tends to drive up costs.

When I worked for Cigna in the insurance industry, I was engaged in safety engineering. A tower construction company known for its quality work and competitive pricing related to me their experience installing a tower on the Empire State Building in New York. Because of the union requirements, "what would have taken three days took three weeks." And that almost tripled the cost of a similar non-union job in Colorado.

Also, what was frustrating to me, and I have to sigh, is that there is an unintended consequence of mediocrity that becomes a silent assassin of unionism. This is not because there was a conscious effort to make mediocrity the common denominator, but, rather, it is a pervasive attitude that sets in and focuses strictly on following the job description and consequent authority, duties, and responsibilities.

The traditional American work ethic of "do whatever it takes to get the job done and done right" is subverted by the contemporary mind-set of "only do what must be done to meet your job requirements; anything more than this endangers someone else's job and yours." The latter quote was actually spoken to me by a journeyman carpenter when I asked why we didn't take a few more seconds to finish tying in the walls. I will never forget it.

In practice, unionism has a tendency to stifle initiative, ambition, individualism, and creativity. And this is a sad, unintended consequence of bureaucratizing the workforce. Unions too often spend their time defending marginal employees, blocking innovation, and disenfranchising the majority of their members for politically correct agendas.

Today, having the experience as a union member and state legislator, I have become increasingly concerned that the legislative impact can affect Federal labor policy. Let me first state I strongly believe that every worker must have the right to join or support a labor union, but I believe just as strongly that no worker should ever be compelled to do so.

Under the American legal system, free people are free agents, not commodities. Workers should not be forced to choose either collective or individual means of negotiating their wages and working conditions. No one should presume to act or speak on another’s behalf or control another person's wages, livelihood, or future without the consent of the represented workers.

But Federal labor law stands that notion on its head. Union officials deceptively argue that representing non-members is an undue burden imposed on them by Federal law, and, therefore, they are entitled to be empowered to compel workers to pay union dues. I can tell you this big labor claim is false.

In Colorado, we tried to pass legislation that would encourage Congress to address this issue. Unbelievably or not, if you understand the strategies of the union hierarchy, they opposed the resolution encouraging this legislation. And I brought it here for the Members, if they wish to look at it.

The reality is clear: union officials jealously guard their legislative privilege. This monopoly power allows them to throw the net of compulsory unionism over more and more workers under the guise of Federal law and provides the cover they need to maintain their forced union demands.

In Colorado, we have been trying to pass right to work laws, since I have been down there anyway, and we are very close. But as I have studied and been an activist in this battle, I have learned that we would not have to have this fight if Federal law didn't lay the foundation for forced union dues nationwide. In Colorado, we are fighting to give back the rights to our constituents that they should have never lost in the first place.

Government should set and raise the standards to secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to provide for the common defense. But beyond these, they should pretty much stay out of our lives. And please forgive me for my federalist tendencies when I say that this is one of the problems that you can indeed solve here in Washington.

If you will not consider the whole premise of the national labor policy, then please reconsider the Federal forced dues provisions that force American workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Let me conclude with a quote from the world-renowned Nobel Prize winning economist Frederick Hayek. Hayek said, "It cannot be stressed enough that the coercion which unions have been permitted to exercise, contrary to all principles of freedom, under law, is primarily the coercion of fellow workers."

I thank you for taking this issue up, and I think it is high time that we change this and really set a new standard of freedom in the 21st century.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Committee.







Chairman. Hoekstra. Thank you. Thank you for being here. Mr. Larson.





Mr. Larson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee. I am here to speak for that 77 percent of the American people who think it is wrong to fire an employee for failure to pay money to an unwanted union. Simply put, the National Labor Relations Act, the NLRA, abuses the freedom of working people to earn an honest living for themselves and their families.

Under this law, and the Railway Labor Act, as amended in 1951, employees who never requested union representation are forced to accept the union as their monopoly bargaining agent. Then, adding insult to injury, under Federal labor policy, they are forced to pay for representation they never requested and do not want.

The fact that the NLRA is often perceived, as a great charter of freedom was not entirely unintentional on the part of its drafters. In fact, it contains some of the most deliberately misleading language human beings could devise. Let me read the essential portion of Section 7, cleverly entitled "Rights of Employees."

"Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations to bargain collectively, through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining, or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities."

Now, what could sound fairer than that? But wait. I didn't finish the sentence. Let me read the rest of it. "Employees shall have the right to refrain, except to the extent that such rights may be affected by an agreement requiring union membership as a condition of employment." So they really don't have any rights at all. That "except" and the words that follow have to be one of the most central exercises in legislative conception on record.

There is no natural right in a free society for any private association to compel financial tribute. I am confident that today we won't hear an explanation from the union spokesman based on the principle of why the union, should enjoy special privileges accorded to no other private organization in our society. Instead, we will hear that a Federal labor law that forces workers to pay union tribute is for their own good.

My response is twofold. First, Congress should have no authority to take away employees' freedom of association, even on the claim that it is for their own good. Second, millions of American workers are not helped but seriously harmed when Federal labor policy forces them to accept the union as their exclusive representative, and then to bankroll that union. The written material I have submitted for the record today amply documents that fact.

Federal labor laws' trampling of individual rights flies in the face of what the Bill of Rights is all about. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson wrote a number of years ago, and I quote, "The very purpose of the Bill of Rights was to place certain subjects beyond the reach of majorities, one's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech and free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights, may not be submitted to a vote. They depend on the outcome of no elections."

It is time for Congress to take action. The best person to judge whether a union benefits an individual worker is the worker himself, and Federal law ought to reflect that fact.

The right to work philosophy can best be summed up in the words of Samuel Gompers. Representative Goodlatte quoted some excellent portions of Gompers' philosophy. And then he concluded that statement by saying this, quoting Gompers, "No lasting gain has ever come from compulsion. If we seek to force, we will tear apart that which united is invincible."

Unfortunately, as the union movement has evolved from the Gompers area of dedicated leadership to the present-day era a giant union establishment characterized by high salaried and highly privileged professional union officials, the attitude toward forced membership has hardened into one of total opposition to all forms of volunteerism.

As is clear from the testimonies of working people who in ever-increasing numbers are standing up to the union hierarchy, the right to work movement's sole focus is to protect the interests of workers.

Right now, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which provides free legal aid to employees whose rights have been violated under compulsory unionism, is representing over 150,000 employees in nearly 500 lawsuits across the country. Their testimonies are clear proof of the problem with the existing Federal labor policy. Every citizen has a stake in restoring employees' personal freedom, so that those employees have the power, as individuals or in groups, to mete out prompt and effective punishment against union officials who are corrupt or irresponsible.

As the written testimonies I have submitted to this committee details, compulsory unionism sets the stage for most of the abuses of union power, such as counterproductive work rules, embezzlement, and violations of workers' rights to choose which political candidates and causes their money will support.


Mr. Chairman, I bear little hope that the AFL-CIO Chief John Sweeney and his Lieutenant, Richard Trumka, will heed the nearly 60 percent of the members of union households who, according to scientific polls, oppose forced unionism propped up by Federal law. I am more hopeful that you and the rest of the U.S. Congress will heed those millions of workers who have said, "I want my freedom back." And if that isn't enough, I implore the Subcommittee to listen to the nearly 80 percent of all Americans who support giving all employees the right to work, regardless of whether or not they pay union dues.

So I ask the Members of this Subcommittee to side with the American people and urge House leaders to begin the process of ending compulsory unionism.

Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity to address this vital issue, and will be glad to accept any questions that you or other Members of this distinguished Committee wish to offer.





Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you very much.

This is a footnote. Since I am not sure we heard Samuel Gompers talked about as much in the whole time I have been Chairman of this Subcommittee as we have today…



…I did go back to Samuel Gompers, because the issue that you and I agree on…

Mr. Roemer. We agree on a lot of issues.

Chairman. Hoekstra. …he also spoke out on. I think 21 affiliated AFL-CIO unions agree with us also. He also spoke out on prison industries, and so we listened to him on that issue.

Mr. Collins, welcome.




Mr. Collins. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Committee, for this opportunity to speak with you on behalf of the AFL-CIO and the more than 13 million working men and women it represents regarding the so-called right to work or open shop.

The accusation that the union security provisions of the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act foster a regime of compulsory unionism is entirely unfounded. The Supreme Court has long made clear that the only kind of a commitment to a union that ever can be required pursuant to those statutes is an employee's obligation to pay the fees that are necessary to support the union's activities as the exclusive bargaining representative of a unit of employees, where the union has been selected to act as the representative in accordance with the democratic procedures of the statutes, and as negotiated in a union security agreement with the employer.

Thus, no worker can be forced to join a union as a condition of employment, and no worker who refrains from membership, including those covered by a union security agreement, can be required to contribute to a union's parties and political activity or to other ideological activities unrelated to bargaining.

Even those who voluntarily join the union, are given a completely free choice as to whether they will contribute to the union's political action fund. To be sure, where state law allows, the NLRA permits unions and employers to enter into agreements that require covered employees to financially support their representative. And the RLA allows this as well.

The logic and fairness of allowing such agreements is plain, and was recognized 23 years ago by the Supreme Court in the Abood case, where the court explained that the designation of a union as exclusive representative carries with it great responsibility.

The union is obliged to represent all employees, union and non-union, within the relevant unit, and the union security arrangement serves to distribute fairly the cost of those activities among those who benefit, and counteracts an incentive that employees would otherwise have to become free riders.

This is what opponents of unions and of our national policy of free collective bargaining overlook when they assert, as Mr. Larson does today, that requiring all members of a bargaining unit to contribute to a union's bargaining-related expenses is sometimes a special privilege enjoyed by unions for no legitimate reason.

That accusation is false for the simple response that a union, quite unlike any other kind of organization in our society, is subject to a statutory obligation to act on behalf of individuals; specifically, to represent all of the employees in the bargaining unit, not just those who have joined as members.

And the reason unions are charged with that statutory obligation, and are granted, in turn, the concomitant right to require employees to pay their fair share of the bargaining-related expenses, is the reality that Congress recognized in 1935, which is no less the case today; namely, that workers cannot bargain effectively with their employer unless they can speak with one voice, pursuant, of course, to a statutory scheme which ensures that the bargaining representative will be democratically selected, and which further ensures that it will act fairly toward all members of the union.

That system of free collective bargaining, which has been responsible for tremendous progress in the wages, benefits, and working conditions of American workers, is really what is at stake when critics speak of monopoly bargaining agents, compulsory unionism, and when they have the audacity to describe the National Labor Relations Act as an exercise in legislative deception.

It is also vitally important to bear in mind here that the majoritarian principles reflected in the Federal labor laws that underlie the obligation to pay fees to a bargaining representative are tempered by a comprehensive set of legal safeguards for the rights of those workers who disagree with the views of the majority of their co-workers.

In a series of decisions going back to 1961, the Supreme Court has formulated a set of principles governing the enforcement of union security agreements, designed to attain what the court has called "the appropriate reconciliation between majority and dissenting interests in the area of political expression."

Under those decisions, agency fee payers who choose not to be full union members cannot be forced to contribute to a union's political activities or its ideological activities unrelated to collective bargaining. The NLRB and the courts are vigorously enforcing those rights through decisions such as California Saw & Knife Works, a 1995 NLRB decision that was upheld by Judge Richard Posner, writing for the Seventh Circuit, which provides a full panoply of procedural rights and protections to make sure that no worker who objects to a union's activities unrelated to bargaining is required to pay for them.

Those protections are far more elaborate than anything that exists to protect, for example, corporate stockholders who may oppose corporate political and ideological activity undertaken with their assets. Unlike union-represented employees, stockholders are not allowed to derive the economic benefits of their relationship with the corporation, while at the same time refraining from lending financial support.

In the final analysis, what experience shows in the 21 states which have been permitted, pursuant to the NLRA, to enact their own right to work laws, is that what right to work leads to in the end is not greater freedom for workers, but lower wages and lower protection. In every one of the 21 states that have enacted open shop, every one of them has annual pay below the national average; every one of them is at or near the bottom of virtually every other indicator of workers' economic well-being.

And that is what the open shop has meant in reality. I submit, it is a model that this Subcommittee and the Congress should not follow and should not extend nationwide.

Thank you.




Chairman. Hoekstra. Thank you.

Representative Goodlatte, from your perspective, what economic differences are indicated based on the evidence between states that have right to work laws and states that do not? Mr. Collins just made some assertions. Is that consistent with the statistics that you have seen or with what you believe?

Mr. Goodlatte. It is not consistent with the statistics that I have seen. They have indicated that states such as mine that have a right to work law, have actually higher average pay scales than many other areas. They also have enjoyed, I think in general, very solid and sound economic growth.

In addition, my State has a lot of unions. I think it is important to note that unions are alive and well in right to work states, but there is a very significant difference that I argue improves the unions. That is when you take away that compulsory nature, and the union has to obtain its membership based upon the work that it does representing its members, if those members aren't satisfied, they can vote with their feet and walk away. They can leave the union, or refuse to pay dues, as the case might be. Therefore, they make a greater attempt to focus on the things that unions do best.

`When there is a compulsory nature to it, the worker has far less recourse, or far less remedy to have that union operate effectively for it. So I would argue that in instances where workers see a need for a union, they strengthen the union cause because it makes the leadership of the union more responsive to the members.

Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

Mr. Collins, do you have statistics that would talk about the percentage of unionism in right to work states versus non-right to work states? What have the trends been as a State has transitioned to a right to work State, and what has happened to unionism? Has there been any increase or decrease in union membership, or any change at all?

Mr. Collins. I am not certain of the data on that, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Larson?

Mr. Larson. Mr. Chairman, there is really no dramatic change evident when a State goes from a compulsory unionism State to a voluntary unionism State. Certainly, union officials complain a lot because it means they have to go to work and represent the voluntary members in an effective way. But the statistics don't show any dramatic change in union membership or in union growth. The numbers don't show that.

They definitely show that the grave predictions and claims of union officials about the demise of labor unions under voluntary membership are totally incorrect. Unions are doing well in right to work states.

Mr. Collins. Mr. Chairman, if I could speak briefly to that question.

Chairman Hoekstra. Yes. If you could speak into the microphone, it would be helpful.

Mr. Collins. I think that the principal concern we have in this area is not with what right to work does to the number of members or what it does to the ability of unions to achieve gains for workers, and that is why we point to statistics. I have seen many, many reports on this, showing that whatever the number of members may be, the economic realities in the right to work states is that wages are lower. Most other indicia of worker prosperity are lower. And that is for the obvious reason, that a union, in order to represent people most effectively, needs resources to do that.

As Congress also concluded in 1935, for a union to most effectively represent individuals, it has to be able to go to that employer and say, "We are speaking for everyone." If you go to employers saying, "We represent eight percent of your employees, but only those eight percent, how about giving a raise to those people and not to some other people?" it makes no sense. That is why all our labor laws are premised on a system of majority selection of an exclusive bargaining representative.

And unless one throws out that entire bedrock principle of our system, then it naturally follows that that exclusive representative should be able to obtain the resources to most effectively carry out its function. So it is not an issue of numbers of members; it is an issue of effectiveness of achieving gains for people.

Mr. Larson. Mr. Chairman, could I comment on his economic data?

Chairman Hoekstra. Yes.

Mr. Larson. If you are going to measure the level of individual income on the basis of dollars only, he is correct. The total income average is higher in the compulsory union than it is for states. But the important data are those that show what you can buy with that. The purchasing power of workers, of everybody in right to work states, is higher than it is in non-right to work states.

There are numerous studies on this. Dr. Bennett at George Mason has done a number of them. In '87, he did a survey that showed the average real income in the purchasing power adjusted dollars in right to work states was about $1,400 higher than in non-right to work states. In '93, it was up to $2,500.

The most recent study just completed, I would be glad to provide a copy for the hearing record, shows that the average income in purchasing power of workers in right to work states is about $2,000 a year above those in compulsory unionism states. So just saying how many dollars income there is on average in right to work versus non-right to work states is not meaningful. It is what can you buy with those dollars.

Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. We will get back to that on the second round, but my time is up and we will go to Mr. Roemer.

Mr. Roemer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Collins, The Right to Work, Tale of Two Nations puts together some pretty compelling evidence as to why there is a certain disparity between some of the right to work states and some of the other states. Are you aware of the publication?

Mr. Collins. Yes. I think the AFL-CIO based on BLS data and other publicly available data has prepared it. I think it is one of the most comprehensive discussions, and it doesn't focus simply on dollar pay. It focuses on a very wide range of issues and matters that affect the prosperity of working people.

Mr. Roemer. Now, in addition to the prosperity and the economic conditions of working people, one of the things that unions have achieved throughout the history of this country, and I quoted Harry Truman in my opening statement, is they have allowed certain benefits to accrue to people collectively. You are stronger, collectively, to bargain in certain areas and to improve working conditions and safety conditions.

We have seen at different periods of time, problems with child labor, and unsafe working conditions in different areas of the country in different occupations.

I would like you to elaborate a bit more on what the unions have been able to achieve in the past to enhance the working conditions, the safety, and the economic prosperity of some of our people.

Mr. Collins. Well, certainly the historical record would show achievement not only in the areas of wages but certainly health insurance, pension benefits, and safety and health; all of those areas of collective bargaining. If one looks back to the '20s, the '30s, when the union movement was just getting in gear, and the records since that time, I think it has certainly been incontestable what unions have been able to achieve.

And we also should never forget, although it often goes overlooked, one of the most fundamental benefits that the labor movement has been able to bring to the American workplace, which is the protection of the grievance arbitration systems. It is a basic right not to be treated arbitrarily and unfairly by your employer, and to have an advocate, a union which owes you a statutory due to represent you fairly if you have been treated improperly in the workplace is an achievement. That also is brought to union-represented workplaces by the unions, and it is another reason why it is so critical to maintain the basic principle of exclusive representation, which establishes an organization that can be seen as the representative and spokesman for all of the employees in the union.

It creates a system where individual workers, not just those who support the union, but every employee who is in that bargaining unit, has an ability to stand up to the employer, to be protected from unfair treatment. That would never exist if all you had were roving groups of some organization that represented 10 people here, and another one that represented 15 more people, and another that represented 20 more employees.

In that kind of system, you would never have the counterbalancing of power that a union brings to the employees to be able to stand up to the employer, not only to achieve economic gain but to achieve simple fairness and justice in the workplace.

Mr. Roemer. So, in addition to trying to achieve some fairness and justice and social equity in America, where I think most people would agree that there has been success throughout our history, I would say that from some of the testimony today that you would think that the whole history of unions in America portrays them as inefficient and undemocratic and that they compel people to do things that they shouldn't do.

I want to remind the audience of some of the rules that surround what unions can and cannot do. The union exists only where a majority of employees democratically decide to form a union. Is that correct?

Mr. Collins. That is correct.

Mr. Roemer. Union officers, by law, must be democratically chosen. Is that correct?

Mr. Collins. That is correct.

Mr. Roemer. No employee may be required to join a union as a condition of employment.

Mr. Collins. Correct.

Mr. Roemer. Dues must be democratically determined.

Mr. Collins. That is correct.

Mr. Roemer. Dues must not be excessive.

Mr. Collins. Correct.

Mr. Roemer. And then, as a consequence of the Beck decision, no employee may be required to finance or support union political or educational activities?

Mr. Collins. Or any activities not germane to bargaining; that is correct.

Mr. Roemer. Mandatory dues, agency fees, must be used exclusively for purchases related to collective bargaining contract administration and grievance adjustment, and may not be used for any other purposes?

Mr. Collins. That is right. No objecting employees are required to pay for anything else.

Mr. Roemer. So let us say a union decided to endorse Mr. Hoekstra and me, Mr. Roemer. They are able to go through an internal process to arrive at that decision in a democratic way.

Mr. Collins. Not only that, Congressman, but no money to support those activities could be charged to objecting employees. And, indeed, even full union members would have the protections of the election laws in terms of political action committee requirements.

But even putting the election laws aside, objecting non-union employees cannot be required to pay any of the expenses of any of that kind of political activity.

Mr. Roemer. All right. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Goodlatte. Mr. Chairman, I wonder if I might be excused.

Chairman Hoekstra. Absolutely.

Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you.

Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you for being here.

Mr. Goodlatte. I very much appreciate your allowing me to testify.

Chairman. Hoekstra. Thank you. Mr. Schaffer?

Mr. Schaffer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Collins, I appreciate your candor in answering those previous questions in a straightforward way. I am somewhat surprised and, quite frankly, alarmed by the answers.

Do you mean to tell me that 51 percent of union members, let us say, vote to increase union dues, and that the other 49 percent would be compelled to pay them?

Mr. Collins. If we are talking about dues, only people who pay dues are those who voluntarily become full union members. And if they made that voluntary decision to join the organization, then, as long as the dues are increased in accordance with the democratic procedures that are required by the Lanham-Griffin Act, yes, they have to pay.

Mr. Schaffer. So if you have an organization that has been given the enforcement effect of law, it has the ability to compel 49 percent of its members to take cash out of their own personal income and pay this organization?

Mr. Collins. Yes, Congressman, because that organization has the legal responsibility to represent them and provide them services. It can't charge them for politics. It can charge them for negotiating their contract, and for handling their grievances.

Mr. Schaffer. Well, I can appreciate that, but I guess the concern that many of us have here is for the 49 percent that can have their paychecks essentially raided by 51 percent, just because they were forced to be part of an organization. And, you know, those are the ones where my compassion lies. I want to reach out to them and see if I can help those people protect themselves and their family's income from others who may have a different set of priorities.

So I, once again, appreciate the candor with which you have answered the questions of the Committee, and overall it is helpful. In fact, it makes a case for the right to work activists who are here today.

I guess I want to ask why we should ignore, in the example that I raised, the plight of 49 percent of workers who could actually have their paychecks reduced simply because the Government has empowered, as Mr. Collins said, the 51 percent who wanted to vote for an increase.

Mr. Paschall. Mr. Chairman, what I think is amazing about the genius of our Constitution; it guarantees a voice for the minority. And that is one of the things that I think has been amazing about the Bill of Rights, and our Constitution. They do guarantee that minority voice will be heard.

Unfortunately, the majoritarian principle that is incorporated in forced unionism is whether you like it or not we are going to collectively bargain for you, and they subvert and they silence that voice, for a collective good.

I wanted to respond to the presupposition that Mr. Collins stated before, and that is there is no incentive for employers to take care of their employees or give them a voice. I don't find that to be true in Colorado.

The independent electrical contractors, for instance, have a better pay scale, and have better training and opportunity for their employees. They are non-union and they want to remain that way. If you compare them to the electrical workers that are unionized in our State, the IEC actually does a better job for them.

And as for the ability of a union to be able to work in the marketplace, I would have to say that if they would focus on their marketing prowess rather than lobbying Congress and the state legislatures to retain their Government powers, they would be able to provide consistency in the workforce and also training. I think that is a marketable principle that they can use for negotiating with employers.

Mr. Schaffer. I have seen the statistics that show wage comparisons in right to work states versus states where there is no right to work law. It is interesting because there is a correlation in those statistics but no cause and effect is established.

I would guess that most states that are struggling, have high unemployment, and are looking for ways to improve the performance of their economy in order to increase the job opportunities for the unemployed. That is the reason that their legislatures seem to be persuaded to adopt right to work legislation.

Rather than cause and effect, the right to work laws cause lower wages. I think I would be more inclined to believe that the states that are struggling economically do seek right to work legislation in order to try to rectify that problem, and so you do have a correlation. But the cause and effect the anti-right to work people have failed to show is that right to work laws desire to improve the economy, and improve wages.

Mr. Larson. Well, back to this discussion we had a minute ago, I don't want to leave it, but the right to work states have lower wages, and a higher standard of living. The average purchasing power of employees in right to work states is substantially higher than the average purchasing power of employees in non-right to work states.

So you don't even need to concede that anybody is lower in wages to attract industry because right to work states workers earn more in purchasing power than they do in non-right to work states.

Mr. Paschall. In Colorado when we held a hearing on the right to work law, we heard testimony that stated there is a substantial amount of business and employment opportunities that is bypassing Colorado because of the unionization of film industry. Because of that, they do not want to come there because of the constraints put on that industry. And as a result, we have a substantial loss in our economy just in that industry alone.

Thankfully, in most other industries, we are not unionized or forced to unionize, and our economy is quite strong.

Mr. Schaffer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Tancredo?

Mr. Tancredo. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just want to do a couple of things. I wanted to take the opportunity to welcome our friend here to the Committee. He has done a truly excellent job. Especially on this issue, he has taken a leadership position in Colorado.

This question is really for Mr. Paschall. What would be the benefit of a national right to work law? Would there be any benefit to enacting that law?

Mr. Larson. Can I comment on that? Yes, there is a very definite advantage, because State right to work laws does not protect some employees in the private sector. Railways and airline employees are not covered and would be protected by an action of Congress to prohibit compulsory unionism.

Even in right to work states, State right to work laws do not protect airline and railroad employees, and employees on Federal enclaves. So even in right to work states, it is very important that the additional protection be extended to all private sector employees.

Mr. Tancredo. Thank you.

Mr. Paschall. I think it is important to note that the issue is not whether the unions will cease to exist or union versus non-union. It is whether or not we want to regard our freedom in this country. The rights of association I think are guaranteed, and not to associate is also guaranteed under the First Amendment.

Yet we keep on moving away from that central issue into what I have heard here as another form of outcome-based employment. And I think that we ought to focus on the freedom in this country, which made this country so strong to begin with, and that is the freedom to associate or not to associate.

Mr. Tancredo. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have no further questions.

Chairman Hoekstra. This is not a debate about the value or lack of value of organization. You know, I am wondering about the need for Federal involvement. And you have both stated that there are some groups that are not covered by State legislation.

I mean is the AFL-CIO content with a status quo that allows the states to pass legislation that preempts the NLRA?

Mr. Collins. I think certainly a preferable system would be one that did not allow the right to work proviso in any State.

Chairman Hoekstra. Is there legislation to that effect that has been introduced or not?

Mr. Collins. Mr. Chairman I don't believe so, at the present time. But certainly having the system that we now have where choice has been left to the individual States seems to me a particularly weak argument for forcing right to work on states that have chosen not to opt for it.

Mr. Paschall. Mr. Chairman, could I?

Chairman Hoekstra. Yes.

I am wondering if that is the compromise that was reached a number of years ago, would you also allow states to opt out of that, or not?

Mr. Paschall. As I understand Representative Goodlatte's resolution, I guess it is a House resolution.

Chairman Hoekstra. It is a bill.

Mr. Paschall. The problem that I have is that it simply strikes those portions of 29 U.S.C. Section 159 (a) that would force exclusive representation. So it is not forcing right to work on anybody. It is saying that you don't have to exclusively represent any group of workers.

It could go back to the way it was prior to the Wagner Act of 1935, where you had majority representation and minority representation within a company.

Mr. Collins. If I may clear up the record on that.

Chairman Hoekstra. Yes.

Mr. Collins. Mr. Chairman, H.R. 792 actually would not eliminate exclusive representation. It simply strikes the provisions that allow unions to require all members of the unit to pay fees. So it would still leave unions as legally obligated to be representing all employees in a unit. It simply wouldn't enable unions to be paid for those services.

Mr. Larson. Mr. Chairman, we should make it clear on the record that that monopoly bargaining power, which he complains makes free riders out of independent employees, is in the law because his clients want it there. We have monopoly representative, as a union privilege, and compulsory dues is a second privilege. We are talking only about the second privilege today.

But when we really get down to the basics of employee rights, we need to look at the monopoly representation, which is in Federal law, and the fact that employees are compelled to accept as their representative a union that many of them feel is not acting in their interest.

So that compulsion is really the first concession of union power and privilege in the law, and then, on top of that, as we are talking about today, employees who suffer from that exclusive representation are forced to pay for it. And he calls them free riders. They are forced followers. That is just exactly what they are. They are forced followers, and they should at least have the right not to pay for a ride that they didn't want to take in the first place.

Mr. Collins. If I may, Mr. Chairman, if we want to trade slogans, what Mr. Larson might call compulsion, one might call democracy. After all, unions are not the only entities in our society where we recognize the notion that although minority rights need to be protected and, as I have explained, they vigorously are protected under the current laws, nevertheless there are situations where the will of the majority should be allowed to govern for the best interests of all.

That is what Congress determined back in 1935 not to please unions, but to try to help the American workers. Congress said, "We are going to establish a legal structure under which a majority vote will enable the workforce to speak as a unit to the employer in furtherance of its demand." Congress didn't do that in 1935 to deceive people, as Mr. Larson has said.

It didn't do it to make some payoff to unions in 1935 or to bow to political pressures of unions. It did it because it wanted to empower the American workforce to improve its conditions by having the benefits of an exclusive representation system.

It becomes increasingly clear what really is being attacked here. No one is really saying that it makes sense to have exclusive representation without requiring all employees to pay. What is really being challenged here, at least in logic although not in terms of the bill, is the fundamental judgment made by Congress that allowing a majority representative to function as the exclusive representative will help the working people of this country.

Chairman Hoekstra. I know Mr. Roemer didn't want us to have this hearing today, but I have found it to be very interesting and informative. We are trying to figure out in a lot of different areas what Congress and different people were trying to do back in 1935. We are also trying to figure out if it is still appropriate in the year 2000.

I know that having met with many different groups involved with labor issues, there are a lot of people that believe there needs to be a set of changes and reforms. And I believe that over the next few years there will be changes and reforms. I think in having this dialogue as a part of that process, it is helpful to hear exactly from both sides of this issue what the implications are for action that may or may not take place, and get this information on the record.

Mr. Roemer?

Mr. Roemer. Mr. Chairman, I just want to make sure that I am fully understood here. I don't have any problem having different hearings, especially hearings on subjects that we can learn something from. But I guess I have learned something today. Somehow if a union has a 51 to 49 percent vote, that 49 percent gets dragged along with no rights, kicking and screaming, yet our Founding Fathers devised a system back in the 1780s that said that majority rule is, in fact, very important.

We could be sent to Congress on a 51/49 percent vote, theoretically, and some might vote for tax increases, some might vote to send people to war, or some might vote to spend a lot of money putting people on Mars. But that 49 percent of the electorate is still compelled to go along with the 51 percent.

But somehow in the union, there is something nefarious and evil and undemocratic and inherently wrong with that minority having to go along with the majority. So I guess that one of the things that I have learned today is that somehow there is a double standard there.

I think we devised a pretty good system. I think the House and the Senate majority rule is a good and fair system, and I think I am very proud of our constitutional system.

I have appreciated the testimony today, and I think I have learned a thing or two. Representative Paschall, thank you for coming from Colorado. Mr. Larson, it was nice to hear from you. And, Mr. Collins, thank you for your informative testimony as well.

Mr. Chairman, I have to leave at 3:00.

Mr. Larson. Mr. Roemer?

Mr. Roemer. Yes, sir. I have to be at a 3:00 meeting that I am already late for.

Mr. Larson. There is a basic confusion here.

Mr. Roemer. I think there has been basic confusion all day.

Mr. Larson. You are confusing Government and private organizations. In Government

we have majority rule that governs the minority. We are talking about unions, private organizations. They are the only private organizations that have been given this Government privilege of forcing the vote by the will of the majority on an unwilling minority that can't get away.

Mr. Roemer. Let me interrupt you. Certainly, in a union from what I understand, they can certify the union, and they can call new elections. They did not belong to the union. They can resign from the union. There are all kinds of things that a union member can and cannot do when they are in the minority.

In some ways, you might argue a union member in the minority has more rights than a member of the minority that is a member of Congress in a 51/49, or a 70/30 vote. Can they recall that Member of Congress at 30 percent? Maybe. But the hurdles are very high. Do they have to wait until the next two-year election to try and do something about that Member's votes? Probably.

And I thank you. Again, Mr. Chairman, I excuse myself. I have got to go to another hearing.

Mr. Larson. It was nice to meet you, Mr. Roemer.

Mr. Roemer. A pleasure to be with you. Thank you for your time.

Mr. Paschall. Mr. Chairman, if I may?

Chairman Hoekstra. Actually, we are going to Mr. Schaffer.

Mr. Paschall. Okay.

Mr. Schaffer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Larson on that point that you made, what happened back in 1935 is that Congress made the same mistake by confusing two different activities. As you have just heard there is still confusion in this Congress today. The point being that union membership is not the same as national citizenship.

And so while our Founding Fathers had concluded that a democratic republic was the way we would arrive at decisions on the basis of citizens working together, joining a club is not the basis for making minority members be compelled to be taxed, or to pay taxes, or to increase their contributions to the club. That is, effectively, the difference.

If this Congress in 2000, is unable to make the distinction that time has exposed in a clear way and that perhaps our predecessors in 1935 were unable to discern, then we are in deeper trouble than this issue. I would suggest that we have bigger problems.

But I would like to get a comment on that issue. Those same founders, as Representative Paschall mentioned earlier, were always concerned that in a governing society the minority citizens always had recourse, and had some level of representation, whether they joined a club, whether they were impacted in some other way, or were bound by other kinds of contracts.

Mark, would you elaborate on that point?

Mr. Paschall. Thank you. One of the things that we need to stay away from is the confusion between democracy and employing the democratic method in our representative Government. We all are elected by the democratic method, but before we perform one official act we have to swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, because that trumps majoritarian principles.

It trumps them because we swear an oath to uphold them, and that is why we have the rights of association and freedom. That trumps majoritarian principles because our Founding Fathers said that is more important; that distinguishes us from a democracy, because it is the rule of law. That is what we have here, and that is what I think forced unionism has forgotten. It has said that somehow the majoritarian principle should trump the rule of law, and I think that is wrong.

Mr. Schaffer. Well, Mr. Larson, you were speaking on that point.

Mr. Larson. Well, I think I completed my statement that the concept in labor law which gives the supposed majority, if you really have a democratic operation within a union which is not always the case, the right to impose its will on a minority that did not wish to associate with it.

It is a slice of Government sovereignty. It is not the characteristic of a private organization, and that is where we start off in this process, with the wrong concept.

Unions are private organizations, but they have been given a slice of Government sovereignty, in that they can compel people to pay dues, taxes if you will.

Mr. Schaffer. I am in agreement with the litany of positive accomplishments of labor improvements that America has secured over the years. Mr. Roemer went through that list. Frankly, I think that ought to be the basis for whether people want to pay to be involved in a movement. If you desire to pay for representation under these organizations, I say have it.

I think labor unions ought to welcome the challenge, to be able to sell membership on the basis of their achievement rather than on the force of law. I am hopeful that a good bill receives a fair hearing and ultimately a vote, I would hope. I think that we will regain the push for it. But reach out to those hardworking Americans who may or may not have agreement with the organization. They have to decide whether they want to pay for the representation of these unions.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Larson. Good unions don't need compulsory unionism.

Chairman Hoekstra. I don't have any more questions. Mr. Schaffer I don't know if you do, or not? You are done? Okay.

I would like to thank Representative Paschall, Mr. Larson, and Mr. Collins, for being here. Thank you for enlightening us. Thank you for even teaching Mr. Roemer a few things today.



I guess I could say that with him not here, but I will remind him of that when we get to the floor.

With that, the Subcommittee will be adjourned.


Whereupon, at 3:17 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.