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Hearing Recap: Right to Work Edition

Today, Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Bob Good (R-VA) led a hearing which championed H.R. 1200, Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) National Right-to-Work Act¸ a bill to end compulsory union dues payments. 
Chairman Good kicked off the hearing by distilling the awful decision many Americans face every day in forced-unionism states: “Employees have two options: pay union dues or be fired. This threat is a violation of the God-given right for Americans to determine how they spend their hard-earned paychecks.”

During the witness opening statements, the Committee heard testimony from workers with direct experience fighting compulsory unionism. Ms. Brunilda Vargas of the Defender Association of Philadelphia and Ms. Jeanette Gary, a retired nurse, described the ways in which union bosses took from their paychecks and committed unfair labor practices.

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix used his opening statement to dispel false narratives about the National Right-to-Work Act. Contrary to Democrat and media bias, the National Right-to-Work Act is not anti-union. It is pro-voluntary unionism.

He clarified, “It doesn’t do anything to stop the right to associate. It doesn’t do anything to stop a worker from joining or organizing.”

On to the questioning, Mr. Mix continued to fact check erroneous or misleading claims. When Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) offered the Gallup poll statistic that “Seventy percent of Americans approve of labor unions,” Mr. Mix made sure to provide the appropriate context.

“Another question in that poll asked non-union members ‘are you interested in joining a union?’ Fifty-eight percent of non-union members said they had no interest whatsoever in joining a labor union,” he added. Moreover, private sector union membership is at an all-time low.

Contradiction and double-speak were the themes of the day. In one telling moment, Democrat-invited witness, Mr. Jody Calemine, admitted, “I wished we lived in a world that was kind of described where people were free to join unions. We don’t live in that world.”

Exactly. We live in a world where the scales are tipped towards compulsory unionism and workers are deprived of their freedom to choose in 24 states. Right-to-work laws even the playing field by endowing workers with their constitutional right of freedom to associate—or not associate.

Rep. Aaron Bean (R-FL) put it this way: “I was at a Walmart not too long ago. I counted in the shampoo aisle 27 different versions of shampoo. Americans want choice … whether it is their shampoo, fast food, [or] ice cream.” 
There are dangers associated with forced unionism, too. Ms. Geary knows this all too well. In an exchange with Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), she described the retribution sought against those not walking the union party line in the workplace.

“Because I was outspoken as to my opinion regarding this union, I was punished. I was punished on the job. I was punished personally. I was followed home at night. I was threatened by union reps. I was told my car would be keyed. It was a nightmare for me,” she recalled.

Ms. Geary then punctuated her comments, “This is America. We should be allowed to choose, and if unions are that good, they should sell themselves.”

America is a land of freedom and opportunity for all workers, not just a privileged few.

Bottom Line: Committee Republicans are advancing ideas and legislation to put an end to compulsory unionization. 
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