1 PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2 LABOR AND INDUSTRY COMMITTEE
3 INFORMATIONAL HEARING
4 HOUSE BILLS 50, 51, 52, 53
5 August 16, 2011
6 1:00 p.m.
7 Room 140 Main Capital Building
8 Harrisburg, PA 17124
9 * * * *
11 MAJORITY CHAIRMAN RON MILLER
12 MINORITY CHAIRMAN WILLIAM KELLER
13 REPRESENTATIVE STEPHEN BLOOM
14 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT W. BOYD
15 REPRESENTATIVE LYNDA SCHLEGEL CULVER
16 REPRESENTATIVE SHERYL M. DELOZIER
17 REPRESENTATIVE SETH M. GROVE
18 REPRESENTATIVE WARREN KAMPF
19 REPRESENTATIVE FRED KELLER
20 REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS P. MURT
21 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT PERRY
22 REPRESENTATIVE DARYL METCALFE
23 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN EVANS
1 Also Appearing:
2 REPRESENTATIVE BRENDON BOYLE
3 REPRESENTATIVE H. WILLIAM DEWEESE
4 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN T. GALLOWAY
5 REPRESENTATIVE MARC J. GERGELY
6 REPRESENTATIVE NEAL P. GOODMAN
7 REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MURPHY
1 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Okay. It's now 1:00.
2 I'd like to call this hearing of the House Labor and
3 Industry Committee to order. The purpose of today's hearing is
4 to gather input on a package of House bills on Open Workforce
5 Initiative legislation. Of course, we all know it more commonly
6 as Right to Work.
7 For the information of all of those in attendance,
8 this hearing is being videotaped by the Broadcasting Office of
9 the House Bipartisan Management Committee. The video is also
10 being made available to the news media and for streaming on
11 House websites.
12 When I became Majority Chairman of the House Labor
13 and Industry Committee, I realized that issues that this
14 Committee addresses could be emotional to many people with the
15 potential to be confrontational. Perhaps none has that
16 potential more than the issue of Open Workforce Initiative
17 legislation, Right to Work. I also believed at that time, and
18 continue to believe, that any legislation considered by this
19 Committee, especially in the current economic times, should
20 focus on fairness to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania and the
21 ability to create or retain jobs. A jobless recovery is not a
22 recovery, in my mind.
23 Of course, at the same time we have to keep in mind
24 fairness to all Pennsylvania workers must be also be part of
25 our concerns. Minority Chairman, Representative Bill Keller
1 beside me, and I share little in common in regards to
2 background, areas we represent and many political ideology
3 points, but with that said, I have to tell you, I have great
4 respect for Representative Keller because we disagree often,
5 but do so in a manner that I consider him a friend, and I like
6 and I trust him
7 I hope this hearing can be conducted in a manner
8 that we know there is a great disagreement between different
9 sides, but that disagreement is expressed in a non-threatening
10 or confrontational way.
11 Chairman Keller, do you have any opening remarks at
12 this time?
13 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm just
14 surprised at those kind remarks. I don't get very many of them.
15 It's always welcome.
16 CHAIRMAN MILLER: You're welcome, Chair.
17 CHAIRMAN KELLER: And I say, you know, we're here
18 again, we're trying to have an open debate on a lot of issues,
19 and especially in these times, hard issues. I'd just like to
20 start out by saying I cannot believe that Pennsylvania is
21 trying to be like Alabama and Mississippi. So, I think we
22 could go from there and keep this on the issues, and I believe
23 in the end we'll do what's right for the workers of
25 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
1 CHAIRMAN MILLER: If I might, I would like to allow
2 the members that are here to introduce themselves, and I think
3 we'll start at the upper -- my upper left with Representative
5 REPRESENTATIVE GROVE: Seth Grove, York County,
6 196th District.
7 REPRESENTATIVE SCHLEGEL: Lynda Schlegel Culver.
8 108th District.
9 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: 85th District, Union and
10 Snyder Counties.
11 REPRESENTATIVE KAMPF: Warren Kampf, 157th District,
12 Chester and Montgomery Counties.
13 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: John Galloway, 140th
14 District, Bucks County.
15 REPRESENTATIVE BLOOM: Stephen Bloom, 199th
16 District, Cumberland County.
17 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: Scott Boyd, 43rd District,
19 REPRESENTATIVE MURT: Tom Murt, 152nd District,
20 Montgomery County and Philadelphia County.
21 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Scott Perry, the great 92nd,
22 Northern York and Cumberland Counties.
23 REPRESENTATIVE EVANS: John Evans, 5th Legislative
24 District, Erie and Crawford Counties.
25 REPRESENTATIVE DEWEESE: Bill DeWeese, Greene,
1 Fayette and Washington.
2 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you, everyone. We made
3 represent Representative John Evans an honorary member of the
4 committee today. He's in Harrisburg and was able to join us
5 for this hearing.
6 With that, I would like to call up on Representative
7 Daryl Metcalfe for opening remarks on House Bill 50 and
8 possibly on some of the other pieces of the Open Workforce
9 Initiative legislation.
10 Welcome, Representative Metcalfe.
11 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: Thank you, Chairman Miller.
12 Appreciate the opportunity to be here with you today, and thank
13 you to the Minority Chair also and the Committee Members for
14 allowing me to testify on this very important issue today.
15 Mr. Chairman, Right to Work is a basic issue of
16 individual liberty. Regardless of occupation, hard-working
17 taxpayers should never be forced to pay union dues in exchange
18 for the right to work. In virtually every public opinion poll
19 conducted in the last 20 years, no less than 70% of all
20 Pennsylvanians favor an enactment of the Right to Work law.
21 The Framers of our Constitution never intended for our
22 government to become an enforcer for unions or a collection
23 agency of forced union dues at taxpayer expense.
24 Pennsylvanians without a Right to Work law encourages
25 coercive union practices in both the public and private
1 sectors. Under my Right to Work legislation, House Bill 50,
2 the Freedom of Employment Act and the rest of the Pennsylvania
3 Open Workforce Initiative, House Bills 51 through 53,
4 employment would no longer be conditional upon membership or
5 non-membership in a union, nor upon payment or non-payment of
6 money to a labor organization.
7 Mr. Chairman, by forcing an employee to pay any fee
8 to a union, whether it's full dues or partial dues and whether
9 it includes membership rights or it doesn't, that is in itself
10 creating forced unionism by default.
11 Without this Right to Work legislation,
12 Pennsylvania's working citizens will continue to be deprived of
13 their individual right to decide which private organizations
14 they will join or support, and our entire economy suffers.
15 Forced unionism states such as Pennsylvania experience lost
16 individual freedom, lost income, lost jobs, lost population,
17 and increasing welfare rolls.
18 America's 22 Right to Work states consistently lead
19 the nation in all aspects of real economic growth and overall
20 quality of life, higher net jobs gained, lower taxation, more
21 people with private or employment based health insurance and
22 fewer individuals dependent on state welfare.
23 In fact, nine of the 10 -- nine of the Top 10 Chief
24 Executive magazine's 2010 best states to do business have a
25 Right to Work law, Mr. Chairman.
1 Currently, Pennsylvania ranks 39th out of 50 states
2 in overall economic competitiveness, third highest on the list
3 of outbound jobs states, and has suffered stagnant population
4 growth since 2000 and has resulted in the loss three of
5 congressional seats through redistricting.
6 According to the Department of Commerce and Bureau of
7 Labor Statistics, between '99 and 2009, Right to Work states
8 have experienced 28.3% growth in real personal income as
9 opposed to only 14.7% in forced unionism states.
10 The U.S. Administration of Children and Families and
11 the Bureau of the Census reported for 2009 that the number of
12 welfare recipients per 1,000 residents was 17.3 in forced
13 unionism states such as Pennsylvania, compared to only 7.6 in
14 Right to Work states. The Bureau of the Census further reported
15 that the percentage growth in number of people covered by
16 private or employment-based health insurance increased by .9%
17 in Right to Work states. Not a huge increase, but it's still
18 increased. In forced unionism states it decreased by 6.9%.
19 According to the U.S. Labor Department data, between
20 2003 and 2005, private sector job growth in forced unionism
21 states increased by only 2.3% while private sector job growth
22 in Right to Work states increased by 4.9%, or roughly 120%
24 The lack of a Right to Work law in Pennsylvania
25 also, without question, increases political corruption. Since
1 the passage of Pennsylvania's agency shop law in 1988, nearly
2 20,000 non-union state employees have lost their individual
3 freedom to decide whether or not to join or support a union. As
4 a result, millions of dollars are collected annually by the
5 state from non-union members in the form of compulsory union
6 fees and sent directly to the coffers of state employee unions
7 such as AFSCME, all at taxpayers' expense.
8 According to the Pennsylvania Department of State,
9 AFSCME Council 13 spent $863,310.79 during the 2010 election
10 cycle. Not surprisingly, 94% of that total went to support
11 Democratic candidates and Democratic political action
12 committees, providing the unfair bargaining power necessary to
13 drive state government employees' salaries and benefits higher
14 and higher.
15 Since 2004, state government employees' salaries have
16 risen from a median average of $39,037 to $45,105. In
17 comparison, the median average earnings for Pennsylvania's
18 private sector employees stands at $32,239. As cited by
19 Governor Tom Corbett during his 2011-'12 state budget address,
20 quote, since the recession began, the state's union employees
21 have seen annual increases. The private sector, the taxpayer
22 has seen its average income stagnate, end quote.
23 The passage of the Pennsylvania Open Workforce
24 Initiative would place the power back into the hands of the
25 employees, who would be able to hold their union and their
1 employer accountable by either choosing to join or leave a
2 union at any time. Best of all, the total taxpayer cost of
3 restoring the fundamental Right to Work, whereby all
4 Pennsylvania worker citizens will never again have to fear
5 losing their jobs or not being able to support their families
6 due to compulsory unionism, is absolutely zero. The facts could
7 not be clearer. Realizing the exclusive individual and
8 financial liberties associated with becoming America's 23rd
9 Right to Work state and enacting the Pennsylvania Open
10 Workforce Initiative is the true economic stimulus plan,
11 leading to real growth and job creation. It's a zero-cost
12 initiative that makes a lot of sense.
13 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
14 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you for your comments,
15 Representative Metcalfe. I do not have any questions at this
16 time, but I will open it, and I believe Representative Keller
17 has a question or two.
18 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: Surprisingly. Representative
19 Metcalfe, as the chairman said, he and I and you and I are
20 probably on different political sides of every issue, but I
21 do -- I have been here a long time, and I remember when you
22 were a caucus of one. Now you are growing exponentially, so
23 congratulations on that, I think.
24 But just to point out that the differences in
25 this -- I believe in every union hall across this country,
1 there should be a plaque commemorating what Senator Wagner has
2 done for this country. The Wagner Act, granting collective
3 bargaining, I believe is one of the top five laws passed in
4 this country, and it has been -- has done great for the country
5 and great for the workers.
6 I was just wondering how you believe -- I understand
7 you're saying unions are probably not a good thing
8 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: I didn't say that. Being
9 forced to be in a union is not a good thing.
10 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Okay. But how would -- I'm for
11 collective bargaining, like I said. I think Senator Wagner was
12 a great man. How would the people who are not part of the
13 collective bargaining union and do not have to pay union
14 dues -- how would you foresee them being represented? Who would
15 represent them to the employer?
16 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: Well, I would foresee them
17 representing themself to the employer like any other non-union
18 in the United States does, as I did when I worked for a
19 corporation, and the agreement and the contract and the salary
20 and benefits agreement were between me and the employer, not
21 between me and the labor union.
22 CHAIRMAN KELLER: You were -- I didn't know your
23 background. You know, I actually was a member of a union.
24 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: I was a member of a union
25 at one time when I was forced to be, for a short time, prior to
1 going into the corporate world in a more professional capacity.
2 CHAIRMAN KELLER: And I'm sure you made much more
3 money when you were represented by the union.
4 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: I made much more money
5 when I was in the corporate world.
6 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Yeah. Okay.
7 And our differences will continue. And here's
8 basically what I don't understand: You're saying that if
9 you're represented by a union, you make $40,000. It seems to me
10 you're saying it would be better to make $32,000? Now, I know
11 one of the right-wing new mantras is that 47% of -- 47% of the
12 people not pay income tax, and I'm not sure -- I don't have the
13 statistic. I'm sure staff will get it. But I'm sure somebody
14 that's making $30,000 in a family of four probably doesn't pay
15 income tax because it is almost a non-sustainable wage to make
16 $30,000 and to have a family of four or more. And I believe
17 that's what unions do. And people who are represented by
18 unions, even though they're not part of the bargaining and
19 choose not to be, there's nothing wrong with having them pay
20 their fair share towards that collective bargaining union
21 that's protecting them.
22 I don't think I have any more questions for you, but
23 I just I think we are so diametrically opposed that -- that's
24 where I'm at. I hope that's where this state is at. And if you
25 keep talking about fairness, that's fairness. If you are being
1 represented and you're making a good wage, and you're having
2 good benefits, then you should pay at least your fair share
3 towards the collective bargaining that gets that done for you.
4 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: Representative -- if I
6 could respond just quickly, Mr. Chairman.
7 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Briefly.
8 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: Representative Keller, as
9 far as the salaries that you made mention of, throwing the
10 $40,000 out there and the $30,000 out there, you had heard the
11 figures that I had quoted from past statistics. The average
12 private sector worker in Pennsylvania does not make what the
13 average state worker makes. That is not sustainable. You cannot
14 have employees who are working for ultimately the shareholders,
15 that being the private sector citizen -- you cannot have them
16 making more than the private sector taxpayers, whether the
17 unions are leveraging it or not. Minority people are in
18 unions. The majority are not. And they're paying the price
19 through the nose for it.
20 CHAIRMAN KELLER: We will continue to disagree on
21 this. There is a basic fairness to people being represented,
22 and if you're talking about -- you know, it's not right for the
23 taxpayers. It's not right for the taxpayers for companies to
24 have $2.5 trillion of cash in a time -- we're in a recession,
25 in a manufacturing recession, and all of the corporate greed is
1 not helping any taxpayer in this state or across the country.
2 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: And --
4 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I would just recognize that we
5 have been joined by Representative Gergely and now recognize
6 Representative Perry.
7 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
8 Representative Metcalfe, I just want to turn to some
9 testimony on the bottom of the page before the last. It says,
10 As a result, millions of dollars are collected annually by the
11 state for non-union members in the form of compulsory union
12 fees and sent directly to the coffers of state employee unions.
13 Can you describe how that happens? Is this a cost to the
14 taxpayer to collect these dues? Who accounts for the correct
15 amount and accounting of all -- of that money? How much money
16 are we talking about, any idea, all of that kind of stuff.
17 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: That's a great question. I
18 think that's something that folks don't really think about day
19 to day out there and the taxpayers who are paying for it. But
20 school districts across the state, the local municipalities
21 across the state, the state government, they're all working as
22 a collection agency for the union dues. I don't have a dollar
23 figure on what the cost is, but there's certainly
24 administrative costs associated with collecting dues and having
25 those disbursed back to the union. I believe the union should
1 be, as any politically driven organization should be -- they
2 should have to go to the membership for the union dues and they
3 shouldn't be able to collect that directly from the government
4 entities that they're collecting it for them.
5 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Is that similar? I'm not
6 really sure, so I'm just asking the question: If you know, is
7 that similar to non-public sector employees that are involved
8 in the union where the employer does the collection or does the
9 union do the collection?
10 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: I assume the private
11 sector employer collects for the union also, but there's no
12 taxpayer side to that equation. It's a -- it's a -- something
13 that the employer has to pay in the private sector, whereas the
14 taxpayers get to pick up the bill in the public sector.
15 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: That would be a function of
16 the collective bargaining agreement, the accounting far it.
17 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: I assume.
18 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: And we don't have any idea of
19 the cost to the taxpayers?
20 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: I don't have any figures
21 with me.
22 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: All right. Thank you.
23 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
24 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative DeWeese?
25 REPRESENTATIVE DEWEESE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
1 Just two minutes. A couple of observations that I think would
2 be helpful as a substructure for the event today -- and welcome
3 Mr. Metcalfe, like Chairman Keller, I'm counter-poised to my
4 colleague, but nevertheless, the momentum of the moment needs
5 to be addressed.
6 Frequent points in these two minutes: One, in the
7 Clinton Administration -- Daryl, that's not heresy; that was a
8 very successful economic span -- 1% of the American
9 population -- 1% controlled 9% of the wealth. Today, 1% of the
10 population controls approximately 23% of the wealth. So, point
11 number one, we are migrating away from a middle class.
12 Number two, Chairman Keller's very astute historical
13 recollection on the inception of collective bargaining, at
14 least as it was sanctioned by the Wagner Act, Senator Wagner of
15 New York in 1935 launched an experiment that I would proffer
16 established, fortified and propelled a middle class.
17 So, with the amount of wealth in the United States
18 being so aggressively and probably transferred and with this
19 middle class being threatened, my final observation would be --
20 and I think it's poignant -- one of the most conservative
21 soldiers that ever marched across the American landscape, other
22 than my good friend, Daryl, was Douglas MacArthur. And when
23 MacArthur was dispatched to Tokyo at the conclusion of World
24 War II, the first thing he did when he took control of the
25 government was to establish organized labor's collective
1 bargaining rights. The most conservative man in America at that
2 time was Douglas MacArthur. He assured the viability of unions
3 and collective bargaining as well as giving women the right to
5 So, as I conclude, Mr. Chairman, I just want these
6 observations to be part of the undergirding of the dialogue,
7 because I think we cannot casually dismiss the idea that our
8 public employees are able to bargain collectively, and our
9 other employees in the trades and in the mines and mills of
10 this state cannot enjoy the same kind of opportunities that
11 they have been enjoying and benefitting from and giving back to
12 America since the New Deal.
13 Thanks, Mr. Chairman, for your time.
14 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you for your time
16 Representative Gergely?
17 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
18 just a couple of comments, and Representative Metcalfe is
19 certain to respond if he likes. Page three of your testimony,
20 Representative, Paragraph 22, Right to Work states, economic
21 growth, they have better economic growth, overall quality of
22 life, higher net job gains, and you went on about lessening
23 health care -- dependence on state welfare. I don't understand.
24 I pulled this -- this is July 22, 2011. Of the most unemployed
25 states in the country, seven are Right to Work states. And they
1 also have significantly less income than states such as
2 Pennsylvania. So, as Scott Boyd said -- Representative Boyd
3 said in the last hearing, let's be accurate on our facts.
4 Alabama's -- Pennsylvania ranks median income is
5 $49,500; Alabama, higher unemployment, $40,500; Georgia, 47,
6 lower; North Carolina, 43,000, lower; Mississippi -- this is a
7 quality of life -- $36,000; South Carolina, $44,000. All of
8 them have almost 10% unemployment, and are all Right to Work
9 states. What's the justification? Please answer that, because
10 if it was right, these would be accurate. Quality of life would
11 be better. And we haven't even talked about test scores for
12 education. They would be horrific in every one of these states,
13 I'm sure. Mississippi would lead the charge, along with
14 Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina.
15 So, Representative, I'm not -- I'm challenging you
16 on your facts. I think I would be accurate to say they're wrong
17 in your presentation, and I'm just looking for reasons why it
18 would be better in this state for quality of life, when we'd
19 lose income, have higher unemployment, and have worse test
21 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: Well, I think
22 Representative Gergely -- Mr. Chairman, if I might. I shared
23 several statistics in my testimony. I don't know if you heard
24 these statistics that were actually looked at over a time span,
25 and I believe ten years in one case and a couple of years in
1 another, where you're really focussing on the current situation
2 that the Obama Administration has helped bring us into. For
3 your points to be made with different numbers and different
4 statistics, I think the statistics that I shared were far
5 broader and over a greater time span that shows that ultimately
6 those states that are Right to Work states, I believe
7 ultimately based on the facts that I shared, will see a quicker
8 recovery than non-Right to Work states and not in an inflated
9 wage rate that's given through the union bargaining process
10 that the taxpayers cannot sustain any longer.
11 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Murt?
12 REPRESENTATIVE MURT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
13 Representative Metcalfe, I just have one question,
14 primarily focusing on House Bill 51, 52, and 53. Why do you
15 believe that it's unfair to have non-union employees pay union
16 dues, when the dues are used for their representation that
17 obtains for them higher wages and improved benefits, safer
18 working conditions, insurance for their families and so forth?
19 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: Why do I believe it's
20 unfair for non-union members to pay union dues? This is
21 America, Representative Metcalfe. I don't believe any American
22 should be forced into an association that they wouldn't
23 otherwise choose to be in, because some of your union friends
24 or allies are going to argue that they actually are the ones
25 causing the economic benefit to those non-union members. That,
1 in fact, may not be the case at all. If those employees were
2 allowed to stand on their own and be judged on their
3 performance, I'm sure they would outwork the mediocrity that's
4 represented many times in the union bureaucracy.
5 REPRESENTATIVE MURT: When the non-union employees
6 are accepting the higher benefits and improved working
7 conditions and so forth --
8 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: Except when they're forced
10 REPRESENTATIVE MURT: Let me finish.
11 My question is: Where is the unfairness when they're paying
12 for their union representative? They're paying for the legal
13 counsel and the union representation that's obtained for them
14 and the higher wages and benefits and so forth.
15 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: It looks like you and I
16 just won't agree. We can agree to disagree. But as I said
17 early on, when you look at poll after poll after poll,
18 Pennsylvanians on the whole, in the majority fashion, recognize
19 that forcing somebody to pay union dues to have a job is
20 unfair. Whether it's a small part of the union dues or a full
21 membership-fledged union dues, you create union membership by
22 default with forcing that union -- that non-union member to pay
23 some dues.
24 REPRESENTATIVE MURT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
25 CHAIRMAN MILLER: With that, thank you,
1 Representative Metcalfe.
2 REPRESENTATIVE METCALFE: Thank you, Chairman
4 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Our first panel -- and I
5 apologize, gentlemen, I'm 15 minutes behind already -- but we
6 have Rick Bloomingdale, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, and I believe Abe
7 Amoros is here, Pennsylvania Legislative Director, Laborer's
8 International Union. And Mr. Bloomingdale, you may introduce
9 anybody else with you. And proceed when you are ready.
10 Remember, we have your testimony. If you can try to
11 do it five minutes, a little bit more, each of you, and then
12 we'll get to questions, as you see that many members have
13 questions. So -- and I appreciate the fact that you had quite a
14 journey to get here. So, thank you.
15 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Thank you, Chairman Miller.
16 I will certainly be as brief as possible, knowing
17 that the committee's time is valuable, and we'll leave time for
18 questions. With me is Russ Keating, our legislative staff, who
19 did a lot of the research for me. So, if there are questions
20 that people have, where they need, you know, citations and
21 where we might have gotten some of our statistics, I have Russ
22 here to help me out.
23 In order to try to answer Representative Perry's
24 questions on the cost of collecting dues, I have asked our
25 attorneys -- I worked on the original agency shop bill, and I
1 believe that we put in there that the union would reimburse the
2 Commonwealth for the cost of collection of at least the fee
3 part. I don't know if -- but it's turned out to be very
4 minuscule. It's the same program that they use to collect
5 United Way contributions. It's a negotiated thing. It's not
6 mandated that the employer collect dues, just like it is in the
7 private sector. It's a negotiated benefit that is on the table
8 with the Commonwealth. And in this latest round of
9 negotiations with Governor Corbett, it stayed in the contract.
10 So, it was -- you know, one of those collective bargaining
11 issues that -- things people have given up to keep it. It's one
12 of those things that happens in bargaining. It's a trade-off.
13 Let me get to my testimony so we can answer other
14 questions. And I'll just follow Representative Miller's
15 advice, try to get through it fairly quickly. If I see anything
16 redundant, I will try to skip over that. But as you had said,
17 my name is Rick Bloomingdale. I'm president of the
18 Pennsylvania's AFL-CIO, the state's unions representing over
19 800,000 union workers. I appreciate this opportunity to testify
20 in opposition to House Bills 50, 51, 52, and 53.
21 Pennsylvania AFL-CIO opposes this legislation for
22 the following reasons: We have since 1905. The equity with
23 which this legislation claims it seeks already exists. The
24 consequences of this legislation would be the weakening of
25 collective bargaining and unleveling the playing field and
1 giving an advantage to the employer. And this legislation
2 would harm workers and their families, local economies and
3 block Pennsylvania's economic recovery.
4 Existing Pennsylvania labor laws already protect job
5 applicants and incumbent employees who do not want to belong to
6 a union. They also protect the right of the majority of workers
7 who want to negotiate in their contracts worker fairness
8 provisions such as fair share fee.
9 Existing laws confined fair share fee calculations
10 to union expenses attributable to contract negotiations and
11 contract enforcement only. So, that amount of money that
12 Representative Metcalfe mentioned went to work on political
13 stuff is not used in the agency fee calculation.
14 Fair Share fee payors, as differentiated from union
15 members, contribute only to -- for the negotiations and
16 enforcement of the levels of pay, benefits and other working
17 conditions all workers enjoy. Existing Pennsylvania labor laws
18 even already protect workers who have legitimate conscientious
19 objections to belonging to a union or paying a fair share fee.
20 For example, those whose conscientious objections
21 stem from religious beliefs may arrange for the equivalent of
22 their fair share fee to go to certain designated charities.
23 Thus, House Bills 50, 51, 52, and 53 would not provide any new
24 legitimate individual rights or protections for any workers.
25 Instead, they would trap all workers in the quicksand of
1 restricted right, vacant rights and ultimately no rights that
2 would leave them with less pay, less job safety, less health
3 care, less retirement and more debt and poverty.
4 The stipulation in House Bills 50, 51, 52 and 53
5 that unions would be required to represent only union members
6 would perpetuate divisiveness. Divisiveness in the workplace
7 harms all workers, encumbers employer, hampers productivity and
8 cheats taxpayers. Thus, such a proposal exposes this
9 legislation as a ruse, with the true purpose of busting unions
10 instead of promoting optimal vital taxpayer services.
11 We all know that employers in a non-union workplace
12 will pit one worker against another, and all this would do is
13 encourage that kind of aberrant behavior. Nothing protects
14 individual workers better than collective bargaining and a
15 strong union. The real motive of the hidden funds organization
16 driving this legislation isn't to protect individual workers.
17 Its real motive, camouflaged by the specious label,
18 inflammatory rhetoric and transparent props, is to maximize big
19 business profits at the expense of all of the workers. The less
20 recompense workers receive, the more income managers and
21 stockholders amass. Denying the citizens the rights to
22 collectively bargain a worker fairness provision does not
23 automatically lead to greater jobs creation.
24 According to the United States Department of Labor,
25 Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2011, the Pennsylvania jobless
1 rate was 7.6%. Ten states that prohibit worker fairness
2 provisions, Right to Work states had lower jobless rates. 13
3 states that prohibit worker fairness provisions had the worst
4 jobless rates, as Representative Gergely pointed out. In fact,
5 the state with the worst jobless rate, Nevada, prohibits
6 workers' fairness provisions.
7 Significantly, the states that prohibit worker fairness
8 provisions and which have lower jobless rates than Pennsylvania
9 are not heavily industrialized states. Thus, their real jobless
10 rates do not indicate real job growth. Instead, it indicates
11 that they do not suffer as much from the relocation and
12 creation of manufacturing jobs outside of the United States.
13 Many of you will remember Pennsylvania once had a
14 vibrant garment industry. And as a result of lower wages,
15 those garment jobs fled to the South, South Carolina, North
16 Carolina, but within ten years had fled to Costa Rica,
17 Bangladesh, China and India. Those are folks searching for the
18 lowest wage, not any kind of equity for the workers. Most
19 likely, the employment figures from states that restrict
20 workers' rights are inflated with huge numbers of part-time,
21 seasonal and undocumented workers.
22 Oklahoma enacted legislation that denies workers the
23 right to negotiate workers' provisions, fairness provisions, in
24 2001, the most recent state to do so. Research that analyzed
25 economic data from before and after Oklahoma enacted this
1 legislation found that since 2001, manufacturing and employment
2 relocations into Oklahoma began to fall, precisely the opposite
3 of what opponents of worker fairness provisions promised. And
4 that was -- this data is from primarily -- since Representative
5 Metcalfe mentioned President Obama and this recession, that was
6 under President Bush, who also had some recession
8 I have witnessed America's manufacturing industries
9 relocate from states that genuinely promote workers' rights to
10 states that restrict workers' rights. These states still outlaw
11 worker fairness provisions, but yet many, if not most, of the
12 states that were relocated there from free bargaining states
13 subsequently were relocated overseas where the rights to
14 workers are categorically violated and their standards of
15 living are characterized by poverty, squalor and hopelessness.
16 This strongly suggests that the motive of opponents of worker
17 fairness provisions is to exploit cheap labor.
18 Quantity and quality are different measurements.
19 Quantity is the measure of the number of persons employed in
20 the state. Quality is the measure of the number of persons with
21 family-sustaining pay and benefits employed in the state. The
22 harm that House Bills 50, 51, 52 and 53 would do to workers and
23 their families is illustrated by comparing labor statistics of
24 states that promote workers' rights, including their rights to
25 negotiate worker fairness provisions, and states that restrict
1 worker rights, including by prohibiting worker fairness
3 In 2009, the average income and median weekly wages
4 in 20 of the 23 states that prohibit worker fairness provisions
5 was lower than $740 -- lower than the $740 median weekly wage
6 in Pennsylvania. Median weekly wages in Pennsylvania in 2009
7 were $60 a week more than the average for states that prohibit
8 worker fairness provisions. Poverty is higher in the states
9 that deny workers the right to negotiate worker fairness
10 provisions. All residents and children have a 31% -- 39.7%
11 greater chance of being poor, respectively, than Pennsylvania's
12 residents and children.
13 Workers in worker fairness states are more likely to
14 have health insurance than workers in states that restrict
15 collectively bargaining. Residents of states that ban worker
16 fairness provisions were 46.3% more likely than Pennsylvania's
17 to be uninsured. Many of these statistics you've heard, so, I'm
18 going to skip around here.
19 The issues of these suspect bills are whether we
20 really embrace the ideal of democracy, honor the principle of
21 majority rule. Remember, unions are voted in by the majority,
22 not by -- nobody mandates that a union be in a place and
23 respect the dignity of all workers. I was taught and still
24 believe the spirit of the American character is manifest in the
25 principle that all have a responsibility to bear their fair
1 share of creating the benefits enjoyed by all. Or as my mother
2 would say, there's no such thing as a free lunch.
3 Federal and Pennsylvania labor laws promote
4 collective bargaining for many prudent reasons, including
5 insuring democracy and self-determination by majority rule in
6 the workplaces.
7 A majority of workers is required for union
8 certification. A majority of union members is required for
9 contract ratification. Once ratified, the contracts benefit all
10 workers. Contract negotiations and contract enforcement involve
11 cost. It is central to the American character and spirit that
12 all individuals who receive the same benefits should pay their
13 fair share of the cost for that benefit. This is what worker
14 fairness provisions in labor contracts accomplish. They insure
15 responsibility of union benefactors, while at the same time
16 protecting the minority of benefactors who have been declared
17 legitimate exceptions to belonging to a union or paying a fair
18 share fee.
19 House Bills 50, 51, 52 and 53 disregard the majority of
20 workers who exercise their rights to vote for union
21 representation, they disregard the majority of workers who
22 exercise their rights to ratify their union contracts, and they
23 discredit the rights to accept their fair share of supporting
24 the negotiations and administration of their union contracts.
25 This legislation would make it much harder for
1 workers to improve their working conditions. Businesses have
2 the right to maximize profits, and individual workers have the
3 right to try to maximize their incomes. Unions provide workers
4 with the best means for maximizing their incomes, and this
5 legislation would have the consequence of weakening unions.
6 The issues of House Bills 50, 51, 52 and 53 are decency,
7 dignity -- or opposition to them are decency, dignity, equity,
8 democracy, majority and good citizenship are the things that we
9 promote. This legislation presents a classic example of
10 exploiting the darker side of humanity. It encourages
11 selfishness and discourages community. It implicitly condones
12 morays that are counter-productive to the best interests of a
13 republic with a democratic form of government. In general, the
14 Pennsylvania AFL-CIO oppose this legislation because it will
15 harm workers and their families and further unravel America as
16 middle class and block Pennsylvania's economic recovery.
17 Specifically, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO opposes this
18 legislation for the same reasons which the late Reverend
19 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so eloquently articulated when he
20 said, "In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard
21 against being fooled by false slogans, as 'right-to-work.' It
22 provides no 'rights' and no 'works.' It is a law to rob us of
23 our civil rights and our job rights. Its purpose is to destroy
24 labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which
25 unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone.
1 We demand this fraud be stopped." Thank you.
2 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you, Mr. Bloomingdale.
3 Mr. Amoros, you may proceed when you are ready.
4 MR. AMOROS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Welcome.
6 MR. AMOROS: Thank you. It's good to be here.
7 Chairman Miller, Chairman Keller, thank you for allowing the
8 Pennsylvania Laborers to present testimony regarding House
9 Bills 50 through 53. These bills seek to make Pennsylvania a
10 right to work state which, if passed and signed into law, would
11 immediately weaken the state's economy by cutting workers'
12 paychecks as well as cutting their health benefits and their
13 pension benefits. My name is Abe Amoros, and I'm the
14 Pennsylvania legislative director for the Laborers'
15 International Union of North America. We represent 30,000
16 members throughout the Commonwealth.
17 Now, while the phrase "Right to Work" may sound like
18 a positive change in a weak economy, the phrase, the concept
19 and the results are anything but. Right to Work legislation
20 will not only suppress wages, cut health care benefits and make
21 a decent pension impossible to come by for Pennsylvania
22 workers, but it impacts every community in Pennsylvania.
23 The Bills before this committee do nothing but hurt working
24 people and their families. They also smack of a hostile
25 ideology against labor unions and are not based on sound and
1 logical business practices.
2 Now, with the unemployment figure at 9.1%
3 nationally, and Pennsylvania's being at about 7.6%, why would
4 turning the state into a Right to Work state become beneficial?
5 It only hurts workers, and not just union employees, but
6 non-union employees as well.
7 You know, supporters of Right to Work laws advance
8 two major arguments: First, these laws would make the state
9 more attractive to investment, they say, and the passage of
10 Right to Work bills would lead to job growth. While this may
11 sound attractive to a state that is facing economic hardship,
12 the evidence is in dispute.
13 When making location decisions, businesses rate
14 factors such as the quality of the regional workforce, the
15 regulatory environment, and tax incentives before ever
16 considering Right to Work laws. Just ask those who are doing
17 work in the Marcellus Shale.
18 The second and main argument that Right to Work
19 advocates like is rooted in libertarian political thought, and
20 it goes like this: Individuals should not be required to
21 financially support unions or any collective against their
22 will. Now, this free association position focuses on demanding
23 a sacrifice from all of the benefit from a collective effort.
24 In the U.S., a workplace becomes unionized when a
25 majority of the employees in a bargaining union petition for
1 union representation. This 50%-plus-one method of determination
2 almost guarantees the presence of a minority group that did not
3 want a union. And in many instances, a person gains union
4 coverage by accepting employment at a work site that is already
5 unionized without ever having the opportunity to vote for or
6 against unionization.
7 In non-Right to Work states, a labor union and
8 employer can agree to a union security clause that requires all
9 covered persons to pay dues to finance collective bargaining
10 activities. In such situations, someone seeking to avoid paying
11 dues to the union has three options: They could either leave
12 their job, convince union leadership to negotiate an open shop
13 or persuade fellow workers to decertify the union. Given that
14 the last two outcomes are very difficult to achieve, the most
15 viable option for dissenters is to work elsewhere.
16 This is where the phrase "Right to Work" comes from.
17 It's the right to work in a unionized setting and reap the
18 benefits of collective representation without having to
19 contribute toward the costs of obtaining these benefits. And I
20 ask the members of this Committee, where is the justice in
21 that? Where is the justice in that? How is it right for those
22 individuals to accrue the benefits that others have paid into
23 without paying their fair share?
24 On its face, Right to Work makes absolutely no
25 sense. In states that have passed Right to Work legislation,
1 wages and benefits of all workers, union and non-union, are
2 lower than national averages. Wages in those states are 3%
3 lower or roughly $1500 less.
4 Now, I don't know about members of this committee or
5 anyone in this audience, but I don't know very many working
6 families who would turn down $1500 to help them pay for their
7 mortgage, their car payments or put groceries on the table for
8 their children.
9 Health care benefits in those states are also 2.6%
10 lower. And one reason that the gains that -- one of the reasons
11 that the gains by unionized workers spill into the non-union
12 workers' section is due to competition. In the presence of a
13 strong regional union movement, employers with a non-union
14 workforce will raise wages and benefits to compete. What is
15 wrong with that? Ultimately, all workers benefit, as do local
16 economies, from higher wages.
17 So, if unions are weakened, non-union employers will
18 have a greater latitude to lower wages, require workers to
19 perform dangerous task, work in unhealthy conditions and treat
20 workers without dignity, sending us backwards. This is the real
21 hidden agenda behind Right to Work. It allows employers to have
22 more leverage over their employees to continue taking money
23 from the top -- from the bottom to pad the top.
24 Right to Work legislation is nothing more than a
25 shameless attack on organized labor and an insult to wage
1 earners who struggle every day in trying circumstances to keep
2 a roof over their heads and a decent way of life. This
3 legislation promotes the notion of free riders. Those who stand
4 to enjoy the fruits of collective bargaining also have the
5 incentive of not paying for it and getting something for
6 nothing. This starves resources and makes labor unions crumble.
7 It's devious, at best, and will be devastating to working
8 people across Pennsylvania.
9 There isn't a single Right to Work state in the
10 country that hasn't experienced problems as a result of
11 suppressed wages, loss of health care benefits and deflated
12 pension plans for its workers. So, why would the Pennsylvania
13 state legislature embrace a faulty concept such as this? Why
14 would we possibly want to join the ranks, as Chairman Keller
15 said, as economically distraught states such as Alabama,
16 Louisiana and Mississippi, just to state a few? And as
17 Representative Gergely said a few moments ago, are you
18 seriously arguing that the quality of life in those states is
19 better than ours? I think not. As Mr. Bloomingdale alluded to
20 earlier in Oklahoma, Oklahoma lost 22,000 manufacturing jobs.
22 A study that I recently read by the Economic Policy
23 Institute found that the rate of employer-sponsored pensions is
24 nearly 5% lower in Right to Work states. And the workers in
25 non-Right to Work states who receive pensions at this lower
1 rate, that's 3.8 million fewer people without pensions. 3.8
2 million fewer. The study also found that non-union workers are
3 also harmed by Right to Work legislation. All workers earn good
4 salaries as non-union contractors provide those competitive
5 wages that we like to talk about. And across the board, the
6 depression of wages affects every single person, regardless of
7 gender, race or educational level.
8 Full regression results in states where Right to
9 Work laws exist. Trimming a worker's paycheck should be the
10 absolute last thing that this legislature should be focusing
11 on. Good wages build strong communities by generating more in
12 state and local tax, recycle those hard-earned dollars in the
13 way of car payment, mortgage payment, et cetera, and we should
14 not take this path of destruction for workers.
15 Members of the state legislature should be more
16 concerned with creating jobs and allowing current laws that
17 support workers to remain in place rather than creating
18 barriers for them, which hurt their families, their children,
19 the innocent, those who cannot take care of themselves.
20 Right to Work legislation drives down wages,
21 financially depresses communities and hurts overall economies.
22 And they drive wedges, ladies and gentlemen, unnecessarily. Why
23 we would want to drive a wedge that does not exist there?
24 In Pennsylvania, workers in the construction industry are
25 facing unemployment rates of nearly 30%. Workers cannot afford
1 to lose any more, and this committee should be focusing on
2 helping those unemployed individuals.
3 The laborers are opposed to each of the four bills
4 regarding Right to Work, as they do nothing but hurt workers.
5 They take money from them and put it in the pockets of
6 employers, not taxpayers. Not taxpayers.
7 The Pennsylvania Laborers pledge to assist the
8 legislature in coming up with programs and ways to promote
9 workers in Pennsylvania. And I hope that we can set aside
10 political ideology in an anti-worker sentiment in favor of
11 hard-working Pennsylvanians who are the backbone of our state's
13 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
14 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you to both for your
15 testimony today. I would just have one note for Mr. Amoros, and
16 that's on the statement about the companies looking to locate
17 to a state or an area look at the quality of the regional
18 workforce, the regulatory environment, overall tax structure.
19 And I don't totally disagree with that, but the reference to
20 the Marcellus Shale really doesn't work for me because I keep
21 trying to get them to drill in York County, and they won't. You
22 have to have the gas to start with.
23 MR. AMOROS: So noted, Mr. Chairman.
24 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I just want them to fix my roads.
25 So, with that observation, Representative Keller.
1 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2 As I said to Representative Metcalfe, I guess the
3 disconnect is I believe that collective bargaining is
4 sacrosanct when it comes to middle class unions and increasing
5 people's quality of life. We're hearing all of these numbers,
6 forced millions of dollars, forced collection for unions, and
7 like I said, we're never going to agree on probably anything at
8 this hearing, but Mr. Bloomingdale, could you tell me, I mean,
9 what the average cost of a fair share fee per employee is?
10 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Well, it varies from union to
11 union. Again, it's based on, you know, the calculation. And the
12 union, by the way, when we drafted the law back in 1986/'87,
13 finally passed in '88, that has to be done every year. And
14 there are independent auditors who look at the books of the
15 unions and determine what that calculation is, that fee. It
16 goes anywhere from -- depending on what the union's doing in
17 terms of organizing, because organizing is not a calculation of
18 the fair share fee. A person doesn't have to pay organizing
19 costs, either, only the enforcement of the collective
20 bargaining agreement. It runs anywhere from 74 to 85%,
21 depending on how that union -- some unions do only contract
22 stuff. They don't do anything political. They don't -- all
23 they do is enforce the contract, grievances, those kind of
24 things. So, in that case, a fee payor would pay a higher
25 percentage. A union that might be more -- do more education,
1 organizing, would have a lower fair share fee because those
2 things are not part of the calculation.
3 But if you go back to the agency shop bill and the
4 way it was drafted, those audits are done every year. And you
5 may hear today, after the first one, we went to court, federal
6 court, and there was a ruling that, you know, we had to do this
7 every year, and, you know, it worked out -- I forget who the
8 judge was, but we ended up in court, and it was determined that
9 was obviously Constitutional, but that we had to do these
10 audits in an independent way. There was some question the way
11 the law was drafted. But that's done every year, the
12 calculation of the fair share fee. That's when people can
13 object to the fair share -- whether or not they pay the fair
14 share fee based on religious, like the Amish. That's
15 specifically prohibited in their religious code, so they don't
16 pay dues. Their fee goes to charities.
17 So, you have those times that people can do that
18 every year, object. And also AFSCME, my union nationally every
19 year tells people, look, if you want your portion of -- even if
20 you're a full dues payor, if you want your portion of dues that
21 was spent on political education, you can get a rebate for that
22 money, if you so desire. So, you know, they -- everybody works
23 hard to make sure people feel like they're being treated
25 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Just trying to draw a contrast
1 between the numbers that are thrown out -- millions forced into
2 unions' treasuries from the fair share fee. I'm trying to get a
3 grasp of the average cost of a fair share. It can't be onerous.
4 It can't be --
5 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: It's probably 75% of dues, maybe
6 a little higher, depending on the year. So if the due is $1,
7 they pay 75 cents. It's pretty easy math. Most dues are not a
9 CHAIRMAN KELLER: But it's -- I mean, for the amount
10 of money that the fair share person is paying, he's getting
11 well worth --
12 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Oh, he's getting -- he gets
13 everything that's negotiated. He's going to get the raises and
14 he's going to get the health care or she's going to get the
15 pension, all of those things, the grievance procedure and the
16 right to be heard if they feel they're being treated unfairly
17 by the boss.
18 CHAIRMAN KELLER: All of the benefits of collective
20 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Yeah. And by the way, the unions
21 are subject to what's called duty of fair representation. Any
22 union member can sue or any fee payor can sue the union if they
23 feel like they haven't gotten a fair hearing. So, we -- all of
24 the unions do an extensive amount of training to make sure that
25 local union officers know that they have to treat everybody
1 equally, whether they're a fee payor or full dues payor.
2 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Do you have any idea of how many
3 of your members have health insurance?
4 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Of the fair share --
5 CHAIRMAN KELLER: No, all -- your membership.
6 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: I guess most union members have
7 some kind of health care.
8 CHAIRMAN KELLER: And that would include the fair
10 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Oh, yeah, that he absolutely get
11 it. They enjoy all of the benefits.
12 CHAIRMAN KELLER: How many of your workers and the
13 fair share people earn above the minimum wage?
14 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: I would say 90% of them. I'm
15 sure there are a few in the hospitality industry that are at
16 that -- you know, get the tip thing and all of that going on.
17 But I'd say most of them are above the minimum wage.
18 CHAIRMAN KELLER: And large percentage, if not all,
19 of your members receive retirement benefits?
20 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: In one way or another. I mean,
21 some have -- yeah, some have defined benefit, some have
22 401(k)s, but they all have some kind of pension plan.
23 CHAIRMAN KELLER: And that holds true for the fair
24 share people?
25 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Absolutely. They are
1 beneficiaries. And if that's a state employee, they're in the
2 SERS; and if they're a school employee, they're in PCRS.
3 CHAIRMAN KELLER: I still can't understand what the
4 big to-do about people paying a little bit of -- not even the
5 full union dues, to receive all of these benefits. And I think
6 that's basically what this hearing is about, trying to take
7 away the ability of unions to help people, even people that
8 don't want to be -- pay into the collective bargaining of
9 benefits package that they receive. And hopefully, we'll be
10 able to keep this -- Pennsylvania a non-Right to Work state so
11 all of the workers will benefit.
12 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Can I just say one thing about
13 the choice? You know, nobody -- when a person goes into the
14 workplace, they generally know it's a union workplace, and they
15 know there are going to be dues and in some workplaces an
16 initiation fee. So they're making that choice. And if they get
17 in there and say, "Well, I don't want to pay for this," that's
18 a little bit disingenuous on their part. I mean, you know going
19 in, and you say, well, yeah, they should have the right to that
20 job, whether they pay dues or not. But if a job says you have
21 to have a bachelor's degree and you go in with an associate,
22 you don't have a right to that job. I mean, so you know that --
23 you know what you are getting into going in.
24 So, to say that these -- everybody should have the
25 right to just take any job they want is a little bit
1 disingenuous. You know that you are going into a union place
2 which means you know you are going to pay dues for the benefits
3 that you get.
4 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Thank you.
6 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: If you don't want to pay dues,
7 you don't have to go into that job. Nobody's forcing you.
8 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I would recognize we were joined
9 earlier by Representative Sheryl Delozier and Representative
10 Brandon Boyle, Representative Scott Boyd.
11 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I got
12 kind of a couple of questions that probably apply to both of
13 you and just answer as you would like. I guess,
14 Mr. Bloomingdale, in your testimony you mentioned that somebody
15 can opt out, if you will -- my words, not necessarily yours --
16 for religious reasons. Are there any other reasons that are
17 available for somebody to opt out?
18 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: It's been 20 years since we
19 wrote that. I remember some of it. I don't remember all of it.
20 But -- I think there are, but don't hold me to that.
21 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: It's maybe something you could
22 get to --
23 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Absolutely.
24 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: -- us? Particularly me. I
25 would be interested in that.
1 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: I'll text our attorney as soon
2 as we're done. I'm sure they'll remember because she helped
3 draft the law.
4 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: The -- a lot of the focus has
5 been on -- I think there's a sort of built-in assumption, even
6 from the prime sponsor of the bill, that -- maybe that's not
7 fair; I don't want to put words in Daryl's mouth -- but that
8 the result of open negotiations would be lower wages. Would you
9 agree that you have testified to that?
10 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Well, I think if you just, you
11 know, look at Right to Work states and non-Right to Work
12 states, those folks that have the right to collectively bargain
13 tend to make more than those that don't. I mean, I --
14 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: I'm going to take that as a
15 yes. I mean, I think it's been said in here. I'm not trying
16 trick you. I just -- I.
17 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Yeah, our wages are higher,
18 absolutely. That's what we want.
19 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: And Chairman Keller will
20 readily acknowledge that I come from an opposite position on
21 this, and one of my frustrations with this is it irritates me
22 that I can't negotiate a better deal for myself. You can say I
23 can go work elsewhere, but what if I want to be a public school
24 teacher. What if I want merit pay?
25 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Well, that's something --
1 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: I mean, so, when we start to
2 talk about Right to Work, it applies across the board. It's not
3 just the AFL-CIO. It's not just, say, manufacturing/factory
4 workers. It's not just public workers. It's all across the
5 board. And I guess from my standpoint, I know a lot of school
6 teachers who have confidentially confided in me, "I really
7 don't want to be in this union. I really would like to
8 negotiate my own deal. I'm a lot better teacher than XYZ person
9 over here and I'm not getting compensated for what I'm worth,
10 but I'm committed to the kids, so I'm going to stay in this
11 environment." In fact, one of the local schools in Lancaster
12 just recently, in the most recent contract negotiations,
13 established the union, forced that -- now, those dues are being
14 collected and going -- and applying across -- even those that
15 don't want to belong to the union, that was something that the
16 union negotiated with the school board, forced that on the
17 non-union educators in that local school district. So, I think
18 the questions here get a little bit broader. And I can
19 certainly understand your points, at times. I'm just trying
20 from my own standpoint to say that from my -- from where I come
21 from, I see some merit to -- you know, maybe it's not forced
22 right to -- maybe it's not Right to Work. Maybe there's some
23 other alternative that allows me, if I don't want in the union,
24 I don't want the benefits that your union negotiates, I'll
25 cut -- I'll work my own deal. I mean -- maybe that's an
1 alternative to just this blanket Right to Work.
2 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: You know what happens there,
3 though, Representative Boyd? And we see it in all kinds of
4 different situations. The employer then uses that as a wedge
5 to divide workers. He will -- he or she will, at a given time,
6 you give the non-union worker more money, so he can say to his
7 buddies, or not -- not buddies for long, ha-ha, "I get more
8 money, and I don't have to pay dues." So, you know, the classic
9 example is Reeses in Hershey. The Hersheys workers are union;
10 Reeses are not. Reeses get the same benefits of Hershey because
11 they know -- in pay, because Hershey Company owns both -- knows
12 that if they didn't pay Reeses people the same, they would
13 unionize. So, they use it as a wedge to pit worker against
14 worker while they run off with the big bags of money. And
15 that's what tends to happen here.
16 You know, you can talk about individual rights all
17 you want, but this is really a method -- the Right to Work
18 Committee was created by the manufacturers' association whose
19 sole purpose was to destroy unions. And that -- I mean, I'm
20 hearing the mumbling over there, but that's -- if you look back
21 at their history, that's what it was.
22 If it was given a nice name and all of that kind of
23 stuff, but the sole purpose is to weaken collective bargaining,
24 and, you know, we're not -- we're going to fight against that
25 as much as we can. You know, we think that people should have
1 the right to bargain collectively. And if they want to
2 negotiate merit pay and bonus, that's certainly in the realm of
3 collective bargaining. You got to understand, collective
4 bargaining is a contract between employers and employees, so
5 anything can be in that, anything, if the employers and the
6 employees negotiate that.
7 So, you know, you -- a lot of you up there are
8 like -- in limited government, don't get government involved.
9 Well, let the employers and employees bargain. You know, don't
10 set parameters on what we can bargain. Let us get out there and
11 cut our own deals. We'll make -- because we have -- you know,
12 we have an absolute desire to make our employers profitable
13 because we don't want them to leave. We want them to stay here
14 and do better, so we do better. And that's sort of why we try
15 to -- the rising tide lifts all boats.
16 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: Honestly, I'm not trying to be
17 combative. I understand the point of view. From where I come
18 from, the way I was raised, it's hard for me to understand it.
19 I have always been sort of an individualistic guy. I like
20 working my own deal. One of the other things I did want to -- I
21 wanted to focus on, though, is you did acknowledge -- you made
22 the point it's very hard to decertify a union.
23 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Oh, yeah.
24 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: So, really, for the new guy --
25 okay. So, for example, the teachers' union has been around
1 since before I was born, I think. I mean, as long I can
2 remember when I went to public school, it existed. So, my point
3 is that for the new teacher coming in, for him to actually not
4 participate in the union is almost impossible -- he or she --
5 because you can't get it to decertify. And you can't just say,
6 well -- okay, I guess you can say, "I don't want to be a
7 teacher anymore." So, there is some fairness issues in my
8 opinion for the new guy.
9 I just have one more question, the Chairman's
10 chomping at the bit. This is the first I have talked, and I
11 have been good so far.
12 You cited Oklahoma. They went Right to Work -- I
13 believe in your testimony you said 2001. That's ten years. In
14 ten years they lost 22,000 manufacturing jobs. How many
15 manufacturing jobs has Pennsylvania last in the same time
16 period? Hundreds of thousand.
17 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: I don't think --
18 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: Hundreds of thousands. Just
19 for the record.
20 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
21 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Which goes to the point that
22 Right to Work has really nothing to do with economic
23 development. You can't really use Right to Work as an economic
25 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: The one thing we will agree on
1 is we lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturers' jobs, and we
2 got to do things to fix that.
3 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Well, Right to Work isn't it. We
4 should be pursuing real strategies that create real jobs.
5 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you.
6 Representative Galloway?
7 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: Good afternoon.
8 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Good afternoon, sir.
9 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: Who would have thought we
10 would be talking about this in 2011 in Pennsylvania. It's hard
11 to believe. When I first came here five years ago, this type of
12 legislation never would have even been thought of, but here we
13 are discussing whether or not to implement it here.
14 UNIDENTIFIED SPECTATOR: I can't hear you.
15 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: Can you hear me now, Del?
16 I said it's hard to believe -- it's hard to believe we're here,
17 but we are. So, I have a couple of questions.
18 First, for Mr. Amaros. You speak of a hidden agenda.
19 You eloquently point out -- you say the real hidden agenda
20 behind Right to Work is it allows employers to have more
21 leverage over their employees to continue taking money from the
22 bottom to pad the top. I'd like to stay on that topic for a
23 second. Hidden agenda. Who benefits from this legislation?
24 MR. AMOROS: The ones who benefit from the
25 legislation are the employers, because the employers will
1 basically have a free hand to direct their employees any way
2 they wish, and it would set back all of the gains that
3 organized labor has had over the last 100 or so years in terms
4 of work safety, in terms of fairness, in terms of hours put in,
5 and in terms of time off. So, we feel it's inherently unfair
6 for this legislation to really backtrack and nullify all of the
7 successes, all of the struggles that have gone into this battle
8 over the last 100 or so years.
9 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: Thank you. And let's talk
10 about free-riders and fair share for a second. Let's talk about
11 the benefits of what you call free-riders.
12 What kind of benefits are they actually getting and
13 what are they getting -- what are they paying for?
14 MR. AMOROS: They're paying nothing to get decent
15 health care. They're paying nothing to get a good pension plan.
16 They're paying nothing for better working conditions. They're
17 paying nothing to really improve the quality of their work
19 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: I noticed the
20 organizations -- some of the organizations that support this
21 also support efforts to drive down wages, create a cheap labor
22 force. They also opposed any immigration reform efforts,
23 E-verify. They were in favor of using and abusing illegal
24 workers for profit. Can you tell me -- can you just explain to
25 me what are the consequences of developing a cheap labor force
1 and allowing businesses to go unchecked.
2 MR. AMOROS: What happens is this: Employees are
3 not paid what they are worth. And in the way of undocumented
4 worker, what are you doing is you're exploiting those workers
5 and really taking away jobs from those that are here legally,
6 and taking away jobs from residents -- legal residents of
7 Pennsylvania. The laborers have a strong track record of
8 supporting things like E-verify and documentation that proves
9 that those individuals on-site are here legally.
10 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: Thank you. And
11 Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the time. I just want to -- would
12 close with this: Mr. Amoros, you wrote or you stated that
13 Right to Work legislation is nothing more than a shameless
14 attack on organized labor and an insult to wage earners who
15 struggle every day in trying to keep -- trying circumstances to
16 keep a roof over their head and a decent way of life. I'll be
17 honest with you. That's some of the best words I have ever
18 heard or read concerning this legislation. I couldn't agree
19 more. It is a shame in 2011 that we are talking about this type
20 of legislation, especially here in Pennsylvania. The idea that
21 we want to be more like Mississippi is just not -- is something
22 that I don't want to discuss. So, hopefully, people see the
23 foolishness of this type of legislation, and it dies here.
24 So, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
25 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you, sir.
1 Representative Fred Keller.
2 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: Thank you for your
3 testimony. I do have a couple of questions. Mr. Bloomingdale,
4 you made a statement that if an employee goes into a union
5 shop, they know what they're getting into to. Would that
6 indicate if there's a shop that's not organized, the union will
7 stay away from it?
8 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Not if the employees decide they
9 want a union. That's what it's all about, man, free choice.
10 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: That's why we're here.
11 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Right. The majority wins. The
12 majority wins.
13 [ Applause.]
14 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: The majority wins in the elective
16 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: Getting back to the
17 testimony -- getting back to the testimony. In both of the
18 testimonies, the workplace becomes unionized when the majority
19 of the employees in a bargaining unit petition for union
20 representation, and the one actually mentions 50 plus one. Is
21 that the entire workforce or is that just the ones that sign
22 the union cards?
23 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Depends on -- it's usually the
24 ones -- no, it's the entire workforce.
25 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: The entire workforce, 50
1 plus one.
2 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Now, contract ratification will
3 be usually 50% plus one of those voting.
4 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: The other things I wanted to
5 touch on here: Do you gentlemen know what agency handles
6 workplace safety?
7 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: What agency -- well, OSHA does.
8 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: OSHA does.
9 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: We have a state department --
10 office in the state L & I that does some health and safety.
11 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: Okay. By your testimony,
12 though, you are indicating if you are not organized, employees
13 are asked to do some things that are unsafe.
14 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Well, so --
15 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: There again, I guess I just
16 want to get down to the bottom of it. If there's something that
17 is unsafe, there are agencies to do that, and that's not really
18 a function of collective bargaining.
19 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Excuse me, Representative,
20 that's not true.
21 State of Pennsylvania public employees are not
22 covered by OSHA. They're exempt. So, there is no agency that
23 protects state employees. The only -- school district and city
24 employees and municipal employees.
25 The only people that protect them are their
1 collective bargaining staff representatives who can say, "This
2 is crazy. You can't make a guy go into a manhole with some kind
3 of gas and without some kind of instrument that tests for gas."
4 There is no public employee OSHA law in the state of
5 Pennsylvania, something I have been fighting for for over 30
6 years. But we don't have it here, and we should, because
7 that -- absolutely we need to protect the workers.
8 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: Well, then that's a separate
9 issue than compulsory organization.
10 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: That's something unions do. It's
11 something we bargain for and something we do.
12 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: The other thing you
13 mentioned was hours worked. There again, anybody that works
14 hours, it's governed by Department of Labor, correct?
15 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Well, you can negotiate hours,
16 as well. And don't forget, you talk about OSHA. Do we have
17 OSHA? But you know what, it would take OSHA something like
18 1,000 years, for their inspectors, because people keep cutting
19 their budgets, in order to inspect all of the workplace. So, in
20 union shops, private sector union shops have safety committees
21 that they negotiate.
22 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: There are private employers
23 that have safety committees, too.
24 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Private employers, yeah, because
25 public employers are not covered by OSHA, so the unions have to
1 do it.
2 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: But unorganized --
3 unorganized private industry.
4 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Unorganized can call OSHA and
5 get OSHA to come in, but the chances of OSHA coming are very --
6 because OSHA has so few inspectors because of the budget cuts
7 over the years.
8 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: I beg to differ with you. I
9 come from private industry. If somebody calls OSHA, OSHA is
10 knocking on your door, sir.
11 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: I wouldn't argue that, but --
12 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: Couple other questions. I
13 just want to keep moving here. The thing I ask on the fair
14 share -- I made a note here -- it was brought up that it
15 doesn't cost much.
16 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: To administer, no. It's all --
17 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: No, to pay. If I'm an
18 employee, it doesn't cost much. Is it one hour of my wages? Is
19 it two hours' wages every pay period? How much is it?
20 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: It depends on the union due
21 structure. Some unions do a percentage; some unions do an hour.
22 So it's all different. You hear dues are an hours' worth of
23 work, so in that case, it would be 75% of that.
24 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: So you determine whether
25 it's onerous or not. It would be the individual who has to pay
1 that, not one of us sitting here in this room.
2 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Right, so it should be
4 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: So, it should be my right to
5 determine whether I want to belong or not.
6 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: And you do when you go to work
7 there. You join and/or you don't go to work there.
8 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: You mention here in your
9 testimony, Mr. Bloomingdale, that businesses have a right to
10 maximize profits and individual workers have the right to
11 maximize their incomes. I guess the same is true for unions,
12 correct? You're a business.
13 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: We are a small -- we are
14 non-profit, yeah.
15 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: Okay.
16 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: But let me get to that.
17 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: Just another -- I want to
18 close here because I know we're behind schedule, but I just
19 want to make a statement.
20 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Can I address that, maximize
21 profits and income? You know, that's the classic conundrum of
22 capitalism. Businesses create investors to start a business,
23 right? So, they want to reward their investors. Workers produce
24 the goods that provide the income that then comes in. So,
25 you're always going to have a little bit of tug of war, who
1 gets the share of the profits. But collective bargaining, does
2 it allow -- am I interrupting you guys? What collective
3 bargaining does is allow the worker to get a share of those
4 profits so they can have a middle-class lifestyle. That's what
5 unions do: They provide a middle class in America.
6 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: And I guess we can debate
7 how that should go about, whether we should have the choice or
8 not, and that's why we're here today. One other question I
9 would just ask Mr. Amoros and Mr. Bloomingdale: Yes or no, do
10 you believe unions have a good product to offer?
11 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Yes.
12 MR. AMOROS: Absolutely.
13 REPRESENTATIVE KELLER: Okay. When I choose to drive
14 a Chevy because I like it, I'm not compulsed to do it. So, if
15 your product is that good, I fail to understand why we need a
16 to compulse people to purchase it. Thank you.
17 [ Applause ].
18 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative DeWeese?
19 REPRESENTATIVE DEWEESE: Chairman, I can do this in
20 120 seconds. I just wanted to amplify a remark that Abe Amoros
21 made relative to collective bargaining units in the field,
22 enhancing the wages and benefits of non-collective bargaining
23 units in the field.
24 In the coal fields of Western Pennsylvania,
25 especially Greene County, there are four big coal mines, 7,800
1 men and women. 200 of them are union. They are under the Alpha
2 corporate umbrella and two of them are under Consol, and those
3 are two of Consol's non-union mines. Consol does have non-union
4 mines in other parts of the country. Every four or five years
5 there is a collective bargaining agreement reached with the
6 United Mine Workers, and invariably, the wages and benefits of
7 the two big Consol mines go up approximately the same.
8 There's no doubt -- it's unequivocal that
9 Mr. Amoros's comment about collective bargaining units
10 amplifying, augmenting non-collective bargaining entities
11 within the same realm, same neighborhood, the same industry is
12 a paramount factor, and it should be part of our discussion.
13 Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. (Applause)
14 CHAIRMAN MILLER: You're welcome, Representative
15 DeWeese. Representative Bill Keller tells me that 120 seconds
16 was the same as your prior two minutes. Thank you for that.
17 Representative Scott Perry.
18 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And
19 thank you, gentlemen, for coming in today for a lot of facts
20 and figures and statistics, and I'm sure probably anybody in
21 the room can find something that supports their point of view.
22 But with that in mind, I just want to see if I can get some
23 agreement that private sector union membership is declining
24 historically in the last 20 or 30 years. Is that -- would you
25 agree with that, generally speaking?
1 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: That's why incomes have
3 MR. AMOROS: Right.
4 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: What I'm wondering, if that's
5 the case, if we agree on that, what is the incentive for
6 employers who allegedly want to bust these union? What is
7 their incentive to change anything?
8 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: What do you mean?
9 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: If it's declining anyhow and
10 what you are telling me is they want less unions and if it's
11 already declining, why would they change anything?
12 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: I -- you would have to ask them.
13 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: I can't figure it out,
15 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Decline and destroy unions
16 faster to make more money. I don't know.
17 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Let me ask you this, with
18 regard to making more money. Both of you had similar comments.
19 And I will be brief here, Mr. Chairman.
20 Mr. Bloomingdale, businesses have a right to
21 maximize profits, and individual workers have a right to
22 maximize their unions -- or their incomes, I'm sorry.
23 And then, Mr. Amoros, laborers are opposed to each
24 of the four Bills because they hurt workers by taking money
25 from the workers and putting it in the pockets of employers, to
1 which you emphatically stated thereafter that employers, not
2 taxpayers. Regarding public sector union, are not the taxpayers
3 the employers?
4 MR. AMOROS: Well, seeing that I represent a
5 private -- seeing that I represent a private union I'm
6 surprised that you would ask me that question. But, let me just
7 say this: What happens is there have been many arguments, and
8 I'm going to go back to the testimony that I heard last
9 Wednesday when there were two Bills on prevailing wage that
10 were on the table. And one of the prevalent arguments was that
11 prevailing wage hurts taxpayers, and I heard something similar
12 today that Right to Work would benefit taxpayers. None of this
13 benefits taxpayers. It's a red herring. It's a fallacy. What
14 you are doing is when you are suppressing wages and trimming
15 those paychecks, you're taking away from the bottom and you're
16 enriching the top.
17 And all I keep hearing about is how this benefits
18 taxpayers. We need to be clear that this does not benefit
19 taxpayers. Neither prevailing wage legislation nor Right to
20 Work legislation benefits taxpayers. And I think it is
21 absolutely disingenuous for that comment to be perpetrated over
22 and over, especially in this Committee.
23 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Mr. Chairman, I'd just like
24 to respond and I'll close. Respond and I'll close.
25 The reason that we think, some of us, that it may
1 benefit taxpayers is because there are certain taxpayers that
2 are paying for that wage, that they're not able to achieve. So,
3 they're actually losing money. I mean, under -- if we looked at
4 your math, sir, and the way I understand it, we should double
5 the union wages or triple them or quadruple them and everybody
6 would be better, except for the taxpayers that are paying them
7 that are not receiving them.
8 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: But they're workers as well. If
9 they had unions, they would be negotiating in the private
10 sector for higher wages.
11 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Sir --
12 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Look, first of all,
13 Representative, only 5% of the entire state budget goes to
14 wages. So, it's not -- out of the $28 billion or $27.3 billion
15 this year, only 5 or 6% is actual wages that goes to people.
16 Most of it is outflows through Medicaid and Medicare, those
17 kind of things that help people on unemployment.
18 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: I'm sure there's no wages
19 involved in any of those services.
20 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: 5%. 5% of the entire budget is
22 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: I'm not going to agree with
24 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Well, look it up in the
25 Governor's task force report. It's in there. By the way, the
1 average yearly wage in Pennsylvania is $48,000. That's what we
2 calculate the unemployment comp benefit on, the average yearly
3 wage. I don't know where Representative Metcalfe got $32,000.
4 It's been a long time since the average yearly wage in
5 Pennsylvania was $32,000. The average AFSCME union employee
6 makes 39,000, almost $10,000 less than the average private
7 sector worker in this state. They're not paying for people who
8 are making more than they are.
9 Unless you would include all of the Representatives
10 and Senators and lawyers and all of those folk, the cabinet
11 officials, the Governor, all of those folks that might bring up
12 wages because they're in the $100,000 range, and it's like an
13 average. You know, myself and Shaquille O'Neal, our average
14 height would be 6'5", but I'm only 5'11". You can do anything
15 with averages. The state -- the average unionized state
16 employee's wage is less than the average private sector
17 employee in the state.
18 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: I'll just close with this:
19 I'm going to remind Mr. Bloomingdale the $30 billion debt that
20 Pennsylvania taxpayers have currently incurred for the pension
21 program are a function of those higher wages based on
22 collective bargaining.
23 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
24 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Can I respond to that?
25 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Briefly.
1 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: You know, pensions are done on
2 actuarial basis, and our pension is about 88% funded. Now,
3 under previous rules, that would have been a gold plan. Under
4 current rules, it's considered to be slightly less than gold
5 but still a very healthy pension plan for those workers.
6 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Bloom?
7 REPRESENTATIVE BLOOM: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
8 Mr. Bloomingdale, under questioning in one of my
9 colleagues -- I believe it was Mr. Galloway -- you were asked
10 about who would benefit from Right to Work, and I believe your
11 answer was essentially that employers would benefit from Right
12 to Work.
13 So, for a legislator such as myself, who ran on a
14 platform of improving the business climate for employers in the
15 state of Pennsylvania, are you saying, then, that I should
16 support the Right to Work initiative?
17 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Absolutely not. Because what --
18 the constituents you represent are workers, right? We keep
19 talking about taxpayers. Let's not forget, your constituents
20 are also workers.
21 Now, you have a choice to make. You can have
22 Pennsylvania look like Mississippi, or you can have
23 Pennsylvania continue the quality of life and the -- and the
24 progress that we have had. Have we hit a little bit of a
25 downturn? Absolutely. But we will get back and we'll get
1 back -- we're already back faster than those other Right to
2 Work states. Our unemployment rate is 7.6. I think I mentioned
3 South Carolina, they're all over 10 still. So, it depends on
4 what you want.
5 If you want -- yes, look, could we have full
6 employment? Sure. We could have slavery, too, and we could --
7 it's a matter of what you want. What kind of wages do you want
8 people to have? How poor do you want your constituents to be?
9 Yes, we could give the employers all of the wealth that they
10 wanted, because that -- again, I go back to the classic battle
11 between capitalism. It's between the investors and the workers.
12 Who puts up the capital has the risk. They get a return. And
13 the workers make the product that goes on sale that provides
14 the profits for those investors to get the returns. The
15 employer has to decide who gets most of that money, his
16 shareholders or his workers.
17 Historically in the non-collective bargaining realm,
18 the shareholders get all of the money, and because we have
19 declined to about 8% of the workforce, that's what's happening
20 now. The wealthier are getting wealthier -- the wealthy are
21 getting wealthier, and workers' incomes have stagnated for the
22 last ten years. So, while the rich get richer, the working
23 class gets -- the workers get poorer. And those are your
25 Now, I don't know how many employers you actually
1 have in your district, but I would bet you have a whole lot
2 more workers than you do employers, and you need to make a
3 decision on you what want their lives to look like.
4 REPRESENTATIVE BLOOM: So you're saying that the
5 forced unionization, in fact, it serves to redistribute the
6 wealth from the entrepreneurs to the workers?
7 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: It's collective bargaining. It's
8 the way it's -- whether, as Scott Boyd said, an individual
9 bargains individually with his employer, yes. Is he
10 redistributing the wealth when he goes in and says, "I'm a
11 chemical engineer. I want $100,000 a year, instead of $50,000
12 a year"? Absolutely. We're always trying to maximize our
13 incomes. Don't you do that when you -- well, I don't know what
14 you did before you were a legislator, but when you went for a
15 job, you would negotiate salary. Weren't you asking the
16 employer to give up some of his salary to give it to you? It's
17 a constant shift of where the money goes. I know you're trying
18 to trap me into this redistribution, like Joe the Plumber --
19 yeah, yeah, yeah -- I'm not going do that. I have been doing
20 this too long. We're not going that road.
21 That's classic collective bargaining. You know, the
22 workers bargain with the employer, and they decide what they
23 can afford to give while keeping the employer in business.
24 Because like I said, it doesn't do us any good to put anybody
25 out of business, and we're not going to do that.
1 Now, negotiations is a two-way street. So, when people
2 say unions negotiated themselves out of a job, who was
3 responsible for some of those work rules? Did the employer not
4 agree to those? You know, unions don't go in and say, "Here's
5 our demands; accept them." There is a give-and-take. That's
6 what negotiation is.
7 REPRESENTATIVE BLOOM: Right, but we're not here to
8 discuss the merits of collective bargaining.
9 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Well, sure. Absolutely.
10 REPRESENTATIVE BLOOM: We are here to discuss
11 whether people can be forced to participate --
12 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Because Right to Work --
13 MR. BLOOM: -- in something they do not wish to
14 participate in.
15 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: And Right to Work inherently
16 divides the workforce and weakens collective bargaining.
17 Absolutely. That's what it's intended to do, is unlevel -- to
18 make the playing field unlevel to benefit the employers versus
19 the workers.
20 REPRESENTATIVE BLOOM: It benefits employers in
21 Pennsylvania to have Right to Work.
22 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: It does -- it benefits the rich
23 to have Right to Work.
24 REPRESENTATIVE BLOOM: It benefits the rich.
25 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Not necessarily --
1 keeps -- collective bargaining keeps the employers productive
2 and going -- you're trying to entrap me. You're not going to
3 do it, buddy. Sorry.
4 REPRESENTATIVE BLOOM: The summary that I'm hearing
5 is the Right to Work will actually help the employers in
6 Pennsylvania --
7 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: I didn't say that.
8 REPRESENTATIVE BLOOM: -- and as a candidate, as
9 legislator, I'm to help employers in Pennsylvania.
10 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Okay. Okay, gentlemen. I
11 appreciate it.
12 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: You can say whatever you want,
13 but that's not what I said. You can believe whatever you want.
14 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I appreciate it. We just can't run
15 it as a debate. I appreciate it. Because it's been very, very
16 good so far. So, I thank everyone.
17 Representative Boyle?
18 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: I don't have a microphone
19 where I'm sitting, so hopefully this works.
20 I want to thank both chairman for having this
21 hearing, and I'll just be brief. I assume, like most people in
22 this room, you enjoyed the last couple of days, Saturday and
23 Sunday, which we refer to as the weekend. That concept actually
24 didn't exist in American society before the organized labor
25 movement. Isn't that true?
1 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Organized labor first fought for
2 the ten-hour workday and then the eight-hour workday and then
3 eventually the 40-hour workweek. Yes, absolutely. We brought
4 you the weekend, as they say.
5 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: And that was actually
6 controversial at that time before organized labor succeeded in
7 creating the weekend, isn't that true.
8 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: You would have thought that
9 employers were all going to run out of business if we had a
10 ten-hour workday. You got to remember, the same group that
11 pushes this are the same groups that have opposed the ten --
12 the eight-hour work day, the 40-hour workweek, minimum wage,
13 Social Security, Medicare, all of those things that have
14 benefitted America. Basically we're looking at trying to --
15 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: So, in other words, basically
16 the groups that opposed the entire 20th century are the ones
17 pushing this?
18 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: That's exactly right,
20 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Thank you. Well, let me just
21 briefly say, as someone who represents a district in which,
22 fortunately, there are very few poor people and there's
23 basically no one who is rich, the vast majority of my
24 constituents are hard-working working class and middle-class
25 people. Let me say thank you to the organized labor movement
1 for helping us bring those advances to create a middle class in
2 this Commonwealth and this country. Thank you.
3 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Glad to do it.
4 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Gentlemen, we have one more person
5 with questions, Representative Sheryl Delozier.
6 REPRESENTATIVE DELOZIER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7 I actually just have a clarifying question. And from
8 what Representative Boyle just mentioned, I appreciate the fact
9 of what the unions have done throughout the history, and they
10 do have a long, strong history. My question, really, comes back
11 to when we're talking about choice and the capability of folks
12 joining a union or non-joining a union. You mentioned it a few
13 times so that's why I wanted to ask this question. You
14 mentioned the fact that people know what they're getting into
15 and they have a choice whether or not to work in the union
16 environment or non-union environment.
17 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Correct.
18 REPRESENTATIVE DELOZIER: It was also brought up,
19 talking about, for example, the teaching profession, the
20 teachers do not have that choice. They either are a member of
21 PSEA or they're not a member of PSEA. As a teacher, you can
22 choose not to be a member of PSEA but still do the fair share.
23 When you're going in and the majority, you
24 mentioned, the majority made that choice. So, what you're
25 saying is that all teachers -- of all of the teachers that are
1 teaching right now, the majority of them want that union. Since
2 the -- when -- how long ago did teachers unionize?
3 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Oh, it's been over the -- Mike
4 Crossey is going to be up here from the PSEA, but mostly, the
5 '70s, I would say, '70s and '80s.
6 REPRESENTATIVE DELOZIER: So, those that voted for
7 the union were the teachers of the '70s.
8 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: And -- right. And some of them
9 might still be there.
10 REPRESENTATIVE DELOZIER: They could be. In
11 teaching, would you or would you not be -- because you're
12 saying the majority either -- the majority of those doing the
13 profession at this point want the union. So, would you be for
14 or against the ability for a timely vote as to whether or not
15 to continue to be unionized or to be non-unionized, so that
16 those that are actually doing the job now, not the teachers of
17 the '70s but the teachers of 2011, whether they choose or not
18 to choose to be represented by a union, by the majority?
19 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Well, there's already a
20 mechanism to do that. It's called decertification. They can
21 decertify the union, and it happens in the private sector as
22 well as the public sector from time to time.
23 REPRESENTATIVE DELOZIER: And we are talking about a
24 very large entity that do the votes?
25 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: You can do it by Local.
1 REPRESENTATIVE DELOZIER: And that's for the
2 desertification, you are saying?
3 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Yes.
4 REPRESENTATIVE DELOZIER: You mentioned that's very
5 difficult to do. So I'm assuming that the answer would be no,
6 you wouldn't give them that option to vote on a cost basis to
7 be unionized or non-unionized.
8 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: I didn't say that. I said there's
9 a mechanism that's in place to do that. These attempts to make
10 the labor movement or union members jump through hoops to fight
11 what they should be fighting for, which is better pay and safer
12 working conditions and pensions, you know, it's just another
13 hurdle that -- you know, favors the employer over the workers.
14 So, we feel the mechanism in place is satisfactory.
15 REPRESENTATIVE DELOZIER: Okay. So, at this point in
16 time -- the reason I bring it up is because many of the folks
17 that I do talk to in my district have mentioned the fact that
18 while they would love to teach and they want to be in the
19 classrooms and they do and they join the union because that is
20 the mechanism that's in place, desertification is not really
21 that much of an option, as has been stated, in the sense that
22 it does not happen that often.
23 So, I guess my issue is the fact that you're saying
24 the majority of those that are doing the profession at this
25 point chose to be in the union, and I don't think they did. I
1 think the teachers of the '70s chose for teachers to be in the
2 union. And I think that that's -- that disparity needs to
3 be the fact that those that are actually performing the duties
4 have that voice, and so that's why I just wanted to clarify
5 that. Thank you.
6 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I apologize, gentlemen. I told you
7 that was the last. There are two more. We have been joined by
8 Representative Murphy. Representative Murphy.
9 I just remind all of the members that we have
10 several more panel, so try to keep it succinct. Thank you.
11 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: Thank you very much,
12 Mr. Chairman. And excuse me for being late. I was attending a
13 policy hearing in Scranton at Scranton High School on the most
14 recent budget, the budget cuts as they pertain to education and
15 the cuts as they pertain to human services. So, once again,
16 excuse me for being late. And I'll be brief.
17 If you can, gentlemen, I'd appreciate your
18 testimony -- there are many of us that believe in collective
19 bargaining who are supporters of collective bargaining, and
20 many of us believe that as a result of collective bargaining,
21 not only members of collective bargaining units, but all of
22 Pennsylvania workers benefit from the fact that Pennsylvania is
23 a collective bargaining state. Could you explain on that for me
24 and possibly explain that contention that everyone's boat is
25 lifted as a result of collective bargaining?
1 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Well, it goes back quite a bit
2 of ways, and unfortunately, wages have been declining as unions
3 have lost membership, not because people have decertified but
4 because factories have moved overseas to chase really low
5 wages. They haven't even moved south; they have just packed up
6 and gone overseas. Historically what happened, you had --
7 again, workers organized in order to get a share of the
8 profits. I think everyone on this panel today has made a -- at
9 some point in their life, has said, "We need to create
10 family-sustaining jobs." But, you know, most jobs are not
11 really family sustaining unless they're union jobs.
12 Steelworkers were not well paid as steelworkers
13 until they became union steelworkers. That's just the history
14 of the industry. You look at people being killed all the time,
15 so we got some steelworkers here. When they organized, those
16 became good jobs. Deaths on the job went down. Pay went up. As
17 a result, they became middle-class jobs. They didn't start out
18 that way.
19 Wal-Mart could be good family-sustaining jobs if
20 they were union jobs. You look at grocery stores that are
21 unions. They do better than grocery stores that are not union,
22 and those marketplaces where a person wants to hire a good
23 worker, then he will compete on wages. I mean, employers want
24 the best employees, right? That's one of the reasons that
25 people locate to Pennsylvania because of our education system,
1 which took a hit this year and hopefully will get back on its
2 feet. Our education system, our rivers and waters, and our
3 infrastructure are keys to why businesses locate in
4 Pennsylvania, because they need to get their goods to market
5 and they need to have a well-trained workforce. So, employers
6 will compete for workers.
7 Now, if a person is in a union shop and he's making
8 a decent wage, like I said, Reeses workers get the same pay as
9 Hershey workers and they're non-union. The union has lifted
10 those Reeses workers up. There's not a Reeses worker who would
11 tell you, "I'll give up everything to go back to what I had
12 before Hershey was union." So, that's one concrete example of
13 how a union has lifted wages for non-union workers.
14 And of course, we obviously always lobby for minimum
15 wage increases, and that lifts wages as well. And, you know,
16 so, there's a lot of things, public policy, that we do that --
17 better working conditions, fight for OSHA, those kind of
18 things, you know, to make the workplace safe.
19 And again, the same groups that are promoting this
20 opposed OSHA in 1971. So, you know, this is about either making
21 people poor or joining the middle class and having the right to
22 collectively bargain.
23 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: And in addition -- just a
24 brief statement -- it also takes into consideration health care
25 provided by employers to employees, to also make that
1 competitive so they could have the best workers possible and
2 also that that employee could then have a family-sustaining job
3 and health care benefits for them and their families.
4 Thank you.
5 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Absolutely.
6 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: Thank you very much for your
7 testimony, and thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for your
9 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you. I promise you,
10 especially to the next panel and those that have been patient,
11 the last question comes from Representative Gergely.
12 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
13 for your patience. Mr. Chairman, last year we did this a lot,
14 and we had a lot of long meetings, so this is par for the
15 course for the labor committee, especially the members that
16 were on it last year.
17 Mr. Bloomingdale, just because I heard the word
18 "entrepreneur" as if it related to unions and entrepreneurs are
19 unionized. What's the average size of the union? Who do you
20 mostly negotiate with? Private sector businesses? Are they
21 big businesses, corporations, or are they small, family-owned
22 businesses? Give us just -- just kind of give us a gist of who
23 it really is that you work with.
24 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: They're mostly corporations. You
25 know, some entrepreneurs see the benefit of union membership
1 and will start early having a trained, productive workforce.
2 But generally, you know, small businesses are not organized.
3 They're family-owned, so a lot of the family works in them. And
4 that's certainly -- they do well that way. And primarily,
5 we're in larger industries: Steel, you know, auto, garment --
6 whatever is left of garment. There is some in Pennsylvania, by
7 the way. Garment -- union-made dress shirts for all of you
8 representatives, made in Pennsylvania, made in America. So,
9 yeah, mostly bigger industries.
10 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: Thank you,
11 Mr. Bloomingdale. Just for recollection of our members, the
12 state that has the same exact unemployment rate as us and
13 almost the same exact wage base just went through a collective
14 bargaining recall election, and I think the voters spoke very
15 well and very clearly that many of them were very unhappy with
16 the results of that election, and two seats changed in that
17 state because of this. And I think this isn't the road we want
18 to go to in Pennsylvania. Thank you.
19 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you.
20 And thank you very much, gentlemen.
21 MR. BLOOMINGDALE: Thanks, Chairman Keller and
22 Representative, for that lively debate.
23 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Our next panel is comprised of
24 Lori Joint, Director of Government Affairs, Manufacturer and
25 Business Association; and Kevin Shivers, Executive Director of
1 NFIB. Have we chosen who is going to go first?
2 MS. JOINT: Thanks. Good afternoon. My name is Lori
3 Joint, and I am the director of government affairs at
4 Manufacturer and Business Association, which is a regional
5 employers' association and we represent over 4,500 member
6 companies throughout 27 counties of Pennsylvania.
7 We have offices in Erie, Williamsport and
8 Harrisburg. I'd like to thank Chairman Keller and Miller, as
9 well as the members of the House Labor and Industry Committee,
10 for providing this opportunity to discuss the Open Workforce
11 Initiative, of course, House Bill 50 which, if enacted, would
12 make Pennsylvania a Right to Work state.
13 Enactment of Right to Work legislation is one of the
14 Manufacturer and Business Association's top state legislative
15 priorities, and it has been for many years. The Commonwealth's
16 labor laws bring an environment that restricts employees and
17 empowers unions. As a result, Pennsylvania's economy has failed
18 to maintain adequate job growth and now ranks in among the
19 least friendly business states in the nation.
20 I'm going to try to keep to this, although we were
21 told five minutes, but it seems like a lot of people went well
22 over, but I did condense my comments. But I do want to add, as
23 I have heard some of the other comments going on, it seems like
24 there's an assumption, first of all, that all businesses are
25 horrible and that they, without a union in place, will treat
1 their employees absolutely horribly and they would never pay a
2 fair wage or do anything on a fair basis without having a
4 And I work with thousands of businesses and
5 employees every day, day in and day out. I have been with the
6 association for almost 20 years now. And I can tell you
7 emphatically that that is not true. There are many employers --
8 many companies out there that without a union still have
9 Saturdays off and they still pay a very decent wage, and they
10 have great benefits. But that's an aside and I will continue.
11 You will hear a lot of different facts and
12 statistics today, many of which are included in my testimony. I
13 want to focus my time on what our members and your constituents
14 think. They are the true job creators. When I knew I was going
15 to be coming down here, I sent out an email last Friday just
16 asking if anybody had various opinions or something they would
17 like for me to include in my testimony today. The response that
18 I received was overwhelming, and again, I can tell you that our
19 membership emphatically supports Right to Work initiatives.
20 Responses came from all types of companies, small
21 and large, service, non-profit, and manufacturing type
22 businesses. And these views are represented across our
23 membership areas, including companies from Erie, Williamsport,
24 Meadville, Clarion, Bradford, Ford City, St. Marys, New
25 Bethlehem, Knox, Titusville, New Castle, Shippensville,
1 Adamsville, Mars and so on. I'd like to share just a few
2 comments with you.
3 Mike Weber from Smith Provision Company in Erie,
4 Pennsylvania. Smith Provision Company is a fourth-generation
5 family-run business that manufacturers premium hot dogs,
6 sausage, deli meats, bacon and hams. And he says, "Although we
7 have been organized since the late 1950s and there have been
8 many good things that proceeded from that arrangement, I
9 strongly believe it should be the right of the individual
10 employee to decide whether or not to have union representation,
11 not to be forced on them as a condition of employment. My
12 experience has been that lack of Right to Work legislation
13 punishes the top-tier employee and protects the low performer.
14 This is not behavior we can afford to encourage."
15 From Andree Phillips, president of Radiant Steel
16 Products company in Williamsport, PA, "Radiant Steel Products
17 Company is a custom precision fabricating and finishing plant
18 founded in 1927 and was union-free until the late 1960s.
19 Although our relationship with the United Steelworkers is good,
20 I still favor the ability of employees to work without being
21 members of a union. Naturally, our contract states that every
22 hire must join the union or they can't work at our company.
23 Many applicants want a job with us and don't want to be a
24 member of the union. However, they have to accept the job with
25 the union because they have no choice. States with Right to
1 Work legislation have shown to grow jobs at a greater rate than
2 those who don't and should be evidence that this is the way to
3 go for the economic future of PA."
4 From Bruce Kern, C.A. Curtze Company in Erie, "C.A.
5 Curtze Company is a food distributor that has been in business
6 in -- for 133 years with distribution centers in Erie,
7 Cleveland, Ohio, and Rochester, New York. We believe in Right
8 to Work legislation and feel that employees should be able to
9 choose whether or not to join a union and pay dues. Not being
10 a Right to Work state hurts our competitiveness with other
11 states that are more business-friendly. Our Erie and Cleveland
12 distribution centers are unionized; the Rochester location is
13 not. There is a difference in the feel and environment between
14 the union and non-union locations. We are not against the right
15 to collective bargaining but against compulsory unionism. With
16 binding arbitration, the deck is usually stacked against the
17 employer. This contributes to lower morale and loss of
18 productivity in the union locations. The non-union facility has
19 more of an all-for-one, get the job done for the customer
20 mentality. Making Pennsylvania a Right to Work state would be
21 good for the economy, provide growth opportunities, and be
22 better for our employees."
23 From Mark Hanaway, Tech Tool and Molded Plastics in
24 Meadville, Tech Tool is a injection-molded plastics company
25 founded in 1973. Mark says, "We believe in a truly Democratic
1 process of choice. The Right to Work structure allows
2 individuals to choose if and how their earned income is
3 garnished by non-government organizations."
4 From Gary Papay, C.K. Business Consultants in
5 Hughesville, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1984, C.K. Business
6 Consultants works with mergers and acquisitions of middle
7 market, petroleum and propane companies. "It's hard to imagine
8 that an employee is forced to join and finance a union as a
9 condition of employment anywhere in the U.S.A. It's time to
10 correct this unfair situation in Pennsylvania and allow our
11 businesses to compete on a level playing field and create more
12 jobs for Pennsylvania."
13 And from Scott Lee, Thomas Lee Printing and Mailing
14 in Erie. Founded in 1967, Thomas Lee Printing and Mailing is a
15 full-range printing and communications service. "I believe the
16 primary reason that Pennsylvania is experiencing brain drain in
17 manufacturing jobs is because we do not have Right to Work
18 legislation in place. We need to incentivize businesses to
19 relocate to Pennsylvania, and that can only start with Right to
20 Work and a lower business tax structure. Short of this, we are
21 doomed to continue down the road to default and bankruptcy."
22 From a business development standpoint, it is
23 difficult to get companies to look at this state when
24 considering expansion or relocation. Our association alone gets
25 calls very, very, very frequently from businesses that are
1 contemplating a move and looking at Pennsylvania. And the first
2 thing they ask us every single time: Is Pennsylvania a Right
3 to Work state? Business owners have long expressed their
4 desire for employment laws that let the company decide what
5 benefits and terms will attract and keep the quality of
6 employees that they need.
7 A lot of times, people are making the assumption
8 that the unions go away in a Right to Work state. That's not
9 the case. Unions exist. Unions are part -- and not all unions
10 are bad, and somebody mentioned earlier, if it's good, people
11 will want to join it; people will want to be a part of it. But
12 people should have the choice, and that's what we're hearing
13 from all across the state of Pennsylvania. I find it
14 interesting, too, if you take it back to your districts and
15 back to your constituents, what do they say? Do we have a good
16 feel for everybody in Pennsylvania as a whole what they really
17 feel on this topic?
18 I believe there was a point in time when unions were
19 necessary. I think anybody would agree with that. However,
20 times have changed and times are very different. Americans
21 generally prefer freedom to coercion, high incomes to low ones,
22 and individual decision-making to collective resolution of
23 issues. Right to Work provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act of
24 1947 have created sort of a natural experiment, providing an
25 opportunity to observe behavior in two types of environments,
1 one where workers are not compelled to join labor unions and a
2 second where they can be compelled to join as a condition of
4 The evidence is absolutely clear: Americans prefer
5 the Right to Work environment to the alternative. The
6 proportion of Americans living in Right to Work states has
7 risen noticeably over the years. The greater flexibility for
8 workers and employers offered where Right to Work exists has
9 contributed to higher rates of economic growth, and that's from
10 Richard Vedder, published in the Cato Journal.
11 Again, I have worked for the Manufacturer and
12 Business Association for almost 20 years and have worked with
13 many hard-working and generous business owners from all
14 business sectors. Without hesitation, I can tell you that they
15 and their employees would welcome the opportunity for choice,
16 where every individual would have the right but not be
17 compelled to join a labor union.
18 With this mind, the Manufacturer and Business
19 Association strongly supports H.B. 50 and the Open Workforce
20 Initiative package of bills. Now, more than ever, it's time to
21 allow the hard-working taxpayers in Pennsylvania the freedom of
23 MR. SHIVERS: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman. My name
24 is Kevin Shivers, and I'm the state director of the National
25 Federation of Independent Business. Our organization represents
1 small and independent businesses in Pennsylvania, about 14,000.
2 The common denominator for our members is they're not publicly
3 traded companies. These are family-owned business, closely held
4 businesses, you know, the companies that you see all across
5 main street in every community throughout Pennsylvania. And if
6 you would permit me, sir, I'd like to, in the interest of time,
7 just submit for the record my statement and just make a few
8 comments, if you will.
9 On the other side of the building, the
10 reapportionment commission is meeting to discuss the new
11 district lines for our congressional seats and our legislative
12 seats. Just like we have had for, you know, every decade for
13 as long as I have been alive, Pennsylvania is losing another
14 seat, and it's something that has been going on for decades in
15 Pennsylvania. You know, it's not that the redistricting
16 commission just wants to eliminate seats and make Pennsylvania
17 government smaller; it's -- you know, those seats are based on
18 annual census reports.
19 Well, where are those people going? Those people are
20 going where the jobs are. As Pennsylvania is getting older and
21 older, younger -- our young men and women are going to states
22 where they can get better jobs in manufacturing sectors, in
23 service sectors, and other places where their wages are higher,
24 they have higher real income, and they have greater freedom in
25 their own workplace.
1 The data shows -- when you are looking at economic
2 performance, the top ten highest-performing states in the
3 nation are those with a low tax burden, with a low debt burden,
4 and with greater freedom for their workers and their
5 workplaces. The states -- the top -- the ten worst states in
6 terms of economic performance -- and Pennsylvania is one of
7 them -- all have in common a high tax burden, a high debt
8 burden and restrictive rules that weaken individual freedom in
9 the workplace.
10 We hear from those that oppose Right to Work
11 legislation that favor forced unionism. All of their arguments
12 are based on the "what was." I mean, I couldn't believe it when
13 I heard a minute ago that, you know, we're -- all of a sudden
14 we're cheering the weekend. You know, we have a real problem in
15 this nation. We have a real problem in Pennsylvania. We're
16 losing jobs. And, you know, it's your job, your responsibility
17 as lawmakers, to create an environment here in Pennsylvania
18 where entrepreneurs, small businesses and other businesses want
19 to be able to take their hard-earned dollars and invest it in a
20 free enterprise and to be able to grow and create those jobs.
21 Another problem that we have is when we look at
22 burgeoning school budgets, burgeoning state pension system,
23 there are real problems facing taxpayers. And what I find
24 truly extraordinary about this system that we have in place
25 today is that the collective bargaining arrangements that exist
1 for public sector unions effectively give those bargaining
2 units -- the leaders of those bargaining units the same power
3 to raise taxes that all of you as elected officials -- by their
4 virtue of leading those negotiations, they have the same kind
5 of power that any elected official who has been charged with
6 tax and budget-making responsibilities in this Commonwealth.
7 That's a real concern.
8 Our members support the Open Workforce legislation.
9 I think if NFIB had introduced legislation that would require
10 every business in Pennsylvania to join NFIB, and I'm sure
11 Chairman Keller and other members of this Committee rightly
12 would oppose the legislation vociferously, and I certainly
13 would as well.
14 Our organization is based on the principles of
15 promoting and protecting our members' abilities to run and grow
16 their business. And every year, our members -- we have to show
17 them the value in being a part of our organization, and they
18 make that decision with their -- whether they decide to write a
19 check and renew their dues or get involved in the activities
20 and the issues that we are involved with. But every year they
21 make that decision on their own. So, for us, it just flies in
22 the face of common sense that you would require anybody to be a
23 member of your organization and force them, against their will,
24 to not only pay you with their hard-earned money, but then make
25 decisions about how to spend that money.
1 So, with that, I'd like to thank you for the
2 opportunity to participate, and I will answer any questions you
3 may have.
4 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you both for your testimony.
5 I would open the questions with Representative Bill Keller.
6 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7 Thank you both for being here. We're here today
8 as -- this is informational. We're supposed to gather
9 information. And you said that the first question businesses
10 ask your association when they come in here is whether or not
11 Pennsylvania is a Right to Work state. I'm very interested --
12 if could you provide for the chairman -- because the chairman
13 told me he believes that's absolutely correct also. I'd be very
14 surprised at that. I would think that the first thing they
15 would ask for is quality of workforce, infrastructure, tax --
16 how the taxes are structured, quality of life issues -- school,
17 good neighborhoods. If you could provide that to the chairman
18 so he could share it with us, because I'm very surprised that
19 that is the first question a business asks when he comes to
20 locate in Pennsylvania.
21 Second thing is manufacturing, I know a little bit
22 about. A little bit of knowledge is dangerous. The little bit
23 of knowledge that I have about manufacturing is my association
24 with the Port of Philadelphia. We have watched all
25 manufacturing, and it's -- usually benefits the ports, because
1 manufacturing follows cheap labor. I believe there is an
2 opportunity for Pennsylvania to get manufacturing jobs, but
3 they're going to have to be the high quality, high-tech
4 manufacturing jobs. The jobs that we keep talking about that we
5 have been losing, they go to China because manufacturing
6 historically has always followed cheap labor.
7 And again, to the benefit of the port, manufacturing
8 is now moving out of China and going into India because India
9 provides cheaper labor, which is another opportunity for the
10 port because it's closer. And we could come out through the
11 Suez Canal, and we could gain port business because
12 Philadelphia is located. Why are we keep talking about these
13 jobs that we will never, ever, ever regain? Those lower-cost
14 manufacturing jobs always follow cheap labor. As I said,
15 they're coming out of China and moving into India. And it's
16 always part of all of these hearings that we have.
17 Now, I'm for you. We want to get high-tech
18 manufacturing jobs. I'm for it, but I don't know why we keep
19 talking about these jobs that we will never, ever, ever regain.
20 MR. SHIVERS: Mr. Chairman, it surprises me, too,
21 your comments about how manufacturers follow cheap labor. Well,
22 you know, just north of us here in the Marcellus industry, I
23 know that they have jobs available for folks with a high school
24 diploma that are paying $75,000 a year. And what is
25 fascinating to me is while at the same time we're talking about
1 how can we throw away millions of dollars to corporations to
2 get them to locate here, we take a look at a home-grown
3 industry like Marcellus and say, "How can we tax it to death?"
4 They can't go anywhere. We have -- you know what? If those
5 manufacturing jobs have gone, then what are we doing to embrace
6 and support and encourage our Marcellus industry where we have
7 kids -- with high school diplomas making $75,000 a year? That's
8 great. I'm for that. Right?
9 CHAIRMAN KELLER: And I didn't mention one word
10 about taxes, Marcellus. I'm talking about constantly to
11 everyone that comes in here -- they talk about the --
12 especially the business -- talking about we're losing
13 manufacturing. We're losing manufacturing. We have lost
14 manufacturing. The United States has lost manufacturing. It's
15 always part of the -- of the pitch of what is wrong. We're
16 never going to get them back. You know it. And we're for
18 I wish -- as the chairman, I wish we had natural gas
19 in Philadelphia, but there's just -- I mean, it's just -- I
20 think we talk about the things that don't matter. And you use
21 that as a standard; that, you know, somehow, the unions are
22 high wages, chase manufacturing out. They didn't. They followed
23 the cheap labor and they're going to be there. The chairman
24 can't call a hearing on Marcellus.
25 MS. JOINT: Could I comment, please, to reply to
1 that? In some situation, of course, for every statistic I
2 think that anybody has brought up here today, there are ones
3 for, ones against, but as an example, GE, which we have a very
4 large GE plant in Erie, Pennsylvania. They just recently built
5 a plant in Texas. Could that have been built here in
6 Pennsylvania? Do we not have the quality workers? Do we not
7 have what Texas has to offer? What did they have that we don't
9 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Don't tell me Right to Work. Don't
10 tell me Right to Work. Come on! That can't be the sole
11 determining factor of why people locate in different states.
12 MS. JOINT: Maybe --
13 CHAIRMAN KELLER: It may be a portion, but it is not
14 the sole determining factor.
15 MR. SHIVERS: You're right, sir, because it's a low
16 tax rate. I don't think they have a business tax there. They
17 have legal reform and --
18 CHAIRMAN KELLER: I don't know if you noticed; we
19 just had it, too.
20 MR. SHIVERS: Well, we had one step, but at end of
21 the day, if you look at what Texas is doing -- I mean, some
22 lawmakers talk about wanting to be Mississippi; I'd rather us
23 look like Texas.
24 MS. JOINT: Right. We're making comparisons to --
25 CHAIRMAN KELLER: I'm sure Governor Perry would
1 appreciate that, but you also have to realize that we keep
2 talking about the burden we have here with our deficit. We pale
3 in comparison to Texas. Everything is not as rosy as everybody
4 believes. We're here -- if you want to talk about getting new
5 manufacturing jobs here, I'm with you. Don't keep talking about
6 the -- the old manufacturing jobs that we're never going to
8 Let's get back to redistricting. All right? There's
9 another statistic you can help me with. This is an
10 informational meeting. You keep saying we're losing population
11 in Pennsylvania, and we are. But the little bit -- again, a
12 little bit of knowledge, a little bit that I know, boy, there's
13 an awful lot of -- Pennsylvania is an older state. We are old.
14 There's a lot of people moving to Florida, moving to Arizona.
15 Except you, Scott. You're not. You're doing good. Dorian Gray.
16 We have -- I want to know if that's -- the statistic that you
17 quoted, I'm here to find out, is that our older population is
18 moving to the Sun Belt or is it, as you say, a drain of young
19 energetic workers who have to go otherwheres to look for a job?
20 If you can provide that to the chairman, I would like to know
21 that -- a real statistic on that, as compared to people
22 following the sun. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
23 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Before I go to another member, I
24 have to make a point of clarification. Chairman Keller pointed
25 out that -- I believe that one of the first questions asked
1 when a business calls Pennsylvania is whether Pennsylvania is a
2 Right to Work state or not. That's not my opinion. That was
3 stated two years ago by the president of the York County
4 Economic Development Corporation at a public forum, and when --
5 at the public forum, they were talking about creating jobs in
6 Pennsylvania. He said, "Pennsylvania has to become a Right to
7 Work state. When businesses call me, as President of the York
8 County Economic Development Corporation, the first question
9 they ask is, 'Are you a Right to Work state?'" Now, that was
10 not -- that's not my opinion. That was his statement at the
11 time. So -- and it was in a public forum, and just as a point
12 of clarification.
13 CHAIRMAN KELLER: And just like Representative Boyd,
14 Mr. Chairman, I would like to have the facts. It's nice if
15 people say that. I would like it backed up with facts. If we're
16 here to find out the facts, then we have to have facts. We just
17 can't get up here and --
18 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I agree. I agree. But I believe
19 that was a fact. It was his statement, his first call.
20 CHAIRMAN KELLER: I have his statement.
21 CHAIRMAN MILLER: He's the president of the York
22 County Development Corporation.
23 CHAIRMAN KELLER: You think you can't just make
24 stuff up like I do?
25 CHAIRMAN MILLER: With that, we will move to the
1 next question. Representative Scott Boyd.
2 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: Real briefly, Ms. Joint, you
3 skipped over it in your written testimony, but you have a
4 series of a half dozen or so, eight bullet points, what you
5 call facts and figures. Would you please document them, where
6 they're from.
7 MS. JOINT: I can get that to you, yes. I have a
8 whole stack of stuff here. But if it would be okay, I will
9 send those to you.
10 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: In the interest of showing the
11 chairman that I'm fair, I'd like to have the facts that you're
12 presenting are documented, as well as the other facts. It's
13 interesting how they sometimes seem to conflict almost
14 directly. I guess -- and just one other really brief
15 question/point is: I really enjoyed the dialogue with Chairman
16 Keller because the whole discussion about, you know, what major
17 manufacturer has moved to Pennsylvania in the last 25 years,
18 and where else have other major manufacturers located? I think
19 that Audi has a new plant -- or not Audi -- Volkswagen has a
20 new plant in Tennessee. There was an issue in the news recently
21 about Boeing and a plant that they were moving -- or building
22 someplace else. You guys brought up -- what did you bring up --
23 MS. JOINT: GE.
24 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: -- GE. I guess my question is
25 kind of anecdotally, and I would ask the other members -- maybe
1 I should have asked it when you guys were up. I apologize.
2 But if you could get us the information, because anecdotally,
3 it feels like nobody is coming here anymore. Nobody is -- the
4 last major manufacturer car company I remember here was
5 Volkswagen when they built a plant in Westmoreland. If we're
6 within, what, 60% of the U.S. population is within a couple of
7 hundred radius? We have the infrastructure. We've got this
8 great workforce. Why ain't they coming here, then? Because if
9 it's not Right to Work, let's agree on what it is and let's do
10 something. That's where I'm at. Let's lower taxes. Let's do
11 something if it's not Right to Work, do something to get them
12 to come here.
13 MR. SHIVERS: You know, Representative, I would love
14 if this general assembly, the administration would make it a
15 goal that we can attract companies to Pennsylvania without
16 bribing them with corporate welfare and lots and lots of grants
17 and cash. We can do that by, you know, again improving our work
18 rules, lowering our taxes, improving our civil justice climate.
19 There are a host of ways that we can certainly do that.
20 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Perry.
21 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and
22 thank you both for your testimony.
23 I'm curious. I just want to have a little bit of
24 discussion with you, and acknowledging as well that I believe
25 that the unions have a great part in making this country what
1 it is. And fighting for workers' rights and, you know,
2 capitalism comes with a lot of responsibility. And it
3 certainly in the past that responsibility, we saw that -- I
4 didn't personally see it, but we know the stories. And right
5 here in Pennsylvania, the Eckleys miners, there's a lot -- the
6 steel industry, there's a lot of great things that organized
7 labor has done. The 21st century, I'm not driving a Model T and
8 I'm thinking maybe it's time to at least address or
9 at least discuss some of the issues that we think might be
10 hindering us. With that view -- the global economy, we compete
11 against states. We compete against nations. Is there anything
12 that you can attribute to Right to Work or lack of Right to
13 Work in Pennsylvania that hinders us -- can you provide any
14 statistics globally that says that our union affiliation and
15 our lack of Right to Work is actually hobbling us on either an
16 individual manufacturing level, on a state level, competing
17 with other state, et cetera?
18 MR. SHIVERS: You know, Representative, what I can
19 point to, I was checking the Bureau of Labor Statistics site
20 before I appeared on your panel here, and, you know, one of the
21 things that I saw in June, I guess, Houston created like 50,000
22 new jobs annually, and they were third in those large
23 metropolitan areas, I think, behind Dallas. So, you know, there
24 are places in this nation that are actually creating jobs.
25 Now, interestingly, it's those areas that have
1 greater worker freedoms. That's those areas that have lower
2 taxes on their businesses and individuals, and it's those
3 states that have lower debt. And, you know, I think that there
4 is evidence out there. You know, if you take a look at census
5 data, if you take a look the at Bureau of Labor Statistics
6 site, we're losing that competition not only for good
7 manufacturing jobs, which we need to, you know, generate all of
8 those other jobs that support manufacturing, but we're losing
9 them to those states that are making it easier for businesses
10 to do business. But they're also giving individuals freedom,
11 and that's resulting in, you know, higher real incomes.
12 You know, there were comments made earlier that, you
13 know, wages may be lower in other Right to Work states compared
14 to Pennsylvania, but the cost of living in those states is
15 substantially lower than it is in Pennsylvania. So, when you
16 take those figures combined, there actually is an increase in
17 real income and real earnings for those workers in Right to
18 Work states than there are in states like Pennsylvania and
19 others in the new Rust Belt. And the new Rust Belt is
20 effectively Maine to Michigan and everything above the Mason
21 Dixon Line.
22 The interesting point is I agree with you. The
23 unions play an important role in our society. And it's
24 interesting because not only -- you hear a lot about states
25 like Wisconsin, who have been addressing issues with collective
1 bargaining, but those kinds of reforms are also happening in
2 Massachusetts. Nobody complained when they made those similar
3 changes there. New Hampshire. There are a host of other
5 And what's important about Wisconsin to learn is
6 that they didn't decertify a union in Wisconsin; what they did
7 is they said that unions have the ability to collective bargain
8 on their wages. What they did take away was the ability for
9 collective bargaining on their benefits. And the last report
10 that I saw is that those Local governments, the schools that
11 were struggling are actually doing better now because they are
12 out from under that tremendous burden.
13 So, yes, unions have an important role, and the
14 point of this conversation today is not whether or not unions
15 have value. They have incredible value. What the point -- what
16 we're talking about today is legislation that says whether or
17 not I, as an individual, can make a decision on my own whether
18 I join that union and make a decision on my own whether I want
19 to support the programs that the unions are advocating.
20 That's a far different issue. We're not talking
21 about eliminating unionism. All we're saying is give workers
22 their freedom.
23 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Boyle.
24 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and
25 I want to thank both witnesses for their testimony. I just want
1 to clear up a number of these economic statistics that were
2 alluded to during both of your testimony, because both of you
3 in different ways talked about Pennsylvania's employment growth
4 or lack thereof and then draw a direct linkage to the fact that
5 we're not a Right to Work state.
6 Here, actually, are the facts: The unemployment --
7 the national unemployment rate right now is 9.1%. Pennsylvania
8 right now is 7.6. We have a dramatically better unemployment
9 rate in Pennsylvania than we do have nationwide. Mr. Shivers,
10 you had mentioned how reapportionment is going on and talked
11 about how Pennsylvania -- actually, we haven't had population
12 loss, but our population growth has not been as great as those
13 Sun Belt states, such as Texas, Arizona, Florida, and Nevada.
14 Actually, all four of those states have worse unemployment
15 rates today than we have in Pennsylvania. Florida has the
16 fourth worst unemployment rate in the nation, and Nevada has
17 the worst unemployment rate in the nation. So, I just want to
18 address that.
19 The perception, of course, though, is that somehow
20 there are all of those people who are picking up and moving
21 from Pennsylvania and moving to Florida and moving to Nevada,
22 and that's why they have such great population growth. In fact,
23 most of their population growth -- and just go on to the census
24 bureau's website and they will show that most of their
25 population growth is not due to Northerners moving down there;
1 it's actually due to immigration.
2 Somehow I suspect the prime sponsor of this bill
3 probably wouldn't support doing more to increase immigration in
4 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. But I do want to point out
5 one fact, though, that is true: Texas does lead the nation in
6 job creation in the public sector. They have created more
7 government jobs over the last six years than any other state in
8 the country. And that's Texas.
9 Let me just make one final point because I
10 appreciated what Representative Boyd said, in terms of trying
11 to figure out ways -- because the fact -- ways that we can
12 increase job growth and help the business climate here in our
13 state, because I think one of the really disappointing things
14 about legislation such as this is it creates a false dichotomy
15 where if you're pro-worker, you're somehow anti-business, or if
16 you're pro-business, you're somehow anti-worker.
17 The fact is legislation like this won't do anything
18 to increase job growth or anything to increase job creation in
19 our Commonwealth. I think there are smart strategies that
20 states such as Virginia and Colorado are doing in terms of
21 creating jobs and helping improve the business climate. I think
22 that we can do that, and we can do that in ways that are both
23 pro-private sector, and pro-unions, and pro-workers. But
24 frankly, legislation like this that just beats up on unions and
25 somehow blames the fact that we're a unionized state for an
1 unemployment rate really won't achieve anything. Thank you.
2 MS. JOINT: If I could just -- how does it beat up
3 on unions?
4 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Well, I think that a
5 number -- I haven't said that you personally were beating up on
6 unions, just in general.
7 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Let me just -- generally
8 speaking, the illusion -- not just the illusion, I think you
9 both have drawn a cause-and-effect relationship between our
10 state's unemployment rate and the fact that we're unionized or
11 when you talked about the GE plant that moved from Erie to
12 Texas. Correct? You had --
13 MS. JOINT: They built a new one. They just built a
14 new one.
15 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: In Texas which actually has a
16 worse unemployment rate than Pennsylvania. But nonetheless,
17 the fact that they chose to build in Texas as opposed to
18 Pennsylvania was somehow because we're such an onerous state
19 with the fact that we happen to be very supportive of labor
20 unions as opposed to those primarily southern states that have
21 no history of being supportive of organized labor. I -- these
22 are fighting the battles of the 1920s and the 1930s. And when
23 we brought up things like the weekend or child labor law, it's
24 because things like Right to Work should be about as old a
25 debate as they are.
1 I think we should move on to the debates of the 21st
2 century and ways, whether it's through tax credits or smart
3 investments, that we can actually start organic companies here
4 in Pennsylvania, because actually, that's where most of the job
5 growth tends to be. It's not from one company moving from one
6 locality to another; it's actually new businesses that start up
7 which originate in one locality and stay there.
8 MR. SHIVERS: You know, the statistics show us that
9 when it comes to entrepreneurial activity, Pennsylvania has
10 among the lowest level of entrepreneurial activity in the
11 nation. Also, to a point --
12 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Then why do we have such a
13 better unemployment rate than --
14 MR. SHIVERS: You know, that's an interesting thing
15 because unemployment -- if you are basing economic policy on an
16 unemployment rate, it's like driving a car and steering it by
17 looking at the rearview mirror, because you're only looking at
18 the data what was and what the employers --
19 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: The reason why I grabbed
20 this -- I'm sorry for interrupting --
21 MR. SHIVERS: Yeah.
22 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: -- but just to be clear, the
23 reason why I'm talking about the unemployment rate is that both
24 of you in speaking drew that linkage between jobs and whether
25 or not we are a unionized state.
1 MR. SHIVERS: I talked about growing jobs.
2 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: This is present data, not
4 MR. SHIVERS: I talked about growing jobs, but I
5 never referenced the unemployment rate. It's important to know
6 that the unemployment statistics that you have are from the
7 prior month or prior couple of months. What's important to look
8 at, what are businesses planning to do in investing going
9 forward? So, for example, NFIB has an optimism index, and what
10 we do is we ask employers, "What are your plans going forward
11 to invest in your company? What are your plans in the next
12 three months or the next quarter to hire new workers? What
13 were your plans in the next couple of months to, you know,
14 increase capital or, you know, increase inventory?"
15 You know, the unemployment rate is -- as an economic
16 indicator, a very poor one. It's ones politicians use, but it
17 doesn't really give you any real concrete information about how
18 we are doing and in terms of our economic policy. But remember
19 what this legislation is about. It's not beating up unions;
20 it's just saying, Why don't we give workers their freedoms? I
21 mean, you know, it's why can't an individual worker decide for
22 themselves whether or not they need to be in a union, and why
23 can't that worker be empowered to say, "I don't want to be in
24 that union and I don't want to pay those dues"?
25 And our organization -- you know, we have 14,000
1 small business members at NFIB. There are 190,000 businesses in
2 the Commonwealth. We have -- over the last three years have
3 actually grown our membership. Do we have a lot more work to
4 do? Absolutely. Could you say that there are small business
5 owners that are out there benefitting from the hard work that
6 we put in? Okay. Sure. But that doesn't mean that there should
7 be a mandate that every small business in Pennsylvania be a
8 member of the NFIB because they're inuring that benefit. You
9 know what? We'll go do that by making the case by going door
10 to door, meeting with those businesses on Main Street and
11 showing them our value. If they choose to be a part of it, they
12 choose to be a part of it. If they choose not to, they choose
13 not to. Why can't we let Pennsylvania workers make that same
15 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: And I would.
16 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative, let's not make
17 this a debate, so if you have a final point or two, please.
18 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: I had a couple of other
19 questions, but you are again so persuasive, Chairman Miller, I
20 will yield to my other colleagues and enjoy the back-and-forth.
21 Thank you.
22 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Understood.
23 Representative Murphy?
24 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
25 Thank you for your testimony. I just wanted to follow up on
1 what Chairman Keller started asking about with reference to
2 manufacturing companies that decided not to bring their
3 manufacturing jobs to Pennsylvania as a result of collective
4 bargaining being in play here in Pennsylvania.
5 As part of our quest for information here, would you
6 be able to provide a Committee with a list of those
7 manufacturing corporation, businesses, that have decided not to
8 come to Pennsylvania as a result of collective bargaining?
9 That's just a request for the Committee. I'd appreciate your
10 providing that to us. Is that information available?
11 MS. JOINT: With what I -- my comment, I can
12 definitely provide you -- from our association standpoint, when
13 companies call, as they would an association of our size, if
14 they're considering relocating and that is the first question
15 they ask. How well that is documented -- we're not an economic
16 development corporation, so it's not our job, per se, to go out
17 and attract those. But what I can tell you -- Kevin had
18 mentioned or somebody mentioned being at a public presentation,
19 and same thing with the Erie -- part of the Erie Economic
20 Development Corporation, which is headed up out of the chamber
21 in Erie. I have attended presentations there. And I would
22 have to think they would have that documented because his
23 comment in a public presentation was the same thing: This is
24 the question we always get. We can't compete with that. We have
25 lost business. And I would like to think that he would have to
1 have that information documented because that's their job. I
2 will get that for you.
3 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: Thank you very much. I'd
4 appreciate that, because as this conversation moves forward and
5 the debate moves forward with this regard to this proposed
6 legislation, those facts would be very important to bear out in
7 a public hearing.
8 Also, this is for either one of you. And maybe you
9 can each give me your opinion on this. If this legislation were
10 enacted, would employers be required to apply the same wages,
11 benefits and health insurance packages to those that are
12 members of unions and those that are -- choose not to be
13 members of unions?
14 MR. SHIVERS: Could you repeat that again. I'm
15 sorry, I missed part of it.
16 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: Would the employers that you
17 represent, would they provide the same wage, benefits, and
18 health care packages to members of unions, and those who choose
19 not to be members of unions?
20 MR. SHIVERS: Our members -- and again, I represent
21 small and independent businesses in Pennsylvania -- you know,
22 they talk about a competition, and it's not a competition about
23 selling goods or services. The competition that they speak of
24 is that competition for good quality workers. And small
25 employers, the people that I represent, are going to do their
1 level best to offer the best compensation package, the best
2 wages that they are able to offer, to attract the best workers
3 to their workforce.
4 One of the struggles that they have is that they
5 can't compete with the largest corporations in Pennsylvania who
6 have the size and wherewithal to be able to offer better
7 benefits, and better being a packages to workers. So, one of
8 the competitions that small business owners tell me they're
9 losing is the competition for good quality workers, and it's a
10 real -- it's a real problem.
11 It's made worse by the -- you know, the PACA
12 legislation, otherwise known as ObamaCare, which really hasn't
13 helped the small business owners. In fact, it has proliferated
14 the cost of health care and has forced many of them to change
15 their health plans, and they're worried about higher taxes
16 going forward.
17 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: So, would you agree that
18 maybe as a legislative body we should be looking at closing
19 some of the loopholes for the largest corporations here in
20 Pennsylvania and focusing some of those economic benefits on
21 smaller businesses to grow our economy?
22 MR. SHIVERS: You know -- (Applause) -- I'll let
23 them applaud that. No, I -- I think our members would rather
24 see a level playing field across the board. You know what?
25 Let's eliminate all of the corporate welfare. We have spent
1 tens of millions, if not billions, of dollars over the last
2 decade trying to attract companies to Pennsylvania here or to
3 save companies with large -- you know, 100 employees or more.
4 Meanwhile, you know, I have members who have five employees and
5 a dry cleaner or that own a couple-employee landscaping
6 business and nobody bats an eye when they have to close because
7 of taxes and regulations.
8 Our philosophy is that if you could reduce the tax
9 and regulatory burden -- and by "regulatory burden," I'm
10 talking about these workforce issues -- if you can reduce those
11 burdens on employers, by all means, you know, we can get to a
12 situation where we don't need any handouts or any incentives to
13 attract companies here. They're going to come here because they
14 know it's a great place to do business and we have the best
15 workers in the world.
16 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: Just as an observation,
17 before my last question, I think the fact that those
18 corporations that are paying their fair share, had they been,
19 in fact, paying their fair share right along, we may not be in
20 this committee hearing today.
21 Lastly, do you think the Right to Work legislation
22 would drive down wages here in Pennsylvania or lift wages here
23 in Pennsylvania? Because the people that I represent in
24 Lackawanna County -- and obviously, we have a struggling
25 economy right now. Unemployment is high, and the wages that
1 they're currently receiving with the price of gas, and the
2 like, they're struggling right now under their current
3 compensation packages to make ends meet, pay their mortgage and
4 take care of their bills. Do you think this would drive wages
5 up or down in Pennsylvania?
6 MR. SHIVERS: I think what it's going to do, if you
7 look at those states that have, you know, Right to Work laws
8 today, presently, I think that you're going to see an increase
9 in real income. Because again, the whole point of this
10 legislation is to help lower costs. If you look at those states
11 that are Right to Work states today, they have a lower cost of
12 living than forced-union states like Pennsylvania. So, while
13 wages might be lower in those states, their real income is
14 actually higher. It actually grew 28% as compared to only 15%
15 in forced-unionized states like Pennsylvania.
16 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
17 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you.
18 Final question. Representative Galloway.
19 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
20 I'll be brief.
21 And thank you for being here today. I wasn't going
22 to jump in on this discussion, but I heard the talk about
23 Texas, and I do want to talk just for a second about the
24 reasons why businesses locate in one state as opposed to the
25 other and the contention that Right to Work is a major factor.
1 There are other factors. For instance, Texas --
2 Texas has a very good business climate when it comes to tax,
3 for example, right? Could you just speak to that briefly,
4 about other reasons why a business would locate in one state as
5 opposed to another? What my point here is that -- I do -- would
6 like to get on to a discussion about taxes, about the tax
7 climate in this state. Could you just speak briefly to that,
9 MR. SHIVERS: Sure. You know, I think Texas has --
10 when you look at not only its tax climate, but you look at the
11 significant reforms that they have made to their civil justice
12 system, reducing junk lawsuits, you know, I think probably the
13 only -- the only industry that's struggling in Texas are
14 probably the personal injury lawyers. But if you look at their
15 tax climate, if you look at their civil justice climate, if you
16 look at their regulatory climate, if you look at, again, you
17 know, labor issues, I mean when you take them all in total, you
18 know, they have a far greater climate in which entrepreneurs
19 and businesses want to grow.
20 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: Thank you. And I would
21 agree with you in that there are many incentives for a business
22 to move to Texas, when it comes to taxes. One of the reasons
23 stated by Governor Rick Perry was their ability to lower
24 business taxes came from one of the largest extraction taxes on
25 the oil and natural gas. They implemented one of the largest
1 natural gas extraction taxes in the entire nation, second only
2 to Alaska. That allowed them, along with doing things like
3 closing the -- what we call the Delaware loophole, allowed them
4 to reduce the tax burdens in other ways. I assume that you
5 oppose both of those measures in Pennsylvania.
6 MR. SHIVERS: I don't think they have a business tax
7 in Texas, right? I mean, at least at that level, it's -- you
8 know, so that the extraction tax, I think, is the only tax that
9 they have on those industries, right? Other than --
10 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: It's one of the largest in
11 the entire country, and you oppose -- yet -- and the reason why
12 their other taxes are so low, because they have things like an
13 extraction tax, not just on natural gas, on all of their
14 natural resources. So, let me ask you a question. I mean, the
15 final question is: Why is it, then, that you see the
16 similarities in Pennsylvania and Texas, yet the differences
17 could not be more stark? Their contention is that they want
18 companies to pay for the extraction of gas. They want companies
19 to pay for the right to do business in their state. You oppose
20 that in Pennsylvania. And as a way of reducing taxes, and
21 incentivizing businesses to come --
22 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Gentlemen, it's an interesting
23 discussion, but it's not really Right to Work. So, if we could
24 move on, please.
25 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
1 He did bring the subject up.
2 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I understand.
3 REPRESENTATIVE GALLOWAY: Thank you. Appreciate it.
4 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Goodman. Final
6 REPRESENTATIVE GOODMAN: I am going to be very
7 quick. We have strayed off the topic. But my question was very
8 similar to that of Representative Galloway's and that is, NFIB
9 is the small -- it says right here on the letterhead, you're
10 the voice of small businesses. Pennsylvania has the dubious
11 distinction of having one of the largest corporate net income
12 taxes in the nation, and most small businesses, as you know,
13 pay the brunt of that. They pay the 9.9, where most
14 corporations pay the lower income tax because they're able to
15 be under Subchapter S's or LLCs.
16 And I guess my question would be: Since most
17 large -- 70% of the major corporations in this Commonwealth do
18 not pay the corporate income tax because they're able to take
19 advantage of the Delaware loophole, since your organization
20 represents small businesses and small businesses are the ones
21 paying the 9.9, why aren't you -- I would think that your
22 organization would be here today asking the general assembly to
23 look into something that would definitely benefit small,
24 businesses which are the economic engine that drives our
1 I just wonder if you could -- since it is far astray, and
2 I would ask if you could keep it short -- I would like to know
3 why. You should be coming to us saying it's not only about
4 Right to Work, but it's the tax structure. And small
5 businesses are paying the lion's share of 9.9%, largest
6 corporate income tax in the Commonwealth, because 70% of the
7 companies are able to get away with it by paying the Delaware
8 loophole. You should be coming to us saying it's going to take
9 a series of legislations, not just -- legislation like
10 Representative Galloway was pointing to with Texas being
11 successful because they were able to close loopholes very
12 similar to that.
13 MR. SHIVERS: Yeah. That was another truth that was
14 stretched by former Governor Ed Rendell. When he referred to
15 the 70% of business that are not paying corporate taxes,
16 actually what he was referring to were small businesses,
17 because actually 70% of the businesses in Pennsylvania are not
18 corporations; they're partnerships or sole proprietors or
19 they're Subchapter S corporations or limited liability
21 So, really, there's only like 20%-plus companies in
22 Pennsylvania that are actually C-corps. So, most of our members
23 actually pay their businesses taxes on their personal tax
25 If you went to a couple of the mid-year budget
1 reviews by the Rendell budget secretary, she always had a slide
2 in there, and she talked about how those Subchapter S companies
3 were not paying their fair share. And she kind of lumped them
4 into all of these corporate people who weren't paying their
5 fair share of taxes when, in fact, these were small companies
6 that were. And they always kind of -- they flip-flopped those
7 statistics and made it sound like 70% of the companies weren't
8 paying their fair share in taxes, when, in fact, those
9 companies were small and they were paying their business taxes
10 on their personal tax rate.
11 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Okay. I appreciate the exchange.
12 Thank you for your testimony.
13 Our next panel is the PA State Education
14 Association, Mike Crossey, President-Elect, and the PA State
15 Troopers Association, PA State Corrections Officers
16 Association, represented by Gary Lightman, their solicitor.
17 Gentlemen, who -- just please proceed in order, and
18 identify yourself and proceed. And thank you. Appreciate your
20 MR. CROSSEY: Absolutely. I am Mike Crossey,
21 president-elect of the Pennsylvania State Education
22 Association, and with me today is Rick Burridge, who is our
23 legal field manager, in case there are any questions related to
24 the calculation of fair share fees. May I start?
25 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Yes.
1 MR. CROSSEY: First of all. Good afternoon, Chairman
2 Miller, Chairman Keller and members of the Committee on Labor
3 and Industry. As I just said, I'm Mike Crossey. I'm a teacher
4 with 30 or more years' experience in the Keystone Oaks School
5 District in Allegheny county, and as I mentioned, I'm
6 president-elect of the Pennsylvania State Education
8 I'm here today to speak on behalf of our 193,000
9 members of the PSEA and to voice our concerns over legislation
10 that could limit the fair collection of fees that are used to
11 protect the rights of all employees. Most of the individuals
12 agree that it's only fair to pay for something that you
14 Established in 1989, Pennsylvania's Fair Share Law
15 encompasses that notion. Unions, by law, are required to
16 represent everyone covered by a collective bargaining
17 agreement. This representation requirement extends to the
18 individual who determines that they do not wish to join the
20 Fair share is not, as I have heard suggested here
21 today, forced unionism. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It
22 provides a formal structure that enables non-members to enjoy
23 many of the same rights as their bargaining union peers while
24 insuring fairness for all employees, and while an individual's
25 right to associate is maintained, the purpose of assessing fair
1 share fees for non-members is to cover the appropriate costs
2 and to prevent individuals from becoming free-riders, who take
3 the same benefits and services without payment.
4 The services provided for non-members are not
5 insignificant, and fair share provides for individuals to share
6 in the costs of these benefits and services they receive by
7 paying a defined portion of those benefits and services. The
8 responsibilities of unions as exclusive bargaining
9 representatives for employees are brought in scope.
10 By law, the union must represent the interests of
11 all employees in negotiating a collective bargaining agreement,
12 as well as enforcing their collective bargaining agreements
13 through the processing of grievances. Such tasks are continuous
14 and difficult ones, which often require an expenditure of
15 significant time and money that require expert negotiators.
16 Researchers, lawyers, and other administrative staff are
17 necessary as well. It is these costs that are covered by the
18 fair share fees.
19 It is not rare for non-union members to seek out the
20 counsel of the union. For instance, if a non-member employee is
21 unfairly discharged, PSEA will provide them legal
22 representation in grievance hearings and arbitration hearings.
23 The costs can regularly run into thousands of dollars. In fact,
24 this happens more often than you would think. I could spend the
25 majority of my time informing you of instances like in
1 Charleroi School District where PSEA saved the job of a fee
2 payor who was unfairly dismissed from a part-time custodial
4 Notwithstanding the protections that fee payors are
5 afforded, they are not asked to support all of the union
6 activities that benefit them. For example, all legislative,
7 political and charitable activities of the union are
8 specifically excluded from the fair share fee calculation.
9 Further, Pennsylvania's Fair Share Fee Law allows two
10 opportunities for fee pay payors to raise objections. First,
11 fee payors can raise challenges to the procedure for
12 calculating the fees assessed against them; or two, they can
13 raise religious objections to the payment of a fair share fee.
14 In both cases, fee payors have 40 days from the date that they
15 receive notice of their obligation to pay their fair share fees
16 to raise either of those objections.
17 Once the fee payor raises a religious objection,
18 100% of their fair share fees must be placed into escrow until
19 the fee payor and the union can agree to a mutually agreeable
20 non-religious charity to receive their fees.
21 Under law, fee payors who raise calculation
22 objections have 50% of their fair share fees placed into an
23 escrow account. Pending the fee payor's opportunity to have
24 their calculation challenges heard by an impartial arbitrator,
25 PSEA escrows 100% of the fees, even for calculation objections.
1 This is in keeping with PSEA's conservative approach to the
2 fair share administration procedure.
3 In administering its fair share program, PSEA always
4 attempts to give all benefit to the doubt of the taxpayer. --
5 of the fee payor. The fee payors who raise calculation
6 objections have the opportunity to proceed to arbitration
7 before an impartial arbitrator who will determine whether the
8 fee calculated by the union was accurate and if not, what the
9 appropriate fee should be.
10 During this arbitration, it is the union -- the
11 union has the burden of proving that its calculation of the
12 fair share fee was accurate, and fee payors have the right to
13 present their own case and cross-examine any of the union's
14 witnesses. Unions conduct thorough and exhaustive procedures to
15 insure that their fair share calculations are accurate,
16 including having staff maintain detailed, contemporaneous time
17 records that insure that fair share fees are based only upon
18 duties that are reasonably related to the union's role as
19 exclusive bargaining representative.
20 PSEA has never lost an arbitration case on its fair
21 share fee calculations, which I believe proves PSEA's
22 commitment to fairness and its participation in the provisions
23 of the Fair Share Fee Law. In fact, PSEA's fair share
24 calculation process has been upheld in all of the 21 fair share
25 fee arbitrations in which it has been involved.
1 The procedure for calculating the PSEA fair share
2 fee has always been upheld by the middle district court of
3 Pennsylvania, as well as the third circuit court of appeals.
4 Still, House Bills 50 through 53 seek to eliminate
5 the payment of any such fees to the union or association in
6 exchange for having no availability of services from that
7 entity. On its surface, the result purports to be simple and
8 easy to understand. But beneath the surface, it is fraught with
9 minefields that will damage unions and dues-paying members and
10 frustrate positive labor/management relationships. It will
11 undermine the ability of a union to represent all persons
12 covered by a collective bargain agreement in a way that is
13 consistent and supportive of the agreement and the relationship
14 between the employer and the union.
15 The implications could be mind-boggling. It will
16 become impossible for employers, unions, and workers to figure
17 out who has what rights. For example, if a union successfully
18 arbitrates a grievance gaining teachers additional prep time,
19 are non-members to be denied that additional time? Furthermore,
20 in its role as exclusive representative, the union not only
21 takes forth grievances of all employees, it has the ability to
22 deny processing a grievance if it finds the grievance has no
23 merit. Giving individuals to the right to take their own
24 grievances to arbitration destroys the ability of both the
25 union and the employer to rely upon their mutual understanding
1 and intent. If the union determines the grievance claiming
2 extra pay is without merit, should the non-member nevertheless
3 be able to force the employer to arbitrate?
4 What if the claim concerned the assignment of bus
5 runs or workload issues? At some point, the inconsistencies and
6 contradictions in terms and conditions of employment will be so
7 unmanageable that the employer will not be able to rely upon
8 the union status and the union will not be effective in its
10 House Bills 50 through 53 in their effort to repeal
11 the Public Employees Fair Share Fee Law not only take the
12 "fair" out of fair share, they also obstruct the union's role
13 as representative and destabilize the employer and union
14 relationships. On the other hand, if the result of these bills
15 is that the union cannot represent any aggrieved non-member and
16 the non-member himself/herself cannot likewise represent him or
17 herself, then non-members have lost the rights and protections
18 that they currently have.
19 Ironically, many of the aforementioned bills mention
20 workers rights or Right to Work. Again, this piece of
21 legislation is attempting to -- from afar to control the
22 labor/management relationship between the employer and the
23 union and the relationship between the union and the workers it
24 represents and the relationship between employers and
25 employees, all of which will end in do-nothing-but-harm
1 workers' rights.
2 I say to you today that membership in an association
3 or the payment of an appropriate fair share fee which supports
4 the union work as an exclusive representative, fairly
5 bargaining and fairly enforcing contracts for both members and
6 non-members alike, are the true protection of workers in the
7 Commonwealth and beyond. They represent the rights of workers
8 to enjoy their career in an environment of true protection and
9 allow them to be free of any arbitrary or capricious decisions
10 by employers that would negatively impact those careers. We
11 oppose these bills, and I'll look forward to your questions.
12 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you.
13 Mr. Lightman?
14 MR. LIGHTMAN: Thank you very much. I have presented
15 written material that I will not read to you, but I would
16 highly recommend that you read it. I have read it. It's not
17 bad. So I would give that a quick review.
18 I actually -- I think I'm here for something
19 different than we have been discussing, although I'll be happy
20 to discuss the stock market, if you would like, but I'm dealing
21 with a very unique group of individuals: Pennsylvania State
22 Troopers and Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers.
23 Throughout the existence of both of those
24 organizations, they have been treated differently by all of
25 you, and by "all of you," I mean the legislature, the courts,
1 the executive branch. They have been treated differently
2 because they represent a specific core function of government
3 that cannot be interfered with, cannot be interrupted. So,
4 therefore, they have been given some very good things,
5 recognizing what they do. And we're all familiar with the
6 special benefits to the survivors of police officers, and
7 corrections officers who are killed in the line of duty. Those
8 things have been just hugely appreciated. As one who has
9 actually had to visit the families that have suffered, it's
10 with great thanks what you have done for these people.
11 However, on the other hand, with the good comes the
12 bad. And if you want to call it bad, what I'm looking at are
13 the things that have been taken from them simply because of
14 what they do. And one of the tools that has been stripped from
15 them is the right to strike. I have always said I could do a
16 world better for police officers, for corrections officers, if
17 I could say, Look, why don't we just shut down the prisons and
18 shut down your streets until you pay us. That's not the way
19 they do business. Not only because you don't want them to do
20 business that way and it's prohibited legally, but because of
21 the professionalism that they all enjoy. They wouldn't do that.
22 But what has been given to them? They have the right
23 to engage in binding arbitration. Binding arbitration is a
24 unique process. It's a very expensive process. There's expert
25 witnesses involved. It's evolved over the many years from its
1 advent in 1968 to a very complicated and, as I said, expensive
2 process, involving economists and all different forms of expert
3 witnesses to go forward. It's a lot more difficult than simply
4 saying -- you know, yelling across a bargaining table and
5 walking out the door. It's a process they have no choice but to
6 involve themselves in.
7 Now we're confronted with this legislation. What
8 would this legislation do to police officers and corrections
9 officers? Well, again, the same thing that so many different
10 people have testified to would -- it would strip out the
11 ability of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association and the
12 Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers association from
13 representing their members in the one form that we have --
14 forum that we have, the only thing we have left. Not all of the
15 traditional union tools but the one thing we have left.
16 Interestingly enough, we have all been talking
17 about -- or at least everybody prior to me has been talking
18 about the series of bills, 50 through 53. And while everyone
19 else was probably out enjoying their evening activity, I, of
20 course, was sitting there researching legislative matters,
21 which is what I usually do in the evenings. I see some people
22 here must know me. But I found House Bill 1418. House Bill 1418
23 seems like it should fit right in with this group of Bills.
24 What it is, is an amendment to Act 195, which would remove the
25 right to -- actually, what it does is repeal the Fair Share Law
1 that was passed that we made reference to.
2 Many of you who are sponsors of 50, 51, 52, and 53
3 are sponsors of 1418. 1418 does repeal the Fair Share Law, but
4 you know what it says? It says there are certain people in here
5 that are different, certain people that have different rights,
6 different responsibilities, from whom we have stripped the
7 traditional union tools, so we need to allow them to continue
8 to function with collecting union dues. Who are those people?
9 Corrections officers and those persons necessary to the
10 functioning of the courts.
11 We have always appreciated the recognition. We have
12 lived with the responsibility of the recognition of the
13 differences, but you can't -- I would specifically and
14 hopefully request that you can't slam the door in our face
15 after recognizing all of these differences. And as I said,
16 what I'm looking for -- and again, I've always supported
17 working people no matter what their category. And, frankly, I,
18 myself, would oppose 50, 51, 52, 53 and would urge you to do so
19 as well.
20 But I'm here for a group of people that I have spent
21 my whole life, my whole career, my whole working career with,
22 40-some-odd years. I have seen the sacrifices that these people
23 have done. I have seen the effect on their families. They have
24 become a bonded brother- and sisterhood of people that work
25 together with their lives on the line. Having recognized that,
1 giving them the right which you recognize in 1418, to be able
2 to collect from their members and represent them adequately in
3 the only way that they are able to under the law, would be
4 appropriate for you to do
5 One thing I would like to add, which had come up
6 before, was the idea that you can't get rid of your union. And
7 ten years ago or back in the '70s, people should have a right
8 to vote again. Sitting over there are a group of officers of
9 the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association who did
10 decertify their union. They decertified AFSCME who had
11 represented them for 30-some-odd years, and they felt that they
12 were maybe -- maybe whatever. I'm not, again, taking any
13 position against any union, but they felt that maybe they as
14 corrections officers would be able to do a better job for
15 themselves, and they did. They decertified their previous
16 union and certified PSCOA as their union.
17 It's not a process that can't be engaged in, and
18 it's no different than a process we elect somebody to represent
19 our interests in Pennsylvania and in Washington, D.C. And if
20 they are following what our needs are, and what our interests
21 are, we support them. And if we don't, we vote against them.
22 And that's the way it works with unions. And if the union that
23 they had was not servicing their need, then they vote them out
24 through a desertification process and either certify a new one
25 in or go without a union. But that choice does exist in the
2 And the final point that I would make is this: One
3 of the things that the legislature has given us -- and when I
4 say "us" now, I mean every working person -- is a burden called
5 exclusivity which has been alluded to by everyone here. When
6 there is a union in place, it is the exclusive representative
7 of that group of people. And you can't engage in discrimination
8 when you're the exclusive representative. The duties that my
9 colleague has just made reference here to covers everybody in
10 that arena. So, when you then -- now engage in exclusivity, you
11 must now treat them all the same and bargain for them all the
12 same and fight for those things that we believe the majority
13 want, all the same. Then you can't, on the other hand, then
14 say, "Oh, and by the way, we're just going to peel this group
15 out who will not engage in paying for the representation that
16 you have a duty, a legal duty, placed upon us to engage in."
17 It's not a situation where you can turn your back on
18 individuals. The law requires exclusivity, which every union
19 must do or they will be sued for failing to engage
20 appropriately in the process.
21 So, for all of those reasons -- and I guess the main
22 message I would give you is from 1968 onward, troopers and
23 corrections officers have been treated differently. We admit
24 the fact that we are different. You've always treated us
25 differently. And now, if you have to engage in this process,
1 remember those differences. Remember their sacrifices and pull
2 them out of it as you did in 1418. Thank you very much.
3 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you both for your testimony.
4 I would just start the questioning. I have a question. And
5 just help me to understand something. We're talking fair share.
6 If you don't want to belong to the union, per se, you don't
7 really have to join, but you pay a fair share. For those that
8 do decide to join the union, if the money that might be used
9 that wouldn't be the fair share, the other amount of money that
10 might be used for political activity, for PACs, is that in your
11 organizations? And you will have to answer individually, I
12 suppose. Is that an opt-in or an opt-out thing? How does that
13 affect the people?
14 MR. LIGHTMAN: Maybe my answer is different, so I
15 will -- well, I will do it first. Within the Pennsylvania State
16 Troopers Association and within the Pennsylvania State
17 Corrections Officers Association, the dues have nothing to do
18 with political activity of any kind. The PAC money is a
19 separate matter. If someone chooses to contribute to the PAC,
20 they can contribute to the PAC. If they choose not to, they
21 don't have to contribute to the PAC. They can opt in and opt
22 out at any time. That's the way it works with both. The union
23 dues are the same and have nothing to do whatsoever with any
24 involvement in political activity at all. They're totally
25 separate cards, members, choices. And as I said, the rules
1 on -- you can opt in and you can just turn around and opt right
2 out if you choose to.
3 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I appreciate that.
4 Mr. Crossey?
5 MR. CROSSEY: That's exactly the same with PSEA.
6 There's zero union dues used for political activity. We have a
7 separate arm called the PACE, the Political Action Committee
8 for Education, which is where all of our political
9 contributions are deposited and all of our political
10 expenditures are made from.
11 There is no -- nobody is compelled to join PACE. We
12 certainly encourage it. You know, we think that's a valuable
13 thing. But nobody is compelled to join it. Some people do;
14 some people don't. But it's a separate sign-up form. It's a
15 totally separate deduction. The funds are never commingled, and
16 totally separate, complete free choice of the member whether or
17 not they choose to contribute to PACE.
18 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Interesting. Okay. Thank you.
19 Chairman Keller.
20 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Thank you, Chairman.
21 If I may, staff did some research. I don't see
22 Ms. Joint here, the previous testifier, but it looks like the
23 GE plant that relocated in Texas was given a $4.2 million deal
24 to relocate to Texas. I'm sure that had a lot more to do with
25 it rather than it was a Right to Work state.
1 Mr. Crossey?
2 MR. CROSSEY: Yes, sir.
3 CHAIRMAN KELLER: You have been on the hot seat
4 today, and you just got here. Everybody seems -- some people on
5 the panel today seem to think that it's you versus the
6 taxpayers. But as I said, you know, I think collective
7 bargaining probably is the top thing that created the middle
8 class, and it was a great law passed a long time ago. Who do
9 you collectively bargain with? Who represents the taxpayers
10 when you go to collectively bargain?
11 MR. CROSSEY: The elected school boards in every
12 school district that we represent.
13 CHAIRMAN KELLER: So, if taxpayers don't like what
14 the union is getting in collective bargaining, wouldn't the
15 logical step be to get rid of the people who represent them at
16 the collective bargaining table?
17 MR. CROSSEY: Absolutely.
18 CHAIRMAN KELLER: That's what collective bargain is
19 about. You had mentioned collective bargaining. I kept saying
20 it over and over and again, it's a good thing. And I think
21 that's one of the things that this bill will hurt. Could you
22 describe to me briefly what you think the effect of these bills
23 would have on when you go to collectively bargain.
24 MR. CROSSEY: I think these bills are very damaging
25 to collective bargaining. I think these bills are an assault on
1 workers' rights. As I said, inside public education in
2 Pennsylvania, nobody's forced to join the union. You have a
3 choice. We talk to our members when they first become employees
4 in the school district whether --
5 And we're not just all teachers. I think that's a
6 common misperception out there. We represent the support
7 professionals in the school district, too. We represent
8 custodians. We represent cafeteria workers. We represent a
9 paraprofessionals in the classroom. So, it's not just teachers
10 but everybody when they become employed by the school district
11 will --
12 Everybody is different. Every Local is different.
13 Every school district is different. In my Local, I was a
14 teacher for 34 years. You know, I would meet with the incoming
15 employees, and I would explain to them the benefits of
16 membership in the association and give them a form and tell
17 them to take it home, read it, please send it back to me by the
18 end of the week. And I know in my school district, I had 100%
19 membership. You know, there was no forcing anybody to do
20 anything. You know, so, there was no --
21 I think collective bargaining is fantastic. I think
22 it creates great labor/management relationships. I was in a
23 school district that I would sit down with the superintendent
24 every other Friday, and we would sit down and talk about --
25 talk out different problems. And, you know, if he was having a
1 problem with somebody, I would take care of it for him. If I
2 was having a problem in my school district, I would discuss it
3 with him, and we would figure out a way to mutually solve it. I
4 thought collective bargaining worked in my school district. I
5 know it doesn't work in every school district. It's more
6 contentious in some places. But I think when collective
7 bargaining is done right, collective bargaining is a great
9 CHAIRMAN KELLER: I had to ask Mr. Bloomingdale and
10 I think he represents too many unions, and you also represent a
11 lot of people in different Locals. But do you have any idea
12 what the average cost of the fair share fee is per your member?
13 MR. CROSSEY: I do. The -- you know, we broke it
14 down several different ways for you. I believe it's in our
15 testimony that you have in front of you on the last page. But,
16 you know, if I look at the average teacher's salary in the
17 state of Pennsylvania, it's $59,000. If I take a look at that,
18 the fair share fee is .72% of the average teacher's salary in
19 the state of Pennsylvania. Not very high at all. But we have it
20 broken down actually as far as -- because our dues is comprised
21 of several things. There's PSEA dues. We're a unified state, so
22 we're part of the national association. So NEA dues is also --
23 theirs is calculated. And then we have it broken down into our
24 ESP dues for both PSEA and NEA, but that is all in your fee.
25 But I believe the fair share fee is very small in comparison to
1 what is paid.
2 CHAIRMAN KELLER: A whole .72%.
3 MR. CROSSEY: Percent. Yes.
4 CHAIRMAN KELLER: That's what we're here talking
5 about. That's what's stopping businesses from coming to
6 Pennsylvania and people from -- taxpayers from having a good
7 education system.
8 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
9 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Perry?
10 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and
11 thanks for your testimony, sir. Good to see you.
12 I'm curious. I don't know much about your
13 arbitration process. Can you tell me how arbitrators are
15 MR. LIGHTMAN: I'm going to -- which process? Are
16 you talking about the fair share arbitration?
17 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Yes. When an employee
18 disputes whether he is paying his -- he or she is paying their
19 fair share and how much it is and what it's going for.
20 MR. CROSSEY: I'm going to ask our attorney to
21 answer that.
22 MR. BURRIDGE: Yes, Representative, it's determined
23 through Triple A, the American Arbitration Association. We will
24 submit the fact that objections have been submitted. We will
25 submit the names of those objectors and any authorized
1 representatives that they may have stated to represent them. We
2 submit that to the American Arbitration Association in
3 accordance with the Fair Share Fee law and then that arbitrator
4 is selected by Triple A. It's not a selection process by the
5 parties. Triple A itself in administering it selects the
7 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Can you tell me and us what
8 the background of the arbitrator -- how do you become an
9 arbitrator? What is your background, employment history? I
10 have no idea who these people are.
11 MR. BURRIDGE: Generally, it varies. Many are
12 attorneys. Many are people who have higher degrees in labor
13 relations and labor history. Most in the Triple A -- and I can
14 tell you, of all of the arbitrators we have had over the past
15 20 years for the Fair Share Arbitration have been arbitrators
16 who have, generally, at least 10 to 15 years of experience in
17 arbitrating labor disputes, both in arbitrating labor disputes
18 in interest and grievance arbitrators. And many of them have
19 participated in other states for other unions' fair share
20 arbitrations, so they're somewhat familiar with the fair share
22 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Is there a register or some
23 way for us to see who these folks are and just learn a little
24 bit about their background? Is that something that's publicly
25 available, or how do we gain knowledge of that information?
1 MR. BURRIDGE: Yes. On the American Arbitration
2 Association website the names of arbitrators and their resumes
3 are available, and many of them are also on the Pennsylvania
4 Bureau of Mediation arbitrations lists. Their resumes, I
5 believe, are also available on the website, and we would be
6 happy to provide the names of the arbitrators that at least
7 have served as arbitrators over the past 20 years on the PSEA
8 fair share arbitrations and, to the extent that we have their
9 resume, current resumes. We'd certainly be willing to provide
11 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: I'd love to have that if it's
12 not too much trouble, and we'll do our own due diligence and
14 One comment, Mr. Chairman. And I know you want to
15 move on here. With all due respect, President-elect, and
16 congratulations, where you say that in your testimony that you
17 represent the rights of workers to enjoy their careers in an
18 environment of true protection and allow them to be free of any
19 arbitrary, capricious decision by employers that would
20 negatively impact those careers, I understand that you are here
21 representing 193,000 individuals. Each one of us is
22 representing 60- to 65,000 and 12.5 million people collectively
23 who -- and I must take some exception with Chairman Keller who
24 feels like they have little ability to affect their own
25 environment, true protection, and allow them freedom of any
1 arbitrary or capricious decisions made by people that are
2 acting on their behalf.
3 So, for the sake of the taxpayer, and I know that --
4 listen, I have got friends that are schoolteachers. We all do.
5 Everybody in this room has friends that work in public
6 education and colleagues and family members, et cetera. It's
7 not an "us versus them." But taxpayers -- this is -- the
8 taxpayers own this system. They own it. And we're looking for a
9 way to make sure that they have the biggest voice in how
10 it's -- in how it functions. This is just a method of finding
11 out information about whether we are doing adequately or not.
12 Appreciate your time, sir.
13 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Murphy?
14 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
15 I appreciate the testimony given here today. First,
16 I'll address the corrections officers and state troopers and
17 the uniqueness of the positions and Act 111 and how that
18 addressed everyone's concern as far as public safety with
19 regards to the right to strike and that they still deserve to
20 be treated fairly. Because they act in such a capacity that's
21 primary to public safety here in Pennsylvania, the rules were
22 separated, and it was clearly defined in Act 111.
23 There's still some questions with regards to
24 distressed municipalities under Act 47, and I represent one of
25 those cities municipalities in Scranton and Lackawanna County,
1 and some of our police and firefighters haven't had even a cost
2 of living raise in some nine years, so even though there's
3 Act 111 and collective -- you know, arbitration, you know,
4 that's a system, and a broken one, that we may have to address
5 in other legislation.
6 But the corrections officers -- and I understand it,
7 because I have tried to work with the corrections officers last
8 year in the inequity with regards to the leapfrogging and some
9 of the officers who are, you know, kind of stuck, and it's
10 something that we're trying to work with this administration
11 and we tried to work with the last administration on to try to
12 correct, because we don't want to have a situation where we
13 have no one who wants to become a captain, because as a
14 sergeant or as a regular officer, you know, with overtime
15 included, they're making a lot more money, so it's not
16 worthwhile for them to take that promotion. So, you end up, in
17 fact, having the lesser-qualified individuals who are going --
18 who have less time in the system looking for that promotion
19 because it's to their financial advantage, but it's not -- it
20 is to possibly the detriment and the safety of many others,
21 personnel and inmates included.
22 With regards to education -- and I'm glad I attended
23 the education hearing that Representative Ken Smith and myself
24 co-hosted along with the Democratic policy committee at
25 Scranton High School because what we're also doing at the same
1 time, as Chairman Keller pointed out, we have a system where
2 the electorate of any given school district goes to the polling
3 booths every two years, and they elect their local school board
5 Well, there's legislation here in Harrisburg that
6 would also compromise the local school board's ability to even
7 raise revenue for programs for teachers, for -- to raise
8 revenue that's important to maintain the same level of
9 education for our students here in Pennsylvania. When it comes
10 to education, I'm sure my Republican colleagues and my
11 Democratic colleagues alike, and everyone that's watching,
12 their primary concern is that our children have a right to a
13 quality public education. And I believe that very strongly. But
14 to that end, when we reduce the appropriations to school
15 districts to the tune of about $1 billion and in Scranton, as
16 we talked about today, was reduced $5.5 million in their
17 appropriation, we're either going to have to compromise the
18 quality of education for our children --
19 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Excuse me. Excuse me.
20 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: -- or compromise --
21 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Excuse me, Representative Murphy,
22 to the Right to Work issue, please.
23 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: I was getting there.
24 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Speed it up, please.
25 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: And I'll cut to the chase
1 here. As far as -- well, what we're talking about is what's
2 fair to the taxpayers and what's fair to those that are members
3 of collective bargaining units and those that don't pay their
4 fair share end up enjoying the benefits of those that do.
5 And there's significant legal expenses that are
6 incurred to even protect those that are only a fair share
7 instead of the actual union dues. So, could you speak to that,
8 Mike, and the difference in representation between those that
9 pay a fair share and those that are full-paying union dues
11 MR. CROSSEY: We completely represent everyone who
12 is in the bargaining unit, whether or not they're a fee payor,
13 or whether they are a dues-paying member. We do not
14 discriminate. I was Local president for 20 of the 34 years
15 that I was in the classroom, and never once did I discriminate.
16 Of course, I was pretty lucky. I almost always had full
17 membership. But never once. And I know that as I had
18 different positions within the association, we always made it
19 very clear that you represent -- you represent everybody that's
20 covered by the collective bargaining agreement whether they are
21 a member or a fee payor. So, we have never discriminated
22 against somebody because they were a fee payor. We make sure
23 that they get all of the rights of the collective bargaining
24 agreement, you know, enforced.
25 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: Just as one follow-up, very
1 quickly, nobody likes unfunded mandates from the federal or
2 from the state. So, couldn't you look at this legislation and
3 consider it an unfunded mandate on those that wouldn't have to
4 pay anything that would also benefit from the -- those who are
5 collectively bargaining within the union-paying membership?
6 MR. CROSSEY: I believe you could look at it that
7 way, Representative.
8 REPRESENTATIVE MURPHY: Thank you.
9 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you.
10 Representative Boyd?
11 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: Mr. Crossey, real quickly, did
12 I understand your testimony correctly; did you say that PSEA
13 does not require fee payors?
14 MR. CROSSEY: No, I said we do not require
15 membership. People are not required to join the union. If they
16 do not choose to join the union, then they are required to pay
17 the fair share fee.
18 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: Okay. And maybe it's not a
19 fair question. If it's not, just don't answer it. I won't be
20 offended. What is the difference between the fair share fee and
21 the full membership?
22 MR. CROSSEY: Approximately 75 to 80%. Would that be
24 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: You testified that the fair
25 share is about $410 or $415 on average.
1 MR. CROSSEY: I can actually give you the numbers if
2 you would like.
3 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: Just --
4 MR. CROSSEY: The PSEA EA dues -- that's the teacher
5 equivalent. The PSEA EA dues is $427 a year. Our PSEA fair
6 share fee for those members, for those who choose to pay the
7 fair share, is $324.52. For the NEA, dues for -- again, EA
8 members, teachers' equivalent type dues, the NEA dues is $166
9 and the NEA fair share fee is $81.34. And then they're
10 proportionately lower for our support professionals.
11 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: Okay. Thank you.
12 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Gergely?
13 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: Thanks, I'll make it brief,
14 Mr. Chairman.
15 I want to ask to you do some research to follow up
16 on this question, Mr. Crossey. Thank you for your time today.
17 One of the most dubious negative distinctions you Right to Work
18 states have is that funding per pupil and education of the
19 lowest 20 states in the -- country, 15 of them are obviously
20 Right to Work states. Could you possibly -- if you are
21 knowledgeable of that, what's relevant to their test scores and
22 their outcomes of graduation relative to what investments in
23 education are? Obviously, Right to Work states don't believe
24 investing in children is as important as we do right now in
1 MR. CROSSEY: Representative Gergely, we can
2 certainly provide you with that research. We have done it, and
3 I can tell you here for this panel's sake that in the states
4 that are not collective bargaining states, their test scores --
5 though I always say test scores is not the best way to measure
6 student performance -- but their test scores are not as high as
7 those states that have collective bargaining. But we will
8 provide with you that research.
9 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: If you could also provide
10 that to the Chairman's offices and we could see that all of the
11 members get it and it's part of the record for today. Thank
13 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Kampf?
14 REPRESENTATIVE KAMPF: Mr. Crossey, of -- I see it
15 says 191,000 members you represent. Is there a percentage of
16 that or a percentage of the total teacher population that are
17 not active members, that are just fair share participants?
18 MR. CROSSEY: We do. Do you know that number?
19 MR. BURRIDGE: We can get that.
20 MR. CROSSEY: We can get that number for you. Off
21 the top of my head, I wanted to say it was about 5,000, but we
22 will get that because I'm -- I don't know where I heard that
23 number, but we will provide that number again. Would you like
24 it through the Chairman's office?
25 REPRESENTATIVE KAMPF: Sure. Yes,.
1 MR. CROSSEY: If you would.
2 REPRESENTATIVE KAMPF: And then you were asked a
3 question, I think, about the PAC, the political action
4 committee. Does PSEA or even the Locals participate in the
5 school board elections through the PACs?
6 MR. CROSSEY: Some do.
7 REPRESENTATIVE KAMPF: Does PSEA state organization
8 participate in Local elections?
9 MR. CROSSEY: Not very often. We may receive a
10 request. We set aside a small amount of PAC money every year
11 for those Locals who choose to get involved in Local elections.
12 We might help them write a questionnaire that they would ask
13 all candidates who are running for office, and I believe the
14 maximum contribution that's ever been given to -- and I may not
15 be 100% accurate, but the maximum contributions I have ever
16 seen to a local candidate is $300.
17 REPRESENTATIVE KAMPF: Okay. Thank you.
18 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you, gentlemen, for your
20 The next panel is Pearre Dean, Deputy Director of
21 Public Affairs, Commonwealth Foundation; Jennifer Stefano,
22 Director of Labor and Energy Policy, Americans for Prosperity;
23 and Dennis Shambaugh, Member, Board of Directors, Keystone
24 Teacher's Association.
25 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I again apologize for not
1 succeeding in keeping this on a tighter time frame, but I think
2 we have heard some good questions and discussion today. Who is
3 going first?
4 MR. DEAN: I'll go first.
5 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Mr. Dean, please proceed.
6 MR. DEAN: Good afternoon, Chairman. Both Chairmans.
7 My name is Pearre Dean. I'm the Deputy Director of -- what is
8 my title now? -- Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the
9 Commonwealth Foundation. I'm probably the one that has probably
10 the most diverse background that you have ever had sit in front
11 of you.
12 I'm originally from the labor movement for 28 years,
13 and now I'm with the Commonwealth Foundation. And -- I'm just
14 waiting for your comments and suggestions -- I know Scott.
15 I'm going to skip over a lot of stuff that was already
16 previously said just in the interest of time and just do my
17 edited testimony.
18 Imagine an organization with the CEO, treasurer, and
19 lengthy payroll with the power and authority to control your
20 government. This organization tells the State how much to pay
21 the State employees, under what conditions the State can
22 conduct their business, and dictates how much the citizens will
23 pay in taxes.
24 It makes the State its collection agency, forcing
25 government to take money out of its workers' paychecks against
1 their will, run their company, pad their executive pockets, and
2 bankroll the company's political endeavors. Sound ludicrous?
3 Welcome to the world of public sector unions.
4 In Pennsylvania, the State government is required to
5 bargain with them on a variety of issues, including employee
6 salaries, benefits, health care, performance standards, and
7 work rules. These unions pull the strings of public officials
8 and bargain for the public money at the public's expense at
9 their own members' expense and everyone else. Pennsylvania is
10 one of 28 states in which workers can be compelled to pay part
11 of their paycheck to the union just to keep their job.
12 Right to Work states give their employees the
13 freedom to choose whether or not to join a union, but even
14 non-membership is costly. Those able to evade union coercion
15 are still compelled to pay hundreds of dollars in fair share
16 fees or agency fees to cover their supposed share of benefits
17 gained from the collective bargaining. In total the
18 Commonwealth withheld and paid more than $33 million in dues
19 and more than $7 million of fair share fees to 19 unions
20 representing employees in 2010. The government-aided dues
21 deducted overwhelmingly funded Democratic campaigns -- and
22 emphasize "overwhelmingly" -- and are critical to maintaining
23 union power.
24 The Pennsylvania State Education Association, PSEA,
25 an affiliate of NEA, siphoned over $55 million of the 191,000
1 members' and 5,600 agency fee payors' wallets in 2010 with help
2 from school districts who deduct their payments. A number of
3 members and fee payors would gladly keep their money if given
4 the choice. The National Association -- Education Association
5 general counsel Robert -- and I'm probably pronouncing this
6 wrong -- McHannon acknowledged the fact that it is well
7 recognized if you take away the mechanism of payroll deduction,
8 you won't get a penny from these people.
9 More than 2.5 million of that paid to political
10 fundraising, gubernatorial debate video, political calling,
11 lobbying, and other political activities. These efforts are
12 disproportionately directed to aid Democrats. Union officials
13 also made a $30,000 contribution to the left-leaning think tank
14 research -- Keystone Research Center and gave $7,500 to
15 Keystone Progress, a progressive advocacy organization with
16 member dues.
17 While dues cannot directly be used for -- directly
18 for fund campaigns, candidates' campaigns, unions also have
19 PACs. Union war chests contributed more than $23 million in
20 campaigns in 2009-2010, which much more often [ inaudible ] the
21 natural gas industry. PACE, the PSEA political action
22 committee, contributed to more than $2.3 million in state
23 elective campaigns in 2009-2010, including $310,000 to Dan
24 Onorato for Governor.
25 The ability to elect preferred candidates for office
1 and lobby them to increase taxes, prevent privatization, and
2 cater to union whims that turned these organizations into
3 powerful political machines. Assume that every one of the
4 PSEA's nearly 200,000 members, and I'm going to broadly expand
5 that to any union's members, to support Democratic candidates
6 profess to be ideologically liberal and silly.
7 The union members each owe more than $475 a year in
8 dues which may be funneled to support candidates in positions
9 they would never vote for. As Thomas Jefferson proclaimed in
10 1786, to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the
11 propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and
12 tyrannical. Further, union policy goals are often not in the
13 best interests of the union members.
14 PSEA also endorses a last-in, first-out policy which lay
15 off the most recently hired teachers when economic conditions
16 are tough. That is, the longest-serving union members get to
17 keep their jobs regardless of performance, while the teacher of
18 the year gets laid off because he is low on seniority. PSEA
19 also rallies against merit pay for teachers, which rewards
20 effectiveness to the detriment of good teachers and, more
21 importantly, students.
22 Collective bargaining also gives unfair advantage to
23 mediocre educators and prevents good teachers from getting
24 raises and bonuses. Union power also means that bosses clean up
25 with hefty salaries, trips, benefits, often at the expense of
1 the ordinary union member who they are meant to protect.
2 Mr. Testerman from PSEA, the president, made
3 $185,000 in 2010 and receives $253,000 in total compensation.
4 His salary was more than twice -- was more than two and a half
5 times the average PSEA member's salary. And David Philman, the
6 executive director of the AFSCME Council 13, which represents
7 the public employees in the state and local governments, made
8 $180,000 and received $206,000 in total compensation. In
9 contrast, the average AFSCME 13 union member makes less than
10 $40,000 a year. Leading the pack of the overpaid union boss is
11 Wendell Young, IV, who represents the Liquor Control Clerks
12 Local 1776, which I was a former member. He made over $269,000
13 in 2010, equal the salary of nine UFCW workers combined.
14 The right to association is protected and can be
15 beneficial for employees. But the structure of the public
16 sector lacks the market forces to curb public unions'
17 outrageous demands at the bargaining table. While private
18 sector unions have to compel over business's limited profits,
19 public sector unions compete unfairly over citizens' tax
20 dollars. The result is the unions' stranglehold over government
21 and essentially taxpayers.
22 Pennsylvania should ban government-aided dues
23 deductions and PAC donations and give the workers the right to
24 choose where the money goes and whether or not to join the
25 union in the first place. Only then will workers enjoy freedom
1 over the workers' lives and conditions, and the public sector
2 will be genuinely to serve the public.
3 MS. STEFANO: Thank you. My name is Jennifer
4 Stefano, and I am the Director of Labor and Energy Policy for
5 Americans for Prosperity, PA, Pennsylvania. I'm also the
6 co-chair of the Loyal Opposition of Pennsylvania out of
7 Philadelphia, and the southeastern part of Pennsylvania. It's a
8 Tea Party grassroots conservative organization. These, of
9 course, are my part-time jobs. I am a full-time stay-at-home
10 mother. I would like to thank the chairman and members of the
11 House Committee on the Labor and Industry Committee for taking
12 the time today to examine House Bills 50 to 53, the
13 Pennsylvania Right to Work bills, and for allowing me to speak
14 on their behalf.
15 Our state director, Sam War, he was also a former
16 member for many years of this Committee, passes along his
17 greetings, and he urges the serious consideration of these
19 I'd also like to say that I am a native
20 Pennsylvanian from the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. I
21 know a couple of busloads of my brothers and sisters from the
22 city made it out today, and I want to say that I stand here
23 with them in solidarity for their right to join a union,
24 absolutely, as well as their right not to, should they so
25 choose. So, to my brothers and sisters from Philadelphia, where
1 I was also born and raised, I want them to know I'm with them.
2 So, I'd like to start off by talking about the most
3 valuable lesson I have ever learned in my career, and that is
4 everything that you need to know about human behavior comes
5 from raising children under the age of three. I should know.
6 I'm in the process of it right now. And what you learn is that
7 in the whole spectrum of humanity, there are only two types of
8 behavior: voluntary or coerced.
9 Remarkably, the same holds true when those children
10 grow up. We as the adults in the societies that we create are
11 dedicated to only one of two principles: That human beings
12 have the right to self-determination, as is written in our
13 founding documents, both here in the state and in the nation,
14 or they do not. And if they do not, then coercion, an ilk of
15 intimidation, thuggery, and corruption that so often follow it,
16 become the order of the day.
17 I'd like to believe the Commonwealth of
18 Pennsylvania, the great state that gave birth to liberty in my
19 fine city, my birth city, was dedicating itself to
20 self-determination, for its people, for its citizens, to which
21 all of you distinguished gentlemen and ladies are here to
22 represent. But until we pass House Bills 50 to 53, we are not.
23 Until those bills are passed, we live in a Commonwealth of
24 coercion, by unions and our own state government.
25 Let me give you an example that I lived with in my
1 life of forced unionization. My mother had a three-decade-long
2 career as a federal employee. During that time, my mother was
3 approached repeatedly by the union soliciting her to join.
4 Fortunately, federal employees can choose whether or not to
5 financially support a union. My mother decided she did not want
6 to put our family's money towards those dues and therefore,
7 turned them down. Respectful exchanges, but turned them down.
8 It's a good thing she was able to. First, we needed
9 every penny that my mother made to go towards supporting our
10 family. Second, she did not believe the unions would have added
11 to her salary or have helped us along in any way, obviously.
12 And third, my mother is a devout Roman Catholic, as is our own
14 As time evolved over those 30 years, she had serious
15 ethical and moral objections to the political parties and
16 politicians the unions supported. She refused to give money to
17 private organizations, unions, or others that supported issues
18 with which she vehemently disagreed. Now, my mother was lucky.
19 My mother had a choice. However, had my mother worked for the
20 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania instead of the federal government,
21 she would have been forced to unionize. She would have been
22 forced to violate her own moral code, to put money towards a
23 private organization that was funding people and a political
24 party that went against almost everything she believed in and
25 held dear. That money would have been taken out of her hands,
1 and she would have no longer had a choice of what to do with it
2 while it's going to a union.
3 Now, compulsory unionization is one of enslavement
4 and tyranny, one that respects the rights of the group over the
5 rights of the individual. It's unacceptable. At this point --
6 okay. But in Iowa, a Right to Work state, it's a very different
7 story and one where unions are in tune with their members and
8 no one would ever be put in such a compromising position. The
9 executive director of the teachers' union out there in Iowa
10 highlighted that point on a radio show dealing with the
11 National Education Association calling for a nationwide
12 homosexuality awareness month in all of the public schools. The
13 head of that union in Iowa was asked, "Do you support this?"
14 And his quote was, "No, we don't support it. Iowa is a Right to
15 Work state. We have to earn our membership. If we supported
16 that, we would lose too many members."
17 So, the issue here is not to debate the issue that
18 the NEA was backing or not, but he realized that he had to work
19 and represent one thing -- not the NEA -- his members. And so,
20 he chose rightly. He did what they wanted because if he didn't,
21 they could leave him. So, I believe union leaders across
22 America are starting to realize this.
23 In fact in Tennessee, the AFL-CIO failed to repeal
24 the state's Right to Work law. Now that failure forced the
25 AFL-CIO executive vice president, Linda Chavez Thompson, to
1 conclude now that, quote, the unions must go out into those
2 communities and show non-members that we are also members of
3 these communities. Maybe then, Chavez Thompson opined, they
4 will want to join a union. As Oprah might say, Mrs. Chavez
5 Thompson had an a-ha moment.
6 Now, if only the union bosses in Pennsylvania would,
7 too. For if they would, we could create a wealth of economic
8 benefits and prosperity for their workers and all of the
9 working families across Pennsylvania, of which mine is one. I
10 know firsthand the increasing difficulty of stretching the
11 family budget as wages seem to go down or stagnate while the
12 cost of everything goes up.
13 Would it not be wonderful to see the working
14 families of this Commonwealth, unionized or not, benefit from a
15 Right to Work state? And I will not go into all of the facts
16 and figures, as there was ample testimony on it and it's all on
17 the record. But I do believe the time has come for this great
18 Commonwealth to determine what kind of state we want to be, and
19 what we will be moving forward. While the economic data is on
20 our side for Right to Work, that alone is not enough to move
21 this along. We must ask ourselves who and what we are as a
22 people. Do we believe, as the father of the modern labor
23 movement and founder of the American Federation of Labor, which
24 became the AFL-CIO, Samuel Gompers once urged, "devotion to the
25 fundamentals of human liberty -- the principles of voluntarism.
1 No lasting gain ever comes from compulsion. If we seek to
2 force, we but tear apart that which, united, is invincible..."
3 In other words, what Gompers is saying is that by
4 forcing workers to join you actually undermine that which makes
5 it strong: The unity of the workers. The Pennsylvania Right to
6 Work Bills are not about unions. They are about liberty. If you
7 believe in the principles of -- (Applause)
8 If you believe, regardless of party, the principles
9 this country was founded on that -- the right to
10 self-determination, respect for individuals, and if you would
11 like those things for yourself and your children, then you will
12 vote yes to House Bill 50 to 53. And if you do not, then this
13 general assembly will have supported the notion that coercion
14 and the subversion of a person's own judgment and only will is
15 the order of the day in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
16 I beg to you, look beyond special interest groups,
17 political parties, and policy arguments and ask what type of
18 life you want, not only for yourself but for your children and
19 grandchildren. How is it you want them to live, freely or
20 coerced? And what kind of Pennsylvania do you wish them to
21 leave them, one that allows them to live voluntarily, according
22 to their own will, or coerced by others? I know which
23 Commonwealth I would like, and I hope you agree.
24 Thank you for the time.
25 MR. SHAMBAUGH: Hello. I'm Dennis Shambaugh, and I
1 live in Shermans Dale in Blair County, just across the river.
2 I'm going to start my teaching career now the 32nd year
3 incoming in August and all at Susquenita High School, where I
4 teach math and computer programming. Believe me, I'd rather be
5 there than here. Nothing personal, gentlemen and ladies.
6 But for the first 11 years of my teaching
7 experience, I was a member of PSEA, NEA, and the local
8 Susquenita Education Association. At that point I just had some
9 issues with the ideas, particularly ideas of abortion. At that
10 point, I didn't have any coverage for a year, and a friend of
11 mine introduced me to KEYTA, the Keystone Teacher's
12 Association, where I have been a member ever since and I'm on
13 the board at this point. That's where I get my insurance at
14 this point. Then as well. Thankfully, all of the teachers who
15 work with me in Perry County Schools also have that freedom to
16 join NEA, PSEA, KEYTA, or anything they want to or not join at
18 Unfortunately, though, other teachers across the
19 Commonwealth do not have the same right or privilege. Many
20 teachers don't have the privilege. Teachers in union shop
21 districts have the choice to join the unions or not join the
22 union, but they still have to pay those -- if they're in shop
23 districts, they have to pay the $405 a year for membership in
24 that fee.
25 To make matters worse, the union excludes them from
1 being able to attend their meetings with the union membership.
2 They're not official members of the union, so they can't vote
3 on anything there, and they're forced to pay things. My
4 colleagues in the history department teach about freedom and
5 teach about the founding of our nation, but unfortunately, many
6 Pennsylvania teachers do not have the same freedom that we
7 enjoy in Perry County. I urge you, then, to keep in mind this
8 Right to Work law and pass it, if you would.
9 My wife and I just moved my daughter into a teaching
10 position down in Maryland. Hopefully, she will be moving back
11 sometime to Pennsylvania. When she does, I'd like to have her
12 be able to freely choose whatever organization she belongs to.
13 So, thank you very much.
14 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you to the three of you for
15 your testimony. The first question comes from Representative
17 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
18 I'd just like to point out to Representative Boyd
19 that decertification works. Mr. Dean has decertified.
20 Mr. Dean, I heard your testimony, but I heard every
21 previous testifier say that not one penny of the fair share
22 fees collected go toward political contributions.
23 MR. DEAN: Right. And I also testified that they
24 have PACs which go to political contributions.
25 CHAIRMAN KELLER: We're here about Right to Work and
1 fair share fees. Not one penny goes towards political
2 contributions. So, to come up and try -- attempt to muddy the
3 waters is --
4 MS. STEFANO: May I comment on that?
5 CHAIRMAN KELLER: I'll get to you next.
6 MS. STEFANO: I'm waiting for it. You got to be from
8 CHAIRMAN KELLER: You're not from South Philly, are
10 MS. STEFANO: Actually, part of my family --
11 northeast. They're St. Cecelia.
12 CHAIRMAN KELLER: I don't care about that. Yeah,
13 that's up there. But I think that's the thing we have to make
14 sure when we testify, that we're here talking about the Right
15 to Work legislation. I know the chairman has given us some
16 leeway, but everybody who testified before that said that not
17 one penny goes toward political contribution, and that was the
18 whole theme of your testimony. So, I'd just like to reiterate
19 that not one penny goes towards political contributions.
20 All right. Go ahead.
21 MS. STEFANO: Well, I assume all of the union bosses
22 that were here today are paid for what they do, and this is a
23 political situation that we're in, so actually, money does go
24 from dues to the union bosses' salary who are here testifying
25 against Right to Work. So actually money does go to political
1 parties. Sorry, it does. You're wrong.
2 CHAIRMAN KELLER: And all I have to say, you are a
3 great public speaker; however, I don't agree with one word you
4 just said.
5 MS. STEFANO: You're against liberty. But you're in
6 the wrong position.
7 CHAIRMAN KELLER: You can have this position. You
8 just have to run for it. Get 200 signatures and away you go.
9 MS. STEFANO: Oh, that's a throwdown.
10 CHAIRMAN KELLER: 300.
11 UNIDENTIFIED REPRESENTATIVE: Um, she -- I would
12 just like to say, I respectfully disagree with my Chairman,
13 Mr. Keller. As she lives in St. Cecelia, she may be a
14 constituent of mine. I suggest you not run for office. City
15 Council. We need some great City Council people from the
16 northeast. I'll support you in that, but...
17 MS. STEFANO: I may petition you.
18 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Boyd.
19 MS. STEFANO: As long as you believe in liberty or
20 not, and I'll let you know if I'm running against you or not.
21 UNIDENTIFIED REPRESENTATIVE: Bring it on.
22 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: Actually, Chairman Keller got
23 to my one issue, and that was, I did want to, with Mr. Dean's
24 testimony, delineate between what money goes to what direction,
25 in terms of the dues versus the political action committee. So,
1 I'm glad that that was clarified. But I'm also glad that
2 it's -- when you -- it's clarified that, in fact, the unions do
3 represent a specific constituency, so members are really
4 encouraged to contribute to continue that constituency. So,
5 it's not forced, but it's highly recommended, I would suggest.
6 But to Mr. Shambaugh, one of the questions that I
7 had for you, and I tried to get at this earlier with the
8 gentleman from PSEA and I didn't get it clearly. So -- so, you
9 and your -- in your particular -- your district, the Local
10 doesn't have a mandatory that you belong to the PSEA; is that
12 MR. SHAMBAUGH: Correct.
13 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: However, if the PSEA members
14 of your district made that a part of their contractual -- their
15 contract negotiations with the board, they could force that on
16 you, correct?
17 MR. SHAMBAUGH: That's my understanding, yes.
18 REPRESENTATIVE BOYD: Okay. All right. That's the
19 point I was trying to get at earlier, that most -- and I would
20 love if somebody on staff or somebody who has given testimony
21 earlier can get us the numbers of the number of the local
22 school districts that actually have in their collective
23 bargaining agreement with their districts mandatory membership
24 in PSEA, and I believe we'll find that it's a substantive
1 I think in my local county, one of the last holdout
2 school districts just went down this last election; that it's
3 not just the dues issue, it's that you can't even opt out as
4 you are doing in your local district. I just want to get that
5 clarified, Mr. Chairman.
6 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Thank you. We'll look into that.
7 Representative Perry?
8 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
9 Mr. Dean, good to see you again.
10 MR. DEAN: Good seeing you.
11 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: I just want to clarify. You
12 made some pretty strong statements, and Chairman Keller and
13 Representative Boyd also alluded to some of the statements
14 you've made.
15 Is there something that you know as a previous union
16 member in any of these organizations that we don't know or that
17 we should know regarding funding of political activities coming
18 from dues? Is there something that we're missing here, or is
19 there some way that the previous people testified -- not
20 erroneously, not that they were lying, but maybe changed the
21 words to dupe us? Is there something I'm missing here?
22 Because it sounded like you're saying that this money is going
23 directly to political activity and not the type of activity
24 that was mentioned earlier, salaries and so forth -- I think we
25 understand that -- but going to campaigns directly. Is there
1 anything I'm missing here?
2 MR. DEAN: My testimony was exactly the point. And
3 just like she stated before, if they're here testifying on the
4 union's behalf, then they're here using the union dues money to
5 do political action.
6 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: So they just don't consider
7 it political action because it's not going in the form of a
8 check to a political candidate, per se, but --
9 MR. DEAN: Correct.
10 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Okay. I understand. Can we
11 get a copy of your testimony?
12 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: I'll make sure you get it.
13 CHAIRMAN MILLER: We have it. We just received it,
14 and somehow it was omitted from the package. You will get it.
15 REPRESENTATIVE PERRY: Thank you.
16 MR. DEAN: It's a conspiracy.
17 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Murt?
18 REPRESENTATIVE MURT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
19 Dennis, I have a question about the Keystone
20 Teachers Association.
21 MR. SHAMBAUGH: Yes.
22 REPRESENTATIVE MURT: How big is it? How many
23 teachers in the Commonwealth are members?
24 MR. SHAMBAUGH: We have members in probably 200
25 districts across the state.
1 REPRESENTATIVE MURT: Okay. Thank you.
2 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Gergely?
4 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5 To Jennifer, you quoted a U.S. Department of
6 Commerce statistic, correct, that Right to Work states grew an
7 average of 11.8%?
8 MS. STEFANO: I do have that in my testimony,
10 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: Do you have the statistics
11 that would back that up? Not just the commentary of it.
12 MS. STEFANO: You want the United States Department
13 of Commerce from the website? It's a statistic collected by
14 the United States Department of Commerce under the Right to
15 Know -- the National Freedom of Information Act, and you can
16 have access to all of that data, although I'm happy to provide
17 it to you as part of the testimony.
18 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: So you're saying they had
19 significant growth -- just to be frank with you, every
20 statistic I have ever seen, including the most recent ones --
21 this is one for us to chew on -- Right to Work states have seen
22 a significant increase in the minimum wage because now they
23 don't have to pay as much. So your statistic flies in the face
24 of that, and this is from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S.
25 Department of Labor. And even more so, since we have came out
1 of the recession, Right to Work states have seen even a greater
2 reduction of wages going to minimum wage than states that have
3 non-Right to Work.
4 MS. STEFANO: So, to make sure that I understand
5 what you are saying. You are saying that the minimum wages in
6 Right to Work states have increased, which supports the
7 statistic that employee compensation -- and by the way, just so
8 I can define for everyone listening, the United States
9 Department of Commerce defines "employee compensation" as not
10 simply wages and salaries but benefits and bonuses as well. So,
11 it's a complete package that they're looking at when they're
12 referring to compensation. It's not just dollars.
13 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: What I'm saying, so -- I
14 understand states that are Right to Work have seen a
15 significant increase in their population being paid minimum
16 wage, which means they're being paid less than they were
17 previously. Does that make --
18 MS. STEFANO: I'm not sure that that's what that
19 statistic is supporting. Wait, let me finish. If you look and
20 see where the -- for instance, Pennsylvania is one of the
21 states that has the largest aging population, and we're losing
22 our young people. And where are they flocking to? The young
23 are flocking to Right to Work states.
24 Now, that would say, if you look the at general
25 population per capita, that the more people that flow to the
1 states, the more people you're going to have earning minimum
2 wage. Of course, if you look at all of the statistics, what you
3 are referring to, and I think have, not only are there more
4 people make minimum wage and there's more people making
5 management salary and six figures and million dollars as well.
6 It's as the population increases and does well, so does
7 everybody, minimum wage and on up. I think you want to look at
8 all of those statistics, a rising tide carries all ships.
9 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: For corporate CEOs, of
11 MS. STEFANO: Well, you know, corporate CEOs pay the
12 salary of people. And I have always had those people sign my
13 paychecks, so I'm not looking to bankrupt those people or
14 anyone that wants to pay me.
15 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: I'm glad that you have that
17 MS. STEFANO: Because through them, they pay any of
18 us, union or non-unionized. Samuel Gompers, again, founded the
19 AFL --
20 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Okay. Okay.
21 Representative Gergely, have you gotten your answer?
22 REPRESENTATIVE GERGELY: Yea. And just for anyone
23 out -- yes and to -- just for everyone out here, the tradition
24 of my district is unionism. We are the birthplace of the
25 unions. In the Homestead strikes with Amalgamated Steel, Many
1 of the leaders, just so everybody realizes, were Catholic
2 priests that organized the labor unions. So, the distinction of
3 Roman -- being Catholic and that principle flies in the face of
4 all of my constituents out there in the Mon Valley. Thank you.
5 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I --
6 MS. STEFANO: May I answer that? I'm a Roman
8 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I don't think it requires an
9 answer. The gentleman made a statement about his district, and
10 I think that's good the way it is.
11 I don't have any other questions, so I thank this
13 And the next panel is the last panel, and they have
14 my very deep apology for running as late as we have. I can't --
15 couldn't figure out a way to get us back on time.
16 This panel is Susan Staub, President, PA Right to
17 Work; Rod Miller, a former board member; Mary Burkholder,
18 retired nurse and former union member; Mary Hohe, I believe is
19 the way it's pronounced -- correct me, then, if I have
20 pronounced it wrong -- lead plaintiff in the federal case,
21 court decision, retired state employee; Brad Strasser, Captain,
22 American Airlines, non-member objector of the Allied Pilots
23 Association; and Laureen Cummings, owner, Lorimar Health Care
24 and Staffing Services.
25 MS. STAUB: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, we do
1 appreciate the efforts that you have made, which I would say
2 are yeoman efforts, to try to keep everything on time today.
3 We're very grateful to have this opportunity to
4 testify, and with your permission, sir, everyone has my
5 testimony. I would just prefer to answer some questions that
6 have been asked throughout the panel and submit my testimony
7 for the record. Would that be acceptable?
8 CHAIRMAN MILLER: That is acceptable.
9 MS. STAUB: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
10 Mr. Chairman Keller, let's start with where
11 Pennsylvania is. In 1955, we had 35 Congressmen. 60 years
12 later, we have 19, going down 18. Obviously, something is not
13 working. We don't know where the next Congressman will be taken
14 from, but if you look at a 60-year history -- and that's not
15 the course of the whole history of the Commonwealth, but 60
16 years is a lot of lifetimes of several of us -- then something
17 isn't working right. And what we have been exporting in
18 Pennsylvania for at least the past 30 years -- and we can
19 document all of this, so if you want documents later, I'll get
20 them for you -- we have been exporting jobs, number one, which
21 is followed by, number two, the exportation of our people. If
22 people don't have any jobs, then they're not going to stay.
23 What has been so sad for the families of
24 Pennsylvania -- and I do mean this sincerely -- is that their
25 children, their grandchildren, can't work here, so they can't
1 live here. And that has been a pattern that's been going on,
2 and that is a problem.
3 So, here we come to 2011, as a number of individuals
4 have said here. We're not going back to 1930 or 1935, at the
5 passage of the Wagner Act or the National Labor Relations Act.
6 We're trying to see what the present and future of Pennsylvania
7 is going to be. And the first amendment to the Constitution
8 guarantees freedom of association. Is there any dispute about
9 that? And because it does, then the freedom of association
10 should be returned to every individual in this Commonwealth.
11 Every single individual in this Commonwealth should have the
12 right to decide which private organizations they will or will
13 not support. And even though powers have been given over quite
14 a few years, including from the last governor of Pennsylvania,
15 a lot of power has been given to labor unions themselves and to
16 union officials. The truth of the matter is that they really
17 don't have the right to put people's freedom on the bargaining
18 table when they run out of something else.
19 So, what are we looking for now? Let's make this
20 very clear and let's be sure everybody understands this, both
21 Democrat and Republican Chairmen. These Bills, House Bill 50
22 through 53, have absolutely nothing to do with collective
23 bargaining. Nothing. Zero. They do not impact anything in the
24 collective bargaining process whatsoever. Nothing. No change in
25 the private sector law, the Wagner Act, no change in the Public
1 Sector Relations Act, which was passed in 1975 in Pennsylvania.
2 They only have to do with the freedom of the individuals. And
3 I think this is what we're facing in our state.
4 I'm a Pennsylvanian by choice. I have lived here
5 longer than any other state in my life. It is my state. I'm
6 very involved in my community. I'm very involved in everything
7 in our state, and I love this state. It is absolutely
8 beautiful. But let's be real here. Let's be very real, people.
9 We do not have jobs. And there's not a government in the world
10 that's going to bring them in. No government is going to create
11 jobs. Government does not create jobs. It's just a fact.
12 So, we have to do something that we -- we have had
13 some minor things done already this year. This has been just
14 such a bright light year, I think, for Pennsylvania, after some
15 darkness, that it's very important. But after -- we're talking
16 about the Constitution. We're talking about the First
17 Amendment. Why can we not give people -- here it is. No right
18 is a right unless people have the corollary right to refrain.
19 That's just it. Our whole country is built on the right to do
20 something and the right to refrain from doing it.
21 Many of our Founders came here for freedom of
22 religion, but our country doesn't say that you must belong to a
23 specific church. It doesn't say you have to go to church at
24 all. It's the same thing with opportunity here.
25 You know, the United States of America and the State
1 of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is the greatest
2 experiment in liberty the world has ever known. And ours, the
3 United States, is very fragile and very young as compared to
4 some of the societies in other parts of our world. It's 235
5 years. That is not a long time in history. And
6 Pennsylvania's -- we're the birthplace of liberty, Benjamin
7 Franklin, all of these people. We don't -- I don't think that
8 there's any part of any Pennsylvanians, either now or
9 historically, who want to be the killer of liberty and the
10 killer of jobs.
11 Now, we have lost a lot of jobs, and somebody --
12 Representative -- Chairman Keller said that the manufacturing
13 jobs are not going to come back. Well, is Marcellus Shale going
14 to support everyone in the whole Commonwealth? This is just
15 nuts. The state that has lost the most jobs in the whole United
16 States is Illinois. There's a president from there, but we'll
17 move on. The state that has lost next to Illinois is
18 Pennsylvania. Now, that's a fact, and it's not in dispute. And
19 every single thing I'm stating here, I will be glad -- my staff
20 will be glad to provide you all of the documentation you need.
21 What -- we're talking about wages. This isn't about
22 wages. This isn't about any collective bargaining at all.
23 That's what you got to get in everybody's head on House Bill 50
24 through 53. They have nothing to do with changing anything
25 within the bargaining process whatsoever. Nothing. This is not
1 Wisconsin. This is not -- this has do with returning freedom
2 to individuals, number one, and bringing jobs in this
3 Commonwealth, because I'll tell you where they went. Carlisle
4 Tire and Wheel was 100 years old when it moved to Tennessee.
5 Mack Truck, much older than that when it moved to Right to Work
6 state, North Carolina. The most successful company in America
7 last year was Caterpillar. Where did they go after they left
8 York County? Now, that's a fact.
9 The old saw is that nobody will live leave a
10 brick-and-mortar plant. Well, yeah, they do. They absolutely
11 do. What are we doing in our public policy that we're driving
12 jobs out? Williams Sonoma had a couple of great call centers
13 here in Cumberland and York County. They're gone. They're gone,
14 and they employed a lot of people. They were the packaging
15 people. How many places have filed for bankruptcy?
16 We are in serious trouble here, people. We are in
17 serious trouble. And that's the first reality we need to face.
18 And nibbling around the edges of things just isn't going to cut
19 it. It just isn't going to do it.
20 So, if you want to talk about the business of
21 whether Right to Work states do well or not, this is a
22 monograph I'm going to recommend to you. It is called "Does a
23 higher wage mean that you are better off?" It was written by
24 two economics Professors at George Washington University, and
25 it is available online. We have a couple of copies.
1 We'll provide them to you, Mr. Chairman.
2 Now, let's see, what are the questions that came up?
3 It was just incredulous to many of us that some of the
4 testimony we heard here -- it's just enough to make your head
5 spin around. This is about our life now, Mr. Chairman,
6 gentlemen. This is about where is Pennsylvania going to go
7 after we lose one more congressional seat? If we don't turn
8 this ship around -- this great big, beautiful ship called
9 Pennsylvania -- we are going to be in serious trouble.
10 And I really do want to thank you, sir, for giving
11 us this opportunity and we'll provide you any information you
12 need. I'm so glad that you let us on because several of our
13 folks here actually do have jobs. I would like next to
14 introduce you to American Airlines pilot, private sector
15 gentleman, Brad Strasser.
16 MR. STRASSER: Good evening. Mr. Chairman and
17 members of the committee. I hope you had a chance to read it,
18 but if it's -- if you haven't, I'll go real quick through it.
19 I'm Brad Strasser, and I'm from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, but
20 originally from Lake Wampagpac and Holly in Northeastern PA.
21 Pretty much a native of Pennsylvania, PSU. Everybody in my
22 family went to PSU, and so we're all pretty much against Pitt.
23 Anyway, I'm here for the Right to Work law. I'm
24 stationed as a captain employed by American Airlines. My status
25 is non-member objector to the single agency shop of the Allied
1 Pilots Association. Representing the pilots of American
2 Airlines didn't happen by mere objection to the use of a
3 private organization as a compulsory condition of work or
4 employment. Not in according with the fundamental principles of
5 individual liberty or freedom choice. That's verbatim. It was
6 that, and more, which led me to my current status as an
7 objector and agency fee payor, not fair compensation or fair
8 pay, in the Right to Work state of Texas.
9 My history with associations, a term that the
10 legislation should include, began when I first sought
11 employment with a major airline after serving in the Air Force
12 as a B-52 commander. In early 1988 I was hired by one of
13 America's premiere flag carriers, TWA, which required as a
14 condition of employment that I join the Allied Pilots
16 In fact, right now, we just won a huge case in
17 Camden, New Jersey, against ALPA for DFR representation.
18 Being fresh out of the military and naive to the
19 workings of an association, a/k/a union, my collective
20 bargaining agent charged me in the 1980s and '90s with a 2%
21 off-the-top fee for the privilege of being a member of ALPA.
22 During the volatile period of the post-deregulation of the
23 airline industry, when bankruptcy was a vehicle of airline
24 management used to reorganize contracts and debt, retirements
25 were defunded to legal limits and thrown to an overwhelmed
1 PBGC. I saw Eastern, Pan Am, Continental, TWA and others thrown
2 on the altars of competition and free market principles while
3 sacrificed to the high priests of the likes of Lorenzo and
4 Icahn. So, I've seen it all, both good and bad, of union. And I
5 prefer the latter. Excuse me. Pilots who had years of
6 experience and expertise had to start at the bottom of the
7 seniority list, as if they were an inexperienced novice. This
8 was the way of unionized professional pilots for generations.
9 Because of union, I have no choice of the company
10 that I work or location I live. I cannot use my expertise,
11 trained to a certain skill level with experience, as a vehicle
12 of compensation. If I voluntarily resign from American
13 Airlines, interview with Delta and get hired, I start at the
15 This is true for all U.S. air carriers, and the only
16 exceptions are some foreign carriers who are desperate enough
17 for English-speaking and experienced pilots and the type of
18 aircraft they will fly. It would be disastrous financially and
19 professionally if I left American for another airline out of
20 choice. A few brave have left one major airline for the other,
21 but have been forced to by furlough, hardship, or quality of
22 life issues. And most of these few do it when they have
23 relatively low seniority in the company they are leaving so as
24 not to lose too much money and pay and retirement.
25 If flying airplanes weren't such a specialized
1 profession -- and, in fact, it took me four years of higher
2 education and seven years of internship in the military to land
3 a job at major airlines. But even electricians keep their level
4 of pay for experience because they don't have to need a
5 collective bargaining agent as a craft of individual contracts.
6 Getting back to the issue of passing HB 50 to 53 for
7 the benefit of all who support and endure the overwhelming
8 burden of lack of choice of shops that are closed to
9 non-members or use forced union labor membership as a
10 requirement of employment, I cannot stress enough this is not
11 about union busting. It's about choice. It's about choice of
12 the employer with whom you work. It's a choice of location of
13 where you work and the ability to transfer your expertise,
14 thereby your career, to that next great job.
15 But this isn't only about choice and professional
16 freedom locked in the rigid box of unionism but one of ethics
17 and accountability. I know that this legislation will not
18 change or won't even address the way seniority issues are
19 tossed aside as a forgone conclusion by unions and associations
20 like mine. I have endured the criticism, the inability to buy
21 reasonable rates of professional insurance, and other perks not
22 available to agency fee non-members, but as an objector, I do
23 force the issue of accountability by ethical enforcement of the
24 law by charging APA to a line-by-line review of how they spend
25 the members' -- non-members' dues and agency fees.
1 I cannot stress how important this is to those who
2 choose not to be part of this association because of a plethora
3 of reasons but none as important as freedom of choice or
4 political affiliation. By the used force of members' dues and
5 propagation of political agenda or ideologies ethically
6 reprehensible and seriously unconstitutional, and I know you
7 guys -- as far as an agency fee payor is concerned, right now
8 mine is set at 88%. Okay? I pay 80% of the actual dues. All
9 right? There's only 300 non-member agency fee payors in
10 American Airlines out of 10,000 pilots. Of that 88%, -- of the
11 300 -- that would be what, 9700 pilots? They all pay dues
12 which go to a political action -- political reasons. So, in
13 actuality when you have a monopoly of a closed shop, in any
14 manufacturer or in any industry, you leave out -- you leave a
15 monopoly of non-competitive unionism inside your own -- inside
16 your own business.
17 And quite frankly, as far as the other percentages,
18 you said there was 70 to 75% or a 75% to 85% of Pennsylvania
19 unions to the AFL-CIO were paying -- were -- up to that point
20 were paying that much of dues and the rest were non-political,
21 I don't see how they can go ahead and reverse and come back and
22 say there was only .73% that was not -- they were paying .73%
23 of the dues when actuality where else is it? If it's 85%,
24 that's 15% that goes for politics.
25 And so, I know the arguments of one qualifier of
1 free political speech is that is to be enforced. By being a
2 member, non-member objector agency fee payor, which is required
3 by the National Labor Relations Board and not necessarily just
4 Pennsylvania, through that act you are protected because all my
5 Locals, as far as the union is concerned, is it's not just a
6 Right to Work state of Texas, because even though the Master
7 Executive Committee is in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, but there's
8 Locals all over the country. So we're covered by the NRLI and
9 also under the auspices of the NLRB, which also went ahead and
10 is trying to enforce card-check, which also forces members into
11 a default question of whether you want to join union or not,
12 and it's not a majority.
13 Every time you talk about majority, when it comes
14 down to political dues, they're deductible -- they're
15 deductible as union fees. So, if you have 9700 pilots that are
16 paying into regular dues, all those dues are being -- are
17 subsidized by the State because the State fees and dues are
18 deductible, and it's a write-off. As far as closed shops, it's
19 not the same as representative government. I heard the AFL-CIO
20 and the PSEA talk about it being representative government. You
21 can vote people in and out. That's not true. It's a
22 single-party government inside a unionism, just like the
24 You say you have a -- you have a chance to gate -- I
25 say open up the unions. Open up the unions to other unions.
1 When I first came in with ALPA, I had to become an APA member
2 when there was a merger with TWA, and I became a member of what
3 was called the AICA, which was a second union inside of
4 American Airlines. They had two unions inside the same airline.
5 And in fact, APA is an offshoot of ALPA.
6 All right. Now, decertification is one thing, but to
7 have, I think, competition inside a class or a craft for unions
8 is probably the best way to get fairness, because you cannot
9 have fairness without competition, even inside of unions. And
10 I -- I only have one -- two choices. I have two choices when I
11 want to be a non-member. And plus, I don't get all of the
12 benefits, to include professional insurance. I have to go
13 outside the group in order to buy into it. So, I don't get
14 those discounts. So, I'm treated, like I said, somewhat outside
15 of the organization.
16 I only can go ahead and stress the importance of
17 opening up the monopoly that these unions have over the
18 industries that are -- that they are in, and open it up. Thank
20 MS. STAUB: If I may add a couple of facts here. I
21 have made a standing offer the entire time I have lived in
22 Pennsylvania to the AFL-CIO and the other unions, if you think
23 it's a burden to represent non-members, who don't want you
24 anyway, which you're hearing now from our witnesses, then let
25 us both go right to our general assembly and ask that you only
1 have to represent your members. That's all you have to do. You
2 don't have to represent anybody else. Only represent your own
3 members. For 25 straight years, I have never gotten agreement
4 from them.
5 On the business of political collections, it is true
6 that political and operating funds must be kept entirely
7 separate. It is a fact. But it is also a fact, in many school
8 districts in Pennsylvania -- and we have 500 school
9 districts -- it is also a fact that the public sector, that is,
10 the taxpayers, collect both. They collect the union fees, as
11 you call them, and then they collect the political action
12 money, too. They send it to different accounts, as is
13 instructed by the unions, but they still do collect them. Now,
14 what in the world are the taxpayers of Pennsylvania -- and you
15 know what school board members make, right? It's a zero. Why
16 are the taxpayers of Pennsylvania collecting union dues and
17 delivering them over? Is that just nuts or what?
18 And so, I'm going to make my offer again right here
19 to this committee and everyone on it and everyone in the
20 general assembly, if it's really a burden for all of you who
21 have labor unions to represent non-members, then let us change
22 it so you don't have to, because they don't want you in the
23 first place. So, if you want to represent your own members,
24 great. Let the people go. Let my people go. They don't want you
1 And just for your information, Mr. Chairman -- then
2 I'll turn it over to the other witnesses -- the fastest-growing
3 grassroots organization in this state is Pennsylvanians for
4 Right to Work.
5 Now, I believe Mary Hohe or Mary Burkholder -- which
6 one of you wants to go first? Mrs. Hohe. She was not just the
7 state employee of the year in 1985; she was also elected that
8 in 1986, two years in a row.
9 MS. HOHE: Good afternoon. Thank you for allowing me
10 to speak before you today on behalf of all forced unionism --
11 victims of forced unionism. My name is Mary Hohe and I am a
12 retired state employee. It has always been my belief to work
13 and to serve is the highest calling in life and that each of us
14 is blessed with certain talents and abilities and charged with
15 the task of using those talents and abilities for the good of
16 other people.
17 In 1972 I took a civil service exam and interviewed
18 for a job and hired as an employee of the Commonwealth of
19 Pennsylvania in the hope of doing just that. No union gave me
20 my abilities and talents. God did that. No union took a civil
21 service exam for me. No union interviewed me for a job and no
22 union hired me.
23 So, imagine my surprise when in 1988 the union
24 informed me I had two choices: I either had to join their
25 membership or I had to start paying them an agency shop fee.
1 Having grown up in a union family, I knew I wanted nothing to
2 do with unions; however, if I refused to pay them an agency
3 shop fee, I would no longer be allowed to use my God-given
4 talents and abilities in service to the citizens of this
5 Commonwealth because I would be fired from my job.
6 To force anyone to pay money to a special interest
7 group in order to be allowed to work is tyranny. No union
8 should have the right to interfere with my choices for my
9 life's work and my willingness to fulfill those choices. Our
10 forefathers fought and died to prevent that kind of oppression.
11 My freedom in the workplace was offered up for sale to the
12 highest bidder against my will. Even the United States
13 government may not deduct money from my salary unless I sign a
14 W-4 form authorizing them to do so. However, the union deducted
15 an agency shop fee from my salary without any authorization by
16 me. I never signed anything giving them permission to take this
17 money out of my paycheck. Evidently, in Pennsylvania unions
18 have more power than the United States government. If we allow
19 this to continue, we had better start posting signs on all
20 roads leading into Pennsylvania warning people that American
21 freedom in the workplace stops at Pennsylvania's borders
22 because in Pennsylvania, unions dictate policy and union
23 tyranny reigns.
24 We need to get rid of the agency shop law because
25 all citizens should have the freedom to decide for themselves
1 whether to support a union is beneficial to them, and those who
2 want nothing whatsoever to do with the unions should never
3 under any circumstances be forced to support them in any way.
4 Full freedom as American citizens will be achieved when this
5 agency shop law is repealed.
6 MS. STAUB: Mr. Chairman, we have an interesting
7 situation now. We have someone who manages a nursing service in
8 the private sector, and then we have a nurse, which is very
9 good for all of us who have been sitting this long. Would you
10 like the business person first or --
11 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Your choice.
12 MS. STAUB: Go ahead.
13 MS. CUMMINGS: Well, that's a little bit scary.
14 MS. STAUB: You got it.
15 MS. CUMMINGS: I want to thank this Committee for
16 giving me the opportunity to speak to you today. Thank you very
17 much. I consider this an honor and a privilege to be here.
18 My name is Laureen Cummings, I'm from Old Forge in
19 Lackawanna County. I'm the owner and operator of Lorimar Home
20 Care and Staffing Services. As a nurse and small business owner
21 in the health care industry, I can say I enjoy the flexibility
22 to adjust my staffing levels to meet the needs of my clients,
23 not the demands of a union. My employees also know I can only
24 direct them while they're on the clock. What they do on their
25 own time is their business.
1 I owe a debt of gratitude for this privilege to
2 Vicki Hoak, executive director of the Pennsylvania Homecare
3 Association, and the Coalition for R.E.A.L. Home
4 Community-Based Services -- sorry. I have to move that. Thank
5 you -- both of whom not only challenged, but defeated, Governor
6 Rendell's plans to force consumer-directed homecare workers to
7 unionize by executive order. Please understand that's executive
9 You should also be aware that I am the founder and
10 organizer of the Scranton Tea Party in Lackawanna County. In
11 that capacity, I have been able to speak with many
12 Pennsylvanians about their concerns of the day and for their
13 future. I get daily calls from folks just like me about their
14 problems and the fears they face on a daily basis. Many
15 Pennsylvanians are hurting, and they have nowhere to turn and
16 no one to listen to them. The Tea Party groups across the great
17 country have filled that void and given regular folks a voice,
18 a voice that I am humbled and honored to represent today.
19 One call in particular sticks in my mind. It's one
20 call that I always try and speak of at every Tea Party that I
21 hold. It's about the effect unions have had on everyday
22 citizens. After about my second Tea Party rally in Scranton, I
23 received a call from a woman who said she wanted to attend, but
24 was afraid to.
25 At the time the media was reporting the Tea Parties
1 that were Astroturf Terrorists, angry mobs; kind of like
2 they're still doing today. I asked her not to listen to the
3 media reports. I assured her that we have very peaceful and our
4 rallies are educational. There's no violence or angry protest.
5 But she interrupted me and she said, "No, that's not what I'm
6 talking about." I said, "Well, what are you afraid of?" She
7 said, "Well, my husband cannot come and I'm afraid to come
8 because he might get fired." And I asked her, "Why would you
9 ever think you could get fired just for attending a Tea Party
10 rally?" She told me when her husband and her first moved here,
11 she went to a local politician and asked him to help him find a
12 job. The staff at the office was happy to help and said if the
13 gentleman were willing to volunteer to help in the upcoming
14 election, he would be sure to see what he could do to help him
15 out. Her husband did everything that he could to help,
16 including changing his registration from Republican to
17 Democrat, which he thought was an odd request, but he did it
18 anyway. And I understand in Lackawanna County we have people
19 that switch from Republican and Democrat, back and forth, all
20 the time. It's not unusual.
21 After that, her husband was hired with the local
22 company that was a union shop, and from that point forward, he
23 figured he was done. But he soon found out that wasn't the
24 case. He was not only asked to help out but basically told by
25 other workers that he should donate the standard $50 to the
1 Democratic party, or it wouldn't look good. So, he complied.
2 But that wasn't even enough. Now he's told to put
3 yard signs out in his front yard. He is expected to help --
4 should I stop and -- he's expected to help out during
5 campaigns. As I sat and listened to the woman's story, I could
6 hear her tremble and she was about to cry.
7 But it didn't end here. She told me that it has
8 gotten so bad that he actually came home from work one day, put
9 his head in his hands and started crying and sobbing to her
10 about how difficult it was for him to continue to deal with
11 this. He said he felt helpless, trapped. He looked at her and
12 he said, "What am I supposed to do? I can't lose my job." I
13 mean, this is what this woman was telling me she is faced with
14 in her husband. This is heartbreaking to me and should be for
15 everyone else.
16 Now, he also said that he can't refuse to help
17 someone he wouldn't vote for, and he said, "I can't say what I
18 feel about it," in his own workplace. As upset as I am to hear
19 her story, in my own head now, in front of you and at the time,
20 I tried to console her, and I promised her that I would make
21 sure that I told her story. I made sure that I promised her
22 that she would be heard, and she wouldn't have to worry about
23 her husband losing a job or she wouldn't have to be fearful of
24 politicians or the wrath of any union.
25 So, I am proud and I am grateful and I'm humbled to
1 be here today in front of you to give her story to you, because
2 this is the exact place that it needs to be heard. This is
3 happening in my community. These are the things that are being
4 told to me on telephone calls when they call and voice their
5 concerns and come to our rallies. I was shocked to hear some of
6 the stories myself, but I continue to represent and fight for
7 them on a daily basis.
8 I am here to speak today not just for this woman and
9 her husband, but the countless others that have called me ever
10 since. I didn't just hear from this one woman. I heard from
11 many men and women. I heard stories about threats to families.
12 I heard stories about threats to children if school board
13 members didn't vote their way. The stories that come to me are
14 quite shocking. I am here today to represent the voices of many
15 who are too afraid to speak out and tell you what is happening
16 in our communities. I am here to tell you their stories about
17 the strong-arm tactics of union leaders and intimidation by
18 their members.
19 There was a time when unions were needed for
20 workers' safety and fair wages. Now they only serve to protect
21 the Democratic political machine while denying workers of their
22 Constitutional rights while simultaneously milking the
24 I have to ask: Does anyone in this room really
25 want to hear the story coming from their son or daughter in the
1 future? I don't. I don't. I think you need to look into all of
2 these things. I say it's time for us to stand up and be the
3 voice for this woman, others like her, and so that no man, no
4 woman, will ever feel like a slave to a union, an employer, or
5 a politician ever again. I ask you today to support Right to
6 Work in PA so that your sons and daughters will never have to
7 be beholden to the demands and intimidation of a union.
8 Thank you for allowing me to speak on this critical
9 issue. I'd be happy to take any of your questions.
10 MS. STAUB: And now Ms. Mary Burkholder -- Mrs.
11 Burkholder, who has testified before Congress on this issue.
12 She is from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and she will testify
13 about her experience.
14 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Mr. Chairman.
15 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Yes.
16 CHAIRMAN KELLER: I appreciate everyone coming here.
17 This is very -- I mean this is an informational meeting. It's
18 very helpful, and I know the Chairman is -- has given you a lot
19 of leeway and far afield, but please, this hearing is about the
20 Right to Work legislation. All right? And I feel for the
21 stories of -- but we cannot legislate by anecdote, and those
22 stories really have nothing to do with the Right to Work
23 legislation that is before this Committee today. So, I --
24 Mr. Chairman, if you don't mind, if you could ask to stay on
1 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I appreciate that.
2 Please proceed.
3 MS. BURKHOLDER: Legislators, panelists, guests and
4 friends, good afternoon, and thank you for allowing me to
5 testify. My name is Mary Burkholder. I'm a retired nurse. I'm
6 also a former union member of the former 1199 PSEIU, currently
7 SEIU, of the Chambersburg Hospital where membership began with
8 my employment. I'm here to voice strong support for the passage
9 of these Bills HB 50 through 53. We're on the road to
10 establishing a Right to Work law for Pennsylvania because, in
11 the words of Governor Tom Corbett, "If a Right to Work law
12 comes to my desk, I will sign it."
13 In my introduction, I indicated I was a former union
14 member. I must tell you that I did not relinquish my membership
15 until much later. Call it what you will, uneducated,
16 uninformed, I really didn't know anything about the union way
17 of life and really was unconcerned about it; that is, until I
18 became active in researching political campaigns. With my
19 research, I read that increases of dues were coming to our
20 union and how this might just fill the coffers of political
21 campaigns of Democrats, particularly in the presidential
22 campaign. I was outraged.
23 I continued my research on this --
24 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Excuse me, Mr. Chairman. I --
25 I --
1 MS. BURKHOLDER: I'm sorry.
2 CHAIRMAN KELLER: I need to take an objection
3 because this isn't really a Democrat/Republican issue. This is
4 a Right to Work issue. And I -- the past two testifiers are
5 going just too political on that point. We really need to talk
6 Right to Work issues --
7 MS. BURKHOLDER: Okay. All right.
8 CHAIRMAN KELLER: -- union issues and whether or
9 not -- and it's just going too far. So, I would appreciate some
10 consideration on that.
11 MS. BURKHOLDER: Just talk. Well, what I did was I
12 was upset with what was going on. We didn't know where our
13 money was going, being used for payment of dues. I became a fee
14 payor in that process, and I ended up going to Right to Work to
15 help me out because I didn't know where to turn. I got 25% of
16 the workforce to sign a petition because of complaints of where
17 the union dues was being spent, how it's being spent. And
18 that's -- this is the main reason I support Right to Work.
19 There's too much inconsistency within the union
20 itself. We weren't told the truth on many issues. They'd put
21 things in a bulletin board or a blackboard and then erase it,
22 so how are you to prove anything? That is my issue. I -- I want
23 to belong to something if I want to belong to it, not because
24 someone tells me I have to belong. Paying money to someone or
25 some organizations that I don't believe in or don't have the
1 same philosophies about, I'm sorry, I just can't handle it.
2 I ask those in the nursing profession that want to
3 look into some situation where they're being frustrated by the
4 management to look into and investigate into a union before you
5 end up doing it because emotions get in the way, as we have
6 seen all day long here. People throw out issues, throw out
7 words, and it gets everyone upset. So, this is my issue, Right
8 to Work now, to give us freedom by importing liberty and
9 exporting coercion, as Susan Staub has eloquently said in the
10 past. Thank you.
11 MS. STAUB: Your last witness, Mr. Chairman, will be
12 Rod Miller. I saved him for last for this reason. When I was
13 younger, not a tremendous amount younger, I was in charge of
14 all of the state operations at national Right to Work, all 50,
15 and we were looking for worker -- worker heroes. In 1973 we
16 determined to give an award to a Pennsylvanian, 1973, and that
17 Pennsylvanian's name is Rod Miller.
19 MR. MILLER: Hello. Good afternoon. Boy, keeping
20 with the theme of today's, I trust you folks are not here out
21 of compulsory, but you hopefully are here to hear what is
22 traditionally thought to be the best is for the last. I hope I
23 can support that view.
24 I'm -- on behalf of the directors, of the members of
25 the Berks County Patriot, I thank you for the opportunity to
1 give testimony on an issue that has our unanimous support. And
2 I am Rodney Miller, and I am the vice chairman and the
3 legislative chairman, and I'm here today to offer the testimony
4 on behalf of our over 1,000 members, and as well as many of the
5 Tea Parties across Pennsylvania that I have shared our
6 resolution that we have supported and distributed. As a matter
7 of fact, we distributed that resolution to all 25 Labor and
8 Industry members, in fact, with a postcard, self-addressed,
9 just asking it be returned by identifying: Are you in favor
10 of, support, opposed, or undecided on these four Bills in
11 question today? I'm actually disappointed out of the 25, we
12 got 4 returned.
13 I'd like today to change a little bit, to talk about
14 the fact that the theme or the history of Right to Work, and I
15 would even question why these hearings are even necessary. I go
16 to Section Article 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which,
17 quoting, all men are born equally free and independent and have
18 certain inherent and indefensible rights, among which are
19 possessing property and pursuing their own happiness. Section
20 26, neither the Commonwealth nor any political subdivision
21 shall deny any person the enjoyment of a civil right.
22 I go back to 1903, in the Urban versus Mitchell
23 case, where it was upheld under the Declaration of Rights of
24 the Constitution of Pennsylvania. The rights of a working man
25 to be free to use his hands is a right which neither the
1 legislature or a trade union can take from him, one which it is
2 the bounded duty of the courts to protect.
3 Now, despite that ruling, the Wagner Act in 1935,
4 Section A(3), actually allowed for agreements between employers
5 and officers of unions regarding union membership as a
6 condition of employment, if the union were certified or
7 recognized as the employees' exclusive bargaining agent on
8 matters of pay, benefits and work rules.
9 Now, to me, this is clearly a violation of the 10th
10 Amendment of the Constitution as all workers' rights as defined
11 by that Constitution. With a stroke of the pen, our rights
12 seemed to vanish.l
13 Another example, on the ongoing nationalization of
14 state sovereignty. Instead of objecting or even nullifying the
15 Wagner Act, Pennsylvania's legislature acceded to the federal
16 legislation. And the Wagner Act was then followed in 1947 by
17 the Taft-Hartley Act, which granted employees the right of
18 self-organization to form, join or assist labor union
19 organizations to bargain collectively, the representatives --
20 through representatives of their own choosing and to engage in
21 other concerted activities for the purpose of collective
22 bargaining or other mutual aid and shall have the right to
23 refrain from any of those activities.
24 Had it ended there, the forced union membership
25 would have been prohibited, but it continued, "except to the
1 extent that such rights may be effected by an agreement
2 requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of
3 employment, as authorized in Section 15(a) of that Title.
4 Now, that's where we are today. We are seeking the
5 return of individual rights and states' rights that could have
6 been retained in the first place.
7 Berks County Patriots dedicated to working toward
8 the return of respect of our Constitution, both the state and
9 the federal, in addition to every one of our state Senators and
10 Representatives take an oath obeying and defending the
11 Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, so we should
12 be on the same side of the issue.
13 I'm here today so that -- our board of directors and
14 the membership unanimously supports Right to Work. It's the
15 right thing to do. It's the noble thing to do, and it's the
16 Constitutional thing to do.
17 I think on a personal level, just to point out, in
18 1968 I was employed under contract with a company, contrary to
19 earlier testimony, where if you didn't like to work under a
20 union, go somewhere else, I was working for this company under
21 contract. And the UAW came in and organized the workforce. I
22 was there first, but I was told the company -- the company was
23 told, "You got three choices: You fire that man, you force him
24 to belong to our union, or we're going on strike. No other
25 option." I didn't have another job at the time, so I decided,
1 under protest, I would join.
2 I sent letters to the governor at the time, Schafer,
3 to my two senators, Scott and Schweiker. I got the same
4 response from all three: "Get over it," basically. "That's the
5 system." Well, I intended to file suit, and I got Washington
6 attorneys to support me because the union was using dues money
7 for political purposes. They ran buses down to Philadelphia
8 that year in support of Eugene McCarthy for president. As such,
9 I intended to file suit and proceeded on to support my view
10 that they cannot use my dues money for those purposes as a
11 collective passenger.
12 As it turned out, I really got an offer from another
13 company and left, and because of that, my suit did not continue
14 under my name. But today, 20 years later, in fact, in 1988,
15 the Peck decision was made. It probably would have been the
16 Miller decision if I had had 20 years to stick it out. So my 15
17 minutes of fame sort of came and went.
18 Well, my limited testimony, time to focus on
19 individual rights. The right is provided by both the U.S. and
20 the Pennsylvania Constitution. I could address economic
21 consequences. I'm sure that was covered plenty to today. I'll
22 skip that. But I'm encouraging the Committee to follow these
23 hearings and vote these Bills out of Committee, get them on the
24 floor. Let's have an up-or-down debate. Let's have a vote. We
25 are way overdue to learn who believes the workers of
1 Pennsylvania have a Constitutional right to seek employment and
2 provide for one's family without being coerced to belong or
3 support an organization.
4 I was a member of the Board for 37 years of Right to
5 Work, and all of those years -- I don't care which party
6 controlled all three branches -- never was a Right to Work Bill
7 put to the floor for an up-or-down vote, so we did not know who
8 was who. So, I conclude in my comments just to say one thing:
9 I want to know, do union demands trump employee rights?
10 Thank you.
11 MS. STAUB: As you can tell, Mr. Chairman, a number
12 of our witnesses are, frankly, very nervous. So, I'll be happy
13 to answer any questions you have, unless they want to
14 personally inquire of these people, but we do understand, and
15 we have adhered to it -- I have -- that this -- these hearings
16 are about House Bill 50 through 53 and nothing else. So, I will
17 answer any questions on that.
18 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I appreciate that.
19 Chairman Keller?
20 CHAIRMAN KELLER: Yeah, Ms. Staub, when we were
21 researching your group, I noticed that your office is at 225
22 State Street.
23 MS. STAUB: No, that isn't true.
24 CHAIRMAN KELLER: That's not --
25 MS. STAUB: We're not at 225 State Street. We
1 haven't been for more than two years.
2 CHAIRMAN KELLER: That's the end of my questions.
3 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Well, thank you.
4 MS. STAUB: We're in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
5 CHAIRMAN MILLER: I just lost my list.
6 Representative Grove?
7 REPRESENTATIVE GROVE: Thank you. Thank all of the
8 testifiers coming up and enjoyed your personal stories and all
9 of the testifiers who came about. It's been a long day,
10 four-and-a-half hours of testimony, and I must say the
11 legislature does work during the summer.
12 MS. STAUB: Yes, you sure do.
13 REPRESENTATIVE GROVE: Some, you may say.
14 Susan, my testimony is for you. All day I have been
15 hearing through testimony -- and I will quote a section here --
16 if passed and signed into law, obviously, House Bills 50 and 53
17 would immediately weaken the state's economic by cutting
18 workers' paychecks, by cutting health care and benefits. In
19 House Bills 50, 51, 52 and 53, can you cite the page number and
20 Section that's found in?
21 MS. STAUB: It isn't. These Bills have nothing to do
22 with people's -- workers' rights, nothing to do with collective
23 bargaining. That's what I started with. That's what I will end
24 with. House Bill 50 is the straight Right to Work Bill; House
25 Bill 51 is repeal of the forced dues over all of our education
1 employees, whether they're teachers or not; House Bill 52 is
2 repeal of all forced dues over state employees; and House Bill
3 53 is repeal of all forced dues over local employees.
4 You see, the two forced dues laws were passed in
5 Pennsylvania at two different times. The state employees and
6 the education employees were put under forced dues in 1988. The
7 local employees were not put under forced dues until 1991. In
8 each of those cases, everyone here can look and see who were
9 the governors and who was running what. This -- again, I'm
10 going to say this one more time because it's the absolute fact
11 and it is not in dispute: House Bills 50 through 53 do not
12 impact anything relating to collective bargaining whatsoever.
13 They do one thing and one thing only: They give back the
14 right to the individual employee, male, female, no matter what
15 their line of work is in Pennsylvania. You have heard from
16 both public employees and private employees here. That's all
17 they do. And then the next three, 50, 51, 52, 53, repeal the
18 forced-dues provisions over our public sector employees.
19 I think this is an interesting fact for you: Every
20 single government employee in Pennsylvania had Right to Work
21 until 1988. So, we have had a much longer history in
22 Pennsylvania of freedom of choice than we have of coercion.
23 Now, we have had 21 years of coercive unionism, and I think we
24 can see what that's done to all of our people. It's time to get
25 rid of that. Thank you.
1 Did I answer your question, sir?
2 REPRESENTATIVE GROVE: Just to clarify this one more
3 time: In the four pages of House Bill 50, four pages, there's
4 no mention of, quote, Right to Work legislation will suppress
5 wages, cuts health care benefits, and makes a decent pension
6 impossible to come by for Pennsylvania workers?
7 MS. STAUB: That's absolutely true, in none of those
8 Bills. None of those Bills, 50, 51, 52 or 53 have anything
9 whatsoever to do with free and untrammeled collective
10 bargaining. Nothing.
11 REPRESENTATIVE GROVE: Okay. Thank you.
12 MS. STAUB: Thank you.
13 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Boyle?
14 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I
15 just have three quick points. First to direct to your
16 testimony, Mrs. Cummings, first of all, I appreciated what I
17 said at the beginning of your comment, and it is a reminder how
18 fortunate each of us are to be here, whether on that side of
19 the table or this, to be able to express our views. I do want
20 to address, though, the anecdote that you talked about because
21 that is very serious, the anecdote about the lady who is a
22 friend of yours and her husband -- or she is not a friend.
23 MS. CUMMINGS: These are the people who called me.
24 MS. STAUB: Information.
25 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Just to be clear: The
1 situation that you described where this gentleman was forced to
2 change his registration and then give money to a local
3 Democratic politician, that is blatantly illegal behavior.
4 MS. CUMMINGS: Right.
5 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: It is disgraceful. It is
6 illegal. I encourage you to tell that lady to contact the
7 authorities to have that investigated. There is absolutely
8 nothing in our current labor laws that in any way sanction that
9 sort of behavior, and we should not in any way confuse the
10 matter at hand with that specific anecdote. And just to be
11 clear: Your example, you describe a Democratic politician
12 allegedly taking place in this behavior. In Philadelphia, we
13 have had a similar instance with a Republican politician who
14 compelled people to donate to the local Republican party. So
15 I'm sure situations like this have occurred on both sides.
16 MS. CUMMINGS: Right.
17 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: It is illegal, and that
18 should be dealt with the in criminal justice system. So, that's
19 point number one.
20 And point number two -- and this has been throughout
21 the long afternoon -- we constantly hear that somehow our
22 current labor laws are contrary to liberty. In fact, one of the
23 testifiers stated, and I quote, if we allow this to continue,
24 we had better start posting signs on all roads leading into PA
25 warning people that American freedom stops at Pennsylvania's
1 borders because in Pennsylvania, unions dictate policy and
2 tyranny rules.
3 Well, again, just to be clear, this is -- the laws
4 that we have right now where Pennsylvania is not a Right to
5 Work state, that's not just Pennsylvania; we are one of 29
6 states representing almost 70% of the American people --
7 MS. STAUB: That's incorrect.
8 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: -- that operate under this --
9 excuse me -- you're interrupting me. Oh, it's not 29 states.
10 It's 28 states.
11 MS. STAUB: That's correct.
12 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Nonetheless, we are of the
13 majority, actually, I think, illustrating my point, and those
14 states represent almost 70% of the American people, so that by
15 that view, somehow in 70% of the country, liberty does not
17 Finally, my final point I'd make is this -- and
18 again another theme that we have heard throughout the
19 afternoon -- is that somehow the Right to Work states are doing
20 better job-wise than we are here in Pennsylvania.
21 The fact of the matter is that Pennsylvania, the
22 unemployment rate is 7.6%, as opposed to a 9.1 national
23 unemployment rate. Mrs. Staub, I believe you referenced
24 Tennessee and North Carolina --
25 MS. STAUB: The reference --
1 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Excuse me, I'm not finished.
2 MS. STAUB: Are you asking a question?
3 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: I'm not finished asking my
4 question. Please don't interrupt me.
5 MS. STAUB: Well, please ask a question.
6 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: I will give you the
8 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Folks, folk, folks --
9 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: I don't need to you tell me
10 how to do my job. I do it just quite fine, thank you.
11 MS. STAUB: Somebody does.
12 CHAIRMAN MILLER: Representative Boyle. I
13 appreciate --
14 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: If the witness would not
15 interrupt me, Mr. Chairman.
16 CHAIRMAN MILLER: She is not a witness. She is
17 testifying before the committee. But I appreciate it. Finish
18 asking your question. Please.
19 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: My question is, before your
20 interrupting, you referenced that Tennessee and North Carolina
21 as two states to which we recently lost jobs, correct?
22 MS. STAUB: That's correct.
23 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Are you aware that the
24 unemployment rate in Tennessee is 9.8%, 2.1% higher than it is
25 in Pennsylvania?
1 MS. STAUB: Very soon it will be much better because
2 all of our jobs went there, sir.
3 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Presently, you are aware that
4 it's 9.8%?
5 MS. STAUB: May I answer you?
6 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Please answer the question.
7 MS. STAUB: And a lot of our jobs in Pennsylvania
8 have gone to Virginia. CNBC -- CNBC just chose Virginia as the
9 most successful state in terms of job growth and lower
10 unemployment. You see, one of the things we have here, because
11 you want to talk about unemployment, is that we have so many
12 people unemployed that a lot of them have run out of benefits
13 and they're not even counted in the numbers anymore. They're
14 not counted in the numbers in Pennsylvania because there are no
15 more benefits for them to have. So, when you calculate these
16 number, these numbers have to include not just the people who
17 are unemployed, but the people who are no longer looking for a
18 job because there's no job to be had.
19 REPRESENTATIVE BOYLE: Right. And I would also point
20 out you had referenced North Carolina where the unemployment
21 rate is 9.9%, as opposed to Pennsylvania's 7.6%.
22 But I'll conclude with this: I do have good news.
23 You referenced Virginia. I am someone who moved from Virginia
24 to Pennsylvania to work here, so apparently Pennsylvania is at
25 least doing something right over Virginia.
1 MS. STAUB: Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Representative
2 Boyle, because I moved from Virginia to Pennsylvania, too,
3 before you were born.
4 CHAIRMAN MILLER: With that, I appreciate the
5 attendance and patience of everyone today. It's been a long
6 hearing, and I thank everyone. With that, this hearing is
7 adjourned. Thank you.
8 MS. STAUB: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
9 (Hearing adjourned at 5:40 p.m.)
13 * * * *
14 I hereby certify that the foregoing is a correct
15 transcript from the record of the proceedings in the
16 above-entitled matter.
21 Marjorie Peters, RMR, CRR