House Democrats begin push for ‘long overdue’ labor law reform in order to bolster union ranks.
WASHINGTON, DC—In what may be a prelude to House Democrats’ introduction of the Workplace Democracy Act, a bill to make it easier for unions to unionize workers, partisanship was on full display Tuesday as the House’s Education and Labor Committee’s Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions subcommittee held a hearing on labor law reform.
The subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Frederica Wilson [D-FL] heard testimony from three union proponents and a staff attorney from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
“We will explore the strengths and weaknesses in the current state of labor law and identify proposals that hold employers that violate the law accountable, protect collective action, and modernize labor laws for a changing economy,” Congresswoman Wilson stated in her opening remarks. “If Congress is truly on the side of American workers, we must protect their right to bargain for better wages and better working conditions.”
The subcommittee heard testimony from:
- Jake Rosenfeld Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology, Washington University in St. Louis;
- Cynthia Harper, Englewood, OH–an employee who was allegedly fired from her job for being pro-union;
- Glenn M. Taubman, Staff Attorney, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation; and
- Devki K. Virk J.D., Member, Bredhoff & Kaiser, PLLC
“While we agree that federal labor law is in need of reform, the title of today’s hearing is premised on a fallacy: that workers’ right to organize and join a union is, in some way, in jeopardy,” stated Rep. Tim Walberg [R-MI] in his opening remarks. “Federal law protects workers’ right to unionize, point blank.”
Wallberg went on to explain how he grew up in a union household with a father who was a union organizer.
“It seems straightforward that the best way to reverse the downward trend would be through increased transparency and working to better serve their members,” Rep. Walberg stated. “Instead, we’ve seen calls for labor laws that would empower union interests and allow those at the top to further consolidate power.”
In his testimony, the National Right to Work Foundation’s Taubmann explained how “current law makes it easier for employees to form and join a union than it is for those same employees to decertify the union.”
“Changes to current labor law are long overdue, but the House Committee majority’s push to make it easier for workers to be forced into union ranks would move the law in the wrong direction,” National Right to Work Foundation president Mark Mix commented separately.
Here is the House subcommittee hearing held on March 26, 2019: