CWF Testifies in New Hampshire Right-to-Work Committee Hearing
On February 8, 2017, Matt Patterson, Executive Director of the Center for Worker Freedom, spoke before the New Hampshire House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee on how labor unions can negotiate members-only contracts. He also voiced his support for the Right-to-Work bill before the House committee.
New Hampshire is close to becoming the 29th Right-to-Work state. The state Senate already approved the bill on January 19, 2017, and the House will vote on the bill next week. If the full House votes for the bill next week, the governor could sign the bill as early as the end of the month.
To view the entire Committee hearing, click here.
You can also read Matt Patterson’s testimony below:
Matt Patterson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Matt Patterson. I represent an organization called the Center for Worker Freedom, and I would just like to read a couple of sentences from a union publication called In These Times. It’s actually sponsored by the United Autoworkers.
Beyond UAW Local 42, a variety of private and public sector local unions have operated on a members-only basis for years. For example, the American Federation of Teachers has over 120,000 members in members-only unions scattered across a dozen states.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there’s a lot of misinformation going around this hall. Let me be clear. Unions don’t have to represent anyone who doesn’t want their representation. Let me say that again. Under federal labor law, unions are perfectly free to negotiate members-only contracts. Don’t take my word for it. There are thousands of union members in such arrangements.
I’d like to say one other thing. I’ll be brief, Mr. Chairman. Unions in the United States of America are political organizations. They spend millions of dollars on liberal and Democrat politicians at all levels of government. And that’s great if that’s what you’re into. But I would wager that at least half of the members of every major organized labor organization do not agree with those candidates or those policies and should not be forced to subsidize political speech that they do not agree with. That is a violation of their First Amendment rights of speech and association. I don’t know why unions have been given this exemption from the First Amendment, Mr. Chairman, but Right-to-Work is currently the only remedy for that injustice. It’s a remedy that this committee and this body can administer, and I strongly urge you to do so.
Representative Douglas Ley: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I just wanted to read you a sentence here: Your union has the duty to represent all employees whether members of the union or not fairly, in good faith and without discrimination. That is from the National Labor Relations Board website. Can you care to comment?
Matt Patterson: The Supreme Court has decided that unions have the right to negotiate members-only contracts. And if that’s not the case, then I suggest you call the AFT and ask them why they are organizing illegal unions. Thousands of union members are members of union member-only contracts. Now, unions can choose to negotiate for everyone. They can be the exclusive bargaining representatives, but they do not have to be. Again, they do not have to be. I urge you to contact the UAW and the AFT and many other unions to ask them about members-only contracts.
Chairman Stephen Schmidt: Follow-up.
Representative Douglas Ley: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Would you believe that I’m very familiar with AFT because I’m the President of AFT New Hampshire?
Chairman Stephen Schmidt: Order.
Matt Patterson: I would agree and would you agree that your sitting in judgment on this issue is a conflict of interest, Sir?
Chairman Stephen Schmidt: We’re here to hear pros and cons…Super Bowl ended two days ago. So, let’s not go there.
Representative Douglas Ley: Just a comment. I just want to point out. I don’t know if you were here at the start of the hearing, but I do follow the Legislative Ethics rules, and I did declare my position and followed all the rules and filed all the relevant paperwork. Thank you.
Matt Patterson: It doesn’t mean it’s not a conflict.
Chairman Stephen Schmidt: I like the silent applause. That’s very good.