tv Washington Journal Mark Mix Discusses Right to Work Laws CSPAN September 4, 2017 8:00am-8:31am EDT
to work. at 8:00, senior editor jonah goldberg. >> conservatives should not place all their hopes in any politician. go back and read the federalist papers. they say this over and over again, you should have a healthy distrust of any political leader. sometimes particularly the ones that claim to be speaking for you. >> then at 9:00 p.m. eastern, the university of southern california annenberg professor, diane winston. >> six corporations own much of the american news media. and the digital revolution has meanwhile transformed the economy. networks and daily newspapers no longer set our national agenda. instead, many of us find information niches that reinforce our opinions. polarization seems to have split us into two nations. >> watch today on c-span and
c-span.org and listen ton the free c-span radio app. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. c-span was created for america's television companies brought to you by our cable and satellite providers. ashington journal. >> our national right to work legal defense foundation and start by reminding our viewers what right to work laws and what the foundation does. guest: our right to work law protects every workers' right to join the union but would not contemplate workers being fired from their jobs for dues or fees to a organization, the labor union. 28 states have right to work laws on the books. one, missouri is being contested at this point and
probably will wind up on the ballot in 2018. over the past five years, six new states passed right to work laws and again, it's very simple and protects a workers right to join or not join a labor union as a condition of employment. host: you mentioned right to work laws state a map on your website showing those states with right to work laws on the books. we'll talk about missouri over the course of this half-hour that you're joining us. but in your views, are unions a bad thing? guest: absolutely not. there's a place for unions and has been a and there would be a place but there's no place for compulsion in the union movement. they've relied on government privileges to force workers to join them and pay dues and fees as their primary organizing model. that's not a really good recipe for success. we would encourage union officials to sell their product to workers like they do in right to work states and convince workers to provide a service that's necessary and important and can add value to a relationship in the employment field. there's no place for compulsion
and plenty of places for workers to join together voluntarily and have their voices amplified. host: what about the argument nonunion members get a free ride on benefits unions negotiate. guest: that's one of the topically palatable arguments union officials make all the time but when you look at it in substance from a statutory construction frame point you find it's totally false. what happens is union officials have negotiated and actually encouraged and lobbied for the privilege to be the exclusive bargaining agent for every workers in the bargaining unit. that means you john as an individual can't talk to your employer directly and if he thinks you're doing a great job he can't reward you for that because there's a monopoly voice in the marketplace and that's the labor union so what they want is they want the exclusive power to speak for all workers and then they want to have everyone pay them for the privilege of taking away their right to represent themselves and that's the injustice. it's the compels membership and association that comes with the law and on top of that they say
you have to pay for it even though you never asked for it and never voted for. host: in the segment of the washington journal, a special line for union member it is you want to call in and ask questions for mark mix. it's 202-748-8003 or otherwise lines as usual, democrats 202-748-8000, republicans 2o 2-748-8001 and independents, 272-748-8002. we showed the map right to work states and what about the argument wages are better for workers in states that don't have right to work laws on the book. the economic policy institute we're having an economist from the institute on after you. they have a report, wages 3.1% lower in so-called right to work states for union and nonunion workers alike after correctly accounting for differences in cost of living, demographics and labor market changes. they say the negative impact of right to work laws translates to $1,560 less a year in earnings for the typical
full-time workers. guest: i would suggest we question their statistics. finally, they've noted the need to adjust for cost of living. the e.p.i. never did that before and they would have this union and nonunion differential that was completely -- didn't make any cents because they weren't adjusting for cost of living. they say they do that but the adjustments are very technical. here's the first principle. should a worker be forced to pay union dues to get or keep a job today. principle number one. principle two talks about economic issues and issues of wages. i would suggest to you we can produce a study from the professor of university of colorado and one from brooklyn university that shows when adjusted for cost of living workers in right to work states have $2,600 more in disposable income than workers in forced union states. we can argue about the statistics but not the compulsion in the law. host: what's the legal defense foundation role in these sort of public debates we're having and in these individual efforts
for the move right to work laws for states. guest: the legal defense foundation role is to respond to employees subject to union compulsion. when they call and say hey, i lost my job because i wouldn't pay union fees to a union that's corrupt or embezzling money or spending it on politics i disagree with, how can you help me? the legal defense has been providing free legal aid to workers atropical storm the nation since 1968 and we've been from the local court to the u.s. supreme court representing workers specifically. we sue employers and unions on behalf of workers in their exercise to work in the workplace. host: mark mix is the president of the right to work legal defense fund here to take your questions on this labor day morning. special line for union members, 202-748-8003. for democrats, we'll start with james in virginia beach, virginia, good morning. caller: good morning. the united k to
the workers trained right to work, they're taking hese jobs, taking the jobs and republicans, what they did is started shipping jobs overseas instead of bringing slaves to work and brought in slave labor. host: i'll ask you your opinion on unions today? caller: not the right to work under any conditions that don't have no benefits. this is why the republican party, donald trump, they vls cut wages. host: and we'll talk about the
history he lays out. guest: james gets to the point of history, that's the discrimination. if you look at the bargaining privilege unions enjoy, it was primarily instituted through a judicial precedent in the supreme court when in the railway business white union officials decided they didn't want to represent black railway workers. and these black railway workers went to the court and said how can you force us to join this union and be a member of the union and pay dues to the union and allow them to say they're not going to represent us in the workplace. and in a case of 1944, the u.s. supreme court court, the louisville national railroad versus steel the supreme court said we've given power to union officials equal to government, almost like to sovereign to say we can speak on your behalf and if you're going to take that monopoly power then you have to speak for everyone. so in 1944 that was the case. another statute, the davis-bacon law which deals with government construction, 1931, that law was passed to keep black workers from moving
to the north to taking construction jobs. there's a history of what james speaks of. i would disagree with his final point. i believe giving him a choice in the workplace, whether or not to be represented by the union or pay union dues is actually protecting his liberty, not taking away from it. host: special line for union members. bill's on that line in wilmington, north korea. bill, go ahead. caller: good morning. as a retired autoworkers, i actually still pay union dues but it's my choice. it's a small amount and i don't have to but i do. the only problem i have is the radioity -- right to work state and you correct me if i'm wrong. if you work in a place union membership is voluntary and employee joins the union and employee b does not join the union, when the union negotiates a new contract, employee b who is not a member, if there are raises and so forth and benefits involved, he
automatically gets those. if that's true, that's where i think it's wrong. if you're the union member and paying dues and if there are any rewards to be had you should get them. employee b who is not a union member and other employees, if they want something they should go negotiate for themselves. they should not be included in any union benefits. correct me if i'm wrong. guest: i would agree with you with that. as we mentioned ear originally in the leadup, the union officials have this extreme privilege called exclusive monopoly representation. union officials don't contest this privilege they've been granted in that they can speak for every worker. as i mentioned with the last caller, james, the idea that the union would be able to be the exclusive bargaining agent, meaning the sole voice in the workplace meaning you can't to your employer without them present if they want to be, you
can't adjudicate a grievance question without the union signing off on it because they're the exclusive bargaining agent. if union officials would simply represent the workers that want to join them voluntarily and allow everyone else who doesn't to be able to speak for themselves in the workplace, that would solve the problem. we tried that. we actually introduced a bill on capitol hill in 1993 i believe it was and then congressman dick armey introduced a bill called the voluntary bargaining act which would have reformed the labor policy and allow union officials to bargain only for their members. you might guess who opposed that, lane kirkland, president of the afl-viu saying it was anti-union to represent the workers who want to voluntarily join and give them the benefits of that organization and exclude individual workers who didn't want to join the union and they opposed it because they know this exclusive representation and monopoly bargaining gives them power over the entire work force and gives them the ability to make the claim that workers ought to pay them as a condition of
employment. host: that's from the bureau of labor statistics on union membership in the united states. this is in 2016, total union membership about 10.7% of the work force is much higher in the public sector, 34.4% than in the private sector, 6.4% to show you that number over time in the years that the bureau of labor statistics has been tracking this has gone steadily downwards from 10.7% in 2016 and 11.1% in 2015 and in 2005, 12.5% and 1995, 14.9% and 1985, 18% of the work force was involved in unions. last week the president of the afl-cio, richard trumpka and asked about the decline of union membership over the years and what he had to say. [video clip] >> it's going to take us a multifaceted campaign to be able to reverse that trend group there is a strong
of people well financed that want to eliminate unions from the playing field. the republican party by and large attacks unions whether at the state level or federal level. so we have to work on the political climate there. but we also have to start fighting and fighting to change the rules of the economy so that working people get a fair shot. and whether that's trade rules, tax rules, labor laws or anything else that make it harder or easier for workers to get a voice on the job, we have to attack those. and then there's us. we have to ramp up the scale that we approach organizing with and we have to become better at coordinating with each other on the organizing front. it's no longer acceptable, i
guess, it's no longer a smart strategy, let me put it that way, for us to individually pursue units. it's more important for us to do so collectively and strategically and that's what we're working on. is that going to reverse overnight? it's a long shot. it's a long thing. and i said, when you're being attacked in 25 or 26 states at every different level and well financed people like the coke brothers and shell natleson and some of the others and owners of the papers that are here i would venture to say, when their sole mission is to eliminate workers having a voice so they can have the playing field to themselves, it's going to be a fight but it's nothing new. labor has always been under attack. host: mark mix said they're a
well financed organization to aimeliminate unions from the playing field. is he talking about his group? guest: he believes it in his mind. the week before one of the unions affiliated with him said they'd spend $100 million in six states to repeal right to work laws and is the opposite of what they're saying, they have to convince working men and women to join them. they are wards of the government and their privileges have been granted and is protected by government entities and why they have to play so hard in politics. if richard trumpka would spend less time worrying about us and the members he wants to represent, the union would be just fine. host: go ahead, pat. caller: good morning to john and your guest there. sir, you came on there and one of the first things you said during your open there was that you were protecting people from these lousy labor unions that
were crooked and stealing and different things like that and don't deny that you said it, sir. that's what you said. you said you were protecting people from that. but i'm not going to go and say something about lawyers who have a stake in this and putting money in their back pockets and there's a alec that's funded by the coke brothers and they are fighting this in 30 some states, i'm not going to mention that. host: what's your question for mark mix? caller: john, let me finish, please. i won't take up too much time. but notice how i turned the tables just like he did on framing my questions. but i've got about three questions for you, sir. are a capitalist? do you believe in the capitalist exist? guest: i believe in the market system that hard work usually pays off, i believe that, yes.
caller: i agree with you on that. now, let me ask you this, when it's ess is framing bottom line, it includes labor as one of the so-called products in its cause, so they go out on the market and buy that labor. then why can't people who sell labor as a product, why can't they get together just like corporations do and sell their product, sir. why can't they do it? why do you want to restrict them from the right to gather together? caller: they do it every day, sir. they do it every day. we have 6% private sector union density in this country. we have 37% union density in the government sector. are you saying there's no right to unions in the right to work states? would it surprise to you know in alabama the right to work state is higher than in missouri a nonright to work state. what i would suggest to you s writer s first of all as far as protecting individual workers rights, that's what we do.
i don't think i turned the phrase and i disagree with what you said as you turn my phrases around, protecting workers is what we do. i'm not a lawyer, by the way, f.y.i. i stayed at a holiday inn select last night but i'm not a lawyer. protecting individual workers rights is an important thing to do, whether it be unions protecting their rights or individuals protecting their own rights through the use of an organization like ours at the national right to work legal defense foundation. there's nothing in the laws in any of the right to work states or here in washington that prohibits anyone from joining a union or participating in a union. if you want to give your entire paycheck to a union official, you can do that. no one will argue with that. maybe your wife would but i wouldn't and the law wouldn't. in right to work states they're simply protected and can't be fired for tail you are to tender dues or fees. it's that simple. host: we talk about right to work laws, explain what's going on in missouri right now? guest: in missouri the legislature passed and the new governor signed a right to work law making missouri the 28th state to do that. union officials down there, the
afl-ciu filed petitions with the secretary of state to exercise what they call a veto referendum. where the public can go in and overturn a statute passed by the legislature. it looks like those petitions will be certified by the secretary of state and that should happen in another week or two and what that means is the right to work law won't go into effect until the people get a chance to vote on it and likely that vote will occur in november of 2018 where they say yes we agree with what the legislature did or no, we don't. if they do that and they agree, then the right to work law will go into effect and if it doesn't they'll have to do it again. host: are there other states right to work laws will be on the ballot in 2018 at this point. guest: not that we're aware of. this is a bill to repeal the right to work law that passed statutorily. there are other states that consider putting right to work on the ballot but the general proposition is to go to the legislature and have your officials vote on whether a orker should be free to join and then hold them accountable. ost: the lines as usual,
202-748-8000 and republicans 202-748-8001 and mark mix is with us for about the next 10 minutes or so. he's president of the national right to work legal defense foundation on twitter it's easy,@righttowork if you want to follow along. george is in ocala, florida, republican. go ahead. caller: how are you doing, guys? good morning. just wanted to say that you had the barons and they took a monopoly on everything and they did and they kept labor down. then you had the collective bargaining which were the unions that took back the power and kind of like evened things out. but then they went over the top. because they are corporations whether people know that or not. and then i remember when i first got out of vietnam, i'm a combat veteran and spent time,
in vietnam they grabbed louie lamont and his mother had a car and we'd go down to labor unions and figure man, this is the way to do it, get in the union as an atrent us and go on. all right. they laughed at us. well, one guy did but he was back of the glass, you know what i mean but three or four other guys took our -- one guy we saw thrown in the trash can because you know why, you got net -- you got to have participant. you've got to have a brother or father -- my brother is a union electrician for 30 some years up in philly and he just got his son in, you foe what i mean? so it ain't like you can just go down there and join. i thought the unions wanted the whole world to be union. then the last thing i'm going to say is i'm going on too long
now is -- not the last thing, one other thing. mafia, these guys are like more owned by the mafia and use labor to twist business. host: you make some great points. senator mcclellan from arkansas during the hearings in 1959 under the laundry rum griffin act, the labor management reporting and disclosure act he said compulsion and corruption go hand in hand. and he has a point. no union officials can force them into this legislative and force them to accept them as the bargaining agent and force them to pay dues as a condition of employment, that lead to interest in other things and those other things become the type of corruption you're talking about which is part of labor union history and part of all our histories but the labor unions when you compel someone to pay dues it eliminates the need for customer service and union officials i think will be
st fine if they decide to do voluntary membership. the founder of the afl-ciu, we call him the father of labor unions, he said they're here to volunteer institutions and anything sells a men toys their rights. in america we created a law that compels people into these collectives whether they want to be or not. common sense tells you a group that's brought together through voluntary means is inherently stronger than ones compelled and forced together by compulsion. host: a union member in griffin, georgia. good morning. caller: good morning. what he's not telling you is no one forces you to join a union. i used to work for the phone company. no one forced me to join the union. i joined voluntarily and the union dues were not that much. and he's also not telling you that if you live and work in a right to work state, they can fire you for no reason or any
reason. they don't have to have a reason to fire you. they can just say we don't need you anymore and you're stuck out there by yourself. and if you don't belong to a union, how in the world will you negotiate for yourself, just one person? one person walks in and says i need a raise and then next week they say no, we don't want to give her a raise, we'll find a reason to get rid of her. so he needs to stop spinning and sprouting all those lies he's telling. host: let's let mark mix respond. caller: thanks for the call and thanks for joining voluntarily in the labor union and you're one example of how a union provided benefit to you. i think the legal doctrine you're talking about is the employment at will doctrine that's completely separate from the right to work doctrine. the employment at will indicates an employer doesn't have to have a reason for firing. that's a completely different statute. so let's not confuse the two. a right to work doctrine says you can join a union or don't have to join a union.
and obviously membership in a union, formal membership is no longer required and was from 1937 to 1961. the supreme court looked at the labor policy in the country and said, you know, it's probably a little bit of a stretch to force people to formally join a private organization. that's like saying you have to join the chamber of commerce or you have to join the presbyterian church. that's the theory they finally came to in 1961 and said you no longer can be forced to be a formal member of a union but be forced to pay up to 100% of dues which is pretty close to being a formal member. when you say i say forced to join a union, no, i don't think i said you can be forced to join a union, i said forced to join a union or pay dues or fees to a union. if you work in a place there's a union security agreement in the contract and you don't pay your union dues, you lose your job. that's a fact. host: long tooth writes in stagnant wages and union decline are not a coincidence.
found a chart that can speak to that tweet, this also from the economic policy institute. the red line on this chart showing union membership as a percentage of the work force in the country. the blue line, the share of income going to the top 10% in this country. u see since the 1960's the decline in union member leadership and the share going to the top 10% and they write labor unions both sustained prosperity and ensured it was shared. the bottom line is clear here's a demonstrable wage difference and it's more pronounced for lesser skilled workers and spills over in nonunion workers. guest: why would they descent compulsion. their problem or reason is the solution to all our woes in this country and yet still rely on the ability to force a worker to pay them dues or fees to keep a job. it doesn't make sense and is a
complete disconnect. if their product was so good workers would join them voluntarily and wouldn't need compulsion but yet they go to legislatures across the country and come to washington and as richard trumpka says in the speech in front of the christian science monitor needs to change the way they operate. he admits it. volunteerism is a nice reform for richard trumka and the afl. host: good morning, an independent. caller: thanks for taking me call. pardon me but in the union you said the union was a monopoly and that stuff. but you totally failed to mention wal-mart, target, all these other stores, all these other places and corporations are monopolies, also. so basically in one word when trying to counter one thing with the other thing and second, when you say right to work it should be right to work for less because all the wages are different and the unionized states. i saw a map and basically
everything was all the lower states. guest: there's 28 of them. that's more than half. i don't under. i apologize about that. i don't know if wal-mart can compel you to shop there. it may be one of the few options open to people that live in certain areas. i don't know target can force you to shop at their store. i won't get into an argument whether or not you think they are monopolies or not. what i will say is under current law, union officials can have mp bargaining privileges meaning they're the only voice in the workplace. that's a pretty good definition of monopoly. host: another tweet from vatex and labor unions, an obsolete relic of the 19th century. mike is a union member in ohio. go ahead. caller: let me express my outrage you would have this person on labor day to
celebrate the workers of america. i'm a retired operating engineer and because i was able to retire with a decent pension with health care, thank god for unions. and let me say another thing, this person is nothing but a highly paid man for the top 1% and 2% backed by charles and david coke. they have their beginnings. it's been decades and what their idea is, is to plug the court system with lawsuits against unions and unions do t have the money behind them to protect them from people like him. their idea is to bankrupt unions and now that they have kneel gorse itch in the supreme court court, watch for lawsuits
and you name it. and unions won't be able to fight back. host: i got your point. mark mix, a chance to respond and explain how the national right to work legal defense foundation is funded and how it's operated. guest: mike makes the point about -- well, obviously made lots of points about me and my ability to speak here this morning. i think c-span for the opportunity to talk about this issue because the right to work foundation represents employees like mike and they come to us with concerns, obviously a different viewpoint than mike but the idea that somehow this is an attack, union officials raise and spend about $20 billion a year. that's a pretty big operation. in fact, their political operation according to studies from their own reports here in washington, they spend $1.7 billion on politics over the last two years in the presidential election. that's more than the democratic party, it's more than the republican party and more than donald trump and more than the coketh