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be required to join the union in the event 14(b) was repealed and union shop agreements were instituted?
Mr. LARSON. There is no available reliable information on that so far as we have been able to determine.
There are certainly a large number of employees who would automatically be forced into compulsory membership contracts by virtue of clauses in contracts now written which say that if compulsory unionism becomes legal then it will apply to the people in this plant.
I think generally speaking the percentage of union membership in plants that do not force their people to join will run anywhere from 80 to 90 percent, sometimes 99 percent, so percentage wise in each plant the total would be relatively small, but the total nationwide would be substantial.
Senator PROUTY. I wish you could get those figures because I think they are rather important.
Now, you referred to a situation involving what I believe is a small percentage of unions in the country where collusion between a local union and an employer results in a so-called sweetheart contract, or where a local union obtains a contract where it does not represent a majority of employees by intimidating an employer with threats of picketing or an unlawful secondary boycott.
I think that situation exists. The clear inference from your remarks is that union-shop agreements would force employees to continue paying dues to this union.
Now, in these flagrant examples it seems clear that a majority of employees would not be union members and could revoke the right of this particular union and employer to continue requiring union membership and the payment of union dues as a condition of continued employment in a deauthorization election.
What do you have to say to that?
Mr. LARSON. Well, this is technically provided in the law and this is one of the reasons that I strongly urge the chairman and the committee to find adequate time to talk to employees who have had experience with this law. This in practicality does not work.
The individual employee is at the mercy of an organization which has a great deal of resources and particularly in a sweetheart contract he is at the mercy of the combination of the employer and a union official. This group of women in New York and their experience, and this is very recent, it is under current law, demonstrates, I think very clearly that the provisions in the present law do not provide adequately for the wishes of the rank and file.
Senator Prouty. It seems to me that could be accomplished under existing law; if it is not, if the law is not being enforced then we should make certain that it is in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Larson. Senator, I think it is not being well enforced but it is further a question of the resources, the facilities available to an individual employee by himself who is trying to initiate action. In a situation where he has to hire a lawyer, he has to find out the law, he just does not have the resources at his command to get the relief that is supposed to be written into the law.
Senator Prouty. I think your suggestion is worthy of consideration. Mr. LARSON. Thank you.
Senator McNAMARA. Thank you very much.
If there are no further questions or comment we appreciate again your very fine appearance here today.
Mr. LARSON. Senator-one other item I intended to mention earlier with your permission. The subject of Senator Taft's position on compulsory unionism was discussed in the hearing yesterday. I have a letter written by the former Congressman Fred Hartley clarifying that subject which I would like your permission to enter in the record.
Senator McNAMARA. It will be entered at this point without objection, thank you.
(The letter referred to follows:)
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 18, 1963. Mr. REED E. LARSON, Erecutive Vice President, National Right To Work Committee, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. LARSON: I have just seen a July 20 letter written by Mr. John Leslie, U.S. Department of Labor, which quotes the late Senator Robert Taft out of context in an effort to make it appear that he opposed State "right-to-work” laws.
As one who was closely associated with Senator Taft and intimately familiar with his views on labor legislation, I want to make it clear that the Senator was uncompromisingly opposed to compulsory unionism and that he favored the principle of “right-to-work” laws.
In the 1947 Senate-House conference which produced final language of what is known as the Taft-Hartley law, Senator Taft was chairman of the Senate conferees and I was chairman of the House conferees. Quotations such as that used by Vír. Leslie and others who oppose "right-to-work” laws are in fact statements of Senator Taft's practical judgment relative to language of a bill which could muster sufficient support in both the Senate and House to override an expected veto from President Truman. Despite his personal preference for including a strict “rightto-work” section in the bill, he felt that such a bill could not ultimately become law at that time. He believed it would be a mistake to lose the entire bill in an effort to incorporate a total ban on compulsory unionism. Therefore, we agreed to section 14(b) which retained the right of States to outlaw compulsory unionism, but stopped short of a national ban on such a practice. Both Senator Taft and myself supported 14(b) and worked hard for its passage.
Mr. Leslie's misinterpretation of Senator Taft's position on the right-to-work”, law is similar to the erroneous contentions which have been widely circulated that, during the 81st Congress (the term following passage of the Taft-Hartley Act), Senator Taft advocated some 28 amendments to the Taft-Hartley law. This was totally untrue. A major campaign was underway in that Congress to repeal or completely emasculate the Taft-Hartley bill. The fact is that Senator Taft expressed his willingness to agree to a number of relatively minor amendments, if necessary, to save the bill from total destruction.
As the situation developed, however, no amendments to Taft-Hartley were enacted in the 81st Congress and the repeal effort failed completely.
This information, setting the record straight on Senator Taft's position, is, of course, well-known to all of us who worked closely with him in passage of the Taft-Hartley bill. It could be verified through any of the members of the Senate Labor Committee who assisted the Senator in rallying support for the bill. Among those who, like myself, are intimately familiar with the Senator's views on this subject, is Mr. Tom Shroyer, Washington attorney, who served as Senator Taft's adviser on labor law questions throughout the entire period when the TaftHartley Act was drafted, debated, and adopted. Sincerely,
FRED A. HARTLEY, JR. Senator McNAMARA. The next witness, Mr. William Gatz, president of the Wonder State Manufacturing Co., representing the Council of State Chambers of Commerce.
We are happy to have you here. You may proceed in your own manner.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM L. GATZ, PRESIDENT, WONDER STATE
MANUFACTURING CO., REPRESENTING THE COUNCIL OF STATE CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
Mr. Gatz. Thank you; my name is William L. Gatz. I am president of the Wonder State Manufacturing Co., in Paragould, Ark. We make various types of machinery for material handling.
I am testifying today in behalf of my own State chamber organization, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. In addition, I have been authorized to speak for 30 other State chamber organizations in the Council of State Chambers of Commerce. These organizations, which have specifically authorized me to speak in their behalf, are listed at the conclusion of my statement.
I want to speak on the basis of my own experience in my own company on this matter of “right-to-work." For the broader issues of the importance of "right-to-work” laws for the small businesses in the States that have them, I would like to submit the statement of a Florida lawyer who is a member of our council's committee on labor relations
He is Otto R. T. Bowden, of Jacksonville, Fla. Mr. Bowden's statement has also been endorsed by each of the State chambers of commerce organizations for whom I speak.
Senator McNAMARA. Without objection, it will be included in the record at this point.
(The prepared statement of Mr. Bowden follows:) PREPARED STATEMENT OF Orto R. T. BOWDEN, MEMBER, STATE CHAMBERS OF
THE COUNCIL OF STATE CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE My name is Otto R. T. Bowden. I am a practicing attorney in Jacksonville, Fla. I am chairman of the Labor Relations Committee of the Florida State Chamber of Commerce and represent that organization on the Labor Relations Committee of the Council of State Chambers of Commerce. This statement is submitted in behalf of the 31 State and regional chambers of commerce which are listed at the end of this statement.
At the outset let me say that the Labor Relations Committee of the Council of State Chambers of Commerce, and its member chambers of commerce oppose the repeal of section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act.
We are now in the era of great sociological change. At no time in the history of these United States have we seen more protection being afforded to the right of individuals, through legislation and through court decrees. If this period of history is to be known by any title, it certainly must be known as “The Era of the Individual.” This has been pointed up by the U.S. Supreme Court in cases involving the rights of individuals being represented by counsel in criminal cases; by decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the freedom of speech and the rights of persons to make such statements; by decisions of the Supreme Court as to the rights of individuals to abstain from religious instructions in public schools; the recognition of the rights of conscientious objectors during time of war not to bear arms because of their beliefs and principles; by acts of the current administration and of the Attorney General of the United States in their zeal to protect the freedom of assembly and the right to protest by individuals; and, lastly, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which guarantees the right of an individual to service in places of public accommodation, and the right of the individual of nondiscrimination in his job opportunities by reason of his race, religion, national origin, or sex.
With this background, repeal of section 14(b) would be inconsistent with the thinking of this era of the individual. Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act is in accord with the era of the individual and with its principles in that it insures the worker that he cannot be forced against his wishes to join a labor organization in order to fulfill a most basic and elementary right, that being his right to work and support his family without the payment of any tribute to any person or organization. If a worker can be deprived of this basic right, then all others can be
more easily abrogated. It appears inconsistent that a man, because of his convictions, can be excused from combat duty in time of war when the fate of our Nation is in peril, and yet be required to join a labor organization in peacetime in order to work and thereby fulfill his obligations to home and family. The question of compulsory unionism, as opposed to voluntary unionism, strikes at the very foundation of our American liberties. Individual freedom of choice is the basic issue involved and it is an issue which affects one's constitutional rights to life, liberty, and possession of property. What is gained by assuring an individual that he has the right to be served at a place of public accommodation; yet to require that he join a labor union to work in order to pay for the accommodations to which he is assured? It appears that such legislation strikes at person's vanity rather than his integrity and can hardly be justified in view of all the present-day circumstances. What good is it to assure a person that he will not be discriminated against in employment by reason of his race, creed, place of origin, or sex, if he can be discriminated against in the employment gained because of his nonmembership in a labor organization? We feel that an employee's conscientious objection to membership in a labor organization should be afforded the same respect, consideration, and protection as his other basic rights which this administration so jealously guards.
American labor leaders have won an extraordinary collection of special legal privileges and exemptions based on the theory that unior are voluntary associations. Union membership is either voluntary or it is not, and a union which has to resort to coercion and involuntary membership to recruit members, illustrates there is something drastically wrong with the union itself. Unions that are honestly run and serve the best interests of their members do not need compulsory unionism to keep them going. There is little to say for unions that can exist only by forcing workers to join under the threat of losing their jobs. Labor here should be as it is in France, where it is regarded as a movement; a morality, and not a business. It is surprising that so many believers in democracy and the rights of individuals, who call themselves liberals, should be against voluntary unionism and in favor of compulsory unionism. “Right-to-work” laws, so called, as protected by section 14(b) are not antiunion, rather they are proworker and they cannot possibly wreck unions as some opponents claim because unions are protected by both State and Federal laws in various ways. It should be emphasized that the right not at join a union is a necessary corollary of the right to join, for without the right not to join, there can be no such thing as a right to join. Freedom rests on choice, and where choice is denied, freedom is destroyed as well. “Right-to-work” laws are aimed at taking away the right of compulsion from the union and giving that right back to the individual worker where it belongs-14(b) does not impede unions in their legitimate purposes and growth. They do not prevent any worker from joining a union, but they prevent unions from enforcing membership against the will of the worker and against their consciences.
As a practicing attorney, I know from experience, that there will be serious objections on the part of the small businessman to the repeal of section 14(b) due to conflict with the philosophy of many small and large employers.
I also know, from experience, that many of these businesses will never agree to a union contract which contains any clause which would remove from the individual worker his rights of election as to his membership, or nonmembership, in any labor organization. The repeal of section 14(b) would increase industrial strife in that it is apparent that one avenue by which a small employer can escape from any possible application of the repeal of section 14(b) is to resist union organization more vigorously than he may have in the past. The only avenue left to the business would be to engage in industrial strife in order to protect what it believes to be the employees' individual right. Therefore, the repeal would not assist unions; in fact, it might create more problems than the unions now contemplate, or this committee now contemplates. It would greatly enhance and stiffen employer opposition to unions and could act as a two-edged sword if the unions were faced, as I believe they will be, with a stiffened management resistance, not only to compulsory unionism, but to the whole principle of unionism itself.
There is no assurance in the repeal of section 14(b) which would substantiate the statement by Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz in his testimony, that the retention of section 14(b) provides a "legal climate allegedly less conducive to unionism and union wages and working conditions." Section 14(b) has nothing to do with the rights of unions to organize employees or to negotiate on any condition of employment, other than that of compulsory union membership. Therefore, if conditions such as Secretary Wirtz complains of actually exist, then these conditions are not the result of section 14(b), but of the failure of unions to gain higher wages and other working conditions which would have been possible whether section 14(b) is in existence or not.
Secretary Wirtz is reported to have stated that "the only effect of the repeal measure would be to permit employers and unions to negotiate union shop contracts in 19 States that now ban them.' If this statement, as reported, is correct, then Secretary Wirtz himself points up the fact that his argument for repeal is inconsistent in that it has nothing to do with a legal climate which allegedly is less conducive to unionism and union wages and working conditions. The fact remains that after some 30 years of Federal legislation in the labor field, that less than a majority of the workers are now covered or represented by labor unions. This includes States with “right-to-work” laws and States which permit union shop contracts. This speaker violently disagrees with the statement reported to have been made by Secretary Wirtz before this committee in which he is reported to have stated “the argument that union shop agreements violate the freedom of individual employees has no substantial basis." This statement, of course, ignores the facts and is totally at variance with the real purpose of union shop contracts. If the small businessman and the unions negotiated on equal footing, it may be that the repeal of section 14(b) other than its philosophical implications would not affect the bargaining. However, we who are actively engaged in representing small businessmen, as well as large companies, know that is indeed rare for a small businessman to be able to withstand the unified might of all labor organizations when the full brunt of their attack is directed against him. All too often the small businessman is the new businessman, and one that is stretched to the limit of his financial means, and therefore cannot stand any interruption in his production and income. The small businessman does not have the financial reserves with which to withstand prolonged union negotiations or union strife and is, therefore, faced with financial ruin or the choice of going out of business if he chooses to oppose the might of the unions on the question of basic principles such as section 14(b) involves.
Legislation should be considered from its impact on all of the people rather than a small minority who seek power through legislation. Opinion Research Corp. polls indicate that support for the "right-to-work” amendment reached an alltime high in 1964, advancing to 67 percent in 1964, from 48 percent in 1956. This would indicate that the least this Congress could do would be to submit this matter to a nationwide referendum so that such referendum would reflect the desires of all persons rather than a small minority of the total population of this country. Interviews with employees in my State reflect that the most violent antiunion worker interviewed are those which were forced to join a union in other States in order to work. Investigation indicates that these workers migrated to States in which they were not required to join a union in order to satisfy their basic philosophy that the exaction of such a tribute in order to work was unAmerican and against principles which many of them considered a violation of their personal right.
The Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, of which section 14(b) is a part, states that its purpose is the prevention of industrial strife which interferes with the normal flow of commerce. Repeal of section 14(b) would tend to lead to strife inasmuch as many businessmen will not agree to any contract clause which would require the employees to join the union, therefore making it necessary for the parties to revert to their economic weapons to attain their goals.
President Lyndon B. Johnson, in his message of May 18, stated that he hoped that repeal of section 14(b) would reduce conflicts in the national labor policy. I would be amiss if I did not point out that if there is, in fact, a conflict in our national labor policy, that this policy can be resolved by guaranteeing the "rightto-work” of all employees in all of our 50 States which would make it then a demo cratic process for all employees to join, or not to join, a union.
I am unable to understand why labor unions, as such, attempt to take full credit for any advance which is reflected in higher wages and working conditions. It is admitted that they might be partially responsible, but I think it would be an egotistical approach to state that they claim full responsibility for all advances made by working man or men in any period. Repeal of section 14(b) would advance the cause of no individual in these United States. It would only advance the cause of compulsory unionism and enhance the union's opportunities to use strikes and threats of strikes with great success to force compulsory union membership provisions and checkoff clauses into what they hope would be high percentage of contracts. Union treasuries are at an alltime high which reflects that