CWF Testifies in Missouri Right-to-Work Committee Hearing

Posted by Olivia Grady on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 at 3:51 pm - Permalink

On January 11, 2017, Matt Patterson, Executive Director of the Center for Worker Freedom, spoke before the Missouri Senate General Laws and Pensions Committee on how political labor unions have become. He also voiced his support for the Right-to-Work bill before the Senate committee.

Missouri is likely to become the 28th Right-to-Work state shortly. A state House committee already approved a draft version of a bill on January 12, 2017, and the Senate committee will likely approve a draft next week. If the full House votes on the bill next week, the governor could sign the bill as early as the end of the month.

To view the entire Committee hearing, see below:

You can also read Matt Patterson’s testimony below:

Start: 40:45

Matt Patterson: Thank you Mr. Chairman and Committee. My name is Matt Patterson, and I work for the Center for Worker Freedom, which is a project of Americans for Tax Reform. And I’m here to say a few words about a very important issue that has not been touched on today.

We have some representatives from some major labor organizations here including the AFL-CIO. I would just like to point out that the AFL-CIO has supported President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and has spent millions of dollars to elect Democrats and liberal politicians at every level of government. That’s fine except I would wager that at least half of the AFL-CIO members do not agree with the political stances of these candidates or elected officials.

Let me be clear. American labor organizations have become political organizations. They spend billions of dollars every election cycle almost exclusively on liberal candidates and liberal causes, including Planned Parenthood, anti-Second Amendment initiatives. You name it. Now if you support those agenda and those candidates, great. We live in a free country; oh, unless you’re a worker and you want to keep your job in a non-Right-to-Work state. You can be forced to financially subsidize a political entity.

I would submit to you that passing Right-to-Work is actually doing organized labor a favor. I think Right-to-Work is good for unions because when they have to argue and make the case for the services they provide and they may not have to anger the conservative workers in the workplace maybe they’ll be less political. Maybe they’ll be less antagonistic to conservative causes and candidates and people and maybe they will get back to doing what they were supposed to do in the first place which is just bargain for wages and working conditions.

You know, the whole thing about free rider is nonsense. They’re perfectly capable under federal law of negotiating members-only contracts. They want people to be forced to pay money to them so they can elect the politicians that carve out favors for them.

People say Right-to-Work is anti-union. All Right-to-Work is is choice.  If choice is anti-union, what does that say about unions? I submit that Right-to-Work is both good for business and growth, but it’s necessary for freedom. And if you pass Right-to-Work it will be, I think, your great honor. And it is the way of the future. Again, I thank you for the time, and I’m happy to answer any questions.

Chairman Onder: Thank you, Mr. Patterson for your testimony. You know your testimony reminded me of something that I wasn’t going to bring up today but it really struck me when it happened. In 2015, and I’m sure people in this room today I know are on all sides of the issue of abortion, pro-choice, pro-life, but I was astounded when in the summer of 2015 after the revelations of the videos purporting to show trafficking in baby body parts, President of the Teamsters Richard Trumka stood up for Planned Parenthood. Now whether you agree or disagree on the issue of abortion, for a leading union official who undoubtedly knows that he must have many, many members who are pro-life, that was amazing.

Matt Patterson: Yeah, and it’s more common than you think. You know, we were happy to help out in the Right-to-Work effort in Kentucky. When I started talking to workers in Warren county, UAW members at the Corvette factory about where their dues had been going for decades, the kind of candidates locally in Kentucky that the UAW was funding and supporting with their money. We’re talking about candidates with horrible records on Second Amendment rights, on life issues, and these workers were learning this information for the first time and becoming visibly outraged.

I’ll remind the Committee that there was a Supreme Court case, Friedrichs v. the California Teachers’ Association that was heard last year. I was fortunate enough to speak at a rally there on behalf of the teachers. In that instance, these teachers were mostly Christian and conservative, and they did not agree with the political agenda that their union had that they were being forced to subsidize. In fact, one teacher actually told me, “My husband is running for a local office. I found out my union was funding his opponent with my money.”

I submit that that is a gross violation of First Amendment freedoms of speech and assembly that our founders guaranteed to us, and I don’t know why unions have been granted this carve-out of the First Amendment for them, but it’s outrageous. And Right-to-Work is currently the only remedy available, and it’s a remedy that this Committee and this Body can administer.

Chairman Onder: Thank you, Mr. Patterson. Further questions of this witness? Seeing none, thank you for your testimony.

End: 46:00