Oral Testimony of Greg Mourad, National Right to Work Committee
West Virginia House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Hearing on S.B. 1, H.B. 2643 and H.B. 4006, Right To Work
January 28, 2016
My name is Greg Mourad. I am Vice President of the National Right to Work Committee, a 2.8 million member citizens’ organization dedicated to the elimination of compulsory unionism. On behalf of our members and of the tens of thousands of Right to Work supporters in West Virginia, I thank the chairman and members of this committee for taking the time today to examine the Right to Work issue, which would simply guarantee working men and women in West Virginia the right to decide for themselves whether a labor union deserves their financial support.
But, because of their complexity, federal and state labor laws are not well understood by most citizens. I’d like to open my testimony with a simple illustration that highlights the principle upon which current national and West Virginia labor laws rest.
Imagine yourself standing just outside this building when a cab pulls up. Two guys grab you and pull you into the cab with them. When the driver announces that the cab is on its way to Wheeling, you protest, but the other two passengers tie you up and do not let you get out.
The driver ignores your protests.
After the lengthy drive, he finally pulls over. The car stops and they untie you. But before they let you go, the driver demands $100, “For the cab fare,” he explains.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” you say. “You forced me to go with you. I had nothing to say about it.”
“But you don’t understand,” they tell you. “We had a vote, and the majority rules. And unless you pay your share of the ride, you’re a ‘free rider.’ We have every right to make you pay.”
“But I didn’t want to go to Wheeling,” you say. “I’m a kidnap victim!”
In a nutshell, I have just illustrated how federal and state labor laws abuse the freedom of working people to earn an honest living for themselves and their families.
If this taxi ride were to happen for real, the other passengers and the driver of the taxi would be arrested for kidnapping and extortion. Forced unionism makes no more sense.
Under current law in West Virginia, employees who never requested union representation can be forced to accept a labor union as their exclusive monopoly bargaining agent and be forced to work within the union’s monopoly-negotiated contract. Then, compounding the injury, they can be forced to pay for representation they never requested and do not want.
You see, Big Labor’s whole intellectual house of cards is built on two myths that they desperately want you to believe. Neither myth is true.
Despite what you have heard and will continue to hear from West Virginia’s union officials, federal law does not require them to represent all workers.
Unions are perfectly free under federal law to negotiate a contract that only sets the terms and conditions for their own voluntary members.
Indeed, this practice was common in the first several years after the adoption of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935.
But a monopoly is a powerful thing.