WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered remarks during today’s hearing on labor unions.
Click here to watch the hearing live.
Cassidy’s speech as prepared for delivery can be found below:
Thank you, Chair Sanders.
Frankly, it is puzzling that we are having this hearing. We aren’t conducting oversight and there doesn’t seem to be a legislative purpose. The title of this hearing suggests unions are functioning well and partisan legislation like the PRO Act is not necessary.
If the unions have a good message about their ability to negotiate contracts on behalf of their members, then they don’t need the PRO Act to eliminate secret ballot union elections, exposing workers to retaliation and intimidation. They shouldn’t need the PRO Act to open workers to forced or coerced unionization by banning Right to Work laws in states like Louisiana that protect workers’ freedom to choose whether they want to join a union or not.
They shouldn’t need the PRO Act or the Biden administration to impose radical joint employer rules to make it easier to unionize the 8 million franchise workers while undermining the business model of the establishments which employ them.
If unions can convince workers that it is in their best interest to join a union, then they shouldn’t need changes to the independent contractor definition. This policy included in the PRO Act would take away the ability of 27 million workers to choose how to earn a living. Why? To make them susceptible to forced or coerced unionization.
To be clear, I support workers’ ability to unionize. The right of workers to organize and be represented by a union is protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
If the benefits of joining a union are so good, as I’m sure the union presidents will claim today, then there is no reason unions should have to coerce and strong-arm people to join. And they certainly don’t need government to help them coerce and strong-arm.
I’ll remind my colleagues that this Committee already voted on the PRO Act, with all Republicans opposing. There is no sign that the Majority Leader will bring it to the Senate floor, and it doesn’t even have unanimous support from Democrats. But regardless, this Committee has already devoted a markup to progressive legislation on unionizing and bargaining.
So, what is the purpose of today’s hearing other than holding a taxpayer-funded pep rally for big labor unions?
We have public health programs that expired on September 30th. We haven’t had a hearing for the last two weeks. There are serious unmet responsibilities of this committee but apparently, this issue takes precedence and is most deserving of our time.
If the Chair wants to hold hearings to celebrate unions and their accomplishments, that is his prerogative. But we should point out that it has been 54 days since this committee has held a markup or hearing to consider actual legislation.
Hopefully, we can get back on track and use the limited time we have this year to get the rest of our reauthorizations over the finish line.