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Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 6, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


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Mr. MEADOWS. Madam Chairman, my amendment strikes the language in the PRO Act that would, in effect, repeal right-to-work laws nationwide.

Currently, 27 States have adopted right-to-work laws that protect workers in their States from forced unionization. Eight of these States further protect their workers by enshrining right to work in their State constitutions.

At their root, right-to-work laws let workers choose whether or not to join a union. Right-to-work laws do not ban union membership. Instead, they let workers, not their employer and not the government, make the choice for them.

My colleagues opposite want to make the government the answer to everything. Yet, here we are today, and we should be protecting American values, American freedoms, that freedom of speech and that freedom to associate as a worker chooses.

The Supreme Court already recognized these rights in the union context when it ruled that government workers cannot be forced to pay union dues. Taking away this freedom in the private sector would reverse decades of protections that the States have given their workers.

I might add that some of the best growing economies are States where we have this ability, and my colleagues opposite want to, indeed, come in and reach into States and tell them how to operate when we have growing economies?

If California wants to make sure that everybody has to be in a union, let them move to California.

But do you know what? The verdict is already in. They are leaving California for States like Texas and other places where workers truly have the ability to choose for themselves.

I believe that we ought to adopt this amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. MEADOWS. Madam Chair, it is interesting to hear this debate because the very State that the gentleman is from is a right-to-work State. I find it just amazing. He comes down here and suggests that somehow Washington, D.C., knows better than his own home State.

Madam Chair, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Weber).

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Mr. MEADOWS. Madam Chair, I just find it amazing that somehow we are here debating this issue, and he is suggesting that the numbers prove his point, and they do exactly the opposite.

The fact of the matter is that the reason why unions are failing is because the workers are going other places because they get a better benefit.

It is what it is because of what we are seeing on the ground not only in North Carolina and Texas but in 27 other States. It is more than half of the country. Yet the gentleman from Michigan over here somehow says: Well, it is the freeloaders.

I can tell you, Madam Chair, based on his assumption, there are a few people who pay dues into the Freedom Caucus. Some of the things that we have supported he has actually benefited from. So should he pay dues to the Freedom Caucus, based on his assumption?

I think that he would have a problem with that, just like everyone over here has a problem with forcing people to pay union dues when they don't want to join the union, and this is the protection for that.

I suggest that we support this amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. MEADOWS. Madam Chair, may I inquire how much time I have remaining.

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Mr. MEADOWS. Madam Chair, at least we have found something that the gentleman from Michigan and I can agree on. What is wrong is wrong, and that is wrong.

When you look at what the gentleman is trying to propose with his legislation, and the fact that he is trying to put the will of Washington, D.C., on States all across this great country, that is wrong.

Why do we not allow the status quo to continue? Why? Because it is good for workers. It is good for my State. It is good for South Carolina. It is good for Texas. It is good for all kinds of States. I would even say it is good for his State because he is a right-to-work State.

But do you know what? We have talking points that are prepared by people who will benefit from this legislation and nothing more. This does not help the worker.

Madam Chair, I urge the adoption of my amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. MEADOWS. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.

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