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Public Statements

Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, for years the American Dream has been based on a basic deal: If you go to work every day and work as hard as you can, you will make a decent wage. If you get sick and have to go to the hospital, you'll have health benefits that mean that you won't lose everything you have because you got sick. At the end of the 40th hour of the week, your time belongs to you and your family, not to your boss, unless your boss is willing to pay you time and a half. And you don't have to work until the day you die because you can earn a decent pension and spend the golden moments and days of your life taking care of your grandchildren and your family. That's the deal.

None of that existed for most Americans before collective bargaining existed. America has a middle class because America has collective bargaining.

This bill is not about the number of days before an election or the size of a bargaining unit. This bill raises the issue of whether you truly believe in collective bargaining. And what this bill does is say to the minority of employers in America--and I think they are the minority by far--who would choose to subvert an election process, who would choose to intimidate and coerce their workers into voting against the union, this bill gives them a roadmap of exactly how to do that. It is a subversion of the American middle class because it's a subversion of collective bargaining.

Our grandfathers and grandmothers stood on picket lines to fight for collective bargaining. The people of Ohio stood on election day to fight for collective bargaining. Colleagues, let us together stand today against this legislation and for collective bargaining and the American middle class.

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Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding.

My friend from Minnesota, the chairman of our committee, says that Congress shouldn't be picking winners and losers. I think the Congress has already picked a lot of winners in the last number of months. They've picked the people who are the subject of Mr. Boswell's amendment, those whose bonuses are 10,000 percent more than the average salaries of their workers. They've picked them for the largest tax cut in American history.

They picked a winner by saying that if that person manipulates a hedge fund or financial institution, the regulators will look the other way as our 401(k)s become 201(k)s and our home values shrink.

Most decidedly, this Congress has picked a set of winners, and those winners are those at the very top of American society who have gotten 93 percent of the pay raises. Ninety-three percent of the pay raises given out in this country have gone to that top group.

So Mr. Boswell is trying to create a significant disincentive that says, you know what? If you pay yourself 10,000 percent more than your average worker, maybe there should be a separate set of circumstances you have to abide by and live by. It's a novel idea around this Congress, very novel idea that those at the very top of American society should have to live by a set of rules that protects the rest of American society.

For that reason, I strongly support Mr. Boswell's amendment and would urge a ``yes'' vote.

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