Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, visited the NAM’s headquarters on Wednesday to receive the Manufacturing Legislative Excellence award for his outstanding, 100 percent record of voting in support of manufacturing during the 109th Congress. After speaking to a group of representatives of NAM member companies about the fraudulently named Employee Free Choice Act, he stopped by the “America’s Business” studio to talk about the same subject.
In the interview, host Mike Hambrick asked the Senator about congressional support for the measure even when union membership has declined in the private sector. McConnell responded:
What’s happening here is the private-sector workforce is down to 7.4 percent who are union members. They’re losing membership because of enlightened management in this country, and more and more employees feeling that they don’t need a union in order to be treated fairly. So in order to try to make up for their loss of membership, they want to change the rules to make it impossible for them to lose.
McConnell, never known to mince words, called the bill “an entirely offensive piece of legislation,” and said it could be defeated if the public came to appreciate what the bill actually does.
Our many thanks to the Senator for his time. His comments are about 15 minutes into this week’s broadcast of “America’s Business with Mike Hambrick” — streaming audio here — and you can find a transcript of the interview in the extended entry below.
Mike Hambrick, host of “America’s Business:” Senator, let’s deal with the so-called card check issue. If roughly 90 percent of the American people don’t agree with this issue, that card should be implemented, and even a majority of union membership doesn’t either, why is it resonating, what is it getting traction?
McConnell: We went to the secret ballot in this country in the early 1800s, and Americans overwhelmingly believe that having a secret ballot is critical to a democratic process. What the so-called card-check bill would do is get rid of the secret ballot in union elections. Ninety percent of the American people think it’s a bad idea. And over 70 percent of union members think it’s a bad idea. It IS a bad idea.
Hambrick: So why are we having to deal with it, do you think?
McConnell: Well, the Democrats, the new majority in the House and the Senate, the new Democratic majorities, want to do a favor for their buddies as the leaders of organized labor. It’s an outrageous proposal. It deserves to be defeated overwhelmingly.
Hambrick: That’s still hard to figure, when outside of government there’s only like 7 percent of the population….
McConnell: Yeah, what’s happening here is the private-sector workforce is down to 7.4 percent who are union members. They’re losing membership because of enlightened management in this country, and more and more employees feeling that they don’t need a union in order to be treated fairly. So in order to try to make up for their loss of membership, they want to change the rules to make it impossible for them to lose.
Hambrick: So what’s the best strategy to defeat this legislation, Senator?
McConnell: Well, to talk about the facts – the fact that the American people are overwhelmingly against it, the fact that union members are against it. Politicians, in the end, do tend to respond to public opinion. Public opinion is overwhelmingly opposed to getting rid of the secret-ballot union elections.
Hambrick: Do you think that most people out there really know what this bill does, if enacted it could lead to binding arbitration being forced on employees, government-imposed contracts, it would set wages and workplace rules. That does not get a lot of publicity, does it?
McConnell: No, those are the other features in the bill. I think the part that gets the most attention is getting rid of the secret ballot. But it’s an entirely offensive piece of legislation, and I think the more the American people learn about it, the less they’ll like it.
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