Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

04/08/2009 03:15 PM House LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Scheduled But Not Heard
Moved CSHB 89(L&C) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB 37-RIGHT TO WORK                                                                                                           
3:44:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  37, "An Act relating to  the relationship between                                                               
employees   and  labor   organizations;  prohibiting   collective                                                               
bargaining contracts  that require employees  to join a  labor or                                                               
employee organization;  extending the policy and  limitations set                                                               
out in this Act to  public employers and public employees subject                                                               
to  the Public  Employment Relations  Act; and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CARL  GATTO, Alaska State  Legislature, introduced                                                               
DIRK  CRAFT,  Staff,  Representative  Carl  Gatto,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, introduced himself.                                                                                                
3:44:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  stated that  HB 37 supports  individuals to                                                               
form unions  and it protects  individuals who have  formed unions                                                               
from  retaliation  by  their  employers.   He  recalled  a  union                                                               
advertisement that stated we support  the right of individuals to                                                               
join  a union.    He stated  that the  Employee  Free Choice  Act                                                               
(EFCA) has advertisements that support  the right of employees to                                                               
join  a  union.   He  said,  "That's what  this  bill  does.   It                                                               
encourages you to do  it and supports your option to  do it.  The                                                               
EFCA defends you against retaliation when  you do it".  He opined                                                               
that  the committee  will hear  testimony from  people that  will                                                               
tell us that union states  are better paid, have better benefits,                                                               
have better  retirement, and have  better medical  insurance than                                                               
right to work states.  He  said, "That's not in the evidence that                                                               
I have."  He explained that  Michigan is a strong union state and                                                               
Texas  is a  right to  work state.   He  offered his  belief that                                                               
Michigan is  currently having an internal  meltdown and disaster.                                                               
General  Motors is  failing and  if GM  collapses, union  workers                                                               
will be  out of work.   However, Texas has an  enormous amount of                                                               
trade, is a  North American Free Trade Agreement  member, and the                                                               
trade is good for  Texas.  He said he wants  to make it eminently                                                               
clear that the  data demonstrates that right to  work states have                                                               
employees  that  receive  very   good  wages,  have  medical  and                                                               
retirement  benefits, and  in general  are doing  very well.   He                                                               
opined that  it is  not necessary  to force a  person to  join an                                                               
organization they  do not  want to  join.  He  opined that  it is                                                               
unconstitutional to do  that.  He stated that either  we have the                                                               
right of  free association or  we give up  the right.   He stated                                                               
that  if  a  person  wants  to  do so,  they  should  do  so  for                                                               
his/herself, but not for someone else.                                                                                          
3:47:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  emphasized that  no  one  should compel  a                                                               
person to  join a  group at  his/her expense.   No one  should be                                                               
subject to  being fired if  a person does not  join a group.   He                                                               
offered to provide an example.   He said, "When I was working for                                                               
the fire  department, I was  a union member.   I was  required to                                                               
join the  union and  I did  so willingly.   But  at one  point, I                                                               
wanted to  volunteer in Palmer  for their fire department  - just                                                               
volunteer, no  pay.   The union said  if you do  that you  can be                                                               
fired."  He related that the  union was in Anchorage.  He related                                                               
that the  union said  that their bylaws  stated that  its members                                                               
cannot  volunteer for  another organization.    He said,  "That's                                                               
force.   That  is true  force."   And  the  rule is  if a  person                                                               
violates the bylaws,  then the union goes to  the management, who                                                               
requires the  department to  discharge the  person if  he/she has                                                               
not  satisfied the  union  bylaws.   He stated  that  he was  not                                                               
allowed to  opt out  of the  union, which is  what he  would have                                                               
liked to  have done.   He  said, "I think  every person  ought to                                                               
have the right guaranteed in  the constitution to make a decision                                                               
to join or not to join."                                                                                                        
3:49:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO offered  his belief that if  unions are good                                                               
for him, his  family, and his community, then  he would willingly                                                               
join.   He said,  "I believe we  should not be  forced to  join a                                                               
group."   He reiterated  that HB  37 allows  members to  make the                                                               
choice and  offers protection  against retaliation  by management                                                               
or  the employer.    He said,  "You  can't be  forced  to join  a                                                               
religion.  You  can't be forced to join any  society, but you can                                                               
be forced to join a union."                                                                                                     
3:50:49 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. CRAFT  explained the sectional summary  of HB 37.   He stated                                                               
that it applies to Public  Employment Relations Act.  He referred                                                               
to  Section  1,  of  proposed  AS  23.10.441,  which  provides  a                                                               
declaration of the  right to work policy in the  state.  Proposed                                                               
AS 23.10.443(a) lists  what would be prohibited  as a requirement                                                               
of  employment or  continuation of  employment.   He referred  to                                                               
proposed  AS 23.10.443(b),  which  states union  dues, fees,  and                                                               
assessments can only be deducted from  an employee's pay if it is                                                               
authorized  in  writing.   Proposed  AS  23.10.443(c) would  make                                                               
prior agreements  or practices that  violate the law  proposed in                                                               
Section 1  void.  Additionally,  a strike, picket, or  boycott to                                                               
induce  an employer  into an  agreement would  be a  violation of                                                               
law.  He referred to  proposed AS 23.10.443(d), which states that                                                               
a person or labor union  cannot coerce, threaten, or injure their                                                               
employment  prospects.   He referred  to  proposed AS  23.10.445,                                                               
which  would make  "knowingly" violations  a class  B misdemeanor                                                               
and would  require the attorney  general to  investigate criminal                                                               
complaints  and  award  an   employee  injunctive  relief,  civil                                                               
damages or both.                                                                                                                
3:52:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. CRAFT  referred to proposed  AS 23.10.447, which  states that                                                               
provisions in Section 1 would  only apply to certain employers or                                                               
employees  and  any provisions  that  conflict  with federal  law                                                               
would not apply to the extent of the conflict.                                                                                  
MR. CRAFT referred  to proposed AS 23.10.449  provides a proposed                                                               
definition for  labor organizations  for the purposes  of Section                                                               
MR. CRAFT referred to Section  2, which would repeal AS 23.40.225                                                               
and replaces it  with proposed AS 23.10.225,  which would require                                                               
all  collective bargaining  agreements  to comply  with the  more                                                               
universal Section 1.                                                                                                            
3:53:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  CRAFT referred  to Section  3, noting  this would  repeal AS                                                               
23.40.110(b), which  currently allows  public employers  to enter                                                               
into exclusive representation agreements.   This section makes it                                                               
a condition  of employment for  public employees to join  a labor                                                               
organization and  pay dues or  to not join a  labor organization.                                                               
In lieu  of membership due members  would pay a fee  for services                                                               
provided by the organization.   He related his understanding that                                                               
currently employees  are not required  to join unions but  can be                                                               
forced to pay union dues for  their services.  Thus, this section                                                               
would repeal the requirement to pay union dues or fees.                                                                         
3:53:51 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  CRAFT  referred   to  Section  4,  which   would  limit  the                                                               
applicability of  the bill to  prospective agreements  related to                                                               
collective bargaining.                                                                                                          
3:54:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  described a  scenario in  which employees                                                               
voted to join a  union by a majority but a  smaller group did not                                                               
want to  join.   He offered  his belief  that the  minority group                                                               
would obtain a benefit from the union even if they did not join.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  explained that employees could  be asked to                                                               
pay  a  representation fee,  which  could  only be  assessed  for                                                               
representation.   He  offered that  unions can  include fees  for                                                               
union organizing,  which seem  to be included  in the  union dues                                                               
and fees.   He related  that there are  ways to obtain  more than                                                               
just union dues.  He stressed  that members should not be charged                                                               
for things other than representation.                                                                                           
3:56:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  agreed he  has heard  similar complaints.                                                               
He related another  scenario in which the same  minority that did                                                               
not want to  join, had the right  not to join, but  the union was                                                               
effective  in obtaining  pay raises.   He  asked if  the minority                                                               
members would also obtain the pay raises.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  answered in practice that  has usually been                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  stated he  agreed in concept  but offered                                                               
separating that issue would be difficult in practicality                                                                        
3:57:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH referred  to  proposed  AS 23.10.447,  which                                                               
states  provisions  in Section  1  would  only apply  to  certain                                                               
employers  or employees  and any  provisions  that conflict  with                                                               
federal law  would not apply to  the extent of the  conflict.  He                                                               
then referred to page 2, line  24, which makes it against the law                                                               
for  someone  to strike,  picket,  or  boycott.   However,  under                                                               
federal law first  amendment rights are guaranteed.   He inquired                                                               
as to  whether the  sponsor would consider  striking some  of the                                                               
language in the bill.                                                                                                           
3:59:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO stated he would  have to consider whether it                                                               
would improve the bill.                                                                                                         
MR.  CRAFT explained  that proposed  AS 23.10.447  only makes  it                                                               
illegal  if the  purpose of  the strike,  picket, or  boycott, or                                                               
other action is to induce an  employer to enter into an agreement                                                               
that is  contrary to Section 1.   Thus, members could  strike for                                                               
many reasons,  but if it is  for the purpose of  entering into an                                                               
exclusive bargaining union, it would be illegal.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH asked how to  differentiate between valid and                                                               
non-valid  strikes  or pickets.    He  opined  that there  is  an                                                               
immediate conflict, noting he is not a lawyer.                                                                                  
4:00:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON announced  that it was not his intention  to move the                                                               
bill.  He  stated that the legislature is currently  under the 24                                                               
hour rule.  He offered in  addition to noticing, to contact three                                                               
of the unions to help ensure  union members are aware if the bill                                                               
is scheduled for another hearing.                                                                                               
4:01:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  summarized  freedoms  everyone  should  be                                                               
allowed.   He opined  that a person  has a right  to join  or not                                                               
join  a  union  under  the   U.S.  Constitution  and  the  Alaska                                                               
constitution.   He  said, "You  can't be  forced to  do something                                                               
against your  will.  And you  are forced when your  livelihood is                                                               
at  stake.   That  is forcing  you  to do  something  so I  think                                                               
constitutionally, if  the unions would  allow a person  to simply                                                               
not join,  I think  we wouldn't  be here.   But they  are forcing                                                               
people to join, and that's why we're here."                                                                                     
4:02:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN asked  whether  this issue  has been  deemed                                                               
unconstitutional.   He inquired  as to  whether the  U.S. Supreme                                                               
Court has issued a decision to that effect.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO referred  to the  clause for  the right  of                                                               
free association.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN asked  if the U.S. Supreme  Court has decided                                                               
that unions cannot "force" someone to join.                                                                                     
4:03:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  stated there  are currently 22  states that                                                               
are right  to work  states.   He offered  his belief  there would                                                               
have been 22 challenges.  He  assumed so, yet 22 states have this                                                               
law.  He said he was not sure.                                                                                                  
4:03:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  recalled  earlier  testimony  that  it  was                                                               
unconstitutional to force someone to join a union.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO answered no.  He  said that a person has the                                                               
right of free association and can  join a church, a rotary or not                                                               
join  a rotary  club.   A  person can  resign  from a  club.   He                                                               
clarified  that   no  community  can  require   everyone  in  the                                                               
community to join a certain business or a club.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  inquired whether the U.S.  Supreme Court has                                                               
ruled on right to work issues.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO said he was not certain.                                                                                   
4:05:16 PM                                                                                                                    
GREG  O'CLARAY, Juneau,  Alaska, stated  he is  a retired  former                                                               
official  for organized  labor and  is a  former Commissioner  of                                                               
Department  of Labor  & Workforce  Development  (DLWD) under  the                                                               
Murkowski administration.   He further stated  it is preposterous                                                               
that someone would  be fired for violating a bylaw.   Since 1967,                                                               
he  has been  in  organized labor  or worked  as  an official,  a                                                               
consultant, a  lobbyist, and as  commissioner.  He opined  he has                                                               
never  seen   a  union  bylaw  that   requires  compulsory  union                                                               
membership.  He said,  "Period.   That is  a fact.   That  is the                                                               
law."   Thus, the bill  is a misguided  effort.  These  laws have                                                               
been  widely known  as national  right to  work for  less or  for                                                               
free.    As  a  former  Commissioner of  Department  of  Labor  &                                                               
Workforce Development,  he stated that  he had access  to studies                                                               
that  showed the  comparison  between right  to  work states  and                                                               
union labor  in terms of the  economy.  He offered  that problems                                                               
exist worldwide with the economy.                                                                                               
4:07:50 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  O'CLARAY  said,  "This  is   the  absolute  worst  piece  of                                                               
legislation you  could be considering.   In our state  alone, the                                                               
fact  is that  our state  is primarily  organized in  the private                                                               
sector, in the construction industry."  He then said:                                                                           
     This legislation does not give  anyone rights.  What it                                                                    
     does is it  infringes on the rights of  people who form                                                                    
     associations to bargain  collectively, to be effective,                                                                    
     and  to deliver  for  their members.    This state  was                                                                    
     built  with union  labor; our  pipeline was  built with                                                                    
     union  labor; this  building we're  in  was built  with                                                                    
     union labor.   And I have  to tell you the  reason this                                                                    
     state has  been prosperous,  and come  out of  the dark                                                                    
     ages,  is because  of  organized  workers building  and                                                                    
     working together.                                                                                                          
MR. O'CLARAY opined  it is appalling that a bill  like this would                                                               
get a hearing.                                                                                                                  
4:09:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL thanked  him for  his service  to Alaska.                                                               
He stated  that he likes  the right to organize,  but understands                                                               
many in Alaska do  not.  He asked for the  percentage of those in                                                               
the state  under a bargaining  union and those in  private sector                                                               
that are outside union.                                                                                                         
MR.  O'CLARAY  related  the  percentage  of  union  and  nonunion                                                               
workers  depends on  the specific  industry.   He opined  that in                                                               
construction, most  crafts are organized, but  some are nonunion.                                                               
He stated  he is familiar with  a company in the  timber industry                                                               
that  is nonunion  company.   He  said, "Unions  do not  organize                                                               
workers.   Bad  employers organize  workers.   Because you  can't                                                               
organize  a union  membership or  working group  if they  are not                                                               
unhappy."   He made a  semi-educated guess,  that about 60  to 70                                                               
percent  of heavy  construction is  organized labor.   He  opined                                                               
that  since  the  pipeline  was  constructed  there  has  been  a                                                               
resurgence of  unorganized shops in the  smaller electrical trade                                                               
[shops], for example.  He estimated  that there is about 60 to 75                                                               
percent organized labor.   He stated that  the Associated General                                                               
Contractors,  a  nonunion association,  are  not  organized.   He                                                               
opined that  in the commercial  fishing industry,  the processors                                                               
are mostly  organized with cannery  workers.  However,  he stated                                                               
that most commercial  fishermen are not organized and  that he is                                                               
also  a  commercial fisherman.    He  opined that  most  Alaskans                                                               
associate with  some type of  organized bargaining unit,  but not                                                               
necessarily a union.  He  concluded by stating the private sector                                                               
could   be  a   50:50  split,   or  could   be  60:40   split  of                                                               
nonunion/union workers.                                                                                                         
4:13:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL   related  his  understanding   that  the                                                               
general number of  organized workers in the Interior  is about 35                                                               
percent.   He  related that  he  has a  mix and  both groups  are                                                               
important to him.  He stated  that he wants to protect the rights                                                               
of both  groups: the  nonunion members from  being pushed  by the                                                               
union, and the union members who have bargained in good faith.                                                                  
4:14:08 PM                                                                                                                    
LARRY  BELL,  Business   Manager,  International  Brotherhood  of                                                               
Electrical Workers, Local  1547, stated that he is  opposed to HB
37.  He stated that  he administers over 75 collective bargaining                                                               
agreements  around  the  state with  approximately  5,000  active                                                               
members  and 3,500  retirees  in  Alaska.   He  stated the  union                                                               
agreements require  that fees  be paid.   He stated  that members                                                               
cannot be mandated to become a  member if he/she does not wish to                                                               
become a  member, which is  current law.   He stated that  all of                                                               
the  collective bargaining  agreements are  operated accordingly.                                                               
He highlighted that their bylaws  are generated from the floor of                                                               
their meetings by the membership.  He  stated that he is a son of                                                               
nonunion electrician.   He noted that he  joined union membership                                                               
later  in life,  had no  prior attachments,  no political  inside                                                               
track.   He  stated that  he  rose through  the ranks  as a  hard                                                               
working apprentice, and got involved  in the process.  He further                                                               
stated that  he is  proud of  the union structure.   He  said, "I                                                               
speak  today in  opposition of  this bill,  not only  as a  union                                                               
leader, and  a working Alaskan,  but as  a veteran, a  father, an                                                               
American."    He   opined  it  is  representative   of  the  very                                                               
democratic process for  which my family has fought and  died.  He                                                               
concluded by  relating he  fights the fight  to work  for members                                                               
that  make the  union work.   Additionally,  padding agency  fees                                                               
does not exist,  he opined.  It is no  secret labor organizations                                                               
are  more heavily  regulated than  any other  entity.   He stated                                                               
that  the  fee structure  is  a  very  open and  transparent  fee                                                               
structure, which changes as directed by membership.                                                                             
4:17:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL related he has  a family member and a son-                                                               
in-law  that are  members  of  the IBEW.    He  recalled that  he                                                               
administers  several  contracts, without  mandatory  memberships.                                                               
He described  a scenario  in which a  majority of  employees that                                                               
decide  to organize  in  an electrical  company  with a  minority                                                               
membership.   He  asked for  clarification  of administration  of                                                               
minority  members  working  work   side  by  side  with  majority                                                               
MR.  BELL explained  that  majority rules.    Under the  National                                                               
Labor Relations  Act (NLRA), if  a minority, 30 percent  or more,                                                               
of employees want to  join a union the group has  a right to hold                                                               
an election.   If the majority votes to become  union, it becomes                                                               
a  union shop.    Those that  did  not want  the  union have  the                                                               
ability to join  as full members or to sign  on as fee objectors,                                                               
which  means they  will pay  the portion  of working  assessments                                                               
that goes solely  to negotiating.  He  recalled earlier testimony                                                               
mentioning some items were also  included in fees, which he noted                                                               
are expressly  prohibited by law.   He related  his understanding                                                               
that they are  not included.  Additionally, a  labor leader would                                                               
be foolish to include them in assessments, he opined.                                                                           
4:19:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  inquired  as   to  how  contentious  the                                                               
working relationship  is and  between the two  groups.   He asked                                                               
whether people  quit or find  a good working relationship  and if                                                               
any intimidation problems occur.                                                                                                
MR.  BELL related  that the  IBEW  is very  active in  organizing                                                               
unions.   Since  he  has  been a  union  organizer,  he has  been                                                               
business representative in  at least a half dozen  instances.  He                                                               
highlighted that  he could not  list a  single fee objector.   He                                                               
opined that  the reality is  those who initially objected  to the                                                               
union realized  through the negotiation  process that  they would                                                               
enjoy the investment.  He stated  that it does not happen through                                                               
intimidation, in  fact, the  unions are  legally barred  from it.                                                               
He related that  he simply does not have an  issue.  He explained                                                               
that  every working  Alaskan benefits  from  the union  movement,                                                               
whether they  are union or  not.   He surmised that  most workers                                                               
realize  the  benefits.    He   explained  he  grew  up  in  that                                                               
environment.    He  stated  that  his dad  looked  for  jobs  and                                                               
recognized the union  rate and how it affected him  as a nonunion                                                               
electrician.    He pointed  out  that  construction rates,  labor                                                               
laws, every working Alaska benefits.                                                                                            
4:22:01 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  stated that  he is attempting  to distill                                                               
the right  to work emphasis of  this bill.  He  stated that right                                                               
to work generally  rings true with him.  However,  he related his                                                               
understanding  that attempting  to make  this work  is difficult.                                                               
He related  a scenario  in which  a majority forms  a union.   He                                                               
inquired as to whether the  employer could hire a nonunion worker                                                               
who may provide a unique specialty.                                                                                             
MR.  BELL  answered  that  what  was  described  appeared  to  be                                                               
subcontracting ability.   He explained  that would be  covered in                                                               
the  specific collective  bargaining  agreement.   He offered  to                                                               
describe a  shop in which  some employees  want to join  a union,                                                               
but others  do not want  to be union.   At  the core of  right to                                                               
work and  the reason it has  been dubbed right to  work for less,                                                               
is it facilitates  those that do not want to  pay to avoid paying                                                               
any dues  for representation and  for negotiations.   This places                                                               
this burden  on those  who are  willing to pay  the dues.   Thus,                                                               
everyone benefits  from the workers  who pay the  dues, including                                                               
salaries and benefits.   Furthermore, the burden  shifts to fewer                                                               
and fewer  people.  He  offered to review  Texas law.   He opined                                                               
the  record is  clear, with  respect to  the 22  states that  are                                                               
right to  work states,  of the  benefits enjoyed  by construction                                                               
crafts before and after the law went into effect.                                                                               
4:24:34 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BELL,  in response to Representative  Coghill, explained that                                                               
he has  been through  two decertification  processes.   He stated                                                               
decertification and  de-authorizations are  similar.   He offered                                                               
that neither one was successful.   He highlighted that 30 percent                                                               
can also  file for a  de-certification.  He concluded  by stating                                                               
that he would like to speak in stern opposition to HB 37.                                                                       
4:25:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BELL, in response to  Representative Lynn, explained that the                                                               
reason  for  deciding   not  to  join  goes  back   to  the  work                                                               
environment.  He opined when workers  are seeking to join a union                                                               
that they  are not working in  a healthy environment.   He argued                                                               
that these employees are not being  treated as well as they could                                                               
be under  a union contract.   He said,  "We don't go  after those                                                               
employers."  He offered his  belief that the unions benefit union                                                               
and nonunion  employees.  He  stated any number of  reasons might                                                               
affect employees'  viewpoints including  what they have  heard on                                                               
the news, commercials, or on the Internet.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN asked  if he wanted to work in  a union shop,                                                               
what  reason  would someone  give  for  not joining  that  union,                                                               
assuming the union is already organized.                                                                                        
MR. BELL related  he does not encounter that  since the employees                                                               
want to be in the union.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  clarified that  he is directing  his remarks                                                               
to those who do not want to join the union.                                                                                     
MR. BELL surmised if the employees  are working in a shop, but do                                                               
not want to  be union, that he would not  usually hear from them.                                                               
Thus,  he stated  he  cannot  really answer  that  question.   He                                                               
offered his belief workers seek work  at a property that is union                                                               
since they are interested in the union jobs for the benefits.                                                                   
4:27:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  related his  understanding that  some unions                                                               
take  positions at  the  national level  on  "hot button"  social                                                               
issues  such nuclear  warfare, global  warming,  and whether  the                                                               
U.S.  should be  involved in  the  war in  Iraq.   He opined  the                                                               
issues do  not have anything  to do with health  benefits, wages,                                                               
or working conditions.   He offered his belief  that some workers                                                               
do not want  to join a union to subsidize  the platform the union                                                               
takes on  issues that do not  directly affect the workplace.   He                                                               
recognized that members could opt out.                                                                                          
MR. BELL clarified  that members do not opt out  of the political                                                               
portion  of  membership,  but  actually opt  in  to  support  the                                                               
political platform.  He explained  that the union membership sets                                                               
the direction.  He acknowledged  that many members challenge what                                                               
union should be involved in politically.   He offered that if the                                                               
union is not  involved in issues such as the  right to work issue                                                               
today, that all members would feel the negative impact.                                                                         
4:30:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    CHENAULT    asked    for    clarification    on                                                               
decertification since 30 percent can call for an election.                                                                      
MR. BELL  explained it is the  flip side of organization.   Thus,                                                               
if 30  percent show support  for a union,  the union can  hold an                                                               
election.    And  if  30 percent  petition  to  decertify,  under                                                               
federal law an  election is held to determine if  a majority want                                                               
4:30:51 PM                                                                                                                    
JAMES FLAKE  stated that he has  been a member of  Laborers Local                                                               
942 union.   He  related he is  trying to understand  HB 37.   He                                                               
offered that if  a person did not vote for  Governor Palin or for                                                               
President Obama,  what are his/her  concessions.   He highlighted                                                               
that people who  did not support the candidates,  still have them                                                               
as  their leaders.   He  related  his own  circumstances that  he                                                               
worked in  a shop as a  welder.  The employees  elected for union                                                               
representation.  He said, "I didn't  vote for the union, but when                                                               
it came down to the vote, it  went union.  I joined the [Plumbers                                                               
and] Pipefitters  [union].   Our whole  government is  founded on                                                               
majority rules.   If a  majority wants something, and  you're not                                                               
on that side, then you've got the  option.  Either join or go on.                                                               
They're a lot  of nonunion companies in this town.   If you don't                                                               
want to  be union, you  don't have to be."   He related  that the                                                               
benefits  are representation  and wages.   He  opined that  it is                                                               
nice  to have  representation so  when problems  arise the  union                                                               
representative irons  it out such as  if an employee is  asked to                                                               
do something outside  the scope of their job duties.   He further                                                               
opined that  without representation if  the boss tells you  to do                                                               
something and you do not do it, "you're down the road."                                                                         
4:33:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. FLAKE  surmised that  if the  right to  work bill  passes, he                                                               
could be on a job being paid $28  per hour, and if the boss wants                                                               
him  to perform  flagging duties,  but the  nonunion worker  will                                                               
perform the  flagging for $15 per  hour, that he may  be asked to                                                               
take a wage reduction.  He  opined that he has observed companies                                                               
using noncertified  flaggers, which he  opined is dangerous.   He                                                               
stressed  the union  guarantees  that the  person performing  the                                                               
work is qualified  to do the job.   He said, "That's  why we have                                                               
union contracts.  And I still  want to know what concession I get                                                               
if you guys pass this bill."                                                                                                    
4:34:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MAX MIELKE,  Business Manager,  Plumbers and  Pipefitters, stated                                                               
that he has been a former  pipefitter for 34 years, worked on the                                                               
Trans-Alaska Pipeline  System, and  served as a  business manager                                                               
for the  Plumbers and Pipefitters  union, which  represents about                                                               
100 members.   He  asked to  go on record  that the  Plumbers and                                                               
Pipefitters strongly  oppose HB  37.   He opined  that at  a time                                                               
when the nation  and Alaska wants to stimulate  the economy, that                                                               
this would have the opposite effect.   He further opined that the                                                               
bill would  affect everyone.  He  referred to the U.S.  Bureau of                                                               
Labor statistics  he found.   He related that the  average worker                                                               
in right  to work states earns  $5,000 per year less.   He opined                                                               
that right  to work  would hurt  Alaska businesses  since workers                                                               
earning less would  spend less.  He stated that  21 percent fewer                                                               
people have  health care benefits  in right  to work states.   He                                                               
provided additional conditions in right  to work states such that                                                               
residents  of  these  states have  higher  poverty,  more  infant                                                               
mortality,  lower  Workers'  Compensation  benefits,  and  higher                                                               
death and injuries.   He stated these are just  a few reasons why                                                               
right to work legislation would  be another backward step for the                                                               
struggling middle class  in this country and this  great state of                                                               
Alaska.   He reiterated the  Plumbers and  Pipefitters opposition                                                               
to HB 37.                                                                                                                       
4:36:36 PM                                                                                                                    
GEORGE  MCGUAN, Representative,  Laborers  Local  942, stated  he                                                               
found  similar   statistics.    He  offered   his  personal  work                                                               
experience.   He stated that  he has been  in the union  since he                                                               
was 19  years old.   He also worked in  a nonunion job  in Texas.                                                               
He further  stated that  when his  employer needed  laborers they                                                               
went to the corner and selected  a group of laborers that fit the                                                               
crew best.   The  workers were  paid $10  per hour  in cash.   He                                                               
highlighted  this does  not happen  here.   He said,  "I hope  it                                                               
never does."   Additionally, he  had an opportunity  to volunteer                                                               
as a Peace  Corps volunteer, and paid his union  dues during that                                                               
time.   He offered he  was not  subject to any  repercussions for                                                               
his time serving  in the Peace Corps.  He  stressed the union has                                                               
never  forced him  to do  anything he  did not  want to  do.   He                                                               
offered his belief  that higher injuries result in  right to work                                                               
states is due to a lack of  training.  He highlighted that he has                                                               
been afforded  training, which is all  paid from union dues.   He                                                               
said, "What it  does in my personal opinion; there  are no better                                                               
workers  in the  world than  United States  union workers.   I've                                                               
seen it - both sides of it."                                                                                                    
4:39:13 PM                                                                                                                    
DIMITRI CASSERI, Director, Government  Affairs, National Right to                                                               
Work   Committee,  stated   that  the   right  to   work  citizen                                                               
organization consisting  of 2.2 million workers  dedicated to the                                                               
elimination of  compulsory union  participation.  He  stated that                                                               
HB 37  would guarantee working men  and women in Alaska  have the                                                               
right to  decide for  themselves whether  a labor  union deserves                                                               
their financial support.   He referred to  his written testimony,                                                               
but  stated  he  would  like  to  address  misconceptions  stated                                                               
earlier.  He  said, "Yes, no one  is forced to join  a union, but                                                               
in a non  right to work state, a forced  union state like Alaska,                                                               
individuals  are  forced to  pay  dues  to  a  union, up  to  and                                                               
including 100 percent  of the union membership dues  just for the                                                               
privilege  of keeping  their job."    He emphasized  that no  one                                                               
should be  forced to pay  union dues or  fees just to  keep their                                                               
job.  He  provided some examples, such as a  good friend, who was                                                               
a  secretary/treasurer for  his  union.   He  participated in  an                                                               
exchange program  in Alabama and  was amazed what unions  did for                                                               
their members.   He related that his friend reported  this to the                                                               
local union,  but they did not  care.  He opined  that the reason                                                               
is  union members  are forced  to pay  dues whether  or not  they                                                               
receive benefits.   He highlighted his friend  decided that right                                                               
to work is  the way to go.   He offered his belief  that the best                                                               
way  to get  union members  to  join a  union is  to provide  the                                                               
employees with services.  He  related his understanding that some                                                               
of  the statistics  mentioned in  previous testimony  were pretty                                                               
inaccurate.   He provided some  statistics, such as  according to                                                               
U.S. Administration on Child and  Families, welfare recipients in                                                               
right to  work states are  7.3 per  1,000, but in  Alaska welfare                                                               
recipients  are 16.3  per  1,000.   He  opined  that more  people                                                               
collect government subsidies and  government assistance in forced                                                               
union states like  Alaska.  He referred to wages  and stated that                                                               
while union workers  are paid more, the cost of  living is higher                                                               
in forced union  states.  Alaska has  a high cost of  living.  He                                                               
opined that  workers in right  to work states actually  take home                                                               
$5,000 more  than forced  union state  workers, once  basic needs                                                               
are subtracted from their wages due to fewer costs.                                                                             
4:43:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. CASSERI stated that he supports  this bill.  He stressed that                                                               
this will bring jobs to Alaska  and it will keep the young people                                                               
from leaving.   He recalled  that 102,000 families  left Michigan                                                               
with  many   of  them  relocating   to  Charlotte,  NC   to  gain                                                               
employment.   He opined that  many college students  leave forced                                                               
union states to  move to right to work states  to start a family,                                                               
get a good job,  and make a good living.  He  opined that they do                                                               
not  stay since  they cannot  make a  good living  in the  forced                                                               
union states.                                                                                                                   
4:44:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   COGHILL   related    a   scenario   with   union                                                               
organization with  nonunion workers.   He inquired as  to whether                                                               
the nonunion members are required to  pay union dues, and if they                                                               
receive the same collective bargaining agreements.                                                                              
MR.  CASSERI stated  that the  nonunion workers  will obtain  the                                                               
same  benefits  that a  union  worker  would receive.    However,                                                               
employees who  do not want  the union  to negotiate for  them for                                                               
benefits,  under federal  law, are  forced  to accept  them.   He                                                               
stated that under federal law, unions  can also opt out and offer                                                               
members only bargaining,  a practice that was  prevalent prior to                                                               
1960.   Since then, the unions  have elected to be  the exclusive                                                               
bargaining  agent for  everyone  in the  workplace.   Thus,  they                                                               
negotiate  for  union  and  nonunion  members.    He  offered  an                                                               
example,  such that  every state  has  problems obtaining  enough                                                               
math and  science teachers.   He stated  that the union  sets the                                                               
salary, but  does not  allow any additional  salary for  math and                                                               
science.  He  offered his belief that math and  science should be                                                               
receiving more  funds since the  demand is greater.   He stressed                                                               
that  an underperforming  worker  benefits,  but over  performing                                                               
workers probably receive less than what they are worth.                                                                         
4:48:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   COGHILL   asked   for   clarification   on   the                                                               
qualification of workers, especially in the trade fields.                                                                       
MR. CASSERI  stated that economically the  fastest growing states                                                               
are right  to work states.   He referred to  American Legislative                                                               
Exchange Council (ALEC) lists "rich  and poor" states.  He opined                                                               
that 9  of 10  are right  to work states.   Additionally,  all of                                                               
bottom ones are forced union states.   He offered his belief that                                                               
a  business owner  would look  for  high quality  employees.   He                                                               
stated  that  Charlotte,  NC  is  the  number  one  recipient  of                                                               
Michigan workers.  He said:                                                                                                     
     Well,  they're  stealing, basically  the  well-educated                                                                    
     young  families  to come  down  there,  to work  there.                                                                    
     They're coming  down there to  look for jobs.   They're                                                                    
     hiring good  people.   People are  mobile.   They don't                                                                    
     have a problem  finding qualified, competent employees.                                                                    
     And I don't think anyone  would leave Michigan to go to                                                                    
     North  Carolina to  take a  50  percent pay  cut or  25                                                                    
     percent pay cut.  They're  going because they can get a                                                                    
     well paying  job down  there.   They're costs  are less                                                                    
     and they're treated better.                                                                                                
4:49:52 PM                                                                                                                    
BILL WARREN, Retiree,  stated he is a retired  member of Plumbers                                                               
and Pipefitters  Local 367.   He expressed  his opposition  to HB
37.  He opined that it will not  affect the box stores or the mom                                                               
and pop businesses,  but it is aimed at the  large commercial and                                                               
industrial jobs.   He stated  that he  has worked on  large union                                                               
jobs since  1960 in Alaska and  does not see anything  wrong with                                                               
the existing  labor laws.  He  offered his belief that  he made a                                                               
good living in  Alaska, raised his family here,  and has retired.                                                               
He has a nice  home, a good pension, and health  care.  He opined                                                               
that he  is not a  financial drain on  the community.   He stated                                                               
right to  work is nothing new.   He further opined  that right to                                                               
work states are primarily located in  the South and in Texas.  He                                                               
recalled working in Texas  as a young man and the  low wages.  He                                                               
stressed that  right to work  states have lower wages,  have less                                                               
health care per  capita, with more poverty and crime.   He stated                                                               
it has not  been demonstrated that Alaska would  gain by adopting                                                               
the right  to work bill.   He referred  to the TAPS  project, any                                                               
Alaskan that  wanted a  job, had  a job.   He recalled  his union                                                               
trained  many  apprentices for  skilled  jobs.   He  opined  that                                                               
having the workers  on the same job, making  different pay, under                                                               
different  conditions  is  bad.     He  suggested  that  Alaskans                                                               
supporting  right  to  work   states  should  visit  Mississippi,                                                               
Louisiana,  or Georgia  to observe  how their  citizens fare.  He                                                               
said,  "I think  this bill,  along with  HB 185  is an  effort to                                                               
break  the unions  in Alaska  and will  cause a  great amount  of                                                               
discontent and lower the standard of living for us."                                                                            
4:52:52 PM                                                                                                                    
JARED HAMLIN,  International Union  of Operating  Engineers Local                                                               
302, stated  that he has  been a union  member for six  years and                                                               
prior  to  that  he  was  nonunion  worker.    He  also  owned  a                                                               
manufacturing  company  that  was  also  nonunion  company.    He                                                               
offered his  belief that both are  needed in Alaska.   He offered                                                               
that both union and nonunion jobs are needed.   He said:                                                                        
     This  proposed  bill   is  definitely  unnecessary  and                                                                    
     untimely looking at our current  economic crisis.  Just                                                                    
     real   quick,  just   four  days   ago  was   the  41st                                                                    
     anniversary  of  the  assassination  of  Martin  Luther                                                                    
     King.  I wanted to read  a quote here real quick.  This                                                                    
     is a  quote that  came from his  speech that  was given                                                                    
     the day  before his assassination.   He wrote,  "In our                                                                    
     glorious fight for civil rights,  we must guard against                                                                    
     being fooled  by false slogans  such as right  to work.                                                                    
     It  is a  law to  rob us  of our  civil rights  and job                                                                    
     rights.   It is supported by  southern segregationists,                                                                    
     who  are trying  to keep  us from  achieving our  civil                                                                    
     rights and  our right  of equal  job opportunity.   Its                                                                    
     purpose is to  destroy labor unions and  the freedom of                                                                    
     collective  bargaining by  which  unions have  improved                                                                    
     wages and  working conditions  for everyone.   Wherever                                                                    
     these  laws have  been  passed wages  are  lower.   Job                                                                    
     opportunities are fewer and there  are no civil rights.                                                                    
     We do not intend to let them  do this to us.  We demand                                                                    
     this fraud be stopped.  Our weapon is our vote.                                                                            
MR. HAMLIN  provided U.S. Department  of Labor  statistics census                                                               
of fatal  occupational injuries from  2006.  The  US-DOL compared                                                               
right to work states versus non-right  to work states.  What they                                                               
found was  in right to  work states  the fatalities rate  was 5.9                                                               
workers per  100,000 compared to  3.8 fatalities in  non-right to                                                               
work states.   If right to  work was enacted in  Alaska, using an                                                               
arbitrary number of 400,000 workers,  approximately 8 more people                                                               
would die per year.                                                                                                             
4:56:23 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  SOUTER  stated  that  he  is  a  member  of  the  Anchorage                                                               
Independent  Longshore Union  #1, which  is an  independent union                                                               
affiliated  with  Teamsters  Local  959.    He  offered  that  he                                                               
recently retired from  Public Employees Local 71.   He stated one                                                               
thing that has been overlooked is  that for the working poor, the                                                               
unions offer an opportunity for  people to pull themselves out of                                                               
poverty and  into an average  standard of living.   He reiterated                                                               
that the  union provides  the mechanism  to do  that.   He stated                                                               
that unions  offer a living  wage.  Additionally,  across America                                                               
that is  a balance  of power  between workers  versus management.                                                               
He emphasized that unions provide a  better balance of power.  He                                                               
recalled speaking  to the NLRB  and opined  that the board  has a                                                               
mechanism  to assist  members in  opting out  of the  union.   He                                                               
related  his  understanding  that  employees would  pay  for  the                                                               
benefits of union  personnel who negotiate contracts  but they do                                                               
not  have to  belong.    He emphasized  that  the unions  provide                                                               
workers with an opportunity to get a fair wage.                                                                                 
JAKE  QUAKENBUSH,   Assistant  Business   Manager,  International                                                               
Brotherhood  of Electrical  Workers  (IBEW), stated  that he  has                                                               
been a  business manager for  IBEW for 18  years, and has  been a                                                               
member for  32 years.   He said that right  to work seems  like a                                                               
great slogan.  He  said the phrase is a catchy  phrase, but it is                                                               
not true.  He stated  that right  to work  does not  give workers                                                               
rights, create jobs,  or provide benefits.  He said,  "It is such                                                               
a misleading  statement that when  right to work  legislation was                                                               
being spread  through Washington,  the state supreme  courts said                                                               
the phrase right  to work could not even be  listed on the ballot                                                               
because  it was  so  falsely  describing of  its  contents."   He                                                               
opined that the right to work  movement led by the national Right                                                               
to  Work Committee  on  the  East Coast  is  dumping millions  of                                                               
dollars into  breaking unions.   He said, "The national  Right to                                                               
Work Committee exists  for one reason.  And that's  to weaken and                                                               
break  ultimately  their  goal  is  to  break  unions  and  their                                                               
workers.   They  think  that  by driving  away  unions and  their                                                               
workers, they  will help  the economy.   Right  to work  is wrong                                                               
again."  He related his understanding  that it is not the state's                                                               
role to protect  unions, but it should protect  workers in Alaska                                                               
and the economy.   He opined states that have  right to work laws                                                               
have  a  negative  impact  on  all  their  workers  -  union  and                                                               
nonunion.  In  Alaska, workers have a legal right  to form unions                                                               
in their workplace.   They do this through  a democratic process.                                                               
Workers understand they will pay a  fee for services.  He related                                                               
that people  do not have  to become  members, but must  pay their                                                               
share of  dues or fees for  the service.  He  further opined that                                                               
the union  has a  legal duty  to represent  all employees  in the                                                               
workplace.   He highlighted that with  right to work, no  one has                                                               
to  pay for  the representation.   He  said, "It  doesn't take  a                                                               
rocket  scientist to  see  that  this system  is  going to  break                                                               
down."   He inquired as  to how many organizations  would survive                                                               
to support  the employee if dues  or fees were not  required.  He                                                               
pointed out  that National Rifle  Association (NRA)  requires its                                                               
members to  pay dues, as  do Chamber  of Commerce members  and so                                                               
should  all  employees who  choose  to  work under  a  collective                                                               
bargaining  agreement with  an employer  and a  union.   Alaska's                                                               
economic  success  does not  include  right  to work.    Instead,                                                               
economic   success   includes   things  like   partnership   with                                                               
corporations and  unions under collective  bargaining agreements.                                                               
He said,  "Innovation and  hard work "8  to 8" as  we say  in the                                                               
trade.   The  future of  our economy  depends on  a fair  balance                                                               
between "labor, business,  and government".  The  future does not                                                               
lie with the right  to work.  They would like  to tip the balance                                                               
away from  fairness and partnerships  by distracting  unions from                                                               
the real work of representing workers.   They want things so one-                                                               
sided that workers are not even at the table."  He opined that                                                                  
right to work is a misleading and catchy phrase.  He reiterated                                                                 
his strongly opposition to HB 37.                                                                                               
CHAIR OLSON announced that HB 37 would be held over for further                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 HB89 ver A.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 89
01 HB144 ver A.pdf HJUD 1/29/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 144
02 HB89 Sectional Analysis ver A.PDF HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 89
03 HB89 Fiscal Note DOLWF 012809.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 89
04 HB89 Transmittal Letter House.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 89
05 HB89 29 USC 725.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 89
06 HB89 29 USC 3003.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 89
02 HB144 Sponsor Statement .pdf HJUD 1/29/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 144
03 HB144 Sectional Analysis.pdf HJUD 1/29/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 144
04 HB144 Fiscal Note -LAW-CIV-4-2-09.pdf HJUD 1/29/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 144
05 HB144 UPC Definition.pdf HJUD 1/29/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 144
06 HB144 Letter of support - Hompesch & Evans.pdf HJUD 1/29/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 144
07 HB89 DOLWD Letter 3-11-09.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 89
08 HB89 Letters of support.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 89
09 HB89 Letters of support_2.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 89
10 HB89 Letters of support_3.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 89
11 HB89 Proposed amendment A.1.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 89
17 HB37 NILRR article - Stan Greer.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
16 HB37 Letters of support or opposition-assorted.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
18 HB37 Letters of opposition-assorted.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
19 HB37 Letters of opposition-assorted_2.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
20 HB37 Letters of support or opposition-assorted (2).pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
20 HB37 Letters of support or opposition-assorted (2).pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
21 HB37 Letters of support or opposition-assorted_2.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
22 HB37 Letters of support or opposition-assorted_3.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
23 HB37 Letters of support or opposition-assorted_4.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
24 HB37 Letter of support or opposition-assorted_5.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
25 HB37 Letter of support or opposition-assorted_6.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
26 HB37 Sign in sheets L&C 4-8-09.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37
27 HB37 Written Testimony by Dimitri Kesari - HL&C 4-8-09.pdf HL&C 4/8/2009 3:15:00 PM
HB 37