Senator Tim Kaine: employers stonewalling against unions is like trying to overturn an election

Senator Kaine during a July 22 Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee hearing on the PRO ActKnowGoodMedia

Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia finds it “outrageous” that employees can vote to unionize and companies can still hold them back.

"When workers hold a union election and they vote in favor of having a union, “I think it’s outrageous that having lost an election, the employer is able to stonewall for sometimes years at a time and not get a contract. I mean it's like trying to overturn the results of an election. We saw an effort to do that here on January 6. It wasn't too good," Kaine said during the July 22 HELP committee hearing on the PRO Act.

If employees decide they want a union that should be able to be converted into a contract in a reasonable amount of time, Kaine declared.

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, commonly called the PRO Act, is a body of legislation that aims to expand access to unions and increase protection for union workers and those trying to unionize.

Senator Mike Braun of Arizona co-chaired the committee hearing, filling in for ranking member Richard Burr. In his opening remarks, Braun said he’s worried the PRO Act is another of Washington’s one-size-fits-all measures, and this one could place small businesses "in peril."

Anything that does that is “a misguided effort from the top down, and in my opinion, is not needed,” he said.

But Kaine said his father ran an ironworking shop in Kansas that averaged five to nine employees who were union members. And from his experience, “union and small business worked just fine.”

Kaine supports non-union employees paying unions

The PRO Act will allow unions to require non-union employees to pay fees, an element Kaine supports.

He explained it’s unfair that under the current law when some employees are unionized their union must negotiate for all the workers on that job.

Explaining his take on non-union members having to pay up even if they don’t join the union, Kaine said, “You’re getting the pension, the salary, and the healthcare benefits that the union is negotiating for you. So it “seems to me to be very, very fair” for such non-union workers to pay "agency fees" for that representation.

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