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ED C. BURRIS Texas Manufacturing Assn. Photo by Russell Lee We will serve no will hew hard to the group or party but truth as we find it and the right as we see it. The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth. Thoreau ,oeral Weekly Newspaper Vol. 50 _,.1;XAS, APRIL 11, 1958 10c per copy No. 2 A Texas Debate: The Union Shop A Person Forced to-Pay For Work Is Not Free Right to Work a Fraud; Majority Rule IS Fair BY ED C. BURRIS Executive Vice President, Texas Manufacturers Association HOUSTON The “union shop” violates the fundamentals of a basic human rightthe right to seek and secure employment and hold a job without the necessity of paying a toll to anyone. The organization which I serve is guided in its action by a basic principle which reads: “The Texas Manufacturers Association is dedicated to the principle of the freedom, the dignity, and the inalienable rights of the individual, as set forth in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” With this principle I strongly concur, and it cannot be reconciled with the “union shop.” An examination of the “union shop” and how it would affect the individual seems most appropriate here. is . a “union shop”? A What “union shop” is nothing but a closed shop postponed for 30 days. The closed shop would force a worker to join a union and pay a toll in order to get a job; the “union shop” would .force him to pay that same toll in order to keep a job. A person is not free and cannot retain individual dignity if forced against his will to join an organization and pay a toll for the privilege of working. Many people apparently, and understandably, confuse the term “union shop” with the term “unionized shop.” They sound alike, but there is a world of difference. Maurice R. Franks, former editor of the Railroad Workers Journal and former union organizer, said: “A unionized shop, is a place of business wherein thmajority of the workers have designated a particular union to represent them in bargaining with their employer. “A union shop, on the contrary, is nothing more than a clause within a union contractwith or without the worker’s consent which requires of the employer that no one but a dues-paying union member can continue to hold his job after a specified period of time has elapsed.” … Its purpose is to “increase and guarantee union membership” and to “force such worker to pay a toll for the ‘right to work.’ ” Precious Right The Supreme Court in holding against a California law just after World War II said: “It requires no argument to show that the right to work for a living in the common occupations of the community is of the very essence of the personal freedom and opportunity that it was the Amendment to secure.” Justice Douglas as late as 1954 said, “The right to work, I had assumed, was the most precious liberty that man possesses.” The “union shop” would deny a person that precious, inalienable “right to work” for a living un less he paid a toll, in the form of initiation fees and membership dues, to the union that had a contract with the employer for whom he was working. He would thus be forced to join a unionforced to accept a union leadership he may dislike and not of his own choosing. The “union shop” is a “yellowdog contract” in reverse. Many years ago some employers would force an employee to sign an agreement that he would not join a union as long as he was employed by the company. These became known as “yellow-dog contracts.” Organized labor fought. them bitterly, and assisted in persuading Congress to pass a law forbidding the practice. Now labor union leaders are working ceaselessly to subject the workers to their own version of a “yellow-dog contract.” They would include the “union shop” clause in as many labor-management contracts as possible, and would legalize the Practice in areas where it is now outlawed, These labor leaders are thus in effect reversing the fieldby saying to the worker, You must agree to join a union if you are to be employed, and you must join and remain a Member, and in addition pay a toll to the union coffers, if you want to continue being employed. Since the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act in the early thirties, unions have grown. The policies of the national government have been favorable to that growth. Much of this growth has been voluntary, and that is as it should be. So long as a worker’s relationship with a union is kept on a voluntary basis, which includes the right to quit a union, and so long as union members have voice in selecting their own leaders, there can be no valid objection to a healthy growth. But when a union leader and a management representative sit at a bargaining table and barter away, through a “union shop” agreement, the rights of the third person, the worker, that is wrong. When they deny him the right to refuse to join a union and force him, against his will, to pay union dues, they are violating his basic freedom and his right to liberty. Especially is this so when the worker had no voice in choosing the union or the union leadership. It is an undemocratic act and is a violation of basic American precepts. The Select Investigating Committee of the Senate, the courts, and union members as well have disclosed immeasurable need for a “house cleaning” in many labor unions. The “House of Labor” can only be cleansed by the.rank-andfile union members. Their cleansing material will have to be their own free choice, based upon the right to quit a union or refuse to join a union or to participate in a strike, picketing, or a boycott. To put it more succinctly, they must be free to deal with their union without fear of losing their \(Continued on Page JERRY HOLLEMAN Texas State AFL-CIO Background Of the Debate AUSTIN One of the issues most clearly dividing the business world from union labor is the union shop. In Texas, and in 17 other states, the union shop is prohibited by a “right to work” law. Maintenance of this law is among the first legislative priorities of the business community; its repeal is earnestly sought by labor. Since its beginning the Observer has been devoted to full discussion of the real issues of the state. Accordingly we asked Ed Burris, executive vice president of the Texas Manufacturers Association, and Jerry Holleman, president of the Texas State AFLCIO, to prepare articles setting forth their points of view on the union shop. Burris and Holleman are the chief lobbyists for their respec. tive associations during legislative sessions in Austin; as senior policy-makers they speak for their organizations. It was agreed in advance that neither contributor would see the other’s article before publication and that each contribution would be published as written. The Observer hopes now Lnd then to publish other debates on important issues. BY JERRY It. HOLLEMAN President, Texas State AFL-CIO AUSTIN In considering the so-called “Right to Work” law we should first dispose of the fraudulent title. There is no such thing as a “right to work.” No man has the right to any specific job. Any right that he might claim to a job is exceeded by the prior right of the employer not to hire and the prior right of the employer to fire. No right can exist when there is no ability to lay hold to that right. I defy any person to lay hold to a right to work. Because of its dishonest title, this law has been shrouded in fraud from the very beginning. It might more properly be called the “right to fire” law, since it does not guarantee to anybody a right to work but actually makes one limitation on the right to fire. Under Texas law an employer may fire an employee for almost any causejust or unjust. He may fire him for being ‘Coo tall, or too short, too dark or too light, for being a Catholic or a Jew or a Protestant or a German or an Irishman. He may firs him because of the color of his hair or the color of his eyes, but he may not require him to be a union member. The only real limitation on the employer’s right to fire must be contained in the employment contract or, as is usually the case, in a collective bargaining contract. Collective bargaining contracts generally provide that employees can only be fired for just cause, and that cause may be a subject of arbitration. Under such a collective contract the employer would not be permitted to fire an employee for frivolous and discriminatory reasons but could only fire him because of his performance on the jobinefficiency, insubordination, etc. Weakens Workers Before the passage of this law, such collective bargaining, contracts were reinforced with union security provisions requiring, in some cases, that all employees should be members of the union, or, in other cases, that any employee who joined the union had to remain a. member as a condition of his employment, and various other forms of union security. This gave employees additional collective strength and enabled them to effectively limit the employer’s privilege to fire for frivolous and discriminatory reasons. The more effective the union, the stronger the collective strength of the employees, and the more ability they had to limit the employer’s absolute right to fire. The true purpose of the so-called “right to work” law was to attempt to weaken the collective strength of the employees and thereby to release the employer from all limitations of his right to fire. This noble sounding law is not to protect the employees from all of the frivolous and discriminatory reasons for which an em ployer might fire them, but it attacks only the one point which would add to their strength and their ability to enforce the other limitations on the employer’s right to fire. If the advocates of the “right to work” law really have the welfare of the employee at heart, as they so loudly profess, then why have they not included in the law prohibition of some of the ridiculous “causes” for which an employer may fire an employee. The Texas “right to fire” law begins with a statement of policy of the State of Texas”The inherent right of a person to … bargain freely with his employer, individually or collectively … shall not be denied by any organization of whatever nature.” This established the right to bargain as an individual right. This is a contradiction of the federal policy where majority rights only are recognized. Under federal law the majority of employees in a bargaining unit may decide to bargain individually, whereupon “no union” is certified, or, the majority m#y choose to bargain collectively, whereupon their organization is certified as the collective bargaining agent for all employees in that unit. Federal law is based upon majority rights to decide the question of collective or individual bargaining. Despite the grandiose statement in the law that no person shall be denied employment because of membership in a union, in actual practice the promise amounts to nothing whatsoever. No enforcement procedure is provided, and the only recourse left to the individual discharged for union membership is to go into court. Experience has shown that this is a completely unworkable method of obtaining justice. On the other hand, the employer seeking court action against a union on the grounds it is picketing for a closed or union shop, is almost without exception able to obtain ‘his injunction. Federal law declares the closed shop illegal but permits the union shop and all other forms of union security. It once required an election in order to have a union shop but, when 92% of these voted for the union shop, this requirement was removed. But Texas is different. Even if every single employee wants it, even if the employer wants it, even though everyone involved wants it Texas law prohibits any form of union security and imposes a mandatory open shop. Lately, proponents of the law have taken advantage of the McClellan Committee hearings and proposed this law for the whole country as a cure for dishonesty and unethical conduct. This is as fraudulent as the law’s name. Honesty and integrity are not even slightly affected by union security. Texas proponents of this law have argued that it created a peaceful labor-management climate and attracts business to Texas. Chambers of Commerce have even advertised the Texas anti-labor laws in their efforts to \(Continued on