Hardball | December 11, 2012
>>> 10,000 demonstrators took to the michigan state capital todays a labor supporters protested two right to work bills in the state long known for its proud union history. the bills would mean workers would not have to join a union or be forced to pay deuce, and those bills are headed to the governor's desk right now. republican governor rick snyder had in the past said right to work with a difficult advice sif issue but plans on signing the legs into law making michigan the 24th right to work state . bob king is president of the united autoworkers. scott hager strum is michigan state director for americans for prosperity . let me show you with the governor said earlier today when he was a guest on " andrea mitchell reports."
>> the way i viewed it, it's on the table, it's a hot issue. let's show some leadership so i stepped up to say when i review it, i think it's a good thing. it's about being pro-worker, giving freedom of choice to workers, secondly in the earlier report, it's about economic development . we will get more and better jobs coming to michigan because we're going to be more competitive. it's important to make a distinction with wisconsin and ohio. that was about collective bargaining . that was about the relationship between employers and unions. this has nothing to do with that. right to work with about the relationship between the union and workers, and this is about being pro-workers, giving workers the choice. if anything, this should encourage unions to be more responsive to workers in terms of saying they need to show a value proposition of why they're a great place to join.
>> bob king , thank you, sir, mr. president, for joining us tonight. a lot of viewers are well younger because they don't remember the fights after world war ii and all that fight about right to work and whether states should have a right to pass these laws. make your case quite simply. why should a worker be forced to join a union ?
>> well, let's start out with the facts. no worker in america is forced to join a union . the national labor re- elections act say that any worker -- our uaw constitution says any worker who does not want to be a member, does not have to be. they still work. the question here really is do citizens in a community pay their fair share of the police, the fire, the snow removal , any of the services they get from that community? yes, they do. i want to ask governor snyder , is he --
>> no, no. bob, let me ask you the question. i know you had fun with me on that one. in other words, you have to pay the equivalent of the dues even if you're not a member of the union , right? you're forced to do it in order to work.
>> you don't have to be a member of the union . so it's not about freedom to be in the union or not.
>> why should you be forced to pay the equivalent of union dues in order to work?
>> you're responsible to pay your fair share of the cost of representation. if two workers are on the line, they both get the benefit of the contract, they get the raises, the pension, the health care . if you say one worker doesn't have to pay, you're giving him a raise. you're creating divisiveness on the shop floor. everybody should pay their fair share . that's kind of an american principle. we're fighting about that in washington on the fiscal cliff, too.
>> let me -- last question for you, suppose the republicans they don't like the uaw 's liberal point 6 view on politics.
>> none of our dues dollars goes to -- very, very little. we raise our money for politics through voluntary contributions. the money that members pay in dues goes to pay for the representation they get.
>> okay. well said. let me go to mr. hagerstrum. why are republicans and your organization against unions because this is pretty much a union gutting operation. you would like to see -- you work for the koch brothers. they don't like unions. why are you working for them?
>> you know, i work for americans for prosperity . this is not about the koch brothers.
>> who is paying your salary?
>> i work for americans for prosperity --
>> who is paying your salary?
>> americans for prosperity . i came here to talk about the policy and --
>> who is paying your salary to do it? who is paying your salary to do what you're doing right now?
>> i just told you. americans for prosperity .
>> what is that?
>> we've been advocating -- i'm sorry?
>> who is paying you to do this today?
>> i just told you. americans for prosperity .
>> you're not answering my questions.
>> we're a nonprofit.
>> i just told you what the answer is. i came here to talk about policy.
>> i want to know why.
>> my family are union workers and they had to leave the state a long time ago. because i care about this issue. it's very personal. my parents had to leave the state a long time ago because they were union workers. michigan was a rich state . today we're a poor state . we want to return michigan to economic growth and we know this governor and legislative leaders are dedicated to this. what's special about this these people that demonstrated here today, when this passes they can still belong to a union . they still have that free choice . nothing changes for them. this is a win/win for everybody.
>> so you're not -- just to make this clear, mr. king, you're the president of an international union . you were elected and you serve and you get paid by the union . i understand that. i just want to understand what this other fellow, how he finances his being here today because there's a real question whether you're a front for the owners, for the people that really don't like unions, and you tell me you're not -- you won't answer the question who is paying your salary. that's all i want to know. who is paying you?
>> we have over 3,000 donors.
>> americans for prosperity . i told you, year a nonprofit like the red cross , like any other nonprofit organization . we're here to talk about the policy and why this is going to move michigan forward. in indiana over 42,000 new jobs. in the same period michigan was stagnant on their employment growth. we want those jobs to come to michigan .
>> let me go back to mr. king.
>> you have had a great -- let me just tell you what i know how good you are because it was a clean union from the beginning. it's a very liberal union with big picture ideas. isn't just interested in wages and work rules. interested in the welfare of mittle class people. you have a great union there. is this right to work thing really going to hurt your union and kill the esprit de corps of the union workers? why would this hurt them?
>> i don't think it will in the uaw . we have great membership loyalty. the problem is it's just the first step. we have watch nt this state right wing legislatures pass laws to take away the collective bargaining rights from public sector employees on health care and pensions. they did a petty vindictive law that took away the right to deuce deductions for teachers. that's why we're fighting here today, we want to stop this before they try it take away the rights of private sector workers to bargain over wages or pensions or health care . this is about democracy and about america. also want to say for economic development , governor snyder was just bragging yesterday 144,000 jobs since he's been governor. most of those created by the auto industry through collective bargaining . we sat down with ford, general motors , and chrysler, our in my opinion made sacrifices so we could get more economic development , more product, investment, billions of dollars is going into michigan because of unions and collective bargaining helping not just union workers but workers, all workers throughout the state . and you know, chris, and i know, in right to work states, average income is down, average wages is down, not as much pension or retirement security is in union states, less spending on k through 12 education, less spending on infrastructure. why? because workers make less, less tax revenue coming in. right to work is bad for americans.
>> why do people like the koch brothers oppose unionization, mr. hagerstom.
>> unions will stont to thrive and to go forward. this gives individuals the right to determine what happens to their hard-earned money. you do not have to give your hard-earned money to a private organization to keep your job. it's that simple. it's that sirm. this is going to move michigan forward. it's going to move our state forward, allow us to compete for great paying jobs. we believe the uaw , they're going to have to be competitive, they're going to have to earn the dues from those union members and from the people on the line, and it they earn them and they're competitive, they will stay in the union and they will keep their membership. so i think they're up to the task. i think they're up to being xet at this just like everyone else in our society and we look forward to them being more responsive to workers.
>> one last question, i know the funding relationship of mr. king as i said he was elected press of an international union with a good reputation. your organization i want to know more about. again, for the fifth time, who pays your salary?
>> i told you i work for americans for prosperity .
>> who pays your salary?
>> i told you, americans for prosperity .
>> and who is that?
>> that's a nonprofit. we have over 87,000 activists.
>> are the koch brothers behind you? just yes or no. why are you quibbling? i think you guys are working for the koch brothers and you're not denying it. you're talking for them and i'm talking to you and you won't tell me who you work for.
>> i'm talking for 87,000 act advices in michigan and they want right to work, freedom to work in the workplace. they want an economy where people can earn more money. today we're 37th. we were a rich state , today we're a poor state . things have to change. change is difficult and i understand the unions have captive members and they want to keep those captive members --
>> you look like the captive. thank you.
>> we want to move our economy forward.
>> i want to learn more about your work relationship with the koch brothers.
>>> it's a big question this christmas season , which political party would santa claus belong to? that's ahead, and this is "hardball," the place for politics.