Susan Wild confronts anti-union executive at US House hearing

susan wild

Congresswoman Susan Wild speaking at the grand opening of a TSA security checkpoint at the Lehigh Valley International Airport on July 28, 2023 (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

December 1, 2023

US Rep Susan Wild went on the offensive defending workers rights at an anti-union hearing on Thursday. Union workers earn 11.2% more than their non-union counterparts according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) confronted Mark Mix, president of the anti-union National Right to Work Committee, about his organization’s anti-worker views at a US House Health, Education, Labor, Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on Thursday.

Wild pressed Mix, who was testifying in favor of a law that would call for states to adopt so-called right-to-work laws, about the benefits union workers have over their non-union counterparts. These benefits include better wages, better benefits and workplace protections.

“I am proud to represent a community with one of the richest legacies of organized labor anywhere in the country,” Wild said in a statement. “In Pennsylvania 7, we know that strong unions are the key to a strong economy where people can work hard and get ahead and can support their families.”

The whole point of “right to work” laws is to cripple the ability for unions to organize workers by allowing workers to benefit from having a union while not paying union dues or agency fees for that representation, essentially creating a free-rider system where someone reaps the benefits without having to pay for that representation.

On top of not having the protection of a union, workers living in states with “right to work” laws typically make less than their counterparts living in states without these types of laws on the books. According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive leaning economic think-tank, workers in these states earn at least 3.2% less than workers in states without “right to work” laws.

At Thursday’s hearing, Wild asked Mix if it’s against the interest of union workers earning 11.2% more than their non-union counterparts. Mix replied by saying “no.”

Wild then followed up asking if it is “against the interests of workers to have better access to paid leave and pensions, to more benefits that again, unionized workplaces are much more likely to offer.”

Mix then replied by saying, “I would say no. I mean the idea of those benefits being available, why wouldn’t you rely on volunteers? And why do you need compulsion?”

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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