5:45 PM Eastern - Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fact Check on Rep. John Kline's Opening Statement at Today's House Education and Labor Committee Hearing with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

"Representative John Kline today underscored how out of touch he is with the needs of working families in his Minnesota district and across the country. We certainly expected his opening statement to be long on anti-worker rhetoric, but we were shocked on how wrong he was on the facts," said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger.

Claim: Representative Kline (R-Minn.) said current policies run counter to job creation.

FACT: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has created more than 12,200 jobs in Minnesota with more than $9 million awarded to-date to his hometown of Lakeville. (Source: www.recovery.gov)

Claim: Representative Kline said that policies like the Employee Free Choice Act would harm small businesses and workers.

FACT: Corporate CEOs obviously want to hold on to a system that works for them. But no one has anything to fear from a process that is fair, neutral, and promotes compromise instead of confrontation. By allowing neutral, independent auditors to decide a deal that works for everyone if the parties fail to reach a mutual agreement, this bill ensures that everyone benefits from America's prosperity, not just CEOs. It protects workers' right to choose whether or not they want to form a union and ensures that CEOs can't intimidate workers or delay elections to deny workers' rights. And it gives workers a chance to get a fair deal, providing them with the raises they need and deserve. (Source: House Education and Labor Committee)

Claim: Representative Kline said that efforts to create green jobs only benefited labor unions. He has even introduced HR 2026, designed to siphon funds away from joint labor-management training programs to ones created solely by industry.

FACT: Under the Independent Energy and Security Act, labor management partnerships are eligible to receive funding for job training programs. This law ensures that workers are an equal partner and are eligible for green job training funds. Creating new green jobs, and finding way to do existing jobs like building cleaning in a new green way, will drive the development of new, green jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced. Everyone benefits from career paths to good paying jobs and from a green economy, not just businesses and not just labor unions. (Source: House Education and Labor Committee; www.bluegreenalliance.org)


Kline Voted Against Raising the Minimum Wage in 2007. [Vote 18, 1/10/07]

  • Kline did not support the minimum wage because it would "halt the momentum of recent economic growth dead in its tracks." In a 2007 speech on the House floor, Kline said that if small businesses do not receive government support, "the cruel irony of any minimum wage increase will be a loss of jobs. Independent studies confirm that the proposal by House Democrats to raise the minimum wage without including considerations for those who pay minimum wage and their workers would halt the momentum of recent economic growth dead in its tracks. According to a Federal Reserve economist, as many as 1 million workers in the restaurant industry alone could lose their jobs under the current proposal." [Minimum Wage Speech, 1/10/07]
  • In 2007, Kline said that increasing the minimum wage would be harmful to small business. Kline said, "small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. It is absolutely essential that Congress keeps these creators of jobs in mind when we consider this legislation. We must make sure a minimum wage increase does not have harmful effects on businesses and their ability to foster job growth and provide benefits for working families. [Minimum Wage Speech, 1/10/07]

Kline Voted Against the Employee Free Choice Act in 2007.

  • According to the Center for American Progress, the Employee Free Choice Act "holds the promise of restoring workplace democracy for workers attempting to organize, boosting unionization rates, and improving the economic standing and workplace conditions for millions of American workers." [Vote 118, 3/1/07; Center for American Progress, "Issue Brief: Unions Are Good for the Economy and Democracy," 12/9/08]

Kline Voted At Least Six Times Against Expanding Children's Health Care.

  • Among Kline's six votes against expanding children's health care, he voted twice to uphold President Bush's veto of the S-CHIP expansion and opposed the last House vote just weeks ago. [Vote 50, 2/4/09; Vote 16, 1/14/09; Vote 22, 1/23/08; Vote 1009, 10/25/07; Vote 982, 10/18/07; Vote 787, 8/1/07]

Kline Voted Against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in Both 2007 and 2009.

  • During the 2009 debate on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Kline argued, "I rise today to oppose this seriously flawed legislation before us. Not only would it amount to a radical change to our civil rights laws, it has come to us without the benefit of the serious consideration and debate due such a significant policy shift... this bill would set into motion unintended consequences that its supporters simply are not willing to acknowledge, including radically increasing the opportunity for frivolous and abusive litigation and exposing employers to open-ended lawsuits indefinitely." [Vote 9, 1/9/09; Vote 768, 7/31/07; Congressional Record, 1/9/09]

Kline Voted 3 Times Against Protecting Overtime Pay For Millions Of Workers.

  • Kline voted against blocking President Bush's effort to jeopardize overtime pay eligibility for 8 million American workers. [House Vote 351, 7/10/03, House Vote 531, 10/2/03; House Vote 434, 9/9/04; AFL-CIO Scorecard]

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