During a hearing on union busting techniques before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Wednesday, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien got into an argument with Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma).
O’Brien called Mullin “out of line” after the Republican senator stated the union leader was “sucking the income” out of workers to make his salary of around $193,000 in 2019.
Saying, “Don’t tell me I’m out of line,” Mullin replied. “Stop being so talkative and shut up already.”
Before selling his main stakes in 2021, Mullin operated non-union plumbing enterprises. He charged union leaders of using intimidation to try to unionize his business so they could pay themselves “exorbitant” compensation.
O’Brien answered, “We hold greedy Executives like yourselves accountable. “If you want to criticize my pay, I’ll criticize yours. What did you earn when you were running your own business?
According to personal financial reports examined by Oklahoma newspaper Tulsa World, Mullin had a net worth ranging from $31.6 million to $75.6 million in 2020. Mullin claimed that by keeping his income at about $50,000, he was able to put more money into his business.
O’Brien added, “You mean you hid money,” which clearly infuriated Mullin.
Mullin concluded by saying that while he is “not anti-union,” he thinks that employees should not be required to pay union dues if they do not wish to.
The Office of House Ethics said that then-Rep. Mullin earned outside earnings from its companies totaling more than $600,000 in 2013, far exceeding the legislative ceiling. In 2018, the House Ethics Committee brought an end to its inquiry against Mullin and mandated that he pay back $40,000 to one of his firms.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the committee’s chairman, convened a hearing on anti-union business practices on Wednesday. Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, just consented to come before the committee later this month after Sanders threatened to issue a subpoena.