GOP Platform Positions Labor as Public Enemy #1
August 31, 2012 9:27 am
Yesterday, delegates to the Republican National Convention formalized the 2012 Republican Platform. Reading through the document, it comes as no surprise that Scott Walker was heralded with a standing ovation during his convention speech — the platform encourages Republican governors to reign in public unions, once again laying fiscal disaster solely at the doorstep of public employee compensation and pension packages.
But it doesn’t stop there. As Steven Greenhouse reports for the New York Times, the platform sees labor as an opponent on the ropes and, “does not contain any sympathetic nods to the nation’s labor unions, which have become among the Republicans’ most formidable political foes. Instead, the platform calls for numerous steps that could significantly weaken America’s labor unions — public-sector and private-sector ones — and help speed organized labor’s overall decline.”
As stated, the platform encourages activist Governors and lawmakers to hobble the collective bargaining rights of workers, and take it one step farther by coming out in support of a national right-to-work law.
From the platform:
We salute the Republican Governors and State Legislators who have saved their States fromfiscal disaster by reforming their laws governing public employee unions. We urge elected officialsacross the country to follow their lead in order to avoid State and local defaults on their obligations andthe collapse of services to the public. To safeguard the free choice of public employees, no governmentat any level should act as the dues collector for unions…We support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws and encouragethem to do so to promote greater economic liberty.
The report goes on to reveal more animus toward unions, by urging the banning of card-check elections:
We will restore the rule of law to labor law by blocking “card check,” enacting the Secret Ballot Protection Act, enforcing the Hobbs Act against labor violence, and passing the Raise Act to allow all workers to receive well-earned raises without the approval of their union representative. We demand an end to the Project Labor Agreements; and we call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which costs the taxpayers billions of dollars annually in artificially high wages on government projects.
This is a particularly misleading passage, as it suggests workers will somehow receive fairer compensation in non-union workplaces, while at the same time attempting to eradicate Project Labor Agreements (contracts that govern wages and conditions for union and non-union workers on government contracted projects).
The platform also wants to take away the ability to collect dues for political advocacy. Unsurprisingly, it comes out against the DISCLOSE act, holding the controversial Citizens’ United ruling as established, and to be left untouched. On union dues:
We will aggressively enforce the recent decision by the SupremeCourt barring the use of union dues for political purposes without the consent of the worker.
Teachers’ unions are not exempt from the GOP’s anti-union treatment. With the nomination of Paul Ryan as running mate, it’s clear that the Republicans are attempting to straddle the moderation line while at the very least paying lip service to draconian budget cuts. The new platform establishes silencing labor’s voice as an accompanying high-priority, and emphasizes the need for workers’ to present an equally clear platform and muster the strongest voice possible.
Image from here