It’s day two of the new Republican House of Representatives and unions are already pulling their hair out:
The GOP’s decision to drop “labor” from the name of a House committee is being interpreted by some union officials as the curtain-raiser to their efforts to pressure the Obama administration on workplace laws and regulations.
Several labor leaders contacted by The Hill said changing the name of the House Education and Labor Committee to the House Education and the Workforce Committee shows that a new boss is in town, and one not friendly to unions.
There’s a pretty big chasm between changing a committee name and spitting on workers’ rights, but that’s union rhetoric for you. This move is purely symbolic, but organized labor (er, workforce) is right to fret. The congressional GOP has spoken favorably about requiring workers to opt in for political spending, overhauling public-sector pensions, exercising oversight over the Department of Labor, and investigating union leaders. These are all much needed reforms and, at least for the time being, Republicans look serious about enacting them.