Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Labor convenes in the city of brotherly laments

A few thousand union members spent their weekend in Philadelphia at an event they called “Workers Stand for America,” better known as their shadow convention. The event was meant to be the answer to the Democratic National Convention, since it is being held in North Carolina, a right-to-work state with the lowest unionized workforce in the country.

But union leaders didn’t like the name “shadow convention,” so they backed off and called it a “rally.”

Which was it?

The most accurate name would be the “crybaby convention.” As Center for Union Facts Executive Director Rick Berman said in this morning’s Washington Times, the Philadelphia event was an “expensive temper tantrum.”

Were Democrats invited to the convention? Of course. The featured speakers included Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA), and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Chair of the Democratic National Committee. And there were plenty of signs supporting President Obama to go around.

The event was just more of the same bellyaching that Big Labor’s  issues were being ignored. But as our executive director points out, this complaint is rather curious:

The AFL-CIO even was kind enough to draft for President Obama a list of things it wanted him to do, titled “Priorities for Day 1.” Topping that list was reducing financial transparency for what unions did with their dues money. The administration happily obliged.

Unions also received lots of goodies in the president’s stimulus package and the health care reform bill. The stimulus package included mandates that union wages be paid on all federal construction jobs. The bill also included a $53.6 billion fund to prevent layoffs of public employees, who are heavily unionized. Additionally, Section 164 of the Affordable Care Act contains a provision to bail out mismanaged union health insurance funds to the tune of $10 billion.

President Obama even signed an executive order that rolled back requirements for employers to post employee guidance about how they could opt out of union dues that were used for lobbying or advocacy they don’t support.

So what else could they possibly want?

They want a “Second Bill of Rights.” Meanwhile, union bosses reject the Employee Rights Act (ERA) at every chance they get.

Included in the “bill of rights” is “The Right to Full Participation in the Electoral Process,” which is, ironically, one of Big Labor’s biggest problems with the ERA. The ERA would guarantee secret ballot voting in certification and recertification votes, as well as in strike votes. Do union bosses think our memories are too short to recall their push to end the secret ballot? (And their failure to do so).

Union bosses can’t seem to get their priorities straight, and their members continue to suffer because of it.

Categories: Center for Union FactsEmployee Rights ActPolitical Money