Democrats Continue to Support Labor Union Bosses over American Workers

Posted by Olivia Grady on Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 at 9:25 am - Permalink

As Democrat Presidential candidates spoke out against corruption at last week’s debate, they failed to mention the real corruption in one of their top political contributors: labor unions.

Just hours before the debate, the president of the United Autoworkers Union (UAW), Gary Jones, resigned amid an ongoing federal investigation into corruption at the UAW. He had been on a paid leave of absence since the beginning of November. 

So far in the investigation, federal prosecutors have accused the current and previous presidents of the UAW of conspiring to embezzle more than $1 million in union member dues. In addition, six former UAW leaders have pled guilty to charges of conspiracy and fraud, and thirteen UAW leaders have been charged. The union has spent over $1.5 million of workers’ dues defending itself in the investigation. 

This is just part of a larger failure of unions to provide strong representation for American workers. This lack of good representation has led many workers to choose not to join a union, and union membership numbers are falling.

The unions have responded to falling membership numbers in two ways. Instead of trying to provide better representation, they have turned to Democrat politicians in the federal and state legislatures to force American workers to support a union. One example of this is the infamous federal bill, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act or the PRO Act (H.R. 2474/S. 1306). If passed, that bill would eliminate right to work laws that states have passed and force workers to support a union as a condition of employment. In addition, the PRO Act would force employers to provide the contact information of workers to unions and eliminate private voting. It would also allow unions to unionize workers more easily by expanding the definition of joint employer, exposing businesses to greater liability for the possible labor violations of other businesses. Finally, the legislation would codify California’s “ABC” test for independent contractors, which would put Uber and Lyft drivers, writers and others at risk for losing their side jobs. Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Senator Elizabeth Sanders have all voiced their strong support for the PRO Act.

Second, labor unions, such as the UAW and the Chicago Teachers Union, have recently organized a number of strikes. These strikes have been more about increasing membership numbers. In fact, the United Teachers Los Angeles proudly reported in their September 14, 2018, newspaper that membership had increased by 1,000 during their strike. The UAW strike against General Motors served another purpose: to divert the attention of the American public and GM workers away from their corruption scandal. 

In contrast, the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are supporting American workers. The Trump administration, for example, has been promoting apprenticeships to close the skills gap that our country faces. In fact, the Department of Labor issued a proposed rule in June of this year, which would establish a process to recognize Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs. These new programs would expand the number of apprenticeships available to American workers.

Tax reform, along with deregulation by the Trump administration, has also helped American workers by creating a booming economy and a strong jobs market. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia just recently reported that the unemployment rate of 3.6% is close to the lowest unemployment rate in more than 50 years. In addition, since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, more than 6.3 million new jobs have been created, and wages have been rising at or above 3% for 15 straight months. This jobs market has been particularly helpful for low-wage earners and minorities. Weekly earnings, for example, are rising faster for low income workers than high earners, and the unemployment rates for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, adult women, and Americans with disabilities are some of the lowest unemployment rates ever recorded.

Republicans in Congress are also committed to American workers. On November 14, 2019, Republican leaders on the House Education and Labor Committee, specifically Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI), sent a second letter to Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee Chairwoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL) asking them to hold hearings on the corruption within the UAW. In addition, U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), Greg Murphy (R-N.C.), and Dr. Phil Roe (R-TN) just introduced the Worker’s Choice Act on November 18, 2019. This legislation would allow workers to choose whether they would like union representation or not. 

American workers have two very different choices in the 2020 election. Will they choose the party who supports union coercion of workers or the party who supports more freedom and more jobs for American workers?

(Photo of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at a Democrat convention by LeeDems)