As noted yesterday, the incoming AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka, is free with his threats. In prepared remarks for delivery to the left-leaning Center for American Progress, Trumka said, “Today, more than ever, we need to be a labor movement that stands by our friends, punishes its enemies, and challenges those who, well, can’t seem to decide which side they’re on.”
So what reception will the AFL-CIO offer when President Obama addresses its national convention in Pittsburgh on September 15? After all, the President has done no heavy lifting on behalf of organized labor’s top priority, the undemocratic and unpopular Employee Free Choice Act.
Well, in politics you don’t politically threaten — even obliquely — the President when you’ve invited him to address your national convention. And for all the disappointment over EFCA, the labor bosses have much to happy about. For example:
- Secretary Hilda Solis has just told the unions that they will face no enforcement consequences for failing to file the financial disclosure records required by law. Transparency!
- Today, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is in Gary, Ind., to give the Administration’s support to the Blue-Green Alliance, a confederacy of union and environmentalist groups that seek to funnel government money to unionized clean-energy projects.
- And OMB recently issued a memorandum to agencies instructing them to use Project Labor Agreements for federal projects over $25 million in cost. PLAs push construction projects toward unionized contractors, significantly increasing the costs of projects paid for by taxpayers. The OMB’s memo reinforced one of President Obama’s first actions, the Feb. 6 signing of an executive order encouraging the use of PLAs. Associated Builders and Contractors have an informative website on the issue, TheTruthAboutPLAs.com.
So lots to be happy about if you’re a Big Labor Boss, and we imagine the Pittsburgh welcome will be a warm one for President Obama. The threats? Trumka will just issue them to members of Congress.
P.S. The Truth About EFCA blog makes the obvious and necessary point about Trumka’s bullying: “If union officials will talk this openly about punishing people who disagree with them, why would we want to expose workers to intimidation by denying them a secret ballot vote when deciding whether to join a union?”
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