Labor Day: Competitiveness IS Pro-Worker

August unemployment figures will be released Friday, with the expected 9.5 or 9.6 percent national jobless rate punctuating the importance of jobs and the economy just in time for the Labor Day holiday. Yet, in attempting to shape the Labor Day news coverage, the Obama Administration is promoting its successes (such as they are) in having government direct economic activity, while organized labor is just calling for more political activism.

They’re both missing the mark: What’s needed to encourage jobs growth are policies that make the United States more globally competitive while ending the uncertainty that keeps employers from hiring more workers. The NAM’s recent “Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America” laid out those necessary policies, and our new “Labor Day 2010” report put them in context of employment and the economy. These are substantive documents, if we do say so ourselves.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis issued a statement via video that talks about jobs, but mostly offers examples of government intervention rather than a clear strategy for job creation. The statement will be even more underwhelming when the Bureau of Labor statistics announces the unemployment tomorrow.

Meanwhile, labor leaders are using the week to issue a political call to action, urging union members to mobilize in advance of the midterm elections. Union bosses are rightfully nervous that their allies in Washington  – those who have embraced labor’s anti-competitive program — are facing serious threats to their re-elections. Materials distributed by the AFL-CIO again make vague statements of support for anti-worker proposals like the Employee Free Choice Act.

We hope that all policymakers and candidates take the opportunity this Labor Day weekend to not only read the NAM’s Labor Day Report but also declare their opposition to card check legislation in any form. For jobs and the American worker, it’s time to focus on competitiveness, not proposals that would only worsen employer-employee relations.

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