October 6, 2012
National party platform more anti-union than ever
How do you like having a union and a collective bargaining agreement? If you’re one of thousands of Freightliner workers in North Carolina, you probably like them both a lot since the United Autoworkers’ contracts are the only reason your jobs weren’t sent to Mexico.
Only unions can empower workers to bargain for a contract and a bigger slice of the economic pie for the middle class because only organized workers stand a chance against organized greed. That is why undermining the ability of workers to form and join unions is seen as essential by those who want to keep the current status quo of harmful income inequality in the United States. And these forces have never had truer friends than today’s Republican Party.
Josh Eidelson, writing for Salon.com about the 2012 Republican Party platform adopted at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, said it “reflects a Republican Party even more hostile to organized labor than the one that nominated John McCain four years ago.”
Perhaps the most dramatic shift in the platform’s language is on “Right to Work,” legislation that makes it illegal for unions and companies to sign contracts requiring that everyone represented by a union help pay the costs of negotiating and enforcing contracts.
Republicans’ 2012 platform calls for a national right-to-work (for less) law, which Mitt Romney said at a Republican primary debate “makes a lot of sense for New Hampshire and for the nation.”
In addition to encouraging states and Congress to adopt right-to-work (for less) laws, Eidelson lists the many other ways the new Republican Party platform is more anti-union than ever:
- Demanding “an end to the Project Labor Agreements” and “repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act” which set wage standards for federal contracts
- Stripping public sector workers of their negotiation rights, holding up Scott Walker’s attacks as a model for all elected Republicans
- Abolishing payroll dues deduction for public employees to cripple public employee unions
- Firing ten percent of all federal workers, across the board
- Privatizing the postal service
- “Reigning in” Occupational Safety and Health enforcement
- Reversing modest National Labor Relations Board rulings on workers’ labor rights
- Supporting school vouchers and the transfer public funding to private schools
- Using immigration raids as a tool to retaliate against workers’ efforts to organize
- Opposing the Employee Free Choice Act and any attempt to reform our broken labor laws
That’s not all. In the 2012 Republican Party platform, less is more anti-union, says Eidelson.
But this year’s platform team made cuts as well as additions. That 2008 language paying lip service to “the right of individuals to voluntarily participate in labor organizations and bargain collectively”? It’s nowhere to be found.