October 2012, Week 2


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Portside Labor <[log in to unmask]>
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Fri, 12 Oct 2012 20:05:31 -0400
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Republican Platform Outlines Union-Busting Agenda 

by Al Hart, UE News Managing Editor


United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America

The platform adopted at the Republican National Convention
in Tampa shows how far the leaders of the GOP have gone
in embracing the corporate agenda of destroying unions
and giving unrestricted power to employers. It also
reveals their legislative program for getting rid of
workers' unions - including two pieces of legislation
that could wipe out unions in private industry.

The section of the GOP platform dealing with labor does
not have the word "labor" or "union" in its title.
Instead, it's entitled "Freedom in the Workplace." But
once you begin reading, it's clear that the party is
not interested in liberating workers from oppressive
bosses or low wages, but rather in freeing bosses from
having to negotiate with workers, answer grievances,
and respect employees' rights. (With a Google search,
you can find and read the entire 31,000-word Republican
platform online. At the end of this article, we attach
the labor section of the GOP platform.)

In the space of just three paragraphs and 360 words,
the Republican platform's labor plank endorses a wide
range of anti-worker measures. They "salute" the
Republican governors who have "reformed" their states
by taking away public employees' bargaining rights, and
the "urge elected officials across the country to
follow their lead." They say a Republican president
will push legislation to make it illegal to spend union
funds for political purposes. They hope to dry up the
treasuries of public sector unions by abolishing union
dues check-off everywhere: "...no government at any
level should act as the dues collector for unions."

As expected, the platform attacks unions and decent
wages in the construction industry by demanding an end
to project labor agreements and repeal of the
Davis-Bacon Act. The Republicans also renew their
attacks on the National Labor Relations Board, with the
laughable charge that the NLRB is "a partisan advocate
for Big Labor."

They endorse making it more difficult for private
sector workers to organize. Not satisfied that they
blocked passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA),
the Republicans want to make it illegal for an employer
to voluntarily recognize and begin bargaining with a
union on the basis of majority support for the union
verified by card check. Union recognition through card
check, as a result of voluntary agreement between the
company and the union, has been legal under federal law
since the passage of the original National Labor
Relations Act in 1935. The GOP would outlaw that by
passing something they call "the Secret Ballot

But what is most surprising about the GOP platform's
labor plank is its plan for destroying private sector
unions in existing bargaining units. Republican
convention delegates endorsed states passing "Right to
Work laws and encourage them to do so to promote
greater economic liberty." (They mean the "liberty" to
lose your union and work for lower wages.) The platform
calls for "enactment of a National Right-to-Work law"
that would instantly make every state a right-to-work
state and make the U.S. a right-to-work country, where
union members are encouraged to quit their unions,
resulting in an even weaker labor movement.

But to magnify the union-busting impact of
right-to-work legislation, the Republican National
Convention also endorsed a little-known piece of
legislation called "the Raise Act." Its full name is
the "Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful
Employees (RAISE) Act." The "Raise Act" would allow the
employer in a unionized workplace to grant selective
pay raises, above the negotiated wage rates and without
union approval, to any individuals it chooses. Combined
with a national "right-to-work" law that would do away
with all union security clauses, the "Raise Act" would
enable companies to bribe workers to quit the union by
giving them an extra raise. And it's not hard to
anticipate that bosses would grant even bigger raises
to those workers who start a decertification petition
to get rid of the union!

The "Raise Act" was introduced last spring by Florida
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, and promptly defeated by
Senate Democrats. But if, on November 6, Mitt Romney
and Paul Ryan are elected, the Republicans gain a
majority in the Senate and keep their majority in the
House of Representatives, we can expect quick passage
of their national anti-union agenda, including a
national right-to-work law and the "Raise Act." When
and if that happens, employers across the country will
seize the chance to gain their "freedom" from
collective bargaining in the workplace, and the
survival of private sector unions will be in grave

Regardless of where you may stand on any other issue
that divides Democrats from Republicans, this is an
issue you need to seriously think about. Every member
of UE, and every union member in the U.S. who cares
about his or her union, needs to carefully consider the
consequences of voting for candidates who are committed
to destroying all unions and taking away our
fundamental rights.

Below we reproduce the entire labor section of the
Republican Platform, adopted at their National
Convention in Tampa, August 27-30. "Freedom in the
Workplace" (Labor Section of the 2012 Republican
National Platform)

The current Administration has chosen a different path
with regard to labor, clinging to antiquated notions of
confrontation and concentrating power in the Washington
offices of union elites. It has strongly supported the
anti-business card check legislation to deny workers a
secret ballot in union organizing campaigns and,
through the use of Project Labor Agreements, barred 80
percent of the construction workforce from competing
for jobs in many stimulus projects. The current
Administration has turned the National Labor Relations
Board into a partisan advocate for Big Labor, using
threats and coercion outside the law to attack
businesses and, through "snap elections" and "micro
unions," limit the rights of workers and employers

We will restore the rule of law to labor law by
blocking "card check," enacting the Secret Ballot
Protection Act, enforcing the Hobbs Act against labor
violence, and passing the Raise Act to allow all
workers to receive well-earned raises without the
approval of their union representative. We demand an
end to the Project Labor Agreements; and we call for
repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which costs the
taxpayers billions of dollars annually in artificially
high wages on government projects. We support the right
of States to enact Right-to-Work laws and encourage
them to do so to promote greater economic liberty.
Ultimately, we support the enactment of a National
Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to
promote greater economic liberty. We will aggressively
enforce the recent decision by the Supreme Court
barring the use of union dues for political purposes
without the consent of the worker.

We salute the Republican Governors and State
legislators who have saved their States from fiscal
disaster by reforming their laws governing public
employee unions. We urge elected officials across the
country to follow their lead in order to avoid State
and local defaults on their obligations and the
collapse of services to the public. To safeguard the
free choice of public employees, no government at any
level should act as the dues collector for unions. A
Republican President will protect the rights of
conscience of public employees by proposing legislation
to bar mandatory dues for political purposes.


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