Snap Fact #315 - President Obama is Standing on a Solid Pro-Worker Platform – Governor Romney Stands on an Anti-Labor Platform!

Post date: Sep 24, 2012 4:36:9 PM

Snap Fact #315

President Obama is Standing on a Solid Pro-Worker Platform – Governor Romney Stands on an Anti-Labor Platform!

This is the first of a major multi-part series that will compare the Democratic and Republican Platforms. These documents are the philosophical foundations that tell us how the winning candidate will govern.  A lot of work went into this series researched by Allen Robbins and Arnold Mollot. Outside of The RationalMajority’s SNAP-CAP heading, and the reference section below*, every word in the body of each SNAP-CAP is taken verbatim from 100s of pages comprising the two party platforms. Read and compare these CAPS so you will know which candidate is on YOUR side.*The Reference section is provided at the bottom of this SNAP-CAP as a supplementary informational resource to familiarize the reader with some of the less well-known items.Platform Issue #1:  PROTECTING LABOR UNIONS AND WORKING PEOPLE

Democratic Platform: “President Obama put forward the American Jobs Act to provide an immediate boost to the economy and strengthen the recovery. We have already enacted key parts of the American Jobs Act – payroll tax relief, tax credits for businesses that hire veterans, and an extension of unemployment insurance that also included reforms like work-sharing, a “Bridge to Work” to help the long-term unemployed reconnect with the labor force, and support for unemployed workers looking to become entrepreneurs. But Republicans in Congress blocked other provisions that independent analysis said could create one million jobs.”

Republican Platform: Freedom in the Workplace - 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 alike.

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 support legislation that will correct the current law provision which defines a “Highly Qualified Teacher” merely by his or her credentials, not results in the classroom.


Project Labor Agreements

Project Labor Agreements are pre-hire collective bargaining agreements with one or more labor organizations that establish the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project. On February 6, 2009, President Barack Obama signed executive order 13502, which urges federal agencies to consider mandating the use of PLAs on federal construction projects costing $25 million or more on a case-by-case basis. This act served to revoke the Bush executive orders 13202 and 13208 from eight years earlier that prohibited government-mandated PLAs on federal and federally funded construction projects. The Obama order states that federal agencies can require a PLA if such an agreement will achieve federal goals in economy and efficiency. According to the terms of the order, non-union contractors may compete for contracts subject to PLAs, but they must agree to the various terms and conditions contained in each PLA in order to win a federal contract and build a project. A key change from the 2001 order is that by repealing the Bush orders, the Obama order permits recipients of federal funding, such as state, local and private construction owners, to mandate PLAs on public works projects of any size. However, the order does not encourage or mandate recipients of federal assistance to use a government-mandated PLA.

Secret Ballot Protection Act

A bill introduced in Congress in 2009, and recently reintroduced, aims at eliminating the decades-old process of majority sign-up. Misnamed the Secret Ballot Protection Act, this bill would deprive workers of their current rights under federal labor law and eliminate the only way workers have to form a union without being harassed, intimidated, threatened and discriminated against. Under this bill, the only path for workers who want to bargain for a better life is a corporate-controlled, delay-ridden government procedure.  Employers and unions who want to agree to use the majority sign-up process, of which there are many, would be denied their current right to do so.  The so-called Secret Ballot Protection Act would force elections, even where a majority of employees had already expressed their support for unionizing. The sole reason for doing so is that employers want the opportunity to intimidate, threaten, and propagandize their employees to scare them away from exercising their rights to unionize -- the exact opposite of the democratic values the bill's sponsors falsely claim to promote.  (Page 3.3 of chapter 3)

Hobbs Act

 The Hobbs Act of 1946 is a federal extortion statute that makes it a federal crime to obstruct interstate commerce by using or threatening force to obtain property from another person. In United States v. Enmons, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Hobbs Act does not apply to the use of force in connection with legitimate union demands such as higher wages. The Republicans on multiple occasions have attempted (unsuccessfully) to amend the Hobbs Act to make violence committed in pursuit of labor union goals a federal crime, and punishable by a fine of up to $100,000, 20 years imprisonment, or both, on labor unions that commit or threaten to use violence, extortion, or the obstruction of commerce in the furtherance of labor union goals and objectives. The real aim of this action is not to prevent strike-related violence, which occurs rarely and already is addressed comprehensively by a host of state and federal statutes, but to intimidate workers from exercising their collective bargaining rights. Congress must strengthen workers’ collective bargaining rights and oppose legislation that would undermine those rights.

Raise Act

The 'RAISE Act' amendment aimed to do one thing only - strip unionized workers of their fundamental right to bargain collectively over wages. Collective bargaining agreements are intended to prevent employers from making arbitrary decisions about wages. This amendment would have undone that. Undermining the contractually ensured voice of unionized workers does nothing to help our economic recovery or create jobs.

Davis-Bacon Act

If Davis-Bacon isn't the most effective talking point at campaign rallies, that's probably because the law requires a bit of explanation. Passed during the Great Depression, the Davis-Bacon Act established "prevailing wages" for publicly funded construction projects. If taxpayer dollars are involved, then companies bidding on a project are required to pay certain minimum wages for certain jobs performed, to be determined by the Labor Department. Although the underlying motivations for the law are disputed, Davis-Bacon basically guarantees that contractors won't take public money, then pay workers below-market rates for their labor. In the 2012 Republican debates, Romney declared, "One of the first things that I'll do actually on Day One is I will end the government's favoritism toward unions on contracts and I will fight to repeal Davis-Bacon."

Right-to-Work law

Right-to-work laws make it optional for workers covered by a union contract to help pay for the expenses that the union incurs while protecting the rights of all employees. Contrary to claims from its supporters, right to work offers no protection or economic benefits for workers. In fact, studies show that these deceptively titled laws drive down wages, benefits, and overall living standards for everyone. And research reveals that right-to-work laws do not create jobs or improve a state’s business climate.


Democratic Platform (complete)

Republican Platform (complete)