Big Labor Not Looking Good on Labor Day
They may be at the peak of their power with a friendly White House, but they are very, very unpopular.
September 7, 2009 - 12:00 am
Moreover, card check has now become an issue in one of the key gubernatorial races this year. Republican Bob McDonnell, in a recent conference call with business leaders, explained:
I’ll use every resource of my office to speak out strongly on behalf of the business community, and against card check. … We’ll use every possible political resource to fight card check, which I think is important and I think that will, in the long term, serve Virginia businesses well. … While others have said that it is a federal issue and doesn’t affect Virginia and there’s nothing they can do about it, I think that’s absolute nonsense.
Those “others” include his opponent, Democrat Creigh Deeds, who is all too happy to take Big Labor’s money but becomes very uncomfortable when asked his position the issue.
McDonnell has also gone after the other provision in EFCA — mandatory arbitration. He explained, “If there is no agreement between management and labor within 120 days, it requires the appointment of a federal arbitrator to come in and essentially write the contract for a private company.”
So now Big Labor may become a liability rather than an asset to the Democrat Deeds running in a key gubernatorial race, one that is likely to be interpreted, correctly or not, as a referendum on Obama.
Now, none of this is to say that Big Labor hasn’t gotten its share of victories since the 2008 election. Obama’s secretary of labor isn’t enforcing pesky financial disclosure requirements on Big Labor, which chaffed when the Bush administration put them into effect. Big Labor did after all persuade the Obama administration to not only bail out two auto companies, but spare them the usual bankruptcy fate for labor unions — the evisceration of their collective bargaining agreements. And even “cash for clunkers” was a special favor to the UAW, a little boost just for their industry in dire need of some customers.
But the current state of affairs wasn’t what Big Labor imagined when they spent millions of their members’ dues to elect a pro-labor lineup in Washington. What happened? Whether you buy the Kaus or the Marcus theory, it is clear that they made themselves a tad too conspicuous at the expense of the average taxpayer, the vast majority of whom belong to no union. Big Labor appears to be not the defender of the common man, but a special interest bully that doesn’t want to play by the same rules — whether at the ballot box or the bankruptcy court — as everyone else.
Big Labor may recover their clout and may still get some legislative goodies before the next election. But so long as they insist on special treatment, average Americans will likely regard them as just another special interest, the sort that, come to think of it, Obama promised to banish from Washington. Well, maybe after the next election.