The PJ Tatler

Is Big Labor really going to move away from the Democrats?

The Politico said as much in an email blast today. In a preview of a speech that the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka will deliver today, the man who spends nearly as much time at the White House as a Secret Service agent will claim that Big Labor needs to start playing the field. He will claim to have listened to the voices of the workers that make up the unions. If you believe him on that, I have some real estate and a bridge that might interest you.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka will outline his view of the 2012 landscape in an appearance at the National Press Club this afternoon, and pledge to “spend the summer holding elected leaders in Congress as well as the states accountable on one measure: Are they improving or degrading life for working families?” In his address, Trumka will amplify recent signals from organized labor that unions don’t just want to be an arm of the Democratic Party in 2012. “We are looking hard at how we work in the nation’s political arena,” Trumka will say, according to prepared remarks. “We have listened hard, and what workers want is an independent labor movement that builds the power of working people-in the workplace and in political life. Our role is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate. It is to improve the lives of working families and strengthen our country.”

Right. Call me skeptical but I think Admiral Ackbar is on to something.

Under the Obama administration, Big Labor has found a way around the nasty business of getting bills drafted, passed and signed into law. Most of us call that “democracy,” but to Big Labor it’s just a speed bump. Big Labor has a couple of federal agencies working 24/7 to force American workers in to unions, or to force corporations to bow to union power or face multi-million dollars actions against them. That is what the federal lawsuit against Arizona and South Dakota is about, and that is what the NLRB’s action against Boeing in South Carolina is all about. If those two actions stand, card check becomes the de facto law of the land (in spite of voters explicitly rejecting it in AZ and SD) and state right to work laws suffer major damage. Additionally, the AFL-CIO is about to get a foothold inside the federal budgeting process, via unionizing the Office of Management and Budget. It’s no coincidence at all that that office is getting unionized under the Obama administration. Would the unions really pull back from supporting the Democrats, in their moment of triumph? I’m not asking whether they should, but whether they will.

Make no mistake: Whatever Richard Trumka says in his speech, Big Labor will continue to support Democrats. Anything he says to the contrary is just a feint to make the unions seem less partisan, or a trap to lull Big Labor’s Republican opponents to sleep.