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article imageOp-Ed: Labor unions scale down support for Democrats

By Ken Hanly     Sep 3, 2012 in Politics
Charlotte - The president of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka said organized labor will have less involvement with the Democratic Party in the 2012 elections. Trumka claims that labor will build its own political organizations rather than simply supporting the Democrats.
If you listen to some Republicans you would think that the Obama administration is held hostage to unions and their bosses. The Republican platform adopted recently at the Tampa convention claims that the Obama administration is busy concentrating power in the “Washington offices of union elites.” The governor of South Carolina accuses Obama of sacrificing American jobs “to pacify the bullying union bosses he counts as his allies.” However many union bosses and union members do not see things that way. They think that far from being able to get Obama to implement policies favored by unions that for the most part he has taken their support for granted and ignored some of their most prominent demands.
In particular, unions wanted Obama to pass a card check bill that would make it easier for unions to organize workers. In the card check system once over 50 per cent of the proposed bargaining unit had signed cards indicating they wanted the union to represent them that would be sufficient for the union to become the bargaining agent. As it is now a vote is required as well. Unions also were angry at free trade bills passed with countries that treat labor very poorly and have anti-labor laws including Colombia and Panama. Trumka also thinks that the Democrats are on board to make deep cuts to social security and medicare. He blames Obama and the Democrats for letting Republicans set an agenda of cuts to programs instead of simply pushing ahead with job creation Trumka makes some of these points in the appended video.
Trumka wants labor to form its own political action structures independent of the Democratic Party. Trumka said: “We’re going to use a lot of our money to build structures that work for working people.. You’re going to see us give less money to build structures for others, and more of our money will be used to build our own structure.”
New laws governing political action groups will allow unions to have their own super PAC and Trumka announced that the AFL-CIO will set up its own super PAC that can be used solely to promote its own agenda rather than that of the Democratic Party. Trumka put it as follows:“Let’s assume we spent $100 in the last election..The day after Election Day, we were no stronger than we were the day before...If we had spent that [$100] on creating a structure for working people that would be there year round, then we are stronger.” Trumka noted that some of his affiliates were considering skipping the 2012 Democratic convention. Many unions object to the convention being held in North Carolina where labor rights are not that strong and the convention facilities are not even unionized.
Trumka is disappointed with Obama on job creation. Working people are looking for one thing from the Obama administration claims Trumka, jobs, jobs, and more jobs.
Some unions however such as the SEIU are still gung-ho and the president Mary Kay Henry expects about 80 delegates to show up at the convention in Charlotte. No doubt after hearing the rhetoric coming out of the recent Republican convention many union members are anxious to support the Democrats if only to prevent the Republicans from being victorious.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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