Manchin Owes W.Va. An Honest Answer

Katie Gage
August 10, 2010
Charleston Daily Mail

Since Sen. Robert Byrd’s passing in June, many have speculated about who would fill the seat of the longest serving member of Congress in American history.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin has officially thrown his hat in the ring.

While Manchin has served his home state and citizens for some time, many worry that he will focus on serving Big Labor in Washington instead of the people of West Virginia.

Kenny Perdue, president of the West Virginia American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, couldn’t be happier at the prospect of Manchin in a seat of federal power.

In fact, rather than wait for Manchin to announce his candidacy and campaign for the Senate, the AFL-CIO executive board gathered just two days after Byrd’s passing to draft a resolution requesting that Manchin appoint himself to the position.

Why all the special attention from Big Labor?

Union bosses support Manchin because they believe he will endorse their top legislative priority, the Employee Free Choice Act – make that the Employee Forced Choice Act.

Purdue is counting on Manchin winning a Senate seat so labor can secure one more vote in favor of job-killing legislation.

Purdue’s rationale is that Manchin said he supported collective bargaining in national legislation and previously signed a letter endorsing EFCA. He now expects Manchin to follow through.

The Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act, also known as “card check,” would strip workers of the right to a private ballot when voting on union-related issues.

Card check would open up avenues for intimidation and coercion, destroying small businesses by unfairly forcing workers into unions.

The measure’s second act is just as bad – or worse – as the first.

A component of the legislation would allow federal bureaucrats to write and enforce contracts on employees and employers alike without their consent. Those contracts would be binding for at least two years, and there would be no appeals process.

Though labor bosses have not been able to secure a vote on card-check legislation in this Congress, they continue to push for it, irrespective of the people’s will.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln and other Democrats have proven that you can run and win by opposing a government takeover of America’s small businesses.

Unfortunately, groups like the AFL-CIO, however, refuse to let this deter them. They have now placed West Virginia’s governor in their sights, and they expect to fund his election campaign in return for a vote in favor of the “free choice” act.

This is not an assumption; this is what union bosses have said. They believe the proposal is is payback for political support.

Is Manchin willing to forsake job creators in his home state and give national labor heads the card check legislation they want?

With a lame-duck session fast approaching, some members of the Senate are working overtime to identify a method to secure it, whether that means attaching it to another piece of legislation or using backroom deals.

Working with their friends in Big Labor, these elected officials have long abandoned the workers and small business owners in their home states and expect Manchin will do the same.

Manchin has helped West Virginia through some difficult times, but the state’s economy and its employees and employers deserve better from him than advocacy on behalf of legislation that will put them out of work.

Manchin owes West Virginians an honest answer as to whether he will stand with them or national labor bosses if elected to the U.S. Senate this fall.

Gage is executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute in Washington, D.C.

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