Payback To Big Labor, While Our Cities & States Foot The Bill

Katie Packer
July 13, 2010

Over the last several months, Big Labor has been trying to find any possible way to push their forced unionization, anti-small business agenda in Washington, DC. And late last week, members of U.S. House added an amendment to the emergency supplemental appropriations bill, which would give the federal government new powers to override local decisions about public safety employees. With strong opposition coming from many Members of Congress, the amendment supported by Big Labor’s political benefactors has caught the eye of workers, as well as the small business community. The amendment – the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (PSEECA) – allows the government to step in and federalize the unionization process for police, firefighters and other emergency response and law enforcement personnel.

Should this receive sufficient support in the Senate and become law, it would place a stranglehold on the finances of cities, counties and state governments. They would be forced to abide by the outcome of these deals negotiated and required by the federal government, which in the past have included significantly higher salaries, augmented bonuses and benefit packages that vastly exceed the norm and are certainly more expensive than what local governments can afford as they face massive budget deficits.

This appears to be an attempt by Big Labor to call in political favors, while damaging state economies in the process. Senator Mike Enzi seems to agree as he stated, “This amendment would hit local municipalities during a time of budgetary crisis for no reason other than to reward big labor unions.”

Passing this amendment as part of the appropriations bill means new, higher and unfunded costs to states around the country that are already struggling. Introducing a new, federally-mandated program will only cause more economic hardship as it places the burden of financing the collective-bargaining agreements reached by national bureaucrats on local municipalities.

As these local governments attempt to balance their budgets, Big Labor sees an opportunity to seize more control of the workforce, which will in turn, line their pockets with increased union dues. But the impact that mandated collective bargaining would place on these communities could be devastating. Budgets that have built-in salaries and expenses for their local firemen and police officers would be subject to national unions’ standards. Ignoring local needs and economies, this could open wide the floodgates of financial burden on states around the country and result in less law enforcement and emergency response personnel threatening the citizenry in the process.

This seems to be nothing more than a political handout to give some form of payback to labor bosses being that Congress has been unable to pass the job-killing Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act (EFCA).

Under EFCA, the unionization process changes from one of a secret ballot election to a public, card check system opening workers to intimidation and coercion. Additionally, by means of a government arbitrator, EFCA would allow salaries and benefits to be set by a federal bureaucrat – not employees and employers – in mandated contracts that would crush small businesses. Much like the collective-bargaining agreement with cities and states, EFCA would place the federal government in control over local, small businesses. EFCA is Big Labor’s top priority in Congress and since they have not been able to secure its passage, they are now looking to their supporters on Capitol Hill to advance other elements of the union agenda.

For instance, labor radical Craig Becker was placed on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and we’re now seeing troubling activity coming from it. Becker, a former union attorney who received a Presidential recess appointment, is under investigation for violating an ethics pledge he made during his failed confirmation process where both Republicans and Democrats voted down his nomination.

The bottom line is that Big Labor will stop at nothing to get the payback they believe they are owed, and whether the result threatens the budgets of local communities and/or forces small businesses to close, it appears their supporters in the nation’s capital don’t particularly care.

These sorts of unseemly and objectionable acts by public officials who are entrusted to represent the best interests of their constituents do not go unnoticed and will not be excused by the people who pay the bills and create the jobs throughout the country.

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AZ Daily Sun--Coconino Voices: PRO Act legislation would hurt local businesses

— 05.13.2021 —
By: Julie Pastrik Arizona businesses and workers have had an incredibly challenging year given the economic slowdown that followed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. However, local businesses and industries across the state are resilient and on the road to a strong recovery that will mean more jobs for Arizona workers and increased economic development to strengthen our communities. That is, as long as Congress does not move forward with potentially devastating legislation that would hurt local employers and employees alike while impeding our state’s economic recovery. Unfortunately, some members of Congress seem determined to do just that by pushing through the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. As harmless as the name may sound, the PRO Act would have serious repercussions for local businesses, particularly smaller ones, while undermining long-standing rights for employees and threatening the growing gig economy that has helped provide much-needed income for so many during this time. Arizona is fortunate to have leaders like Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, who have both refrained from joining the vast majority of their Democratic colleagues in cosponsoring the PRO Act. In a slap in the face to Arizona workers, the PRO Act removes one of the most fundamental rights a worker has when it comes to voting in elections to determine whether to unionize: the secret ballot. Instead, workers could be forced to sign union authorization cards in front of other employees, their employer, or union organizers. This bill would also destroy workers’ right to privacy by allowing unions access to personal information, including their home address and personal phone number. If that doesn’t open the door to union intimidation and harassment, I don’t know what does. As if that was not bad enough, the PRO Act would create major new challenges for Arizona businesses, making it harder for them to create jobs, expand in their communities, and even keep their doors open. It would redefine what it means to be a “joint employer” under national labor law, greatly complicating existing relationships between franchisors and franchisees as well as between business owners, contractors, subcontractors, and vendors and suppliers. At the same time, it would interfere with attorney-client confidentiality and make it much more difficult for small businesses to secure a legal advice on labor issues. Particularly harmful during these times, the PRO Act would apply a failed policy from California to national labor law by using the “ABC” test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee. This makes it much harder to qualify as an independent contractor, threatening the freedom and flexibility that tens of thousands of Arizonans find in independent contracting and gig economy work. Ultimately, the PRO Act is bad public policy that only works for union leaders to inflate their falling ranks while threatening workers’ rights, undermining small businesses, and jeopardizing a growing part of our economy. This is not a good solution for Arizona, and Senators Sinema and Kelly should stay firm and not cosponsor this misguided legislation.
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