08/29/2012; Jackie Tortora
Bashing unions and working people seems to be the unifying theme of the 2012 Republican National Convention (RNC) held in Tampa, Fla., this week.
Josh Eidelson wrote for Salon that the RNC’s choice of speakers and agenda is “a full-on embrace of the same anti-union agenda that helped earn Scott Walker and Nikki Haley their Tuesday night speaking slots.”
The new platform reflects a Republican Party even more hostile to organized labor than the one that nominated John McCain four years ago.
Some examples of this extreme anti-union agenda, Eidelson writes, includes the GOP’s obsession with creating a national “right to work” for less law, ending Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) and bashing public sector unions. The Republican platform, approved Tuesday, aims to scale back on President Obama’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and reverse National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) “modest moves to strengthen organizing rights, and to remain steadfast in opposing the Employee Free Choice Act.”
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels cemented his conservative rock star role by signing a “Right to Work” law in February. But in a sign of its lightning rod status, some of the GOP’s most prominent anti-union swing state governors, including Michigan’s Rick Snyder and Wisconsin’s (then pre-recall) Scott Walker, have claimed not to want “Right to Work” fights in their states.
The new platform also takes a more hostile stance towards construction unions, demanding “an end to the Project Labor Agreements” and “repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act.” Both PLAs and Davis-Bacon establish wage standards for construction projects, making it easier for contractors that use union labor to compete with cheaper non-union contractors for work (Davis-Bacon covers federal contracts; PLAs are project-specific agreements). That’s not all they have in common: Both have drawn support from dozens of current House Republicans, stymieing legislative attacks. Among those who’ve voted to defend Davis-Bacon in the past? Paul Ryan, whose family runs its construction company with union labor. While the new platform calls for abolishing PLAs and Davis-Bacon, neither was mentioned in the 2008 document.