Posted In: Election 2012, Multimedia, Uncategorized, Workers' Rights
by Félix Pérez
Why don’t you tell us how you really feel?
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney didn’t mince words in his remarks about “right to work” laws, organized labor and President Barack Obama’s defense of the federal agency charged with enforcing labor law.
Speaking at a campaign event May 11 in Charlotte, N.C., Romney said that “on the first day” of his presidency he will sign an executive order making “right to work” the law of the land. “I’ll stand up for right to work legislation.”
Romney took issue with President Obama’s appointments in January to the National Labor Relations Board. Romney has pledged to dismantle NLRB, the agency that enforces legal and regulatory protections for workers and against employer abuses. Romney and other conservative Republican and corporate leaders view NLRB as too pro-worker.
At the time of the appointments, President Obama said, “The American people deserve to have qualified public servants fighting for them every day — whether it is to enforce new consumer protections or uphold the rights of working Americans. We can’t wait to act to strengthen the economy and restore security for our middle class and those trying to get in it.”
In his remarks this month, Romney criticized President Obama’s support for the Employee Free Choice Act, pending legislation that encourages employers to negotiate with unions in good faith and on a timely basis.
Business groups, most notably the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have spent millions of dollars to kill the bill, also called “card check” legislation. Under current law, management can refuse to bargain with a union selected by majority sign-up, even if 100 percent of employees have requested that union.
President Obama’s advocacy for passage of the legislation has been thwarted by U.S. Senate Republicans, who demand that at least 60 of the 100 senators in the chamber vote to pass it.
Explaining why the legislation is necessary, President Obama said, “The Employee Free Choice Act is in response to 20 to 30 years, where it’s become more and more difficult for unions to just get a fair election and have their employers actually negotiate with them. The idea behind the EFCA is, let’s just make the playing field even.”
Romney’s support for a national “right to work” law and his opposition to organized labor is consistent with his endorsement of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ohio Governor John Kasich, both of whom have led the national attack against educators, police officers, fire fighters, nurses and other public service workers.
Romney called Walker an “excellent governor” for his legislation, which stripped public service workers of their right to bargain collectively and has bitterly divided the state. Romney stood “110 percent” with Kasich when he tried to strip public sector workers of their rights.
As Election Day draws nearer, Romney and President Obama will continue to speak out on issues that matter to educators, working families and the middle class. Get the facts. Stay informed. Receive EdVotes’ weekly email.