By BERRY CRAIG, AFT Local 1360
Republished from the Kentucky AFL-CIO State Federation
“Which Side Are You On?” is a grand old union song.
Billy Thompson, USW District 8 director, came up with a Wall of Fame-Wall of Shame banner to show which side state senators and representatives were on when they voted on those union-busting bills last January.
We think the banner is a great idea. So we’re starting a complementary Wall of Fame-Wall of Shame on our website.
We want to show our union brothers and sisters how Kentucky lawmakers in Frankfort and Washington are voting on bills important to organized labor. (We invite other state federations, central labor councils and union locals to starts Walls of Fame and Shame for state and federal legislators in their neck of the woods. (Click here to check us out on The Union Edge: Labor’s Talk Radio.)
First up is the Republican Robin-Hood-in-Reverse tax legislation.
Like most Americans, most union members oppose the legislation, which the AFL-CIO has called “a job-killing tax plan that makes working people pay the price for massive tax giveaways to millionaires and wealthy corporations.”
Not surprisingly, Kentucky Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and Reps. James Comer, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Hal Rogers and Andy Barr voted for the bill.
Again, Rep. John Yarmuth, the only Bluegrass State Democrat in Congress, came through for us and voted against the bill.
So Yarmuth’s name is the first to go up on our Wall of Fame. The GOP sextet is debuting on our Wall of Shame.
We’re including a percentage that shows how often legislators back the president on bills. We think that’s important information because when GOP lawmakers are back in Kentucky they often promise the homefolks that they’re not just Trump rubber stamps. Evidence shows they are, more often than not.
The evidence comes from “Tracking Congress In the Age of Trump: An updating tally of how often every member of the House and Senate votes with or against the president.” Click here to see the House score and here for the Senate score.
WALL OF FAME (voting no on the tax bill)
Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville (17.5)
WALL OF SHAME (voting yes on the tax bill)
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville (96.3)
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green (84.6)
Rep. James Comer, R-Tompkinsville (94.7)
Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green (98.2)
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg (71.9)
Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset (98.2)
Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington (94.7)
“Reward your friends and punish your enemies,” said union pioneer Samuel Gompers, the first and longest-serving president of the American Federation of Labor.
John Yarmuth is one of labor’s best friends in Washington. McConnell, Paul, Comer, Guthrie, Massie, Rogers and Barr are about as anti-union as legislators get.
Paul has introduced a national “right to work” law. The other six Kentucky Republicans are pro-RTW. All seven were gleeful when the Bluegrass State went RTW.
“We will make sure no Kentuckian forgets on Election Day the Republican lawmakers who rewarded the wealthy on the backs of the working class,” Ben Self, Kentucky Democratic Party chair, said in a statement after the tax bill vote.
We hope our Wall of Fame-Wall of Shame will help Kentuckians who pack union cards remember, too, when the Matt Bevin-led, GOP-majority state legislature convenes in January to continue its holy war against unions and working people, and the GOP-majority Congress, egged on by Trump, stays its anti-union and anti-worker course.