Paul fund-raises on his ‘right to work’ bill, rates a zero on
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights report card
Image by Stump Source FLIKR CC
By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360
Rand Paul is all in for “right to work,” but he knows his national RTW bill is going nowhere.
Kentucky’s tea party-tilting junior senator never figured it would. He knows hogs will fly before the legislation winds up on the desk of President Trump, a fellow RTW fan.
Paul is clued in to the fact that the Democrats can filibuster the measure to death.
But passing the bill wasn’t Paul’s point. Putting his John Hancock on the legislation was.
Paul’s uber-conservative, well-heeled, union-despising donors are as crazy about RTW as he is. Paul proposed the bill to give himself a chance to burnish his anti-union creds with his bankrollers.
Koch Industries is the pseudo-populist Paul’s third largest contributor, according to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. The National Right to Work Committee piled $7,500 into Paul’s campaign coffers.
Charles and David Koch and other kleptocrats have also extended their largess to pro-RTW Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Bluegrass State’s senior senator.
Paul and McConnell realize that GOP-majority state legislatures are where RTW laws get passed. They were on Cloud Ten–the one above Nine–last January when the Republican-run Kentucky General Assembly approved a RTW bill at warp speed; GOP Gov. Matt Bevin lost no time in signing it.
Kentucky unions have filed suit to overturn the bill.
More than just union members understand that RTW laws are among the oldest union-busting tools around. “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work,’” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. cautioned in 1961. “It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.”
Added King: “Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote.”
Also in 1961, King warned that “the labor-hater and labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other mouth [italics mine].”
Last year, every Republican in the House and Senate got an “F” on a congressional report card issued by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, George F. Curry wrote in the Daytona, Fla., Times.
The LCCHR is an umbrella organization with more than 200 member groups. It graded all lawmakers on how they voted on legislation important to the civil and human rights community, explained Curry, editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service and former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine.
With much fanfare Rand Paul has officially kicked off his Stand with Rand presidential campaign. He is arguably the most anti-worker candidate on the American political landscape.
Paul never strays from being a front man for the wealthy with his extreme anti-union beliefs. For Postal workers his message is clear as he advocates an end to collective bargaining rights for postal workers when their current contracts expire. He says he is not “opposed to all unions” he just believes unions are inappropriate for public service workers.
For other union workers, his thoughts are just as clear as he proudly introduced a National Right to Work Bill in the Senate. The National Right to Work Committee has given Paul $20,000 already this election cycle, which is 57% of all the money it has handed out to all other politicians combined. So you can easily say that Rand Paul has essentially become the national spokesman for Right to Work. This kind of belies his “man of the people” messaging.
When speaking on Postal Reform a month ago in Florida he blasted the Postal Service:
“There are two sectors in the economy. The productive sector: you. And the non-productive sector: the people who live in Washington. They don’t make anything. They can’t even run the post office. They say we are going to project our power and we create new nations around the world. We can’t run our own post office. They came to me last year on my committee and you know what they said, ‘we need bonuses for people at the post office.’ They said ‘you’ve got to pay people to retain talent. To get talented people you’ve got to pay them.’ I said ‘how much talent does it take to lose a billion dollars a quarter.’” I am not quite sure that Postal Bonuses were a major topic in the postal reform mark up. I am quite sure that postal union workers do not receive any bonuses. Plus the USPS has turned an operational profit over the last few years.
(Michael Vadon – Carroll County Republican Committee Annual Lincoln Day Dinner with U.S. Senator Rand Paul – FLIKR CC)
“So something has to change, but everybody opposes any changes that would allow the Post Office to make decisions like a business. Maybe if they were to have bankruptcy and renegotiate all of their labor contracts, they would have a chance. But there’s too many strong political, partisan voices up here to let that happen. So I don’t know what the answer is. Privatization would be great but how we go about doing that is another story.”
Senator Paul’s main contribution to the Postal Reform hearings before his committee were not exactly constructive. He immediately proposed an amendment calling on the Postal Service to declare bankruptcy and reorganize. In the senator’s vision of reorganization, collective-bargaining agreements between USPS and its employee unions would be renegotiated, while existing no-layoff protections and the ability to bargain over wages would be banned.
Paul then tied up the committee with a lengthy barrage of questions about his failed amendment to “remove a federal ban on guns in the post offices.” This prevented substantial debate on the problems with retiree pre-funding obligations that his Congress placed on the USPS. Senator Paul’s Postal Reform boils down to eliminating workers rights and enhancing gun owners’ rights in the post office. That is not Postal Reform, that’s Postal Destruction.
The real issue behind the Postal Service’s red ink is the 2006 Congressional mandate that the Postal Service fully fund 75 years of retiree health care costs in a 10 year period. This onerous mandate costs the USPS $5.5 Billion a year and is the only reason that the Postal Service doesn’t show a profit on its balance sheet. Even more outrageous is the fact that this payment is unnecessary as the USPS retiree fund has more than enough money for decades into the future. The hard-working union workers of the Postal Service are on their 3rd straight year of an operational profit. It’s been an extraordinary turnaround that Paul fails to mention.
Rand Paul has some serious misconceptions not only about the productivity of union workers but also their retirement and health care plans. ” Federal employees have almost double the compensation that private employees have. […] Maybe these government unions are going to have to contribute to their pension, maybe they’re going to have to pay something for their health care, like I’m having to pay, so when I hear regular taxpayers in Kentucky they don’t have a lot of sympathy because they’re paying high insurance premiums and they have to pay for their own retirements. “
He couldn’t be more misinformed. Public workers at all level of government have to contribute to their pension and health care plans. Federal employees contribute to the Federal Employment Retirement System (FERS), which requires them to contribute to the fund at a rate equivalent to one percent of their yearly salary. Also Federal workers participate in the Federal Group Health Care system where they buy their healthcare. For some Postal Workers (CCAs and PSEs) the price for health care almost make it unattainable while joining a retirement plan is not fiscally possible. The Postal Service does not contribute anything to their retirement plans. Paul had to know he was completely misrepresenting the facts, but that didn’t stop him. His overall dislike of public sector unions make any exaggeration of the facts acceptable, it seems.
Demonizing federal union workers is a Republican staple since Ronald Reagan fired Air Traffic Controllers. There is a profit to be made by decimating the Postal Service both politically and financially. It’s no surprise that UPS and FedEx are among the top 10 contributors to his leadership PAC. With Paul it’s simple: you just follow the money. Whether it’s degrading public union workers or being the lead advocate for bills against private sector workers, it’s clear whose side Rand Paul stands with. His close ties with anti-union groups show his true allegiance. He will offer an occasional populist message on foreign policy or the war on drugs in an effort to disguise the fact that when it comes to economic issues he is firmly against working people.
Paul is the latest in the line of snake oil salesman running for President who under the guise of free markets/privatization, who want to further enrich the ultra-wealthy on the backs of middle class workers. The ultra-wealthy supporters of Paul never vote against their economic self-interest. Notice the record-breaking income inequality as proof. In spite of that Rand Paul is running for president hoping to fool working people in to voting against their economic well-being. His Stand with Rand movement is clearly standing on the backs of union people.
Paul believes ordinary people should just be slaves for the rich and be thankful for it. He expounds on this in the video below. For working people a more accurate slogan describing their economic outlook under a President Rand Paul would be Fall With Paul.
Senators from opposite ends of the political spectrum took to lecterns on opposite ends of Manchester yesterday to test the waters for potential presidential runs. At the NH Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders engaged in spirited back-and-forth with 200 progressive activists on topics including campaign finance, excessive military spending, and the need for a “political revolution.” Meanwhile, the Americans for the Prosperous Foundation and Citizens United hosted a parade of right-wing Senators and others trying out their stuff before an audience of several hundred conservatives at the Executive Court.
Outside the conservative event, progressive activists – mistakenly identified with the Democratic Party by the Concord Monitor – held signs lambasting proposals to weaken retirement security.
It was perhaps the first in what will soon be a typical day on the trail to the 2016 New Hampshire Presidential Primary.
The conservative event was tickets-only, but I got my request in early enough to get a seat and hear speeches from leaders of Citizens United and Americans for the Prosperous, followed by NH Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator Mike Lee, Donald Trump, and a couple of local pols. While Trump was entertaining, audience response to Senatorial speeches about low taxes and the evils of Obamacare drew tepid responses. The speakers were ushered to the stage from behind a curtain, gave their prepared speeches, and disappeared again behind the curtain without taking any audience questions or comments.
Senator Kelly Ayotte, who seems to be on lots of lists of potential VPs, quoted former Governor Meldrim Thomson, equated freedom with low taxes, and equated the Affordable Care Act with freedom’s opposite. Applause were somewhere south of excited. Senator Lee was teacherly and likewise failed to excite the crowd.
Trump was different. Speaking without notes – and criticizing politicians who depend on speech-writers and tele-prompters – Trump wandered from point topoint, some of which departed from standard AFP scripts. For example, he defended Social Security and Medicare in an apparent dig at proposals coming from Congressman Paul Ryan. He said we need “to come up with a humane solution” to the country’s immigration system, but then drew applause for ridiculing Jeb Bush’s recent “act of love” statement and said he could build a physical barrier that would keep immigrants out. Trump said we had spent $2 trillion on the Iraq war, “for what?,” but then implied maybe it would have been worth it if we had taken over the country’s oil.
With no candidate Q&A, the event was rather boring. My colleague Addy and I left during the introduction of Congressman Louie Gohmert and headed across town.
Senator Sanders had already finished his speech and was talking about Harry Truman when we arrived at the Institute of Politics. The mood felt different, and it wasn’t just that we were in politically comfortable surroundings. The seats were all filled, except for ones emptied by people standing in line to get their turns at microphones on the left and right sides of the stage. Sanders handled questions comfortably, clearly at home in a town hall meeting environment. Decrying “a Congress largely dependent on corporatemoney,” Sanders called for development of a grassroots movement to demand change and then hold politicians accountable.
Sanders, a socialist who ran as an Independent and caucuses with the Democrats, is giving active consideration to a presidential run without saying whether he would run as an Independent or take the fight inside the Democratic Party. “Somebody has got to be talking about these issues,” he told a group of labor activists who met with him in a small conference room after the main event.
We could have returned to the Freedom Summit and perhaps would have been able to hear Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, but I had had enough for one day. I would have liked to hear Senator Paul criticize corporate welfare at a Koch-fueled forum. But I’m pretty sure all these wannabe Presidents will be back, as will the progressive protests, grassroots activists, and the reporters who love to take it all in.
“Sen. Rand Paul this week introduced the National Right to Work Act, S. 204, which seeks to preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities.
“Every American worker deserves the right to freedom of association – and I am concerned that the 26 states that allow forced union membership and dues infringes on these workers’ rights,” Sen. Paul said. “Right to work laws ensure that all Americans are given the choice to refrain from joining or paying dues to a union as a condition for employment. Nearly 80 percent of all Americans support the principles and so I have introduced a national Right to Work Act that will require all states to give their workers the freedom to choose.”
Sen. Paul’s Right to Work Act does not add a single word to existing federal law, it simply deletes forced unionism provisions in federal law.”
This completely changes the conversation that surrounds Right To Work. Before they always said was about jobs. Specifically stealing jobs from neighboring Non-RTW states. This is how they forced it through in Indiana. I love the way that Rick Smith describes it on his show, “Beggar they neighbor”. If we are a RTW for less nation who are we going to beg jobs from?
Now it seems it is that it is about Freedom. This is a complete joke since it is already illegal to force someone into a union. They already have the freedom to pay the representation fee instead of joining.
This is exactly the opposite to everything we are taught to believe in the democratic process. We can have all the debate we want but in the end, the majority rules. Now they are taking the minority and placing them ahead of the majority.
This is an ideological and blatantly anti-union piece of legislation. It has no benefit to our nation as a whole. It will reduce the collective bargaining rights of millions of union workers and it turn will reduce the pay and benefits of the other 200 million workers in the US.
The national race to bottom has begun, soon Rand Paul will probably try to repeal all collective bargaining in the country!
Is it any surprise that the National Right To Work committee made a nice donation to the Rand Paul for Senate campaign. Does it surprise you that the National RTW Committee spent over $2.2 Million dollars ‘lobbying’ in Washington D.C.? I am not surprised considering that there were no less than five Right To Work for less bills submitted in the 112 Congress.
While I do not expect this bill to go very far in the US Senate, it is obvious that these officials care more about their campaign contributions that the majority of workers.
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