Yesterday GOP WHannabe Scott Walker announced his plans to gut the National Labor Relations Act and destroy labor unions. Also, our northern border is not 100% secure. (More)
“Collective bargaining is not a right. It is an expensive entitlement.”
So declared Scott Walker yesterday in announcing his plans to destroy labor unions. While Walker framed his plans as opposing “big government unions,” the details make it clear that he hopes to eliminate all unions:
Seeking to revitalize his presidential campaign, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Monday fired a new shot at labor by proposing to prevent federal workers from collectively bargaining, create a national right-to-work law and eliminate the National Labor Relations Board.
In a plan released by his campaign, Walker also called for requiring all unions to hold periodic votes so workers could decide whether they should continue to exist. If elected, he also would cancel President Barack Obama’s Labor Day order that federal contractors provide paid sick leave and work to end policies requiring some salaried workers in the private sector to receive overtime – saying in some cases they should get time off instead.
The NLRB resolves disputes between bosses and workers, even when workers have not formed a union. By eliminating it, Walker would effectively gut not only labor unions but also the enforcement of federal wage and hour laws and most workplace safety rules. The laws would still exist, but workers would have no recourse if bosses violate them.
“Tilting the playing field in favor of corporate interests”
An interesting though largely overlooked feature of Walker’s bid for survival is that it is not new at all. In fact, the idea of hitting public unions by cutting off their political funding has been promoted by none other than the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, since at least 1998.
In that year, ALEC released the Paycheck Protection Act as a model bill that it began disseminating among Republican-controlled state legislatures.
In subsequent years, it has pushed similar legislation under slightly different titles – Public Employee Paycheck Protection Act, Public Employer Payroll Deduction Policy Act – in each case seeking to push back the political influence of public unions by cutting off their supplies of political cash.
Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy, which monitors ALEC, said the legislation was billed as protecting workers’ freedom.
“But really it is about defunding unions and tilting the playing field in favor of corporate interests like Koch Industries, the energy empire of the Koch brothers who are among ALEC’s biggest funders,” he said.
“Attacks on unions and workers’ rights aren’t leadership – they’re bullying”
Walker says his plan is “pro-freedom and pro-worker.” But by “pro-freedom” he means the freedom of bosses to fire workers who talk with colleagues about better pay and safer conditions. And phrases like “pro-worker” and “workplace fairness” are a pitch to non-union workers who resent the better pay and benefits of union workers.
Clinton said on Twitter that unions make families strong.
“Scott Walker’s attacks on unions and workers’ rights aren’t leadership – they’re bullying,” she said.
Her main Democratic rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, said Walker’s plan would only make rich people and corporations even wealthier. “If we are going to rebuild the crumbling middle class we need a stronger trade-union movement, not a weaker one,” he said in a statement.
Walker claims he inspired the Occupy Movement – Washington Post fact-checker Michelle Ye Hee Lee rated that a Four Pinocchio lie – so we shouldn’t be surprised that he has again revealed his contempt for American workers. As The Onion bitingly put it, Walker wants to abandon the union labor model and return to the confederate labor model. His proposal will delight his corporate funders … but it’s bad news for the rest of us.
“This is the first time I’ve handled a case of someone sneaking in from our northern neighbor”
A convicted sex offender and international drug dealer from Ontario was caught with an equally soaking wet fellow Canadian after they swam across a river and entered the U.S. illegally at the far northeastern corner of Minnesota, a strategy the felon had used previously without detection, according to federal prosecutors.
Walter D. Duncan, 53, was charged in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis with conspiracy to bring aliens into the U.S. illegally while on what can only be described as a highly unorthodox business trip in mid-August. John Craig Zdybal, 24, was Duncan’s alleged swimming partner and protector from bears and other hazards of the wilds. Richard A. Davids, 26, was assigned to be waiting in a car in Minnesota for the soggy swimmers.
Davids’ lawyer, Mitchell A. Robinson, said his client admits he lied to border agents about his stateside intentions. Davids will receive a six-month sentence, then have the term suspended before being “put back on a bus” to Canada sometime this week and forbidden from ever returning to the U.S., Robinson added.
“I’ve been doing this for nearly 28 years,” said the Minneapolis defense attorney, “and have probably handled 50 or more cases of alien smuggling, but it always has been from the south. This is the first time I’ve handled a case of someone sneaking in from our northern neighbor.”
Yes, they caught those two guys, and that defense lawyer has never handled another case of someone sneaking across the border from Canada … but what about all those sneaky Canadians who don’t get caught? Is it just coincidence that President Reagan and Congress legalized undocumented immigrants in 1986 and the National Hockey League has added eight teams since that law was passed? And what about all those ads for Canadian beer?
And I’m not the only one who wonders about this. John Candy and Alan Alda starred in a semi-historical documentary about our Cold War with Canada, and in Wag the Dog the Albanian terrorists that we weren’t fighting were not sneaking over the border from Canada … sparking this stirring musical tribute that was never finished:
And if that’s not enough, Canadian tourists even have an almost-ISIS to “defend their rights” while they invade the U.S. By “almost-ISIS,” I mean “a group of non-Americans,” and by “invade” I mean “escape the Canadian winter to visit South Blogistan and other warm places.” You know, like Planned Parenthood consists of “American Mengeles.” But I digress.
The point is, maybe Walker was onto something. Or just on something. Either way, we shouldn’t take it for granted that Duncan was the only Canadian trying to sneak down here and make the rest of us learn to like hockey and say “aboot.” If there’s one thing this campaign season is teaching me, it’s that you can never be too paranoid.
Photo Credit: Ron Sachs (AP)
Good day and good nuts