Another gift for Big Labor at the expense of jobs

Katie Packer Gage Executive Director, Workforce Fairness Institute
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As if the Obama administration hasn’t given union bosses enough “payback,” it is poised to give them even more – only this time the gift is as dangerous as Big Labor’s other agenda items such as the Employee “Forced” Choice Act, and will result in more job loss.

The new and badly mislabeled “High Road Contracting Policy” as reported in The Wall Street Journal will allow the government to “use its authority over how taxpayer money is spent to favor unions and their agenda. This is good news for Andy Stern and his Service Employees International Union. But not so good for job creation.”

First reported in The Daily Caller, the policy gives preference to any federal government contractor who complies with union-driven wage and benefit demands, and the government would rate each contractor according to yet-undefined evaluation factors – possibly blacklisting existing or new, non-union contractors from competing.

Simply stated, this is not the American way.

By altering how the government issues contracts in a way that increases costs related to wages, health care, pensions and other benefits, the end result is that projects will cost more to complete – evidence that should nullify this proposal quickly given our nation’s historic budget deficit.

In addition, small businesses will not be able to compete for contracts, and many larger employers will be at a significant disadvantage as they already struggle to meet payroll during a challenging economic time.

Keep in mind that this “High Road” policy, suggested by Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force and likely arriving in the form of an executive order, would affect all government contractors – even those who have solid track records and established relationships with government agencies.

Changing the contracting process to reward unionized companies is not about workers but about “payback” to Big Labor at the expense of America’s small businesses who are the nation’s top job creator.

Union bosses are obviously exerting pressure on the administration to put in place forced unionization schemes which serve as nothing more than “payback” because Big Labor expects a return on the half-billion dollar investment it made in pro-labor candidates during the 2008 election cycle.

The agenda pursued by organized labor consists of the forced unionization of workers whether its via the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act, Craig Becker’s nomination to the National Labor Relations Board, using the National Mediation Board to change rules governing the airline and railroad industries, pushing forward with efforts to represent Transportation Security Administration airport screeners before a collective bargaining unit has even been formed, or the so-called “High Road Contracting Policy.”

All of Big Labor’s actions speak to one thing: more workers forced into unions resulting in increased dues to the AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Increased dues will allow labor bosses to subsidize their mismanaged pension plans. Why else would labor bosses keep insisting that the Obama administration and Congress provide them with vehicles to force unionization on more workers? It is another bailout for a special interest on the backs of employees and employers.

Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force needs to understand that picking winners and losers among our nation’s job providers will not strengthen our economy – it can only lead to further economic decline, something that our country just cannot afford.

Katie Packer is the executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute.