Big labor has been living larger under President Barack Obama with federal agencies providing tens of millions in grants to unions, according to reports Wednesday.
The grants support many different union efforts. Unions get taxpayer dollars from federal agencies for job training, recruitment drives and even to support Obamacare. As The Washington Times reports, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL-CIO alone have received at least $53 million under Obama, compared to just $29 million when George W. Bush was in office.
“It’s clearly an insight into how this president and his administration have used taxpayer funds to accomplish political purposes,” Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, told The Washington Times. “Congress needs to look at this, and dig out these grants specifically given to unions and eliminate them.”
The increased grants to unions follows a greater trend under Obama. The administration has fundamentally changed labor policy in ways critics claim unfairly benefit unions. The policy changes include new union election rules and employer classifications of contractors and franchisers.
“We still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give American workers a voice,” the president said during his State of the Union address in January.
Most of the changes have come from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Department of Labor (DOL). Republicans Sen. Lamar Alexander and Rep. John Kline have led much of the effort to stop the rule changes. Thus far, their efforts have been unsuccessful in large part to the president using his veto powers. Lawsuits filed against the NLRB by the business community have also been unable to stop the policy changes.
Throughout his career, Obama has not been shy of his support for organized labor. He noted in his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” while a presidential candidate, “I owe those unions. When their leaders call, I do my best to call them back right away. I don’t consider this corrupting in any way.”
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