Big Labor boss Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, knows more about President Obama’s second term agenda than you do. He bragged about it on Sunday, talking about his many “conversations” with Obama and his administration about their plans for the future. While perhaps not surprising, it’s certainly troubling.
President Obama has spent the last three years putting union interests ahead of American economic interests—or as he likely sees it, returning a favor. Unions send millions of dollars to Democratic campaigns, and this year alone, they are expected to spend $400 million to support Obama’s reelection. And they don’t just donate money; they also have plans for their own voter-mobilization efforts.
President Obama has built his political life with the support of Big Labor, according to his mid-career memoir, The Audacity of Hope. Writing about his 2004 Senate primary race, he says, “the leaders of several of the largest service workers unions … broke ranks and chose to endorse me over Hynes…. So I owe those unions. When their leaders call, I do my best to call them back right away.”
He’s stuck to that, even as president. Last year, Trumka also boasted about the constant contact he has with the White House: “I have conversations every day with someone in the White House or the administration.”
To pay back union bosses for their support, the president has done his best to do their bidding.
When American plane manufacturer Boeing wanted to build a plant in South Carolina, a right to work state, Obama’s National Labor Relations Board, an unelected panel of government bureaucrats, said no. They demanded construction halted until Boeing gave in to union demands.
In so doing, they held jobs hostage to the special interests. At a time of painfully high unemployment, they played politics. And President Obama let them. He formally opposed a bill that would have overruled the NLRB’s action. Such behavior underscores the danger of an administration beholden to Big Labor: jobs are a secondary priority.
When the NLRB eventually dropped the outrageous case, their true intentions were revealed. As a Wall Street Journal editorial argued, “[NLRB’s] decision to drop the case so quickly after the [unions] cut their deal exposes how politically motivated the Boeing suit was.”
The president has made sure the NLRB would act in favor of union bosses. Earlier this year, he made three “recess” appointments to the NLRB. Of course, the Senate was not actually in recess, but Obama was not going to the let the Constitution get in his way of supporting Big Labor.
One of Obama’s earlier appointees to the board was Craig Becker, a former union lawyer, undoubtedly dedicated to the Big Labor cause. In fact, the Wall Street Journal once called him “labor’s secret weapon.”
But it’s no secret that Big Labor has long had something of a controlling stake in the Democratic Party. Under President Obama, though, it’s gotten worse. Thanks to his NLRB appointments, a government rule-making board is stacked with political cronies. When union bosses are unhappy, job creation becomes an afterthought. And in ObamaCare and bailouts, unions consistently received preferential treatment.
With the economy struggling and the government running massive debts, we cannot afford four more years of this. America needs jobs and a government that serves the people’s interests, not the special interests.
But if President Obama gets a second term, he would be completely indebted to Big Labor for campaigning on his behalf. He would “owe those unions” more than ever. And who knows what agenda they’re plotting together?
Let’s hope we never find out.