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Obama Administration Opens Another Back Door to the Culture of Union Favoritism
Numerous media outlets have recently reported the White House is looking for ways to isolate and deny government contracts for businesses that do not abide by a yet-to-be-defined new regime of wage and benefit requirements. At a time when millions of Americans are out of work and the nation’s debt continues to explode, this would seem an inopportunetime to start adding costly new regulations to our economic and budgetary woes.
Documents obtained by The Daily Caller confirm the White House is seriously considering adopting a series of proposals that would favor unionized companies bidding on federal contracts. The documents acknowledge the proposals are likely to increase the cost of government contracting and the size of the bureaucracy. The proposals, collectively known as “High Road Contracting Policy,” were first reported earlier this month. (Nagesh, “Documents confirm White House pushing pro-union contracting policies,” The Daily Caller, 02/23/10)
To those who have monitored this Administration’s continued support for a culture of union favoritism, this latest gimmick should come as no surprise – particularly when you recognize who is heading up the lobbying effort.
The idea is being championed by the Services Employees International Union and the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning Washington policy organization. (Schoeff, “Government Mulls Contractor Rules on Wages, Benefits,” Workforce Management, 02/26/10)
Two of Mr. Obama’s allies — John Podesta, the Clinton administration chief of staff who headed the president’s transition team, and Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union — have repeatedly pressed the president to use procurement policy to push up wages and benefits. (Greenhouse, “Plan to Seek Use of U.S. Contracts as a Wage Lever,” New York Times, 02/25/10)
So, the Obama Administration is taking its cues from a select group of favored special interest allies even if it means taxpayers will have to foot the bill for a larger, more costly federal bureaucracy that punishes American businesses. This seems alltoo familiar. Where have we seen this before?
The proposal looks familiar to Brett McMahon, vice president for business development at Miller & Long, a Bethesda, Maryland, construction firm. Companies in the building trades have long been the subject of union efforts to impose wage and benefit standards, he said.
“It’s sad that they want to inflict the same kind of damage on the rest of the economic sphere,” McMahon said. He warns companies in other industries: “Your life is about to change and you have no idea.”
McMahon contends that the “high-road” effort is being spurred by organized labor’s failure to gain congressional approval for the Employee Free Choice Act, a measure that would enable workers to form unions by signing cards rather than by voting in a secret-ballot election.
“They didn’t get card check so far,” McMahon said. “They desperately need somebody to remake the game for them.” (Schoeff, “Government Mulls Contractor Rules on Wages, Benefits,” Workforce Management, 02/26/10)
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