Those Honest Democrats

There’s an old definition of an “honest politician” — once they’re bought, they stay bought. And by that standard, the Democrats in Congress are remarkably honest.

The ties between the Democrats and unions go way back. Nearly every penny the unions spend on political campaigns goes to Democrats (regardless of the wishes of their members), and they expect a certain return on their investment. And with the Democrats renewed majority in Congress, they’re getting it.

First off, last spring they tried to push through a “reform” in the union-forming process. In the interest in fair play and honesty and free choice, they wanted to eliminate the secret ballot. No longer could workers express their preferences in private; the unions could simply “persuade” enough of them to sign cards of support. Thank heavens unions have virtually no history of coercion, violence, thuggery, or other such things. Luckily, that one failed.

Now we have another example of the unions wishing to be able to flex their muscle free of any sort of restraint or oversight. In that goal, they’re pushing the Democrats to do something that runs utterly against their instincts — to cut funding for the Department of Labor. More specifically, the Office of Labor-Management Standards. This board — which essentially audits the books of unions and gets them to abide with such pesky things as laws and regulations — recently showed that 94% of the unions it oversees are not in compliance with the laws. As payback, Congress took President Bush’s request for an 11% increase and changed it to a 4% cut.

This is disgusting. This is the government agency whose charge is to make sure that the money that union workers pay into their unions is spent legally. And they are being punished for trying to do their jobs.

I am reminded of something I once read in relation to communism. One author said he was always suspicious of anyone who talked about doing things “for the masses.” He noted that when people are referred to in depersonalized terms, they tend to run roughshod over individuals and their rights.

I think a similar rule holds when leaders — especially union leaders — talk about “workers.”

I am put in mind of the “Reagan Democrats” phenomenon. Back then, the unions were relentless in their opposition to Ronald Reagan, and solidly backed Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale — but their rank and file was far less monolithic. (Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers over their illegal strike did put a dent in that.)

Here again we see a major disconnect between the wishes of the union leadership and the best interests of the union membership. I wonder if this — coupled with union leaders’ opposition to immigration reform, while illegal aliens are literally costing thousands and thousands of union members well-paying jobs — might finally trigger some long-needed reforms in unions.

Or, perhaps, the beginning of the end for unions as we know them.

(Hat tip: Captain Ed)

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