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Left Turns

“Unprecedented New Leverage” for Unions

Is it too early to say we told you so?

The Obama administration claims its blacklisting rule is about ensuring federal contractors deliver “fair pay and safe workplaces.” But since there has long been a process in place to hold federal contractors accountable, there has always been more than meets the eye with this expansive bureaucratic boondoggle. As House Education and the Workforce Committee leaders said when the rule was finalized:

This redundant, unnecessary, and unworkable regulatory scheme isn’t about protecting the rights of workers. It’s about growing government and promoting a culture of union favoritism.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Just ask the unions. 

A blog post published by the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) before the administration even released the final details of the rule doesn’t beat around the bush. It gets right to the point by saying, "[t]he Executive Order gives unions unprecedented new leverage against companies and institutions that contract with the federal government." 

Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the blog as proof organized labor is already scheming of ways the blacklisting rule will enable them to stack the deck in their favor. “Now, we have confirmation from unions themselves that we were right all along,” Freedman writes. 

Aside from a reference to the executive order, the TDU blog doesn’t even mention “fair pay” or “safe workplaces” in more than 600 words. Instead, it explains exactly how this new blacklisting tool will make it easier to organize and give unions the upper hand in negotiations. The union even provides a step-by-step playbook of intimidation tactics labor leaders can use in an imaginary “conversation” with employers. 

It includes the typical strategy of harassing and threatening the employer with frivolous charges, which has long been the standard operating procedure for unions. But under the new blacklisting rule, unions have even more leverage: government contracts. And TDU’s blog shows precisely how unions can use this new leverage to force employers to accept their demands:

Counting all of its divisions, this corporation has federal contracts in the hundreds of millions. Do you really want to jeopardize this pot of gold to save a few hundred thousand dollars in the union contact[sic]?

And there you have it. So much for a rule about “fair pay and safe workplaces.” If only the administration would be as honest as their friends in Big Labor.

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