Much has been written about President Obama’s far-left proclivities, the radical foundations beneath the friends and associates who helped shape his views throughout the formative years of his political development, and the tinfoil hat-wearing suspicion that his Presidency is nothing more than a years-in-the-making conspiracy against all that America has ever stood for. As one most likely to be the first to mock the ‘black helicopter’ crowd, I have always been hard-pressed to buy into that meme; I’ve never believed that a secret “conspiracy” of greater than one could successfully be pulled off…especially amongst self-aggrandizing and back-stabbing Politicians and their smoke-filled backroom cronies…until now.
But President Obama suffers no fools over where his new NLRB Member stands in regard to employees and their relationship with management and the business owners for whom they work:
“Just as U.S. Citizens cannot opt against having a congressman, workers should not be able to choose against having a union as their monopoly-bargaining agent.”
It’s just taken Obama this long to get all the pieces lined up in order to, by Presidential fiat, force America’s middle class and working families to join the Union and be subservient to the whims of Union bosses.
Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009. The very next day he issued 2 Executive Orders (scroll to the bottom of page if you care to click through). The first was in regard to “Presidential Records” and the other on “Ethics Commitments By Executive Branch Personnel.” All formal and standard stuff I presume. He issued three more on the 22nd of January 2009 related to closing Guantanimo, calling for a detention policy review, and seeking to ensure lawful interrogations…again-no surprise there. It’s what he did 10 days into his Presidency (on the 30th of January) that appears to have laid the groundwork for his apparent conspiracy to incrementally socialize the American workforce; his payback if you will to the Unions for the 400 million dollars they spent to buy him that house on Pennsylvania Avenue, and the over-arching goal of getting taxpayers and non-union workers (92.8% of the non-Government workforce in 2009) to pay for years of mismanagement of Union Pension funds, ultimately forcing the rest of us to make them solvent.
Executive Order 13496 (Notification of Employee rights under Federal labor laws), Executive Order 13495 (Nondisplacement of qualified workers under service contracts), Executive Order 13494 (Economy in Government contracting), and his Memorandum on the “White House Task Force on Middle-Class Working Families,” coupled with his remarks on these documents, bundle nicely together to indicate that President Obama means to “fix” the middle class by getting us all to join the Union.
By using the Executive Order President Obama has bowed to Big labor, flipped off Congress and the non-union American worker, and has successfully put a modern-day version of Leon Trotsky in charge of deciding the future relationship between Business owners and their employees. And, the favor Obama paid to Big Labor with his Executive Order on Project Labor Agreements is no small thing. He has, in essence, made it almost impossible for a unionized construction firm to NOT get awarded the big prize. Further, by enriching Unions he helps assure Democrats, in general, of a greater chance of being enriched themselves:
By eliminating the vast majority of potential bidders on federal construction projects, Obama guarantees two things. First, the projects will cost taxpayers more because union labor is always more expensive. And with mandated PLAs, the cost premium for union contractors will be even greater because fewer bidders always means less competition and higher prices. Second, by guaranteeing unions a bigger stream of federal contracts, Obama is making sure that Big Labor, already among the Democrats’ biggest sources of campaign cash, will have even more money to hand out for the 2010 and 2012 elections. You scratch our back with taxpayers dollars gleaned through PLA-based federal construction jobs, and we’ll scratch your back with campaign contributions. That’s the way it works in Obama’s business-as-usual Washington. It’s also known in some quarters as “the Chicago Way.”
Another factor helps explain Obama’s willingness to sign an executive order that will put millions more tax dollars in union coffers. Mix points out that unions under PLAs typically exact agreements that include requiring contractors to make payments to union pension funds. This is an increasingly urgent issue, as the Washington Examiner’s Mark Hemingway has recently detailed in these pages. According to Labor Department filings, the average union pension has only enough money on hand to cover 62 percent of the benefits it has promised to union members. Pension plans with 80 percent funding are considered “endangered” by federal auditors, while those with less than 65 percent funding are put on the “critical” list. With this latest executive order, it’s clear that Obama intends to give unions on the critical list a massive dose of federal tax dollars to cure what ails them.
And, even more than the repayment of favors the President has embarked on for bigger bucks from Big Labor, looming larger still are the real details in this devil: Union pensions. Consider this:
Nonunion workers and private companies could be forced into absorbing the financial liabilities of underfunded union pension plans, thanks to pending health care mandates and an executive order that could be finalized this year, policy analysts and trade group representatives have concluded.
Even as unions continue to market themselves to new members on the basis of generous pension programs, government figures show these plans are performing poorly in comparison with retirement packages that operate beyond the orbit of organized labor.
In addition, unions are pushing the Obama administration on project labor agreements (PLAs), which, among other things, will give their pension plans new sources of outside funding – nonunion workers on government contracts worth more than $25 million.
The average union pension has resources to cover only 62 percent of what is owed to participants, according to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. Pensions with less than 80 percent of the assets needed to cover present and projected liabilities are considered “endangered,” while those that fall below a 65 percent threshold are classified as “critical” under the Pension Protection Act of 2006.
Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. figures also state that less than one in every 160 workers is covered by a union pension with required assets.
Michelle Ringuette, a spokeswoman for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), acknowledged that pension funds for her union and for others were facing difficulties but said the fault lies with businesses, not the unions.
Ahh, yes…the SEIU. The very same SEIU from whence Craig Becker originated, and the very same SEIU that has been known to beat up a Tea Party protester or two. And the very same SEIU that, in this same article, sees huge gains in their membership numbers with Obama at the helm.
The issuance, 17 days into his Presidency, of Executive Order 13502 (Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal construction projects) which heavily favors Unionized construction firms in the bidding and procurement of services process for being awarded said construction projects by the Federal Government was strike one against the middle class worker. The recess appointment a year later of the wildly radical and socialist-minded Craig Becker to the NLRB (despite strong bipartisan opposition in Congress) was strike 2. The likely issuance of an Executive order by year’s end relating to the so-called “High Road” contracting policy, described in some scary detail here, will be strike 3.
On Christmas Eve 2009, Brett McMahon (VP of Business Development at Miller and Long Concrete Construction Company) detailed the dirty little secrets about what we can expect with PLAs and “high road” contracting with the Federal Government. In my 15 minute interview with Brett for 73Wire that lasted an hour and 15 minutes, I came to understand more than I cared to about Obama’s impact on non-union workers and the companies they work for. In part II of this topic, I’ll share more about what we discussed and what he sees coming for the average middle class worker. For now, a passage to consider at length from his Examiner Op-Ed:
[T]he order (EO 13502) discourages competition from nonunion contractors by requiring that the jobs be awarded only to contractors agreeing to recognize unions as representatives of their employees for the life of a construction project.
Even if a nonunion contractor like mine successfully competes for a federal construction project and is willing to have employees represented by a union without a vote by employees, the contractor would be forced to pay health and pension benefits twice – once to its employees under existing benefit programs and once to the union’s programs. A contractor’s nonunion employees would be forced to pay union dues and would not benefit from either employee or employer contributions to the union unless they decide to join the local union and become vested in union programs.
So why should nonunion shops pay twice the benefit costs just to work on federal construction projects that are already paid for with their own tax dollars? The costly provisions in PLAs prevent nonunion contractors from submitting their most competitive price and puts them at a disadvantage when bidding against union competitors. You can see why the order kills any incentive for nonunion shops to compete.
In essence, then, Obama’s new way of doing business is to allow you to be a non-union contractor and build stuff for him…but you’ll have to pretend to be a union member and actually pay them money to do so.
In part II we’ll take a closer look at the Pensions Benefit Guarantee Corp., Multiple Employer Pension Plans, proposed Pension Bailout bills in Congress, and a host of other ways in which the Oabama Administration means to unionize you and make you fix the pension plans of all his buddies running Big labor.
[haystack’s note: this post originates at 73Wire. It’s here because I think this needs the widest exposure possible]