Democrats across the country have championed paid sick leave in an effort to garner favorable public opinion — President Barack Obama made sure to offer his commitment to the issue during his State of the Union Address. Washington State’s Democrat lawmakers were quick to jump on the bandwagon, introducing a paid sick leave bill in the state House of Representatives (HB 1356).
A single bill designed to appeal to public opinion just isn’t good enough for Democrat legislators in Washington State. House Democrats have also introduced bills for paid vacation (HB 1163) and triple pay for employees who work on Thanksgiving Day (HB 1694). Democrats—with the support of big labor—champion these bills as workers’ rights issues. Yet, they don’t take these “rights” seriously enough to extend to all workers, especially workers whose employers give a lot of money to Democrat campaigns.
All three bills contain exemptions for—wait for it—labor unions. Each bill includes an exemption provision for employees who are “covered by a collective bargaining agreement.” In other words, labor unions backing these bills under the guise of workers’ rights don’t seem to believe these particular rights apply to all workers which, of course, doesn’t make them rights at all.
The Washington Policy Center points out that labor unions’ willingness to cut their members out of these workers’ rights reveals the true motivation behind the legislation—that’s to encourage “employers to become union shops in order to take advantage of the exemptions.” The bills would make unionization a “low cost option for employers to avoid paying the otherwise mandated benefits.” Of course, more unionized employers means more union members which means more union dues, which more campaign money for Democrat politicians.
As always, big labor executives are looking out for their self-interests and Democrat lawmakers are only too eager to oblige. After all, as recipients of the vast majority of labor’s campaign cash, liberals benefit when big labor benefits. The three bills are not about workers’ rights—if they were the exemption clauses would not exist—they are about money. The big losers in this scenario are the workers who are forced to pay union dues on top of being left out of the benefits– and small businesses that have to deal with more government mandates.