This week, the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) AFL-CIO sent supporters its weekly legislative update. As could be expected, the big labor organization filled its update with praise for Democrats, criticism of Republicans, a generous spoon full of hypocrisy and a boatload of dishonesty. Here are the three most absurd political moves made by the WSLC this week:
- Attempting to pass off House Bills 1355 and 1356 as efforts to promote “shared prosperity” and “workers’ rights.”
The WSLC was quite pleased with the fact that Democrat sponsored House Bills 1355 and 1356 cleared two committee hurdles in the Democrat-controlled state House. Pointing out that Washington voters would “soon find out which side their representatives are on” when the bills come to a floor vote, the WSLC extolled the virtues of the bills as part of its “2015 Shared Prosperity Agenda.” Labeled as “workers’ rights” bills, HB 1355 would increase the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour over four years and HB 1356 would require mandatory paid sick leave.
The problem is these bills are a lot more about targeting then sharing. As Shift reported, both bills include exemptions (read: special privileges) for unions in an effort to make unionization more appealing for businesses. Many union contracts do not hold to these standards—laughably, Democrat Sen. Bob Hasegawa responded to Republicans’ efforts to remove the special privileges by saying the standards would create “hardships” for currently exempt unions.
Guess it’s more about “shared prosperity” for union executives, not the average worker.
- Accusing Republicans of blocking a transportation package with “ideological policies” while completely ignoring the pool of ideological policies Democrats have been swimming in.
The WSLC launched its explanation of the recently introduced bi-partisan transportation package in the state Senate with a jab at Republicans. It claimed that, two years ago, Democrats in the state House passed a transportation package which Senate Republicans struck down. The WSLC fails to mention that the so-called transportation package that House Democrats passed was, in fact, a partial package that failed to identify where the funding mechanism (new taxes) would come from. The WSLC also leaves out any mention of how Democrats obstructed any chance of a transportation package last year due to their “ideological policies,” including Jay Inslee’s refusal to take a fuel mandate by executive order off the table.
According to the WSLC, Republicans are guilty of the worst form of ideological policies: reform measures. Republicans want any transportation package to include reforms designed to eliminate waste and protect funds designated for transportation. That includes a proposal that prevents the state from taking gas tax revenue by underhandedly charging sales tax on its own projects then diverting that money for spending on big government policies. For that, Republicans are ideologues who are guilty of obstructing a transportation package.
It’s these ideological policies that “threaten the viability of the whole [transportation] plan,” writes the WSLC. Making matters worse, Republican ideologues dared place a safeguard against the ultimate manifestation of Democrat ideological policies (which are okay because they are far-left): Jay Inslee’s plan to jam a fuel mandate through by executive order instead of submitting it for a legislative vote.
Anyone can see the stunning level of hypocrisy in these claims. But, it’s not the hypocrisy that is truly shocking. It’s that the WSLC continues to make these claims with a straight face year after year and Democrats listen.
- Claiming Republican lawmakers are “attacking the collective bargaining rights of public employees.”
Only in the self-promoting world of big labor can a bill that seeks greater government transparency be labeled as an “attack.” Wrapping up its update, the WSLC expressed disappointment that certain Republican sponsored bills in the state Senate were still alive. Among the bills singled out was Senate Bill 5329, which seeks to open government collective bargaining negotiations to the public by removing union exemptions from the state Open Public Meetings Act. This, according to WSLC, is an attack on collective bargaining.
Of course, the WSLC brushes over reality—secret deals made between governor’s office and union executives with hard earned taxpayer dollars are simply not in the public’s best interests—in its haste to hurl ridiculous accusations. Then again, big labor and labor-backed Democrats don’t exactly have the greatest arguments with which to defend secret negotiations.