The Washington State Democrat Party wants everyone to know how proud it is of labor in our state. Leading up to Labor Day, state Democrats sent an email to supporters informing them of the importance of committing the day to “strengthening protections for American workers.” The email goes on to boast of what Jay Inslee and Patty Murray are doing to “protect” workers. The email reads,
“Led by Governor Inslee, we’re pushing hard to raise the minimum wage, and we’ve already seen big victories in Seattle and SeaTac.
“Meanwhile, in D.C. Senator Murray is leading the fight to expand paid sick and safe leave, which will protect working families nationwide.”
Fighting for the rights of workers is all well and good, except for the fact that it’s not the Democrats’ actual agenda. If Democrats were truly fighting for the rights of workers, they would not exempt big labor from every so-called “workers’ rights” bill they push.
During the 2015 legislative session, state House Democrats—with the support of big labor—introduced a series of “workers’ rights” bills. All the bills contained exemptions for—wait for it—labor unions.
Each bill included an exemption provision for employees who are “covered by a collective bargaining agreement.” In other words, labor unions that backed these bills under the guise of workers’ rights did not believe these particular “rights” apply to all workers – specifically those workers who belong to unions. Of course, that attitude doesn’t make them rights at all.
Labor unions’ willingness to cut their members out of “rights” reveals the true motivation behind workers’ rights legislation—that’s to encourage “employers to become union shops in order to take advantage of the exemptions.” Workers’ rights legislation 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.
That point brings us back to why Democrats are so eager to oblige big labor executives in their quest to gain more money (via increased union dues), power and influence. In the end, workers’ rights bills are not about protecting workers—if they were the exemption clauses would not exist. Rather, they are about money. As the recipients of the vast majority of big labor’s campaign cash (whether it is the AFL-CIO, SEIU, or WEA), Democrats benefit when big labor benefits.
The big losers to Democrats’ so-called “workers’ rights” bills 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.
Indeed, Washington State Democrats had a lot to thank unions for on Labor Day. Here are the top five unions state Democrats have to thank… based on their most recent—but by no means total—generous contributions.
- American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ (AFSCME) $100,000 contribution in July.
- Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare 775NW’s $20,000 contribution in June.
- SEIU WA State Council’s $20,000 contribution in May.
- Internal Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)- COPE’s $15,000 contribution in June.
- WA State Council of County and City Employees’ $10,000 contribution in June.