Jill Stein: Obama betrays labor again, guts union rights
President Obama’s recent signing of the FAA Reauthorization Bill —over the protests of at least 19 major trade unions including the UAW, Steelworkers, Transportation Communications Union (IAM) and Teamsters— shows once again the current administration’s true nature, say supporters of Jill Stein’s Green Party presidential campaign. “A betrayal of working America,” is how Jill Stein herself described Obama’s approval of significant anti-union changes to the Railway Labor Act erasing longstanding protections for thousands of railroad and airline workers. Stein said she would have vetoed the bill.
Backed by a majority of congressional Democrats, the “compromise” legislation raises the percentage of workers who must sign cards authorizing a union representation election from 35% to 50%. In addition, the new rules make it harder for unions to win run-off elections, aids employers in delaying elections and collective bargaining and removes privacy protections for union authorization cards which means companies can identify and intimidate workers who might otherwise vote to unionize.
“This should be a real wake-up call for labor regarding where we are headed,” declared Stein, noting that this is but the latest act in the administration’s ongoing disregard of working people’s rights and a 180-degree reversal of President Obama’s promise in March of last year to veto any FAA Reauthorization Bill containing anti-union provisions. Stein added, “Why should anyone give their trust and vote to a President who breaks his word to the men and women who work every day—sometimes at the risk of their lives—to keep our nation’s transportation systems operating?”
Stein placed the FAA bill in context of a history of White House reversals, stating that “The free trade agreements being promoted by the Obama Administration are already putting ever-increasing pressure on working America to make concessions regarding wages and benefits. For three decades, employers have pocketed the profits from increasing worker productivity, shortchanged workers on health benefits and pensions and are now bringing in two-tier wage systems in which younger workers are being paid a fraction of the wages paid to older employees. I’m running because working Americans deserve a President who will say ‘no!’ to legislative attacks on the right to organize.”
Says Chicago labor lawyer and Teamsters member Anthony Prince, a support of Labor for Stein, “President Obama won labor support in 2008 by saying he would advance the Employee Free Choice Act and other measures to help labor organizing. He dropped that ball. And he didn’t lift a finger to oppose the Right-To-Work law just passed in Indiana. Now this bill gets shoved down the throats of transportation workers. In my view, that’s why union members and all labor need to support someone we can trust, someone proven who’s not tied to the same corporations we go up against every day: Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, a real champion of working people.”