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October 2012

Romney: Union Busting Would Begin on Day One
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When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke in February at the Associated Builders & Contractors conference in Phoenix, his anti-union rhetoric found an eager audience. Speaking from the podium, he said:

"If I become president of the United States, I will curb the practice we have in this country of giving union bosses an unfair advantage in contracting. One of the first things I'll do — actually on Day One — I will end the government's favoritism towards unions and contracting on federal projects, and end project labor agreements. And I will fight to repeal Davis-Bacon."

This sparked riotous applause from the audience, to which Romney said, "I didn't know that was going to get that kind of response — I'd have said that earlier."

He concluded his remarks by slamming the Employee Free Choice Act, adding "I will fight for right-to-work laws."

Far from a one-off performance in front of a sympathetic audience, Romney's anti-union stance has been further enshrined by the Republican Party. At the GOP's convention in Tampa, Fla., in late August, the party issued its official platform, part of which exactly echoes Romney's speech to ABC.

The 2012 GOP platform states:

"We will restore the rule of law to labor law by blocking 'card check' … We demand an end to the project labor agreements … and we call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act … We support the right of states to enact right-to-work laws and encourage them to do so … Ultimately, we support the enactment of a national right-to-work law."

While the party's 2008 platform acknowledged "both the right of individuals to voluntarily participate in labor organizations and bargain collectively," this year's platform makes no direct mention of collective bargaining. Instead, it salutes anti-worker lawmakers like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — whose crackdowns on collective bargaining sparked massive protests in their states' capitals. The GOP 2012 platform states, "We salute Republican governors and state legislators who have saved their states from fiscal disaster by reforming their laws governing public employee unions."

IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill said that the party's mention of the GOP governors "is just a smokescreen to endorse union busting. These extreme politicians have used the economic downturn to their advantage by attacking teachers, firefighters, nurses and other dedicated public servants.

"For our industry, the GOP's attacks on PLAs and Davis Bacon — mixed with their support of a national right-to-work law — would undo decades of hard-won gains at the bargaining table and on the job site," Hill said. "I encourage every member to go on the Internet and watch Romney's speech to ABC so they can see for themselves where the candidate stands on issues of critical importance to our families' futures."

Watch here, and share with friends:


'One of the first things I'll do — actually on Day One — I will end the government's favoritism towards unions and contracting on federal projects,' Mitt Romney told Associated Builders and Contractors members in February.

Photo used under a Creative Commons License from Flickr user Austen Hufford.

Follow the Money:
ABC Donates to
Anti-Worker Candidates

In a post-Citizens United world, anti-worker organizations are able to dig deeper into their pockets to contribute to politicians supportive of their agendas. The landmark 2010 Supreme Court decision allows unlimited and anonymous donations from corporations and wealthy individuals to special interest groups — called "super PACs" — advocating for particular candidates.

But regular political action committees still have to leave a paper trail, and the Associated Builders & Contractors' PAC donations show the group throwing their weight behind a legion of anti-union candidates in state and federal races. According to data released by the Center for Responsive Politics, the 2012 election looks to be another banner year for ABC's donations, almost all of which has been allocated to anti-worker lawmakers.

As of September, the group had spent $1.2 million to elect Mitt Romney and other politicians who oppose unions:

Virginia: The group's No. 2 recipient so far this year is Virginia Republican George Allen, who has received $11,500. Allen recently unveiled his "Freedom to Work" agenda, a platform that would restrict PLAs and repeal Davis Bacon-level wages while touting the state's right-to-work laws.

Ohio: In battleground states like Ohio, ABC has donated $11,250 to Josh Mandel, who's running against Sen. Sherrod Brown, a proven labor ally with a 100 percent lifetime voting record from the AFL-CIO. ABC's total contributions to anti-worker candidates in the Buckeye State exceed $64,700.

Montana: Worker-friendly Sen. Jon Tester is campaigning to create local jobs, close tax loopholes that promote outsourcing and rebuild state infrastructure. ABC has given his opponent Denny Rehberg $10,000 this year.

Massachusetts: The group gave $10,000 to Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown for his effort to defeat challenger Elizabeth Warren — the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was established in response to the 2008 financial crisis.

Pennsylvania: Anti-union candidates in the Keystone State received a total of $32,000 from ABC.

Romney has received $13,000 from the group — the highest individual donation from ABC this election year.

For more, visit www.opensecrets.
and search for "Associated Builders & Contractors."