The Electrical Worker online
December 2013

From the Officers
index.html Home    print Print    email Email

Go to
The Hidden Anti-Worker Network

You've probably heard of Scott Walker, John Kasich and Rick Scott — just some of the governors who came to power in the 2010 midterm elections and immediately went after workers' rights.

But you may not have heard of the well-funded network that is behind their legislative agenda.

The American Legislative Exchange Council is a national alliance funded by some of the country's largest corporations. It counts as members hundreds of state legislators and it is allied with the anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors.

The group churns out model bills for use by elected officials on everything from deregulation to weakening workplace protections.

A new 79-page report by the Economic Policy Institute's Gordon Lafer shows how ALEC's agenda already is hurting all workers. You can read it at

Lafer makes it clear that one of ALEC's top goals is to turn the construction industry into a low-wage, zero-regulation haven. They want to turn a career in construction from being a pathway into the middle class into another dead-end, Walmart job.

Just look at the some of the legislation ALEC's friends have pushed:

  • Ten states have passed laws outlawing or restricting the use of project labor agreements in 2011-2012 alone.
  • Five states repealed or dramatically scaled back prevailing wage laws.
  • A law banning occupational licensure, allowing anyone off the street to do electrical work.

You just have to scan the table of contents of Lafer's report, listing everything ALEC is against — child labor laws, sick leave, workplace safety standards — to figure out that the tea party's and ALEC's agenda is bad news for you and your community. And it doesn't matter whether you are a public- or private-sector worker. This applies to Canada as well because ALEC-type ideas are being pushed by reactionary politicians north of 49.

We need to pay attention to who is running for every office. ALEC amassed power because of gains by extremist office holders at every level of government, which set the stage for many of the fights in which we have been engaged over the past two years.

Let's make 2014 the year we turn things around from the local level to the halls of Congress, and let's send ALEC and their friends packing.


Also: Hill: In 2013, Much Progress, Miles to Go Read Hill's Column

Salvatore J. Chilia

Salvatore J. Chilia
International Secretary-Treasurer