Elections Have Consequences
Elections Have Consequences
Last year, as the November election approached, our Union did everything we could to educate our members about the importance of the election and the issues at stake. Our efforts paid off. Our membership responded with a record voter turnout on Election Day. But unfortunately, as we all know, the results of the election were not what we had been hoping for.
Elections have consequences, and we are seeing and experiencing the consequences of this election, as anti-labor and anti-worker policies are being put into place at both the federal and state levels. The political climate right now is perilous. The most recent federal election, along with the persistent erosion of the Democratic Party in statehouses across the nation, has placed the labor movement in the weakest position that it has occupied in generations.
At the federal level, President Trump has already repealed an Executive Order that prevented companies who routinely violate labor laws from being rewarded with federal contracts. Many other important rules and Executive Orders are in jeopardy, perhaps none more important than the Silica Rule, issued by the Department of Labor last March. Even though the Silica Rule improves protections for millions of workers including BAC members, who are exposed to silica dust that causes silicosis or lung cancer, it has been challenged in court, and the Trump Administration has not indicated whether they will defend the rule.
In Congress, a union-busting National Right-to-Work law has already been introduced, as have bills attacking Davis-Bacon prevailing wage protections, and Project Labor Agreements. Things are even worse at the state level, where Republicans hold 69 of the 99 state legislative chambers, and 33 governorships. Since November’s election, two states – Missouri and Kentucky – have already enacted State Right-to-Work free rider laws, bringing the number of free rider states to 28. A number of other states are moving legislation to eliminate or weaken state prevailing wage laws (see page 15 for more information). Even the Democratic Governor of Connecticut, Molloy, has proposed adjusting the threshold of the prevailing wage law in that state.
We will do everything we can to push back against this anti-labor agenda. As always, we stand ready to work with anyone, Democrat or Republican, who supports the priorities of our members and the labor movement. But when politicians attack critical protections for workers, we will hold them accountable, regardless of party affiliation.
Given these political challenges, we are in a very precarious position. With redistricting coming up in 2020, the elections in the next three years will be critical. But as the longest serving continuous union in North America, we have always been able to embrace challenges like these. In good times or bad, we will continue fighting for our members tooth and nail.