Conservative lawmakers in Virginia's House and Senate are so eager to attack working Virginians, they're throwing smart business protections for taxpayer dollars out the window--and they're doing it with the help of the national, pro-corporate greed group ALEC. Legislation that has been approved by House and Senate committees seeks to prohibit Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), which are actually extremely beneficial to Virginia. Project labor agreements are a market-based tool that sets rules and expectations for management and workers and as a result, projects with PLAs come in on-time and on-budget.
Opposition to a blatantly anti-labor bill is beginning to build in Virginia, and State Senators Dave Marsden and Chap Petersen and Delegate David Englin are among those voicing criticism. House Bill No. 2, introduced by Delegate Bob Marshall, would prohibit Virginia from providing funding for Phase 2 of the Dulles Corridor Metro Project if it is subject to a project labor agreement (PLA).
PLAs don't actually require projects to only hire union workers--they are a tool for taxpayer accountability. PLAs require the use of trained workers and safety standards for contractors, and worked great on Phase 1 of the project, as we pointed out previously. State Senator Dave Marsden said in a statement this week,
"What concerns me is that this bill appears to stem from an anti-union mindset that places ideology over public good and job creation. It could lead to experienced workers who performed well on Phase I being excluded from Phase II, and create the need for the expense of training new workers. Just as importantly, the PLA will create local jobs for a largely local workforce... A PLA is not always necessary on public projects, but I would ask my good friend Delegate Marshall, 'what problem are you trying to solve with this legislation?' It seems that continuing the PLA during Phase II is in keeping with good public policy. Let's not remove what has proven to be successful tool from consideration."
(More below the fold.)
Two points on this: 1) gotta hand it to Frank Wolf, at least he's been consistent in his dislike of tunnels, either at the airport (where we don't need one) or in Tysons Tunnel (where we badly DO need one); and 2) good for the union members protesting Wolf's constant anti-worker, pro-corporate, right-wing ideological votes on everything from health care reform to the environment to huge tax breaks to rich people to defunding Medicare to...you name it. Every time Wolf pokes his head out of his spider-hole, he deserves to be confronted with protests like these.
"(3)STRIKING WORKERS INELIGIBLE---- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no member of a family unit shall participate in the food stamp program at any time that any able-bodied work eligible adult member of such household is on strike as defined in the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (29 U.S.C. 142(2)), because of a labor dispute (other than a lockout) as defined in section 2(9) of the National Labor Relations Act"
What's considered fair by a human being is completely determined by what is included in the description of the situation; in other words, what is within the framework. The one who draws the frame, deciding what to include and what to leave out, is the one who will determine what is "fair." In the current discussion of the deficit, the budget, and so-called entitlements, the corporatists and the Republican Party have completely dominated the discussion. Why? Because they have created the issues, defined the terms, and decided what is to be included in the discussion.... the mass media and the Democrats, including President Obama, seem to have completely accepted their terms of debate.
Let's look at how the fairness frame of each topic has been designed, and what happens if you change the frame to include other factors, or exclude a factor or two currently included.
Here are some facts to fill in some of the blanks:
• Gov Walker inherited a surplus.
• State workers have had no raises in 2 yrs.
• Workers gave 100 million in pay concessions in Dec. , including 16 furlough days w/o pay.
All of them support the oxymoronic "Right to Work" lobby; a movement rearward to the age of fiefdoms. This is a Virginia issue for any of a number of reasons. Some:
- Our Right to Work Laws foster a hostile environment for labor
- Unions protect a very small portion of the labor force
- Wages for skilled labor are lower than in states without the "Right to Work"
- Skilled labor migrates to higher wages and out of Virginia
- Democratic leadership kowtows to Republican interests above labor's interests
A Daily Kos post this past Sunday laid out an argument that the mega-have's are mounting a final assault on the middle-have's. It wipes away the misconception that the "business-friendly" right-to-work states receive economic benefit in employment growth and economic gains.
But though the middle class will likely diminish as a result of this consolidation of wealth, the attack is not only against it but also against anything of value they can attach; even that of the little-haves. The Republicans have grown as ignorant about production and business as the anti-capitalists they so deride. Two sides of the same coin. They are fostering a soviet style business climate that sees wealth as a zero sum game; the only way to increase it is by taking someone else's. Redistribution of wealth private sector style; today characterized by glossy grift.