Sep 9, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The way Teamsters President James P. Hoffa sees it, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney would be happy if an already weakened American labor movement ceased to exist altogether.
“He wants to annihilate organized labor as we know it,” Hoffa told HuffPost outside the Democratic National Convention this week. “It’s on his website. I’m not making this up. He’s for a national right-to-work law. The Republican Party has veered dangerously to the right. It’s rather incredible, in 2012, if you think about it.”
Indeed, Romney’s official stance on labor isn’t kind to unions. His campaign website suggests that unions have outlasted their significance, “driv[ing] up costs and introduc[ing] rigidities that harm competitiveness and frustrate innovation.” He supports states pursuing right-to-work laws, which weaken the clout of unions, and his party last week approved a platform pushing for national right-to-work legislation. He’d also like to prohibit automatic union dues-deduction from employee paychecks.
Hoffa isn’t the only labor leader who visited Charlotte this week and sees a hostility toward unions in Romney’s positions. Mary Kay Henry, head of the 2 million-member Service Employees International Union, told HuffPost earlier this week that Romney “wants to take us out.”
The Romney campaign didn’t respond to Hoffa or Henry’s comments.
Rank-and-file union members said they often feel taken for granted by Democrats in office. Among many labor activists, the enthusiasm for the Obama-Biden ticket appears to stem in large part from a loathing and distrust of the alternative. But Hoffa, like other labor figures who headed to Charlotte, insisted the current White House has been good to unions over the past four years.
Rather than dwell on disappointments — like Obama’s failure to push the Employee Free Choice Act through Congress when Democrats held both chambers, or to pass a raise in the minimum wage — Hoffa touted the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the stimulus bill, the rescue of the auto industry and the actions of the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that enforces labor law.