Snippets from the AFL-CIO’s endorsement meeting leave no doubt that Rhode Islanders generally have scant representation when our supposed representatives negotiate with labor unions:
Seeking the blessing of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education Convention this past Wednesday, elected officials came bearing their own visions of a better world for workers.
If reelected, Gov. Gina Raimondo promised to raise the minimum wage “again and again and again.”
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner said he’d help combat the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Janus” decision by working on legislation to keep government-employee information out of the hands of union-disaffiliation campaigners.
Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, a high-placed Laborers’ International Union official until last year, vowed to work on bills that would allow public-sector unions to stop representing non-members. (State lawmakers this year passed a bill letting police and fire unions do this, but legislation allowing it across government stalled.)
As Providence Journal reporters Patrick Anderson and Katherine Gregg put it, to the labor unions, “all of Rhode Island is a future job site.” Implied is that this perspective leaves government as the mechanism that is able to take money and land and hand it over. Raimondo would burden our economy. Magaziner — inexplicably, if one believes his role is to steward taxpayer funds — wants to throw obstacles in the path of those who would help employees to be more independent. And Ruggerio is intent on lightening unions’ burden while maintaining their near monopoly on employment with government.
By comparison, Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung’s only promise appears to be that he is no longer in favor of right to work laws. That’s bad enough, but it’s a far cry from a pledge to shape the laws of our land in the unions’ favor even more than they already are. Interestingly, Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello (D, Cranston) is not mentioned in the article.
Two questions arising from the article:
- Why did “just the phrase ‘right to work'” trigger “tense words between firefighters and building trades workers”?
- Why didn’t the Providence Journal reporters note that they are members of the AFL-CIO, and did they vote on the endorsements?
Featured image: Stock photo of AFL-CIO leader George Nee.