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NEW YORK – Progressive organizations behind White House strategy have crafted specific plans for how the government can help to increase union membership during a second term for President Obama.
The plans, and many more, are documented in “Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed.”
The book by New York Times bestselling authors Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott uncovers the template for Obama’s next four years – the actual, extensive plans created by Obama’s own top advisers and progressive strategists.
“Fool Me Twice” unveils all the main areas of Obama’s second-term domestic policy onslaught, including jobs, wages, health care, immigration “overhaul,” electoral “reform,” national energy policy and defense.
Demos, a think tank with close ties to the Obama administration, has released numerous reports contending the economy would be in better shape if the federal government stepped in to make it easier for workers to join unions.
That is also a central thesis of the Center for American Progress, which has been described by Time Magazine as the “idea factory” of the Obama White House.
Demos, the Center for American Progress and other progressive groups are pressing the federal government to enact other union-friendly policies, such as tax incentives for unionized companies.
Another plan calls for Congress to pass the controversial Employee Free Choice Act, the EFCA, also known as Card Check. If passed, EFCA would streamline the process of forming unions in the workplace and prohibit some current forms of union-busting by employers.
Since 1935, with the passage of the National Labor Relations Act, or Wagner Act, it has been a matter of federal law that workers in the private sector have the right to create labor unions and enter into collective bargaining, without discrimination.
Since June 1963 (Labor Board v. General Motors Corp. 373 U.S. 734), although employees have the right to join and assist unions, they also have a right to refrain from supporting them.
Besides easing the way toward union membership, the progressive groups are also strongly pushing one of the main objectives of most unions: increasing the minimum wage.
One such plan involves a “living wage” that would force all employers to increase the salaries of the nation’s workers to meet “basic needs” such as housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care and recreation.
Demos prescribes the implementation of a higher minimum wage that would “raise the floor for all employees” nationwide.
Non-wage benefits such as “sick leave, paid family leave and more control over their work schedules” would be included.
“Fool Me Twice” documents the Demos report titled “Help Wanted: American Needs a Better Jobs Plan” by David Callahan and Tamara Draut, Demos’ co-founder and vice president, respectively.
The Demos executives say government “can and should play a vigorous role in encouraging employers to create good jobs – perhaps by providing tax incentives that require employers to pay a living wage.”
The reference to a “living wage” comes straight from the pen of Karl Marx, author of the 1848 Communist Manifesto.
In his book on the living wage, Donald R. Stabile, professor of economics at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, wrote, “Marx believed that only under communism could he find support for his ultimate goal of a living wage, ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.’”
A “living wage” was implemented in 80 cities by 2003, sometimes spearheaded by the radical ACORN, Klein and Elliott document.
In the winter 2003 issue of City Journal, Manhattan Institute scholar Steve Malanga wrote that for more than a decade, a “savvy left-wing political movement, supported by radical economic groups, liberal foundations and urban activists” had lobbied for a “government-guaranteed ‘living wage’”
Baltimore, for example, embraced the living wage in the mid-1990s but failed to become a “workers’ paradise.” Instead, the city saw its economy “crash and burn,” related Malanga, while 58,000 jobs disappeared at the same time other cities across Maryland added 120,000 jobs, and other cities across the country prospered.
Malanga stated that the living-wage bill was “just one expression of a fiercely anti-business climate that helped precipitate Baltimore’s economic collapse.”
A similar bill was strongly pushed by ACORN, including at the group’s headquarters in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, Demos is also pushing a family-leave law such as the proposed Family Leave Insurance Act. The new bill, first introduced in the House of Representatives in 2005, builds upon the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. The measure afforded eligible workers unpaid family leave while preserving a worker’s job or a comparable job upon return.
“But the new plan goes a giant step further – from job preservation to a new form of entitlement,” write Klein and Elliott.
It would provide 12 weeks of paid benefits to employees who need time off to care for a new child, a sick family member or their own illness.
The benefits would supposedly be financed through employees paying premiums into a trust fund, who would then be eligible through a tiered system after having paid into the trust for six months.
“Yet besides the cost of such a scheme, nowhere in their paper do the authors address the impact of the easily imaginable scenario of dozens of employees taking up to three months of paid leave simultaneously,” wrote Klein and Elliott
Obama’s union friends
Major unions were instrumental in get-out-the-vote drives for Obama’s 2008 presidential election. Obama has enjoyed a friendly working relationship with union activists.
The White House Economic Recovery Advisory Board, created in early February 2009, included two of the top union officials in America, Anna Burger and Richard L. Trumka.
Burger was then secretary-treasurer of ACORN and its affiliate, the Service Employees International Union, and was chairman, until August 2010, of the SEIU-affiliated Change to Win federation. Burger was also a board member of the union-affiliated Economic Policy Institute.
Trumka at the time was secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, soon to be elected president in September 2009. Trumka now serves on the president’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
Another union heavyweight and former EPI board member is Andrew L. Stern, SEIU’s president until April 2010. SEIU is the second largest labor union in the U.S., and Stern was one of the most frequent visitors to the Obama White House.