Labor angry about Governor Walker visit to Seattle: "We don't want him here"

August 26, 2013

Union executive Dianne Gross of the MLK County Labor Council and the Washington State Labor Council expressed angry opposition to the upcoming visit to Seattle of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  The comments were made in a live interview August 17th with KIRO radio's Jason Rantz.

Walker will join noted surgeon Dr. Ben Carson as an honoree at this year's Washington Policy Center Champion of Freedom Awards Dinner September 5th at the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle.  The annual gala event is sold out.

On KIRO Gross cited an article in the union newsletter The Stand calling Walker "delusional," adding, "We don't want him here."  Show host Rantz termed it an "unwelcome committee."

Labor executives are worried that Walker's workplace protections, which allow workers to not pay union dues and still keep their jobs, will undermine the union's forced-dues business model here in Washington.  Union executives lost millions in Wisconsin when a change in the law there expanded worker rights.

In retaliation, union executives sought in 2012 to defeat Walker in a recall election.  Instead, the people of Wisconsin confirmed Walker in office by a higher percentage (54%) than when they first elected him in 2010.  In the meantime, the jobless rate in Wisconsin has fallen under Walker from 7.7% to 6.8%.

Perhaps the most informative exchange came toward the end of the 16-minute interview.

Rantz asked about the pattern of unions giving campaign money, time and volunteers to helping elect our state's chief executive, most recently Governor Jay Inslee, then sitting down to negotiate with him for higher pay and better benefits in secret, closed-door collective bargaining meetings.

Rantz described it as, "You are sort of bargaining and negotiating with people that you are paying to help get into office.  At the very bare minimum that seems a little bit of a conflict."

Gross said it was the same and completely separate from private business trying to get their business location and getting funding from the state when they talk to the governor and to lawmakers, and she denied her unions are paying for influence.

Gross: "Do we want someone good in there so we can talk to them - absolutely - it has no pay for play."

Rantz: "You can't concede there might be a conflict, at least perception-wise, that you're paying to put someone in office that you end up negotiating with?"

Gross: (laughter) "I mean come on...you are totaling trying to turn this into something that...it's the political process, sir...[unintelligible]

Check out the whole interview.

Comments

Gross' duplicity got caught with her pants down

"It has no pay for play?" Let's see unions extort...oh I mean take dues from union workers OR else they can't play, i.e. 'work' for the business. So how's that again Ms. Gross? Furthermore unions who DON'T employ or create business in itself, then takes the funds-against-the-will-of-the-worker and uses it on putting individuals like Inslee in office for pay backs. Yet if a business uses its OWN money it's somehow 'evil' to support business friendly candidates. Last time I checked it was businesses and entrepreneurs and NOT unions that put people to work and pay taxes. Workers deserve a choice, as in Right to Work states. If someone wants to work for a union shop, so be it but rest assured when push comes to shove the good union worker usually gets the same as the bad union worker and has to pick up the slack. Sounds suspiciuosly like slavery and to think they have to pay-to-play or be tarred and feathered for daring to oppose the likes of Ms. Gross.

Choice is good as long as it works both ways, otherwise it's not a choice but dictatorial which has no place in the workplace, especially from a middleman like a union.

Governor Scott Walker is a breath of fresh air and puts 'workers' back in charge which is what Washington state needs desperately, not desperate unions that only seem to contribute to the already burdensome and restrictive economic anchors that is holding this state back from growth and development.

You're right about the

You're right about the influence of union money in politics. As you note, such payments are not voluntary on the part of union members, whose union dues are automatically deducted from paychecks before workers get paid. As a side note, Wisconsin school districts saved millions when state law limited collective bargaining talks to increases in wages and benefits, freeing up more resources for educating children.

Conflict of interest, indeed!

Thanks for excellent reporting on this issue--keep up the good work! As a lifelong registered Democrat, I recently found it necessary to reassess and drastically revise some long-held positive beliefs about organized labor--as a result of accepting a position with state government, being forced under a union and directly observing the destructive and wasteful consequences. To anyone who doesn't yet understand what's systemically wrong with public workers' unions, I recommend an overview article, "(Government) Workers of the World Unite!" (The Economist, Jan 2011 - http://www.economist.com/node/17849199). Governor Inslee, are you listening???

Thanks for your comment, and

Thanks for your comment, and for the tip about the article from The Economist. In a free society the strength of any organization is that membership is voluntary. Unions are finding their traditional mandatory business model does not fit in a modern economy, where over 93% of private sector workers choose not to belong to a union.