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Obama’s Labor Flip Flops

RNC Communications - September 6, 2011

Obama Disparaged Right To Work Laws In Detroit, But Will Accept The Democrat Nomination In “The Least Unionized State In The Entire Country”

Yesterday, Obama Condemned “Right To Work Laws.” “So when I hear some of these folks trying to take collective bargaining rights away, trying to pass so-called ‘right to work’ laws for private sector workers … that really mean the right to work for less and less and less -- when I hear some of this talk I know this is not about economics.  This is about politics.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President at Detroit Labor Day Event, Detroit, Michigan, 9/5/11)

  • While 11 Democrats Represent Right To Work States In The Senate. “Labor loathes section 14(b) of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, which allows states to pass right-to-work laws that forbid compulsory unionization. But 11 Democratic senators represent 10 of the 22 -- so far -- right-to-work states: Mark Pryor (Arkansas), Bill Nelson (Florida), Tom Harkin (Iowa), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Ben Nelson (Nebraska), Harry Reid (Nevada), Kay Hagan (North Carolina), Kent Conrad (North Dakota), Tim Johnson (South Dakota), and Jim Webb and Mark Warner (Virginia).” (Editorial, “Obama’s Stance On Boeing Sacrifices Economy To Politics,” The Island Packet, 5/17/11)

Obama And The DNC “Picked The Least Unionized State In The Entire Country” For The 2012 Convention. “In picking North Carolina as the site of their 2012 convention, Democrats didn’t just pick a state that’s relatively unfriendly to unions. They picked the least unionized state in the entire country.” (Molly Ball, “Labor Fumes Over Charlotte Pick,” Politico, 2/5/11)

“A Calculated Affront” For The DNC To Hold The Convention In Charlotte Beginning On Labor Day 2012.  “The selection was ‘a calculated affront,’ said Rick Sloan, communications director for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. What’s worse, Sloan noted, the convention is set to begin on Mon., Sept. 3, 2012 — Labor Day. ‘Going to a right-to-work state and starting a convention on Labor Day for the Democrats?’ he said. ‘Wow. That’s quite the equation.’” (Molly Ball, “Labor Fumes Over Charlotte Pick,” Politico, 2/5/11)

“It Was A Stinging Rebuke To One Of The Democratic Party’s Most Loyal And Influential Constituencies. And Labor Leaders Are Fuming At The Slight.”  (Molly Ball, “Labor Fumes Over Charlotte Pick,” Politico, 2/5/11)

  • The Pick Is Reinforcing The View That Obama Does Not Care About Labor. “A Democrat familiar with the site selection process said the convention choice reinforced labor’s perception that the Obama administration doesn’t care about union priorities.” (Molly Ball, “Labor Fumes Over Charlotte Pick,” Politico, 2/5/11)

Unions Felt “Betrayed” By The Surprise Choice. “Labor sources said the decision to go to Charlotte took them by surprise — the Democratic National Committee did not warn them it was coming or try to soften the blow — and they’re still absorbing the news. But privately, in conversations and e-mails among themselves, members of the labor community feel betrayed, union and Democratic sources say.” (Molly Ball, “Labor Fumes Over Charlotte Pick,” Politico, 2/5/11)

  • Leading To More Than A Dozen Unions Affiliated With The AFL-CIO Planning To Skip The 2012 Democratic Convention.” “Casting North Carolina as an anti-union bastion with ‘regressive policies aimed at diluting the power of workers,’ more than a dozen trade unions affiliated with the national AFL-CIO have told the Democratic National Committee that they will sit out the 2012 convention in Charlotte, N.C.” (Tim Funk and Kirsten Valle Pitman, “Some AFL-CIO-Affiliated Unions Say They’ll Skip 2012 Democratic National Convention,” News Observer, 8/12/11)

Obama’s Flip-Flop-Flip On Collective Bargaining

FLIP: Obama In 2007: “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself.’ … ‘I'll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner." (Sam Hananel “PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama Shies Away From Protests,” The Associated Press, 3/12/11)

FLOP: Earlier This Year, Obama Was “Largely A Bystander” In The Collective Bargaining Debate. “Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, the nation's largest nurses union, called Obama ‘largely a bystander’ in the debate over collective bargaining. ‘I think we're feeling a sense of betrayal from him and not liking it much,’ she said.” (Sam Hananel “PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama Shies Away From Protests,” The Associated Press, 3/12/11)

  • Democratic Strategist: Obama’s Strategy Was To “Avoid Direct Engagement.” “Doug Schoen, a Democratic political strategist, said Obama's strategy seems to be ‘keep your distance, avoid direct engagement, say most of the right things most of the time, and hope for resolution through sources other than your own.’” (Sam Hananel “PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama Shies Away From Protests,” The Associated Press, 3/12/11)

FLIP: Obama In 2011: “And I want everybody here to know, as long as I’m in the White House I’m going to stand up for collective bargaining.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President at Detroit Labor Day Event, Detroit, Michigan, 9/5/11)


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