6 years ago

International Operating Engineer - Spring 2016

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers.


Election 2016: Special Series Republican Presidential Nominee “Loves” Right-to-Work Laws Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is in lockstep with the right-wing of his party on labor law. Adopted by the delegates at the national convention in 2012, the Republican Party platform is clear. It states: “We support the right of States to enact Right-to- Work laws and encourage them to do so to promote greater economic liberty. Ultimately we support the enactment of a National Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to promote economic liberty.” Donald Trump agrees. In a recent interview, Donald Trump says, “My position on Right-towork is 100 percent. I love the Rightto-work. I like it better because it is lower. You are not paying the big fees to the unions…It gives great flexibility to the companies.” (You can listen to the Trump’s radio interview at www. Right-to-work laws force union members to pay for services delivered to “free riders” – individuals who think it is ok to work under a collective bargaining agreement and let everyone else pay for maintaining and enforcing its provisions, even grievances. Trump is right. Right-to-work is lower. States with Right-to-work laws have lower wages, lower pensions, and less safe workplaces. Elected Republican Party leaders in Congress and State Capitols across the country have doggedly pursued the Right-to-work “plank” in the party’s platform. Four states have gone Rightto-work in just the last five years. Earlier this year, a Republican-controlled legislature in West Virginia, a state with a proud union tradition and some of the highest levels of public support for unions anywhere in the country, steamrolled public opinion and the Governor’s veto to enact Right-to-work laws. And it does not stop there. The Legislature also repealed the state’s prevailing wage law. Right-wing, anti-union forces are also mobilizing nationally. Failed Republican Presidential candidate and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul introduced Senate Bill 391, the National Right-to-Work Act. Twenty-seven other senators joined him as sponsors of the bill, including the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Republican presidential candidates in the Senate – Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio. National Right-to-Work legislation, H.R. 612, was also introduced in the House of Representatives. Right-to-work will be one of the top issues on the congressional agenda if Donald Trump occupies the White House next year. TRUMP FIGHTS UNIONS; UNDERMINES LOCAL WAGE STANDARDS Donald Trump has pursued a race to the bottom in Right-to-work states. The Las Vegas Strip is 98% unionized for hospitality workers, members of UNITE-HERE. Stationary Engineers – members of Local 501 – maintain a strong and growing presence in Southern Nevada, where they work closely with UNITE-HERE members to raise the standards for all workers in the industry. Members of Local 501 have dramatically increased their size and strength in the city over the last few years, winning major organizing drives and achieving strong wage gains in their first contracts. Donald Trump seeks to undermine those standards. Despite its high levels of unionization, Nevada is a Right-towork state. It has high wage standards because of the strength of union members, but Donald Trump seeks to erode those standards. That should not be a surprise. Trump believes that the federal minimum wage of .25 – a rate that has not changed for seven years – should not be raised. Trump has said, “…wages are too high. We’re not going to be able to compete against the world.” In a different interview, Trump stated that, “Having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country. We can’t have a situation where our labor is so much more expensive than other countries’ that we can no longer win.” In Las Vegas, Trump teamed up with billionaire casino tycoon Phil Ruffin to develop the Trump International Hotel, where they have aggressively fought a multi-year effort by 500 hotel workers to organize a union. According to the workers, they have been subjected to surveillance, intimidation, and even fired for supporting the union. Trump Ruffin Commercial LLC has pursued a classic anti-union campaign, hiring a union-busting consultant, and employing strategies to deny workers their rights and lower the industry’s local standards. Workers at Trump International Las Vegas earn less an hour than union members that work identical jobs on the Strip. They don’t receive pensions and they have to pay for their own health care. Workers at Trump International pay 8 every two weeks to maintain health insurance that is delivered by employers at no-cost to union workers elsewhere on the Strip. TRUMP CONTINUED ON PAGE 18 16 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER SPRING 2016 17

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