« | »

Obama To Use Contracts To Boost Unions

Buried in the ‘Business’ section of the New York Times:

Plan to Seek Use of U.S. Contracts as a Wage Lever


February 25, 2010

The Obama administration is planning to use the government’s enormous buying power to prod private companies to improve wages and benefits for millions of workers, according to White House officials and several interest groups briefed on the plan.

By altering how it awards $500 billion in contracts each year, the government would disqualify more companies with labor, environmental or other violations and give an edge to companies that offer better levels of pay, health coverage, pensions and other benefits, the officials said.

What exactly are “labor” violations? For that matter, what are “environmental” violations?

Anything the unions or greens object to?

Because nearly one in four workers is employed by companies that have contracts with the federal government,

An appalling statistic just in itself.

administration officials see the plan as a way to shape social policy and lift more families into the middle class. It would affect contracts like those awarded to make Army uniforms, clean federal buildings and mow lawns at military bases.

Translation: Mr. Obama is going to steer government business to his union thugs and environmental whacko cronies, to reward them even further for their contributions and support.

This is what the Democrat machine does in Chicago. This is what they do in every city, county, state government where they have control. It is what they have done since long before Tammany Hall.

It is also what the ruling parties did in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. It is what they do in Cuba, Venezuela and China to this day.

Although the details are still being worked out, the outline of the plan is drawing fierce opposition from business groups and Republican lawmakers. They see it as a gift to organized labor and say it would drive up costs for the government in the face of a $1.3 trillion budget deficit.

“I’m suspicious of what the end goals are,” said Ben Brubeck, director of labor and federal procurement for Associated Builders and Contractors, which represents 25,000 construction-related companies. “It’s pretty clear the agenda is to give big labor an advantage in federal contracts.”

Critics also said the policy would put small businesses, many of which do not provide rich benefits, at a disadvantage…

That can’t be possible. Since the Scott Brown election, Mr. Obama has just been telling us repeatedly how much he wants to help small business.

“The president made it clear that he is committed to reforming government contracts to save taxpayers money while protecting workers and the environment,” a White House spokesman, Bill Burton, said. “The administration is currently gathering data and examining the best ways to do this.”

Two of Mr. Obama’s allies — John Podesta, the Clinton administration chief of staff who headed the president’s transition team

Lest we forget, Mr. Podesta also runs the powerful radical left Soros front, the Center For American Progress.

and Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union — have repeatedly pressed the president to use procurement policy to push up wages and benefits.

In case there was still any doubt as to what this is all about.

This is yet another way Mr. Obama is trying to expand union membership, especially SEIU’s.

In testimony last year to the Office of Management and Budget, Mr. Podesta said that 400,000 workers employed under federal contracts — like cafeteria workers, security guards and landscaping workers at federal buildings — earn less than $22,000 a year, the federal poverty line for a family of four, assuming just one paycheck in a household.

Of course under this new plan some of these workers will still make $22,000 a year. But they will now have to the privilege of paying union dues out of their salaries.

“We have a president who is talking about bringing more people into the middle class,” Mr. Stern said. “The government should expect contractors to obey the law, and at the same time contractors should not be building a poverty economy, but should be trying to build a high-road economy.”

The officials briefed on the plan said it was being developed by officials in the Office of Management and Budget, the White House Office of Legal Counsel, the Treasury, Justice and Labor Departments and the vice president’s Middle Class Task Force

It’s reassuring to see how Mr. Biden is protecting the middle class.

Randel K. Johnson, senior vice president for labor at the United States Chamber of Commerce, called the plan a “warmed-over version” of President Bill Clinton’s regulations that sought to bar federal agencies from awarding contracts to companies with a record of breaking labor, environmental or consumer laws. President George W. Bush vacated those regulations soon after taking office.

“We strongly opposed the Clinton blacklist regulations,” Mr. Johnson said, “and this appears worse than that.” …

David Madland, director of the American Workers Project at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group founded by Mr. Podesta, argues the new policy could lower government costs, instead of raising them.

Many low-wage employees of federal contractors receive Medicaid and food stamps, he said.

Since they will still be getting government money, just from out of another pocket, how exactly does this lower costs?

In truth, they will probably continue to receive any government benefits they now receive.

Citing studies conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and by academic researchers, he said that contractors that pay their employees well have greater productivity and reliability, while contractors with a record of labor law violations do shoddier construction work…

Could it not be that better workers merit higher pay? And that is why people who get paid more do better work?

Some supporters of the new procurement policy — and even some opponents — say Mr. Obama could impose it through executive order. They assert that the president has broad powers to issue procurement regulations, just as President John Kennedy did in requiring federal contractors to have companywide equal employment opportunity plans…

Is there any doubt that Mr. Obama will do this through an executive order? Why else have we have had so much talk about executive orders from our watchdog media over the last few weeks?

They have been paving the way for this and many other executive orders to come. They want us to get used to the idea of rule by Presidential edict.

As Paul Begala famously opined: “Stroke of the pen. Law of the Land. Kinda cool.”

So much “cooler” than living in a quaint old republic.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, February 26th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Obama To Use Contracts To Boost Unions”

  1. U NO HOO says:

    …and the beat goes on…

  2. BannedbytheTaliban says:

    I guess Obama inherited cronyism from Bush too.

  3. Tater Salad says:

    Back on Uncle Sam’s plantation

    Star Parker – Syndicated Columnist

    Six years ago I wrote a book called Uncle Sam’s Plantation. I wrote the book to tell my own story of what I saw living inside the welfare state and my own transformation out of it.

    I said in that book that indeed there are two Americas — a poor America on socialism and a wealthy America on capitalism.

    I talked about government programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS), Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with Children (EANF), Section 8 Housing , and Food Stamps.

    A vast sea of perhaps well-intentioned government programs, all initially set into motion in the 1960s by Democrats, that were going to lift the nation’s poor out of poverty.

    A benevolent Uncle Sam welcomed mostly poor black Americans onto the government plantation. Those who accepted the invitation switched mindsets from “How do I take care of myself?” to “What do I have to do to stay on the plantation?”

    Instead of solving economic problems, government welfare socialism created monstrous moral and spiritual problems — the kind of problems that are inevitable when individuals turn responsibility for their lives over to others.

    The legacy of American socialism is our blighted inner cities, dysfunctional inner city schools, and broken black families.

    Through God’s grace, I found my way out. It was then that I understood what freedom meant and how great this country is.

    I had the privilege of working on welfare reform in 1996 which was passed by a Republican controlled Congress.

    I thought we were on the road to moving socialism out of our poor black communities and replacing it with wealth-producing American capitalism.

    But, incredibly, we are now going in the opposite direction.

    Instead of poor America on socialism becoming more like rich American on capitalism, rich America on capitalism is becoming like poor America on socialism.

    Uncle Sam has welcomed our banks onto the plantation and they have said, “Thank you, Suh.”

    Now, instead of thinking about what creative things need to be done to serve customers, they are thinking about what they have to tell Massah in order to get their cash.

    There is some kind of irony that this is all happening under our first black president on the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln.

    Worse, socialism seems to be the element of our new young president. And maybe even more troubling, our corporate executives seem happy to move onto the plantation.

    In an op-Ed on the opinion page of the Washington Post, Mr. Obama is clear that the goal of his trillion dollar spending plan is much more than short term economic stimulus.

    “This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending — it’s a strategy for America ‘s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, healthcare, and education.”

    Perhaps more incredibly, Obama seems to think that government taking over an economy is a new idea. Or that massive growth in government can take place “with unprecedented transparency and accountability.”

    Yes, sir, we heard it from Jimmy Carter when he created the Department of Energy, the Synfuels Corporation, and the Department of Education.

    Or how about the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 — The War on Poverty — which President Johnson said “…does not merely expand old programs or improve what is already being done. It charts a new course. It strikes at the causes, not just the consequences of poverty.”

    Trillions of dollars later, black poverty is the same. But black families are not, with triple the incidence of single-parent homes and out-of-wedlock births.

    It’s not complicated. Americans can accept Barack Obama’s invitation to move onto the plantation. Or they can choose personal responsibility and freedom.

    Does anyone really need to think about what the choice should be?

    “The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out o f other people’s money.”


  4. Petronius says:

    This is very confusing reporting, even for the New York Times.

    It is confusing because the Nerobama Administration is itself confused about what it is doing. It is a reflection of their inaptitude for governing.

    The Nerobama Administration appears to be attacking two different areas of Federal procurement law –– debarment of unfit contractors and wages and fringes of service employees.

    As a matter of law, all companies have the right to compete for government contracts unless debarred. The debarment of contractors is generally limited to those who are indicted or convicted of contract-related crimes, such as fraud, and the debarment process is subject to the Constitutional protections of due process (notice and hearing, including court appeal).

    A company’s environmental violations or its labor relations are not applicable grounds for debarment, and cannot be made so without an act of Congress, amendment of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), which would include due process in administrative rulemaking proceedings, and probably many years of court litigation.

    The wages and fringe benefits of employees on Federal contracts are already protected by the Service Contract Act (service employees) and the Davis Bacon Act (construction employees).

    The premise of these two laws, enacted by Democrat Congresses many years ago, is to preserve union wage and fringe rates on government contracts. Thus a nonunion successor contractor must pay his employees the prevailing (union) rates of his predecessor union contractor –– including any prospective wage and fringe increases that the union has collectively bargained with the predecessor union contractor. The aim of these laws is to prevent diversion of contracts to nonunion firms.

    However, nonunion firms are often successful bidders because they are not bound by union work rules, featherbedding, and similar uneconomical and inefficient practices that burden union firms. Once a nonunion contractor breaks through and wins a contract, it becomes the predecessor contractor for the next follow-on contract, which may then be competed at his nonunion rates.

    Apart from these two Democrat laws (which ought to be repealed) the government is without authority to dictate the wages and fringes that must be paid on its contracts.

    To accomplish his goals, Nerobama would have to overturn decades of court decisions grounded in constitutional law and government contract law. This will not happen unless Nerobama is successful in packing the courts with more Sonia Sotomayors.

  5. proreason says:

    “To accomplish his goals, Nerobama would have to overturn decades of court decisions grounded in constitutional law and government contract law.”

    and you see that as a roadblock?

    “This will not happen unless Nerobama is successful in packing the courts with more Sonia Sotomayors.”

    It will take 10 years to get to the Supreme Court. In the meantime the SEIU gets to work its magic.

    This is what I mean when I say he doesn’t need to pass a single law to take the country down.

  6. GetBackJack says:

    Pro – I suspect, as of this morning, Toyota agrees with you 100%.

  7. Mithrandir says:

    It’s how government discriminates against people for jobs or contracts:

    1. Establish rules that favor your people.

    2. Find the characteristic that is the weakest for the people you don’t favor.

    3. Change or add rules that make the weakest characteristic of your enemy, the most important and desireable trait in the person/people you want to favor.

    4. As time goes by, keep adjusting the game so that your rivals will never be able to rise to the top of the heap.

    It is no different than Jim Crow laws, and the black codes of the 1800s. —Just keep changing the game so that certain people always win, and certain people always lose.

    Try applying for a government job, and see how discriminatory they really are against you, and the plethera of excuses they make to cover it up.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »