The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mitt Romney to the Associated Builders and Contractors: ‘I will fight for right-to-work laws’

By The Building Tradesman

Following are selected union-related comments made by Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney to the anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors National Board of Directors on Feb. 23. (Source: transcribed C-SPAN video).

* “Why did he (Obama) drag his feet on free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea? Because organized unions don’t want it. And so, bowing to them, he holds off on trade.

“I don’t have to tell you all the things he does for organized labor. Even before his stimulus went into effect. One of the first things he does just two weeks before that stimulus, was to issue an order forcing the government to use only union labor on construction projects.”

* He (Obama) goes on. He bailed out the automakers in a way that did not follow the normal process of bankruptcy but instead gave the auto companies to the UAW. Again, the people who had supported his campaign. He of course fought for Card-Check (a simplified, union-friendly method for union organizing); not getting it, he put in place labor stooges at the National Labor Relations Board. And their action has been to try and make every decision in favor of the unions.”

* ”And so by virtue of moving more and more of the orientation of this president to the people who gave him the money in his campaign, the unions, he basically flies in the face of what it takes for entrepreneurs and innovators to decide to hire people.

“I just don’t think he understands how these kinds of decisions are hurting the American people and making it harder for our economy to reboot. His policies are hurting the American people.”

“Now what are we going to have to do? We’re going to have to change that policy. And make sure that instead of having a president that bows to the interests of special interests, in this case, union interests, that we have a president who bows to the interests of the American people and that we have a level playing field in this country.”

* ”Now I didn’t get as much done regarding these policies in Massachusetts (where Romney was governor from 2003-2007) with regard to these policies as I would like to have. My Legislature was 85 percent Democrat. And so we battled and I fought in every way I possibly could to level the playing field. And we had some successes and I’ll tell you a couple of them. First of all, they passed a Card-Check law. Can you believe that? Card-Check was passed in my state. When it reached my desk, I vetoed it. Despite the fact that there were 85 percent Democrats we fought hard and were successful fighting this Card-Check legislation.

“We also had Davis-Bacon-like restrictions (Davis-Bacon refers to the presence of a prevailing wage law) in our government contracting and I was able to remove those. I prevented state employees from receiving government pay while they were doing union work.

“I also stopped the practice of having the state collect money from people’s wages to go into political action committees.”

* ”So if I become president of the United States I will curb the practice we have in this country of giving union bosses an unfair advantage in contracting.

“One of the first things I will do – actually on day one – is I will end the government’s favoritism towards unions in contracting on federal projects and end project labor agreements and I will fight to repeal Davis-Bacon. “

“I also will of course will make sure that workers in America have the right to a secret ballot and I will fight for right to work laws.”