Monday, September 01, 2008

Sarah Palin And Unions

With the selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate (a selection I endorsed elsewhere, incidentally, as speculation was growing over the pick), it was announced that Palin was "a former union member and the wife of a proud union member [Todd Palin]."

Here's what Todd Palin's union's president, Leo W. Gerard, had to say about his wife's selection for the GOP ticket:

"It is important to realize that while the governor’s husband is a member of a union, this does not automatically qualify her for an on-the-job training program to become a heartbeat away from the presidency. And while her husband is one of 850,000 dues-paying members of the steelworkers union, it does nothing to absolve Sen. McCain of his long history of anti-union sentiment and anti-worker actions, including continuously pushing an anti-working family agenda that:

*Opposes giving workers the right to bargain collectively;

*Jeopardizes retirement security by privatizing social security;

*Further threatens job security by signing more job-stealing trade deals without the regard to human rights and environmental abuses; and,

*Erodes the ability of working families to secure quality health care by taxing their employer -provided coverage for both active and retired workers.

McCain’s choice is another example of his poor judgment and his desire to play politics as usual. McCain-Palin is not a team that works for working families. The first-term governor’s record is thin and divisive. And John McCain has a life-long record of being for the rich and powerful. No union card can hide that any more than Ronald Regan's union card did."

Other unions like the Teamsters (its Local 959 is one of the most powerful in Alaska) have been no more pleased by this obvious pander, which seems to have been conceived in ignorance of Rule 34 of Republican National Committeeman Morton Blackwell's Laws of the Public Policy Process: "You cannot make friends of your enemies by making enemies of your friends."

Soooo, one has to wonder: If still a "proud union member," will Todd Palin be exercising his "Beck rights" to prevent his union from using his dues to oppose the election of his wife as Vice President? Was he even aware of the fact that he could not be forced to be a union member, or to support the political and ideological activities of the Steelworkers union? Or is he among those many union "members" who have illegally been told that full membership --- and support for union political and ideological activities --- was required as a condition of continued empolyment?

I'd certainly be interested to the answers to these questions, and Mr. Palin's course of action if they are what I suspect them to be.

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