Spotlight on Big Labor’s ‘Middle Class’ Task Force

0 April 19, 2010  Federal Construction, Uncategorized

A piece by Washington Examiner Commentary Staff Writer Mark Hemingway argues that the, “White House’s Middle Class Task Force is nothing but a shibboleth for instituting a number of expensive pro-union regulatory reforms…” (“Big Labor’s ‘Middle Class’ Task Force,” 4/19). reported March 3 that the Feb. 26 report from the White House Middle Class Task Force included language in support of government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) and Executive Order 13502 ( see page 20).

Just last week Jared Bernstein, executive director of the Middle Class Task Force and chief economist and economic policy adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden, tried to spin the recent Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council final rule promoting government-mandated PLAs as a benefit to the public rather than a special interest handout to Big Labor (White House Blog: “Project Labor Agreements: A Better Deal for Big Labor All,” 4/12). 

Hemingway mentions PLAs in a laundry list of Big Labor’s priorities listed in the Middle Class Task Force’s Feb. report:

…The section of the report devoted to “Protecting Workers and Creating Middle-Class Jobs” reads like organized labor’s policy wish list. It pushes expensive “high road” federal contracting, plans for project labor agreements, enforcing labor standards, a “National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force” and, most perniciously, “retirement security.”

As we have reported before, the White House Middle Class Task Force and Obama Administration’s promotion of Big Labor’s special interest wish list can be traced back to a Dec. 11, 2008 document,  AFL-CIO Recommendations for the Obama Administration: Procurement and Regulatory Policy (PDF), posted at the Obama-Biden Transition Project’s website.

Almost all of this document’s recommendations have been implemented (E.O. 13494, E.O. 13496, E.O. 13495, Buy American Provisions in government contracts ARRA, T-1 rule revision), or are being reviewed by the White House (responsible contractor requirements/high road contracting policy).

Be sure to read Hemingway’s piece. Most of the items mentioned in the Middle Class Task Force report that Hemingway discussed will help Big Labor and impact contractors in the construction industry.

The real question is whether these special interest policy objectives will: (1) hurt or help the middle class; (2) kill jobs; and (3) force taxpayers to pay more and get less?  We know that government-mandated PLAs will hurt the construction industry’s nonunion middle class, kill jobs and force taxpayers to pay more and get less.

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