President Obama Gets Chummy with Big Labor Again

0 April 29, 2010  Federal Construction, Uncategorized

We blogged about how Vice President Joe Biden Bent Over Backwards for Big Labor last week in Washington, D.C. at a Building Construction Trades Department legislative conference.

At a 4/27 town hall meeting in Iowa, the White House blew another kiss at Big Labor when President Obama reminded the public of his administration’s persistent support of Big Labor, saying:

“[…] I’ve said this before publicly and I’ll say it again, I make no apologies for it. I am a pro-union guy.

“[…]Now, a lot of things that we do don’t get a lot of notice. We don’t always generate headlines. But a lot of things that we’re doing have to do with how is the Department of Labor operating to make sure that workplace safety rules are enforced; to make sure that if the federal government is helping to finance a program, that we’ve got a project labor agreement in place that assures that people are paid a decent wage and they’re getting a fair deal. Who am I appointing to the National Labor Relations Board, so that when a union tries to organize, it doesn’t take five years before you can even get a ruling, and then it turns out that the ruling somehow conveniently always is against the union.

Watch a video clip of the moment here (h/t

Obama’s full remarks from the Ottumwa, Iowa Town Hall meeting here.

There is nothing fair about anti-competitive and costly project labor agreements (PLAs), especially now that the Obama administration’s final rule implementing the pro-PLA Executive Order 13502 was issued April 13.  Just ask the 85.5 percent of the U.S. private construction workforce who do not belong to a union and will be shut out of federal construction projects subject to PLAs if there is anything fair about these corrupt kickback schemes.

And the premise that PLAs on federal construction projects subject to Executive Order 13502 guarantee that “people are paid a decent wage” is a distortion of the truth.  A federal prevailing wage law called the Davis-Bacon Act already sets generous wage and benefit rates of pay for construction employees on federal projects.  For example, according to, plumbers working on a building subject to federal prevailing wage laws in Wapello County, Iowa (Ottumwa is located in Wapello County where Obama made this remark) must be paid no less than $29.97 an hour in wages and $15.83 in benefits. That is over $95,000 a year in total compensation.   

President Obama’s adulation of Big Labor is neither unexpected or a recent development. “I owe those unions,” Mr. Obama explained in his 2006 political memoir, “The Audacity of Hope.” “When their leaders call, I do my best to call them back right away. I don’t consider this corrupting in any way . . .”

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.118-119 Oct 1, 2006

Michael Ramirez from Investors Business Daily provides some humorous perspective on current events, even though it is clear that both parties are in the pocket of take money from Wall Street, (with a slight edge to the Democrats, according to recent data):

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