An op-ed by Dan Fagan, publisher of the Alaska Standard, argues that the policy and agenda of Alaska’s lawmakers, including ex-Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and her administration, is set by Big Labor (“The Sarah Palin picture that tells you everything you need to know about her,” 8/3).
Fagan uses a government-mandated project labor agreement (PLA) implemented via legislation called the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) to ilustrate his point. The PLA would apply to one of the competing proposals to build a $20 billion natural gas pipeline in Alaska.
The picture to the left is one of the most telling pictures taken in the state of Alaska in the past 20 years. It is of former Governor Sarah Palin signing the AGIA legislation. You’ll notice to her left is AFL-CIO boss Vince Beltrami.
Someone asked me the other day who I thought were the three most powerful people in Alaska. The answer is easy I said. Vince Beltrami, Vince Beltrami, and then there is Vince Beltrami.
One of the best-kept secrets in Alaska is it’s not “Big Oil” running the state. It’s not the Republican Machine. It’s not even the liberal media. No Alaska’s most powerful force when it comes to policy is “Big Labor.”
Think about it for a second. The Palin/Parnell administration and the legislature has declared an all out war on “Big Oil.” That proves the industry has little clout in Juneau.
But what has happened under Palin/Parnell? The size of state government, especially the operating budget, has exploded. What’s the biggest agenda of “Big Labor”? Grow government. It’s the only sector of the economy they still control.
But not only is “Big Labor” getting its way in the government sector, thanks to government, union bosses are making strides in the private sector through what are called project labor agreements.
A project labor agreement, or a PLA as it is called, is an agreement between union bosses like Beltrami and the government requiring non-union workers to first give union bosses like Beltrami cash before working on a job.
AGIA has a PLA built in it meaning anyone in the construction workforce wanting to build the AGIA line, must first give “Big Labor” bosses cash. The problem is more than 70 percent of the construction workforce in Alaska does not belong to a union.
Now you are getting why the Beltrami hovering over Palin as she signs the AGIA legislation picture is so telling.
You may ask why would any politician ever sign into law such a ridiculous policy as a PLA. After all a PLA is nothing more than legalized extortion. Forcing those who chose not to join a union to give the union cash just to work.
We know why Democrats would enact such an immoral policy. They are legally bought and paid for by “Big Labor”. But here’s why “Big Labor” is so powerful in Alaska. So are many Republicans.
Did you know Republicans Nancy Dahlstrom, Carl Gatto, John Harris, Mike Hawker, Bob Lynn, and Bill Stoltz all voted to put a PLA in AGIA. Of course the Palin/Parnell administration lobbied to have the extortion producing provision in the bill.
Yes “Big Labor” is so powerful in Alaska it has now infiltrated even the Republican Party.In fact only 13 Republicans in the house voted against the PLA in AGIA. One of them is running for governor, Ralph Samuels.
“Big Labor’s” reach extends beyond politicians. Have you noticed how favorable the coverage of AGIA has been from the Anchorage Daily News? That’s because if “Big Labor” is behind it, so is the Daily News.
And “Big Labor” adores AGIA. And why shouldn’t labor bosses love AGIA. It will force 70 percent of the state’s workers to hand over cash if they want to work on the pipeline. And what if the non-union workers refuse to be extorted from. Then “Big Labor” bosses will bring their union buddies up from other states to fill the pipeline jobs.
Hey Vince, it’s good to be king.
It’s hard to fathom politicians as polarizing as Sarah Palin and President Obama share a common position on such a controversial policy as government-mandated PLAs.
Sarah Palin supported a PLA benefiting Alaska’s Big Labor bosses via AGIA and in one of his first acts in the White House, President Obama signed Executive Order 13502 Feb. 6, 2009, which encourages federal agencies to use anti-competitive and costly PLAs on a case-by-case basis when agencies build federal construction projects exceeding $25 million.
On April 13, 2010, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council issued a final rule, effective May 13, implementing President Obama’s pro-PLA Executive Order 13502 into federal procurement regulations.
The clear takeaway from Fagan’s analysis is that despite the lip service to the contrary, Parnell is in the pocket of Big Labor’s special PLA interests, while candidate Ralph Samuels has a clear record of supporting fair and open competition.