The Republican Party platform, adopted at its convention in Cleveland this week, backs a national so-called right-to-work (RTW) law, slams federal workers and trashes the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for using federal minimum wage and overtime pay laws to deny “flexibility” to businesses. And it wants to abolish the federal minimum wage, letting states set their own.
“We support the right of states to enact right to work laws and call for a national law to protect the economic liberty of the modern workforce,” the GOP said. Those are code words for a national RTW law. And the GOP stops just short of demanding abolition of federal unions.
Party platforms lay down the principles the party expects its candidates, from the presidency on down, to adhere to. With GOP platform writers coming from the party’s business-oriented establishment wing, those principles are anti-union, anti-worker or both. Key passages include:
- A slam against regulations in general and NLRB and Labor Department regulations in particular, as bad for business: “We will revisit existing laws that delegate too much authority to regulatory agencies and review all current regulations for possible reform or repeal,” it says.
- Elimination of the minimum wage and the Jones Act – which says U.S.-flagged U.S.-crewed ships must carry goods between U.S. ports – in U.S. territories.
- After declaring the GOP would “challenge the anachronistic labor laws that limit workers’ freedom and lock them into the workplace rules of their great-grandfathers,” the platform takes aim at the NLRB, promising “to restore fairness and common sense” there.
“Instead of facilitating change, the current administration and its agents at the NLRB are determined to reverse it. They are attacking the franchise model of business development, which is essential to the creativity and flexibility of the new economy. They are wielding provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, designed for the manufacturing workplace of the 1930s, to deny flexibility to both employers and employees,” it reads
“They have outlawed union transparency rules that allowed members to discover what was being done with their dues. They have outlawed alternatives to unions even when they were favored by the workers. Their project labor agreements discriminate against the vast majority of workers by barring them from jobs on taxpayer-funded projects. Their patronizing, controlling approach leaves workers in a form of peonage to the NLRB.”
Additionally, the platforms states, “minimum wage is an issue that should be handled at the state and local level.” The platform also advocates “employee empowerment and workplace flexibility.” Republicans use “flexibility” as code for their comp-time-not-overtime legislation. Their bills coerce workers into comp time, but then leave when they can take it up to the boss.
The platform also specifically slams unionists’ political contributions, ignoring that they’re voluntary, and that they’re not taken from union dues. “We believe the forced funding of political candidates through union dues and other mandatory contributions violates the 1st Amendment. Just as Americans have a 1st Amendment right to devote resources to favored candidates or views, they have a 1st Amendment right not to be forced to support individuals or ideologies they oppose,” it declares.
- Press Associates, Inc., contributed to this report.