Tim Kaine: Hoisted by his own Petard
Tim Kaine believes candidates for office should tell voters where they stand on important issues before the U.S. Senate. He correctly said “If you decline to state your position, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what your position is, and that’s the … wrong position for Virginia.” Given his obvious support for openness and disclosure, you would expect Kaine to spell out his positions on key issues impacting Virginia’s strong business climate. You would be wrong.
Tim Kaine appears to be hoisted by his own petard by the failed economic policies and regulations that are coming out of Washington. Specifically on votes taking place in the U.S. Senate to overturn ludicrous regulations coming out of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The NLRB has bent over backwards to make unionizing a workplace as easy as possible for big labor and as expensive and difficult as possible for business owners.
Take the issue of micro-unions. This is a new tactic by Big Labor’s lackeys on the NLRB to force business owners and workers in Virginia and around the nation to accept unions they don’t want. The NLRB has changed U.S. labor law, so if a union cannot gain enough support to organize an entire workplace, the NLRB has allowed a union as small as three or four people to form inside a business, regardless of whether the larger workforce wants a union. One workplace could have numerous micro-unions, dividing up the workers and leading to miles of red tape for business owners and hassles for customers. Imagine shopping in a hardware or department store and having to navigate turf wars between the lighting department union and plumbing department union, or the unionized shoe department and non-unionized purse department.
This is not as far-fetched as it may sound. When a union could not gain support to organize all sales staff at Bergdorf-Goodman Department store in New York City, the NLRB allowed them to organize only sales associates at one specific store on the 2nd and 5th floor who sold women’s shoes and are paid on commission. This union does not represent sales staff who sells women’s shoes who don’t work on commission, nor does it represent sales associates who sell men’s shoes, or hand bags, or sales staff on other floors.
If you are looking at a belt or a purse and then want help with a pair of women’s shoes, the employee will be prohibited from helping you because you’ve moved onto union turf. Absurd.
These not-so-small threats will make it more difficult for workers to advance up the job ladder or to change departments, and they will be a human resources nightmare for business owners, ultimately slowing job creation and economic growth.
Where is the incentive for a business to expand locations or increase product offerings when each expansion brings a new, separate threat that the new section of the business could be unionized? Imagine the nightmare of negotiating separate contracts with numerous unions under one roof. Imagine having to navigate separate policies for union and non-union employees performing essentially the exact same task.
Union bosses do not care about these negative consequences to business owners – the job creators. They just want to increase union membership, which increases union dues, which increases their operating budget, which funds liberal candidates who support big labor policies like micro-unions.
President Obama may have been a little too honest when he said that Kaine is a “friend of labor.” Certainly Tim Kaine has not said anything like that, even though he’s gladly accepting Big Labor’s donations. But, then again, Kaine has declined to state his position on micro-unions, or separate himself from the job-killing policies of Big Labor’s agenda.
Tim Kaine, the friend of labor, has remained silent on this assault on our economy. Maybe he truly has no opinion. That seems strange, since this is a major issue for business owners and workers throughout the state.
I suspect, however, that Kaine does have an opinion. But like the politician who thinks that honesty is not the best policy, he knows that giving his opinion will lead to negative consequences. If he opposes micro-unions, he loses the support of his Big Labor backers.
These union bosses are not from Virginia and can’t vote for him, but they sure can provide money for his campaign. But, if he supports micro-unions, he loses the support of Virginia’s workers and business owners that are threatened by them.
It’s hard not to sympathize with Kaine. He has a tough choice: offend his union money men or support a policy that hurts Virginians?
Kaine may think he is being clever by avoiding this issue, but Virginians know better. They see through politicians who do not want to state their opinions on important issues. They know that silence either means that Kaine supports the union bosses or he is too afraid to offend them. Neither conclusion is flattering to our former governor.
Virginia needs leaders that support policies that expand economic freedom and opportunity, policies that encourage business owners to hire new employees and expand operations, not make them scared to do so. Tim Kaine needs to stand with Virginia’s business community and forcefully oppose micro-unions.