While Democrats want to increase the Department of Labor’s budget by nearly $1 billion, they are leaving the little agency that oversees union transparency out. Why? Because union bosses are call the shots on Capital Hill and they don't like that little agency.
The agency currently receives $47.7 million and President Bush wanted to increase the budget to $56 million. Instead, Democrats have set funding at $45.7 million.
- Example One: Only the agencies unions can use to bully employers, such as those tasked with employer accountability and worker safety, are getting the increased funds. The singular subject on which Dem’s are exercising fiscal restraint is the agency that, from 2001 to 2006, “investigated more than 2,000 criminal cases that secured some 650 indictments of union officials who had engaged in everything from embezzlement to extortionate picketing. The [agency] has also implemented a 2004 rule requiring unions to file expanded disclosure reports, obliging them for the first time to disclose how much dues money they spend on politics and union salaries.”
- Example Two: The Hill wrote yesterday, “In an op-ed e-mailed to reporters, Chao criticized Congress for being ‘all for boosting the Securities and Exchange Commission’s [SEC] budget so it can ride herd on businesses.’ In contrast, she said, Congress had singled out the one federal entity charged with protecting union members from corruption for budget cuts.”
- Example Three: Democrats are succumbing to pressure to renege on promises to keep the free trade agreements with Panama and Peru alive. Charlie Rangel has been persuaded to visit the two countries and tell them that if they want the agreements to pass (i.e., Democratic support of the agreements.) to make their labor laws more union-friendly.
Predictably, unions take a “Who? Me?” approach, raised eyebrows and all. “The statistics are cooked,” associate general counsel to the AFL-CIO, Deborah Greenfield, said to The Hill. She said DoL double-counts convictions (If one union boss is convicted of 5 different crimes, the agency counts five convictions, not one.).
Greenfield also told The Hill that an AFI-CIO study on union bosses says that less than four-one hundredths (4/100 or .04) of 1 percent of union officials are guilty of crimes against their unions."
Also note: Democrats who voted for the Kline amendment were Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.), Bud Cramer (Ala.), Lincoln Davis (Tenn.), Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), Tim Mahoney (Fla.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Harry Mitchell (Ariz.) and Heath Shuler (N.C.). Sixteen Republicans voted against the Kline amendment, including Reps. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Ray LaHood (Ill.) and Christopher Shays (Conn.).
Read the Wall Street Journal editorial here: Congress's Union Dues
Read The Hill’s news report here: Sec. Chao criticizes House for cutting union oversight funds