Tags: Keystone XL Pipeline | Unions | Unions | Republicans | Democrat | trade

GOP Should Embrace Unions

By Monday, 02 March 2015 09:57 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The GOP should not take for granted any voter group, especially unions.
There is no doubt that labor unions in recent election cycles have been seen as tentacles of the DNC octopus. But, in spite of their support for Democrats, unions have been taken for granted by that party, especially by Democrat presidents and members of Congress, and unions have not gotten the attention or results they reasonably could expect from their political support. And, therein lies the opportunity for Republicans.
Democrats have even taken to threatening unions if they vote Republican. Vice President Biden said the following at a union convention: “And don’t any of you, by the way, any of you guys vote Republican. I am not supposed to say; this isn’t political . . . don’t come to me if you do! You’re on your own Jack!”
Of course the vice president said he was joking, but I think otherwise. Unions today are seen as tools for the Democratic Party and their support is expected, not earned.
Democrats love mocking Republicans with regard to union support. They say things like: “A union member voting Republican is like a rabbit voting for hunting season to open.” I see Republicans seeking union support more like the Aesop fable of "The Tortoise and the Hare." Republicans are the tortoise, seemingly losing to the hare until, through slow and steady perseverance, they win the race.
The exit polls in 2008 found that 39 percent of voters identified from union households voted for McCain for president. The Tampa Bay Times reported that since 1952 only one other Republican candidate did as well among union voters — Ronald Reagan in 1980, who also had a gap of just 7 points between overall support and union support.
But Reagan wasn’t able to repeat his magic in 1984 — his union vote trailed his national vote by 13 points. And that pattern continued until McCain in 2008, with the gap bouncing between 11 and 13 points from 1984 to 2004.
In 2010, 49 percent of union households in Massachusetts voted for U.S. Senate candidate Republican Scott Brown over Democrat Martha Coakley.
You cannot expect support if you don’t ask for it and you do not earn it.
Unions today should be playing their points with party platforms and candidates. Knee-jerk support by unions for any one party is a disservice to union members. When Republican policies support union goals and objectives, then unions should support it. Same goes for Democratic support. Corporations in America support Republicans and Democrats when it is in their interests and unions should do the same.
The XL pipeline is a good case study on why unions got taken for granted by the present administration. Despite the overwhelming support unions have given Obama in 2008 and again in 2012, the president just this week vetoed the XL pipeline bill that passed both the House and the Senate with wide bipartisan support. CBS did a poll this past January, which found that 60 percent of Americans want the XL pipeline.
This is what the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said with regard to the need for the XL pipeline in January of 2014.
“Following the U.S. State Department’s analysis that the Keystone XL pipeline project provides a safe and correct process for the transport of Canadian oil to the U.S. Gulf region, the Teamsters Union is pleased that the project, which will directly create 20,000 good jobs for American workers, is one step closer to reality.
"The Teamsters Building Material and Construction Trades Division, affiliated with the North America’s Building Trades Unions alliance, praised the alliance’s statement urging that the pipeline project be constructed immediately.”
And in February Mr. James P. Hoffa, the general president of the Teamsters, urged Congress to pass and the president to sign an XL pipeline bill when he said, “If the pipeline is not built, important socioeconomic benefits will not be realized — the positive impacts on local, state, and federal revenue, spending by construction workers, and spending on construction goods and services.”
Republicans want to put America back to work and unions must be part of any jobs initiatives.
So, why should unions support Republicans? Here are a few reasons:
  • Republicans’ fiscal policies empower the worker by creating responsible budgets and tax structures that encourages job creation and retention
  • A day’s pay for a day's work
  • Government should do for the people only what they cannot do for themselves
  • Government should not create a government-dependent society — we should foster and encourage a robust work force
  • Republicans are for more domestic manufacturing
  • Republicans believe in international trade agreements that are fair to American workers
For the aforementioned reasons and so many more, the time has come for Republicans to stop assuming that unions are an arm of the Democratic Party, stop the knee-jerk opposition to working men and women who want to collectively bargain for better wages and benefits, and start earning the union vote the way Reagan, McCain, and other Republicans have done.
Now is the time for Republicans and unions to come together and work together for a better America.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.

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The GOP should not take for granted any voter group, especially unions.
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Monday, 02 March 2015 09:57 AM
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