Pro-forced unionism Labor Secretary Hilda Solis defends Obama’s Solicitor of Labor nominee M. Patricia Smith from Sen. Mike Enzi (WY-R) who declared that she was unfit to lead the Labor Department’s legal team. Enzi and his staff review of Smith’s statements verses the New York record revealed a several cozy relationships with Big Labor that encroached on the freedoms of workers.
Sen. Enzi’s labor committee Deputy Communications Director Michael Mahaffey outlined Smith’s inconsistencies:
“First, Ms. Smith stated that the Wage and Hour Watch program was developed internally and only then did the New York Department of Labor approach outside groups. However, two of the pilot groups, the Retail Warehouse and Department Store Union (RWDSU) along with Make the Road New York, a public interest entity financed in part by unions, were heavily involved in developing all aspects of the program.
They, along with another public interest group, participated in: a) deciding participant eligibility, b) drafting program documents, c) creating training materials and conducting training, d) developing press strategies, etc. The approximately 3000 pages of documents provided by New York in fact show little internal government development of the program.
“Second, Ms. Smith characterized Wage and Hour Watch as an educational program. It does not appear, however, that Ms. Smith’s subordinates, including the Wage and Hour Administrator nominee, Ms. Lorelie Boylan, or the union organizers and public interest groups who helped design the program concurred. For example, documents describe the program as an “enforcers” program, and email as well as a training document describe participants as community enforcers. There appears no question that those who created the program considered it enforcement.
“Third, Ms. Smith stated that the two unions who were selected for the pilot program were told not to use the program for organizing. Unfortunately, that direction appeared nowhere in the approximately 3000 pages of material reviewed. Instead, the documents showed that the unions planned to use the program for organizing and the State appears to have done nothing about it. For example:
- The Coordinator of Retail Organizing Projects for RWDSU is prominently involved in pushing for and developing the program, and RWDSU organizers conducted part of the program training.
- The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 in their written application stated that they plan to use Wage and Hour Watch in “all of our Organizing Campaigns.”
- A March 2009 union newsletter states the union will specifically investigate “non-union” groceries as part of the program.
- Signatories for the pilot program agreements for the two unions are union organizers as appear to be all those attending the program training and receiving state identification cards.
- The Co-Chairman of the Wage and Hour Watch program is the president of the RWDSU.
- A number of later applicants to join the program are entities whose sole purpose is union organizing -– e.g., the New York State Laborers Organizing Fund and the organizer for a Plumber’s Local.
- The Wage and Hour nominee in an email suggested altering program participation requirements specifically to ensure up-state trade unions were eligible to join Wage and Hour Watch.
“Fourth, Smith stated in response to multiple inquiries that there were no plans to expand until after a thorough evaluation of the pilot program. However, numerous documents (e.g., press releases, speeches, talking points, emails) actually suggest imminent plans to expand the program to up-state and/or statewide in virtually every instance — many with June 2009 deadlines. The State even sent out applications to a number of groups to join Wage and Hour Watch during May and June — after Ms. Smith testified before the Committee that there were no plans to expand immediately.”