Pro-Union Monopoly Republican Loses in Kansas

Public-Safety Union Power Grab at Issue in Senate Primary

After the Kansas GOP Senate primary was over, the Washington Examiner's "Beltway Confidential" blog suggested that Todd Tiahrt's pro-union monopoly stance had "hurt him significantly" in his race against Right to Work supporter Jerry Moran (pictured). Credit:
(Source: September 2010 NRTWC Newsletter)

In covering the hard-fought and expensive campaign for the GOP nomination to succeed U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), which concluded early last month, national media pundits missed a major policy difference between the two top-tier candidates.

Primary contenders Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran, who currently hold two of the Sunflower State’s four seats in the U.S. House, had both opposed the 2009 “stimulus” package and ObamaCare. And they had virtually identical voting records on the politically charged issues of gun control and abortion.

But there is one policy difference between Mr. Tiahrt and Mr. Moran that proved to be very important to rank-and-file Kansas voters this summer. In spite of the failure of newspaper, TV and radio political reporters to cover this issue during the campaign, it was clearly decisive for the race’s outcome.

For years, Mr. Tiahrt has defied the wishes of his overwhelmingly pro-Right to Work constituents in south central Kansas by cosponsoring and voting for one of the top power grabs on the Capitol Hill agenda of Organized Labor, the #1 pro-Big Government special-interest group in America.

In 2007, Mr. Tiahrt went along with the wishes of the Nancy Pelosi-led House Democratic caucus by voting for the union bosses’ Police/Fire Monopoly-Bargaining Bill (then H.R.980).

The Police/Fire Monopoly-Bargaining Bill (now H.R.413 in the House) would impose a new federal mandate ensuring that government union bosses get monopoly-bargaining privileges over additional hundreds of thousands of state and local public-safety employees.

Localities Would Be Denied Option to Refuse to Give Union Bosses a Monopoly

H.R.413 and its nearly identical Senate counterpart, S.3194, would federally impose union monopoly bargaining by denying localities the option to refuse to grant a single public-safety union the power to speak for all front-line employees, including those who don’t want to join.

Monopoly bargaining, euphemistically labeled as “exclusive representation,” would be foisted on state and local police, firefighters, and other public-safety employees nationwide.

And in most states that already authorize public-safety union monopoly bargaining, H.R.413/S.3194 would widen its scope.

“Todd Tiahrt’s record of voting for and repeatedly cosponsoring the Police/Fire Monopoly-Bargaining Bill sent a red flag to Kansas voters that, in the Senate, he would vote for expanding union monopoly control over goverment,” commented National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.

“In contrast, Jerry Moran has consistently supported the Right to Work. He stood up to the Pelosi Democrats by voting against the monopoly-bargaining bill when it came to the House floor in 2007.

“And during this year’s campaign he publicly pledged to continue opposing legislation like H.R.413 in the future.”

During the final weeks before Kansas’s primaries, the Committee broke through the media blackout on Mr. Tiahrt’s pro-forced unionism record by directly contacting over 40,000 targeted households multiple times, and urging them to ask the candidate to change his stand on H.R.413.

Thousands and thousands of pro-Right to Work Kansans responded by making phone calls and sending postcards, letters and e-mails to Mr. Tiahrt’s congressional office and his campaign. But Mr. Tiahrt did not repudiate his advocacy of federally mandated union monopoly bargaining over public employees.

Big Government Is Big Labor’s ‘Bread and Butter’

“If Todd Tiahrt had seen the light, withdrawn his current sponsorship of H.R.413, and apologized for his 2007 vote for very similar legislation, freedom-loving Kansans very likely would have forgiven him,” said Mr. Mix.

“As it happened, he stuck with government union bosses, and ended up losing to his pro-Right to Work rival by 17,000 votes.

“Kansas voters were right to see Mr. Tiahrt’s support for H.R.413 as a problem.

“Over the course of the past few decades, public servants, especially state and local public employees, have become Big Labor’s bread and butter.

“Today, union officials wield monopoly-bargaining power over 43% of state and local government employees, compared to just 8% of private-sector workers.

“And Big Labor featherbedding and counterproductive work rules have sharply increased real taxpayer costs for compensation of state and local government employees.

“No candidate can credibly claim he will fight against the skyrocketing cost of Big Government while supporting police/fire monopoly-bargaining legislation. Todd Tiahrt just learned this lesson the hard way.”