Proposed DOL Cuts Are ‘a Good Beginning’

Some Republicans like Tom Cole (Okla.) are suggesting it’s impossible to cut wasteful federal programs that subsidize union-boss schemes to force employees to pay union dues. But Mr. Cole and his cohorts are wrong. (credit: GETTY IMAGES)

Trump Administration Requests Rollback of Union Bosses’ ‘Welfare’

On the 2016 presidential campaign trail, Donald Trump frequently spoke about his plans to downsize federal programs that are of questionable utility and/or duplicative while eliminating those that are flat-out counterproductive.

And in mid-March, the Trump Administration, facing a sea of red ink, released an outline for the U.S. government’s FY18 budget. It sends a modest, but clear signal Mr. Trump was serious about what he said on the stump about curtailing government waste.

National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen voiced support for the proposed trims in the taxpayer funding of pro-forced unionism bureaucracies such as the Department of Education (ED) and the Department of Labor (DOL).

Mr. Leen specifically cited the Trump team’s recommended 21.5% cut in the DOL’s $12.2 billion “discretionary” budget as a “good beginning.”

However, Mr. Leen continued, lawmakers who want to stop propping up Big Labor’s forced-dues empire with taxpayer dollars should be eager to go much further.

“The President’s proposal, as encouraging as it is, cannot and does not touch the DOL’s $33.5 billion ‘mandatory’ budget,” pointed out Mr. Leen.

“Despite its misleading label, Congress has the authority to slash such DOL spending, and it should. An unknown, but undoubtedly large share of DOL ‘mandatory’ spending is ultimately funneled into pork-barrel projects that help Big Labor corral employees and job-seekers into unions.”

Autoworkers Union Kingpins Paid Lavishly to ‘Lecture’ About ‘Cultures of Safety’

Among the pro-union monopoly schemes in the DOL discretionary budget that the Trump proposal puts on the chopping block is the “Susan Harwood Training Grant Program,” which in 2016 awarded $10.5 million in one-year grants to nonprofit organizations.

Recipients of this federal largesse included many labor unions and union- front organizations.

For example, thanks to the Harwood program, the United Autoworkers (UAW) union hierarchy received $148,500 in federal tax money last year alone to lecture workers about “cultures of safety in small- and medium-sized establishments.”

“A very large portion of the Harwood grants essentially fund Big Labor PR efforts with tax dollars with the obvious aim of facilitating union bosses’ organizing drives,” said Mr. Leen. “To say the least, this is not an appropriate use of federal taxpayers’ money.”

Chairman Tom Cole Predicts ‘Dramatic’ Consequences If Big Labor Pork Is Cut?!

“Unfortunately,” Mr. Leen added, “efforts to eliminate or even reduce sharply DOL programs like the Harwood training grants and the Job Corps, which annually funnels millions and millions of dollars to carpenters, painters, electricians, and many other union bosses, will surely face resistance on Capitol Hill.”

Mr. Leen warned the resistance would come not just from union-label Democrat politicians who reflexively side with Big Labor on controversial issues, but also from powerful members of Washington, D.C.’s GOP.

For example, in early March, before the White House’s proposed DOL discretionary budget cuts were even made public, Congressman Tom Cole, the chairman of the House Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, was pouring cold water on the idea that significant cuts in the DOL budget could be made.

“[P]eople need to understand there will be consequences that will be very dramatic . . . if indeed we try to start shutting down Job Corps centers . . . ,” Mr. Cole told a Bloomberg BNA reporter.

Time For Grass-Roots Activists to Intensify Pressure on Congress

“Any politician who claims there is nothing to cut in the DOL budget is wrong,” retorted Mr. Leen.

“Ordinary Americans outside the D.C. Beltway, as well as scholars who have investigated the track records of DOL boondoggles, like the $1.7 billion Job Corps, recognize that they are remarkably ineffective at accomplishing their purported aim of helping employment seekers and employees.

“And the tax money that’s being poured into the Jobs Corps isn’t merely being wasted. It’s often actually steering people away from genuine employment opportunities by subsidizing Big Labor forced-unionism schemes.”

Mr. Leen vowed that, over the coming weeks and months, the Committee would mobilize members and supporters across America to contact their U.S. representatives and senators regarding the issue of taxpayer subsidies for compulsory unionism.

“It is an uphill battle, but we can win,” he predicted, “if we keep raising the pressure on congressional leaders to pass an FY18 budget that greatly curtails the misuse of tax dollars by bureaucrats and union bosses to corral workers into unions.”

(Source: May 2017 National Right to Work Committee Newsletter)