Comments on Labor History

 GROVER NORQUIST shows anti-union bias

Compiled by Joanne Ricca February 26, 2014

This is a partial summary of the actions and comments of radical right wing activist Grover Norquist and his corporate front group, Americans for Tax Reform, in opposition to American labor unions.

From the Sacramento Bee, April 22, 1998, “Prop. 226 Opponents Sound Off in TV Ads” (Note:  Prop. 226 was a ballot measure that required unions to get written permission from members, renewed annually, before using any portion of union dues for political purposes. It was promoted as so-called “paycheck protection” by the Right.)

“Norquist, who has said Proposition 226 is about fairness for workers, also has said that it is his goal to ‘break the unions’ and that cutting the flow of dues money to union political action committees ‘would crush labor as a political entity’”.

From a press release by the Alliance for Worker Freedom, a special project of the Americans for Tax Reform, November 2004

“‘Workers have a very good chance to see meaningful progress on union violence issues in the 109th Congress,’ said AWF Executive Director Ryan Ellis.  In 2005, AWF will work with Congress on union violence directly through rejuvenation of the Hobbs Act, which prohibited violence as a basic union practice.  In addition, AWF will seek to restrict the use of ‘card check’ campaigns that deny basic free election rights to workers facing the prospect of unionization.  Often, these campaigns are marked by union violence and extortion to get workers on board against their will.  ‘Union bosses are, at heart, a collection of petty thugs,’ continued Ellis.  ‘Taking the arrow of violence out of the union quiver will make them a far less potent force against worker freedom.’”

From a translated interview with Grover Norquist published in Nueva Economia, a supplement to El Mundo, Madrid, Spain dated September 12, 2004.  The interview was conducted by Pablo Pardo and titled “In Twenty Years the American Welfare State Will No Longer Be Needed”.  When Norquist was asked what will happen if George W. Bush wins the election, he responded:

“The Democratic Party will be forever doomed.  If we take control of the legislature and the executive branch, we will reinforce our control of the Judicial Branch to direct it against the Democrats.  We will bring about a modest limit of the ability of the people to initiate lawsuits against corporations, which will damage the lawyers who specialize in these cases, which is one of the props of the Democratic Party.  We will accelerate the decline of the unions. (My italics)

We will cut funding to groups of public employees, like teachers, who are one of the great sources of Democratic votes.  And we will begin to move the Welfare State toward a private system, in pensions and health care.”

From “The Soul of the New Machine” in Mother Jones, January/February 2004: 

“My ideal citizen is the self-employed, homeschooling, IRA-owning guy with a concealed-carry permit”, says Norquist. “Because that person doesn’t need the goddam government for anything.”  He goes on to say: “We plan to pick up another five seats in the Senate and hold the House through redistricting in 2012.  And rather than negotiate with the teachers’ unions and the trial lawyers and the various leftist interest groups, we intend to break them.”  He adds:  “We are deadly serious.  We do intend to have a smaller and less intrusive government, and every time the government gets smaller there are fewer Democratic precinct workers in the world.”

From the Detroit News, “Snyder:  Right-to-work on the agenda, but no decision yet on bill”, December 4, 2012:

“Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, sent all legislators a letter November 30, adding to the growing chorus of conservative groups pressuring the Republican-controlled Legislature to jam through a right-to-work bill in the lame duck session this month.  ‘This is one of the most important steps you can take to jumpstart the state’s economy, boost employment, and spur population growth’, Norquist wrote in a letter to legislators obtained by the Detroit News. ‘And individual workers will be better off, too.  Over the past decade, compensation in Right to Work states has grown four times faster than in forced unionization states.  It will merely prohibit unions from terminating employees that choose not to pay union dues.  In addition to an economic imperative, it is a moral one.’”

From The Nation article “Grover Norquist, Lobbyist”, January 21, 2013 which reported on Norquist and his corporate front group Americans for Tax Reform:

The Nation reviewed the foundation’s most recently available tax disclosures, which show that in 2010 Americans for Tax Reform received more than 66% of its budget from only two sources.  That year, the Koch-affiliated Center to Protect Patient Rights donated $4,189,000 to the foundation, and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS gave $4 million.”

From Reuters article “Fresh from win over UAW, Norquist vows anti-union push”, February 20, 2014:

“It (Americans for Tax Reform) recently rebranded and reinvigorated its anti-union affiliate as the Center for Worker Freedom, which opposed a high-stakes United Auto Workers effort to unionize the VW plant in Chattanooga.  That effort failed Friday.  While the VW workers’ vote to reject the union was a blow to the UAW, it was a vindication for Norquist and his new lieutenant, Matt Patterson, who managed a nearly yearlong campaign against the UAW in the eastern Tennessee city.”  Norquist is quoted:  “That meant we had to raise doubts as to what this is all about.  Hence the focus on the challenges with the UAW, with their political view; with how left-wing they are; how they give money to everybody who wants to steal your guns and do crazy things with your resources; how they treat you with contempt and how they’d destroy the city.” Reuters stated:  “Norquist pledged that more of the same is coming from his group at other, non-unionized foreign-owned auto factories in the South that the UAW wants to represent, arguing the broad labor landscape is shifting in Republicans’ favor.”


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