(Waterloo, IA) On Labor Day eve, democrat Vice President Al Gore lashed out at Republican-led efforts to handcuff union spending in political campaigns through a proposal the G.O.P. has dubbed “paycheck protection.”
Many republicans argue union members should be able to withhold the portion of their union dues which are used for “political purposes” if the individual union member does not share the same political goals as his or her union. The concept has been discussed by Republican legislators in many states, including Iowa, after G.O.P. candidates saw union-purchased advertisements aiding democrats in previous elections.
“It’s probably the single-most notorious union-busting proposal to come along in years,” Gore said of the concept. “Most moderate Republicans have stayed away from it because it’s really hostile to working people and especially to those in organized labor.”
Without mentioning Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush by name, Gore said most republican candidates were “buckling” to pressure from the “far right wing” of the G.O.P. on the issue.
“It’s way out of the mainstream of the country,” Gore told reporters. “You know, California voters had a crack at it on one of those popular referendums they have out there and they rejected it overwhelmingly.”
If elected, Gore promises to pass laws banning the hiring of replacement workers during a pro-longed strike, and block efforts to curb union growth.
“If you are in favor of collective bargaining, if you are in favor of giving working people the right to petition for better conditions and fair wages by joining a union, then you cannot be for this paycheck deception idea because it destroys the ability of unions to exist,” Gore told reporters.
Gore appeared Sunday afternoon at a picnic in Waterloo, a town with deep union roots — notably at farm equipment-maker John Deere. Gore was in Waterloo just last month, speaking at the Iowa Federation of Labor state convention.
Gore, who is seeking the democrat party’s presidential nomination, will march in a Labor Day parade in Des Moines, Iowa, then fly to eastern Iowa to attend a Labor Day picnic in Cedar Rapids.