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Kansas City and Missouri labor icon Bill Richardson’s response to an anti-labor opinion piece by E. Thom McClanahan in the Kansas City Star.

McClanahan wrote: “…The measure deserves to die, as it did in 2007…”

What McClanahan doesn’t tell you is that it passed the House, it couldn’t get 60 votes in the Senate to invoke cloture and remove republican obstructionism (it got 51 votes, that’s a majority), and it faced a veto by a failed president.

March 22, 2009

In his March 15 op-ed piece, Thomas McClanahan once again shows his disdain for labor unions.

He forgets, most likely on purpose, that labor unions are people – men and women who work hard every day to make a living for their families, and produce the goods and services that make up our economy.

He says the proposed “Free Choice Act” has a misleading title. However, I have never read in any of his columns that the “Right to Work” legislation passed many years ago is a misnomer. The so-called “Right to Work” does nothing to secure employment for anyone. What it does do, however, is set up a barrier to union organizing.  Its sole purpose is to wreck unions.

Perhaps one day McClanahan will get it right. Help workers and you help the nation. The more they make, the more they spend. Working people are the backbone of our economy.

McClanahan says the “Free Choice Act” takes away the secret ballot. He’s dead wrong again. The secret ballot still applies along with the card check. McClanahan assumes that workers are not smart enough to choose.  Wrong again. Workers are wonderfully astute when it comes to their workplace.  When it comes time to make the choice to unionize, they will be smart and deliberate.

What McClanahan does not tell you: the laws and regulations that govern union organizing now do not work.  When union organizers get signed cards from 30 percent of the workers, an election is scheduled. Then the employer has the opportunity to campaign against a union, often using misleading and coercive tactics. And if the employees vote to have a union, there is nothing in the present law that requires the employer to sign a contract with the union. There are many workers who voted for a union one, two or even three years ago who do not yet have a contract.

What McClanahan does tell you however: it’s alright for employers to exercise unfair tactics but it’s not alright for workers to have an even playing field. This is McClanahan’s so-called “Fairness Doctrine.”

Please call or write your Congressional representatives and ask them to support working men and women by voting for the Free Choice Act.

Bill R. Richardson


Kansas City Building Trades Council

Bill Richardson