By Catherine Conlan
I’m writing this on Sunday, and I’m sure by the time you read this later in the week, we will have gone through about 17 million new news cycles and anything timely I mention will be outdated. But I can’t let it go that Mike Pence is planning on visiting Hibbing on Monday.
Are the people who are going to see him a fan of his elimination of prevailing wage laws in Indiana during his time as governor there? In Minnesota, the prevailing wage law expands health insurance coverage, reduces food-stamp use among construction workers and increases their wages. And according to a 2018 report the Fair Contracting Foundation, per-worker productivity in Minnesota grew 7.7 percentage-points faster and worker turnover rates fell further than in Indiana after Pence agreed to repeal the law.
Is that #OurWayOfLife?
Pence took office as governor after the state enacted so-called “right to work” (for less) laws, but his administration vigorously defending the anti-union regulations when unions filed suit against them.
Is that the record he’s bringing to Hibbing?
Or is he bringing the Trump-Pence record, one that has given huge tax breaks to the wealthy (and I mean really wealthy, not lower middle class), and cut the National Labor Relations Board off at the knees. It has made it harder for workers to organize, stopped all union elections at the beginning of the pandemic, and approved a rule that would make it easier to discipline shop stewards for speaking harshly in meetings with management or social media.
Earlier this year, Gallup found that almost two-thirds of the people surveyed have a favorable opinion of unions. This is the highest favorability count since 2003.
According to EPI, the Trump-Pence administration fulfilled or is in the process of fulfilling the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s top 10 list, including allowing forced arbitration, weakening rules meant to streamline union elections, and allowing employers to force employees off company property to discuss workplace issues.
What on earth does Pence have to offer the good people of Hibbing? Besides the coronavirus, of course.
Every election feels like the most important one, the one that will have the most impact. This election isn’t necessarily about impact, but trajectory — where do we go from here? What’s next? What do we want to continue, and what would we like to change?
In this presidential election, the answer is clear. The GOP’s one-two punch of bad, weak policy and willful destruction has undermined federal departments, corrupted trust in otherwise unimpeachable institutions (the Post Office, for crying out loud! our voting systems!), and made it harder for everyday people to trust and connect with each other. The Republican agenda at all levels has made us sicker, poorer, less confident and more worried about our futures. It has to go.
In 2020 election, GOP agenda has got to go
By Catherine Conlan