Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Laura Merriman Headshot

Why Mitt Romney's Anti-Union Platform Is Very Bad for U.S. Workers and Their Families

Posted: Updated:

Although Mitt Romney has been trying to pose himself an "uplifter of the middle class," his anti-union platform would be very damaging to U.S. workers. Romney has set forth a vehemently anti-union platform which has been described as "the most anti-union, anti-worker platform we've seen for any candidate in our history", by the president of the largest federation of unions in the United States, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

This is not much of a surprise considering famously anti-union Walmart owners Jim Walton and his wife Mary donated $624,100 to Republican candidates and Super PACs, including $200,000 to the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future and $2,500 to the Romney campaign. Walmart employees working full-time on poverty-level wages cannot make it without receiving food stamps. It is shameful that one of the highest grossing stores in the United States in terms of pure profit encourages its employees to go on federal assistance. Up to 80 percent of Walmart employees are on some type of federal assistance because its executives do not pay them living wages, costing tax payers $2.66 billion dollars in federal assistance a year to make up the difference. If Walmart workers hope to improve their working conditions by organizing, they can forget about it. Human Rights Watch documented how from the time they are hired, Walmart employees are indoctrinated against unions. U.S. workers will be in big trouble if Romney is taking his cue from a billion-dollar corporation whose 2,100,000 employees are forbidden from organizing.

Union-crusher Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has lobbied side-by-side with Mitt Romney. Walker recently predicted that even "blue-collar working-class union towns" in his state will go for Romney because of the "groundwork" laid out during his election recall. As history has showed, when unions lose power, jobs that once offered living wages become minimum wage jobs. This is what happened in many industries, including in meat processing. Journalist Chris Kutalik explains, "Union jobs that once allowed packinghouse workers to achieve a good standard of living became poverty level occupations. Real wages fell 30 percent in the 1980s. Workers fled the industry to find better jobs; in their place entered workers with limited job options, especially recent immigrants."

Agriculture will not be the only industry affected by union cuts if Romney is elected. Romney said of cutting government jobs during his secretly recorded Florida fundraiser rant, "I wish we weren't unionized so we could go a lot deeper than you're actually allowed to go." Romney has also said that teachers unions should not be able to make political contributions, while accepting contributions from corporations like Walmart.

Although Romney would like voters to believe this, although he intends to whittle down workers rights, the U.S. labor force will not benefit from a Romney-Ryan platform. Just because Romney sells himself as a "job creator" and claims he will create 12 million jobs does not mean that their policies will be able to achieve this, especially because Romney has never produced a plan of how he will accomplish this, or described how his time at Bain has made him a job creator. Under President Obama, however, unemployment rates have continued to decrease. Also, even if there are 12 million new jobs under Romney, what types of jobs will they be? Given Romney's stances and allegiances, he is probably talking about poverty wage jobs.

What Romney will ensure, however, is that corporation owners like Jim and Mary Walton, recently named the world's richest family with a combined net wealth of $93 billion dollars, will get a big tax cut under the Romney plan, costing our nation trillions of dollars. When a recent commission found that Romney's touted plan on lowering corporation's taxes does not create jobs, as he has used to justify time and time again for why he and his billionaire friends should be paying lower tax rates than the rest of us, the GOP simply withdrew the report as its findings clashed with Mitt Romney's platform. The Walton family seems to want Mitt Romney to win the election so badly that their youngest son has just been accused of making illegal campaign contributions. Does Jim Walton really need a tax cut in this economy and if he gets it, are we supposed to believe that he will change his mind and begin hiring more workers and pay his already existing 2,100,000 workers living wages?

Mitt Romney is keen on running a United States of America that will severely restrict workers' freedom of speech and right to organize. His stance that as long as unions are crushed and workers have as few rights as possible, jobs will be created, is opportunist and inaccurate. Is this really the precedent we want to set forward as a nation? That whenever the economy is bad, worker's pay and freedom of expression can be slashed? And under policies Romney has set forth, why should we believe that once lowered, workers' salaries will ever be increased again? It is difficult to imagine Mitt Romney ever advocating for more workers' rights. The Romney-Ryan platform is about sending the U.S. worker in a downward spiral where corporate leaders and corporations, as people, are the haves, and working families are the have-nots. We cannot earn a livelihood in a political environment where families like the Waltons are allowed to take away their employees' freedom to demand living wages for themselves and their families or accept polices where working Americans are forced to get by on less and less.

  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Holdover
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results