Today Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. revved up a crowd for President Obama as a Labor Day rally in Detroit, Michigan. He said the “tea party” had declared a “war on workers” and added: “President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.”
I don’t mind the vulgarity and martial imagery — anybody warming up a crowd at a union event on Labor Day can get carried away, I suppose — but I’m not sure what “war on workers” Hoffa is referring to. Presumably he is talking about the efforts to limit collective bargaining rights for public employees in states like Wisconsin and Ohio. For the most part, however, the agenda of the “tea party” — if such an entity can even be said to exist — seems to be a pro-worker agenda. The “tea party” element wants to restrain the growth of government, keep taxes low, avoid unnecessary regulations that restrict economic growth, and let private enterprise develop and create jobs. What is so “anti-worker” about that?
Many union leaders, like Hoffa, apparently equate a “pro-worker” agenda with a “pro-union” agenda. Anybody who pushes a “pro-union” agenda necessarily supports government spending, government growth, and government regulation, because public employees have been one of the few growth areas for unions in recent decades. If you follow a pro-worker agenda, on the other hand, you want to see jobs created, whatever those jobs may be. How many more people — Teamsters included — would be employed on this Labor Day, for example, if our government hadn’t imposed a moratorium on certain oil drilling and imposed restrictions on our ability to exploit our reserves of oil and natural gas?