Lawmakers should not take sides in labor rift

OlympiaMarch 26, 2013 

Several days ago The Olympian ran an ad sponsored by the Service Employees International Union outlining their issues in a labor dispute with Providence St. Peter’s Hospital. The ad was co-signed by several local lawmakers, including city councilmen, county commissioners, and state legislators.

It is completely inappropriate for lawmakers at any level to actively take sides in a labor dispute – in this case, SEIU vs. the Sisters of Providence. All of these lawmakers have the ability to enact laws that might favor one side or the other in a labor dispute. SEIU is one of the more politically active unions, usually donating money to Democrats or Democratic organizations.

I have no idea if any of the local lawmakers have received SEIU donations, either directly or laundered through Democratic organizations, but their co-signing an SEIU ad is, at best, highly inappropriate. They are, of course, entitled to their personal opinions, but it is wrong for them to actively take sides in a labor dispute.

Finally, lest one think that my outrage is selective, I would be equally unhappy if right-wing lawmakers actively sided with management in a similar dispute. The fact that they probably have done so in the past does not justify the current situation – “two wrongs do not make a right.”

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