Each of the public officials above have supported union-only Project Labor Agreements despite the fact they hurt taxpayers and discriminate against Massachusetts workers simply because they choose not to join a union.
But these public officials have good reason to back union-only public policies that hurt taxpayers and nonunion workers.
Actually, make that more than two million good reasons. Between 2007-2010, 18 Massachusetts construction labor unions lavished more than $2.2 million of their members' dues onto elected officials in the form of political contributions.
What does organized labor expect for their $2 million?
When Governor Deval Patrick was running for reelection, he was desperate for friends and supporters and turned quickly to an old ally, the construction trade unions. In the run up to his campaign, Patrick promised these labor unions all the work on the $750 million overhaul of the University of Massachusetts' Boston campus.
This promise of union-only labor on construction projects is called a Project Labor Agreement, or PLA. They are rare on private projects and on public projects they are mostly prohibited by law except in limited circumstances.
PLAs are pre-hire contracts, usually between state or local governments and construction trade unions that mandate all workers on the project must be dues paying union members. In return for this exclusivity to the project, the unions promise not to cause disruptions on the job site.
It’s never been a secret that organized labors’ big push behind PLAs was to keep dues dollars flowing by getting work for their members.
But perhaps the real reason behind the push for dues, hence the exclusive union-only agreements, is the union bosses’ incentive to fund their own paychecks.
Of the eight unions reviewed, the paid staff earned a total of $23,147,202 in 2009. That is up from $19,086,231 raked in by union bosses in 2007, which represents a 21 percent increase between 2007-2009. This figure does not take into account any salary increases for employees of Plumbers’ Union Local 12, which failed to file the mandatory federal disclosures for 2009 at the time of this publication.
A further review of these eight unions show that the payroll for each union went up between 2007 and 2009, from a low of 4 percent (Plumbers’ union) to a high of 194 percent (Laborers’ union), resulting in an overall payroll increase of 307 percent, representing an average salary increase for each union of 51 percent. Backing out the Laborers’ union high salary increases, between 2007 and 2009 the remaining seven unions averaged almost 23 percent salary increases each during this period.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump not only enjoys union support, she and her husband have profited greatly off union money. According to news reports, Bump's husband Paul McDevitt is a lawyer and owner of Modern Assistance Programs, a Boston company that provides drug testing and treatment for labor unions.
It was no secret Bump was a pro-union labor secretary when she was in Governor Deval Patrick's administration, but why?
According to U.S. Department of Labor documents and the company's correspondence, MAP contracted to provide drug testing to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103 in Boston in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, with contracts totaling $403,000.
McDevitt, who has been a frequent speaker at union events, also is listed as the drug testing contact of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 4, a contributor to her campaign, and the Plumbers Local 12 in Boston.
It is impossible for Bump to independently audit public works projects, given her husband's close ties to organized labor?
Former Auditor Joe DeNucci audited the Big Dig, a union-only public works project, and found “shoddy” work. Is it likely Bump would ever do the same?
State Rep. Martin Walsh, who draws a paycheck from the union in addition to his salary as a state representative is also known as" Labor's Mr. Fix-it," according to former Boston Globe columnist Steve Bailey. In 2006, Bailey reported that Walsh attempted to stymie the development of a privately-owned shopping mall unless the developer agreed to use only union labor on the project.
State Senator Steve Tolman has made numerous attempts to stop private development unless developers agree to use only union labor. In one case, Tolman, a Watertown senator, attempted to stop the redevelopment of a dilapidated shipyard south of Boston until the developer agreed to union labor, despite the fact the town overwhelmingly supported the project.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is supposed to represent everyone in the Commonwealth, despite their union affiliation. However, when she was running for US Senate, she wasted no time pledging allegiance to the organized labor, promising them that she would work to pass a controversial so-called card check bill, despite the fact that an overwhelming number of voters do not approve of the measure. Also know as the poorly named Employee Free Choice Act would have eliminated secret ballots for union elections, leaving workers subject to harassment and intimidation. But, union bosses wanted card check and Coakley was more than happy to oblige.
Massachusetts Secretary of Labor Joanne Goldstein, a former employment attorney for organized labor is nothing more than a pawn for the union bosses she once worked for. In fact, her official title ought to be Secretary of Organized Labor. Goldstein has consistently gone out of her way to support the building trades union attempts to make all taxpayer-funded construction projects union-only, even exaggerating the validity of union-backed studies. As a member of Attorney General Martha Coakley's office, Goldstein typically took the sides of unions when settling disputes.
Public Policy That Guarantees Union Bosses Get Paid
Pictured clockwise from left to right:
State Auditor Suzanne Bump; State Representative and union boss Martin Walsh; Governor Deval Patrick; Senator Steve Tolman; Lt. Governor Tim Murray hugging AFL-CIO's Bob Haynes; Attorney General Martha Coakley surrounded by Haynes and other union supporters; Secretary of Labor Joanne Goldstein
"These are the same Democrats that all these labor unions elected. The same Democrats who we contributed to in their campaigns. The same Democrats who tell us over and over again that they’re with us..."
- Bob Haynes, President, AFL-CIO April 27, 2011 Boston Globe interview