The Spectacle Blog

Obama Slashes Union Enforcement Budget

By on 5.7.09 | 11:40AM

President Obama today unveiled a paltry $17 billion in cuts to the $3.4 trillion federal budget, about half of which will come out of defense spending. But buried in the budget documents released by the White House today is a 9 percent cut in the unit of the Department of Labor that is in charge of regulating unions.

Under the leadership of Elaine Chao during the Bush administration, the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards took its job of policing unions seriously. Its actions led to 929 convictions of corrupt union officials and to the recovery of more than $93 million on behalf of union members. Yet the Obama administration has proposed slashing its budget from $45 million in 2009 to $41 million in 2010, citing an insufficient "workload" for the office.

Instead of using the money to make sure unions play by the rules, the Obama administration proposes shifting resources to the department's Wage and Hour Division, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration -- all areas of the agency focused on regulating businesses.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who has had a long and cozy relationship with big labor, already announced recently that the department would loosen union disclosure requirements.

These are the type of actions that occur under the radar, out sight of most Americans, but that have a dramatic impact on life in the workplace.

The message to crooked union bosses by the Obama administration is being delivered loudly and clearly: we've got your back.

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