Don't pay lip service to labor

Two boys enjoy a meal at the Hawkeye Labor Council Labor Day Picnic at Hawkeye Downs in this 2012 file photo. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Two boys enjoy a meal at the Hawkeye Labor Council Labor Day Picnic at Hawkeye Downs in this 2012 file photo. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

There is a holiday approaching that working people along with labor unions advocated and fought for on behalf of all workers.

On this holiday, workers from many sectors enjoy a paid day off to celebrate our accomplishments as a nation of working people, and to remember that we are the backbone of this country. With that I say, “Happy Labor Day!”

This Labor Day should be contemplated more deeply than those in the recent past and should serve as a reminder that elections have consequences. Although I would prefer not to discuss politics, I feel this year that I have been left with no choice.

In the past, elected officials have used Labor Day to advocate for the agendas of their parties and attempt to solicit votes by stating they are for working people.

Now I have no issue with that if you actually are an elected official whose voting record proves you are who you say you are and that you believe in helping working families. Many times in the past, that has not been the case.

U.S. Rep. Rod Blum comes to mind — his congressional voting record demonstrates that he votes in favor of the big money donors in D.C., even if it hurts our nation’s working people.

At the state level in Iowa, there should not be one single Republican representative or senator who should in the slightest way, shape, or form allude that they are fighting for working people in Iowa. Sadly, their voting records show just the opposite.


To these Republican legislators, I say: You voted party line to gut collective bargaining in Iowa for public sector workers. You refused to hear the voices of thousands of your constituents leading up to your vote to harm those workers among us who take care of our sick, elderly, educate our children, fight fires, patrol our streets, guard our prisons, maintain our roads and perform every other public service job. You weakened the workers’ compensation benefits of those hurt at work. You stripped local governments of their ability to raise minimum wage and even lowered the minimum wage back to $7.25 in a few counties.

Actions speak louder than words, and your actions in the form of votes will not be forgotten.

Not one Republican campaigned on these issues, yet you catered to the big money donors and did their bidding. You took an anti-worker governor’s agenda and allowed him revenge against working people who fought him on many fronts through the years when it came to protecting working families’ rights.

It has been said some of you even admitted that you never read the proposed bills that were set in front of you before you voted. The aftermath of your misdeeds will be felt for many years in Iowa. So, I beg of you, Republican legislators, do not insult working people’s intelligence on Labor Day by telling us how much you care about us.

• Rick Moyle is the executive director of the Hawkeye Area Labor Council AFL-CIO



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