Big Labor Joins Left-Wing Attack on North Carolina

Richard TrumkaIn recent months NLPC reported how Big Labor has vowed to make an aggressive push to “Organize the South,” and has joined the media-amplified “Moral Monday” protests as part of their strategy to infiltrate right-to-work states, especially in North Carolina.

Last week the unions upped the ante. The president of the national American Federation of Government Employees, J. David Cox, and his chief of staff Bryan DeWyngaert, were two of 20 labor organizers and other protesters who were arrested last Monday for failing to leave the N.C. Legislative Building when instructed to do so. In addition, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka called attention to the Tar Heel state demonstrations.

“North Carolina has quickly become a shining example of a people-driven movement and a microcosm of what’s to come,” Trumka said. “When the labor movement and the entire community band together to stand up for what is right, everyone wins. The working people in Raleigh are inspiring action at state capitals around America.”

But even with the benefit of the backing of the biggest national unions, which in the past have also included the SEIU and the National Education Association, Moral Monday organizer Rev. William Barber could only muster 800 souls to demonstrate – far from the largest gathering, even this year. This week’s event, promoted as the last one for the year as the N.C. legislature winds down its session, drew a reported 1,200 participants. That sounds like a lot until you realize the North Carolina population is closing in on 10 million. To say that a thousand activists (many who are paid “professionals”) who show up to protect their liberal causes, is representative of the state, would be inaccurate.

And not all of them come from within the state. In the past Barber has boasted of protesters coming from as far away as California. Last week Cox and DeWyngaert were imported from Maryland and Virginia, respectively.

“Many of these lawmakers have lost touch with the average citizen,” Cox said. “Their laws are denying benefits to unemployed workers, denying health care coverage to low-income workers, and pushing out experienced teachers by suppressing their wages.

“North Carolina is my home state, and I will not stand idly by while it is brought to ruin. I was not ashamed to be arrested – civil disobedience in the defense of justice is no disobedience at all.”

As previously reported, N.C. Republicans took control of the governorship, state House and state Senate in 2013 for the first time in over 100 years. As they enacted policies that reduced excessive unemployment benefits, lowered taxes, refused to expand Medicaid, instituted teacher merit pay, expanded school choice, and other business-friendly initiatives intended to lower the state’s high jobless rate, liberal/socialist opposition grew louder – not necessarily larger.

It’s easy not to take the protesters seriously. For example, while the Republicans expanded spending on public education, the state teachers’ union and their allies wailed about nonexistent “cuts.” And even last week Cox, speaking to protesters outside the Legislative Building in Raleigh, made statements that anyone living in the real world would find absurd.

“The union makes things better for folks,” he bellowed. “The veterans get better health care because of the union.”

To further illustrate the degree of irrationality of the Moral Monday activists, state Sen. President Phil Berger had legislative staff compose a budget amendment that would fully comply with their agenda. Their demands have included “affordable, accessible child care” for “everyone in need;” “health care for all;” reparations; to “fight all forms of environmental injustice;” and “provide immigrants with health care, education, workers rights and protection from discrimination.” Additionally Sen. Berger had the nonpartisan legislative staff estimate the total cost to fulfill the demands of Rev. Barber and his fellow protesters. The price tag came to $7 billion, with another estimate coming in at $10 billion.

Many Democratic NC lawmakers over the last 18 months have expressed support for the Moral Monday activists and their goals, but not one legislator signed on to sponsor an amendment to the state budget that would implement their agenda. Likely recognizing the public relations disaster that was rapidly dragging down the perception of their demands, the leftwing N.C. Budget and Tax Center created their own financial audit of the Moral Monday agenda, and they miraculously came up with a $100 million surplus! Of course they had to make some adjustments, like eliminating $1 billion in tax reductions that the N.C. GOP enacted, and pretending that “health care for all” doesn’t really mean “health care for all.”

Representatives of every liberal cause you can imagine have launched a rhetorical assault, with the local media’s help, on the newly empowered North Carolina Republicans and conservative policies they are trying to implement. Progressives, including the powerful national labor unions, have provided reinforcements and other support. And lawsuits have been filed to try to stop some of the GOP measures.

Limiting government isn’t easy, but Tar Heel conservatives are standing their ground, and might provide some good examples for their brethren in Washington and other states.

Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center and publishes, an aggregator of North Carolina news.