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Labor and the New Virginia Economy

We know Republicans depreciate the accomplishments of labor, and even attack labor as unpatriotic. They usually keep this up for 18 months in a row but change their tune in time for Election day.

When votes are at stake, Republicans suddenly discover that they really love hard-working, blue collar Virginians, and they are anxious to protect the working-class from their stalwart old friends in the Democratic Party.

I get quite a laugh when people allege Republicans care about the common person, because theirs is the very Party opposed to every measure to help our working-class Virginians. Republicans oppose basic measures to help blue-collar Virginians such as fair wage bills, Medicaid expansion, and even the simple right of workers to sue for stolen wages.

Indeed, the GOP has spent years of effort, energy and money fighting every one of these laws in the Virginia General Assembly, in Congress, the press, and in the courts, ever since Democrats began to advocate for them and enact these reforms into legislation. That’s a fair example of their insincerity and of their inconsistency.

The whole purpose of Republican oratory these days is to switch labels. The object is to persuade Virginians and Americans at-large that the Democratic Party was responsible for the 2008 crash and the recession, and it was the Republican Party who is responsible for the social and economic progress under Governor McAuliffe’s “New Virginia Economy.”

Now, imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but in this case it is the most obvious garden variety of fraud.

When we think about the progress we’ve made, and the work remaining to create Gov. McAuliffe’s “New Virginia Economy,” Virginia will never be disappointed in its expectation that labor will always continue to do its share of the job—patriotically, effectively, and unselfishly.

There is a breed of partisan “labor-baiters” who instead of calling attention to the achievements of labor in our economy, prefer to pick on the trouble they cause bad business owners trying to get away with unscrupulous behavior.

It is Virginia labor in Norfolk and Hampton Roads building our nation’s ships, and Virginia labor who learned to farm chickpeas instead of tobacco, creating a new cash crop for the state, Virginia labor who installs our utility wires to bring high-speed internet into our homes, and Virginia labor who toils every day to help make the Commonwealth of Virginia a strong and vibrant economy.

How do Virginia Republicans repay them? Republicans give them a mean-spirited constitutional amendment to enshrine anti-labor laws in our constitution. Thankfully, working Virginians in even deep-red counties teamed up to oppose this amendment. In fact, there are 23 Republican delegates who voted in favor of the amendment in the House, but represent localities that voted against the amendment by at least 55 percent.

Virginia's labor has the same desire to do for the New Virginia Economy what workers did for the rest of America to help it recover from the Great Recession. That requires jobs, and our state following a wage policy that sustains the purchasing power of the Virginia worker—for that means even more production and even more jobs.

With labor’s help, Democrats will implement Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s vision for a New Virginia Economy and bring good jobs and liberal social reforms to all Virginians.

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