Protesters Call Reagan’s Induction Into Labor Hall Of Honor A Shame

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

"What’s a crying shame? Ronald Reagan in the hall of fame!” chanted two dozen American Federation of Government Employee (AFGE) members and supporters on an impromptu picket line March 1 outside the U.S. Labor Department.

The picketers braved wind and rain to protest the former Republican president’s induction into the Hall of Honor alongside labor giants like Frances Perkins, FDR’s Labor Secretary and the first female Cabinet member, and Cesar Chavez, the legendary United Farm Workers co-founder and leader.

“Reagan was a disgrace,” said one Department of Labor employee. “The union movement suffered because of him.” “What he did to worker safety and health standards was abysmal,” said another.

Protesters took turns leading chants, and one AFGE member even impersonated the former president, asking GOP Trump administration Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to “take my name off this wall!”

DOL political appointees named Reagan to the hall, which is not to be confused with Labor’s Hall of Fame elsewhere. The citation conveniently mentioned Reagan’s presidency of the Screen Actors Guild, where he played two prominent roles. One was getting good contracts for SAG members. The other was “singing” about alleged Communists in the entertainment industry during the witch-hunting McCarthy era. His plaque cites only the first.

It also does not mention Reagan is known for firing the Air Traffic Controllers in 1981 after they struck over unsafe work conditions. The PATCO strike left up to 14,000 people without jobs and, more importantly, gave a green light to corporate chieftains to declare war upon workers and unions, which they have waged ever since.

All that prompted former Obama administration Occupational Safety and Health Administration Deputy Secretary Jordan Barab, a fiormer union safety and health official, to include the Reagan induction in what he called “Kill the Labor Movement Week,” following the Feb. 26 U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the Janus case, which would make every state and local government worker a potential “free rider.”

“Inducting Reagan into the Labor Hall of Honor is equivalent to inducting Colonel Sanders into the Poultry Hall of Honor,” Barab said.

“An e-mail from Bryan Slater, DOL’s Assistant Secretary for Administration, inviting all DOL employees to attend the ceremony,” cites Reagan’s SAG leadership, Barab noted. “Not one mention of fired air traffic controllers, nor any fond memories of destroying OSHA’s cotton dust publications because the cover displayed a photo of a worker with brown lung disease, nor any mention of Reagan devastating OSHA’s enforcement program.”  

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Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

He Gets the Bucks, We Get All the Deadly Bangs

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre has had better weeks. First came the horrific early August slaughters in California, Texas, and Ohio that left dozens dead, murders that elevated public pressure on the NRA’s hardline against even the mildest of moves against gun violence. Then came revelations that LaPierre — whose labors on behalf of the nonprofit NRA have made him a millionaire many times over — last year planned to have his gun lobby group bankroll a 10,000-square-foot luxury manse near Dallas for his personal use. In response, LaPierre had his flacks charge that the NRA’s former ad agency had done the scheming to buy the mansion. The ad agency called that assertion “patently false” and related that LaPierre had sought the agency’s involvement in the scheme, a request the agency rejected. The mansion scandal, notes the Washington Post, comes as the NRA is already “contending with the fallout from allegations of lavish spending by top executives.”

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Corruption Coordinates

Corruption Coordinates