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March 24, 2011

Daily Kos Front Pager: GOP Trying To Bust Unions By Starving Families Or Something

There's nothing on the Daily Kos front page about the President bombing a Muslim country without congressional approval but they are outraged!!11!1! that the GOP is trying to kill the families of union members (warning, DKos link).

Apparently, busting unions by stripping workers of collective bargaining rights isn't enough. Now they want to threaten family members of striking workers with starvation. These guys just don't know when to put on the brakes. It would be shocking if it weren't so familiar.

How exactly is the GOP about to starve Americans? By refusing to force working Americans to subsidize strikers with food stamp benefits (caution link to Think Progress).

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no member of a family unit shall participate in the food stamp program at any time that any able bodied work eligible adult member of such household is on strike on strike as defined by the Labor Management Relations Act 1947, because of a labor dispute.

Except as even the raving lefties of TP admit, it doesn't really toss anyone of food stamps because someone in their family is on strike.

The bill also includes a provision that would exempt households from losing eligibility, if the household was eligible immediately prior to such strike, however, such family unit shall not receive an increased allotment as the result of a decrease in the income of the striking member or members of the household.

Yet removing entire families from eligibility while a single adult family member is striking would have a chilling effect on workers who are considering going on strike for better wages, benefits, or working conditions something that is especially alarming in light of the fact that unions are one of the fundamental building blocks of the middle class that allow people to earn wages that keep them off food stamps.

With a record 42 million Americans on food stamps during these poor economic times, it appears that the right is simply looking for more ways to hurt working class Americans.

So you see, it's actually not draconian in the least. If you were eligible before you went on strike, you still are. What the proposal seems to do is say strikers and their family members aren't suddenly poor and eligible able to get public support or an increase in support because a worker decided to give up their income (even temporarily). To say that people are being punished for striking is simply nonsense. No one is denying that individuals in the private sector have a right to strike, they simply don't have the right to have others subsidize the exercise of that right.

I really hope that this provision makes it to the floor and liberals make a stink over it. I don't think in a time of 8.9% unemployment (with the real rate when you factor in discouraged workers much higher) most people are going to be too sympathetic to the idea that strikers should be rewarded for surrendering their income.


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posted by DrewM. at 06:07 PM

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