In recent weeks, polling organizations have polled a hypothetical “generic Republican” candidate against President Barack Obama. In many instances, the “generic Republican” is often tied or in the lead against Obama.
Though Mitt Romney has given some indications this week, with Rick Perry‘s rise in the polls, that he is going to ramp up and define his amorphous and evasive campaign that has, to date, felt more like a a futile attempt at a self-coronation, Romney can be most accurately described as this “generic Republican.”
Unlike the hypothetical “generic Republican,” though, Romney has a record that often does not match his rhetoric, which Obama and other Republican candidates can potetntially use to shred his candidacy.
For instance, take the campaign spot Romney released on Wednesday that criticized Obama for his opposition to right-to-work legislation. When Romney was governing Massachusetts, he failed to adopt many worker protection provisions and even caved to labor groups in many collective bargaining agreements.
Various agreements Romney and his team had active roles in negotiating gave exorbitant pay increases to government employees while also forcing employees who did not want to join unions to fees to government unions.
All candidates will have their records thoroughly vetted during the primary season, and it is incumbent on them to ensure their rhetoric on the campaign trail matches their records.
To put it simply, voters who say they want a “generic Republican” are like guys who say they would be happy marrying a “generic brunette” or a woman who would be happy marrying a “generic redhead.” When that brunette turns out to be someone like Janet Reno or the redhead turns out to be Carrot Top, though, it may give the guy or woman, respectively, second or third thoughts and some definite pause.
Much in the same way, voters who desire a “generic Republican” may be hesitant when that Republican turns out to be someone like Romney who spends more time running away from his record that often contradicts his rhetoric.
Below are some labor agreements signed while Romney was Governor of Massachusetts that runs counter to his newfound “right to work” rhetoric.
This agreement with the SEIU forced employees who did not want to join the union to pay a “service fee to the union.”
Per the agreement:
Each employee who elects not to join or maintain membership in the Union shall be required to pay as a condition of employment, beginning thirty (30) days following the commencement of his/her employment or the date of the signing of this Agreement, whichever is later, a service fee to the Union in any amount that is proportionally commensurate with the cost of collective bargaining and contract administration, but not to exceed the amount of periodic dues paid by employees who are members of the Union.
In addition, this agreement also gave all union members raises of either two or three percent:
The following shall apply to full-time employees: A. Effective January 9, 2005, employees who meet the eligibility criteria provided in Section 2 of this Article shall receive a three percent (3%) across-the-board salary increase. B. Effective July 10, 2005, employees who meet the eligibility criteria provided in Section 2 of this Article shall receive a two percent (2%) across-the-board salary increase.
In another collective bargaining agreement, in addition to the service fee, government employee unions received paid leave for going to labor union events. Among the events that qualified union workers for paid leave:
— Attendance at Statewide, Departmental, facility and local labor management committee meetings, including reasonable travel and preparation time.
— Attendance at legislative or gubernatorial work related Commissions as so designated.
— Investigation and processing of grievances, including reasonable travel time.
Another agreement in which government employees had to pay a service fee to the union:
Each employee who elects not to join or maintain membership in MOSES shall be required to pay as a condition of employment, beginning thirty days following the commencement of his/her employment or the execution of this Agreement, whichever is later, an agency service fee to MOSES in an amount not to exceed the amount of periodic dues paid by employees who are members of MOSES.