Republican George Allen injected labor into the race for U.S. Senate in Virginia on Wednesday, releasing a three-pronged plan on workers’ rights dubbed the “Freedom To Work Act.”
The proposal from Mr. Allen, a champion of states’ rights, would expand right-to-work laws to all 50 states and curb the power of the National Labor Relations Board, which has emerged as a cause celebre for conservatives after it intervened in Boeing’s decision to move an assembly line from Washington to South Carolina, also a right-to-work state, where union membership cannot be a prerequisite for employment.
“George Allen appreciates the original and laudable goals of labor unions and supports the right of Americans to freely join a union if they wish — and their right to choose not to join or be compelled to pay dues or fees as a condition of keeping a job,” reads a release on the act.
The plan would also prohibit “restrictive” Project Labor Agreement (PLA) requirements on federally assisted construction contracts. A PLA essentially sets the terms and conditions of employment prior to a project, but typically requires employers to set specific wage guidelines and offer union benefits.
Brandi Hoffine, a spokeswoman for Democratic candidate Tim Kaine, blasted the proposal.
“George Allen told voters all they need to know about his approach to ‘worker freedom’ when he saddled this country with more than $3 trillion in debt, championed unfunded tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that exploded the deficit, and voted against raising the minimum wage while voting to increase his own salary as a Senator,” she said in a statement. “Governor Kaine believes real worker freedom is a payroll tax cut for the middle class and small businesses, which George Allen opposes.”