by Dave Jamieson at Huffington Post
WASHINGTON — Union activists generally don’t consider House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to be an ally in labor struggles, so many were surprised Wednesday morning to see that Issa’s GOP-led committee had launched a new website to promote workers’ rights.
Upon closer inspection, however, labor activists came to see what they considered a distinct anti-union flavor of the website, ProtectingOurWorkers.com. Pitched as a platform to listen “directly to rank-and-file union workers,” the site includes three stories told in workers’ own words, and all of the workers are critical of their own unions: the National Education Association (NEA), the United Auto Workers and the Service Employees International Union.
The site was apparently built off of a February oversight hearing on required union dues — a pet peeve of many anti-union conservatives, who claim the money is used for left-leaning political ends.
“Every worker should have the choice to decide whether their money is taken from their paychecks and used to fund political activity,” Issa said in a statement Wednesday. The purpose of the site, he added, is to illuminate “how forced political contributions violate [workers'] fundamental rights” and to hold “union leaders and government accountable to taxpayers.”
The AFL-CIO had a different take on the site. Alison Omens, director of media outreach at the union federation, said in a statement that the site is “nothing more than lipstick on a pig — a poor attempt to shroud [Issa's] corporate political agenda as support for working people. No one is buying his politics of the 1 percent no matter how he tries to sell it and as committee chairman he should be ashamed.”
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