Virginia is a right-to-work state and is pretty proud of it. The Commonwealth has a reputation for electing moderate, pro-business governors when it does go Democrat, and former governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine were careful to at least verbally support the state’s tradition of not forcing citizens to join a union as a condition of employment, even when they work closely with union interests. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McCaulliffe is not being so careful, and now another former Democratic governor says his statements should raise eyebrows.
Former Gov. Doug Wilder tweeted Friday morning, “@TerryMcAuliffe’s refusal to say whether he would defend Virginia’s right-to-work status deserves attention.”
— L. Douglas Wilder (@GovernorWilder) June 21, 2013
Wilder linked to an NBC account of Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign attacking McAuliffe on this front:
From a Cuccinelli campaign release: “Terry McAuliffe’s refusal to say whether he would defend Virginia’s right-to-work status stands in stark contrast to the last three Democrats elected Governor of Virginia. Former Governors Tim Kaine and Mark Warner both “strongly” supported Virginia’s right-to-work law and Doug Wilder “unreservedly defended” it. The fact that McAuliffe is leading one of the most pro-tax, anti-job tickets in Virginia history is troubling enough for job creators in the Commonwealth. But when you couple that with his blind devotion to union bosses—a position well out of step with former Virginia Democrat standard bearers —it’s clear that McAuliffe is wrong for the Commonwealth’s economy and middle-class families.”
The Washington Post covered the speech in which McAuliffe’s hedging began. The Democrat has taken in more than a million from union interests over his two shots at Virginia governor, and was hesitant to assure there would be no union requirement for construction on a new Metro rail line in Northern Virginia:
He declined to say whether he would support the kind of labor-friendly provision that nearly upended the second phase of Metrorail’s Silver Line to Dulles International Airport and farther into Loudoun.
“Listen, I’m not going to answer specifics on projects,” he said in response to a question about what is known as a project labor agreement. “You clearly don’t talk about specifics on future projects until you even know what the projects are and what the bidding process will be.”
McAuliffe also declined to say whether he would protect the commonwealth’s status as a right-to-work state or search for ways to make the state more friendly toward organized labor.
“I’m going to work with management. I’m going to work with labor. I’m going to work with everybody to move Virginia forward,” McAuliffe said. “It’s not ‘either-or.’ We are a right-to-work state that has been here for many years, and it’s not going to change. But the focus has got to be not on trying to divide folks. [It] is, how do we work together to grow the Virginia economy to have the most diverse economy to bring in those 21st-century jobs?”
The Silver Line authorization only survived a 2012 vote of an all-Republican board of supervisors in Loudoun County, Va. because a provision was removed that would have given union contractors and employees an advantage over non-union.
In other McAuliffe news, his GreenTech Automotive is still a $5-million taxpayer subsidized boondoggle doing nothing for those to whom it promised jobs:
No major activity is taking place nor are jobs being created at the Mississippi plants of GreenTech Automotive, even though Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe claimed in 2012 that the plant would be churning out 10,000 electric cars this year.
A special report from Memphis’ WMC-TV Action News 5 took a long look at the disappointment that McAuliffe’s GreenTech has been for Mississippi, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at 9.1 percent.
This is McAuliffe’s real job creation pitch:
You keep using this word “successful.” I do not think it means what you think it means.