Over the Labor Day weekend, Congressman Rob Andrews advocated standing with union members fighting to advance workers’ rights. He also stated he’s inspired by the men and women who are bravely fighting now to become union members.
Right now the Making Change at Walmart campaign is challenging Walmart to help rebuild America’s economy and strengthen working families. Hundreds of thousands of Walmart employees live in poverty. The average full time Walmart employee makes about $15,500 annually, which puts additional strain on government support programs to supplement the incomes of families. This Making Change campaign seeks to improve employment conditions at Walmart including helping employees organize into labor unions.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), consisting of workers at your local grocery stores, actively supports this campaign against Walmart. The UFCW recently affiliated itself with the AFL-CIO, which represents thousands of South Jersey workers. The AFL-CIO supports the effort to advance workers’ rights for Walmart employees.
So why doesn’t Congressman Rob Andrews support the effort to advance workers’ rights for Walmart employees? He says he is inspired by those fighting to become union members and he takes pictures with the AFL-CIO local president. Yet, he accepts campaign contributions from WALPAC, Walmart’s political action committee. For his last re-election in 2012, Andrews accepted $10,000 from WALPAC. This year, he has accepted $2,500 so far, according to the Federal Election Commission.
In my professional career, I’ve been taught to follow the money to determine the true purpose of actions. If you follow Congressman Andrews’s campaign contributions, you will find him taking money from groups and causes that represent interests completely opposite what he says to constituents, local union leaders, and the media.
I do not know what influence the contributions to Andrews for Congress bought WALPAC. But, I cannot imagine it will help the cause to improve workers’ rights for Walmart employees since the company consistently fights these efforts.
I think it is inconsistent for Congressman Andrews to say he supports workers’ rights while his actions suggest otherwise. Maybe it is time for a consistent representative whose statements and actions are identical and therefore sincere.
Matthew Harris is a Democratic candidate challenging Congressman Rob Andrews in the June 2014 Primary.