McAuliffe Flip-Flops on Right-to-Work

Oh Terry. Bless your heart.


Three years after throwing a monkey wrench into Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign by supporting right-to-work, Governor Terry McAuliffe has shown his true colors, taping robocalls to voters and urging them to reject Tuesday’s Virginia’s constitutional amendment. This amendment would entrench Right-to-Work into the Virginia Constitution.

Consider that in 2009, Right-to-Work was a lynchpin in Bob McDonnell’s campaign. Card check initiatives (allowing unionization anonymously, and without requiring the National Labor Relations Board) from President Obama’s administration would have made unionizing far easier, and undercut states’ Right-to-Work laws. McDonnell made it a key talking point, and with more a national approval of 82%, Right-to-Work remains immensely popular with voters.

Cuccinelli modeled that same initiative as part of his campaign against McAuliffe in 2013. He decried McAuliffe’s financial support from unions. However, McAuliffe’s campaign put a preemptive stop to that with a speech to the National Federation of Independent Business:

Stated his support Virginia’s status as a right-to-work state. “A lot of things I disagree with my party on,” he said. “We are a great right-to-work state. We should never change that. It helps us do what we need to do to grow our businesses here in Virginia.

As you can see in his speech below, beginning at the 6:30 mark:

So McAuliffe gives a full-throated backing of Right-to-Work, shores up his flank against Cuccinelli and the issue is dead and buried. Politifact Virginia even went so far as to fact-check Cuccinelli’s assertions that McAuliffe didn’t truly support right to work, among other reasons, citing his extensive financial support from unions. Politifact Virginia has long been known to distort issues, including being called out by the Republican Party of Virginia for clear bias in 2012. In this instance, Politifact Virginia’s justifications for their ruling on Cuccinelli’s assertions have now come home to roost.

Cuccinelli also makes a guilt-by-association argument, offering McAuliffe’s friendliness with unions as proof that he opposes right-to-work. But this, too, is a flimsy argument: It is entirely possible to support unions and the right-to-work law.

Guess who’s funding the robocall featuring Governor Terry McAuliffe against Right-to-Work?

Vote No on One PAC.

And their only, single contributor?

Service Employees International Union.

Since taking office, McAuliffe has received nearly $700,000 from SEIU in campaign contributions, and more than $4 million total from union organizations. It may have taken three years to prove it, but no, Politifact Virginia, you cannot receive significant financial support from unions and also support Virginia’s right-to-work law.

But now General Assembly Republicans have moved that issue to the ballot box, side-stepping McAuliffe and putting it to the Virginia voters to enshrine Right-to-Work into the Virginia Constitution. McAuliffe’s reasoning for not supporting it? It’s just a distraction from issues facing Virginians. *eyeroll*

It is important to note that our own Brian Schoeneman wrote on this specific topic, encouraging readers to vote against the amendment on Tuesday. Schoeneman is against the ballot not because of any distaste for Right-to-Work, but rather because RTW isn’t in jeopardy, and feels the move is more for show than actual political necessity. I respectfully disagree, but his reasoning is assuredly more in-depth and substantive than Governor McAuliffe’s.

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