New Jersey’s newest Republican lawmaker, who has been able to shore up union support over the years, Congressman Tom Kean Jr. voted to make sure his own staffers can’t unionize.
“Though we are disappointed to see the GOP-passed Rules package include both anti-worker and anti-union language, we are not surprised and have prepared for attacks from the very same party that claims to value America’s working class,” said the Congressional Workers Union (CWU) in a statement released after leadership in the Republican Party hastily pushed a rules package through the U.S. House of Representatives that includes language designed to bust the union by preventing House staff from using their collective power to organize.
“Tom Kean is no different from other union-busting House Republicans who are working to slash the workplace rights of congressional staffers,” said Lisa McCormick, a pro-worker progressive activist who has clashed with corrupt establishment Democrats as well as Republicans. “Despite his campaign promises about being independent-minded, Tom Kean, Jr. is a Tea Party tool who fell right in line with Kevin McCarthy, Majorie Taylor Greene, and the entire cabal of right-wing extremists.”
“What Kevin McCarthy and his aides fail to realize is that our organizing drive—which aims to elevate workers’ rights of staffers on both sides of the aisle—existed long before he cobbled together enough votes to win the Speakership, and it will continue after,” said the CWU. “The dozens of worker wins we secured last year were years in the making and made possible by current and former Hill staff who bravely spoke up before any resolution passed.”
“We have no plans to stop our unionization drive, and this has in fact invigorated workers to want to utilize their collective power even more and cement our seat at the table so no matter what party is in control,” said the CWU. “Our right to a democratic workplace is here to stay.”
For years Kean has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from unions such as the Local 825 Operating Engineers, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, International Longshoremen’s Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and even the AFL-CIO.
Representative Tony Gonzales of Texas was the only Republican voting against the package along with all 212 Democrats, while GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw was the only House member recorded as not voting.
The former Governor’s son sponsored the state pay-to-play law that legalized bribery in New Jersey and he never voted against any of Gov. Phil Murphy’s appointees even though he was the Republican Senate Leader, so it is unlikely that Kean will have the courage to distinguish himself in any way in Washington DC.