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Cravaack is a hypocrite and a double dipper

by The Big E on February 24, 2011

“I understand the good, the bad and the ugly about unions.”

Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) knows all about the good things that a union can provide.  He currently receives just under $80,000 in disability pay from Delta Airlines despite receiving $174,000 in pay for his day job as a member of Congress.  Cravaack gets $80K in disability pay because his union fought for his rights and negotiated a contract with Northwest Airlines.  

According to my sources at his union, he’d be doing much worse if he was under the Delta contract as the disability benefits he currently enjoys aren’t as good under Delta.

Cravaack is on disability pay because suffers from sleep apnea.  Sources I have spoken to claim that Cravaack refuses to get his condition treated (or at least admit to Delta he’s had it treated if it is severe).  I have had several friends get their sleep apnea successfully treated and can sleep soundly now.  Cravaack could have his condition treated and be cleared to return to work, but what do you think the chances are that he’ll do that?

Cravaack doesn’t have to worry about this, though.  His union, the Air Lines Pilots Association (ALPA), has his back.  They wouldn’t let Delta cut off his benefits.

Yes, Cravaack will continue to double-dip.  Who wouldn’t want to make $80,000 for doing nothing?  I don’t know about you, but $80K is a pretty healthy salary.  Cravaack will continue to receive this disability salary until 2024 as he’s a dues paying member of ALPA.

The worst part about Chip Cravaack and his union benefits is that he’s such a hypocrite.  He enjoys a healthy disability paycheck, yet will be a reliable vote against unions in Congress.

As a union member and former steward, I am personally against card check and believe in the sanctity of the private ballot.

The truth is that any Tea Party Republican who opposes “card checks” is misrepresenting the issue.  Cravaack is lying here.  This has nothing to do with the secret ballot.
What Republicans call “card check” is in fact the right of workers to vote on joining a union.  The Employee Free Choice Act, which is legislation that Cravaack opposes, would do the following:

  1. Penalize employers who harrass workers trying to unionize.
  2. Penalize employers who fire employees who are trying to organize a union.
  3. Allow a simple majority vote to join a union.
  4. Allow streamlining of the unionization process — if a majority of workers sign a card expressing their wish to join a union, they’ve joined.

Cravaack wants employers to be able to continue to harrass and intimidate workers during union organizing drives.  Cravaack wants employers to be able to fire workers who try to unionize.

It’s the fourth point that Republicans have leapt upon as somehow being a non-secret ballot.  It’s ridiculous.  

Right now if union organizers can get 30% of a workplace to sign up they can call a vote to organize.  If they have 50%, they still have to have the vote.  Under EFCA, having 50% of the workforce already willing to sign a card is sufficient and no vote is required.

Typically, when the employer gets wind of the upcoming vote, they go all out to intimidate and harass their workers.  The Employee Free Choice Act would prevent intimidation and harassment as well as streamlining the process if a majority of workers want it.

Background PDFs:

  • ALPA Seniority List
  • ALPA Disability Benefits
  • ALPA End of Disability Benefits
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