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Sat Dec 8, 2012, 02:50 AM

As Michigan governor, Mitt Romney's father was a union-friendly Republican.

In 1965, Michigan Gov. George Romney signed into law the Public Employee Relations Act. This legislation gave public sector employees (teachers, school support staff, police officers, firefighters and other public workers) the right to form unions and engage in collective bargaining.


Prior to becoming governor, George Romney was the CEO of American Motors, helping to build Michigan’s modern auto industry. He was also a prominent advocate for investing in and improving public schools in our state – so much so that the Michigan Education Association awarded Romney our “Distinguished Service Award” in 1960 for contributions to the cause of public education.

Contrast George Romney’s history with that of his son, Mitt, and it begs one question – what does Mitt think about his father’s legacy?

Apparently not much, based on his positions throughout this presidential campaign.

Mitt Romney has expressed disdain for unions and collective bargaining.


--Michigan Education Association op-ed "The two Romneys are a study in contrasts" submitted to the Detroit News (the right wing paper in DET) 2/23/12.

Even at American Motors, though, George Romney was never far from politics or Washington. He made headlines testifying on Capitol Hill about the twin evils of “big labor” and “big business” and calling for a federal breakup of the Big Three car makers.


--New York Times article "For Romney, a Course Set Long Ago" from 12/18/07

However, in 1995, NYT's obituary of George Romney stated that the former Michigan governor had "an appeal to labor unions unusual for a Republican".

George Romney was an early and strong champion of fuel-efficient cars, partnerships for prosperity between labor and management, civil rights, major disclosure of candidate tax returns and a philosophy he called competitive cooperative consumerism. He joined with Victor Reuther of the United Auto Workers to better the lot of workers.

If George Romney were here today, Mitt Romney would probably be calling him a European socialist, while George Romney would probably be supporting the auto policies of Obama and possibly endorsing Obama for reelection.


George Romney would be appalled that the party he loved now champions a death struggle between labor and management in which those who speak for workers are treated as enemies of the state who should be demonized and destroyed. He would strongly agree with Obama that business and labor should be partners for prosperity, and not mortal enemies in a tribal war that Republicans want, which all Americans would lose.


--Brent Budowsky's 2/1/12 column "A tale of two Romneys" for The Hill

(Mitt) Romney's father, George Romney, worked closely with union leaders during his days heading American Motors Corp. in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and later courted union workers during his three successful campaigns for governor.

He often showed up at the factory gates at 5 a.m. to ask for workers' votes and arrived unannounced at union halls, according to former aides. In speeches, he praised the virtues of collective bargaining and said he opposed right-to-work laws.

Mitt Romney has tried to delineate between union rank-and-file members and their leaders, repeatedly lauding workers as playing an "important role" in the economy. But his tonal shift clearly reflects the nation's more negative views toward unions. It's a harder sell in Michigan, even among GOP voters; some of them are union members.


--LA Times, "Mitt Romney's anti-union tone could haunt him later", 2/26/12

In his attempt to become the first GOP governor in 14 years, the husky and graying Romney has thrown away the political rule books in favor of a completely unorthodox approach.

Result: He bulldozed his way onto a United Auto Workers telecast. He marched "alone" in a Labor Day parade to which he wasn't invited. He shook hands offstage at a UAW picnic where only Democrats were welcome. He courts risky speaking dates at any available union meeting.


--Article "George Romney in lion's den" from the 10/19/62 edition of the Los Angeles Times, reprinted in a Tampa area newspaper here http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=950&dat=19621019&id=mztQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-1YDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4044,3420930

This article printed in the opinion section of the 2/27/62 Deseret News stated that George Romney criticized right-to-work laws (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=336&dat=19620227&id=GBguAAAAIBAJ&sjid=H0oDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7035,5048591).

Wow. If the Republican governor who initiated collective bargaining for Michigan's teachers, firefighters, and cops lived to see the all-out attack on Michigan labor unions (both sectors) with a right to work (for less) law, he would probably file papers to switch parties immediately. It is so ironic that Michigan workers and their allies are demonstrating for their rights outside Michigan's primary government building that bears the name of the governor who introduced union rights to the Wolverine State and includes the office of the governor who may destroy the PERA.

(some of these articles are cited in the Wikipedia entry about George W. Romney, some articles I found via my own googling)

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Reply As Michigan governor, Mitt Romney's father was a union-friendly Republican. (Original post)
alp227 Dec 2012 OP
Bozita Dec 2012 #1
alp227 Dec 2012 #2
Aristus Dec 2012 #3

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 02:55 AM

1. Terrific post! ... Thank you, alp. ... Recommended.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 01:37 PM

2. Kick for more visibility

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 01:46 PM

3. George W. Bush and Mitt Romney have begun a new political paradigm in

American politics: the awkward, tone-deaf son trying to outdo a more moderate and gifted father.

The Adamses were different. As great as John Adams was, his son John Quincey was arguably more intelligent and gifted. He was a mediocre President, but instead of trying to outdo his Founding Father father, he saw himself as carrying on his legacy.

The Harrisons, William Henry and grandson Benjamin, don't affect this paradigm. They were both undistinguished political mediocrities.

But B*sh & Romney, by trying to surpass their fathers, only ended up making themselves look foolish, incompetent, and stunningly out of touch with the nation they craved to lead.

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