Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who is running for governor again, took in more than $2 million in campaign donations from unions after publicly expressing support for pro-union policies, including repealing Virginia’s right to work protections.
McAuliffe said in an interview with the Democratic Business Council in April he would sign a repeal of right to work if the bill were to make it to his desk, according to a video clip.
“I get asked a lot about right to work, and I’m very honest with everybody, and I have, you know, most international unions’ support are with me. And I tell them I’ve got to work on the things that I know I can get done,” McAuliffe said, adding legislation to repeal right to work has so far failed to pass through the state legislature. “If it came to my desk, sure, I’d sign it, but listen, you can’t get it through the House and Senate.”
Right to work is a legal protection in Virginia, as well as in 27 other states, that prohibits companies from forcing employees to join a union as a condition of their employment.
McAuliffe, who is heavily backed by unions in a state that has maintained its right to work protections since the 1940s, has been fickle on his position on the policy as he balances appeasing his union donors and the rights of Virginia’s laborers.
One video clip posted in 2013, the year he was elected governor, shows McAuliffe saying, “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. I think it’s very important.”
Again in 2013, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch report, McAuliffe said, “I’m for keeping Virginia as a right-to-work state.”
However, the Washington Free Beacon reported McAuliffe said in 2003 to New Hampshire state lawmakers that passing right to work legislation could mean the Democratic National Committee (DNC) could remove the state’s status as the first presidential primary state. McAuliffe, a longtime politician and Clinton ally, was chair of the DNC at the time, and his threat reportedly energized unions to fight and defeat the state’s right to work bill.
McAuliffe’s new comments of support for repealing right work almost immediately preceded a massive wave of campaign funding from union bosses and groups.
The Virginia Public Access Project revealed that during the most recent reporting period, from May 28 to June 30, McAuliffe took in more than $2.2 million from union groups or their leaders.
McAuliffe’s opponent in this year’s gubernatorial race, Republican Glenn Youngkin, a pro-business former CEO of the Carlyle Group, zoned in on anti-right to work sentiments as a weakness for Virginia Democrats during an interview with Breitbart News in April.
He asserted right to work is a “big picture” topic that is “universally supported by Virginians, not just Republicans.”
“This, in the business community, is universally supported to stay right to work and not allow a Democrat governor to sign legislation that will come out of a Democrat House and signed in a Democrat Senate in order to give up our right to work, which, oh by the way, is just a death knell for a business climate,” Youngkin said.
After McAuliffe’s recent financial disclosures further reinforced his ties to union leaders, Virginia GOP chair Rich Anderson issued a scathing statement about the Virginia Democrat.
“Terry McAuliffe is flaunting his Clinton-style corruption right in the face of Virginians,” Anderson said. “He once supported right-to-work, but now as he pockets cash from unions. He’s sold-out Virginia workers and has committed to repealing right-to-work.”
Breitbart News reached out to McAuliffe’s campaign to clarify where he stands on right to work protections and did not receive a response.
Write to Ashley Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.