Critics of the Clinton administration may see a cause-and-effect relationship between organized labor's campaign contributions and proposed policy that requires federal contractors to abide by labor laws. But the fact is that all companies should be required to obey the laws on basic occupational safety, overtime and union organizing, and the federal government should set a good example.
The new rules were announced last week by Vice President Al Gore at a meeting of the AFL-CIO leadership in Los Angeles. Under the proposed policy, he said, companies' records in obeying labor laws would be considered for the first time in decisions about who receives federal contracts. Companies violating such laws could be ruled ineligible as a result. "We're going to send a message to companies that want to do business with the federal government," Mr. Gore said. "How you treat employees and how you treat unions counts with us."
Among the changes sought by the White House is one that would prohibit reimbursement by the government to federal contractors for money they spend fighting efforts to organize their workers. …