Striking writers tap internationalism

Australian Workers' Union national secretary Paul Howes addressed a picket line of TV and movie screenwriters in LA yesterday. The two-month writers' strike has led to the suspension of the production of dozens of US TV programs and could put the Academy Awards ceremony at risk.

Mr. Howes told about 140 writers he would investigate what action could be taken to support them in Australia. "When I return home to Australia I will be working with our other unions to ensure we can take action, and solidarity actions, in support of you guys," he said.

However, Mr. Howes later told the Herald Sun he had not meant to suggest industrial action would be taken in the entertainment industry in Australia.

He said he had made it clear to US union officials that any action in Australia would be limited to a protest rally or other symbolism.

"We're not talking about industrial action," he said.

"When asked about that, I made it clear that that's not on the cards."

The AWU does not represent screenwriters in Australia.

The union that does, the Australian Writers' Guild, said yesterday it had no plans to launch any form of industrial action. "There are no plans for industrial action here," guild spokesman Stephen Asher said.

It is understood the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance has no plans to launch strike action in the TV and film industry either.

Mr. Howes is in the US as part of a privately funded Australian-American Leadership Dialogue delegation.

A prolonged writers' strike in Australia would have a devastating impact on the local TV and film industries.

The US strike is already causing headaches for Australian networks, which rely heavily on overseas shows.


Criminal police union organizers roil Nashville

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has arrested three people suspected of placing hidden cameras at a Fraternal Order of Police youth camp last summer in an effort to discredit a rival union.

One of those arrested is Calvin Hullet, 44, of Lascassas — a former Nashville police officer and a national organizer for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The Teamsters and the Fraternal Order of Police have been engaged in a bitter battle for the representation of Nashville police and Shelby County deputies.

Investigators have alleged the hidden cameras were placed at the Wilson County camp in an effort to discredit the FOP by catching officers engaged in some type of misconduct.

Officers volunteer as mentors and chaperones at the camp. Nashville police had earlier received an anonymous tip that some officers were drinking beer around the children but could not substantiate the accusation.

Others arrested Wednesday were 39-year-old David Dickerson of Grand Saline, Texas, and 28-year-old Amber Kitchen of Nashville.

Hullet and Dickerson were indicted by a Wilson County grand jury earlier this week on charges that include burglary, vandalism and conspiracy. Kitchen was indicted on trespassing and conspiracy charges.

The three have been booked into the Wilson County Jail. Their bonds were set at $5,000 each.

Former Shelby County deputy Joe Everson in September pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in connection with the incident.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office, Everson accepted $5,000 in the form of a check drawn on the account of a Teamsters local to provide and help install the hidden cameras.

A call to the Nashville office of the Teamsters was not immediately returned.


Tribe protests Casino War election violations

Several Foxwoods Resort Casino table-game dealers said Wednesday on day two of a regional National Labor Relations Board hearing that they did not fully grasp the concept of a union or understand the ballot that was used in the Nov. 24 unionization vote.

All three dealers who testified at the hearing speak Chinese and testified with the help of an interpreter.

Table-game dealers voted 1,289 to 852 in favor of union representation by the United Auto Workers in the November election. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns and operates Foxwoods, challenged the results, citing a dozen objections, two of which were thrown out before the hearing.

The tribe, among other objections, is questioning why the ballots were not printed in multiple languages and why an election notice was only printed in one Chinese dialect. It also contends that UAW representatives harassed and intimidated eligible voters before the election.

At issue is whether the election and its results are valid. An administrative law judge will determine that issue and could order a new election.

All documents provided to employees at Foxwoods are written in English, according to information presented Wednesday, but the dealers testified that if they do not understand something, they can ask for interpreting help.

The three dealers who testified Wednesday said they have a simple understanding of English terms that pertain to gaming. Dealer Lin Shuzhen testified that she wanted to reveal her opinion about the election.

“I don't like to have a union,” she said through an interpreter.

But when she was asked how she voted or if she understood the ballot, Shuzhen said she guessed.

UAW attorney Tom Meiklejohn asked her if she knows what “yes” means.

Shuzhen replied: “Yes means yes.” Which brought laughter from the room, as that is the phrase that the union has placed on t-shirts and buttons that have been worn by supporters in the hearing the past two days.

Ya Qiong Zeng, who has been a dealer since June, also expressed confusion over the election ballot. She said she was opposed to the union for fear of paying union dues, which she had been told about by other employees.

She was asked if she knew what a “no” vote meant.

“I don't know, I thought that if vote yes then that means I represent Foxwoods,” she said through an interpreter.

At one point, after the third dealer testified, the judge presiding over the hearing, Raymond P. Green said a lot of the confusion could have been avoided if the ballots were printed in multiple languages.

“If it was me, I would have translated the ballot,” Green said, but added that more evidence is needed to overturn the election.

Attorneys representing the tribe are trying to establish that Chinese-speaking employees found it difficult to understand both the ballot, which was provided only in English, and the election notice, which was provided in only one Chinese dialect.

More than 700 dealers at Foxwoods identify themselves as Asian or Pacific Islander. The tribe's attorneys are trying to prove that a new election should be held because of what it says was widespread confusion relating to the ballots and election notices.

Richard Hankins, an attorney who represents the tribe, told reporters during a break on Wednesday that the hearing comes down to a “fairness issue” and that the “tribal nation makes great efforts to communicate different languages” even though all documents are printed in English, not an employee's native tongue. But, he said, the tribe is reviewing that issue and could change that policy.

Hankins said another election should be held, one “that is fair”.

“Someone has to stand up for them,” he said. “Clearly the labor board isn't. Clearly the union isn't.”

But, Jacqueline Little, a poker dealer for 15 years at Foxwoods, said that before the election she never heard or saw anything presented in another election.

“I have never seen (Foxwoods) reach out to other ethnic groups, never seen them single out dealers,” said Little, who also worked as an organizer for the union.

Also Wednesday, the national NLRB in Washington, D.C., denied the tribe's appeal on the two objections, pertaining to jurisdiction and sovereign immunity, that were thrown out by the regional board. In its denial, the board said the request “raises no substantial issues warranting review”.

The tribe was disappointed in the ruling, according to spokesman Bruce MacDonald, and will consider its options on how to proceed.

The UAW hailed the decision as a major victory and Bob Madore, director of UAW Region 9A, said the union will succeed.

“We feel confident, we feel elated,” he said. “People should be resigned to the fact that there will be a union.”


Labor-state surprise: You're in AFSCME now!

A surprise was in store for Scott County (MN) librarians after the library board turned over operational control last year to county commissioners. That non-controversial move, approved by the state Legislature, removed legal responsibilities from the library board, while retaining its sovereignty on intellectual-freedom decisions.

But it also appears the switch in authority was enough to prompt Scott County’s largest union to stake a claim on library employees. After the switch in library authority was made, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) asked the state Bureau of Mediation Services to add library staff to its ranks.

The state agency is charged with resolving questions of labor union representation and bargaining unit structure. On Dec. 13, three days after receiving the petition, the bureau made a ruling, certifying most library staff as part of AFSCME Local 2440. The approximately 41 library staff impacted by the decision got no say in the matter.

Librarians, who hadn’t asked to be unionized, were caught off guard when contacted by the county human resources department about the union’s request.

"People vary in their feelings quite a bit," library Director Vanessa Birdsey said of the unionization.

What happened

Opinions differ on whether the library staff could have been obliged to join the union before.

The union local previously included library employees among the categories of staff excluded from membership, such as members of other unions and essential, confidential and supervisory employees. The bureau amended the union membership description by deleting "employees of the Scott County Library Board" from the exempted category. Feelings vary among county library staff about being forced to join AFSCME union Local 2440.

County employee relations Director Jack Kemme said the possibility of unionization was known when the County Board decided to take legal control of the library system. But apparently not everyone was aware.

Birdsey said the unionization move surprised most of her staff. It will affect about 41 part-time or full-time staff. Another 20 to 25 people, like book shelvers and substitute drivers, who work fewer than 15 hours per week and are considered intermittent employees, will not become part of the union. Birsdey, because she is a supervisor, and an employee who runs computer systems, due to access to confidential data, will also be excluded.

Birdsey and County Commissioner Barbara Marschall of Prior Lake said since the librarians are public employees and paid by the county, they thought the library staff has always been eligible for unionization.

Birdsey said she was the only staff member who was considered an actual employee of the library board. She is now a division employee of the county.

Marschall, a liaison to the library board, said to her knowledge unionization has never been brought up as a discussion item, but she thinks it’s always been out there as a possibility.

Similarly, Birdsey said she has never been aware of a move by library staff to unionize.

However, she said most librarians in other metro counties are union members.

At least one other library system — Anoka County’s — has non-union employees.

Since the library staff has always been county employees, Birdsey doesn’t fully understand why the switch in legal authority, which actually has little effect on library operations, would have prompted the unionization petition.

Steven Hoffmeyer, a hearing officer with the Bureau of Mediation of Services, said the library staff was always considered public employees and therefore would have been viewed the same under state laws governing unions.

In the eyes of the AFSCME, however, the switch made it possible to compel library staff to join.

In Carver County, where the library board maintains authority over operations, librarians are part of a union. The board has fought a similar move by its county commissioners to assume control over the library system. (The Scott County library board did not oppose the measure here).

No choice

Scott County joined in the unionization petition request with AFSCME Minnesota Council 5, county employee relations Director Kemme said, because it had no legal standing to oppose the decision.

Kemme said no argument could be made that library staff didn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the union, which already represents the county’s professional staff, along with other employees like bus drivers and clerical workers.

Hoffmeyer said the bureau was obligated to approve the request since it wasn’t opposed by the county.

"We have the authority under the law to validate and authorize it," he said.

Had the county not gone along with the petition, Hoffmeyer said, library staff would have had a chance to vote on whether it wanted to unionize.

Opposing the measure would have been futile, however, Kemme said, based on previous experience.

"We didn’t want this to happen. We know the librarians aren’t jumping up and down [about the unionization]," he said, "but we had no [legal] grounds to oppose it."

The county lost its fight when AFSCME petitioned in December 2006 to unionize its court probation staff, which became employees of Scott County with the shift to a community corrections system here.

Probation employees strongly opposed unionization, prompting a hearing by the state bureau, but they were required to join the union under collective-bargaining provisions because they fit the category of employees the union represented, Kemme said.

He believes the legal situation is the same with the library.

"We don’t want employees to necessarily be forced into something they don’t want to do, but in this scenario, the Bureau of Mediation takes a very strong stance if employees become eligible for inclusion," he said.

Of the county’s nine unions, AFSCME is the largest, representing probably 55 percent of county staff, Kemme said.

Because a bargaining unit already existed for the majority of the county’s other technical, clerical and professional staff, the library staff was compelled to also become part of the union, when the shift in library authority made it eligible for inclusion, explained AFSCME metro area field director Jerry Serfling said

Except for the director, the library staff was already employees of the county.

Thoughts differ on whether the union could have forced the membership of library staff before, Kemme said, but he thinks if the union could have, it would have.

Library employees say they still have many questions about what it will mean to become part of the union. For instance, they want to know when they must start paying dues (and how much they are) and whether they will also be asked to strike if current contract negotiations fail.

Serfling said the union will be meeting with librarians to explain the unionization process and to learn their representation needs. He said the union didn’t meet with the library employees before because it couldn’t have access to their addresses until after the bureau made them part of the union.

A full-time library employee who joins the union will pay roughly $38 per month in dues, he said. Those who pay less in dues can’t vote, but are still represented by the union.

Serfling said the union will talk to library employees about possibly including them in the labor contract that currently is under negotiation. If negotiations aren’t successful, striking would be voluntary for union members, he said.

In the past, the county has largely modeled library staff’s salary and benefits after what was negotiated in the union contract.

That is why associate librarian Theresa Coyer thinks being required to join the union and pay dues is fair.

"We’re reaped the benefits, but never paid in," she said.

Of four librarians contacted by the Shakopee Valley News for this story, one declined to share her opinion, and another who was initially critical of proposed unionization said she was still awaiting more details about it and two said they support unionization.

Coyer knows not all of her co-workers are happy about being forced to join the union. But at least now library workers will have a vote and say in matters that were affecting them anyway, she said.


Top writers tire of Guild strike, weigh Fi-Core

Hollywood is anticipating a settlement on the Directors Guild contract this week -- but not expecting an end to the labor war.

Anticipation of a DGA deal is amping up the pressure from all sides on the leadership of the Writers Guild. The major studios sent a blunt wakeup call to striking scribes Monday, canceling dozens of TV deals in a move guaranteed to intimidate WGA members and split their ranks.

A significant number of writers -- weary of the 11-week strike and perplexed over what they perceive as the hardline approach of WGA West prexy Patric Verrone and exec director David Young -- have been quietly pushing for the leaders not to reject the DGA deal out of hand.

Top scribes have been telling agents they will seriously consider going fi-core (resigning from the WGA by declaring "financial core status") should the leadership spurn the terms in the DGA pact.

That group, which styles itself as moderate and pragmatic, held a meeting early in the week and has been seeking recruits with the warning that more pain will visit the scribes shortly should Verrone and Young give a thumbs-down to the DGA terms.

The DGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers met for the fifth consecutive day Wednesday under a news blackout. Both sides will meet again today at AMPTP headquarters.

Warner Bros. confirmed Wednesday that it will cut three dozen slots at its studio facilities operations, after warning more than 1,000 employees earlier this month that layoffs were coming.

One top exec said he's expecting a deal by the end of the week and emphasized that the AMPTP will not make this a take-it-or-leave it proposal for the WGA, i.e., not creating any new roadblocks for the scribes to get back to table. But he said his worst fear is that Verrone and Young will spurn the DGA deal -- in which case, the companies will undoubtedly respond with more deal terminations and job cuts.

Still, some prominent TV scribes are cautiously optimistic that the DGA deal will be enough of a breakthrough to pave the way for a WGA pact.

There are jitters about how a Directors Guild deal will be received by rank-and-file writers. WGA members have been fired up by the strike battle, but beyond the fiery rhetoric of the leadership, there's a powerful contingent of moderates in the guild who are eager to get back to work.

The WGA's negotiating committee is populated with very successful screenwriters and showrunners who all have gigs to go back to, and their voices will be significant in assessing the merits of any DGA pact.

The directors are mindful of the importance of their negotiations but at heart just want to take care of their own as they've grown impatient over the prolonged walkout. The tension between the two groups is being fueled by the hardline bargaining position of the AMPTP.

The timing with which the major TV studios swung the force majeure ax on dozens of writer and producer deals was no coincidence.

The studios likely saw the clock ticking on their opportunity to invoke force majeure and get rid of dead-wood deals.

Knowing that a DGA-negotiated template would soon be in hand, they also saw this as a method of getting the WGA back to the bargaining table.

Many have opined that the roots of the current strike are strongly tied to events of 2004, when the WGA agreed to a deal that had been crafted a month earlier by the DGA -- without a gain in DVD residuals. Dissatisfaction over that deal led to Verrone and his allies gaining control of the WGA West board in 2005, firing exec director John McLean, hiring Young and spending far more on organizing.

Since November, the Writers Guild has run a supremely well-organized strike, with photo-friendly picketing, effective PR spin and, crucially, a lid kept on internal dissent.

At this point, no member of the writers or actors guilds will publicly say a discouraging word -- some because they believe in their leaders, some because they want to show solidarity and others partly out of fear of being ostracized for raising questions.

WGA leaders have been taking a public wait-and-see stance about the DGA talks. With a news blackout and no details disclosed from the negotiations at AMPTP headquarters, speculation's reaching the boiling point.

"We've been just as anxious as you to hear news from the Directors Guild talks," Verrone told the Fox Business Network on Wednesday. "We hope they make a good deal, and when they close their deal and it does become public, we'll take a look at it very, very carefully, but our strike doesn't end until a deal is made with the writers.

"The deal we make has more influence not only on writers but on actors down the road, so there has to be a settlement that ends all of this for everyone. We're the ones out on strike right now. We're the ones who have to go to work before anyone does."

The perception persists among many writers that the DGA is cozy with the studios, making it harder for other guilds to hold the line on financial issues in the past.

Many writers are quick to point to the hated homevideo residual deal in the mid-'80s, when the DGA agreed to exclude 80% of wholesale revenues -- a formula that's never been altered for any of the guilds and has been the central focus of WGA leaders' call for the scribes to hold firm in their it's-now-or-never demands on new media.

"The DGA has a history of making mediocre deals," noted strike captain A.S. Katz ("Tales From the Crypt"). "We're all hoping that they can rectify that."

However, many industry insiders disagree. They point to the DGA's history of focusing on the long term -- such as ensuring that the guild's pension and health plans are well taken care of.


WGA's ex-Teamster strike boss now on the spot

As the ink dried on a tentative deal between directors and studios, the big question swirling around Hollywood on Thursday was whether it would bring striking writers back to the negotiating table.

The studios' tentative three-year labor pact with the Directors Guild of America (DGA) includes provisions to pay union members more for work distributed over the Web, which has been a key issue in the 10-week-old strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA).

"At the end of the day, this proposal should bring the writers back to the table. It falls short in some significant ways of what writers are looking for, but it's unlikely they'll achieve any gains beyond what the DGA has achieved," said Jonathan Handel, entertainment attorney with TroyGould and a former WGA counsel.

The writers said on Thursday they would evaluate the DGA deal, which directors said more than doubled fees earned on Web downloads to 0.7 percent of gross revenues on TV shows and raised fees by 80 percent to 0.65 percent for feature-films.

The writers' union has sought 2.5 percent of gross revenue. "The writers are asking for four to five times as much as what the directors received and I think this is going to be a hard-fought area," Handel said.

For ad-supported content streamed on the Web, directors also agreed to lower terms than writers have sought.

Under the DGA deal, after a 17-day window for free promotional streaming, studios will pay directors 3 percent of the residual base, or about $600 for a network prime-time one-hour drama, for 26 weeks of streaming. The writers have been seeking compensation based on viewership.

"The directors will only get a fixed dollar amount, rather than a percentage of the studios' ad revenues, even if millions of people watch a particular show online and the studios make a lot of money," Handel said, though he noted the writers' demands helped influence the directors' deal.

One network executive involved in the negotiations said the directors' deal reflected huge concessions by the studios, noting the studios' bargaining arm, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), came up significantly from what it had first offered writers.

"I think it's safe to say that this is a fair offer for the talent. We've set out fair formulas and precedents. This is something we could live with," said the executive, who declined to be named.

Other industry watchers agreed that the directors' deal, while not ideal for writers, should set the stage for more productive discussions with the AMPTP. Talks between the two sides collapsed on December 7.

"I think it's (the DGA deal) is a really great first step. I'm sure there will be people who feel it should be better, but I think it's a big step forward," said Ted Cohen, managing partner of Tag Strategic, a digital media advisory firm.

"I think we have to ease into what is a realistic balance between what the market is and what it promises," said Cohen. "There's a lot of money to be made in digital media, but we're not out of the woods on piracy and selling the consumer on the concept of paying for digital content."

The directors' deal came five days after contract talks began, following weeks of informal discussions with the studios -- and months of economic research by the union -- to lay the groundwork for official negotiations.

"Different issues are important to the different guilds. This represents an improvement for directors in certain ways, but falls short of some of the writers' demands," said Steven Katleman, an attorney and partner at Greenberg Traurig.

As he and other industry insiders continued to analyze the directors' deal, many Hollywood insiders expressed hoped it reflected the end was near for a dispute that has paralyzed Hollywood.

"Here is a deal that with some modifications could please the writers and bring the town back to work," Handel said.


Collectivist political agenda a threat

The last generation (mine) to have any significant recollection of the Great Depression, which spanned the years 1930 to 1941, will shortly pass on. Unfortunately, there is every probability that the "now" generation is going to have this horrific, unforgettable experience.

This, surely, if any of the Democratic candidates and, likely, if Huckabee is elected president together with a Democratic Congress. None of the current candidates, not even McCain, have any recollection of the hobo camps, soup kitchen lines or begging on the streets of a then more agrarian, self-reliant and less populous society.

Virtually every policy proposal made or intimated by liberal candidates is in the direction of a collectivist, as opposed to the individualist, entrepreneurial society that our founders gave us: Tax the already overtaxed rich; appropriate the profits of the oil companies; turn food into ethanol rather than drill on public lands; and spend billions in a futile attempt to change earth's climate.

If these propositions were to become law, it would not require another attack by Muslim jihadists to subside into a Third World country and experience freedom-sapping economic depression, and there will no longer be any jobs Americans won't do.

- Jerome "Jack" LorenzMills River


Notorious Clinton ego displayed in union-bashing

When asking Nevada culinary workers on Tuesday to ignore their union’s endorsement of Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton called his wife the “insurgent” in the race – and Obama the “establishment” candidate. It was an odd statement, for nobody can seriously dispute that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party’s establishment choice. And while UNITE-HERE, the Culinary Workers and Nevada SEIU have rallied behind Obama, hotel and casino executives are largely supporting Clinton.

What the ex-President meant to say was that culinary workers should make up their own mind - regardless of what their union recommends. But the Nevada teachers’ union (which supports Clinton) has ignored pleas from their own rank-and-file members to drop a lawsuit that, if successful, would prevent casino workers from voting in Saturday’s caucus. The party decided months ago to have “at-large” precincts inside Las Vegas casinos, but now some Clinton partisans – including Bubba – want them shut down because attendees are likely to support Obama.

“In this case,” said Bill Clinton at a rally in Sparks, Nevada, “the establishment organization is with [Obama] and the insurgents are with her.” According to USA Today, he then asked for a show of hands from 50 precinct captains in the audience and challenged them to stand up to their union's leadership. “They think they're better than you are,” he said, “at identifying and getting people to their caucus sites. And I bet they're wrong.”

Bill Clinton’s comment – which hearkens back to when he lied about having opposed the Iraq War – is so laughable that I won’t offer a detailed response. Hillary Clinton was the President’s wife, and used her status to move to New York and run for the U.S. Senate. She has enjoyed wide support from elected officials ever since announcing her candidacy, and has touted “experience” as her strongest asset. Most presidential primaries boil down to an “establishment vs. insurgent” rivalry, and it is quite obvious here that Clinton is not the “insurgent.”

In Nevada, we’re also seeing a “labor vs. management” rivalry between the top two Democratic candidates. The unions who represent casino employees are for Obama, whereas the bosses largely support Clinton. According to data at OpenSecrets.org, Clinton has raised 3 times as much money from gambling interests as Obama – including donations from C.E.O.’s of Nevada’s 3 largest casinos. Las Vegas Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, who endorsed Clinton last week, is the former Vice President of Sands Casino – and served as chair of the Nevada Hotel and Motel Association.

Last November, the Clinton campaign launched its Nevada Business Leadership Council led by Jan Jones – a former Las Vegas Mayor and a current top executive and lobbyist for Harrah’s Entertainment. Prominent supporters also included Phil Satre, former chairman and CEO of Harrah's, Vegas.com CEO Howard Lefkowitz, Henry Terry of Playlv Gaming Operations, and Punam Mather, a Senior Vice President at the casino-owning MGM Mirage Corp.

But Clinton has one large union endorsement: the Nevada State Education Association – which represents teachers. And now the union’s leadership is trying to make it harder for culinary, hotel and casino workers to participate on the January 19th caucus. Because the Nevada caucus is on Saturday at 12:00 Noon, teachers won’t be working and can go to their home precincts – but many employees on the “Strip” in Las Vegas will. So in March 2007, the Nevada Democratic Party set up nine “at-large” caucus sites in various hotel-casinos in Downtown Las Vegas – so that these workers can participate while on their lunch break.

Now that the Culinary Workers have endorsed Obama, the Teachers’ Union is suing to shut down these “at-large” caucus sites. They say that it’s discriminatory because the Obama camp would have a built-in advantage. While the Hillary Clinton campaign pretends to have nothing to do with the suit, many prominent Clinton supporters are on the board of the Teachers’ Union – and the law firm that has taken this suit to court has close ties to the Clinton campaign. Moreover, Bill Clinton has publicly supported the suit – and got defensive when called out on it.

When Bill Clinton told the culinary workers to defy their union’s endorsement, he strongly implied that the union leaders don’t represent the workers. In other words, union members should make up their own minds. But not all Nevada teachers are happy with their union trying to block other union members from caucusing. In an open letter to the Nevada State Education Association, 15 public school teachers demanded that their union drop its lawsuit – noting that many of the workers affected are parents of their students.

“This lawsuit is all about politics,” they continued. “It’s widely known that many of our union’s top officials support Senator Clinton and now that the Culinary Workers Union has endorsed Senator Obama, they’re using our union to stop Nevadans from caucusing for Obama. We never thought our union … would put politics ahead of what’s right for our students, but that’s exactly what they’re doing. As teachers, and proud Democrats, we hope they will drop this undemocratic lawsuit and help all Nevadans caucus.”

As I explained last week, Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primary because the voters want change – and enough believed that her mere status as a woman embodies change. They voted for Hillary – as opposed to Clinton – and it’s no accident that the Clinton camp has campaign posters that say “Hillary for President.” But if voters conclude that her candidacy is about prolonging a dynasty, she will lose the Democratic nomination.

This is why Bill Clinton is such a liability for her – voters may be nostalgic about the 1990’s compared with now, but they don’t want to empower a political family like this. He lied about having opposed the Iraq War, said he can’t make Hillary “taller, younger, male,” called Barack Obama’s campaign “the biggest fairy tale,” and now he’s gone so far as to say that she’s the “insurgent” in the race and Obama is the “establishment.”

If the Clinton campaign were smart, they would tell Bubba to shut up and keep him out of the spotlight. But I don’t expect the former President to keep his ego in check. He just can’t help making himself the news story – which is why he’ll continue to do damage to her campaign. And that’s why Obama supporters should keep the audacity of hope.

UPDATE: I have since been informed that unlike the unions who have formally endorsed Obama, the Nevada State Education Association has not taken an official position as an organization. What this means is that the leadership in the teachers union is allowing their personal partisan views cloud their responsibility as stewards of their unions. Many top officials at the Teachers Union are involved in the Clinton campaign, but they cannot use their status to help Clinton until the union takes a formal position.


Leftist campus leader praises AFSCME

The ongoing informational picketing by maintenance and custodial union AFSCME Local 1699 has done two services for the university community. Not only has picketing once again opened our eyes to the administration’s misplaced budget priorities, but it has also reminded us of the importance of labor unions in securing economic and social reform. Ohio University students should learn the concrete political lesson currently being taught by a union right here on campus: Workers, whether white-collar or blue-collar, can only stand up to corrupt and greedy employers and their political puppets when they are organized.

It is often said that other industrialized nations have a better social safety net than we have in the United States, and that is certainly true. Most of our European friends have universal health care, social security that retirees can actually live on, and affordable higher education, just to name a few things. It is often overlooked, however, that in countries with a stronger social safety net there is often a very strong labor movement. Can this correlation really be accidental?

Take Britain, for example. Many of the social and economic reforms that have been made in Britain during the late 19th and 20th centuries were made by the Labour Party, which was at least originally controlled by organized labor. Even after Margaret Thatcher returned the Conservative Party to power in the late 1970s and throughout the ‘80s, she was only able to minimally alter the reforms made by previous Labour governments. Although union power in Britain is now weaker than it once was, most of the reforms secured by organized labor are now permanent. No one in British politics is talking seriously anymore about abolishing the National Health Service or telling poor and middle class children they can’t be educated.

Yet while other countries like Britain and France now have a strong social safety net that will likely never be seriously weakened, we in the United States are still arguing about the basics. Why? It’s because our labor movement has never been allowed to flourish. Organized labor felt empowered in this country after Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, but Cold War era anti-communist propaganda quickly lumped organized labor and any proposal that even hinted at social or economic progress in with the evil Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union. Organized labor was dealt another serious blow during the 1980s under the Reagan administration, as President Reagan did his best to undermine both national and international protections for the American worker. The legacy that we see today of the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer, of American jobs being exported overseas to workers who are seriously mistreated, is the legacy of Ronald Reagan’s ultra-capitalist, union-busting policies. We are weaker today both economically and socially because Reagan and company tried to deal a death-blow to the American labor movement.

Yet with a new generation comes new hope. Labor unions still exist in America, and it is up to those of us who are now coming of age to recognize their importance and take them seriously as the movers and shakers behind social and economic progress. Our generation has not been impacted by Cold War propaganda that treated compassion as communism, empathy as evil. It is up to us to revive the labor movement here in America by supporting the unions that already exist, like AFSCME Local 1699, and by being open to labor organization as we start our careers — again, whether those careers are white-collar or blue-collar. As has been demonstrated in other countries, organization is the only hope that the working and middle classes have for creating a more equitable and democratic economy. So the next time you see maintenance and custodial workers handing out fliers, thank them for the lesson they’re teaching you about economic reality in this country, and let them know that you support their fight for an economy that works for all of us.

Nathan Nelson is a sophomore political science major and a member of Students for a Democratic Society.


Disgusted Nevada union members can quit

The leaders of the Culinary union - the most powerful association of non-government workers in Nevada and one of the few non-government unions in this country not in decline - withheld their endorsement for this weekend's Nevada Democratic caucuses till the final days.

The fact that the Culinary's leadership favored freshman Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was an ill-kept secret. The delay was most reasonably attributed to caution: The union bosses wanted to keep open a line of retreat to the Hillary Clinton camp had Sen. Obama fared poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Sen. Obama won in Iowa, and made it close in New Hampshire. The Culinary promptly endorsed him. Now the fact that the state Democratic Party plans a number of "at-large" caucus locations near the major Strip hotels on Saturday - making it easier for Culinary members who work Saturday shifts to participate - is seen as favoring Sen. Obama's chances.

Immediately, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the other largest Democratic union in Nevada - the state teachers union - challenging the at-large caucus locations.

Why? Do individual teachers want some fellow Democrats shut out of the process?

Highly unlikely.

Instead, though the teachers may have made no official endorsement, the leadership of the their union clearly favors the candidacy of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, now seen as the loser if the party makes it easier for Culinary workers to flock to the polls Saturday and caucus for Sen. Obama.

So much for worker solidarity -- let alone the standard Democratic insistence that it should be as easy as possible for everyone to participate in elections.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge James Mahan ruled against the attempt by the teachers union to block at-large precincts on the Strip. Judge Mahan said the Democratic Party had the right to set its own rules.

It's a good ruling, not because it helps Sen. Obama (to the extent it really does), but because the judge followed the law.

What are rank-and-file union members to make of such internecine political squabbling on their dime? What does any of this have to do with the better pay and working conditions most people seek when they join a union?

In a ruling with more direct relevance to "union shop" states, the U.S. Supreme Court decided 20 years ago that while even non-member workers can be required to pay partial dues to the unions that bargain on their behalf, they can't be required to pay that portion of the union's dues that go to fund partisan political activism.

That ruling -- Communication Workers v. Beck -- is soundly grounded in the First Amendment. No one can be required to hand over money to someone else, if those funds will then be used to promote political views or causes which are anathema to the person whose money is being used.

Republicans, who occasionally do the right thing, ordered summaries of the Beck decision to be posted at union workplaces, so workers would know they can apply for a refund of that part of their dues used for politicking with which they disagree. But one of the first things the incoming Clinton Democrats did in 1993 was order such signs taken down -- their union backers were much happier if workers were kept in ignorance of this right.

The Beck decision is less relevant in Nevada, which fortunately is a right-to-work state. Because no Nevadan can be required to join a union just to get or keep his or her job, disgusted union members here have an even more effective option. They can keep their jobs and quit the union.

But this inter-union squabbling highlights why it was so important for the court to give members control over whether they want their dues used to support such cynical partisan activities.


Clintons find union-member voting-rights inconvenient

When Hillary Clinton lost the Iowa caucuses to Barack Obama on Jan. 3, she had a rough and ready explanation: The caucus system, which requires participants to be present for several hours in the evening, effectively “disenfranchises” those who are unable to commit that much time. Her natural constituents, she reasoned — working-class voters, especially women — would be foremost among those whom the anachronistic system in Iowa shuts out. As if to show just how seriously she takes the right to vote, and perhaps to defuse the notion that her concerns about Iowa were simply a reaction to losing, she leveled the disenfranchisement charge both before and after her surprise comeback win in New Hampshire.

The accusation of disenfranchisement is especially grave among Democratic party loyalists, many of whom are likely to attribute Al Gore’s defeat in Florida in 2000 to the “disenfranchisement” of Jewish voters in Palm Beach County, who misinterpreted their ballots and voted for the not exactly philo-Semitic Pat Buchanan, and to the considerably more sinister alleged disenfranchisement of minority voters in Broward and Miami Dade counties, who (the story goes) were purged from voter rolls, falsely accused of voter fraud, erroneously classified as felons, and even physically blockaded from voting, at the prompting of Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris. In other words, disenfranchisement is a concept Democrats neither deploy nor interpret lightly.

One would expect, therefore, given Hillary Clinton’s avowed commitment to the principle that the right to vote must be more than nominal — that voters should not have to choose between working to support their families and having their preferences counted in an election — that Clinton and her campaign would exhaust all reasonable means at their disposal to ensure that the disenfranchisement of workers that took place in Iowa not be repeated during the remainder of the primary campaign.

One would be wrong.

The morning after the New Hampshire primary, the Nevada Culinary Workers Union, a 60,000-member union representing much of the Las Vegas casino labor force, with a track record of delivering significant support in elections, endorsed Barack Obama in Nevada’s upcoming caucuses on Jan. 19. Two days later, the Nevada State Education Association (the teachers union), whose leadership is solidly behind Hillary Clinton and includes surrogates of the Clinton campaign in the state, filed a federal lawsuit that would have the effect of depriving hotel and casino workers of their ability to caucus. A federal judge ruled Thursday afternoon against the plaintiffs and, in effect, the Clinton camp.

At issue were special “at-large” caucus precincts that were created at a meeting of the Nevada Democratic Party last year. These ad hoc precincts were to be placed inside the casinos themselves, so that hotel and casino staff, whose jobs require them to be present at work during the busy Martin Luther King holiday weekend, could not be excluded from the caucuses. The teachers union lawsuit alleged that because the at-large precincts pool large numbers of voters together, they corrode the integrity of the caucus system — in which precincts award delegates proportionate to their size — and vitiate the equal protection of citizens outside the at-large precincts.

The logic of the teachers union’s suit is eerily reminiscent of Bush v. Gore, the case that decided the outcome of the 2000 presidential election, in which the plaintiff charged that a full recount of the vote in Florida would have amounted to an equal protection violation by awarding disproportionate power to precincts with liberal standards for registering votes. Note that if the argument had gone through, it follows that every state election after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment was unconstitutional, since vote-counting methods and standards vary widely within every state. (There was a reason why the majority in Bush v. Gore stipulated that its ruling did not establish any precedent at all.)

Likewise, the complaint of the teachers union applies, mutatis mutandis and with equal force, to every electoral process in which districts with high population density have a larger say in the outcome than districts with low population density; i.e., it applies to every electoral process involving both urban and rural districts. It is true that, unlike a true primary election, in which voters cast a ballot directly for a candidate, caucuses employ a byzantine system of awarding delegates to candidates in rough and inexact correspondence to voter preferences. But this is a problem inherent to all caucuses — and also to general elections for president, in which voters only choose state electors who are technically free to vote for anyone they please — and irrelevant to the specific issues at stake in Nevada. Meanwhile, voting precincts in urban Manchester, like precincts in urban Las Vegas, carry more weight than precincts in rural parts of New Hampshire and Nevada. Nonetheless, the Clinton campaign and its supporters have not proposed amending the results of the New Hampshire primary to grant an equal average share in the outcome to precincts in Manchester and, say, Hanover.

Moreover, the Nevada teachers union has had months to register its dissatisfaction with the decision of the state Democratic Party. The fact that it chose to do so suddenly and immediately after the Culinary Workers Union endorsed Barack Obama, and mere days before the Nevada caucuses, is a fairly decisive indicator that the motive behind the lawsuit has nothing to do with fairness or equal protection. To be sure, the Clinton campaign is not a co-plaintiff to the lawsuit, and can plausibly deny a direct tie to it — in much the same way that Hillary Clinton can plausibly deny a direct connection to her surrogates’ serial yet completely coincidental insinuations that Barack Obama is a crack-dealing Wahabbist Muslim — but the Clinton campaign’s purported neutrality withers under momentary scrutiny.

The plaintiffs to the teachers union lawsuit are extensively and conspicuously tied to the Clinton machine. Their suit would have prevented a significant portion of Nevada’s working class electorate from taking part in the caucuses, precisely the outcome that Hillary Clinton claimed to find abhorrent in Iowa. One phone call from Clinton could have put the suit to rest and ensured that Nevada’s hotel and casino workers had a chance to caucus on Saturday. Yet she declined to do so.

Predictably enough, a backlash against the Clinton operation has begun. The Culinary Workers Union is stepping up the ardor of its support for Obama, distributing flyers throughout Nevada directly accusing the Clinton campaign of attempting a tactical disenfranchisement of its members. Union members are of course free to disregard their leadership’s endorsements, but one could hardly imagine a more effective way to galvanize Obama’s support among the rank-and-file than to alert them to Clinton’s efforts to take their vote away. Furthermore, left-leaning pundits and blogs have been training Democrats for years now to recognize even the slightest appearance of voter-suppression, and they are virtually unanimous in their condemnation of the lawsuit. Hence the Clinton tactics jeopardize many potential votes outside the union. Even John Kerry, who presumably still has some influence among Democrats, has taken a public swipe at the Clinton scheme.

Yet despite her apparent, sudden volte-face on voter rights, one could not fairly accuse Hillary Clinton of acting inconsistently or without principle. In Nevada, as in Iowa, New Hampshire, and throughout the United States, Hillary Clinton stands unwaveringly for the inalienable right of all citizens to vote for her.


Union operative views gambling like minimum wage

Looks like wildly enthusiastic hotel workers and teachers won’t be alone in pressuring the legislature to accede to Gov. Deval Patrick’s casino proposal. Labor leaders from across the state – electricians, Teamsters, painters, pipefitters, teachers, and more – gathered in Dorchester today with Patrick’s chief of staff, Doug Rubin, and his labor secretary, Suzanne Bump, to plot one of the largest labor mobilizations of the decade. Patrick’s casino plan would be the beneficiary of this mobilization.

“We’re going to put on a full-court press that hasn’t been seen since the minimum wage, or beyond,” said the Mass AFL-CIO’s legislative director, Tim Sullivan. He then mused that this campaign might even eclipse the union’s minimum wage push of a couple years ago.

When it was suggested that labor faced long odds in the fight, owing to Speaker Sal DiMasi’s staunch opposition to the proposal, an exasperated teacher blurted out, “Well, who’s in charge? The governor of the speaker?”

“You don’t move the speaker,” assured one of the House’s staunchest pro-gaming and pro-labor members, a confident Marty Walsh. Big Labor plans to take a page from MassEquality’s playbook, enlisting its members statewide to call and pressure their local reps. The net effect will be a swell of pressure that garners votes, one by one, from the bottom up, not from leadership on down.

“You move the people under the speaker,” Walsh explained. “We’re going to pressure members to the point where they say, ‘We have to vote on this or my constituents are gonna kill me!’”

Walsh also argued that every union local in the state had to push for casinos because, “It’s important for the governor. It helps him get to that promise of 100,000 jobs. He needs that. We need the governor to be successful. We don’t need another Mitt Romney.”

He promised the unions that House members, “don’t want to vote against” Patrick’s casino bill, because if they don’t take Patrick’s magic pot of casino revenue, they fear having to raise taxes next year.

DiMasi has “only heard from the governor and a few key allies,” Bump added. “Wait until he hears from every member of the House!”

What’s in it for the union? They’re seeking assurances from Patrick’s people that casino construction projects will be guaranteed union projects, that the state will force the casinos to consent to wage floors and benefits guarantees, that casinos will be barred from doing business with service and supply firms on labor’s blacklist, and that casinos will allow the AFL-CIO to organize their thousands of new employees. A painter also suggested to Rubin that the Patrick administration begin stacking state oversight boards with union members. He heard no disagreement.

Patrick has complained loudly in recent months that his signature proposals are suffering from legislative inaction, but at least one labor organizer today saw great benefit in the legislature’s current inaction. It will wind up putting the casino debate in the middle of election season – a fact that the unions in the room will not hesitate to remind legislators about.

“It’s the speaker on one side, us on the other, and the legislators in the middle,” the organizer bellowed. “Our goal is to make them more afraid of us than they are of the speaker. We have to remind them that they’re up for reelection, and if they want to remain in the legislature, they’d better be with us. Not with the speaker.”


Union troops to stage Nevada retreat

Forty-eight hours to go before Saturday's Democratic caucuses and it's strictly battle-station mode at the headquarters of the 60,000 member Culinary Workers Union. By 8:30 a.m., more than 250 union staff and workers -- mostly Latino maids, cooks, and janitors who are the brawn and muscle of Sin City's mega-resorts -- are bunched together in a second story meeting room prepping for one more twelve-hour shift knocking on the doors of fellow members and turning them out to caucus for Barack Obama.

"We've been like this for two solid weeks," says Culinary staffer Chris Bohner. "The union is 100 percent focused on this right now." Widely considered one of this labor-rich state's most powerful political machines, if not its kingmaker, the Culinary threw its weight officially behind Obama last week. So did the 12,000-member Service Employees (SEIU), which represents nurses and government workers.

But this is no run-of-the-mill get-out-the-vote campaign of the sort frequently run by labor in election season. This isn't a ground game, to use the parlance. It's a veritable ground war. Campaign against campaign. Union against union. Unions against the Democratic Party. Even faction against faction inside some unions.

"These folks here are going door-to-door contacting every one of our members," says Culinary Political Director Pilar Weiss, stepping away from one of the marked-up whiteboards in the meeting room. "Our shop stewards, meanwhile, are talking to everybody at their worksites. And of course, we're doing full-on phone banking."

Just a few minutes up the road in northeast Las Vegas, the SEIU has also deployed a battalion of shock troops Thursday morning. Staffers and worker-volunteers have parked an RV in front of the offices of the Department of Juvenile Justice and are systematically going through the facility, trolling for employees who are union members. "We catch them on their lunch break, bring them out here, and tell them everything they need to know on how to caucus and how to caucus for Obama," says SEIU staffer Hillary Haycock.

Those who come out to the union campsite are asked to sign pledges to caucus for Obama, given a purple and yellow t-shirt, a box lunch if they wish, and are asked to volunteer to become an Obama precinct captain for Saturday's caucuses. "Our members know how to organize," says Haycock. "So we want them to know that when they get into those caucuses, it's not just about standing for our guy but also about persuading others to do it."

SEIU has poured in organizers and staff from out of state to aid the pro-Obama blitz, especially from the candidate's home state of Illinois. Activists are phone banking, sending out email blasts and personal text messages, and circulating workplace invitations to participate in the coming caucuses.

When U.S. Senator Harry Reid proposed two years ago that Nevada become an early voting state one reason was to offer labor -- weak in Iowa and New Hampshire -- more participation in the nominating process.

But no one imagined the donnybrook that has ensued. "Traditionally, the Democratic Party in Nevada has taken its endorsement cues from the Culinary," says College of Southern Nevada historian Michael Green. "But this time the party machine, to the degree it exists, has been locked up by Hillary, while Culinary has gone with Obama."

Nor is labor support itself for Obama unanimous. The smaller Carpenters and Steelworkers are pro-Edwards. Government workers affiliated with AFSCME are in the Clinton camp. And while the teachers, organized into the Nevada State Education Association, have not officially endorsed Clinton, they are considered reliable allies.

Indeed, the NSEA roiled the state's political waters and divided the union movement, and itself, when last week it filed an ultimately unsuccessful challenge to nine "at large" caucus sites inside Vegas casinos, arguing they unduly favored the pro-Obama Culinary workers. Culinary activists were quick to characterize the teacher lawsuit -- thrown out today in federal court -- as a thinly-veiled act of voter suppression orchestrated by the Clinton campaign. Tempers also flared as the president of the Vegas-area chapter of the teachers union, Ruben Murrillo Jr., publicly complained that the move to shut down the casino caucuses was out forward without the consent of local teachers. The Las Vegas chapter "was not involved in the initiation of the lawsuit. It was done without our input," Murrillo said.

Indeed, the clumsy last-minute attempt to shutter the casino-based caucus sites, a move publicly endorsed by Bill Clinton, may have opened up rifts within Nevada labor that could persist beyond the election. And, in the short term, may have been a political backfire.

"This was mock outrage from the teacher's union. It stinks," Eric Herzik of the University of Nevada, Reno tells the Huffington Post. "These rules have been in place for the last six months, and they file a suit two days after Culinary endorses [Obama]."

"Filing the suit was ill advised," Herzik said, "because by losing the suit, all you have done is irritate Culinary. So now you've riled up Culinary, they get upset and they go vote for Obama."

But with media attention now so intensely focused on the union role in Nevada's caucuses, especially that of the Culinary, is labor's clout being unrealistically over-estimated? "Definitely a possibility," says Nevada historian Green. "I think this could be very dangerous to Culinary if Obama doesn't win."

The union has an impressive record of carrying local and sometimes statewide elections, Green says. But there's no guarantee that clout is transferable to national contests. "Culinary might have bitten off more than it can chew," he says. "I don't think anyone really knows how much influence the union leadership has over some newly arrived workers who are trying to make up their minds among three candidates with strong national presence."

That's a dilemma faced every hour at ground level by union field activists. "Absolutely, absolutely, I'm coming up against this a lot," says Dale Jackson an Illinois-based SEIU official now working on the Vegas pro-Obama drive. "A lot of our members like Hillary and even more they like John Edwards. I understand that because they're right when they Edwards has been supportive of us. But so has Obama and right from the beginning. I tell them 'Edwards has been great. But right now it's Obama that has America's ear and Edwards doesn't."


Discouraging non-union labor in Connecticut

The informational picketing of Turner Construction Co. by members of the Connecticut Laborers' District Council on Wednesday and Thursday will continue on the company's job sites next week. The council represents seven construction locals for a total of about 7,000 members in Connecticut. Some of those members were in Milford this week, protesting Turner's use of non-union contractors.

Turner uses union contractors in other states, including New York and Massachusetts, said Charles LeConche, the council's business manager. But in Connecticut, he said, it does not unless a project labor agreement so specifies. And at least 20 Turner projects are not under agreements that specify union labor, LeConche said.

The non-union contractors Turner uses generally don't provide benefits, said LeConche, who also alleged these contractors are using illegal workers. "We can't compete against contractors who cheat," he said. In a statement, Turner said it verifies the authorization of its employees.

"Turner is committed to utilizing quality subcontractors. We select subcontractors who share our dedication to quality, safety, achievement of high ethical standards and compliance with all applicable labor laws, including immigration laws. "Turner does not and will not utilize subcontractors who knowingly employ unauthorized workers. Unauthorized workers are prohibited from working on all Turner jobs."

Today, LeConche said, "We're going to randomly select the sites were going to be demonstrating at." Those demonstrations will only be at Turner-managed jobs and will begin Tuesday.


Act of God impacts actor-union members

Force majeure action by the television studios was front and center this week.

But while the focus was on writers, directors and producers whose overall deals were terminated because of the writers strike, behind the scenes there has been plenty of activity by SAG regarding the regular actors on TV series, who also have been sidelined by the work stoppage.

SAG has filed hundreds of claims with the production entities behind the vast majority of scripted shows seeking half-pay for all regulars for up to five weeks.

Earlier this week, SAG sent out questionnaires to talent representatives inquiring whether their series regular clients have been paid their minimum guarantees for the season (on average, 13 episode fees), and it plans to file new claims on the issue for those actors whose guarantees haven't been met.

In the letters, SAG also offered to assist any series regulars who would wish to terminate their deals at the end of the five-week period. SAG claims that would be possible if production companies haven't satisfied both the half-pay and minimum guarantee requirements.

SAG already has discussed the half-pay issue with various production entities. The half-pay claims are now handled by SAG's legal department and appeared headed for arbitration.

The terms for suspending series regulars when their shows were shut down because of the writers strike have become a bone of contention between the studios and SAG.

Some studios, such as CBS Paramount Network TV and Sony, qualified the production shutdown as non-paid "hiatus."

That definition came under fire from SAG and AFTRA, which called it a violation of their joint TV contract.

SAG has insisted that the studios have to invoke the force majeure provisions in the SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreement, which include up to a five-week suspension at half pay and possible termination of the actors' contracts at the end of that period.

Universal Media Studios has been the only TV studio to say that it would comply with SAG's force majeure provisions. However, there have been reports of verbal instructions to some talent reps that the studios' regulars were being suspended without pay after they meet their guaranteed minimums, something that 20th Century Fox TV put in writing in their actors letters.


Ex-SEIU organizer set to take Nevada

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