Can unions stop the Clintons or Obama?

When Walter Mondale was threatened by the insurgent candidacy of Gary Hart in the 1984 Democratic presidential contest, he turned to his friends at the AFL-CIO for help, and their endorsement was instrumental in pulling him through to the nomination.

When another veteran officeholder, Al Gore, was challenged in 2000 by Bill Bradley, the same thing happened. In both cases, loyalties nurtured over the years and reinforced by White House ties helped determine the Democratic winner.

As the current Democratic campaign heads for the industrial states of Wisconsin on Tuesday, Ohio on March 4 and Pennsylvania on April 22 -- places where union membership is important -- Hillary Clinton is similarly in need of a rescue effort against the surging Barack Obama.

But this time, organized labor is divided, and the latest break has gone to Obama, with the United Food and Commercial Workers endorsing him on Thursday and the Service Employees International Union following on Friday.

The two unions have about three million members between them, but are outside the AFL-CIO. Conversations with leaders of the labor federation and both the Obama and Clinton campaigns last week convinced me that there is no chance of an AFL-CIO endorsement in time to affect the battle for elected delegates.

And the splits within labor mean that other elements of the Democratic coalition -- women, African-Americans, Latinos and activist liberals -- are likely to play a bigger role in the race.

Targeting workers

That does not, however, mean that the labor vote or the unions themselves are unimportant at this stage of the race. Both campaigns are targeting workers and their families in the three big industrial states and in Texas, which also votes on March 4.

Jerry McEntee, the head of the largest single AFL-CIO affiliate, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is a Clinton superdelegate. His union and the American Federation of Teachers are both well represented in the upcoming states and both have deployed massive staff and financial resources there. Now, SEIU, which also has a powerful political machine, and the smaller food and commercial workers will enter the battle against them.

As McEntee readily concedes, without unity in labor's leadership, it is far harder to mobilize votes -- and unity within the federation is conspicuously lacking this year. No one sees a prospect of either candidate amassing the 60 percent support of membership required for an AFL-CIO endorsement.

Why is labor so conflicted? An Obama strategist said that ''as long as there were three potential winners in the race, there was a lot of hedging of bets.'' John Edwards, with his populist rhetoric and attacks on NAFTA, made a strong pitch to some of the industrial unions and won an early endorsement from the Steelworkers. Clinton enjoyed close relations with New York unions, and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney had White House ties with both Clintons. Obama counted on union support in his Illinois campaigns, but was less well known to unionists from other states.

For many months, both Clinton and Obama focused more on denying endorsements to Edwards than on winning the nods for themselves.

In Nevada, the union representing casino employees gave Obama its backing, but it came only four days before the caucuses and left little time to mobilize the workers.

The result has been a very mixed picture in the labor vote. Exit polls through the Tuesday Potomac primary showed Clinton with the edge among union members in eight states, Obama in six, and four states where they were in a statistical tie.

A virtual draw

Nationally, when members of union households, including spouses and children, were polled, Clinton led in 10 states, Obama in five, with seven ties. (Four states -- Iowa, Nevada, Oklahoma and Utah -- had enough members of union households to be sampled but not enough union members for reliable numbers.)

Clinton fared best with labor people in New Hampshire, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and her home states of New York and Arkansas. She won all of those states except Missouri.

Obama did not win union households until Georgia and his home state of Illinois, but last week he rolled up big labor margins in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia -- a trend his campaign hopes to see continue.

But the rivals fought themselves to a virtual draw among union households in Iowa, Nevada, Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and Utah -- a signal that the competition may continue to be very tough.


Google 'labor neutrality' - get 'union-only'

All across the land organized labor is using political influence to push for public policies that facilitate imposing unionism on employees. One such policy requires employers doing business with government or participating in a government sponsored program to sign a so-called "neutrality agreement." [Ed. note: see the Feb. 16 story about Google being picketed by UNITE-HERE.]

The essence of a neutrality agreement is that the employer will say and do nothing to discourage employees from seeking union representation.

An Illinois law mandating neutrality agreements for those who contract with the state for the provision of services to the disabled defines the agreement as follows:
"Neutrality agreement" means an agreement by a contractor or grantee not to participate in or request or otherwise seek to influence, either in writing or orally, the decision of its employees, or any of them, to be represented or not to be represented by a labor organization.
A typical provision in a neutrality agreement reads, "The Company agrees to refrain from making negative public statements concerning the Union and any [union] officer, representative or member."

Neutrality agreements are not in the public interest and certainly not in the interest of the most important people affected by them -- employers and employees.

The wrongness of neutrality agreements can be clearly seen by examining the nature of employment. There are two parties to the employment relationship -- the employer and the employee.

Few employment related decisions employees make are as important as whether to be represented by a union. It is very likely that the employer will have information employees ought to know about this decision.

Neutrality agreements make it impossible for employers to provide this information to employees. They are an injustice to employees because they deny them access to information they need in order to make a well-informed decision.

Card Check Elections

Most neutrality agreements also contain a provision granting union recognition on the basis of what is known as a "card check"election.

In a card check election unions gain recognition on the basis of signed cards rather than by a secret ballot election.

Card check elections compound the injustice of neutrality agreements by denying workers the right to vote on whether to be represented by a union.

The unions contend that card check elections are necessary because employers use threats and intimidation to influence the results of government supervised secret ballot elections.

They conveniently choose to ignore that unions are notorious for using subtle forms of moral suasion, which are frequently neither subtle nor moral, to obtain signatures on authorization cards.

The fact that authorization cards are not a reliable indicator of employee sentiment is demonstrated by several studies showing that unions lose most of the elections, even when a narrow majority of workers sign authorization cards.

Neutrality agreements are an insult and injustice to employees. They are a desperate attempt by unions to use their political power to shore up their sagging fortunes.

The Decline of Unionism

Unionism has been declining for more than fifty years. The unionized percent of the labor force has fallen from about 30 percent in the mid 1950's to less than 14 percent in 2001. The extent of the decline of unionism in the private sector has been masked by the growth of unions in public employment.

In the mid 1950's unions represented almost 40 percent of employees on private payrolls. By 2001 that figure had fallen to 9 percent. During the same time, unionism among public employees increased from almost 11 percent to more than 37 percent.

Even though the size of the work force has more than doubled since the mid-1950's, the number of union members has actually declined by more than a million. Because of the increase in more politically active public sector unions, however, unions have remained a powerful political force.

As membership declined, union officials have emphasized using political pressure to establish public policies they believe will allow them to organize more effectively.

By and large, the working people of America have rejected organized labor's class-warfare, us-against-them approach to employment relations.

The majority of employees have chosen not to be represented by unions. A 1999 Gallup poll found that of those who were not represented by a union only 21 percent would like to be. Even the AFL-CIO's own public opinion surveys find that the majority of workers don't want union representation.

This conclusion is confirmed by the results of elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. Even though organized labor says that it is putting more emphasis on organizing, the number of NLRB elections has been declining in recent years.

Despite this decline, the NLRB still conducts thousands of union representation elections each year.

Even though NLRB elections are only held in bargaining units where a union has been organizing and believes it has a chance to win, unions only win about half the elections. But that isn't really a clear reflection of employee sentiment.

Because unions win more elections in small bargaining units and lose more in larger units, far less than half the employees voting in these elections vote for union representation.

Who Favors? Who Benefits?

Labor unions and politicians dependent on union political power favor neutrality agreements and card check elections, and there is little wonder why.

By limiting employees' access to important information and then denying them the right to vote, unions are far more likely to gain certification and the power and dues that go with it.

Public officials who are genuinely concerned about protecting the interests of working Americans will reject them as the insult and injustice they are.

For copies of this paper or more information about union influence on public policy, please contact us.


AFSCME membership pays off for management

Fire Chief Dave Hamm, the Hammond, Indiana Fire Department's top manager, may be about to land an unexpected $15,000 raise because he's also a union member.

That Hamm is not exempt from union membership is unusual and probably an anomaly specific to the firefighters union, according to Ed Johnston. Based in Gary, Johnston is Northwest Indiana staff representative for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 62. "All our contracts exclude supervisors and above," Johnston said.

Johnston's public employee union, the 1.4 million-member AFSCME, largely represents nurses, corrections officers, child care providers, EMTs and sanitation workers.

Johnston said the only group operating under a collective bargaining law in the state of Indiana are teachers.

"If the (firefighters) union goes to the table and says, 'We want to cover the fire chief,' and the administration agrees, it's legitimate and not against any law I'm aware of," Johnston said.

But it also runs contrary to the practice of any other public sector union he is aware of, Johnston said.

"Is it common? Not really," said Ed Lomeli, president of Hammond Firefighters Local 556. "We in Lake County march to a different drummer than the rest of the state. We want to be united and stay united."

First organized under former Mayor Thomas McDermott Sr., the local in Hammond always has had its fire chiefs and deputy fire chiefs included in its contract, said Lomeli, who is beginning his fifth two-year term as the local's president. He is also a union district representative at the state level.

"Though they are political appointments, they've always been covered because they want to stay united," Lomeli said. "We're a 180-member union, whether the chief or a rookie on the job."

Whiting Fire Chief Michael Mantich, president of the Lake County Fire Chiefs Association, said union practices vary from community to community. For example, Mantich said he, too, is a union member who pays dues and attends union meetings but draws the line at voting.

To those who see full union participation by a fire chief as opening the door to charges of conflict of interest, Lomeli said it has never proven an issue in Hammond.

"(Hamm) might not always agree but understands we're trying to do the best in the interest of 180 members and 60 retirees," he said.

The Hammond local also has a history of pay parity between firefighters and police officers, Lomeli said.

"It's always been comparable," he said of the pay of the city's fire and police chiefs. "There may have been a couple of hundred dollars' difference."

Despite past practice, the local had no issue with Hamm not being given a $15,000 pay raise equal to Police Chief Brian Miller during the 2008 budget process last fall, Lomeli said. City officials have argued Miller, then earning about $65,000, was woefully underpaid, earning less than subordinates because the police chief is not eligible for overtime.

"The chief has told me repeatedly he never asked for the raise," Lomeli said of Hamm, who also is exempt from overtime. "The city attorney felt she had to give it because of the parity clause in our contract."


UAW kicks Cleveland Five out of union

In the early days of labor unions, it was not uncommon for the law to step in to help settle disputes. History is filled with stories of everyone from the private Pinkerton officers, to the local police to the National Guard getting involved.

Over the weekend, some area residents joined those dubious ranks when the Iredell County (NC) Sheriff’s Office was called to remove a group of five apparent members of a United Auto Workers local who union leaders said were trespassing.

The incident occurred Saturday afternoon during the regular monthly meeting of the UAW Local 3520. The meeting was held at the former Wayside Elementary School building on U.S. High-way 70, just outside of Statesville. The five who were accused of trespassing are former employees of the Freightliner Plant in nearby Cleveland. One of the five, Allen Bradley, was actually arrested during the incident.

“He twisted my arm behind my back and I almost dropped my camera,” Bradley said.

“They kept me in the police car for 40 minutes while they tried to figure out what to do.”

Bradley was eventually charged with trespassing and later released on his own promise to appear in court.

The other four left without incident after sheriff’s deputies said they too could face trespassing charges.

But Bradley said it is impossible for them to have been accused of such an offense since they were - and are, to their knowledge - members of the local in good standing. He believes they had as much right to be at the meeting as any of the other members.

“The membership is highest authority in the local,” Bradley said. “We are all members with the same rights so I don’t know how we could have been trespassing any more than anyone else.”

But the names of the five - which have become known in union circles around the country as the Cleveland Five - were apparently erased from the membership prior to Saturday’s meeting.

“But our membership dues were paid, and we were in good standing,” said Robert Whiteside.

Whiteside said he is still the shop chair of the local. He said four of the five fired members have attended every meeting since they lost their jobs in April.

“We’ve never had any problems before,” he said. “But we feel pretty certain that this was all planned ahead of time by the president.”

The four men and one woman - which, in addition to Bradley and Whiteside, includes David Crisco, Franklin Torrence and Glenna Swinford - lost their jobs last year when, as members of the Local 3520 bargaining committee, they called for a strike after contract talks collapsed.

Top UAW officials said the April 2, 2007, strike was not endorsed by the union’s international office and more than a dozen people lost their jobs as a result of it.

All but the five got their jobs back within a month of the one-day walkout.

Whiteside said the strike was the next logical step in the negotiations.

“We didn’t have a contract,” he said. “And our job at that time was to negotiate one.”

As president of the Statesville Branch NAACP, Woody Woodard said workers’ right to unionize has long been tied to civil rights.

He said what has happened at Freightliner is a sign that something went wrong within the local.

“This is not how unions are supposed to operate,” said Woodard, who helped in getting Bradley released without a bond.

But now that the matter has reached the level of their not being welcome at monthly meetings what will the members do?

“We’ve gone too far to turn back now,” Whiteside said.


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Teachers march on governor's mansion

Thousands of Puerto Rican teachers marched to the gates of the governor's mansion Sunday, threatening to go on strike for higher salaries and better working conditions if long-stalled bargaining talks are not resumed.

The two sides will sit down again Monday to try to resolve the two-year impasse. But union leaders representing the majority of Puerto Rico's 42,000 public school teachers plan a Tuesday news conference to announce a strike date if no agreement is reached.

"We hope to send a firm message to Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá so that the agreement is signed," Teachers Federation President Rafael Feliciano said among a throng of marchers.

The island's department of education and the union have agreed to 26 articles of a proposed collective-bargaining agreement, but 20 others remain unsigned, including 16 salary-related clauses.

The looming strike has divided the union's roughly 32,000 members as some urge restraint, saying the group's first strike since 1993 should be a last resort. Strikers could be fired under a local law that forbids disruption of the public education system.

The starting salary for a teacher in the U.S. territory is $19,200 a year - about a third less than the average public school teacher salary on the U.S. mainland.


Gov't-union lockout

For the second time in less than half a year, library workers in a major B.C. city are off the job. Nearly 300 unionized workers have been locked out due to a dispute between Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 410 in Victoria and its employer over pay equity.

Last year, Vancouver libraries were closed for nearly three months during an acrimonious battle in which the city also struggled to find peace with its inside and outside municipal workers.

CUPE 410 president Ed Seedhouse said the pay equity issue is one that he believed the Greater Victoria Public Library Board agreed to in 1992 but has never fully implemented.

"I won't sign a contract that doesn't address pay equity," said Mr. Seedhouse, a library worker. "If that means I'm starving, I'll have to take it."

He said a deal reached in 1992 included an agreement to bring library workers in step with work being done at Victoria City Hall. As it stands, he said, some people in the library are making half the hourly wage of their municipal counterparts.

"We understand that these things can't be worked out in a year, but we should be able to negotiate a solution."

Workers have been without a contract for nearly 14 months and hoped some public support would put pressure on their employer. The union has engaged in a series of tactics to bring its cry for equity to the public, including not working over the lunch hour and waiving overdue fines.

But while that garnered some public support, it raised the ire of the library system's governing board. It issued the lockout notice midweek, closing down the nine libraries in the Capital Region yesterday at 5:01 p.m."We have a responsibility to protect the assets of the library," said Chris Graham, chair of the Greater Victoria Public Library Board, in a news release. "The strike activities by the union are having a severe fiscal impact and the library is losing important streams of revenue, while employees are continuing to be paid."

Mr. Graham said the loss of more than $40,000 in uncollected fines has hurt the library system. The B.C. Labour Relations Board ruled the union's actions were illegal, but Mr. Graham said all the board felt it could do was stop the bleeding.

"Given the continuing strike by CUPE 410 and the adverse impact on library operations, the lockout measure is, at this point, the only viable option."

As the lockout drew near, library patrons rushed to get a supply of reading materials.

"It's really chaotic," said central branch employee Patricia Eaton, as many people checked out double-digit numbers of books. "It's kind of like Boxing Day in here."

Sharon Young, who's worked in the library system since 1979, said the real issue is a systemic one: chronic underfunding. Statistics show nearly five million items were loaned out last year, which ranks Victoria's as one of the most used systems in Canada. Yet, said Ms. Young, Greater Victoria libraries rank between 25th and 30th in terms of funding.

"People are deeply disturbed by the pay equity issue, but really, the issue is a long-term, systemic, negative attitude. We don't get enough resources."

Anne Morrey, with two bags full of books in her hands, called the situation "silly." Ms. Morrey said she goes to the library once a week and filling the void will be tough.

The union has said it has asked the board's bargaining agent to take the pay equity issue to binding arbitration, to no avail. Mr. Seedhouse said the membership's resolve is strong and their local has already received pledges of financial support. But he also admitted that there are few winners in strikes, and knows the public will suffer.

"What's hard for me is the damage it will do to the reputation of the institution."

Leaflets will be handed out today, with full-scale picketing to start tomorrow.

Mr. Graham said he hopes the dispute will come to a quick resolution, but isn't optimistic.

"It looks like it could be a long one. Both sides seem to be dug in."


The Washington State Union Bully

Watch out for the neighborhood bully, the Vancouver Education Association. You’d think a union that claims to be all about “the children” would celebrate any legitimate effort to help children — especially efforts to save children from abuse and possible death.

But, not so. When Jason Lee Middle School teacher Susan Wiggs withdrew from the union for religious reasons, that act gave her the right to have part of her mandatory union dues diverted to a charity of her choice. But the Vancouver teachers union did not like the charity she chose.

The union denied Wiggs’ desire to have her dues sent to Vancouver-based Shared Hope International, a dynamic and desperately needed organization dedicated to eradicating child sex trafficking. The charity is nonsectarian, as is required by the union, but it has an international focus. That’s the reason the union has given for not approving Wiggs’ choice and fighting her in court. The union wants Wiggs to send the money to an organization focused on local youth, such as the YWCA women’s shelter or the Vancouver School District Foundation.

Both local efforts are worthy of support. Shelter is key to family health and a child’s participation in education. And the Vancouver School District Foundation has done wonders for kids with outreach efforts such as its Lunch Buddies, Emergency Checkbook and Operation Fairy Godmother programs. The foundation works to meet students’ basic needs and helps kids enjoy their school-age years. While these local programs are due praise, so is Shared Hope — a well-regarded, financially sound charity. Saving young women from being sold into sex slavery is about as serious as charity gets. What’s more, Shared Hope’s fight against sex abuse is where Wiggs wants HER money.

VEA’s objection to the nonprofit organization is bizarre and its talk about wanting dollars to help youth locally, rather than globally, must be hard to explain to children, who are taught they are part of a global community.

It’s fishy that the union objects to such an outstanding charity. What’s more likely is that the union objects to the charity’s founder, former Congresswoman Linda Smith, R-Hazel Dell, who was sometimes at odds with unions.

Last month, things started looking up for Wiggs, who has been fighting for the right to send dues to Shared Hope since 2005. Public Employment Relations Commission Examiner Joel Greene ruled that Wiggs should be permitted to select Shared Hope. In his decision, he said the law “requires the union to agree to Wiggs’ designation of an organization to receive her alternative dues payments once she proves the designated organization is both nonreligious and a charity. Wiggs met her burden of proof.”

On Feb. 7, VEA appealed the ruling, refusing to respect the rights of individual teachers. That VEA sees fit to spend teachers’ money taking a teacher to court for her desire to help a charity that fights the sexual exploitation of minors is baffling. It’s this type of bully-like behavior that we trust PERC will stop.


Publicly-funded labor-activism in Washington

The Evergreen State College Labor Education & Research Center, a public service initiative of The Evergreen State College, provides a safe forum for workers, community members and Evergreen students to look at their lives and work through the lenses of labor history and political economics.

The Center provides a place to think about what a movement for positive change in society should or could look like. We develop educational programs in collaboration with organized labor and labor support groups to address relevant issues to worker's unions and work lives.

To that end, the Labor Center works with an advisory committee to develop credit and non-credit educational programs for union and community members.

Center sponsored programs examine the causes, consequences, and solutions to economic injustice, racism, sexism, and homophobia.


SEIU organizers harass Carlyle chief

The Service Employees International Union doesn't give up easily. Three dozen SEIU members and organizers, as well as would-be members, stormed the Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania Avenue offices of their nemesis of the moment, the Carlyle Group, on Wednesday.

The SEIU, with 1.9 million members, is conducting a major public relations offensive against the private-equity industry. In particular, the union is attacking Carlyle for its $6.6 billion purchase last December of Manor Care. The SEIU would like to organize Manor Care's workers.

The SEIU contingent -- chanting "better staffing, better care, no more money for billionaires" -- swarmed through the Carlyle building, jumping on and off elevators, running up stairways and trying to get into Carlyle offices in an effort to confront Carlyle co-founder David M. Rubenstein, the union's favorite target.

Rubenstein was not in the building because he was traveling, a Carlyle spokesman said.

After some heated moments, security and D.C. police escorted the union from the premises.

"Manor Care is a national chain, and Carlyle is an international company," said SEIU spokeswoman Julie Eisenhardt, explaining the union's tactics. "Their policies are going to affect seniors all over the country. So we are going to come from all over the country to take them on."

Eisenhardt and others had traveled from Chicago and from Pennsylvania to participate in the demonstration, which included workers wearing T-shirts that said, "Put Care Above CEO Profits."

Carlyle spokesman Chris Ullman said the union's goal is simple.

"These antics are all about organizing Manor Care because the many recent union elections they have had at Manor Care have all failed," Ullman said. "So they're harassing Carlyle so that we will impose unions upon the company."


Baseball discourages non-union labor

Last week I asked why publicly funded stadium development initiatives succeed when the overwhelming amount of opinion amongst economists is that this is bad use of public money. I referenced Villanova professor Rick Eckstein’s article examining the media’s contribution to public debate surrounding these projects.

This week, Tim Lemke brought attention to a report released by “One of the country's largest labor unions” which promotes the effects of the Nationals stadium project on the D.C. economy and workers. “LIUNA has been a major supporter of the stadium's Project Labor Agreement, which required all workers to be union members” said Lemke. “The PLA, the union said, has been instrumental in allowing the city complete the ballpark on time while keeping the hard and soft costs of the stadium on budget.”

This article - Stadia Mania: The Business, Civic And Legal Issues Of New Stadium Construction - Part I – authored by three lawyers from Lowenstein Sandler PC (they’re good enough for David Chase) provides insight into how and why these initiatives succeed.
Owners have also skillfully leveraged many cities' desire to have professional sports teams - and to enjoy the perceived related prestige, prominence, and enhanced reputation - to obtain "sweetheart" stadia deals by threatening to relocate, or, in some cases, in fact departing one market for another city offering a better stadium arrangement.

Notwithstanding the significant expansion in the number of major league sports franchises over the past two decades, demand for professional teams in metropolitan areas continues to exceed the supply. Due to this relative scarcity, a fierce bidding war continuously rages among cities to secure or retain a professional franchise. Frequently, teams are enticed to move or remain in a particular city through large public subsidies, such as extravagant new stadia built at the taxpayers' expense and leased at low or no rent; tax holidays; and generous concession, parking, and luxury box rights.
In support of those claims, the article provides a breakdown of public incentives the Mets will receive in the construction of their new stadium, set to open 2010. “In total, the direct subsidies, exemptions, and bond financing will save the Mets approximately $276 million, while costing New York City $155 million in lost revenue and the State of New York $89 million.”


Poking fun at the WGA strike

Well, folks, the Writers' Strike is finally over and we can get back to viewing new episodes of our favorite sitcoms, possible new movies, and other drivel. It took 100 days for the "intelligentsia" of Los Angeles and New York City, the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East to reach agreement on a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the "big machers" of entertainment! You know, the high-monied boys and girls ...

However, returning writers are having serious medical problems regarding their breathing, while spitting up a black storm! Lung X-Rays are showing similarities to coal miners' black lung disease. So, now, the Guilds want to ream the Producers, blaming the latter group for their problems caused by the searing smog in Tinseltown and the diesel fume crap in The Big Apple, as they walked the picket lines.

Said buxom, religion-program writer, Cindy "Big T" Bazongas, 33, of Santa Monica, California with a cigarette stuck to her lower lip as she yapped away, "Yeah, I sure had one set of lungs before this here strike began and now I can hardly suck on a joint. All I can say is WWJD! Ya hear me producers! The producers should be shot!" Commenting on her remark, producer Marty "Scotch" Rubin of "Laugh With Me Jesus and Moses" sitcom fame, responded with a typical Rubinism, "Bullshit! From what I saw, she still has a darn nice set of lungs. What's the fuss?"

It was no different on Manhattan's upper West Side where forensics program writer Izzy A. Ganuf claimed, "Sure! We had to walk a 100 days in cold and wet and snow and slush, then, mind, you, we end up getting a contract forced on us by those Guild stinkers. I think they're all in cahoots with them there producers. And, now, I'm coughin' all the freakin' time! Wanna see some black spit?"

So now, a billion-dollar class-action suit has been filed, under the title, "Writers vs Scumbags."

But, nowhere was there more happiness than at the White House where President Bush was unusually positive. As he worked on some "chaw," he declared, "You know, this country is great. We disagree, we strike, we negotiate and, now, after eight o'clock I can again couch potata myself on my sofa and channel surf, baby! Hey, it beats chewin' the fat with Laura or her bothering me to satisfy her cowgirl hots to get laid. Lovin' is for later, and, after the game, if one's on! She just won't get with the program like that damned Congress!

"Now, don't get me wrong. I am a good guy, but I, also, gotta see what those late night bozos are sayin' about old Georgie. Hey, I've got to know the "slams" goin' down on me. You know, it's not easy being President! Hey, it's now 8:10, fellas and gals and I'm missin' some cartoons, already!"

Unfortunately, this strike has caused a 15 percent drop in viewership, which will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars of lost revenues. The producers, however, are very optimistic with the launch of several new programs across the 3 major networks, cable, dish, and the Internet. Said, Christine Schwanzstuker, NBD's Programming Manager, "The networks have some fantastic new shows about to hit your TV screens, such as "The Gravediggers' Party," "Up Yours!," "Transvestite Dad," "Pull My Finger," "Cop Prostitute," and "Bloomer's Boomers." I'm really excited!"

We will just have to wait and see.

(The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.)


Dark shadows fall upon SEIU (pt. 2)

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