Pols jump through hoops for labor unions

Local candidate mimics Barack

It was rather amusing to see Judge Jan Goldsmith tout his endorsement from the San Diego Municipal Employees Association. He crowed that it was another example of the great "coalition" he was building. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like, a few weeks ago, being tied to unions wasn't such a great thing for a city attorney candidate.

The best radio ad of the campaign season was Mr. Goldsmith's very own takedown of his rivals. Remember, he used a circus theme to paint City Hall as a mess only an outsider could tame. And what did the narrator say about Scott Peters, the doomed City Council president trying to become city attorney?
In ring two, see Scott "the wonder pony" Peters jump through hoops, straddle fences and juggle important city issues all to please his labor union handlers.
Now that Goldsmith is the preferred choice of the firefighters union, the police union, and the white-collar City Hall workers, is it no longer so bad to be associated with unions?

What a joke.


America's collectivist SOBs

Poised to destroy nations economic, social fabric

Using the same template European Union (EU) and the former Soviet Union counterparts follow, or followed, America’s socialist oriented bureaucrats (SOBs) gravitate to positions of policy influence. Recognizing that a well-placed like-minded socialist confidant, as with activist judicial appointments, can impose or quietly override the will of the electorate majority, America’s SOBs are very devious. Following the lead staked out by the mainstream media, press, many in Hollywood, too many educators and most public bureaucrats, America’s SOBs have acquired undue influence over our lives.

Today’s socialism is an artificial, or contrived human exploitive device intended solely to acquire control of personal and corporate assets, or resources of others. The term gravitate was used earlier, in lieu of ascend, as gravity pulls everything to earth Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Hugo Chavez, Putin and all the other socialist ideologues and their minions lined their pockets and were the only winners when handed power, or it was seized. As imperfect as it may be, reasonable democratic capitalism has and will advance the lives of more people with less associated violence and social dislocation than the contrivances and propensity for brutalism socialism ultimately gravitates to.

Succumbing to the patently false ‘qualitative’ lure espoused by SOBs and their minions, socialism imposes a restrictive self-serving insatiable veneer that devours individualism and all other economic resources. When presented with a level playing field free of most political, religious and organized corruption and crime, democracy based politically moderate capitalism will always out perform the subjective vagaries of socialism and communism. Relying on old fashion emotion based pandering, lying and brute force, socialists and their typically brutal communist brethren will seize power only to abdicate after they have destroyed its’ economic and social fabric.

Placing B. Hussein Obama, a professed Democrat that has voted for most all socialist (98%) programs into the role of literally leading the world as President of The United States is akin to giving the job to Madonna, another so-called rock-star. Other than gender, the only difference between the two is Madonna has strong convictions, albeit that many of them are socially reprehensible, and does not appear to waffle like B. Hussein Obama on national issues. Trotting B. Hussein Obama, or for that matter Gary Coleman in front of mainstream media cameras or “groomed” liberal audiences generates entertaining hype. Critical analysis of the B. Hussein Obama “rock-star” hype suggests that he is pandering to fuzzy emotions that is a further reflection of the shallowness the candidate offers.

The American people and the world cannot for financial, political and security reasons afford to have another “mystic” like Jimmy Carter in The White House that will say and do anything to acquire the power of The Presidency. Honestly earning the title of being the most liberal, socialist, senator in the U.S. Senate, B. Hussein Obama can also point to a firm foundation in communist anti-Americanism. Answers about his, Obama’s, and his “handlers” position on terrorism, expanded entitlement programs, national defense, George Soros and Saddam Hussein’s Nadhmi Auchi need to be answered, to ascertain his allegiances and core values. As it stands today, B. Hussein Obama, who are you and can you intelligently talk to the American people without a teleprompter?

- John Ross


Out-of-state union cash pollutes Indiana

Dem claims SEIU is not a special interest despite $500K gift

Republicans are urging Hoosier voters to “follow the money” as they leveled criticism this week at Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jill Long Thompson for raising most of her campaign cash outside Indiana’s borders.

The Indiana Republican Party broke down contributions from the first quarter of 2008 and found that more than 70 percent of Jill Long Thompson’s fundraising came from Washington, D.C. – her old stomping grounds as a U.S. congresswoman.

Donations from within Indiana make up nearly 25 percent of her contributions, with the remaining 5 percent coming from other states.

“Jill Long Thompson’s reliance on her friends in Washington, D.C., to fund her campaign raises serious questions about her plan for Indiana,” said Indiana Republican Party Chairman Murray Clark. “Why are these special interests playing such a big role in her campaign?”

By comparison, in the first quarter of 2008, 71 percent of Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels’ contributions came from Indiana; 10 percent came from D.C. and 19 percent came from other states.

The next set of campaign finance reports aren’t due until July 15, but the GOP noted that according to Long Thompson’s supplemental filings – which are required for large donations – she has received $805,000 from out-of-state sources in the second quarter of 2008.

Washington-based EMILY’S List has given $100,000 since the May 6 primary, and the Service Employees International Union gave $500,000.

EMILY’S List supports “pro-choice” women running for Congress or governor, and the SEIU represents 2 million workers in four key sectors: hospital systems, long-term care, property services and public services.

“Jill Long Thompson should change her campaign name from ‘Hoosiers for Jill’ to ‘D.C. Special Interests for Jill,’ because Hoosiers don’t appear to be supporting her campaign,” Clark quipped in a statement.

When asked about Clark’s criticism of her fundraising, Long Thompson at first deflected the question with complaints about Daniels’ recent commercials.

But she also said attacks on her campaign verify the governor is concerned about his re-election, and she said she wouldn’t classify the SEIU as a special-interest group because it represents numerous Hoosiers.

“I’m very pleased with my fundraising,” she said.

Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, said he usually sees this kind of criticism in congressional races but isn’t surprised it came up in the governor’s race given Long Thompson’s prior service in Washington.

“It’s a good rhetorical argument for a candidate to use,” he said, noting that it is expected for an incumbent governor to have more in-state support. “I don’t think it has any affect on swing voters. People don’t care all that much about where the contributions come from.”

That’s definitely how Harriet Miller, 71, of Fort Wayne, feels about the charge.

“Big deal. It just means that she is recognized nationally as an asset. More power to her that she has support around the nation,” she said. “I don’t care about where her money comes from. I remember her record as a congresswoman. She is approachable, available and energetically supports issues that help women and children.”


Bud's Teamster boss fears dues hit from InBev

Related A-B/Teamsters stories: here
Teamsters/InBev web page: here

Takeover offer exposes union power, corporate inefficiency

Anheuser-Busch draws a lot of water in this town. So how would St. Louis fare with a new hand at the tap? The economic impact of the increasingly likely purchase of this city's iconic brewer by Belgian firm InBev would take a long time to shake out. But it would be substantial, several analysts said Friday. From McDonnell Douglas to A.G. Edwards, the list of big St. Louis names that have been bought out in recent years is long. And the region hasn't always been a loser.

In some cases, like TWA, the deal was followed by massive job cuts as the newly merged company struggled to stay afloat. But in others, like the purchase of Ralston Purina by Nestle, S.A., the impact was relatively small.

An InBev-Anheuser merger would link up two relatively healthy companies with little overlap in their markets. That could mean a gentle transition, which would be welcome in a town where A-B employs some 6,000 people full time and pays more than $500 million in wages.

But in any merger, "efficiencies" are key. And InBev is renowned for its efficiency.

While pitching the deal in recent weeks, InBev chief executive Carlos Brito has said that he is "committed to the city of St. Louis" and that changes here would be minimal. Given his company's light presence in the United States, that would make sense, industry analysts say. InBev would need a North American headquarters, and St. Louis is a logical choice.

That would position the city well, said Glenn MacDonald, an economics professor at Washington University.

"You're taking two industry leaders here and trying to create a real beer juggernaut," he said. "This fundamentally could be a very good thing."

Others are skeptical.

In a letter this week to Brito, Jack Cipriani, who heads the beverage workers division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, states that to make the deal work in a tough economy, InBev would have to cut costs either in marketing or staffing. He suspects staffing would get the ax.

"We are concerned that InBev's intention to maintain A-B's existing core infrastructure could be short-lived," Cipriani wrote.

Those cost pressures would grow more sharply if InBev pays a higher price for A-B. A deal at $70 a share, instead of the first offer of $65, would add roughly $3.5 billion to the original $47.5 billion tab. That's money InBev would have to recoup through better sales or lower costs.


InBev has shown willingness to cut before.

After the InBev-creating merger of Belgian Interbrew and Brazilian AmBev in 2004, Brito headed up the company's North American operations from Toronto, home of Canadian brewing giant Labatt. In his time there, he closed a brewery and laid off 20 percent of Labatt's white-collar work force. Then he was promoted to run the whole company.

Labatt and Anheuser-Busch, of course, are different circumstances. But this merger would definitely have an impact here, said Don Phares, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Missouri—St. Louis.

"The odds that the effect is going to be negative are very high," Phares said. "I just don't see any way around that."

It's unlikely, Phares said, that InBev would keep a headquarters operation in St. Louis at the scale that A-B does today. That would mean fewer well-paying professional jobs. It's also possible that InBev would eventually cut back on brewing here, eliminating blue-collar jobs, too.

The region would have to work to keep those skilled workers, and help them find opportunities in faster-growing fields, said Bob Lewis an economic development consultant and president of Development Strategies in St. Louis. They're the kind of people who start companies and help others grow.

"We want those people to stay," Lewis said. "The economy is people, anyway."

To create jobs for those people, both Lewis and Phares said, the region needs to focus on growth industries where it is strong: health care, biotechnology, financial services, transportation. There's more opportunity there than in mature industries like manufacturing, or beer.

"The global economy is changing, and in some cases we're going to get hit on the bad side of it," Phares said. "We've got to flip it around and say, 'What are our strengths and in what areas do we have a competitive advantage?'"

A merged InBev-Anheuser would still be a part of that, said Patrick McKeehan, executive director of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois. It would be the kind of company that's well-equipped to compete in a global economy, and it would almost definitely have a large presence in St. Louis. The region's leaders should focus on making that presence as large as they can, he said.

"It's definitely incumbent upon the mayor and other public officials to work very closely with the incoming owners," McKeehan said. "Go on the offensive, instead of trying to be defensive."


Being a striker becomes boring after one year

"One day longer, one day stronger."

Shortly after 11 a.m. Friday, Russ Mendenhall and Ken Edgecomb manned the grill, handing out hamburgers and hot dogs to a crowd of hungry people surrounding them with picket signs in tow. Some of them have been on strike every day since last year, when Operating Engineers Local 3, which represents heavy-duty repair workers at Valley Power Systems North, called a strike over what members said were unfair labor practices and Valley Power's refusal to contribute to the union's health plan or pension and retirement health care funds.

Most came on Friday to show their solidarity and participate in a celebration of sorts, for Thursday had marked the one-year anniversary of the strike.

"It's not much fun (being on strike). It's a boring job," said John Griffin, a Local 3 member who has been on the picket line with five other union members every day since July 10, 2007. "So I guess this is our day to let our hair down. It's like having a birthday party."

Valley Power employees repair heavy-duty equipment, including fire engines, buses and ferries.

Nearly 90 people — including several City Council members, Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, state Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland, and county Superintendent of Schools Sheila Jordan — participated in the rally in front of the Valley Power facility on Adams Avenue. The entire sidewalk in front of the facility was covered with picketers, shouting chants of "One day longer, one day stronger."

And with little traffic coming through the facility, there were signs that the Valley Power site had been abandoned by the company.

For example, the company's main sign on the corner of Adams and Bigge Street no longer bears the company name; Local 3 bumper stickers have long since taken its place.

But the strikers said the numerous passing trucks and cars honking their horns, and the continued support from other unions, brought them solace — the perfect pick-me-up during a long struggle.

"It's a glad day and a sad day," Bob Miller, director of operations for Local 3, told the crowd during a moment of reflection. "We're saddened this company has had to go to this extreme to hurt working people, we're saddened that we work and live in the U.S. and a situation could come to this. But we're glad to have gotten the support of the community, and we're glad to have built a West Coast wall of solidarity."

Valley Power did not respond to multiple calls for comment.

At the rally, the union also honored the six workers who have been on the picket line the longest — known as the Valley Power Six — with new hats, a brand new pair of shoes and golden picket signs.

The six include Griffin and Mendenhall, along with Moises and Jerry Alcerreca, a father and son formerly employed by the company.

"I just keep up hope," the elder Alcerreca said of his reason for continuing to stay on strike. "I'm hoping for a contract or another job with the union, but I'm out here for the fact that somebody has got to fill in the gap for the rest of them."

Meanwhile, the stalemate between the company and the union still seems nowhere near an end.

The dispute over workers' benefits began in 2005, when Valley Power Systems bought out the former owner of the business, Stewart and Stevenson.

Valley Power recognized the union, which had represented employees for more than four decades, but also offered a number of employee benefits that competed with the union's contract.

Problems began when the company and the union began negotiating two years ago over the workers' pension fund, which at the time was suffering from a $1.3 billion unfunded liability, and neither side has returned to the bargaining table.


AFSCME to defy TRO and go out on strike

Jumbo gov't-union marks judge absent

A San Francisco Superior Court judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union from holding a five-day strike at University of California facilities starting Monday, but union leaders say they'll call for a strike anyway.

The court order was granted at the request of the Public Employment Relations Board, which filed suit after UC officials accused the union of bad faith bargaining and endangering public safety.

"We are going on strike as planned," said William Schlitz, a spokesman for AFSCME Local 3299. "First and foremost, it is the workers' constitutional right to strike."

In addition, he said, the union does not believe that its action would be in violation of the restraining order since the order enjoins the workers from striking without adequate notice or without giving exact strike dates. The union says it provided this notice on July 10 when it called for the July 14 strike.

AFSCME represents more than 8,000 service workers, who do everything from cleaning dorm rooms to serving hospital meals and were threatening to strike in an effort to obtain higher wages. More than 1,000 of them are at University of California Davis and the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

The union says the workers make as little as $10 an hour and increasingly can’t make ends meet as gas and food prices increase.

AFSCME also represents patient care workers who work at University of California hospitals and the union said they might walk the line in solidarity. Those workers also are in contract negotiations with UC.

Judge Patrick Mahoney in his order Friday prohibited the union from encouraging the two groups of workers to take part in the strike. He called on union attorneys to return to court at 9:30 a.m. July 22 to make their case against a permanent injunction.

A strike would have hit the University of California's five medical campuses — in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Irvine and San Diego — and all 10 UC campuses: Berkeley, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Davis, Merced, Irvine, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego.


AFL-CIO recruits political military veterans

Attempting to redefine Barack's patriotism

The A.F.L.-C.I.O. announced on Wednesday that it has set up a new union council for military veterans that will run broadcast ads in six states praising Senator John McCain’s military record, while criticizing his Senate record, especially on economic issues.

In a telephone news conference, John J. Sweeney, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s president, said that 2 million union members are veterans, and he urged them to back Senator Barack Obama for president over Mr. McCain.

“On military issues, everyone respects Senator McCain’s record,” Mr. Sweeney said. “I want people to know that his agenda is wrong on pocketbook issues.”

The labor federation, which represents 10 million union members, is planning to run broadcast ads for the next three weeks in six swing stages; Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Mr. Sweeney said the council was being formed to bring together union members who are veterans so they can speak their minds on matters that affect not just veterans, but also middle-class and working-class voters.

The new labor group will be called the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Union Veterans Council, and its president will be Mark Ayers, a Navy veteran who is president of the labor federation’s Building and Construction Trades Department.

Mr. Ayers noted that that union veterans respect Sen. John McCain’s service to his country, but said that Mr. McCain’s Senate record was out of step with where the country needs to go to serve veterans.

“Not only has McCain voted the wrong way on veterans’ issues - - such as opposing increased funding for veterans’ health care the last four years in a row — but he also doesn’t support middle class people’s issues,” Mr. Ayers said. “He wants to tax people’s health care benefits, and supports unfair trade deals, including NAFTA.”

Federation officials said this new effort was designed in large part to persuade veterans — union and nonunion — to think about not just Mr. McCain’s military record, but about his broader economic record when they vote.

Among the cities where the ads will be run are Flint, Michigan; Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown, Ohio; and Erie, Johnstown and Wilkes-Barre, Pa.,

“The profile of the markets is they are left-behind towns,” said Denise Mitchell, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s communications director. “We’re running ads in towns where good jobs are disappearing, where the economic slowdown that everybody is experiencing is particularly acute.”

She declined to say how much the A.F.L.-C.I.O. was spending on the ads, except to say that it was “a significant buy.”

The labor federation also announced on Wednesday that state union veterans councils had been formed in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, Ohio and West Virginia. It said such councils would soon be set up in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan and other states.

This is part of what the labor federation says is its biggest political mobilization ever.

“Veterans will be front and center in our effort to put our country back on track,” Mr. Sweeney said.

The new group has launched a Web site, www.unionveterans.org.

Its new ad can be viewed here.

Update: Alex Conant, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said, “When it comes to important trade agreements, Obama simply follows big labor and votes no. That might be good politics, but it’s bad for the country. It’s no surprise the A.F.L.-C.I.O. is now coming to Obama’s assistance and attacking McCain. John McCain has spent his life putting country before politics.”


Columnist's card-check trickery exposed

Related video: "Franken opposes secret ballot"

Leftists want to end secret-ballot union elections

The air war is on in the U.S. Senate race with Minnesota's largest labor organization demanding that Republican Sen. Norm Coleman condemn a TV ad it calls demeaning to workers. If you're a fan of the Sopranos this sarcastic ad is darkly humorous. Soprano's Mob boss Johnny Sack doesn't like Coleman.

"Norm Coleman says keep the secret ballot for union organizing elections," said the ad announcer. "That's a hero," said the Soprano's character Johnny Sack. "I hate heroes."

The ad creates a distorted stereotype of the Mafia, and of labor unions as tools of organized crime. And it misrepresents legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize unions.

Here's what you NEED TO KNOW.

Since 1948 , employers have had the right to demand a secret ballot when workers want to organize a union. It's an election that's overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.

The bill in Congress adds another option to the secret ballot, allowing workers to sign-up publicly to start a union.

"Al Franken? Well, he sees it differently," said the ad announcer. "Franken says eliminate the secret ballot for workers."

"My pal Al," said Johnny Sack.

That's FALSE.

The bill that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken supports does not eliminate the secret ballot election. Workers still have the right to hold one but labor unions say the new option gives employers less control.


You can agree or disagree with the motive of the bill, but the effect is that it would make it easier to form a union. That's why labor unions want it so badly. Union membership is plummeting.

In 1983, 20 percent of America's workforce was unionized. In 2007, that number was down to 12 percent.

"Call Al Franken," said the ad announcer. "Tell him he's wrong to end worker privacy."


While it seems as if the ad supports unions, it's actually produced by a coalition of national business groups called the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, who are lobbying to kill the bill.

That's Reality Check.

- Pat Kessler.


Labor-state strikers surrender pickets

Why Barack might outlaw scabs

The nine-week strike at Kewaunee Fabrications is over, said Boilermakers Local 487 President Bill Classon, following a vote Thursday morning. Classon would not give the vote totals. "The strike is over," said Classon. "The totals don't matter." He said employees received a letter from the company this week that basically stated the company would permanently replace the strikers if they didn't come back to work. The union met and voted Thursday morning.

"The contract passed. People are reporting to work (today) for their regularly scheduled shift," said Classon.

He said the offer was the same one the union membership rejected a week earlier that reduced the insurance premium paid by employees from 15 percent to 12 percent.


News Union organizer laid off

Big Print plagued by paper-stream waste, leftist advocacy

A chief organizer of the new Newspaper Guild unit at the Bay Area Newspaper Group-East Bay outside San Francisco is being laid off, and she claims management is ousting her in part for her union activities.

Sara Steffens, a nine-year reporter at the Contra Costa Times of Walnut Creek, was just voted unit chair of the New BANG-EB guild unit on Wednesday. The unit represents nine BANG-EB papers that are part of MediaNews Group, including the Times and the Oakland Tribune.

Two weeks ago, however, Steffens and 28 other guild employees found out they would be laid off. Most are expected to depart today. The layoffs come almost a month after BANG-EB employees voted in the guild, 104 to 92.

"There are several active [union] organizers on the [layoff] list and several who were very outspoken," says Steffens, 36, who was co-chair of the guild organizing effort. "We haven't been satisfied with the company's rationale about some of their choices."

John Armstrong, BANG-EB president and publisher, declined comment and referred calls to BANG-EB Editor Kevin Keane, who was not reachable for comment.

When BANG-EB announced the layoffs, it also said an undisclosed number of non-union staffers would be let go. The reductions will bring the 226-person news staff down to 197.

"They told us they intended to do them without regard to merit or job performance, simply eliminate positions," Steffens said. "That is when I started to worry about myself a little bit."

The first notice of layoffs came on June 27, a day after the National Labor Relations Board formally certified the guild unit. The new unit is the first guild effort at the chain since MediaNews in August withdrew recognition of the former Alameda Newspaper Guild, which had represented some 130 staffers at the former four-paper ANG, including the Oakland Tribune.

The union recognition change followed MediaNews' consolidation of ANG's editorial functions with its neighboring five-paper Contra Costa Newspapers, led by the Contra Costa Times.

The consolidation of editorial operations from the two groups came one year after MediaNews purchased the Contra Costa papers from McClatchy as part of its takeover of 31 daily and community papers in the area.

Company officials said at the time that the move was proper because the consolidated editorial unit included fewer than 50% guild members. Since the ANG unit, which had been under a guild contract since 1998, had only 130 staffers and the Contra Costa staff, which was union-free, included about 170, the guild unit could be removed because it did not represent a majority of the combined workers.

Steffens said union leaders met with management on June 30 and she was informed on July 2 that she would be laid off. "I think it was important to them to show that they could make an effort to sit down and bargain," she says about the meeting. "But our influence is limited in these mattes."

She said that, without a contract, the Guild unit has little power to intervene in the layoff plan, which will pay one week's salary for each year of service up to 12 weeks, along with three months of health benefits. "I think we could have had a lot more protection," she said.

Married to San Francisco Chronicle photographer Mike Kepka and the mother of a two-year-old, Steffens said she is considering formal action against the paper, but would not elaborate: "The guild is definitely interested in continuing to pursue this."


Chartering a course away from union subsidy

Cities figure out how to dump state 'prevailing wage' law

Come November, voters in Santee (CA) will be asked to consider adopting a city charter, which would act like a local constitution giving Santee more power over City Council salaries and other local matters. The Santee City Council voted 4-1 Wednesday night to place a charter measure on the Nov. 4 ballot at a cost of $30,000. Councilman Jack Dale voted no, saying before the meeting that he didn't see an urgent need for the city to switch from its current status.

“I'm not looking to start World War III on this,” Dale said. “This is just an honest difference of opinion.”

The city has already spent $17,800 studying the matter, and a committee including Mayor Randy Voepel, Councilman John Minto, residents and representatives from nonprofits, labor and businesses recommended drafting a charter after weighing the possibility for about six months.

Voepel said he would make the charter measure a plank in his bid for a third mayoral term this fall because of the added independence he thinks it would give the city.

“It gives extra home rule against state regulations and changing state regulations,” Voepel said. “The way this was written, it gives citizens quite a bit of power.”

Among the key changes the charter calls for:

Giving the council the authority to amend by a four-fifths vote the city's prevailing-wage requirements on public works projects.

Creating a committee to make recommendations on how much the mayor and council members should earn.

Other cities in the county have recently switched to charter from general law, meaning the state Legislature defines its powers. Carlsbad voters approved a city charter in June, and last year voters in Vista said yes to a charter. Oceanside voters have rejected charters several times.

If Santee voters say yes, the city will join more than 110 other California cities, including San Diego, Chula Vista, Del Mar and San Marcos, that already operate under charters.

Vista officials last year said adopting a charter could save the city money on public works projects. The charter allowed Vista to avoid paying prevailing, or union, wages on some public projects.

Dale said he didn't see enough clear, immediate benefits to adopting a charter in Santee.

City officials have said day-to-day operations at City Hall wouldn't change much, and City Manager Keith Till said the city won't spend money promoting or campaigning for the measure.


Union boss-turned-pol: Johnny Outsourcing

Rare GOP endorsement reflects union penetration

On Wednesday, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania's 162nd state legislative district, Nick Miccarelli, received the endorsement of local unions, including the United Aerospace Workers Local 1069 of which Miccarelli's opponent John DeFrancisco is the former president. In a standing-room only crowd of 200, union members and politicians packed the union hall of the UAW Local 1069 in Eddystone to hear two union representatives endorse Miccarelli.

Miccarelli is chief of staff for state Rep. Ronald Raymond, R-162, of Ridley Township, who is vacating the post he's served since 1985 because he said he doesn't want to overstay his welcome.

"Johnny D running on his record as a union leader would be like Dick Cheney bragging about being a good hunter," said Tony Forte, president of the UAW Local 1069 that represents union members at Boeing Helicopters. "The fact is neither have much in the way of successes to point at."

Speaking after the rally, DeFrancisco spoke of Forte, saying, "This young man has a personal agenda against me."

He then said 650 jobs were lost at Boeing under Forte's father's watch.

However, during the rally, Forte said DeFrancisco left the union in a worse position than when he took over, allowing Boeing's profits to increase while benefits for employees and retirees have been cut.

DeFrancisco said the case for retirees' health benefits is now in federal court after the company arbitrarily changed the level of benefits they were receiving four months after the contract was signed in 2006.

He said he remained at the Ridley plant 10 years ago after workers received an anonymous call from the Governor's office that it was going to close.
"The voters will decide on Nov. 4 who is the right guy for this job," DeFrancisco said.
Those at the rally said Miccarelli was the clear choice. At one point during the rally, a crowd member shouted, "Johnny Outsourcing" in a reference to Miccarelli's opponent.

Citing the GOP candidate's energy and drive, Forte said, "Nick is going to Harrisburg and he's going to fight for all of us."

Bob Boland, president of the International Association of Machinists Local 1776, commended Miccarelli for his tours of duty in Iraq and in Kosovo. "To us, you're a war hero," he said. "You've proven yourself as a man."

No representative spoke from the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1400, but their endorsement was given. When Miccarelli stood before the podium, he asked, "Is there anybody out there supporting me?" "Yeah!" came the thunderous reply.
As another crowd member shouted, "DeFrancisco never supported this local, I can tell you."

Miccarelli continued, "I'm running to take up the fight of working people that my grandfather started years ago." His grandfather, Nick Miccarelli, was with the United Electrical Workers Local 107 53 years ago in the midst of a contract with Westinghouse when he was thrown into prison during a strike.

The younger Miccarelli pointed to his 98-year-old grandfather, who stood for a standing ovation, as motivation for his run for state legislature.

"He sat there and stuck it out until the company gave up," he said of his grandfather's three-and-a-half month imprisonment.

Miccarelli said he was insulted by questions of his experience.

Pointing to his command of men and women on a battlefield in Iraq, he said, "I am certainly able to do battle with those in Harrisburg. This job requires someone to make change."


Global alarmists follow teachers' union model

Collectivist advocacy infects public policy

Imagine that former Republican Gov. Bill Graves created and appointed members of an "objective" commission to study school choice, but the panel would be managed by a conservative-funded, limited-government nonprofit organization from out of state that disavowed its advocacy origins on the issue.

This group would run the commission process, provide the research, run the Web site and set the meeting agenda. No input from voucher opponents (teachers' unions) would be allowed (because there is "consensus" that vouchers work).

How would this be perceived? Outrage would leap from newspaper editorial pages, teachers' unions would organize mass protests, and liberal legislators would demand an investigation.

And they would be justified in doing so. It's wrong for an advocacy group, funded by like-minded activist benefactors, to so completely control an "objective" commission to create state policy -- on any issue.

Yet that is the reality with the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy advisory group, created and populated by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, and the group's management team, the Center for Climate Strategies.

Despite what the center's executive director Tom Peterson says ("It doesn't have an advocacy history"), the group's own tax returns explain that the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, a nonprofit that (by its own admission) advocates for environmental causes, "formed (CCS) to carry out their nonregulatory agenda."

It doesn't stop there. In every state where the center runs one of these climate commissions (there have been at least 16), global-warming alarmist grant makers have subsidized the majority of the center's work. Its biggest patron is the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, whose introductory statement to its 2005 annual report --"Earth is running a fever" -- reveals its prejudice.

Millions of the fund's dollars have flowed into the pockets of Center for Climate Strategies contractors, and together they both tout the fraudulent claim that states with CCS-driven climate action plans have "enjoyed economic benefit as a result," with the creation of "more jobs" and "economic expansion." Anyone who has taken Economics 101 knows that the center's proposals to tax and raise costs for energy, and to subsidize inefficient forms of power generation (wind and solar), will depress economic activity and lead to layoffs.

Yet the center remains undeterred, and sets up rules in the states to make sure it accomplishes its goals.

Kansans should see clearly that the big fix is on. The government-growing, tax-raising policies that the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy group produces will win the day if resistance doesn't start now.

- Paul Chesser is director of Climate Strategies Watch, a free-market, limited-government project based in North Carolina that assesses global warming commissions in the states.


Katz - Corzine emails must be seen

Related Jon Corzine stories: here

Labor leader's ouster on charges of misspending union money shows why public should see e-mails.

The move by the Communications Workers of America to oust Carla Katz as head of the CWA Local 1034 union illustrates, more than ever, how important it is that New Jerseyans find out what Katz and former boyfriend Gov. Jon Corzine discussed in e-mails they exchanged while a new contract between the state and the CWA was being hammered out.

Last month, a superior court judge who reviewed the 72 e-mails between Corzine and Katz and Tom Shea (Corzine's former chief of staff) and Katz ruled that the public has a right to see these e-mails. The state - in essence, Corzine - is appealing this ruling. Now, the CWA has presented evidence to the union's national board that alleges several improprieties by Katz. They include:

That Katz used union dues to pay for travel, lodging and other expenses related to her election campaign to remain union president.

Spent union funds without required oversight by the local's executive board.

Suspended an executive board member who questioned the local's expenditures.

These are some fairly serious charges, charges that should make New Jerseyans wonder about just what might have gone on during the negotiations last year that led to a new contract for state workers that did not do enough to relieve the burden on state taxpayers that our bloated and over-compensated state workforce represents.

The judge said these e-mails should be public. He was right. The longer Katz and Corzine fight their release, the more New Jerseyans should question the integrity of both of them and ask what went on when they negotiated a contract worth billions of dollars in taxpayer money.


Dem candidate opposes union democracy

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