Organizers treated like racketeers, extortionists

Related UFCW-Smithfield Foods stories: here
More RICO stories: here

RICO trial has UFCW on defense

A union did nothing wrong in peacefully applying economic pressure in its attempt to organize thousands of workers at the world's largest hog-slaughtering plant, the union's lawyer told a federal judge Monday. An attorney for Smithfield Foods Inc. disagreed, arguing that the union demanded a sham election and committed extortion by insisting that the company give up its right to urge workers to vote against representation by the United Food and Commercial Workers International.

The union wants U.S. District Judge Robert Payne to rule in its favor rather than let Smithfield's lawsuit against the union go to trial. Payne did not issue a ruling, and the hearing was scheduled to resume Tuesday.

The Smithfield, Va.-based meat company claims the union and other defendants violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute, which was originally designed to fight organized crime, in its efforts to unionize Smithfield's slaughterhouse in Tar Heel, N.C.

A central issue in Monday's hearing was whether the union really advocated a bogus election or whether the idea was never taken seriously after being mentioned by a union official who had no real bargaining authority.

Robert Weinberg, a lawyer for the union, acknowledged that the proposal would be illegal if it could be attributed to the union. But he said it was just mentioned at a meeting by a local union official from Florida and quickly disregarded. He said subsequent letters from the union suggesting a framework for a union election overseen by a third party made it clear the sham election was never an official union proposal.

Smithfield attorney Thomas G. Slater cited union documents listing a "shoebox election" as a possibility. He described such an election as having workers drop their ballots in a shoebox and declaring the union victorious without counting the votes.

Weinberg disputed that characterization. He said the union uses the term "shoebox election" for an election overseen by an independent third party other than the National Labor Relations Board.

Slater also said the union's demand for neutrality in a proposed election was extortion because it sought to take away a property right -- the right to speak out against union representation.

Weinberg said the demand could not be viewed legally as taking a property right.

Slater said the union also engaged in other activities -- including boycotts and a negative public relations campaign -- designed to "force Smithfield to throw in the towel" and allow union representation without an election.

Weinberg said courts have consistently upheld the right to apply economic pressure, without violence or the threat of violence, to achieve a lawful objective.

Lawyers for several organizations and individuals affiliated with the union also disputed allegations that their clients illegally conspired to pressure Smithfield into unionization.

Smithfield attorney Gregory Robertson said those defendants were actively engaged in the campaign, which he was more about gaining more money and power for the union than simply holding a fair election.


Union-backed voter-fraud aids Barack

More ACORN stories: hereMore Citizens Services stories: here

From Little ACORNs Grow Big Scandals

A community organization, with longstanding ties to Barack Obama, has, according to numerous reports, repeatedly run afoul of voter registration laws both locally and nationally.

Mr. Obama worked for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now's Project Vote voter-registration campaign in 1992 after graduating from Harvard Law School. He directed a successful voter-registration campaign, credited with electing Carol Moseley-Braun to the U.S. Senate. Primarily targeting African-Americans, Mr. Obama's efforts added an estimated 125,000 voters to the rolls.

He also participated on a team of attorneys working on behalf of ACORN. They filed a 1995 lawsuit, which required the state of Illinois to implement the federal "motor-voter" bill. He still maintains a relationship with the organization. Mr. Obama's campaign had to file amended federal election reports in August. They paid more than $800,000 to Citizens Services Inc. (CSI), an ACORN subsidiary, to turn out for the campaign during the primaries. However, the campaign listed CSI's activities as polling, advance work and staging major events.

ACORN has a checkered past - and present. It is a grassroots political organization founded by Wade Rathke and George Wiley, both of whom were community organizers for the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO).

That checkered past also has turned up locally.

Philadelphia election officials recently accused ACORN, of filing multiple fraudulent voter registrations during the 2008 Pennsylvania primary. The case has been referred to the U.S. Attorney's office, according to Philadelphia Deputy Election Commissioner Fred Voight.

Delaware County election officials have made similar allegations against the group, and criminal indictments are pending.

This past July 24, Dauphin County detectives offered a $2,000 reward for information about the whereabouts of Luis R. Torres-Serrano, an ACORN worker, who was accused of submitting more than 100 fraudulent voter registrations.

ACORN's legal problems with their voter registration efforts stretch beyond state boundaries.

The Milwaukee district attorney is investigating 39 ACORN employees for criminal violations, including offering gifts to sign up voters and falsifying driver's license numbers, Social Security numbers or other information on voter registration cards.

Five ACORN employees were convicted and imprisoned in Washington state, in 2007, for what was described by Washington's Secretary of State Sam Reed, as, "was the worst case of election fraud in our state's history. It was an outrage."

"(ACORN) Workers ... said they were under pressure from the community-organizing group that hired them to sign up more voters," The Seattle Times reported . "Workers told investigators they went to the Seattle public library and filled out the voter registration forms, by using contrived names, addresses and Social Security numbers and in some cases plucked names from the phone book."

Numerous ACORN-related indictments and, or convictions, have been seeded across the country in recent years.

Four part-time ACORN employees were indicted in Kansas City, Mo., for voter registration fraud in November 2006. Two Colorado ACORN workers were sentenced to community service, in January 2005, for submitting false voter registrations.

During the 2004 election, ACORN, and its sister group Project Vote, ran a nationwide voter mobilization drive that was rife with allegations of voter fraud. A worker for one ACORN affiliate in Ohio was allegedly given crack cocaine in exchange for fraudulent registrations that included underage voters, dead voters and voters named Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Jive Turkey. Four Ohio ACORN employees were indicted by a federal grand jury for submitting false voter registration forms.

Messrs. Rathke and Wiley formed ACORN in the early 1970s, expanding their involvement beyond welfare recipients to all issues touching low-income and working-class people. According to Discoverthenetworks.org, they enlisted civil rights workers and trained them in a program at Syracuse University patterned after the Saul Alinsky school of activist tactics in Chicago.

Today, ACORN is the largest community organization of low- and moderate-income people in America, with over 400,000 member families organized into more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in 110 cities across the country.

ACORN founded the Working Families Party in New York in 1998. They endorsed Hillary Clinton for her Senate campaign that year. Canvassers from ACORN and its sister groups launched a statewide voter-mobilization drive that proved influential in Mrs. Clinton's victory.
Yet, opponents say ACORN has violated its own mission not to mention numerous laws meant to protect poor and working class citizens and voters.

The New York Times reported in July 2008 that a whistleblower forced the organization to publicly disclose an embezzlement of almost $1 million in 1999 and 2000, involving Dale Rathke, the brother of the organization's founder Wade Rathke.

Some ACORN executives kept the information from board members and did not tell law enforcement. Meanwhile, Dale Rathke remained on the payroll until June 2008, when disclosure of his theft forced the organization to dismiss him.

"We thought it best at the time to protect the organization, as well as to get the funds back into the organization, to deal with it in-house," said ACORN President Maude Hurd. "It was a judgment call at the time, and looking back, people can agree or disagree with it, but we did what we thought was right."

The Consumers Rights League spokesman Jim Terry said, "ACORN has a long and sordid history of employing convoluted Enron-style accounting to illegally use taxpayer funds for their own political gain. Now it looks like ACORN is using the same type of convoluted accounting scheme for Obama's political gain."

ACORN did not respond to requests for a statement. However, they did refer to a statement by Ms. Hurd, in a Sept. 12 press release, saying, "ACORN has NEVER been indicted for voter fraud, violating elections laws or encouraging ineligible citizens to vote."


Unionist ducks EFCA debate

More EFCA stories: here
Related story: "Ex-U.S. Rep. David Bonior, Michigan DINO"

Unions want to cover-up their jihad against secret-ballot elections

Last month, the Center for Union Facts (CUF) challenged the American Rights at Work (ARAW) to debate the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which is a defining issue for labor this election year. EFCA has gained nationwide attention in the 2008 election as groups on both sides of the debate are spending tens of millions of dollars advertising on this issue alone.

But with legislation like EFCA, where the effects on working Americans are as complicated as they are far reaching, the public deserves a more thorough debate on the subject than has been offered to date.

With that in mind we asked that David Bonoir, chairman of ARAW, join us in debating the issue and its impact on the American workforce at the National Press Club between now and Election Day. The Center for Union Facts delivered this debate challenge in a letter (full text below) to Mr. Bonoir on August 22, 2008. He has not yet responded to our invitation:

"I hope Mr. Bonoir will give working Americans what they deserve, an open and honest debate on the effects of this important legislation," said Center for Union Facts Executive Director Rick Berman.

Dear Chairman Bonior,

The 2008 election season is set to be a defining moment in American labor history.

The Employee Free Choice Act --which the labor union movement has put at the forefront of its 2008 political agenda--has far-reaching implications for America's workforce. The economic, social, and political ramifications will be felt for generations to come.

Our organization feels passionately about the negative impact that this legislation would have on the American economy and individual rights. And it is clear from your defense of card-check unionization that you feel equally passionate in your position.

Thus, in the great history of American political discourse, I would like to challenge you to debate the Employee Free Choice Act and its impact on the American workforce at the National Press Club.

I believe that a debate would provide an ample opportunity for the public to better understand the issue, and would provide a forum for a respectful discussion. The discourse created by the debate could propel this issue to the forefront of the national consciousness and give "card-check" the attention and media focus it rightly deserves. I hope that you are willing to join me in further exploring this important legislation.

Richard Berman
Center For Union Facts

The Center for Union Facts (www.unionfacts.com) is a non-profit organization supported by foundations, businesses, union members, and the general public. For more information or to schedule an interview contact Tim Miller at 202-463-7106.


ACORN: We're gonna beat McCain down

More ACORN stories: here

Woeful labor-state weighs worker-choice option

More worker-choice stories: here
Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Scheme would end workers' forced tribute to unions as a precondition of employment

West Michigan's top economic developer said Michigan should be a Right to Work state to encourage more job growth. Birgit Klohs, president of The Right Place Inc., said the perception of the state as a union stronghold keeps it off lists for businesses looking at job creation projects.

Klohs said a Right to Work law would be a step toward changing that perception, but also that more needs to be done to help train Michigan's work force for higher skilled jobs in a wider array of industries.

On that point she and William Black, legislative and community affairs director for Michigan Teamsters, agreed.

Black said Right to Work states tend to have lower wages where women make less and manufacturing jobs are more likely to be cut.

He said unions need to work with employers to support training efforts to help modernize workforces.

"When we get together there needs to be a roundtable with labor and management about how to fix the economic problems in the state," Black said.

. With a show of hands, a strong majority of the more than 100 people attending the Thursday afternoon session said they believed Michigan should be a Right to Work state. Only three people in the room raised their hands in opposition to the idea.

Panel member Stan Greer, a Right to Work advocate and project director for National Institute for Labor Relations Research, said Right to Work states have far exceeded others in new job creation.

"If you look at the 15 states in the United States with the highest percentage of unions and the 15 states with lowest percentage, the 15 states with lowest percentage have three times the job growth."


SEIU bigs Stern, Burger sued by members

More SEIU stories: hereAndy Stern stories: hereAnna Burger stories: here

Workers are angry that dues were misused by SEIU officials

Millions in union dues used to retaliate against healthcare workers and chill free speech; internal email reveals national officials trumped up charges against members of SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West to justify a hostile takeover of their union.

Twenty-eight elected rank-and-file members of SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW) filed a lawsuit against SEIU President Andy Stern and Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger charging the two national officers violated SEIU members' right to free speech and equal participation in their union, guaranteed by Title I of the U.S. Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday charges that Stern "has engaged in a relentless and pervasive campaign that ... intimidated and chilled dissent and criticism of his policies, decisions and actions." Further, the suit charges that Stern used millions of dollars of SEIU members' dues money to finance this internal war aimed at orchestrating the "implosion" of the 150,000-member healthcare union.

"A union is supposed to be a way for workers to strengthen our own voices by joining together," said Michael Torres, a respiratory therapist at USC University Hospital in Los Angeles and a plaintiff in the suit. "It's unbelievable that Andy Stern and Anna Burger would go to these extremes to weaken our union and silence SEIU members. These attacks are worse than what we've seen from even our worst anti-union employer."

[Read the lawsuit: http://www.seiuvoice.org/downloads/FILED_COMPLAINT.pdf]

The lawsuit cites a private email from national SEIU official Bill Regan to other top SEIU officials including Stephen Lerner, Thomas Debruin, Kirk Adams, Denise Poloyac and counsel Edgar James. The email does not mention concerns about UHW's finances or any other legitimate grounds for trusteeship. Instead, the email reveals that the goal of the effort was to remove UHW's elected leaders for political reasons.

It outlines a secret plan by top SEIU officials to use whatever means necessary to remove UHW's elected leaders, including orchestrating the "implosion" of UHW, dismembering the union by abusing SEIU's power over local union jurisdiction, exploiting "pockets of dissatisfaction" among UHW members, recruiting away key local union staff, filing lawsuits against UHW, initiating regulatory actions against UHW with the U.S. Department of Labor, and taking control of UHW through a trusteeship. SEIU has scheduled a trusteeship hearing for UHW next week.

SEIU members' lawsuit charges that Andy Stern and Anna Burger:
-- sought a trusteeship of UHW for political purposes and in violation of
requirements set out in federal law and in SEIU's Constitution;

-- spread lies about UHW's elected leaders among UHW members - using
mailings leaflets and recorded phone calls - seeking to undermine
members' confidence in their elected leaders, and among SEIU locals
to remind all members and officers of the consequences of dissent;

-- collaborated with anti-union employers to undermine UHW's
organizing and collective bargaining efforts;

-- knowingly filed a frivolous lawsuit as a public relations handle for
attacking UHW's elected leaders;

-- "carpet-bombed" the entire SEIU leadership nationwide with
negative publicity, attacks and threats of retaliation aimed at UHW,
sending an unmistakable message that any dissent would be met with an
iron fist.
The suit notes that Stern and Burger sought to weaken UHW by forcing 65,000 long-term care members into SEIU Local 6434, whose president, Stern protege Tyrone Freeman, is now under investigation for possible fraud.

UHW's more than 80 rank-and-file executive board members work in hospitals, homecare, and nursing homes across California, and are elected by their co-workers to lead the union. A trusteeship would replace them with one appointed trustee accountable only to Stern and Burger in Washington, D.C.

With more than 150,000 members, SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the fastest-growing healthcare union in the United States. We represent healthcare workers in all job classifications and all healthcare settings, including hospitals, homecare, nursing homes and clinics. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all.

Contact Sadie Crabtree, 323-365-2083
SOURCE: SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West


Nurses to decertify CNA by card-check

More decertification stories: here

More members questioning union dues

Employees for Self-Representation say they need less than 50 registered nurses at Fremont-Rideout Health Group to sign a petition to decertify the California Nurses Association without an election. That goal, Self Representation representatives said, is within their grasp.

"We're getting really close," said Jan Brundage, spokeswoman for the employee group and registered nurse at the Feather River Surgery Center. "We're less than 50 signatures away." Brundage said they need a total of 235 signatures to decertify the union without an election. Roughly 450 nurses are employed by Fremont-Rideout.

Pro-union nurses said that number is surprising to them. Efforts to decertify CNA, the union that was voted in to represent nurses in contract negotiations in August 2006, began in October 2007.

Brundage said the employee group has stepped up efforts to decertify the union recently after nurses at Fremont and Rideout hospitals began asking about the status of the election to decertify.

"Many are willing to sign because they know they can remain anonymous," she said. Some nurses "don't want pro-union people to know they are signing because pro-union nurses are very vocal and intimidating."

There are two ways to decertify a union, according to the National Labor Relations Board. The first is to obtain signatures of 30 percent or more of employees in order to hold an election to decertify. That number was achieved in October.

Brundage said the union has filed several unfair labor practice charges to halt the process.

"As long as ULPs are filed, the labor board can't conduct an election," she said. "CNA is still holding nurses hostage by filing these ULPs."

The NLRB is considering eight unfair labor complaints filed by CNA. A decision on those is expected in November.

Heather Avalos, a registered nurse in the Rideout Memorial Hospital Intensive Care Unit and union bargaining team member, said she hopes these charges will side with pro-union nurses and put pressure on the administration to continue contract negotiations.

Negotiations have been at a standstill since the final offer was made by the hospital administration in January and nurses voted to reject that offer.

The second way for nurses to decertify CNA is to obtain signatures from 50 percent or more of the members, which would automatically decertify the union without an election.

An advertisement that appeared in the Sept. 13 edition of the Appeal-Democrat — paid for by the Self Representation group, solicits signatures to obtain that necessary 50 percent — asks how long nurses will let this process go on.

The ad claims CNA filed 48 unfair labor practices against the hospital to postpone a decertification election and that the $500,000 the union will make in dues will not stay in the community.

"If the union is giving you their best, take a look at how they did it and at the expense of nurses," the ad stated. "CNA has done nor lost anything. To CNA it's just a waiting game."

Petitions to decertify are being sent to a welding business in Yuba City.

Nurses at the Feather River Surgery Center successfully decertified the union last October. Brundage said nurses at the surgery center have received pay raises and speak directly with administration since decertifying CNA. Nurses still represented by CNA have not experienced either.

Union supporters, though, said they were not aware the Employees for Self-Representation had that many signatures.

"That's surprising to me," Avalos said. "There's no change in union support. Nurses who were pro-union continue to be pro-union."

Avalos said she thought many of the signatures the Employees for Self Representation collected contained names of licensed vocational nurses and management, neither of which are protected by the union and therefore could not participate in trying to decertify it.

"If that's the case, they will all need to be verified and weeded out," she said.

Avalos said she does not receive incentives to participate in the union's bargaining team, despite what that advertisement in the Appeal-Democrat stated.

"I don't know what perks they're talking about," Avalos said. "Bargaining members have put so many hours that are unpaid into bargaining."


UPS welcomes Teamsters with card-check

More UPS Freight-Teamsters stories: herecard-check stories: here

Ask Brown: Why trouble workers with an election?

International Brotherhood of Teamsters today said that an "overwhelming majority" of about 660 workers at the UPS Freight terminal in Hampden Twp. have signed cards to become Teamsters.

The workers will join Teamsters Local 776 in Harrisburg, pending certification of the signatures by the National Labor Relations Board. An election isn't needed as the Teamsters and UPS Freight in 2007 negotiated an agreement to recognize card check for union membership, said Donna De La Cruz, Teamsters spokeswoman.

The terminal, formerly an Overnite Transportation facility, is the largest UPS Freight terminal in the United States, said Ira Rosenfeld, UPS Freight spokesman. "We will respect and honor their wishes," Rosenfeld said of the UPS Freight drivers and dockworkers who signed cards to become Teamsters.


AFSCME uses charitable front groups for Barack

More AFSCME stories: here

Barack taps organized labor's seemingly bottomless pit of political cash

The nation's largest public employee union has funneled more than $5 million to a series of non-profits running ads attacking Republican congressional candidates, federal election records show.

Since July, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has donated almost $5.5 million to three groups: Campaign Money Watch, Patriot Majority and Patriot Majority Midwest. Those groups have spent more than $2 million on TV ads attacking GOP Sens. Ted Stevens of Alaska and John Sununu of New Hampshire and five GOP lawmakers and House candidates in Florida, Michigan and Ohio. The ads don't mention AFSCME by name.

If the AFSCME targets lose on Nov. 4, the results could help expand the Democrats' majorities in Congress. Since January 2007, AFSCME has given more than $1.6 million to Democratic candidates.

Dozens of independent groups have paid for advertisements targeting various politicians in the past two months. AFSCME, however, stands out for the size of its contributions and the lack of clear identification of its role in paying for the advertising.

The union discloses its connection to the ads in its filings to the Federal Election Commission, says Paul Booth, executive assistant to the AFSCME president. He said the union helps finance the non-profit organizations but does not manage them.


SEIU's closed-door trial

More SEIU stories: hereAndy Stern stories: here

Dem Gov with union bigs v. workers, voters

More worker-choice stories: here

Forced-labor unionism fully supported by editors of Denver Post

A deal to pull four union-backed measures from the November ballot will cost businesses millions of dollars, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The money will probably be funneled into Colorado Businesses for Sensible Solutions, an issue committee formed Thursday by a Democratic political operative to defeat the business-backed Amendment 47 measure and two other initiatives that unions oppose.

The four union-led measures are considered counterstrikes to Amendment 47, which seeks to make Colorado a right-to-work state in which union fees could not be mandated as a condition of employment.

Well-heeled members of the Colorado business community have been working on a deal with labor to remove the union initiatives in exchange for helping with the fight against the business-led measures.

Unions spent about $2 million on grassroots voter outreach and collecting signatures to place their measures on the ballot, according to secretary-of-state filings.

The deal will have to cover those costs to provide enough incentive for unions to withdraw their measures, the source said. The business money would be spent to fight Amendment 47 and two other amendments.

Also Thursday, former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens endorsed Amendment 47.

"I have always been in favor of right to work, and I strongly support the measure," Owens, a Republican, said in a statement released by the campaign Thursday. "How can you tell somebody they have to be in a union in order to work and earn an honest living? It's a freedom issue, and it's an American issue."

Federal law already prohibits compulsory full union membership, though Amendment 47 also proposes to amend the Colorado Constitution to say that union membership cannot be mandated as a condition of employment.

Amendment 47 is being championed by brewery heir Jonathan Coors and other members of the Coors family.

The labor-backed measures seek to hold executives criminally liable under state law for corporate wrongdoing and require businesses to have "just cause" for firing workers, among other things.

Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter said he is "working night and day with a group of business leaders and many others to remove all of these measures from the ballot."

"We will not be distracted by who comes out in favor of or opposed to these measures," Ritter said in a written statement.

The deadline to pull measures from the November ballot is Oct. 2.

Previous efforts to pressure Amendment 47 backers to withdraw the measure have failed.


MM: Barack to agitate your neighbors

Related story: "Getting to know Barack: Meet Saul Alinsky" • "The audacity of Saul Alinsky"
Related Saul Alinsky stories: hereBarack Obama stories: here

Get to know community organizing, Saul Alinsky-style

Warning: If your neighbor's got an "Obama '08" bumper sticker or lawn sign, you might want to double-check your door locks at night. The One has commanded his Purveyors of Change to go forth and proselytize to the unbelievers. And they're not going to be knocking gently like Avon Ladies.

Barack Obama, you see, is done fixing souls. It's time to crack heads. Prodded by panicked Democrats to take off his white gloves, he issued a Call to Strong Arm to his legions of angry followers on Wednesday. Hope is out. Hellfire is in. Now, the same analysts who tut-tutted Sarah Palin's mild use of sarcasm at the GOP convention are heralding -- in the words of the Obama water-carriers at the Associated Press -- Obama's "feistier, more sarcastic tone" and his push for Democrat activists "to sharpen their elbows, too."

When Republicans get aggressive, it's "dirty." When Obama gets aggressive, it's "feisty." Exorteth the One: "I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face."

Team Obama is so committed to this "face-to-face" shock troop campaign that it is now busing activists from state to state ("Drive for Change!") to target undecided voters -- and offering subsidies to volunteers. In advance of Obama's rally in Nevada, California field director Mary Jane Stevenson organized a pilgrimage to boost the crowd numbers with housing incentives:

"Face-to-face contact with undecided voters is the single most effective way to grow this movement. No experience is required, and we'll help you make the trip as easily as possible with either housing in Nevada or discounted group rates at an area hotel."

Yep, a bunch of angry Obama cultists and left-wing ACORN drifters are coming to your neighborhoods to accuse you of racism, call you unpatriotic for not bowing down and forking over more taxes to keep the Mother Ship afloat, and check your tire pressure and thermostats while they're at it. Feel the power of positive change.

The in-your-face directive comes as Team Obama Chicago-fies its tactics by:

-- Stepping up sleazy ads. Tthe latest one twisted the words of radio talk giant Rush Limbaugh in a laughable attempt to paint John McCain as an immigration hardliner and stir fear among Hispanic voters;

-- Doubling down on the race card. Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius shamelessly baited supporters with this line: "Have any of you noticed that Barack Obama is part African-American? (Republicans) are not going to go lightly into the darkness;"

-- And suppressing dissent. Rebuffed by the Justice Department in their efforts to prosecute conservatives for running ads critical of Obama's ties to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, the campaign is using an army of supporters to mob radio and television stations daring to air investigations of the relationship. The foot soldiers receive their marching orders through "Obama Action Wires" and bombard critics with disruptive phone calls.

Meanwhile, the Left's Sarah Palin hatred has been encouraged by the in-your-face comments of Michelle Obama, who derided the Alaska governor's intellect ("What you learn about Barack from his choice is that he's not afraid of smart people") and looks (don't cast a vote because "she's cute") on the campaign trail. And Team Obama's goons on the Internet -- led by Gawker Media and the Huffington Post -- are reveling in the hacking of Palin's private e-mail account, the publication of private, family photos of her children stolen from her account, and the abuse of daughter Bristol's cell phone number stolen from the account. For countless friends of Obama, "in your face" is code for "anything goes."

In words and actions that would have made his mentor Saul Alinsky proud, Barack Obama is rubbing raw the sores of discontent -- and summoning his unhinged flock to do the same. All hail the community-agitator-in-chief. And remember: Lock your doors.

- Michelle Malkin


Labor-state teachers strike is a big loser

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Community, kids gets lessons in union organizing

It’s hard to predict the outcome of the Souderton Area School District strike. But it goes without saying, before the teachers decide to put their picket signs down, the price tag is going up.

Parents and students are taking a hit. Children have nowhere to spend afternoons once occupied in the classroom. The cost of childcare, plus the gas to get them there, is a burden. While teachers are somewhat insulated from lost wages because 180 school days will have to be fulfilled, the average teacher could lose $3,000 in pay because of the strike.

According to Bill Lukridge, president of the teachers union, teachers stand to lose 5 percent of their salary. Based on the average salary in the district ($61,630 for the 2005-06 school year) that comes to about $3,000.

School board solicitor Jeffrey Sultanik sounded surprised that it took the union so long to realize there was salary at stake.

“There’s a price to be paid for going on strike,” Sultanik said.

Teachers, who have been on strike since Sept. 2, do not get a paycheck during the strike, but will receive checks after they are forced to return to work on Wednesday as the sides move into nonbinding arbitration. If no deal is reached, teachers could strike again in the spring, but would have to return after about a week to guarantee students will get 180 days of schooling.

What the teachers will lose is the in-service days in their contracts. The teachers worked three of those days in August, but nine remain.

Sultanik said the district does not intend to make up the nine in-service days.

“They already lost the days of the strike,” Sultanik said. “And in our opinion, it’s not our intention to make up those days.”

The union estimates the district would save nearly $1.5 million from the work stoppage by not having to pay teachers for those nine days. And, it argues, that $1.5 million is enough to close nearly the entire gap between the school board and union’s health plan proposals.

“If the union is willing to give up those makeup days, we are willing to talk about that in terms of the overall context of the bargaining,” Sultanik said.


Union criminals gained on Feds in August

Dept. of Labor winds down union fraud, embezzlement cases in nod to incoming Obama Administration

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) today announced its criminal enforcement data for August 2008. During the month, OLMS obtained eight convictions, 10 indictments and restitution totaling nearly $120,000.

The office's totals for fiscal year 2008 (which began on Oct. 1, 2007) now stand at 96 convictions and 122 indictments, with restitution of more than $3,160,000. The bulk of the cases involved the embezzlement of union funds.

"OLMS' law enforcement efforts continue to yield substantial results for union members. Our investigations protect union members by punishing those who abuse their positions of trust," said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Labor-Management Standards Don Todd. "Since 2001, OLMS investigations have led to the convictions of almost 900 individuals and restitution of more than $91 million."

OLMS is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for administering most provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). The agency's criminal enforcement program includes investigations of embezzlement from labor organizations, extortionate picketing, deprivation of union members' rights by force or violence, and fraud in union officer elections. The agency's civil program receives and publicly discloses unions' annual financial reports, conducts compliance audits of labor unions and seeks civil remedies for violations of officer election procedures. In certain cases, OLMS also conducts joint investigations with other Labor Department agencies, including the Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Office of Inspector General, as well as other law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

OLMS' public disclosure Web site at http://www.unionreports.gov contains union annual financial reports and additional reports required to be filed under the LMRDA as well as copies of collective bargaining agreements. Other information, including synopses of OLMS enforcement actions, is available at http://www.olms.dol.gov.

Editor's Notes: A listing of selected OLMS enforcement actions during August 2008 accompanies this release. An indictment is the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal charges and indictments noted in these materials are accusations only.

U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.

Selected Enforcement Actions in August 2008

Office of Labor-Management Standards

U.S. Department of Labor


Former Union Officers Sentenced for Making False Statements

On Aug. 4, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Esau Faaitiiti and Arthur Clark, former president and vice president, respectively, of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 12 (located in San Diego, Calif.), were sentenced to five years probation and 60 hours community service, and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and a $25 penalty assessment. Also, Faaitiiti and Clark were ordered to make joint restitution totaling $22,124.28, with Clark ordered to make additional restitution in the amount of $10,865. On March 20, Faaitiiti and Clark pleaded guilty to making false statements. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office.

Former Boilermakers Local Lodge 523 President Sentenced for Embezzling More Than $16,000

On Aug. 7, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, James E. Kay, former president of Boilermakers Local Lodge 523 (located in Sandersville, Ga.), was sentenced to six months home confinement, four years of supervised released and a $5,000 fine. Also, Kay was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $5,642.41. Kay previously made restitution in the amount of approximately $11,000. On April 9, Kay pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $16,979.36. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Atlanta District Office.

Former Utility Workers Local 308 Officer Sentenced for Embezzling More Than $31,000

On Aug. 14, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Amy Cross, former secretary-treasurer of Utility Workers Local 308 (located in Lima, Ohio), was sentenced to three months of home confinement and two years supervised release, and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $31,886. On April 30, Cross pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the same amount. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office.

Former Machinists Local Lodge 2333 President Sentenced for Bank Fraud

On Aug. 14, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Brian Dolney, former president of Machinists Local Lodge 2333 (located in Dayton, Ohio), was sentenced to eight months home confinement, five years of supervised release, 100 hours of community service and a $100 fine. Also, Dolney was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $11,565.61. On April 14, Dolney pleaded guilty to committing one count of bank fraud in the amount of $11,565.61. Machinist Lodge 2333 has since merged into Machinists Lodge 225. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.

Guilty Pleas

Former Union Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Union Funds

On Aug. 12, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Roxanne Eye, former treasurer of Office and Professional Employees Local 339 (located in Kent, Ohio), pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds in the amount of $9,296. On June 10, Eye was indicted for embezzling union funds in the same amount. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office.

Former Union President Pleads Guilty to Theft of Union Funds

On Aug. 13, in the County Court of Fremont County, Colo., Jamie Solis, former president of Steelworkers Local 594 (located in Canon City, Colo.), pleaded guilty to theft of union funds. On Dec. 20, 2007, Solis was indicted for theft of union funds with a value of $500 or more but less than $15,000. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Denver District Office.

Former Union President Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Union Funds

On Aug. 20, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Willie Chambers, former president of International Guards Union of America Local 124 (located in Hooks, Texas), pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds in the amount of $6,805. The plea follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Dallas District Office and the FBI's Dallas Division.

Former Steelworkers Local 20 Executive Vice President Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Union


On Aug. 22, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Randy Sanders, former executive vice president of Steelworkers Local 20 (located in Kaukauna, Wis.), pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzling union funds in the amount of $762.48 and agreed to make restitution in the amount of $7,300. On May 20, Sanders was indicted on 13 counts of embezzling union funds in the amount of $3,298.66. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office.

Criminal Charges and Indictments*

Former Union Employee Charged with Embezzling More Than $27,000 in Union Funds

On Aug. 1, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, an information was filed charging Roberta Dauch, former secretary of North Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council (located in Sandusky, Ohio), with embezzling union funds in the amount of $27,537. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office.

Former Roofers Local 37 Employee Indicted for Embezzling More Than $23,000

On Aug. 6, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Anne O'Rourke, former office secretary of Roofers Local 37 (located in Pittsburgh, Pa.), was charged with one count of embezzling union funds in the approximate amount of $23,056.91 and one count of falsifying union records. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office.

Union President Charged with Embezzling approximately $450,000 in Union Funds

On Aug. 6, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, Jose Luis Caraballo, president of Obreros Unidos del Sur de PR IND NHQ (located in Salinas, Puerto Rico), was indicted on two counts of embezzling union funds. Caraballo is alleged to have embezzled $400,000 under the guise of medical reimbursements and payments for services rendered, meals and car expenses, and unlawfully and willfully converting $49,500 for his own use in the form of a manager's check. The indictment follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Atlanta District Office and the FBI.

Former AFGE Local 900 Officer Charged with Making False Statements

On Aug. 7, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Edna Latimore, former treasurer of AFGE Local 900 (located in St. Louis, Mo.), was charged with one count of making false statements on the
local's Form LM-3. Latimore is alleged to have omitted approximately $77,000 in unauthorized payments to herself from the report. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS St. Louis District Office.

Former ILWU Local 26 Bookkeeper Charged with Embezzling Approximately $108,000

On Aug. 8, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Rosa Miriam Della Porta, former bookkeeper of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 26 (located in Los Angeles, Calif.), was indicted on one count of embezzling approximately $108,000 in union funds. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Los Angeles District Office.

Former CWA Local 88667 Officer Charged with Embezzling Union Funds

On Aug.12, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Michael R. Rhoades, former secretary-treasurer of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 88667 (located in Latrobe, Pa.), was charged in a one count indictment with embezzling union funds in the amount of $8,001.86. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office.

Former Steelworkers Local 1124 President Charged with Embezzling More Than $15,000

On Aug. 19, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Kenneth Saltz Jr., former president of Steelworkers Local 1124 (located in Massillon, Ohio) was indicted for embezzling $15,809 in union funds and making false entries in union records. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office.

Former Union Employee Charged with Embezzlement

On Aug. 20, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Rebecca Montgomery, former bookkeeper/office secretary of Machinist Eastern Regional Office (located in Cincinnati, Ohio), was indicted on one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $508.92. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.

Former Steelworkers' Employee Charged with Embezzling More Than $87,000 in Union Funds

On Aug. 26, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Donna J. Simpson, former secretary of Steelworkers District 10 (located in North Versailles, Pa.), was indicted on one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $87,823.18. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office.

Enforcement Actions and Civil Complaints

SEIU Local 1107 Enters into Voluntary Compliance Agreement with OLMS

On Aug. 1, OLMS entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with the Service Employees International Union Local 1107 (located in Las Vegas, Nev.), concerning the challenged election of officers conducted on Sept. 4 and 5, 2007. The union agreed to conduct, under OLMS supervision, a new election for the positions of president, executive vice president, secretary, trustee (three positions), vice president for the City of Las Vegas Housing Authority, chief steward for the City of Las Vegas Housing Authority, nursing chief steward for St. Rose San Martin, vice president for Sunrise Hospital and nursing chief for University Medical Center. The OLMS investigation disclosed that all candidates were not given equal access to union steward lists which some candidates used to make campaign phone calls, employer resources were used to collect contributions that were donated to a slate's campaign fund, and employer funds were used in preparing and mailing campaign literature. The agreement follows an investigation by the OLMS San Francisco District Office.

U.S. Department of Labor Files Suit to Set Aside AFGE National Union Officer Election

On Aug.11, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the department filed suit against the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) (located in Washington, D.C.). The lawsuit seeks to void the May 17, 2008, election for District 2 AFGE national vice president and have a new election, under OLMS supervision, for that position. The suit alleges that the union denied a member in good standing the right to run for office. The lawsuit follows an investigation by the OLMS Washington District Office.

Court Approves Stipulation Agreement between U.S. Department of Labor and Union

On Aug. 13, the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico approved a stipulation of settlement between the U.S. Department of Labor and the Union Laboral Puertorriquena Trabajadodres de la Puerto Rico Cement Co. (located in Ponce, Puerto Rico). The settlement resulted from the department's April 14 complaint against the union challenging its October 2007 election of officers. The OLMS investigation of the challenged election disclosed that the union failed to provide a reasonable opportunity for members to nominate candidates for office. The parties agreed that the Department of Labor will supervise new nominations and officer elections on or before October 31, 2008. The settlement follows an investigation by the OLMS Atlanta District Office.

IUOE Local 520 Enters into Voluntary Compliance Agreement with OLMS

On Aug. 14, OLMS entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with the International Union of Operation Engineers (IUOE) Local 520 (located in Granite City, Ill.), concerning the election of officers conducted on Aug. 10, 2007. The union agreed to conduct, under OLMS supervision, a new election for the positions of business manager, president, vice president, recording-corresponding secretary, treasurer and financial secretary. The OLMS investigation of the challenged election disclosed that union funds were used in the preparation of campaign literature. The agreement follows an investigation by the OLMS St. Louis District Office.

Bakery Workers Local 253 Enters into Voluntary Compliance Agreement with OLMS

On Aug. 18, OLMS entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with Bakery Workers Local 253 (located in Cincinnati, Ohio) concerning a challenged election of officers conducted on Nov. 16 and 17, 2007. The union agreed to conduct, under OLMS supervision, new nominations and an election for the position of sergeant at arms. The OLMS investigation of the challenged election revealed that an ineligible candidate ran for sergeant at arms. The agreement follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati District Office.

U.S. Department of Labor Files Suit Against Teamsters Local 886

On Aug. 29, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, the department filed suit against Teamsters Local 886 (located in Oklahoma City, Okla.). The lawsuit seeks to nullify the Oct. 9, 2007, election for secretary-treasurer and one trustee, and seeks a new election for those officer positions under OLMS supervision. The complaint alleges that the union denied members in good standing their right to vote, permitted ineligible persons to vote and failed to allow candidate observers to view portions of the election process. The lawsuit follows an investigation by the OLMS Dallas District Office.

* An indictment is the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal charges and indictments noted in these materials are accusations only.

U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.


Jumbo government union endorses Barack

Community organizer wins praise from unionists

The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), a union representing 100,000 federal government workers nationwide, enthusiastically endorses Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States of America. The decision came late Wednesday afternoon, as NFFE's National Executive Council voted unanimously to endorse the Senator from Illinois. Citing his strong record of advocacy for federal workers, the Council came to a decision to endorse Senator Obama after months of maintaining a neutral stance in the 2008 campaign.

"There is simply too much at stake in this election for federal workers to stay on the sidelines," said Richard N. Brown, National President of the National Federation of Federal Employees. "In the face of a rapidly eroding economy and a Republican candidate with a professed lack of support for federal employees, we are ready and eager to fight for positive change in the White House."

During his time in the Senate, Obama has shown great leadership in facing down the key issues that matter most to federal employees and their families. A stalwart supporter of improving federal employee health benefits, funding critical agencies like the VA and DoD, protecting collective bargaining rights, and ending no-bid government contracts, Senator Obama has shown he is ready and able to serve as the Chief Executive of the United States.

"Senator Obama has demonstrated, in both his words and deeds, a profound respect for civil servants and the vital role they play in making our government work for America every day," said Brown. "We offer our undivided and enthusiastic support, and will do whatever it takes to make sure that Barack Obama is the next President of this great nation."

"There are 2 million federal workers in this country - and they vote," said Brown.


Striking IAM risks another decertification

Related IAM-Boeing stories: heredecert stories: herestrike stories: here

Intransigent union is also a crafty political player

The announcement of yet another delay in the Air Force tanker award is disappointing and frustrating to the people of Mobile and the Southeast. This is nothing more than payback for union contributions to politicians.

However, it may be a blessing in disguise if the International Association of Machinists' strike is successful in forcing Boeing into an expensive contract. The Boeing re-bid will be far more expensive than the Northrop-EADS tanker.

The International Association of Machinists is the most intransigent union in the country today. They decimated the airline industry by destroying Eastern Airlines and its 33,000 jobs, including mine, 17 years ago. More recently, they were decertified by the mechanics at United and Northwest Airlines.

Hopefully, after the elections we will have the final decision made and can get on with defending America.

JOHN McELHANEY, Retired Captain, Eastern Airlines, Daphne, AL


News unionist defends community organizing

More ACORN stories: herecollectivism stories: here

ACORN's inconvenient voter-fraud ignored by leftist commentators

For months, I've been leading kind of a single-minded existence, writing a book about the little known and little understood field of community organizing through the lens of ACORN, the largest grass-roots organizing group in the country.

Imagine my amazement when I looked up from my computer screen about two weeks ago and noticed that community organizing had taken center stage in the presidential campaign spats.

Although I could hardly believe my eyes and ears, there were the Republicans' featured speakers at their national convention, lacing into community organizing as a fringy, freaky, suspect, navel-gazing, Sixties-inspired form of self-indulgent radicalism. Or, as Mike Huckabee insinuated, the brainchild of "European ideas."

The GOP has unleashed such a barrage of bogus claims since the convention that you could be forgiven for feeling like the orchestrated series of smears against community organizing in St. Paul has been bypassed by talk of wolves, pit bulls, barracudas, and lipstick on pigs.

But I'm here to tell you why it's imperative that we keep the phony attacks against organizers in the public debate.

McCain's supporters ridiculed Obama's community organizing work. Remember that Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani, and George Pataki claim to represent real Americans and to paint Barack Obama as an elitist who held a bogus job called community organizer. In making that equation, they showed ignorance and contempt for the kinds of actions that bind our democracy together and for the everyday people the Republicans claim to represent.

Just this past Sunday on Meet the Press, Giuliani kept up the attack against community organizers saying wrongly that Obama like Saul Alinsky had a philosophy that is"...almost socialist..."

The Republican strategy of smearing community organizing has backfired, unleashing an unprecedented run of sustained media interest in the role of community organizing in American life and a torrent of impassioned essays by organizers and their supporters explaining what the work has meant to them and their communities.

At the ServiceNation forum at Columbia University on Sept. 11, McCain backpedaled in his response to Judy Woodruff's question about whether he agreed with the attacks on organizers, declaring, "Of course I respect people who serve their communities. Senator Obama's service in that area is outstanding."

But he did not miss an opportunity to take a shot at Obama, seeming to blame him for the ugliness of the campaigns' exchanges in recent days.

"I think what happened was it was a reaction to the Obama campaign saying--and denigrating the fact that she [Palin] had been mayor of a small town," McCain said, referring to Sarah Palin's caustic remarks at the Republican convention that unfavorably compared community organizers with small-town mayors like her.

The candidate of the personal responsibility party doesn't believe his vice presidential candidate should take any responsibility for her actions.

Woodruff just let it go. She should have asked, Are you saying that Sen. Obama made Palin, Giuliani, Pataki, and Romney lie? Don't they bear any responsibility for misleading the public?

And by the way, where was Obama on this? While McCain remained in campaign mode, Obama's response to Woodruff was surprise about the comments on community organizers. Obama should have given a more impassioned response, pointing out the Republican lies.

McCain may want to distance himself from his surrogates' ugly rhetoric, but he can't have it both ways. If he wants to praise organizers for their service to the nation, he's got to step up to the plate and admit that the attempt to marginalize community organizing as effete and un-American is a big mistake. As it stands, his response to Woodruff speaks disturbing volumes about the kind of leadership he would bring to our country.

I am almost finished writing my book, which I hope will push back at this pernicious conservative strategy in the latest round of the culture wars. We need others to come out and tell the story why community organizing is as American as apple pie.

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