Rude union bigs skip worker-choice debate

More worker-choice stories: hereMore union-dues stories: here
• "Union bigs terrified by worker-choice scheme"
• "Dem Gov with union bigs v. workers, voters"

MSM mavens flabbergasted by union rope-a-dope v. voters

Union bigs terrified of worker choiceIn what is being called a “bizarre strategic move,” opponents of the so-called right-to-work initiative opted out of a crucial debate Friday with proponents of the measure, leaving the floor open solely to a one-sided argument.

Union allies with Protect Colorado’s Future and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 declined to participate in the KBDI-Channel 12 “Colorado Decides” debate series concerning Amendments 47 and 49 unless perceived anti-union Amendments 47, 49 and 54 were all debated together. Because each segment is only 30 minutes long, KBDI producer Dominic Dezzutti said it would not be possible to include all three initiatives in the same taping. The opponents would have been allowed to debate each measure separately, but still chose not to participate.

“I’m doing this 12 years, and I’ve never had this happen with initiatives,” said Dezzutti.

“I’ve been playing politics in this state for roughly three decades, and this is one of the more bizarre strategic moves I’ve seen,” said Eric Sondermann, host of the series.

“Colorado Decides” will air tonight at 8 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m. on KBDI Channel 12.

Labor debated one issue

A UFCW Local 7 representative did show up to debate pro-labor health care measures, Amendments 56 and 57.

Amendment 56 would require employers with 20 or more employees to provide health care benefits. The amendment would be written into the Colorado State Constitution. Critics say the measure would result in businesses leaving Colorado, firing employees and reducing benefits, which would lead to higher prices on goods and services.

Amendment 57 is a statutory amendment that would require employers with 10 or more employees to allow injured employees to seek damages outside the workers’ compensation system. Critics argue that the language of the amendment is vague, only requiring “safe workplace” standards.

Proponents of both Amendments 56 and 57 say the measures are needed to start fixing a broken health care system.

“Coloradans are smart voters, they realize that we need to do something with out health care system, that we need to have a safe working environment,” said Manolo Gonzalez, spokesman for UFCW Local 7. “These just make sense for Colorado.”

Deal sought

As of Sunday, Gov. Bill Ritter, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and others were still trying to mediate an agreement between business and labor groups to pull four union measures from the ballot, in exchange for business funding campaigns to defeat three perceived anti-union measures, Amendments 47, 49 and 54.

Amendment 54 would prohibit people who receive no-bid contracts of $100,000 or more in a single year from contributing to political campaigns and ballot initiatives. Unions oppose the measure because labor groups receive expensive contracts and donate to campaigns.

Amendment 49, Ethical Standards for Public Payroll Systems, would prevent state and local government from levying dues or fees from employee paychecks for union membership. Opponent Jess Knox, spokesman for Protect Colorado’s Future, was scheduled to debate the issue but declined to appear for the debate. The same decision was made for Amendment 47, the right-to-work initiative.

Phone calls Friday by the Denver Daily News to Protect Colorado’s Future went unanswered and unreturned.

Amendment 47 would make Colorado a right-to-work state in which union fees could not be required as a condition of employment. If the agreement is reached between labor and business leaders, business would pump millions of dollars into fighting Amendment 47.

On ballot no matter what

But Kelley Harp, spokesman for A Better Colorado, the group leading the Amendment 47 initiative backed by brewery heir Jonathan Coors, said the right-to-work initiative will appear on the ballot as planned, despite potential opposition from its original supporters — the business community.

“We have a larger voice that is saying keep pushing forward, to keep it on the ballot, to keep fighting for workers’ freedom,” said Harp. “And so it is that voice that our backers are listening to that will keep it on the ballot.”


Forced-labor unionists bank on Barack

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

Big Labor's Billion Dollar Bet on Obama

The dirty little secret of Big Labor's massive support for the Obama campaign is the anticipated end to state right-to-work-laws and secret ballots in unionization campaigns.

On June 26, the AFL-CIO brass officially endorsed Barack Obama for president. With Big Labor's largest umbrella organization and its member unions pouring unprecedented resources into the general election campaign, the public ought to fear the legislative payback that would ensue if Obama were elected.

Indeed, Big Labor is launching its largest political campaign in its history, and this year, more than ever, Big Labor means Big Money. The union conglomerate is already sending teams of canvassers to knock on doors in swing states. Unions are distributing 1.5 million flyers and sending 500,000 targeted attack mailers to voters as well.

The two largest union coalitions -- the AFL-CIO and the "Change to Win" Federation, a coalition of the American labor unions formed in 2005 as an alternative to the AFL-CIO -- have publicly admitted they will spend at least $300 million combined on federal elections alone. When combined with political action committees and local unions and other union funders, at least $1 billion of union money (mostly in forced union dues coerced from workers as a job condition) is being dumped into electioneering.

The Democratic Party is but a penny ante player in comparison to Big Labor; the party itself will likely spend mere chump change in electing Obama and other pro-union candidates in comparison to that which will be spent by unions.

You can bet that the union bosses expect a lot of "change" from Obama next year when it comes to labor law. An Obama administration -- possibly coupled with a filibuster-proof Senate -- will feel a real sense of obligation to repay political debts.

Top on the union agenda is the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" (EFCA), which is better described as the Employee "No Free Choice" Act. If it passes, employees would effectively have to declare their support or opposition to unionizing their shop and lose the ability to cast their vote by secret ballot. Under this Act, union organizers would "collect" signed cards from workers that then count as "votes" for unionization. When organizers have the signatures of over fifty percent of employees, the union instantly sweeps every worker into its ranks.

According to Big Labor's logic, employees can only have a "free choice" when union officials stand over them and pressure them to sign the cards. Employees who have been subjected to card check union drives have complained they have signed the cards as a result of coercion and deceptive practices.

Mandatory card check drives will mean that millions more American workers will find themselves in unions and facing the "choice" between paying union dues or being fired. Both George W. Bush and John McCain said they would veto this power grab, while Obama is a co-sponsor and leading advocate.

Another union power grab on the fast track is the misnamed "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act." If it becomes law, the bill would force state and local governments to collectively bargain with union officials over all contracts involving police officers, firefighters, and paramedics -- even in states with laws guaranteeing workers the right to choose whether or not to join a union. This would literally overturn "Right to Work" protections for these groups of workers in the 26 states that provide these rights. The Act would also create massive unfunded mandates by imposing significant additional costs on state and local governments which are not reimbursed by the federal government.

Public safety employees would no longer be permitted to bargain individually and could be forced to accept the union's "representation" -- like it or not. Meanwhile, the bill would facilitate efforts by firefighter union bosses to stamp out (at tremendous cost to the taxpayers) the proud tradition of volunteer firefighting in America.

Like the Card Check Forced Unionism bill, the police and firefighter monopoly bargaining bill has so far been blocked -- barely -- in the Senate, backstopped by a Bush veto threat. But it could be unstoppable under an Obama presidency.

One of Obama's pet projects is the Patriot Employers Act, which he introduced last August. The bill offers incentives -- in the form of tax breaks -- to employers that comply with a litany of Big Labor demands. To get these tax breaks, companies need to agree to eliminate secret ballot elections for unionizing in their shop and to enforce a gag rule on truthful and non-coercive speech about the downsides of unionization.

But there's more. An Obama White House will also seek law changes that prohibit permanent replacement of striking workers. Under current law, an employer has the right to continue operating during a strike by hiring replacement workers. To prevent a total shutdown, an employer must have the ability to recruit replacement workers who may hope for a permanent job. In advocating a ban on striker replacements, Obama's message is clear - union ordered strikes would be automatic winners, and American workplaces would come to a screeching halt in the face of extortionate union demands.

Then there is the ultimate, though rarely spoken, goal of Big Labor: ending the rights of "Right to Work" states to secure the rights of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union. This could be effected by repealing Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act. Without this provision, forced unionism would prevail in all states, and states could not protect private sector workers from union demands to pay dues to them as a condition of employment. This is a huge win for unions and pro-union candidates -- literally billions of additional dollars in new coerced dues would flow into Big Labor's coffers which could be used to support pro-Union candidates.

So the union bosses have found their man. With their billion dollar bet on Barack Obama, they know that the payoff of new union coercive powers will be worth the trouble.

- Mallory Factor is a merchant banker and the co-chairman and co-founder of the Monday Meeting, an influential meeting of economic conservatives, journalists and corporate leaders in New York City.


ACORN: Corruption runs rampant

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed voter fraud group crucial to Barack

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, also known as ACORN, is in trouble again for voter fraud. Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama got his community organizer experience working for ACORN. Read about it below.

When you hear Barack Obama and his supporters discuss his experience as a Community Organizer they are talking about his time working for ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. That’s his qualifying experience for the Presidency of the United States. He started working there shortly after his graduation from Harvard Law School. He has had a longstanding relationship with ACORN every since.

ACORN has a long history of getting into trouble with the law for less that ethical methods of registering voters. Their troubles go back years and cover local elections in their Chicago home area as well as nationally. Its just been one thing after the other. All they have tried to do is get voters registered and they just keep on getting into trouble for it.

No doubt, they are being picked on by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Bushitler Cheney Halliburton Evil McShame Far Right Wing of the Ignorant Hillbilly Party that populates trailer parks throughout Middle America.

They seem to have the unfortunate habit of registering people to vote who aren’t eligible to vote. A recent incident had to do with the Pennsylvania Primaries. Philadelphia and Delaware County election officials have requested the U.S. Attorney’s office to look into multiple claims of voter fraud during that primary. And still he didn’t take Pennsylvania. That must have hurt.

Apparently, they are accustomed to doing whatever is necessary to win. There has been a history of accusations and indictments for buying votes, dead voter registration, taking the phone book and whatever else is handy to register whoever they can to vote.

In Milwaukee there is a criminal investigation into the activities of 39 ACORN employees. The violations include falsifying legal documents (driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers, etc) for voter registration cards and offering gifts to get people to sign up to vote.
“(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.”
Right now, there are allegations that ACORN is targeting underage voters. Its seems that studies have shown that the demographic the democrats are targeting are often not on college campuses, which they have focused on in the past. So now they are targeting high school students in an attempt to get more of their demographic registered …. apparently regardless of age.

Corruption is so rampant in the ACORN organization that they are suing themselves at this point.

If only they would defend our country with the same vigor that they pursue power and riches.


Alinksy rules 'hopenchange'

Related story: "Union political cash ushers in ugly Fascistic Era"
More EFCA stories: hereSaul Alinsky stories: here

Where's McCarthy when you need him?

I am sick of Hollywood—especially liberal actors who won't keep their obnoxious opinions to themselves: Roseanne Barr, Matt Damon, Rosie O'Donnell, Alec Baldwin (hasn't he left the country yet?), Whoopi and Madonna… the list is endless. How about Sandra Bernhard with this priceless diatribe (cleverly worked into her comedy routine. She pleaded that someone would have it posted on the web, so here it is):

"Now you got Uncle Women, like Sarah Palin, who jumps on the s--t and points her fingers at other women. Turncoat b---h! Don't you f--kin' reference Old Testament, bitch! You stay with your new Goyish crappy shiksa funky bulls--t! Don't you touch my Old Testament, you b---h! Because we have left it open for interpre-ta-tion! It is no longer taken literally! You whore in your f--kin' cheap New Vision cheap-ass plastic glasses and your [sneering voice] hair up. A Tina Fey-Megan Mullally brokedown bulls--t moment."

She calls that comedy? Poor Sandra. She's so angry. Her rage and hate has twisted her face into gargoylish grotesqueness, and her potty mouth makes Regan MacNeil sound like Shirley Temple. The only thing she lacks is pea soup and a fully rotating head to complete the picture. She should really take her money and go live quietly in her ivory tower. I have a serious problem with a woman who makes her living spewing profanities and calling people whores. There's something perverse about such a person presuming to tell the good folks of heartland America how to interpret the Bible. Like most celebrities, these days, they seem to think they are models for how we ought to think (for all celebrity opinions are intended to influence public opinion, political activity, elections, things like that). Does Bernhard really delude herself into thinking she is somehow superior? She's a Yachneh.

What is most disconcerting is the realization that these people truly, deeply hate us (you know, regular Americans who work hard and earn a regular living, who go to Church and believe in God, family, and country, and who believe in the sanctity of human life). All they seem to believe in is hedonism and whatever chic liberal fad is most likely to get them the attention and publicity they crave, whether it's a risky gown or a celebrity fund-raiser to stop global warming, or going to Africa and adopting black children so they can make a big show of how enlightened and morally superior they are. And these are the people we are paying $9.00 a ticket to go see in a movie. And that doesn't include the cost of a Coke and a bag of popcorn—add another $10-15 for that per person. It is ridiculous. It isn't worth it. They aren't worth it.

Now that is not to say that I don't respect some in the industry. There are a handful of actors and filmmakers who actually do stand up for Christian values and the American way, and I respect them. I also respect the ones who keep their politics to themselves. If you hate Christians, I don't want to hear it. I don't fault them for being liberals, but they should stop trying to remake America in their image. Ordinary people don't (or can't or wouldn't) live like them. But they can afford private schools and bodyguards and gated communities, so they have no business pretending like their world has anything to do with mine, or that they have any special wisdom to impart because they can cry on queue or rake in big bucks by taking off their clothes or quipping "Hasta la Vista, Baby". Cool on screen doesn't mean they make good role models on or off screen. How does the song go? "They can't even run their own lives; I'll be d**med if they'll run mine." (Alright I paraphrased…)

The truth is, Hollywood has an agenda. That agenda is to steal the souls of America's children. It is to destroy with every weapon at their disposal, the last fiber of traditional moral values in every corner of this country in furtherance of the Socialist agenda. How can I say that with certainty? Because actions speak louder than words. When a producer declares that he wants to get a rear-entry sex scene on network television within two years, it is not because he thinks it will draw sponsors He's promoting deviant sex. When Nickelodeon airs a program about same sex parents, or celebrity guests go out of their way to use vulgar words on the morning talk shows, or screenwriters repeatedly trash Christianity in their story lines while glorifying the most uncivilized of conduct, the collective effect is that of a well-financed agenda. They will sexually harass you in your home with their filthy commercials and their rear-entry sex scenes, they will craft movies that promote anti-Christian themes and secular values, spilling out of the mouth of a super star admired by millions, so that you will emulate him (or her). They will make the most absurd and surreal pronouncements on political issues that no one would pay attention to if they were not celebrities. They will viciously reject and blackball anyone who does not share their opinions, ruining careers as quickly and savagely as that Demon of Right Wing witch hunters, Joseph McCarthy. How hypocritical that they would use the same techniques as McCarthy and yet continue to demonize him. Have they no shame?

It doesn't surprise me that Hollywood pushes both the gay agenda and the socialist agenda so strongly. If we haven't learned anything else about Hollywood in the last few years, we've learned that homosexuality is celebrated and promoted in that town and everywhere you find them, you also find socialists. (Not surprisingly, their champion Obama's mentor was a Marxist, and Obama is known to be the most left-wing senator in Congress.). In truth, McCarthy, for all his faults, was onto something, even if he frequently aimed his arrows at innocent targets.

In 1919, so the story goes, allied forces in Dusseldorf discovered a document entitled "Communist Rules for Revolution." Some sources, including Snopes.com declare that it was not discovered in 1919, that the story was a Right-wing scare tactic. So for the sake of argument, let's assume that the document really only appeared later in 1946, as indicated, when the attorney general of Florida obtained a copy 1946…1919. It matters little. The important thing is what is embodied in the "Rules" and whether or not we can see their application in our own government and society, and especially in the Democrat Party (which is decidedly Leftist these days). So let's take a look at them, shall we?

Communist Rules for Revolution:

1. Corrupt the young; get them away from religion. Get them interested in sex. Make them superficial; destroy their ruggedness.

We can see this at work in Hollywood, as well as our educational system. The banishment of prayer in school was the result of a suit brought about by an avowed communist, Madelyn Murray O'Hare. The ACLU has sought with great success to have any mention of God forced from the public square. Our schools not only instruct children in secular humanist values, but often openly reject and even ridicule religious faith. Sex education courses encourage sexual activity, including experimentation with deviant sex.

B. Get control of all means of publicity

Is there any bastian of Conservative thought left? The news is predominantly left-leaning (the spotlight is shining especially on NBC at the moment, but all the networks are controlled by liberals). The internet, though it still has plenty of conservative websites. If you do a random search on a political topic, though, it is likely you will get the Liberal response top of the list. Even your email providers block email from certain sites they don't like from time to time. In addition, the one unfettered source of unfiltered conservative thought, Conservative Talk Radio, is under threat of the reimposition of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine", which has already proven to be nothing more than a way to control the dissemination of conservative ideas.

1. Get people's minds off their government by focusing their attention on athletics, sexy books, plays and other trivialities.

The youth culture of this country does anything but foster serious and thoughtful political involvement. A good percentage of Obama's following is youth who are conditioned by group-think they are taught in school, and who are more influenced by the "I've got a crush on Obama" YouTube video than by any in-depth understanding of what Obama really represents. The celebrities I mentioned above, and many others not mentioned, prey on the infantile minds of the youth, raised to idolize sports figures and movie stars. (Incidentally, if this document had been written in the mid 20th century as the Snopes.com article suggest, don't you think it would have said "movies" rather than "plays"? Just a thought...)

2. Divide the people into hostile groups by constantly harping on controversial matters of no importance.

Fomenting racial animosity is one of the most effective means of dividing people. The invented "racial slur" (such as taking offense at the expression "clean cut, all American" as distinguished from authentic racial slurs like the "N" word), along with the invented "sexist" remark, or "homophobic" remark has been used to cow people into silence, while Leftists put various programs and laws in place that little by little bind us and leech away our liberty one whine at a time. If you complain, you're a racist, a homophobe, or whatever.

3. Destroy the people's faith in their natural leaders by holding them up to contempt, ridicule and disgrace.

The phrase coined by Bill Clinton, "The Politics of Personal Destruction" is a technique widely employed by the Left to calumniate their opponents and cast doubt on their fitness or worthiness for office, all the while complaining loudly that they are being unfairly attacked, maligned, or accused themselves. Of course when one of them is caught red-handed, it never seems to result in a conviction, resignation, censure, or reprimand. The Left doesn't observe the same rules of conduct as the Right, just as they don't observe the same Constitutional interpretation or Biblical interpretation. Anything goes. The attacks on Bush, McCain, Palin, and other Republican leaders are meant primarily to poison the well. If you repeat a lie often enough, it will begin to be accepted as truth. And if there are not enough voices speaking the truth (we conservatives are outnumbered greatly in the press and the classroom) that is exactly what is likely to happen.

4. Always preach true democracy, but seize power as fast and as ruthlessly as possible.

Most of the younger generation would say without a moment's thought that we live in a democracy. In fact, our government is conceived as a Constitutional Republic, representative government, but all our leaders now refer to our country as a democracy. One cannot but recognize the whittling away of our liberties under both parties, whether in the name of "social justice" or "national security", while our leaders preach the virtues of our "democracy". Americans practice democracy every time they storm the Congress with emails demanding the border fence, or demanding that they "Drill Here, Drill NOW!" Our leaders, in fact, are annoyed, but not always influenced by the overwhelming demands of We the People, if those demands don't line up with their global agenda (or if they think they can wait us out, then do what they want anyhow). The problem with "democracy" is that the rabble can be influenced to have whatever opinion the government desires. In our country, the Constitution is supposed to be the last word at the federal level, interpreted according to the design of our Founding Fathers.

5. By encouraging government extravagance, destroy its credit, produce fear of inflation with rising prices and general discontent.

Has anyone else considered besides me that the financial crisis of the last week seemed to have happened at just the right moment to throw favor over to the Left-wing candidate? After years of frivolous spending in Washington, with a looming $53 Trillion debt looming within 10 years, threatening our country with bankruptcy, and the past few weeks on Wall Street, with our government's bailout last week of the financial crisis that socialized our financial institutions, could anyone doubt that this, too, has happened according some grand design?

6. Incite unnecessary strikes in vital industries, encourage civil disorders and foster a lenient and soft attitude on the part of government toward such disorders.

There is no greater example of this than the gay pride parades and the Folsom Street Fair and other gay "outings" where homosexuals and other deviants not only expose themselves indecently, but perform disgustingly indecent acts upon each other or themselves (often in front of Catholic Churches) and the police are explicitly told not to interfere. As for fomenting unnecessary strikes, the Employee Free Choice Act would do away with the secret ballot, thereby enabling union leaders to pressure non-union members into joining the union.

7. By specious argument cause the breakdown of old moral virtues; honesty, sobriety, continence, faith in the pledged word, ruggedness.

This is one of the most insidious tools in the Leftist arsenal. Liberal arguments, to an untutored mind, can sound reasonable and intelligent (the Snopes.com article, for example, that detracts from the obvious fact that the Rules of Revolution, no matter where they came from, are in fact being used to tear down American society and government.) Another would be Darwinian evolution, a 19th Century theory that, though having some merit, has nevertheless been rejected time and again by many modern scientists, But of course, the mindset of a person conditioned to accept this type of argument will not easily recognize that he is being lied to.) When there are no plausible Left wing arguments, they resort to the sort of shameless name-calling and character trampling as we've seen against Sarah Palin.

8. Cause the registration of all firearms on some pretext, with a view to confiscation and leaving the population helpless.

Though they haven't found the pretext to confiscate our guns yet (YET…), it is only a matter of time. And of course, registration is already required.

It is not as well known as it ought be that in every country in the world where Communist or Socialist dictatorships have risen to power, confiscation of all privately owned weapons took place prior. Hundreds of thousands of people in some countries, millions in others, were unable to defend themselves—Russia, China, Uganda, Cambodia, etc. [40 million just in those countries alone], and let's not forget our old adversary, Adolf Hitler. 13 million on his watch—and not just Jews. Christians as well. Three million just in Poland.

I'm sure most readers can cite their own examples of the implementation of the Communist rules of Revolution. "We are in for some kind of socialism, call it by whatever name we please, and no matter what it will be called when it is realized."John Dewey, 1929. There is a growing awakening in America that we are being waltzed down the path of tyranny, disguising itself (as it always does) in the mantle of justice.

- Alisa Craddock is a columnist and activist in the culture war.


Union bigs: Rank-and-file dissidents are racist

More union-racism stories: here

Solidarity poses a problem with secret ballot voting

You just knew that when Joe O'Connell, former head of the local AFL-CIO, got on stage here with John McCain and Sarah Palin things were not going smoothly for the Obama campaign among union voters.

"I am a lifelong Democrat, an intelligent Democrat, who is supporting John McCain," O'Connell said last week as a crowd of 7,000 waved "Another Democrat for John McCain" signs and roared its approval.

O'Connell assured the energized crowd that "organized labor will have a seat at the table when John McCain becomes president." It's the kind of statement that Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Bill George does not want to hear.

"It's a problem," George admits, "but we are in an all-out effort to educate our members that the Democratic Party is the only one for working families."

He is not exaggerating when he says "all-out effort" - just try following him for a day and you're exhausted by the events, focus groups and sit-downs in which he participates.

Democrats count on unions for get-out-the-vote efforts and for the support of members and their families. Without them, states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio -- which each have about 740,000 workers who belong to unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- would move into the Republican column.

George narrows the problem down to race. "There is no question, earlier in the primary campaign the racial issue was there, just like the gender issue was with Hillary for some unions," he says.

"We in America like to think we don't have any hang-ups or stereotypes. But because of our history and because of a lot of industrial psychology controlling the masses, people have innate prejudices."

George says that the mind-set of some people in the labor movement regarding race is no different than it is in church groups, or in the Republican Party.

Joe Rugola is George's counterpart in Ohio and he, too, is seeing a problem with race and his members. Yet he also sees another dynamic going on -- a respect among union members for McCain.

"There is no question that John McCain historically has had a cultural connection with our members," Rugola says, "but the reality is that his policies are not good for working families."

Frank Stricker, a history professor at California State University and a union expert, says race is a key to what alienates segments of the labor movement, especially in Ohio and west of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

Stricker says that other than people not voting for a black candidate, a couple of factors -- such as Obama's cultural style and pro-choice stand -- do not sit well with culturally conservative union members.

University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato is blunter: "There's no question that race is at the heart of Obama's problem with blue-collar white union members. You'd have to be pretty naive to think otherwise."

Sabato explains that, normally, today's severe economic dislocation would send union members flocking to the Democrats' nominee. "Well, they are not flocking. McCain is their kind of guy. His biography and maverick nature are appealing."

Yet for some labor members race does not factor at all in their voting decisions.

Joe Swistok, 62, of Southington, Ohio, is a lifelong union member who began working at Republic Steel in 1964; his father had worked there since 1936. He switched his party registration to Republican during the Reagan years.

"Reagan impressed me. That guy did a lot for this guy," Swistok says, referring to himself. "This area is devastated for one reason: You can't tax businesses and expect them to stay."

Stricker thinks Obama "must make a strong economic-populist appeal," one hinging on class warfare, in order to win Pennsylvania and Ohio.

To that end, both George and Rugola are engaged in huge voter-contact efforts -- door-knocking, phone calls, mailings, peer-to-peer efforts.

According to an AFL-CIO spokesman, 2.1 million registered voters live in union households in Ohio, 1.7 million in Pennsylvania. In a close election, every one of these votes matters for Democrats.

"Approximately a quarter of all American households say there is a union member in the home," Sabato explains. "They are much more Democratic than average, but in GOP landslide years like 1972 and 1984, a majority has voted Republican."

Sabato says that a third or more union members consistently vote Republican for president, despite their union leaders' recommendations.

Part of Obama's problem is the contrast he presents: On one day alone last week, he spoke passionately about the country's economic concerns, then zipped off to Los Angeles to raise $9 million from Hollywood's elites.

That's sort of like John Kerry windsurfing during the 2004 election: Union members in Youngstown or in "Little Washington," Pa., just can't relate.


NC election officials alert to ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed voter fraud group acts with impunity for Barack

Nov. 4 promises to be one of the hardest-fought and most closely contested elections in memory. Many believe North Carolina could be up for grabs in the presidential race, and so every vote cast will be important - and could even have national implications. Remember how important a few votes were in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004.

So we're pleased to see that Durham elections director Mike Ashe is keeping an eye out for anything inappropriate. Ashe recently asked state officials to check 80 registration forms for possible fraud. It seems the staff was tipped off because one person's signature varied greatly in different places.

The forms were among about 4,000 submitted to the office over the last four to six weeks by a group called Acorn, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a liberal, get-out-the-vote organization. Acorn officials are quick to say they train workers to only register legitimate voters and emphasize that misrepresentation is a serious crime and a firing offense.

Still, while the organization may be innocent, Acorn attorney Brian Mellor admitted that some young volunteers "think they're immune."

Since voting is a cherished right and a responsibility, it's appropriate that voter fraud is a serious crime. It's a felony, in fact, punishable by three to 15 months in prison. We hope violators are aggressively prosecuted.

We've said it before, but we think Mike Ashe has done a terrific job with the Board of Elections. Durham elections had a reputation for being bumpy, with late results and equipment problems. But Ashe has captained a taut ship, purging the voting rolls of departed and deceased voters, opening early voting sites and overseeing elections that have been consistently smooth.

The bigger the election, the bigger the challenge for voting officials, and Nov. 4 could prove a record-setter. But big elections are nothing new for Ashe and his staff. The May primary also set records, and the last two presidential elections drew heavy turnout as well.

So don't cheat, but do register and vote. Regular registration is open until October 10, and after that, you can still register and vote at the one-stop voting sites until three days before the election.

For more information, see http://www.co.durham.nc.us/departments/elec/


ACORN: Voter-fraud for Barack

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Barack supports typical union agenda

Barack Obama stories: hereMore EFCA stories: here

Labor-backed candidate wants to end secret-ballot union elections

Sen. John McCain wants to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent; Sen. Barack Obama doesn’t. Obama wants to increase the minimum wage; McCain doesn’t.

It’s hard to mix up the economic proposals of the two presidential candidates. Likewise, when it comes to workplace issues, they tend to lean in predictable ways – Obama toward the employee, McCain toward the employer .

Yet regardless of who’s elected, employment lawyers and Washington-area lobbyists say labor laws could get reshuffled in areas as varied as union organizing and gay rights.

“Some people are saying this could be the most active 'workplace Congress’ in the last 20 to 25 years,” said Mike Aitken, director of government affairs for the Society for Human Resource Management, based in Alexandria.

The Democrats have control of the legislative side in Washington, with 51 of 100 senators, including McCain supporter Sen. Joe

Lieberman of Connecticut, who last ran as an independent. Analysts predict they’ll make big gains in the Senate in November’s election.

It probably won’t be enough to get to two magic numbers: 60 – the number of votes that can kill a filibuster – or 67 – the number needed to override a presidential veto. But with a band of Republican moderates and other defectors, Democrats could push through some bills even under a President McCain.

“There is so much pent-up demand for workplace legislation,” said David Burton, an employment lawyer with the law firm of Williams Mullen in Virginia Beach. “Republicans normally are pretty conservative, but I think they are going to have a lot of pressure on them to support some of these bills.”

Among the bills most closely watched is the Employee Free Choice Act. It would require employers to permit a card-check method outside the workplace as an alternative to a secret ballot to determine worker support for union representation.

It would be the first major change in workplace law since the Family and Medical Leave Act was approved in 1993, then-President Clinton’s first year in office.

Obama, who has won widespread support from unions, co-sponsored the Employee Free Choice Act last year and has continued to voice support for it, both on his Web site and in speeches.

Obama believes that “workers should have the freedom to choose whether to join a union without harassment or intimidation from their employers,” his Web site says.

Louis Scinaldi, president of Local 2202 of the Communications Workers of America in Virginia Beach, said he’s been stymied in organizing campaigns by companies that have threatened job security if a worker votes for a union. The bill, Scinaldi said, “would give everybody an equal playing field. It’s going to give workers the right to form a union without the fear and the coercion and those meetings that they force everybody to go to.”

Opponents, however, call the Employee Free Choice Act a last-ditch effort to reverse years of drooping union membership. The bill would “freeze out the employer’s right to free speech,” said Marc Freedman, labor law policy director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods Inc., told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting last month: “Our Founding Fathers thought the secret ballot was good enough to elect the first president of the United States. … I think it’s good enough to elect unions.”

Last year, McCain voted to block a Senate vote on the bill. In his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination this month, he criticized Obama for wanting “our schools to answer to unions.”

Yet if McCain has not supported unions, on other workplace issues he has either not taken a stand or might be open-minded, observers say.

Take, for instance, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit workplace discrimination against people who are gay . Obama has supported the bill.

McCain said during a campaign stop last year that the measure would “open the door to endless litigation,” The Washington Post reported. However, some analysts say he might sign it if Congress approves it.

“I don’t think McCain is going to die in a ditch over that piece of legislation,” said John Phillips , an Atlanta lawyer who writes the blog The Word on Employment Law.

Quentin Kidd, a political science professor at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, said: “It depends on which John McCain we’re talking about. If it’s the libertarian-minded John McCain, who thinks government should do very little and what it does should be helpful to people, I could see a John McCain supporting this. If it’s the John McCain who bowed deeply to the right side of his party (during the convention), I could see him vetoing it.”

The two candidates agree on at least a few things: Both co-sponsored a bill, approved by a voice vote in the Senate this month, that would restore protections in the Americans With Disabilities Act that were pared away by U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The bill also won widespread support in the House and is expected to be signed by President Bush.

McCain and Obama also want to encourage telecommuting and other ways to make work schedules more flexible.

But on major economic issues, many observers see both hewing to their party lines.

To Freedman, from the Chamber of Commerce, Obama is “an absolutely orthodox Democrat.” To Kidd, from Christopher Newport, McCain typifies the “free-market kind of person, a small-government Republican.”

Here’s a roundup of nine workplace issues likely to get another look under the next president and Congress:

Union organizing

Most employment experts see the Employee Free Choice Act as the bill with potentially the largest impact. It would allow employees to demonstrate support for a union by signing cards outside the workplace.

“It doesn’t abolish secret-ballot elections,” said John Bredehoft of Kaufman & Canoles in Norfolk, “but it makes them unnecessary.”

If approved, analysts say, the bill would intensify organizing efforts. Another clause would refer deadlocked contract negotiations between an employer and a union to binding arbitration after four months . Businesses say that would take away their right to craft a contract, but unions say it would guard against delaying tactics.

Anti-gay bias

The U.S. Civil Rights Act bans discrimination in the workplace in categories such as race, religion and gender, but it does not cover sexual orientation. Lawyers disagree on how much effect a gay-rights amendment would have.

Burton, from Williams Mullen, said it could open another avenue for “frivolous litigation. It’s just another category an employer could be sued for.”

Others, such as Phillips and Bredehoft, say many states, cities and companies now ban discrimination against people who are gay .

“I don’t think this would cause a marked uptick in employment law litigation,” Bredehoft said.

Said Norfolk lawyer Lisa Bertini, who represents employees who sue businesses: “I think it speaks volumes to the tolerance issue. While employers say, 'We have this, we have that,’ they don’t necessarily enforce anything, and this would make them. I’ve dealt with too many employers who do the minimum they have to and don’t necessarily honor what’s in their handbook.”

Family and Medical Leave Act

The law provides many workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to tend to a newborn or an ill relative or recover from a “serious health condition.” On his Web site, McCain notes that he supported passage of the law in 1993 but does not suggest any changes.

Obama, on his Web site, proposes expanding it, among other ways, to include businesses with 25 to 49 people, to cover elder care and domestic violence, and to allow parents 24 hours a year to attend school activities. Only businesses with at least 50 employees are covered now.

Paid sick leave

Obama last year co-sponsored the Healthy Families Act, which would require employers to grant seven days of paid sick leave a year. Supporters say three-quarters of low-income workers have no paid sick days.

Obama continues to support the benefit, according to his Web site. McCain has not mentioned the subject, and Kidd doubts he would support it.

“The extent to which legislation would regulate more than he thought was appropriate – he would be opposed to something like that,” Kidd said. “Expanding medical leave, requiring paid leave – I think he would oppose that on economic grounds, not social grounds.”

Civil rights lawsuit caps

McCain has not taken a position on the Equal Remedies Act, which would abolish caps on damages in racial and gender discrimination suits. Those caps range from $50,000 to $300,000, based on the size of the company. Obama co-sponsored the act and reiterates support on his Web site.

Equal pay for women

Obama has stressed his support for “equal pay,” both in his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention and in campaign ads. In April, he voted for the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would extend the statute of limitations for pay-equity suits, reversing limits imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

McCain did not attend the vote but told reporters he was against the bill: “This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system.” The bill did not survive a Republican filibuster but is expected to be reintroduced. The impact, Bredehoft said, would be more symbolic than practical; he doesn’t think it will fuel a surge of lawsuits.

Layoff warnings

McCain has not articulated a position on the Forewarn Act, which would revise the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification law governing notice of layoffs and plant closings. It would require 90-day written notice to workers, up from the current 60 days, and double the penalties for employers who violate the law. In May, Obama voiced his support.

Reclassifying bosses

Obama has co-sponsored the Respect bill, or Re-empowerment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Tradesworkers Act. It would amend the National Labor Relations Act to make it more difficult to classify someone as a “supervisor,” expanding the pool of potential union members. McCain has not voiced an opinion.


Labor-state strikers seek illegal benefits

Related PARTA stories: hereMore strike stories: here
"Bus drivers still on strike for forced dues" • "The 28 labor-states"

Strike bigs file bogus Unfair Labor Practices charge to gain undeserved public assistance payments

An unemployment hearing for 30 county bus drivers will be held today at the Oliver R. Ocasek building in Akron. The drivers are members of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 037. The union's strike against the Portage Area Regional Transit Authority is in its fifth week.

The drivers will be eligible for unemployment benefits only if the hearing officer finds merit to the claim made by the union that PARTA "locked out" the drivers. The drivers will not be eligible for benefits if the hearing officer agrees with PARTA's claim that they are engaged in a voluntary strike.

"We don't know why the union would claim it's a lockout," said PARTA attorney Thomas Evan Green, of Kastner, Westman & Wilkins, LLC. Under Ohio law, "No public employee is entitled to pay or compensation from the public employer for the period engaged in any strike."

In its unfair labor practice charge filed with the State Employment Relations Board, OAPSE Local 037 claims the strike is a direct result of PARTA's efforts to "lock out or otherwise prevent employees from performing their regularly assigned duties."

According to "Public Employee Collective Bargaining in Ohio: Unfair Labor Practices," a brochure published by the State Employment Relations Board, this tactic is prohibited by law "when its purpose is to bring pressure to settle a labor dispute in favor of the employer's terms."

OAPSE Local 037 claims drivers were forced to strike because, when mediation failed, PARTA "threatened to implement terms and conditions of employment, but could not identify which terms and conditions and refused to make a last, best and final offer."

"Terms and conditions of employment" refers to the wages, vacation time, work hours and grievance procedures offered by a company to its employees, said OAPSE attorney Thomas C. Drabick Jr.

"The union didn't have any choice but to file a strike notice," Drabick said.

On Aug. 15, OAPSE Local 037 filed a notice with SERB of its intent to strike and picket beginning Aug. 25.

PARTA disagrees with the union's assertion that the drivers have been "locked out."

"To this day, PARTA continues to offer work to the OAPSE-represented drivers at the same wages, benefits and terms of employment that the drivers enjoyed before the strike," Frank Hairston, director of marketing for PARTA, said in a written statement. "In fact, approximately 20 OAPSE-represented drivers who have chosen not to strike have crossed the picket line and worked."

Green said the hearing officer will not make a decision today.

"They make that decision fairly quickly, usually within a few weeks," he said.

The unfair labor practice charge filed by the union against PARTA is still in the initial investigation stage.


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IAM strike v. Boeing, week 3

Related IAM-Boeing stories: hereMore strike stories: here
"Nation gets a preview of Barackonomics" • "Trickle down strike-onomics"

Union bigs wreak destruction on rank-and-file

The Boeing machinists strike has entered its third week, continuing to silence the manufacturer's production lines and raising airlines' anxieties over delayed aircraft deliveries.

Analysts believe the company already has lost more than $1 billion. CFO James Bell recently warned that this work action will have a "more severe impact compared to the last strike" (ATWOnline, Sept. 11) because Boeing has 50% higher production rates now than in 2005, when the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers staged a four-week strike that halted the delivery of 21 aircraft. No new talks are scheduled between the company and IAM, which has insisted that it is prepared for a long work stoppage.

Related video: "IAM strikers v. Boeing"

ATWOnline last week talked to strikers at three different locations at Everett outside Boeing's assembly plants. The mood among the striking workers was surprisingly upbeat. Under balmy skies, many were firing up barbeques and eating hot dogs.

The IAM members' universal complaint was that Boeing is moving too much aircraft manufacturing work from the Seattle area to outside the US. Only two of the strikers to whom this website spoke understood that just 5% of the order book for the 787 comes from US airlines, indicating that the company has not been able to get the message through to workers that while its supply chain is further flung, its order book is also spread more widely internationally than ever before.

One worker who said he'd rather not be striking cynically observed that the Seattle area's great late summer weather was contributing to the strike. Indeed, picket lines observed by this website were quite small. The disgruntled IAM member noted that Washington State's hunting season for deer and game birds started Sept. 1 while elk season kicked off Sept. 8. Two other strikers said the work action would give them a welcome break. "I want to spend more time with my family," said one.


Striking Teamsters face permanent replacement

More Teamsters-WM stories: here
Related story: "Striking Teamsters slapped with ULP"

Strike by militant union enters 2nd month

Waste Management says it will look to hire permanent replacement workers after the striking garbage truck drivers rejected the company's latest contract offer.

Members of Teamsters Local 200 have been on strike for about a month. On Sunday, they rejected an offer union officials say was identical to an offer that members rejected on Friday.

About 240 Teamster drivers, equipment operators and maintenance workers walked off the job August 26 to make demands about pay and pensions.

Waste Management said in a written statement that the offer that union members rejected Sunday was the company's "last, best and final contract offer."

The company serves thousands of business and residential customers in Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha counties.


Too-friendly bargaining harms all

Related stories: "Union-backed Gov. ripped over bargaining" "The 28 labor-states"

'Me-too' provision an insult to hard-working public servants

As this year's round of negotiations for state workers unions wraps up, leaders are wondering whether the collective bargaining system is living up to its promise. After the Legislature approved the Personnel Reform Act in 2002, unions were able to negotiate with the governor for pay and benefits for the first time in 2004.

In that round and the two that have followed, two governors have established a pattern of offering the same pay raises to all unions. And since the law requires the unions to negotiate as a group for health care benefits, the result has nearly uniform pay deals for all workers.

"This idea of having the same wage increase for every bargaining unit is not collective bargaining," Leonard Smith of Teamsters Local 117 said.

The Teamsters represent 6,400 workers inside state prisons. They've managed to squeeze out deals slightly better than other unions, in 2006 by voting down one proposal just before the Oct. 1 deadline to turn in contracts to the state budget office. They came back to the table in a rush and worked out an agreement they approved.

This year the Teamsters fought the Oct. 1 deadline again, Smith said, but ultimately resolved to vote on Gov. Chris Gregoire's best and final offer, to which the union's bargaining team did not agree.

"You can't strike, and you can't go past Oct. 1, that's it," Smith said. "We pushed it as far as we can."

The Teamsters are voting on a contract with 2 percent pay raises, starting Sept. 1 next year and in 2010. That's the precedent set by the Washington Federation of State Employees earlier this month.

The federation said it was a good deal, considering the state is facing more than a $3 billion budget shortfall next year.

"Bargaining is what it is, and in our case, we're very pleased with the contract given the times we are in. We are still moving forward, it may not be as far as we want to go, but we are not moving backwards," federation spokesman Tim Welch said.

The federation represents 33,000 general government workers. The union had to lobby individual legislators to add pay raises to the state's two-year budget before the Personnel Reform Act passed, Welch noted.

"It sure beats what we had before. Because if we were in this situation before 2005, I can guarantee you the pay raises would be zero and zero, and the share of health benefits would be going up," he said.

Washington Public Employees Association president Greg Parker said he'd rather not comment on the quality of this year's bargaining until after his members finish voting on the contract. His union settled with the governor before the federation.

"I can tell you when we left the table we negotiated a 1.6 and a 1.7 (percent raise), the state said nobody is going to get anything different," Parker said. "We did include a 'me too' clause, as did other unions, and we will probably opt into the 2 percent version the federation negotiated."

The me-too provision allows unions such as the WPEA to join in better deals reached by other unions. The Office of Financial Management said the larger boost costs about the same as the WPEA's smaller raises would have, because the 2 percent increases were delayed from July 1 to Sept. 1.

But the federation said the later, bigger raise was still the better deal. And so far, other unions have taken it.


IAM strikers v. Boeing

Related IAM-Boeing stories: here

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