Shades of 1933: Unions get the bully pulpit

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"
More EFCA stories: herecard-check: here

Progs herald end to Era of Prosperity

The election of Barack Obama serves as a turning point for organized labor — the likes not seen since Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in 1933 during America's worst economic crisis.

So believes historian and sociologist Harvey J. Kaye, an expert in labor issues at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. "In my entire life — however much I thought that 1968 was important, or 1980 — I don't think I've ever felt that an election was as crucial as this one," said Kaye, 59.

While the country shifted to conservatism in the past three decades, union membership steadily declined. Among those ushering an anti-union climate were President Ronald Reagan, who fired federal air traffic controllers after they went on strike, Kaye said.

What's at stake now is whether the labor movement can make a comeback. Union leaders have reason to think there is a chance now that voters have sent a Democrat to the White House and the party has broader control of the House and Senate. A bill that would loosen American labor laws waits in Congress.

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"

The Employee Free Choice Act makes it easier for organizers to talk about unionization in the workplace and penalizes companies that fire or harass workers for being interested in organizing.

The timing of the legislation comes as the country returns to a period where the public realizes people need higher wages to afford their living expenses, said Andrew Kersten, a history professor at UWGB.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this year that the percentage of workers belonging to a union in 2007 was 12.1 percent, an 8-percentage point drop since 1983.

"Republicans often preach they're the party of less government, except in instances where it challenges organized capital," Kersten said.

He sees parallels between today's mortgage crisis and the Great Depression, where the central problem was the lack of consumer spending.

Roosevelt responded by introducing laws so workers could seek wage increases and secure their jobs.

Unions, which were active this campaign season, are looking for the payback.

"We need the bully pulpit in the White House," said Bruce Raynor, president of Unite Here, who campaigned for Democrats in Wisconsin a few days before the general election.

"But we also need an activist Congress that is going to intervene, put people back to work and rebuild America's infrastructure, create good jobs and support working families. That's only a job the federal government can do," he said.

Unite Here, a part of the Change to Win federation, represents some 500,000 workers in textile, hotel, casino, food services and industrial laundry. It deployed 100 full-time workers to Wisconsin and also zeroed in on Nevada and Virginia. The three voted Democratic.

Wisconsin was fertile ground for the unions' message. In the Fox Valley, the closing of Kimberly's NewPage paper plant galvanized mill workers.

Raynor believes it is the perfect storm: The median wage in the state is almost the same as it was in 1979. Twenty percent of the workers who had jobs earned less than the poverty wage.

"Working families in this state desperately need a new deal, a new administration that is going to worry about workers," he said.


Union secret-ballot news - Nov. 10

Bookmark Secret-Ballot News posts: herecard-check: hereEFCA: here

The Union News presents:
Stories-of-the-day concerning Organized Labor's #1 priority.

EFCA would also repeal so-called 'right to work' restrictions imposed by states under the Taft-Hartley Act ... The EFCA would allow unions to demand that employers begin bargaining within 10 days after the union is certified. If no contract is reached within 90 days, either party could invoke mediation which, in turn, could result in binding arbitration after 30 days. The act would also provide for damages of three times back pay where employers unlawfully terminate pro-union employees. As well, it would impose a $20,000 penalty on employers for each violation in cases where the NLRB or a court deems infractions to be willful or repetitive. (nupge.ca)

Unions, Obama prepare to roll GOP on card-check ... With Mr. Obama's election and sizable Democratic gains in both chambers, "we think our prospects have increased dramatically to get it passed," said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka ... Change to Win officials said several moderate Senate Republicans can be "brought around" on filibuster showdowns, and the movement plans to keep up the pressure in every state. Asked whether the labor group was willing to postpone a clash over the organizing bill to spare the new administration a bitter political fight in its first 100 days, Mrs. Burger replied, "No. Is that clear enough?" (washingtontimes.com)

Unions: The sky is the limit with Prez Bam ... "Obama's election is huge for labor," said Tom Juravich, a labor-relations professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Most attention has so far focused on Obama's support of the controversial "Employment Free Choice Act," which unions are pushing for and which a Democratic-controlled Congress is expected to address next year. The so-called "card-check" act would allow unions to organize workers without holding secret ballot votes. There’s currently talk of a possible compromise plan to avoid a potentially bitter and protracted fight over the "card-check" plan. But labor is gunning for more than just the card-check bill. (bostonherald.com)

Card check law would be damaging to Obama, nation ... The secret ballot protects the individual from both union and employer intimidation. This insures the sacred right of workers to achieve collective bargaining in a free economic society ... Our newly elected president, Barack Obama, enters his historic presidency with the momentum of good wishes from the entire citizenry. Nothing could eliminate the bloom from his rose quicker than his acquiescing to the congressional union boss supplicants in his party by indicating his support for this horrific legislation. ... Such a position will incite a raw, bare knuckle brawl between his administration and the entire business community, one that will make the fight against Hillary Care in the early days of the Clinton administration look like a back yard badminton match.(courier-journal.com)

Labor unions demand political backing for federal bailout ... A cornerstone of labor's agenda is passage of the Employee Free Choice Act that unions argue restores balance to its negotiations with employers, but is described as "Armageddon" by a leading business group. Also on the union wish list is a proposed $100 billion infrastructure rebuilding program the Laborers' union said would create more than 1 million jobs. (tigardtimes.com)

Will Prez Bam govern from the center or the left? ... What will come of the Employee Free Choice Act? Supported by Obama, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, it would ensure that employees lose their right to private ballot elections with regard to union representation. Imagine voting against a union and everyone in your workplace knowing how you voted. (democratandchronicle.com)

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"

Stern nomination would expose SEIU fraud

Andy Stern: hereSEIU: here ACORN: here Wade Rathke: here

What do Andy Stern, SEIU, ACORN and Wade Rathke have in common?

"A forensic audit and the investigations will aid in proving my allegations. I also have documents to back up my claims. I have put myself out there in order to keep other poor working moms from having to make hard choices and to keep the promises that ACORN made to its members."

ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief's vote for Obama signified a desire for change and an expression of hope, but not a willingness to whitewash ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).

Ms. MonCrief's latest post — "Exposing the Truth About ACORN" — proved that.

Ms. MonCrief:
"Many of you have seen the posts that I put on the March of Dimes website regarding my daughter, Addie. What most people do not realize is that I was employed at ACORN/Project Vote during this time. I was making so little that I was on WIC and Medical Assistance. The health plan that ACORN used as part of the cover up of the embezzlement of Dale Rathke did not cover some of the basic things I needed as a pregnant mom. In fact, I still have medical bills from that time that were not paid by ACORN and the Council (covered procedures). I was not only fighting for the poor, I was of one of them — the working poor — and I truly believed that I could make a difference and change things for the better.

"From the beginning ACORN has abused the trust of its people. ACORN pretends to fight for the interests of people but they are really for hire. It seems like their motto is 'have protesters, will travel.' I have seen ACORN members organized for protests at the behest of organizations like SEIU and often the interests served were not that of the members. I find it hard to understand how so little of the money collected after a series of protests from organizations like H&R Block actually trickles down to the community.

"During 2007, I made some bad choices; I moved to Baltimore to give my daughter a real home and encountered things there that still haunt me. In order to get myself and my daughter out of this situation, I began saving money to move and since I was not making enough to live, I did use their credit card for living expenses like pampers, gas, food, clothes, etc. At $1000 every two weeks, I paid $140 a week in daycare; $993 in rent, plus car note, insurance, food, gas, clothes, formula and utilities. I was desperate to move and did something stupid to have more cash on hand for the deposit. I take full responsibility for my actions and had even begun to pay it back. I have never claimed to be perfect, I made decisions like so many others, the Arthur Anderson's, Dale Rathke's, Dennis Kozlowski's and others, and the only difference is the why.

"My story is not one that reflects the idea of mom and apple pie; it is similar to the people that ACORN is supposed to represent. I have achieved wonderful things by the sheer force of my will and perseverance. When I heard Obama's speech about how people like him said 'yes we can,' when people told them otherwise, I started crying. The tears were of joy and recognition. Recognition of the commonality of our experiences, no one in my neighborhood would have ever thought that I would one day get to work with international figures or host the President of Croatia. I bet the people told Maude Heard that she would never do something and look what she has accomplished.

"I mention this because my past is ACORN's defense against me, my sins. I know that repentant sinners are always welcomed back into the fold, Jesus and the New Testament teaches us that. I came forward with full knowledge that I would have to face my actions and decisions; and I am ready to face any consequence for the truth to be exposed. To state this clearly, I have put my whole life, reputation, and future on the line and it was not for some petty grudge. Some claim that I have a vendetta, but I sacrificed my reputation and opened myself up to attacks. ACORN has attacked my credibility and my family. They have used my daughter in their smear campaigns and their mob-like intimidation tactics must cease. I came forward to expose the truth, and that meant exposing my sins. I am ready to fight ACORN for the truth to be revealed.

"ACORN is the modern day money changer in front of the temples. ACORN is the scourge of the poor; they have taken the trust of the poor and used it against them.

"ACORN is under investigation by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for misuse of funds, the FBI, and they have RICO charges filed in Ohio and Indiana. According to the New York Times, ACORN's own lawyers have advised them that their current practices could lead some to suspect criminal activity. I have firsthand knowledge of the co-mingling of funds and resources; and with my access to the accounting system Navision; I saw a lot of questionable transactions. My testimony covered this and the fact that some of ACORN own lawyers suggested that documents were being destroyed."
In addition to all of this:

Some ACORN organizations like ACORN Institute and the American Institute for Social Justice are not properly registered as charities in some states. Audits and reports have not been done for 2004, 2005, and 2006.

According to a staff meeting in Chicago in July, missing reports and files are being attributed to Katrina, but the staff acknowledged that in truth, it was because of illegal activity.

As a former employee of ACORN it was interesting to hear the employees could possibly sue Wade Rathke for mismanagement of the health and pension funds. Apparently, Rathke was making unilateral decisions without the knowledge of the Trustees. I know that I still have benefit claims that were not handled properly.

ACORN is considering going after Wade, but the cover up artists decided in Chicago to wait until after the election.

Wade Rathke's Chief Organizer Fund appears to have been used to pay off Dale's debt and there is some questions as to if organizations were being charged without their knowledge and where the money was really going.
"I could go on all night but I will leave you with this....

"On October 23rd, The New York Times reported that ACORN claimed to register about the 1.3 million voters:

'But it turns out the claim was a wild exaggeration, and the real number of newly registered voters nationwide is closer to 450,000, Project Vote's executive director, Michael Slater, said in an interview. The remainder are registered voters who were changing their address and roughly 400,000 that were rejected by election officials for a variety of reasons, including duplicate registrations, incomplete forms and fraudulent submissions from low-paid field workers trying to please their supervisors, Mr. Slater acknowledged.'

"A forensic audit and the investigations will aid in proving my allegations. I also have documents to back up my claims. I have put myself out there in order to keep other poor working moms from having to make hard choices and to keep the promises that ACORN made to its members."
Will Obama nominate ACORN favorite Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, as Secretary of Labor?

It would not be a wise nomination.

- Michael Gaynor


ACORN Board Member seeks reform

More ACORN stories: here

Union operatives exterminate GOP

There is no limit on union political spending

A generation ago the Republican Party was the dominant political force in New England, populating the region's congressional delegations with moderates like Connecticut's Lowell P. Weicker Jr. and Rhode Island's John Chafee. But today's GOP, led by a more socially conservative wing of the party, is finding votes harder to come by.

Voters on Tuesday cast out Connecticut's veteran Rep. Chris Shays, the last New England Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. Sen. John Sununu was voted out in New Hampshire, leaving that state's Judd Gregg and Maine's Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe as the only Republicans among the region's 12 senators.

Shays' loss to former Goldman Sachs executive Jim Himes marks the first time since 1969 that southwestern Connecticut will be represented by a Democrat in the House.

"I felt that we were going to win this, I really did," Shays told supporters. "I felt that people were so good to me, they were so nice to me. But they were deciding they were going to go the other way."

New England's decision to "go the other way" in recent elections is a dramatic transformation for a region considered a Republican stronghold a generation ago.

The Republican Party and New England have a long history together.

At their first presidential convention, in 1856, Republicans nominated John C. Fremont on a platform of abolishing slavery in the territories - a widely held view in the North. While Fremont lost, he carried 11 Northern states. Later, Abraham Lincoln captured the presidency by winning 18 Northern states.

By the late 1940s, Republicans held 21 of 28 of New England's seats in the House of Representatives. But the turning point came in 1964, when the Republicans nominated conservative Barry Goldwater for president, said Gary Rose, a political science professor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

Known for being fiscally conservative but more socially liberal, Northeast moderates - dubbed the Rockefeller Republicans after the former New York governor - started to be eclipsed by the more socially conservative wing of the party.

"The eastern establishment got weaker and weaker," Rose said. "Today, there's really no eastern establishment to speak of."

Chafee's son, Lincoln, was appointed to the Senate in 1999 after his father's death and was elected in 2000 to a six-year term. A moderate like his father, Chafee was the only Republican in the Senate to vote against authorizing the use of force in Iraq. But he was defeated by a Democrat in 2006.

That same year, Reps. Nancy Johnson and Rob Simmons of Connecticut also were defeated by Democrats, buoyed by anti-Iraq-war and anti-President Bush sentiment.

"There is no longer, to speak of, a moderate voice within the party," Rose said. "It's a party that's becoming more narrow and there's really no sense of compromise within the party."

Jennifer Donahue, political director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, said she believes the GOP can still come back, at least in independent-minded New Hampshire where the state motto is "Live Free or Die."

"It depends on the state. I don't really think you can look at it as a regional phenomenon," Donahue said of New England politicians trending Democratic. "The further north you get, the colder it gets, the more the voters look at (races) on a case-by-case basis."

A large increase of registered Democrats factor into Sununu's loss, she said. But those numbers can change, especially as more fiscally conservative tax refugees migrate north from neighboring Massachusetts.

"It doesn't necessarily indicate a long term pattern coming out of this," she said. "New Hampshire has a uniqueness in that way. It is not fundamentally a state that has in its essence more Democrats than Republicans."

Lawrence J. Cafero Jr., the Republican leader of Connecticut's House of Representatives, blames the image of the national Republican party for hurting the GOP in New England, where Republicans historically have often favored fiscal responsibility, abortion rights, protection of personal liberties and strong environmental policies.

He believes the problem worsened with the 1994 so-called "Republican Revolution," when midterm congressional elections added 54 Republican seats in the House.

"They lost their way and I think more and more New England people, especially those who were Republicans basically because of smaller government and less government intrusion into our lives, started to see their party led by people whose foremost issues were social issues, religious and values and morals, etc.," Cafero said.

"I think that turned a lot of people off in New England and they didn't feel the party was really with them," he added.

Carrie James, a regional press secretary with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which supports Democratic congressional candidates, said bad feelings about President Bush, the war in Iraq and the weakened economy have helped to persuade New England voters to support Democrats over the past eight years.

One bright spot for the GOP in New England has been their control of governorships. Republicans are governors in Connecticut, Vermont and Rhode Island.

"A big part of our strategy this cycle was to link Republican incumbents with the failed policies of the Bush administration and it's not applicable in a governor's race," James said. "But certainly President Bush damaged the Republican brand across the board."

Rose said he believes Republican gubernatorial candidates in New England will face the same challenges as GOP congressional candidates. He said it's difficult to tell what Yankee Republicans represent and what role they'll play in the future.

"The only reason they've been able to survive is they've acted like Democrats," Rose said. "They too, I think are going to become endangered species."

Thomas Whalen, a political historian at Boston University, said he believes the Republican brand in New England will become even less popular over time, especially as some national party activists tout socially conservative Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the future of the GOP and the prime presidential candidate in 2012.

"I think that's going to turn off even more people (in New England)," said Whalen, author of "A Higher Purpose: Profiles in Presidential Courage."

Whalen said there is now an opportunity for an independent third party that takes populist stands to develop in New England and envelop moderate Republicans. He said voters in Democratic-heavy states, such as Massachusetts, are going to want a choice at the polls.

"There is no place in the GOP now for the moderates and they need to find a home," Whalen said. "The brand is dead in New England."


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Gov't-union bargaining in secret

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

School big: Giving public info would be 'divisive and chaotic'

Elected officials around the state often keep details of proposed contracts with public-employee unions secret until they have been ratified, leaving taxpayers in the dark about millions of dollars in new commitments, according to a report from a watchdog group obtained by Gannett News Service.

"They're committing millions of dollars in secret," said Lise Bang-Jensen of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a conservative think tank based in Albany.

The report was issued as Gov. David Paterson and state lawmakers are preparing to return to the Capitol later this month to cut state spending by $2 billion to close the current budget deficit. Local governments and school districts have warned that any cut in state aid may result in higher local property taxes. New Yorkers already pay the highest combined state and local taxes in the nation.

But Bang-Jensen's report suggests that money could be saved merely by letting taxpayers know ahead of time the commitments their leaders intend to make to public employees. Making the information public could allow taxpayers to voice their opinions and potentially influence any final agreements.

"The people's right to know is a hollow concept when the government can withhold vital information until it is too late for people's voices to be heard," she said in the report. "Unfortunately, this is what happens all too frequently in New York State, when details of collective-bargaining agreements with public-employee unions are kept secret until it's too late for them to be debated or altered."

Taxpayers 'blindsided'

She cited recent contracts for firefighters in Johnson City, Broome County, teachers in Utica, county employees in Westchester and state troopers as examples of taxpayers being blindsided.

In the Johnson City case, firefighters were granted a 44 percent raise this year over five years, and citizens packed a board meeting to demand an explanation after the deal was done.

In Utica, according to the report, the schools superintendent refused to publicly disclose contract terms with the teachers' union until after the Board of Education had approved the deal.

In Westchester when a contract was signed with the 4,000-member Civil Service Employees Association Unit 9200 that called for a 22 percent raise over six years, the county didn't release a copy of the memorandum of understanding until six days after the union had mailed out ballots.

But Westchester Deputy County Executive Larry Schwartz pointed out that the agreement still has to be ratified by the Board of Legislators, and that the public can tell the members what they think of it. He also said the proposed agreement was posted on the union's Web site.

"There has been plenty of opportunity for public input," he said. "We're all in favor of total transparency."

Bang-Jensen also cited a report from a grand jury investigating school-district corruption in Suffolk County that complained about "an abject lack of transparency regarding the issue for which school districts spend the overwhelming majority of their funds - salaries and benefits for their employees."

The state Freedom of Information Law presumes that all public documents should be made public. But it does allow the withholding of information that would give one side or the other an advantage in negotiations.

Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, said in a 1995 decision on the issue that once a tentative agreement has been reached, "negotiations are over," and the information can be made public since both sides already have the same information.

Bang-Jensen said once there is a tentative agreement on a contract, governments should disclose:

• The net financial impact of all of the changes agreed to.

• A breakdown of savings from union concessions.

• Proposed salary increases on an annualized and cumulative percentage basis.

• An estimate of the projected impact on tax rates over the life of the contract.

Bang-Jensen said no law prohibits governments and school districts from releasing this information. But she said "in the absence of an affirmative disclosure requirement, it appears many officials around the state are inclined more towards secrecy than transparency in such matters."

Spokesmen for both the state School Boards Association and New York State United Teachers said the current system should be retained.

Giving the public such information on a tentative contract and then waiting for a final vote could be "divisive and chaotic," said David Albert, the school boards spokesman.

He said school-board members are elected to represent the voters in contract negotiations, so voters can oust board members if they think they're not doing a good job.

"This is a bad idea," concurred Carl Korn, a NYSUT spokesman. "It would turn the collective-bargaining process into a three-ring circus."

He said a system like Bang-Jensen suggests would "lead to second-guessing and divisive acrimony within the communities."


ACORN sets stage for permanent voter fraud

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

AFL-CIO shock troops look to consolidate gains

The nation's much-maligned election system passed a major test last week when more than 132 million Americans -- a record -- cast ballots with few reports of problems.

But now, election reformers are calling for a move toward a "universal voter registration" system, in which the government takes the lead in ensuring that all eligible citizens are registered to vote.

"This means the registration process would no longer serve as a barrier to the right to vote," said Wendy R. Weiser, a lawyer for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. "It would also eliminate the ACORN issue and all the gaming of the system."

In the United States, unlike other major democracies, citizens, not the government, are responsible for seeing to it that they are registered to vote. And when people move, even if across town, they must update their registration, usually with a local office.

In 2004, more than 1 in 4 American adults was not on the voter rolls. Since then, private organizations such as the League of Women Voters and activist groups like ACORN, an advocate for people in low-income communities, launched major voter registration drives. These groups do not put voters on the rolls. They simply turn in applications from people who sign forms saying they want to register.

But ACORN, among others, was sharply criticized for submitting a huge number of registration cards with questionable information and from people already registered.

"All across America, our people wasted untold hours dealing with duplicate registrations," said R. Doug Lewis, executive director of the National Assn. of Election Officials.

Many more Americans encounter a more mundane problem -- failing to update their registration after they move.

"The current system is simply not designed for a mobile society," the Brennan Center for Justice said in its report on universal voter registration.

Under its proposal, states could update their computerized voter rolls when residents move from one city to another. And they could add new voters who move to the state and apply for driver's licenses.

Some proposals would automatically add teens to the voter rolls when they turn 18. Under some plans, Congress could create a national voter registration roll, modeled after the Social Security database. Others say states should take the lead in expanding and improving their voter rolls.

"Registration reform will be the big issue going forward," said Doug Chapin of Electionline.org. "All this last-minute litigation has heightened the concern that we need to consider a universal or automatic voter registration system."

Tuesday's voting followed weeks of lawsuits and skirmishes over the voter rolls, when Republicans voiced fears of massive fraud and Democrats were worried about the possible purging of tens of thousands of voters.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has said she plans to introduce legislation to move toward automatic voter registration, and officials in Minnesota, Oregon and New York have expressed interest in making it a state law, said officials at the Brennan Center for Justice.

Some election officials question whether a national system would gain support.

"We will need to think hard about this," said Lewis, whose group represents state and county election officials. "It's true that in most developed democracies the government takes on this role and it's a top-down system. But ours has been a bottom-up system because our founders were suspicious of a centralized election authority."

Several watchdog groups that sounded alarms in recent weeks say this year's focus on the voter rolls helped resolve problems before election day. In Colorado and Michigan, judges acting in response to lawsuits restored thousands of voters to the rolls days before the election. In Florida, county officials agreed to work out problems of voters whose driver's licenses did not match data on the registration rolls.

"Because a lot of work was done on the front end, we were able to avoid major meltdowns," said Tova Wang, a voting rights expert at Common Cause.

This year, for the first time, a sizable percentage of voters cast their ballots before election day. Most states have adopted some form of early voting, and election reformers say more should do so.

"I think we will see a lot of discussion about expanding the early voting," Chapin said.

Some experts predicted a push to enact a federal law that would make it a crime to send false and deceptive information about voting, either through the mail or via the Internet.

"It's amazing how many e-mails with deliberate misleading information were sent out this year," Wang said. Legislation to ban the practice was introduced in the last Congress, but it did not become law. She said it stood a good chance next year.

One reason for her optimism: A key sponsor of last year's bill to outlaw deceptive election fliers was Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.


Newhouse rag covers for Big Labor again

Routine flood of out-of-state union political cash only gets reported by 'The Oregonian' after elections

Spending for and against this month's ballot measures hit $20 million, led by public employee unions that paid more than $14 million to defeat seven measures placed on the ballot by prolific initiative author Bill Sizemore and Salem attorney Kevin Mannix.

The 48,000-member teachers union, the Oregon Education Association, and its parent organization spent $8.3 million on the measures, far more than any other campaign donor.

The biggest nonunion contributor was millionaire Loren Parks, who spent $2 million in support of the Sizemore and Mannix proposals. Parks, who owns a medical equipment company in Aloha, moved to Nevada in 2002 but continues to be Oregon's biggest individual campaign contributor.

Who spent what

In addition to $5.3 million from the OEA and $3 million from the National Education Association, other large contributors to the union effort included:

• $2.7 million from the Service Employees International Union, which includes the union formerly known as the Oregon Public Employees Union.

• $880,000 from the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees.

• $807,500 from the American Federation of Teachers.

• $600,000 from the Oregon School Employees Association.

• $600,000 from the Oregon Nurses Association.

In all, a dozen statewide measures appeared on the Nov. 4 ballot, including eight initiatives. But it was the seven Sizemore and Mannix initiatives that attracted the most spending.

The union money went to the Defend Oregon coalition that focused most of its efforts on Sizemore's initiatives, including proposals to restrict unions' political fundraising, move teacher pay to a performance-based system, and restrict non-English-language teaching.

The union spending paid off. Voters rejected each of Sizemore's five proposals.

Some of the union spending also was directed at Mannix's two proposals, which were also rejected by voters. One would have allocated 15 percent of lottery proceeds for anti-crime efforts. The other, Measure 61, would have created mandatory minimum prison sentences for some drug crimes, identity theft and burglaries.

Instead, voters approved Measure 57, which would increase prison sentences for career, nonviolent criminals but place first-time offenders in drug treatment. The Legislature placed that proposal on the ballot as an alternative to Mannix's Measure 61.

In addition to the $2 million he contributed to the campaigns for the Sizemore and Mannix measures, Parks earlier spent more than $1.3 million for the collection of signatures that qualified those initiatives for the ballot.

Voters also rejected the only other initiative that made the ballot: Measure 65. Authored by former Secretary of State Phil Keisling, it would have created open primaries as part of Oregon's elections.

- Dave Hogan


Amerikkka? (1)

More collectivism stories: hereWade Rathke stories: here

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