Sunday wrap

Foreign collectivist calls economic shots for Prez Bam ... George Soros, one of the world's first and best-known hedge fund managers, told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine the United States needed an infrastructure program and a large economic stimulus package to provide its cities and states with sufficient cash. The U.S. government has launched a $700 billion financial bailout initiative in response to the turmoil. But the U.S. economy needed additional support measures of between $300 billion and $600 billion, Soros said. He criticized U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson for having reacted too late to the crisis but said he had high hopes about Obama's ability to manage the situation. "The duration of the crisis depends on the success of his policies," Soros said, according to Der Spiegel. (reuters.com)

SEIU organizers in Houston form their own union ... Hamilton Gramajo says he was working seven days a week, often from 9 a.m. to well past midnight, trying to organize the 5,300 janitors for the Service Employees International Union. It was a grueling schedule — he couldn’t even get a couple of hours off on Sunday to go to church — but when he and others complained to his union bosses, Gramajo said they were ignored. Gramajo said the stress to “keep up with his numbers” in worker sign-ups resulted in chest pains and a warning from his doctor to rest. His ironic plight — a union worker claiming work rule violations by the union itself — led to a National Labor Relations Board complaint that is still pending. “There’s no way I can go to the janitors and tell them to fight for their rights if I’m being treated the same way,” he said, referring to the Justice for Janitors campaign in 2006 that led to a three-year contract between five Houston janitorial companies and the SEIU. Gramajo and his co-workers did what he recommended for the janitors: They joined a union. (chron.com)

Obama cuts 2.5 million make-work public jobs

Racketeering charges caused UFCW to agree to secret-ballot ... The agreement to hold an election came about after Smithfield Foods and the union reached a settlement in October in a federal lawsuit filed by Smithfield Foods in Virginia. Smithfield agreed to drop its racketeering and extortion lawsuit against labor organizers. In return, the union agreed to end a publicity campaign against Smithfield. The union had called for product boycotts to gain support for an election in Tar Heel, home to the world's largest hog slaughterhouse. The union began its boycott campaign against Smithfield in June 2006 in an attempt to pressure the company to unionize the plant, which has about 4,650 employees. Smithfield filed a civil racketeering lawsuit in October 2007, days after talks broke down over how to conduct a union election at the Tar Heel plant. (tmcnet.com)

Prez Bam calls on union thugs to 'get in their face' in Georgia ... President-elect Barack Obama, who co-sponsored the misleadingly titled Employee Free Choice Act in the Senate in 2007, has vowed that the measure, called “Card Check,” will be the law of the land once he’s in office. Given the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, if Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss loses Georgia’s runoff election on Dec. 2, Card Check probably will become law—and that would be terrible news for Americans who want to keep their jobs. (sundaypaper.com)

Chamber's Case Against Employee Forced Choice Act ... OK, the real title of what is arguably the worst proposal likely to come before the new Congress is "The Employee Free Choice Act." But the reality is the proposal forces a choice - to support joining a union - on employees through coercion or the threat of it by killing secret ballots in workplace representation elections. (dcexaminer.com)

Worker-choice laws misunderstood by government ... City officials say right-to-work laws in South Carolina prohibit them from formally recognizing unions or entering any collective bargaining talks over pay or benefits. Susan Herdina, assistant city attorney for Charleston, says that the city is happy to talk to anyone, union member or individual employee, about workplace concerns. In other words, unions can lobby for change but have no legal authority. (charleston.net)

Let's keep the secret-ballot in union elections ... At its core, the EFCA is an undemocratic power grab by organized labor. It would strip employees of their right to privacy and expose them to intimidation, deception and coercion. In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal on Aug. 8, George McGovern called the EFCA "a disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of management or labor." According to a recent poll, 82 percent of Minnesotans believe private ballot elections are the cornerstone of democracy and should be kept for union elections. For the sake of hard-working people all across our great country, the EFCA should not be allowed to become law. The current system is working just fine. (twincities.com)

Teamsters prefer pay cuts to dues loss ... Frontier Airlines and the union representing its 125 cabin cleaners reached an agreement late Thursday for pay cuts over the next four years. Under the agreement, expected to go to a vote on Dec. 12, the workers will take 6 percent pay cuts in the first and second years, 3 percent in the third year and 1 percent in the final year, said Matthew Fazakas, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 961. (denverpost.com)

ACORN could lead to universal voter-fraud ... The problems arose because our old system of state-by-state registration rules — some of which appear designed for a mail system via pony express — is outmoded and frankly retains vestiges of our racist past. We need to follow the lead of at least 24 other countries and adopt a system of automatic and permanent voter registration. This is what a country that wants to encourage every eligible voter to vote would do. Now let's see if we are that kind of country. Current problems with voter registration would largely disappear if the states or federal government were responsible for registering every citizen who qualified. (courant.com)

Unions' card-check scheme is hard to swallow ... Which brings us back to why the unions are so hell-bent on passing this card-check bill. They have to have more dues to pay for the fact that their mouths have overloaded their fannies. The only way to do that is to intimidate workers into joining. Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress, who support this bill, want to do to American businesses what the UAW has done to GM. (tennessean.com)

Small employers brace for union organizers ... Business groups in Delaware are casting a wary eye on the arrival of President-elect Barack Obama and the expansion of the Democratic majority in Congress. "We have seen that one-party control typically doesn't seem to work out the way it should," said Scott Kidner, Delaware state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, a small-business lobby. "It doesn't matter whether you're an 'R' or a 'D.' You do need checks and balances." (delawareonline.com)

Don’t strip workers of right to secret ballot ... Asking workers to publicly sign a card in view of union organizers and employers erodes a fundamental element of democracy in the workplace. That would be a step backward the president and Congress should not allow. (telegram.com)

Hollywood Left emerges triumphant ... Herb and Marion Sandler made their fortune by building Oakland-based Golden West Financial Corp. — parent company of World Savings Bank — into one of the nation's largest savings and loans, before selling it to Wachovia Bank two years ago for $24.2 billion. But of all their investments, helping to launch Center for American Progress in 2003 and helping to bankroll it since — in total, an estimated $20 million — could prove most far-reaching. Professor Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said the Sandlers must be pleased with the crop that has grown from their seed money. (contracostatimes.com)

DINO backs union bigs over rank-and-file ... "The income gap in our country tracks with falling union density," Bonior told me. "The war against unions was started by Reagan, and as (the income gap grew), we covered it up by extending credit and issuing credit cards. Now it's all starting to collapse around us." Bonior isn't just sharing this message with journalists. He also has the ear of President-elect Barack Obama. (thetimesherald.com)

Latin socialist tested ... Surveys suggest Chávez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) will likely hold most states and cities, but may lose some posts as voters express concern over escalating crime, corruption and inefficiency. Chávez, in power for almost 10 years, has crossed the country campaigning for his party's candidates, ensuring that the polls will also test support for him and his socialist revolution. "My destiny is at stake ... Whether Chávez keeps governing Venezuela will depend on what happens on November 23," the president said recently. (google.com)
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