Wednesday wrap

Stimulus bait-and-switch? ... "Card check" legislation could hitch a ride in an economic stimulus package and spark an early fight between business interests and the Obama administration when the 111th Congress convenes in January. There are some indications of a push to put the Employee Free Choice Act into the economic stimulus package, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials in Washington. Chamber officials said today, November 25, "to impose a sweeping new [card check] law ... would hardly stimulate the economy. It would cause employers to curl up in a ball and not want to expend further resources on expansion.” The Chamber is gearing up for a fight over the Employee Free Choice Act -- a bill commonly known as card check that would allow workers to unionize if a majority of them sign authorization cards. Under current law, an employer can demand a secret-ballot election before workers can form a union. (rotor.com)

Dems target full repeal of worker-choice ...State Right to Work laws secure the principle that no worker should be compelled to join or pay tribute to a union to get or keep a job. Currently, 22 states have such laws, and these states have far outperformed forced-unionism states in numerous measures of economic growth and vitality. But the freedom and prosperity that Right to Work brings will be in jeopardy if union stooges like Rep. Brad Sherman (D.-Calif.) get their way. In July, Sherman introduced legislation to repeal Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act -- the provision of the 1947 law that affirms the right of states to enact Right to Work laws. Strike Section 14(b) from the books, and state Right to Work laws would be preempted by federal labor policy, which upholds forced unionism. (humanevents.com)

Bailing out corporate leftism ... Long before it started drowning in red ink, the poster child for so-called corporate social responsibility was a longtime donor to left-wing pressure groups such as Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Henry Paulson's Nature Conservancy. In tax year 2003, Citigroup's foundation gave 20 times more money to groups on the left than to groups on the right, according to Capital Research Center's 2006 study of Fortune 100 foundation giving. (Foundation Watch, August 2006.) Citigroup's foundation has given a staggering $1.4 million to the alarmist World Resources Institute, as well as $509,000 to ACORN in recent years. The ACORN funding included a $500,000 grant to ACORN's American Institute for Social Justice, which offers Saul Alinsky-style training in community organizing. Other donations to liberal groups include the Aspen Institute ($762,500), Rainbow/PUSH ($750,000), Nature Conservancy ($380,000), Rainforest Alliance ($200,000), and the Council on Foreign Relations ($50,000). The company's 7th Annual Citizenship Report is a dazzling compendium of all the supposed good works Citigroup claims to be doing -- with its shareholders' money. It includes reports on its commitment to diversity and to "sustainable" economic development, along with friendly greetings from Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, the enviro-leftist investment network, and Janet Murguia, head of the liberal National Council of La Raza. (spectator.org)

Arise, Obamunists ... The National Committee of the Communist Party USA calls on all of those concerned about the economic crisis that has gripped our country and the world to unite and fight for the election mandate. We hail the tens of millions who came to the polls and registered an historic defeat of the ultra right. These voters saw through the direct and indirect appeals to racism and voted for Obama. We salute those who rejected the Republican anti-communist, anti-immigrant attacks and numerous other slanders and voted their hopes and not their fears. Their votes represent the highest expression of patriotism. Our party has a proud history in the fight against racism, for unity and equality. We fully appreciate what this election represents in terms of the ongoing freedom struggle. (cpusa.org)

Journalism threatened by News Union ... More than 500 journalists and other workers at Associated Press are urging the company to reverse course in contract talks with its largest union, saying the company's bargaining stance threatens quality journalism. The petition signers asked AP to change direction, finding the AP's contract proposals to the News Media Guild to be "regressive." In contract talks with the Guild, the AP is proposing a wage freeze, weakened job security, vastly larger prescription drug payments, increased medical plan co-payments, elimination of overtime pay for hundreds of employees, and a reduction of sick leave for new mothers. The News Media Guild represents U.S. employees; workers overseas are represented by other unions. (marketwatch.com

Déjà Vu of Failed FDR Era ... If you are of a certain age…as I am…you can readily see even now the definite similarities between Barack Obama’s ascension to the presidency and the 12 years of Franklin Roosevelt. I’m a geezer expert on FDR’s influence on this country: he was the only president I knew in my entire life, from kindergartener to high school senior. Like Obama, FDR depended on the support of a largely adulatory media. He tried to socialize the economy in fruitless experiments while liberals cheered his “decisiveness” and good intentions…notwithstanding that he “solved” unemployment only when we went to World War II. Could it happen again? (cdobs.com)

Dem cannibals prep feast ... Forget the Republican filibuster and the race to 60. The real fight in the next Congress is Democrats vs. themselves. With nearly complete control of Washington for the first time in three decades, Democrats are entering a treacherous power zone in which many of their priorities could easily be undone by the geographic, demographic and ideological factions that compete for supremacy within the party. Unless Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can whip their caucuses into unity, numerous fault lines will be revealed: Southern Democrats vs. Northern liberals on labor law; California greens vs. Rust Belt Democrats on global warming; socialized medicine adherents vs. go-slow health care reformers; anti-war liberals vs. cautious centrists on national security. And don't forget the anti-bailout crowd vs. the powerful Michigan Democrats in both chambers when it comes to money for Detroit. Republicans insist they will fight for their issues when they can, but they also might simply take a front-row seat to see if Democrats implode. (twincities.com)

Prez Bam's unpopular secret-ballot ban ... However, what is popular with big labor bosses is not popular with American voters and even rank-and-file union employees. When ATI-News/Zogby asked voters if they had known “about Barack Obama’s support for a congressional bill to outlaw workers’ rights to a secret ballot in union elections,” 54 percent of voters said they would have been “less likely to vote for Obama,” and only 7 percent said they would have been “more likely to vote for Obama” (33 percent said it would have made “no difference” in their vote and 6 percent were “not sure”). Surprisingly, even 27 percent of those who voted for Obama said they would have been less likely to do so, while only 11 percent said they would have been more likely (51 percent said “no difference” and 11 percent “not sure”). In addition, a majority of union members (53 percent) would have been less likely to vote for Obama if they had known about his support for banning secret ballots in union elections. (newsmax.com)

Charter school unionized in labor-state ... In between violin and voice lessons, teachers at the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Brighton have organized into a union, the first-ever at a Massachusetts charter school. The decision by the 20 teachers at this small elementary school is considered significant in the state's 15-year-old charter movement, which was based, in part, on allowing administrators to pursue innovative teaching methods without union intervention. (boston.com)

Teamsters drive firm out of business ... Brannum Lumber almost made it to its 100th anniversary — but instead will close next month after 99-plus years. Company officials said the long-time Racine construction supply company at 1720 Taylor Ave. will close Dec. 20, just five months short of its century mark in business. A funding shortfall in a Teamsters national pension fund, affecting just two employees, was the tipping point, Brannum President and minority owner Dale Anderson said Monday. (journaltimes.com)

Fundamentally undemocratic job-killer ... The 500-member Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) is releasing a letter it delivered to Capitol Hill. In the letter, CDW urged members of the Senate and House "to oppose all efforts to pass any provision included in the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA H.R. 800/S. 1041 in the 110th Congress)." "We wanted to take the opportunity to remind members of Congress of the overwhelming opposition from the business community, their constituents and union households to this anti-worker legislation," says Brian Worth with the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. "This bill is a job-killer and fundamentally undemocratic." (mhmonline.com)

Union rhetoric refuted ... [T]he reality of the American workplace looks nothing like the version depicted by union propaganda,” he said. Responding to Union Rhetoric: The Reality of the American Workplace highlights the inaccurate arguments used by labor leaders to support an agenda that demonizes employers, upsets the delicate balance in labor laws, and would hinder the recovery of our economy. “Rewriting American labor laws mandating recognition through the card check process and replacing collective bargaining with binding interest arbitration cannot be justified,” Johnson said. “Yet, unions and their allies have continued to argue that they need card check legislation without recognizing the delicate balance struck under the National Labor Relations Act between unions and employers. These papers explain why maintaining this balance is important.” (finchannel.com)

U.S. Left feeds Canada Left ... And in 2007, the huge William and Flora Hewlett Foundation of California gave the Tides Canada Foundation, which helps donors "invest wisely in charities and charitable initiatives that address environmental and social justice problems," nearly $3.4 million for its Great Bear Rainforest Campaign. The current Tides Canada chairman is Alan Broadbent, who co-chairs Robertson's Happy Planet Foods. The Tides Canada vice-chairman is Tennessee-born Joel Solomon, who gave over $5,000 to Robertson's nomination campaign. Solomon also chairs the U.S. Tides foundation board, but became a Canadian citizen this fall. He, too, is on the Happy Planet board. Now, I don't think there's anything particularly sinister here. It's just that the Canadian nonprofit world is an incestuous one. (canada.com)

Prez Bam to restore U.S. image? ... "I will travel to Iran to meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a near future. I owe him," Tabnak website quoted him as saying on Tuesday. Chávez did not provide further details or the date of his visit. Earlier on Monday, Chávez sniped at US President-elect Barack Obama for disrespectful signals to the Iranian president. The Venezuelan president urged Obama to revise US foreign policy towards Iran and adopt an independent stance, different from that taken by George Bush. "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent him a letter. The reply wasn't good. It was disrespectful. Obama was unable to get away from the cliche. He spoke like Bush. They are very bad signs," Chávez told foreign journalists. (presstv.ir)

Nurses file decert petition ... One year after voting in union representation, a group of nurses at Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence (MO) are seeking to dump the bargaining unit. A decertification petition signed by at least 30 percent of Centerpoint's union nurses was filed last week with the National Labor Relations Board, said Dan Hubbel, director of the agency's regional office. Hubbel said two unfair labor practice charges recently filed against Centerpoint by Nurses United Local 5126 would have to be investigated before a decertification election. (tradingmarkets.com)

Training anti-Americans ... Between 2005 and 2007, Venezuela spent around $4bn (£2.6bn) on military equipment - most of it from Russia. But the Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Riabkov, said suggestions in the media that the naval exercises signal a return to Cold War politics in Latin America were misguided. "There is no geo-political connotation whatsoever," he told the BBC. "I would just stress that after a long period of our navy and air forces almost staying idle, keeping still, we restarted normal training processes and part of that is definitely training in some distant waters and distant airspace." While the Russian government has been playing down any political dimension to the training, the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, has been doing just the opposite. In recent speeches, he has referred to Venezuela's "strategic partnership" with Russia and said the military ties were part of building a more "multi-polar world". (news.bbc.co.uk)

TIME passes slowly ... With a week to go before a buyout offer expires, only one Time Inc. staffer is known to have volunteered to take the severance package, whose benefits generally are less generous than those under The Newspaper Guild's previous contract, union officials said. Some of the company's biggest magazines - those that are covered by The Newspaper Guild - have asked for at least 83 people to take buyouts as part of a restructuring and downsizing. Volunteers were asked to come forward by Dec. 1. (mediaweek.com)

No Big Bedfellows ... The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will spend around $10 million in the coming months to fight legislation it said would spell an effective end to secret ballot votes among employees seeking to form a labor union in the workplace. Describing the coming fight in Congress over the issue as a "firestorm bordering on armageddon", Randel Johnson, executive director for labor issues at the Chamber, said defeating the measure was the lobby group's number one priority in the coming session of Congress. (easybourse.com)

Cal. balks at SEIU thug attorneys ... Contract talks between the state and three bargaining units represented by SEIU Local 1000 didn't go anywhere Friday when union attorneys showed up for the last day of negotiations until after the holidays. The union's new policy of staffing each bargaining table with a Local 1000 attorney drew resistance from state negotiators last week ... DPA's Lynelle Jolley: "We think it's fine to have attorneys present at the negotiations. Once we learned that attorneys would be present for the union, we needed to make arrangements for the State to have legal counsel present as well. Even though these discussions are frustrating for both sides, we've never refused to negotiate. We still believe in bargaining, especially during tough times like we're facing now." (sacbee.com)

SEIU bigs hauled into court ... Attorneys for a Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center nurse announced they will appeal an erroneous administrative law judge ruling dismissing a federal complaint against a local union. Union officials had threatened non-striking nurses with financial penalties and even arrest for refusing to abandon their patients. (nrtw.org)

Union bigs wait patiently ... Obama's team of Treasury secretary and four top economic advisers, introduced as the hands that will steer America's economy, had no particular ties to the labor movement. And Obama's secretary of labor was not introduced as part of that team — a suggestion that that post will retain its second-tier status and quiet voice in matters central to economic policy. "I wish that (the secretary of labor) would have been among them," former Michigan Rep. David Bonior, a labor stalwart and member of Obama's transition team, said of the group at the Chicago press conference. "I hope they take that job seriously." Labor's low profile in Obama's transition is striking because of unions' vital role in the general election campaign. (twincities.com)

Politicians advance socialism ... Barack Obama says that we have to "jolt" the economy. That certainly makes sense, if you take the media's account of the economy seriously-- but should the media be taken seriously? Amid all the political and media hysteria, national output has declined by less than one-half of one percent. In fact, it may not have declined even that much-- or at all-- when the statistics are revised later, as they very often are. We are not talking about the Great Depression, when output dropped by one-third and unemployment soared to 25 percent. What we are talking about is a golden political opportunity for politicians to use the current financial crisis to fundamentally change an economy that has been successful for more than two centuries, so that politicians can henceforth micro-manage all sorts of businesses and play Robin Hood, taking from those who are not likely to vote for them and transferring part of their earnings to those who will vote for them. (postchronicle.com)

Long Live ACORN

Unions hype Senate Dem bailout

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