Monday wrap

Unions seek to overturn Clean Government Act ... Colorado's Amendment 54 passed narrowly, despite the heavy union spending. It restricts campaign contribution by persons and organizations who have single-source, no-bid government contracts. This includes unions as well as corporations, since unions often have sole-source collective bargaining contracts with school districts. The unions already are making plans to file a court case against Amendment 54. Yet even if the teachers unions prevail in court, all they achieve is restoration of the old status quo - having spent millions of dollars to block some reforms. (chieftain.com)

Losing faith in ACORN ... Kudos to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for its principled position to cut off funding permanently for the thoroughly disgraced Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The bishops' subcommittee of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development this month voted unanimously to end the organization's funding of ACORN organizations because of serious concerns about the financial accountability, organizational performance and political partisanship of the radical leftist group. The church had given ACORN more than $7 million in the last decade until it froze contributions in June. (pittsburghlive.com)

Stimulating a public works hoax ... Today most public works are so costly that they are unaffordable, and usually deferred. Typical public works are moderate skill projects, local roads, small bridges, school construction, etc. The cost is greatly increased by Davis-Bacon Act or similar requirements in California to use only union contractors and pay "prevailing wages," which are frequently a bogus high wage that no one else in the area pays. This type of high cost public works will employ only a few, overpaid employees, and is one of the poorest way to stimulate the economy. If the desire is to put a large number of unemployed people to work, public works can be a useful tool, as the WPA did construct some useful structures, using large numbers of low skilled employees at minimum wage, and with competent supervision. The incoming administration and the California state government are obligated to the labor unions, who will fight successfully for "prevailing wage" public works. Under these conditions, there is no "Economic Stimulus" from public works. (contracostatimes.com)

Dem Gov. picks on non-union workers ... Memo to Chicago area public transit executives: If you want to increase riders' fares, Gov. Blagojevich wants to freeze your salaries. Blagojevich is crafting a plan that, if approved by the General Assembly, would force transit agencies that increase fares in 2009 or 2010 to hold the line on pay for all nonunion employees for those same years. If the boards that govern those agencies don't do that, the state would bar fare increases from taking effect. (suntimes.com)

Auto workers wise up to UAW ... All the same, Mitsubishi Eclipses and Toyota Corollas are made by UAW workers at plants in Illinois and California. In each case, unions have made concessions to ensure the jobs stay put. Honda makes the Civic and Accord in two plants in Ohio, which isn't a right-to-work state. But attempts to unionize foreign-owned factories have generally been unsuccessful, most recently at Nissan; their workers know too well what that has meant for their UAW peers. (online.wsj.com)

County SEIU members OK strike ... Members of the union representing about 2,700 Sonoma County government workers have voted overwhelmingly to authorize their contract negotiating team to call a strike, if they see fit. “The overwhelming support for strike authorization demonstrates that county workers will not resolve these negotiations without a solution for affordable health care,” said Ken Tam, a regional parks planner who also serves on the Service Employees International Union’s negotiating team. (pressdemocrat.com)

York U. strikers issue demands ... Talks between York University administration, CUPE negotiators and a mediator were suspended Saturday as a strike canceling classes for nearly 50,000 students drags into its fourth week, the school says. The university and striking union met on Thursday for the first time since the strike began, but the talks have been called off. "We understood that CUPE 3903 had a new framework to reach a settlement, but in the end their monetary demands were 28 per cent over two years with more than 120 proposals still on the table," university spokesperson Alex Bilyk said in a statement on the school's website. "Their demands are not realistic and they are not affordable, especially in a worsening economy." (cp24.com)

New Raw Deal? ... Nobel Prize winner and columnist for the New York Times Paul Krugman has advocated a new major spending program in recent weeks that would closely resemble the New Deal of President Franklin. D. Roosevelt. Krugman argues that the New Deal created jobs, improved the country’s economy, and pulled it out a terrible depression. Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Amity Shlaes explains that Krugman’s reasoning isn’t sound. Looking at the statistics from the 1930s and early 1940 it becomes clear, Shlaes writes, that the New Deal’s spending did not improve the economy. Rather, the extra spending meant that taxes had to go up which hurt businesses, their ability to compete and their willingness to hire workers. Additionally, the New Deal gave much more power to unions who then demanded massive wage increases even though businesses could ill afford them. (poligazette.com)

Union PACs scored in Granite State ... Professional Firefighters: 17-1. The group gave money to Martin, as well, and was 1-0 with the council, sending a check to Nelson Democrat John Shea. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union: 12-1. Martin was its only defeated candidate. Teamsters: 17-4. It backed Windham Democrat Daphne Kenyon, who lost to Sen. Robert Letourneau, R-Derry, Greenville Democrat Steve Spratt, who lost to Senate Republican Leader Peter Bragdon, of Milford; Hudson Democrat Sandy Amlaw, who lost to Sen.-elect Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry; and Martin. It was 4-1 with the Executive Council, going with Bob Bruce, of Candia, who lost to Manchester Republican Raymond Wieczorek, and it was cautious enough to give to both Shea and St. Hillaire in the closest council race. The Teamsters also backed 213 of the 400 House members elected, including 33 Republicans, along with both Democrats who won re-election to congressional seats.(nashuatelegraph.com)

Maryland goes conservative ... In Prince George's County, voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to increase the telephone tax. And in neighboring Montgomery County, they approved a charter amendment that will make it extremely difficult to increase property taxes. The votes constituted embarrassing defeats for two of the most powerful liberal Democratic machine politicians in the state - Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson. (washingtontimes.com)

Prez Bam wants a union-friendly federal government ... “We have an opportunity for the conversation to change about federal employees, and how they are valued and respected,” said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. For federal managers, the change will mean the likely return of the Clinton-era formalized labor-management partnerships between senior government officials and union leaders. Those were dissolved within weeks of the Bush administration taking power. Heineman said unions sometimes had too much say in management decisions, such as choosing exceptional SSA employees for financial awards. SSA’s partnership allowed the American Federation of Government Employees to help decide who received awards, and Heineman said the union pushed to hand out smaller awards to more people. Managers wanted to hand out bigger awards to only the best employees, he said. “It took the ability away from managers to reward employees doing an outstanding job, and the awards were more flat,” Heineman said. If partnerships return, Heineman said managers will welcome the opportunity to exchange ideas with employees and unions. But he wants to make sure managers retain important authorities, such as the ability to assign work to employees as they see fit. Obama is reportedly considering a former top union official to run the Federal Aviation Administration: Duane Woerth, former president of the Air Line Pilots Association. (federaltimes.com)

How far will Obama go for unions? ... Obama and his allies in Washington can't focus exclusively on the real issues we face. Instead, they continue to push for a divisive and partisan handout for the union bosses who bankrolled their campaigns. And thanks to their big wins on Election Day, the disastrous Employee Free Choice Act is frighteningly close to becoming a reality. Despite its name, the Employee Free Choice Act would actually take choice away from employees and give corrupt and power-hungry union bosses control over thousands of American businesses. This act would change the process by which unions are formed, eliminating private-ballot elections in favor of a deeply flawed system called "card check." There still is time to educate the public and warn workers what forced unionization will mean for them. Labor bosses have long relied on residual goodwill from an earlier era. If millions of Americans learn the truth about forced dues and unions' history of broken promises, they will not stand idly by as their rights are stripped by a piece of one-sided and undemocratic legislation. Barack Obama and the Democrats were elected by a nation hungry for change. They should be careful not to squander their popularity on handouts and favors for union special interests.(pittsburghlive.com)

Show the union your ballot ... Earlier this month, Americans went to the polls and in private elected Barack Obama as the next president of the United States - a practice Obama would deny American workers through his too-little-publicized support of the cynically named “Employee Free Choice Act.” But did you know that a secret ballot, and the protection it provides, is already being denied workers in Fort Wayne and elsewhere - including some whose youth makes them especially susceptible to manipulation and intimidation? (news-sentinel.com)

SEIU to force Prez Bam ... Although Obama pledged to sign the bill into law during the campaign, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, in a meeting of chief executives and business leaders this month, declined to say whether the White House would support the legislation. The reason is clear: The new law could be the most consequential social and economic policy shift since President Reagan reshaped the country by slashing taxes and regulation and crushing unions. The debate would be divisive at a time when Obama has gone to great lengths to bridge the partisan rift in Washington that has grown deeper over the past eight years. The Service Employees International Union, the country’s largest labor organization, has pledged a $10 million accountability campaign to urge Obama and Congress to enact the card-check bill in the 100 days after Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. Anna Burger, the union’s international secretary-treasurer, delivered the message at the SEIU’s convention in June. “We demand results, and we only get results when we hold politicians’ feet to the fire and remind them that they work for us,” she said. “When it slips their minds, we’re going to run ads against their anti-worker votes. Support the young and long shots over the old guard and the big shots.” (lasvegassun.com)

Card-check slow down ... This is the bill unions covet so they may impose a union on a work force if more than half the employees sign a card. Unions went to the mat this year for Barack Obama and Democratic congressional candidates. Now they want their reward. This is the bill management genuinely seems to fear as doomsday. It says the measure will make it harder for those who provide jobs and that it will do so with disastrous timing, at the very point the nation's economy so teeters on collapse that the government has had to provide quasi-socialistic bailouts. Denied a secret-ballot election, workers will be strong-armed by unions to sign these cards, management says. (lvrj.com)

Prez Bam reconsiders confrontation ... Congress may quickly pass a controversial "card check" bill, allowing workers to approve unions by signing authorization cards. The bill is the top priority of organized labor, which spent heavily to elect a unified Democratic Washington. Mr. Obama has supported such a bill but may not want to be confronted with having to sign one too quickly, before winning passage of measures with broader support across the political spectrum. (online.wsj.com)

Chávez: It takes one to know one ... "Chávez is not leaving," he said in televised comments. "Chávez is staying, and if God wants this and gives me life, I'll be with you until 2019 or 2021." Chávez, who has been in power for 10 years, is barred from re-election when his current term expires in 2013. He described his newly elected opponents in the capital and in several of Venezuela's largest states as "fascists." (sun-sentinel.com)

Soviet Union reprise ... "It is increasingly obvious that socialism is not a product of propaganda, but a natural and unavoidable phase of development. The collapse of the speculative financial market is a turning point," Zyuganov added. The Communist Party claims to have the solution to the crisis. ”Instead of taking drastic measures to support the real economy, the money has usually been given to those who have already wasted it and have bankrupted the country,” Zyuganov continued. He also called for restoring the Soviet Union, which he believes is quite possible. The nationalisation of the country's mining, energy and other strategic sectors is the key task, according to Zyuganov. Criticism has always been a forte of this party, which calls itself ‘the only real opposition in Russia’. But the Communist Party is not basing its appeal on the newness of its ideas; rather it sees its message being like a good wine, which improves with age. (russiatoday.com)

Teamsters for federal housing projects

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