Thursday wrap

Bam's New Deal exposed: Pay-to-Play ... It is also true that the arrest was timed to prevent Blagojevich from carrying out his threat to suspend all transactions of the state with Bank of America, which he had announced the day before. But I want to call attention to another important aspect of the arrest. It was directed against Barack Obama. There has been much talk about whether or not Obama is going to initiate a “New Deal.” ... So let’s not forget what this attack on Blagojevich was about. It was an attempt to defuse the struggle of the workers and take it out of the limelight. And it was a warning to Obama to stay out of it. (workers.org)

AFSCME vulnerable on Pay-to-Play ... Gerald W. McEntee, president of one of the nation's largest unions, said the labor movement was damaged when the FBI linked a competing union to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich's effort to sell Illinois' U.S. Senate seat and it hurts labor's push to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, unions' big legislative priority. "I don't think it's helped, let me say that on the record. I don't think it's helped," Mr. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, referring to allegations that the Service Employees International Union was linked to Mr. Blagojevich's moves in Illinois. "It sure ... is a shame it happened." (washingtontimes.com)

ACORN tied up in Blago Pay-to-Play ... According to the indictment against Governor Blagojevich, an SEIU official listened to Blagojevich's proposal to trade his Senate appointment for a high-dollar job with the union and agreed to "put that flag up and see where it goes." Furthermore, SEIU's Illinois Political Action Committee gave Gov. Blagojevich $908,000, making it the single largest campaign contributor for his re-election campaign. In turn, Blagojevich signed a state law handing over 49,000 state child care workers to SEIU local 880, which is run by the notorious community organizing group ACORN. The deal nearly tripled SEIU 880's income from $7 million in 2005 to $21 million in 2007. "Governor Blagojevich's high-profile indictment has shone a light on SEIU's propensity for doing business with corrupt groups and people," said CUF executive director, Richard Berman. "This recent pay-for-play scandal is not unlike union bosses openly quid pro quo relationship with politicians regarding the Employee Free Choice Act, which would force millions of American workers into unions against their will." (prweb.com)

How SEIU Corrupted Blago

Andy Stern out of line ... The Sun-Times reports today that Rod Blagojevich's recorded impression that Obama wanted Valerie Jarrett to fill his Senate seat was well-founded, and that Rahm was pushing Jarrett for the seat. I reported something similar just before the election: That Andy Stern was pressing, apparently on Obamaland's behalf, for Jarrett's appointment. The part I didn't report then was that, a well-placed Chicago Democrat told me at the time, the push was facing considerable resistance. "Blagojevich hates Valerie," the Democrat told me, saying the governor was eager at the time to find someone else of stature to appoint. Just an anecdote, but another suggestion of the distance between the factions of Chicago Democrats. (politico.com)

Blago to throw SEIU under the bus

Will Illinois ban Pay-to-Play? ... It's a good bet he would not be another Blagojevich. It's not likely he would obsess over campaign funds. While Blagojevich has taken nearly $2 million from the Service Employees International Union since 2000, Quinn's biggest contributor has been investment banker (and former U.S. Senate candidate) Blair Hull, who has given him a more modest $90,000. (Quinn did, however, receive $22,000 from convicted political fundraiser Tony Rezko). "I think he'd definitely be more engaged, both as a governor and as a manager of the state," Nowlan said. "Even with the limited responsibilities he's taken as lieutenant governor, such as with the rural affairs council, he's been pretty active." State Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said he doubts he and Quinn would agree on many issues, but that Quinn would be an upgrade as governor. State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, agreed. "I believe he'd probably be a reform governor, just working to get things done in the Legislature," she said. "I think everyone in his administration would be hardworking and engaged in state government." (news-gazette.com)

Blago's List

Pro-union Dem. was stopped before crime spree ... Presented to you here are three examples where this governor has stood in solidarity with unions and their members and went up against a financial industry namely Bank of America. I have never in my lifetime seen a prosecutor stop a crime from being committed, but only seek and indictment where an actual crime has been committed. (opednews.com)

AFSCME now on the inside ... Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, told The Washington Times on Wednesday that when labor leaders met with the transition team last month, Mr. Obama's staff was ready for criticism over a large deficit number. Mr. McEntee said the Obama team is well aware that President Clinton faced the prospect of deepening deficits when he took office in 1993 and ended up backing off some of his campaign proposals. He said he believes the incoming administration has concluded it can't let that happen again. "They are well aware of that experience, in the statements I listen to, they're prepared to face that," Mr. McEntee said. "They're prepared to face a media blitz they would expect in regards to the deficit and the size of it." (washingtontimes.com)

Pro-union labor-state Gov. aces out Dean ... Granholm originally sought the position of energy secretary to oversee the department's new investment in fuel-efficient vehicles. Granholm lost that bid for Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist with vast scientific and technical skills -- but little management or political history. Granholm was at first reluctant to consider the labor post, but Democratic sources say she's more open to the job. Democrats are eyeing Obama's selection for labor secretary nominee as a key sign of his support for big labor and passage of the so-called Employee Free Choice Act, otherwise known as the card-check bill. The card-check bill, which would do away with secret ballot elections for the purpose of union organizing, is big labor's top legislative priority in 2009, and massive advertising and lobbying campaigns are now being constructed by blue-collar and service employee unions to push the issue early in an Obama presidency. The Obama White House will have to decide how hard it wants to push for card check in the early days of the administration -- losing the bill to a virtually guaranteed Senate Republican filibuster could deal Obama an early and possibly embarrassing political setback. Outgoing Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is also lobbying aggressively for the labor post, but many Democrats doubt he will land the job. (foxnews.com)

Socialist: UAW oppresses workers ... The naked class character of the proposals for a so-called "bailout" of the US auto makers has become increasingly clear. The crisis of the Big Three companies is being seized upon as an opportunity to drive auto workers back to conditions of poverty and exploitation not seen since the Great Depression. As a condition for federal loans to avert the imminent bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler, politicians of both big business parties—who handed over trillions of dollars, with no strings attached, to Wall Street—are demanding that auto workers accept mass layoffs and a cut in pay that would lower their wages, in real terms, to less than half that earned by their fathers and grandfathers forty years ago. The United Auto Workers union is fully collaborating in this attack on rank-and-file workers. (wsws.org)

Don't blame the Fab Four ... Every business or occupation goes through a downturn in its lifetime. Maybe the time has come for the car companies and for the United Auto Workers to arrive at that point. They have been invaded by foreign elements called Honda, Toyota, etc. My occupation 40 years ago was invaded by a foreign element. They were called the Beatles, the English singing group, and they were a long-haired bunch. Everyone wanted to look like them, so everyone took a year off to grow hair. We lost over half of the barbers in the country in one year. Forty years ago, Augusta had 15 barbershops. Today we have three. Maybe we should call us the Big 3. I want to be General Motors: "If you don't bail us out with a few bundles, we might not be around in another 10 years; then won't you be sorry?" If the UAW really do believe in themselves, they should put their own pension funds into a monthly pool with the taxpayers who are being asked to do so. The auto workers get rewarded for going on strike. They receive 85 percent of their usual pay while on strike. Big deal. The banks that committed bad loans should go under as well. (kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com)

Worker-choice option termed unpatriotic ... Gus McCoy, president of the Jackson (MS) branch NAACP, warned that unions like the UAW and the AFL-CIO helped build a middle class in this country, and considered Wicker and Cochran’s opposition to be a traitorous act against the middle-class. “I’m appalled at the disloyalty of some of our southern senators who have put aside the needs of the middle class and organized labor. They’ve shown us that the middle class (is) not the priority in their minds. (Their) votes were votes of disloyalty to the American worker and the middle class,” McCoy said. (jacksonfreepress.com)

Unions detest GOP, worker-choice ... The real problem is that Republicans generally don’t like unions. Working men and women’s insistence on being paid a living wage has always cut into factory owners’ profits, and when unions won the right to negotiate on behalf of workers, they became intolerable. Ohio Senator George Voinovich observed bluntly, “We have many senators from right-to-work states and I quite frankly think they have no use for labor. Labor usually supports very heavily Democrats, and I think some of the lack of enthusiasm for this was that some of them didn’t want to do anything for the United Auto Workers.” (bhamweekly.com)

SEIU: McDonalds will Pay-to-Play ... As part of their effort to raise awareness about the Employee Free Choice Act, the Service Employees International Union (whose Illinois council sponsors this website) is organizing events at McDonald's locations around the country tomorrow at noon. On the SEIU blog, Michael Whitney writes: We want to speak directly with McDonald's employees about what it's like to work for a CEO who is paid 770 times what his workers earn, leaving working families with barely enough to afford the "Dollar Menu." [...] (progressillinois.com)

UAW bailout: Typical EFCA thuggery ... But even this modified plan solves nothing if the industry does not change the way it operates. It would be throwing good money after bad, something Bush told CNN this week he wants to avoid. Ironically, in order to assuage their union supporters, Democrats in the newly-elected Congress are likely to pass the misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act" that would end secret-ballot elections for unionization in favor of cards signed by employees under pressure from union organizers. Secret ballots have long been an essential part of American democracy, and doing away with them would place us back in the bad old days when ward bosses and political thugs controlled elections. Imagine if in local elections, we were forced to declare our voting intentions in front of the candidates. It would rightly be seen as intimidation, but this is exactly what the bill will do. Workers at the American plants of Japanese carmakers have repeatedly rejected the UAW's organizing efforts. The Employee Free Choice Act would make the UAW's job easier. (newburyportnews.com)

Forced Choice Act is unfair to workers ... Fair enough? Not really. The so-called card-check bill would not protect workers and it would not be “free choice.” It would strip away their right to vote in secret, making it more likely they would face intimidation from organizers and other workers. The pressure would be on to check the card, whether or not they actually wanted a union. Once the union was certified by a card check, the employer would have to accept arbitration if a contract couldn’t be negotiated within 120 days. It’s clear why union bosses want this law. Union membership ticked up last year, but it has been plunging for half a century. In the 1950s, about one-third of U.S. workers belonged to a union. Now just 12.1 percent of U.S. workers — and just 7.5 percent of private-sector workers — are in a union. ... Union leaders prefer to blame the decline on federal labor laws, which they say make it too hard to organize. That’s a pretty flimsy argument. Present law allows the National Labor Relations Board to call for an election by secret ballot after 30 percent of employees at a work site have requested a vote. That’s hardly a high hurdle. Unions won 62 percent of those elections from October 2007 to March 2008, the last period reported by the NLRB. That success rate has been rising. (hollandsentinel.com)

Fat-cat unions lead U.S. collectivist putsch ... The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and the Economic Policy Institute Campaign for America’s Future and People for the American Way Foundation, both backed by financier George Soros, are among groups launching a major lobbying push in favor of Obama’s stimulus spending programs. Soros has been a harsh critic of the Bush administration. The AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union, National Education Association and AFSCME government workers union are the main labor drivers behind Obama’s New Deal efforts. (bizjournals.com)

Ironic labor-state unions buck choice ... Ten years ago Thursday, many students received an early Christmas present with the enactment of the New York Charter Schools Act. On this anniversary, we can definitively say that this educational "experiment" - derided by many in the status quo from the very start - has long since graduated from the laboratory and delivered impressive achievement results for children across New York. But the more things change with the success of charters, the more their opposition remains the same. ... So when will the naysayers get out of the way? Even now, the state teachers union, NYSUT, is fighting yesterday's war by demanding "a closer look at charter school financing," according to its executive vice president, Alan Lubin. This is a not-so-subtle attempt to cut charter funding. Ironically, NYSUT represents faculty in about a dozen charter schools, including six that were converted from district schools. It never ceases to amaze. The union gladly represents teachers in charter schools, and collects their membership dues, only to turn around and complain that these schools supposedly get too much money. (nydailynews.com)

Fat-cat unions sue government ... Five labor unions representing 5,900 furloughed Prince George's County employees are suing the county government, alleging that the order for them to take 10 days of unpaid leave is unnecessary and violates labor agreements. County lawyers are contesting the lawsuit, which seeks to overturn the furloughs, and have asked for the case to be dismissed. U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams Jr. is scheduled to hear motions on the case on Jan. 12. In papers filed days after the County Council voted on the furlough plan Sept. 16, unions asked the court to rescind the order. The groups suing the government are the county lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Fire Fighters, and unions representing correctional officers, civilian police employees and sheriff's deputies. Officials with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have also petitioned to join the lawsuit. (gazette.net)

Federal taxpayers forced into union housekeeping duty ... The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) today announced its criminal enforcement data for November 2008. During the month, OLMS obtained five convictions and eight indictments, and payments or orders of restitution totaled more than $891,000. The office's November results bring its totals for fiscal year 2009, which began on Oct. 1, 2008, to 18 indictments, 15 convictions and payments or orders of restitution of $1,516,522. The bulk of the cases involved the embezzlement of union funds (marketwatch.com)

Gov't-union fuss in Garlic County ... Gilroy, CA Mayor Al Pinheiro went one step further by knocking the union's stance as obstinate given the cuts the city's municipal and fire unions have taken: Twenty-one percent of the city's municipal workers -- who belong to American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees -- and 16 percent of the fire union's employees have received pink slips compared to 1.6 percent of the POA's membership, he said. "We're laying off six (firefighters) and all these others from the city, and now we get a letter from the POA saying, 'We're not going to play this game,'" Pinheiro said before expressing further grief over the union declining to meet with Haglund, unlike AFSCME or the fire union. (tmcnet.com)

Wrist-slap coming for dues embezzler ... The former president of the Wauwatosa (WI) Education Association is free on her own recognizance after her initial court appearance on theft charges after allegedly embezzling more than $21,000 from the union. Terri L. Doucette was arrested in November and told officers that added responsibilities at work caused her to become "very stressed and started to drink heavily." When confronted by fellow WEA officials, she returned $21,865.13 to the Association. Doucette now faces a misdemeanor charge of theft and will be back in court for a pretrial conference on January 21st. (todaystmj4.com)

Union bigs arrested for picket-line violence ... Three people have been arrested following a scuffle on the picket line at Engineered Coated Products Wednesday afternoon. The three arrested have been identified as Larry Kinnear, vice-president of Amalgamated Transit Union International; Wayne Fraser, District 6 representative for the United Steelworkers of America; and Don Bowen, vice-president of Steelworkers Local 1-500, which represents the plant's 86 workers. Kelly Eden, a striking Operation Lift worker, said members of the transit union were walking the picket line with the steelworkers about 4 p.m., along with members of the Canadian Auto Workers who recently lost their jobs when the Alumetco plant on Henry Street closed. Police were called after a security guard at the site said he had been pushed by a picketer. But Eden said the security guard was the aggressor. (brantfordexpositor.ca)

Laid-off railworker union thugs predict derailments ... Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (TSX:CP) is temporarily pulling 600 workers off its lines as the economic slump cuts demand for grain, coal, fertilizer and other products it carries. The job cuts affect train operators and mechanical employees in the railway's workforce of 16,000 due to "weakening traffic volumes." The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and the Canadian Auto Workers said the job cuts will jeopardize public safety with derailments from Canadian Pacific tracks are already running at almost one a day. (canadianbusiness.com)

Senseless Bay Area picketing cited ... Those well-meaning pickets who have been marching out in front of a Honda dealership on El Camino Real in San Bruno for the past several months in an attempt to dissuade potential customers must be wondering about their timing right about now. With the U.S. automobile industry in crisis — Honda has a number of major production plants right here on these shores — the idea of making it even more difficult to purchase a new or used vehicle seems, shall we say, rather counterproductive. Holding a strike, or even an informational picket, makes about as much sense these days as shooting yourself in the foot because you don't like your podiatrist. (insidebayarea.com)

FUBAR collectivists question human nature ... The question should by now occur—does society actually need the capitalist class to determine what is produced and how? Is a better way possible? Modern production is highly complex and requires coordination and direction. But why can’t production be led and coordinated by a power that determines priorities based on the actual needs of the masses of people, and involves the masses in these decisions? As opposed to the way it is done today—where everything is determined by what will turn the highest possible profits for the relative handful of capitalists who own these highly socialized means of production? And let’s go further. Why can’t society determine how to meet the needs of the people in a way that contributes to overcoming—instead of reinforcing—the class divisions of capitalist society (and other forms of exploitation)? (rinf.com)

Latin anti-capitalists abandon obligations ... South American leaders allied with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez ratcheted up their rhetoric against foreign creditors after Ecuador’s default last week, saying they’re studying the legitimacy of their own debts. Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, speaking today at a regional summit in Brazil, said his government, like Ecuador, will “exhaustively study” its debt, and Bolivia’s President Evo Morales said multilateral lenders should compensate their third- world borrowers. Chavez, while supporting his allies’ posture on debt, said Venezuela isn’t reconsidering its obligations. “We need to see if there’s ethical value in paying debt that wasn’t utilized for public good,” Lugo told reporters today at the conclusion of the summit at a beach resort in Bahia state. Lugo and Morales’ attack on foreign creditors follows the decision by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa last week to default on $3.9 billion of foreign debt. An audit commission appointed by Correa said the bonds were riddled with irregularities and illegality. (bloomberg.com)

Chávez pressing Bam's buttons ... "Obama is going to be very cool and distant towards Chávez," Michael Shifter, vice-president for policy with the Inter-American Dialogue, told ISN Security Watch. "He's going to avoid both the aggressiveness during various moments of the Bush years, and he's going to avoid seeking a real rapprochement with Chávez." Shifter suggested that ambassadors would be returned, and that there would be some sort of lower level consultation and cooperation on drugs and other issues. But he doubts if there will be a dramatic opening up with Chávez. "Chávez is already thinking very worriedly about the price of oil, feeling a little cornered," Javier Corrales, associate professor of Political Science at Amherst College, told ISN Security Watch. "He is going to probably try to provoke the United States. The naval exercises with the Russians is just an open declaration. Chávez wants the hard-line response from the United States, and he's pressing all the right buttons," Corrales added. (isn.ethz.ch)

Brazil joins anti-U.S. Latin lovefest ... Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, who went to Brazil for a summit of 33 Latin American and Caribbean leaders, including Cuba's Raul Castro, said that Latin American nations should expel their US ambassadors until Washington lifts its decades-long embargo against Havana. The Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, at the end of the summit at the Costa do Sauípe beach resort, joked about the recent incident in Iraq when George Bush was the target of a journalist's shoes: "People, please, nobody should take their shoes off. Since it's too hot here, we'll notice before it can be thrown due to the bad odor." A little earlier, the Brazilian leader had asked his colleagues to not be "servile" to the United States. "I believe that often the subservient behavior in politics is what makes people to not get proper treatment and respect." He then told a story that happened to him in 2003 during a G-8 meeting: "I arrived and everybody was sitting down, I went and shook hands. Then when president Bush came in, everybody got up. But I together with Kofi Annan (then UN's secretary general) didn't get up. Bush came to greet us without any problem, without any difference. (brazzilmag.com)
Related Posts with Thumbnails