3/13/09

Friday wrap

Typical union tactic probed by State Police ... A criminal investigation is under way and a powerful labor group has lost a major legislative fight because a lobbyist wrote lawmakers threatening to cut contributions to Democrats until a pro-union bill becomes law. The legislation known as the Worker Privacy Act has incited a bitter fight between organized labor and the business community, including Boeing. Opponents contend its passage could push the aerospace giant to look outside the state for any potential future expansion. That fear evaporated Wednesday with the announcement the Washington State Patrol is looking into potential criminal allegations raised in the memo sent Monday by a Washington State Labor Council official. It went to other labor leaders and was copied to four Democratic lawmakers. "We regret the incident. It was a result of frustration with the Legislature's failure to protect workers rights in the workplace," labor council president Rick Bender said in a prepared statement. (heraldnet.com)


Community organizers prep Tax Day demonstrations ... Eric Odom reports that there are now 115 cities signed up for the April 15 nationwide Tax Day Tea Party protest. Wow. If you haven’t signed up, want to start your own, and are looking to meet up and organize with other tax revolters, go to Tax Day Tea Party’s website here. Here’s a quick how-to guide. #dontgo has opened up a Tax Day Tea Party store. Buy some swag, share with friends, spread the word. Stay tuned to the Fresh Tea blog, where you can meet organizers from across the country. Check in with TCOT Report and Smart Girl Politics for more grass-roots organizing. (On a parallel track, fellow Fox News colleague Glenn Beck has spearheaded “We Surround Them” parties scheduled across the country today. I’m hearing from lots of first-time activists who have found overlapping networks. The same principles that unite the “We Surround Them” effort also are in sync with the tax revolters. Synergy is good. We need every body and mind in motion we can get.) In the meantime, other local Tea Party events keep rolling on.


(michellemalkin.com)


Who is Saul Alinsky?

Bonus links:
Summary of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'
• More Saul Alinsky stories: here
'Rules for Radicals' at amazon.com


Hoffa praises GOP for backing racial discrimination in construction labor ... Teamsters General President Jimmy Hoffa praised the U.S. House of Representatives today for defeating an amendment that would have stripped basic wage protections from the Water Quality Investment Act of 2009. The bill would invest about $14 billion over five years in local wastewater treatment projects. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., offered an amendment that would remove the requirement that workers on these federally funded projects be paid the prevailing wage under the Davis-Bacon law. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 140-284. "The last thing we want to do is undermine American workers in a time of economic crisis," Hoffa said. "Study after study has shown that prevailing wages actually lower the cost of construction projects because they attract more experienced, skilled workers." Hoffa also pointed out that Davis-Bacon protections help eliminate abuses such as profiteering and the hiring of undocumented workers by requiring that payrolls be certified under the Copeland "Anti-Kickback" Act of 1934. "I especially want to thank Reps. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey and Steven LaTourette of Ohio for encouraging their fellow Republicans to defeat this ill-advised amendment," Hoffa said. (prnewswire.com)


GOP Rep. Steven LaTourette placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-OH, a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check). WHAT: Steven LaTourette received the following Dirty Money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $2,500 in 2008; $1,000 in 2006 cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $10,000 in 2008; $7,500 in 2006. WHY IT’S Dirty: At least eight members of these two unions, including several division presidents, secretary-treasurers and business managers, have been convicted since 2002 of felonies ranging from embezzlement, falsifying official reports to government, mail fraud and conspiracy. WILL LATOURETTE GIVE THE DIRTY MONEY BACK? LaTourette did not respond to telephone calls for comment. (dcexaminer.com)


Hoffa gaffe exposed ... Jimmy Hoffa suggests the ballot box isn't a cornerstone of democratic freedom: "Since when is the secret ballot a basic tenet of democracy?" Hoffa said. "Town meetings in New England are as democratic as they come, and they don't use the secret ballot. Elections in the Soviet Union were by secret ballot, but those weren't democratic." Mark Steyn has a great comeback: "The day Jimmy Hoffa shows up at my Town Meeting is the day we move to paper ballots." Of course, town meeting governments sometimes do use secret ballots either for votes over a certain dollar amount or when a certain percentage of the voters request it. The debate calls to mind Jill Lepore's outstanding New Yorker article on why the U.S. adopted the Australian Ballot (that is the secret ballot) for most voting in the first place. It happened surprisingly late. (showard1.blogspot.com)


Pro-union Pelosi Lieutenant under FBI investigation ... Allegations that embattled Rep. John P. Murtha used a university research center as a “front” to distribute federal funds to other companies means the controversy over congressional earmarks will smolder on long after President Obama’s signature dries on the $410 billion omnibus spending bill. Politico.com reported Wednesday that in recent years Murtha obtained millions in earmarks for Penn State University’s Electro-Optical Center (EOC), which then rerouted the money to clients of PMA Group, a military-oriented lobbying firm that has close ties with Murtha. PMA’s offices were raided by the FBI in November. The New York Times reported that investigators were looking for evidence that PMA made illegitimate campaign contributions to the Pennsylvania Democrat. PMA and its clients – companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics – have donated some $2.38 million to Murtha’s campaigns since 1998, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. (newsmax.com)


In Pelosi We Trust



Obama's Top Geek probed by FBI ... FBI agents on Thursday arrested two men and searched the city's technology office, until recently led by President Barack Obama's new computer chief. The White House said it was notified in advance of the search of the former District of Columbia office of Vivek Kundra, whom Obama chose as his chief information officer, an administration-wide post coordinating federal computer systems. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the Department of Justice told the White House on Thursday morning of its planned raid at the District of Columbia offices. Gibbs declined to comment on the investigation or whether the White House was aware of it before Thursday. (dcexaminer.com)


SEIU meltdown reported in California ... A while back someone told Perez that deployed SEIU staff were unhappy because many of them were told they had to come to Californiraq or lose their jobs, and their managers wouldn't tell them what they'd be doing until they got out here. Even some of the "I'm not going to rock the boat" careerists were reportedly disturbed by the way SEIU handled assignments and started to question what they were being told about the whole trusteeship. Then yesterday someone else told Perez that a huge number (more than half?) of the SEIU staff sent to Californiraq have left, unhappy with the assignment, being treated like crap by SEIU, and being called scabs every day by workers who don't want them there. So can this be true? Where did they go? Answers to the usual address please. If you were yourself deployed Perez would especially love to hear from you, and won't be mean! (perezstern.blogspot.com)


SEIU Dem seethes over oppressive secret ballot scheme ... Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, issued a statement today blasting a proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing a secret ballot in all elections -- including votes about unionizing. The amendment is a shot at labor unions, who are pressing a measure at the federal level to get rid of employers' right to force a secret ballot election after a majority of employees sign a card calling for a union to be formed. Supporters of the "card-check" legislation say those elections are often marred by employer intimidation. A House committee on Wednesday approved the constitutional amendment guaranteeing the secret ballot, with four Democrats voting against the measure. That brought a rebuke from the resolution's sponsor, House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach. "They sent a message that harassment and intimidation are acceptable, that Floridians’ right to cast a secret ballot is not a fundamental principle in our society, and that more voter participation is not a priority for them. That message should be extremely alarming not only to their constituents, but to all Floridians," Hasner said in a statement following the vote. Today, Hill issued his own statement on the bill. "The so-called 'Secret Ballot' amendment is nothing more than a Trojan horse shielding big industrialists from their true agenda," Hill said. "Ever since the last century, these executives have feared the ability of employees to organize because they know the consequences: better pay, affordable healthcare, and decent working conditions." It should be noted that Hill is a community organizer with Service Employees International Union 1199. (jacksonville.com)


States prep constitutional confrontation with Congressional union organizers ... A proposal to establish a constitutional right to a secret ballot gained approval to go before Utah voters in November 2010. Focused mainly on union-organizing elections, the Save Our Secret Ballot movement is headed by former U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla. The ballot drive is also under way in Oklahoma and several other states. “While Utah is the first state, it will soon be joined by other states in giving voters the right to protect the secret ballot,” Istook said. “We will win in a dozen or more states this election because voters are appalled that Congress would acquiesce to the extreme demands of union bosses and threaten the right to a secret ballot.” (journalrecord.com)


DINO union organizers in D.C. really don't need Obama ... President Barack Obama, once foursquare for repealing workers' right to a secret vote on unionizing, now seems to be looking for a way out of his promise. But most congressional Democrats look like they'll insist, since unions are insisting. As long as we're having a new New Deal, unions see this "card check" law as the 1930s recrudesced, a moment to bounce back from the depths of enrolling only 7.6% of the private work force. On the Employee Free Choice Act, unions are not asking; they're telling. This should surprise no one. Compulsion pervades unions' comeback effort. "Free Choice Act"? Free choices underlay unions' trouble, and they know it. But "choice" sounds good, so unions say the new law would let employees choose whether to vote on unionizing. It does no such thing. The law declares that once a union collects signed cards from half the employees it wants to organize, regulators "shall not declare an election" but must say the union wins. (tradingmarkets.com)


Grievance raised against job-killing DINO ... U.S. Rep. Kagen's sponsorship and support of the Employee Free Choice Act is wrong for our economy. Kagen's misleading title to this act sounds harmless, but in fact it fosters union bullying by requiring the employee to voice his objection to unionization in a public forum, rather than by a private vote. Providing another strong-arm tactic for union bosses is not what this economy needs, Mr. Kagen. Consider the failed auto industry and its costly union influence. What Mr. Kagen needs to understand is that the cost imposed by this careless legislation is going to come to bear on every consumer in this country. As companies are pressured by unions, the cost of goods must increase. If companies can't pass these costs on to you and me, then the value of the companies will decrease. This decline in value will further erode our declining stock market and dwindling retirement accounts. Ultimately companies close their doors and lay off employees because they can't compete. Mr. Kagen, satisfy your union bosses or try to save our country's economy? (greenbaypressgazette.com)


Long-winded Cintas to abbreviate RICO charges v. corrupt union racketeers ... A federal judge in New York has thrown out a Cintas lawsuit aimed at unions, but the Mason-based uniform supplier says it may appeal the decision. Judge William Pauley III of the Southern District of New York criticized the Cintas extortion complaint — among other violations — as being "larded" with exhibits that he "waded through" before he dismissed all federal and state claims. "The complaint is not the 'short and plain statement' contemplated by Rule 8," the judge wrote in the March 9 ruling. "It is a manifesto by a Fortune 500 company that is more a public relations piece than a pleading." Cintas filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Union of Needletrades Industrial and Textile Employees, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Change to Win, alleging extortion in the unions' continued efforts to unionize workers. Cintas attorney Greg Utter said they are still pondering an appeal on the dismissed federal claims, and he disagrees with the judge's reasoning. A press release was floated throughout the stock analyst community in January 2004 that announced that the National Labor Relations Board had charged Cintas with "committing widespread violations of federal labor law." The sources for the press release were listed as Unite Here and the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB was not a source for the release, but by listing a federal agency as a source, credence was given to the news and Cintas' stock value plummeted, according to Utter. As a result of the release, Cintas claims it lost $330 million in stock value in 20 minutes. (pulsejournal.com)


GOP Govs challenge conventional porkulus wisdom ... Several GOP governors, including Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Haley Barbour of Mississippi, have said they would reject a portion of the money that would expand unemployment benefits to those not currently eligible to receive them. Sanford says he will also reject those funds but has threatened to go much further, requesting a waiver to spend some $700 million targeted for education and other programs to pay down some of the state's debt instead. "I have come to conclude that it would be a mistake to simply accept the money as offered," Sanford wrote to state legislators in announcing his decision. "When one is in a hole, the first order of business is to stop digging." (cnsnews.com)


Omnipork bill curbs federal privatization ... Yesterday, President Obama signed into law the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act which will suspend all new OMB Circular A-76 studies through FY2009, thanks to Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY), the chairs of the Senate and House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittees, and the lobbying efforts of AFGE. The A-76 process had been severely criticized by the Government Accountability Office in two 2008 reports for, in many instances, costing more than it saved and for its disproportionately adverse impact on female and African-American federal employees. The Omnibus Appropriations Act also requires all agencies except the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish plans to insource new and outsourced work, particularly inherently governmental work wrongly contracted out, work contracted out without competition, and work contracted out that is poorly performed. (prnewswire.com)


Overly-generous AFSCME contract nixed, unanimously ... The Laurel City Council unanimously denied approval of a three-year agreement with Local 316, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) at the regular council meeting Tuesday, March 3. City and union negotiating teams presented the agreement they had negotiated for council resolution approval and the council voted the agreement down 8-0. The proposed contract gave city public works workers a 3.75 percent salary increase for the first year of the contract and 4.25 percent salary increases in the second and third years of the contract. The proposed agreement did not contain any increase in the City's portion of employee health benefits. Council members objected to a condition in the contract that would require the city to pay the survivors of city employees 100 percent of accrued sick-leave pay if they die while still employed by the city. State law currently provides that they receive 25 percent of accrued sick-leave pay if they die while still employed by the city. (laureloutlook.com)


Teamster picketers help rebuild the Middle Class ... A last-minute labor dispute with the owner of the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show has prompted local labor unions to form a picket line at the San Mateo County Event Center, where the show will be held next week. Frustrated with Duane Kelly and his Seattle-based company Salmon Bay Events, about 25 picketers gathered near the event center's entrance in the 2400 block of South Delaware Street Thursday afternoon. Their message: Employ local union workers or none at all. Since taking it over in 1998, Kelly has hired members of Teamsters Local 85, Decorators Local 510 and Stagehands Local 16 to put together his over-the-top flower and garden show at the Cow Palace in Daly City. He transferred the show to San Mateo for its 12th and final year, thinking the newer facility would provide less of a headache. But with the move, the Teamsters hoped for more jobs. In addition to the Teamsters hired to drive forklifts in the exhibitors section, the union requested that Kelly hire their members to drive heavy equipment in the garden area. Kelly claimed they were unqualified for the job and wanted to leave it to his staff and landscapers, as in years past. In the eleventh hour, they failed to reach an agreement and an all-union picket ensued. "He failed to meet everyone's quota but the Teamsters," said Shelley Kessler, of the San Mateo County Central Labor Council. "In this economy, the worst thing he could do is create a labor dispute." For Kelly, who is projecting a $200,000 loss on this year's show, the additional hires would have cost about $10,000. (insidebayarea.com)


Forced-tribute in Iowa trips on hurdle ... Organized labor suffered another blow when the Legislature wrapped up its business Thursday without acting on a key union priority before a self-imposed deadline designed to narrow the number of issues facing lawmakers. Democratic legislative leaders insisted the issue could still be debated, but the odds against it grew significantly longer. At issue is "fair share" legislation that would allow unions to collect a fee from nonmembers in a bargaining unit the union represents. Backers argued that when a union spends money negotiating for workers and even representing them in grievance procedures, it's only fair to collect a fee for those services. Critics claim the measure would undermine Iowa's right to work laws by forcing workers to pay fees to a union they don't want to join. (timesrepublican.com)


News Union takes more dues hits in Golden State ... Workers at The Modesto Bee said the newspaper will lay off 40 employees starting next week. The layoffs will include union and non-union workers, the workers said. Eleven of the positions that will be cut are in the newsroom, according to workers. The newspaper currently has 53 employees in the newsroom. Some of the employees who will be laid off have been there for 16 years, workers said. Workers at two sister newspapers in California, The Sacramento Bee and The Modesto Bee, already have agreed to concessions in recent days. Monday's vote at Modesto means pay cuts of up to 7.5 percent for Newspaper Guild members. In central California, unionized workers at The Fresno Bee voted Tuesday to approve similar concessions. Its owner, McClatchy Co., said Monday it was cutting 1,600 jobs, or 15 percent of its work force, and Bee newsroom employees decided to accept up to 6 percent pay cuts in exchange for fewer layoffs -- 16 full-time jobs instead of 21 in the 89-member Guild unit. (kcra.com)


U.S. collectivists' double-standard exposed ... "Would you say you want President Bush to succeed or not?" asked an August 2006 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll. The result? Ninety percent of Republicans wanted Bush to succeed, versus 7 percent who did not. Among independents, 63 percent wanted the President to succeed, compared with 34 percent who did not. What about Democrats? Forty percent wanted him to succeed, but 51 percent did not. "Do you want (Obama) to succeed?" conservative host Sean Hannity asked Limbaugh. "I would hope he would succeed," said Limbaugh, "if he acts like Reagan. But if he is going to do FDR ... why would I want him to succeed? ... If he is going to implement a far-left agenda ... $2 trillion in stimulus, the growth of government ... nationalized health care, I mean, it's over. ... That's the end of America as we have known it because that's then going to set the stage for everything being government-owned, -operated or -provided. Why would I want that to succeed? I don't believe in that. I know that's not how this country is going to be great in the future. It's not what made this country great. So I shamelessly say, 'No, I want him to fail.' If his agenda is a far-left collectivism — some people say socialism — as a conservative, heartfelt, deeply, why would I want socialism to succeed?" (jewishworldreview.com)


International Collectivism

Latin leaders collectivize anti-capitalist education ... Education ministers from the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)'s member countries are to meet Thursday in the Venezuelan state of Nueva Esparta to analyze the organization of regional educational systems. The meeting will tackle the Grand National Literacy and Post-Literacy Project, and its strategic link with the development and expansion of the International Robinson mission. Education ministers from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica and Bolivia are to attend today's event. (plenglish.com)


Free of term limit, socialist Chávez centralizes, concentrates power ... Lawmakers loyal to President Hugo Chávez voted on Thursday to bring all airports, highways and seaports under federal control, a move opponents said was designed to expand the socialist leader's power. Opposition governors warned the law approved by the Chavista-dominated National Assembly is designed to strangle the president's foes financially and to undermine support from constituents who elected them in November. Under the law, states and municipalities can no longer collect tariffs at transportation hubs or establish tolls along highways, meaning governors and mayors will have less money for local public projects. "The big fish wants to eat the little fish," quipped Henrique Capriles, opposition governor of central Miranda state. Pro-Chávez lawmaker Carlos Escarra said the new legislation is necessary because airports, highways and seaports are of "strategic importance." (hindu.com)


Chávez brings global capitalist icon to its knees ... Coca-Cola Femsa committed itself on Monday to pursuing a “dialogue” with the government after the announcement by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez that he had ordered the firm to vacate land in Caracas so that low-income housing can be built upon it. “We confirm our highest willingness to support initiatives that contribute to the goal that the government has set ... and we are confident that dialogue will result in our creating proposals and alternatives that benefit all,” said the Mexican-owned bottling company in a brief press statement. Chávez gave Coca-Cola Femsa two weeks to vacate land in western Caracas that it currently uses to park delivery trucks. “I’m giving two weeks to the Coca-Cola company for them to voluntarily vacate that land,” said Chávez on his Sunday radio and television program, “Hello President.” The leftist leader said that he hopes that “right away” authorities in the capital municipality of Libertador will arrive at a decision that allows the state to recover the land and use it to build housing “for the people.” (laht.com)

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