2/18/09

Wednesday wrap

The Card-Check debate is over ... With successful passage of the $787 billion stimulus package in their rearview mirror, organized labor is returning to their top political priority: convincing Congress and the President to pass and sign the Employee Free Choice Act, or card check, which would remove significant barriers to unionizing. Labor's working with a coalition of Democratic allies, including the Center for American Progress Action Fund, which will release a report tomorrow on the benefits of unionization for the U.S. economy. The grassroots field campaign of the unions continues to be gradually ratcheted up; events will be held in 16 states. And labor is working nicely together: the state-based events are being done in complete coordination between AFL-CIO, Change to Win, and SEIU, who will be working in total coordination to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. (theatlantic.com)


Worker-rights fall to new Card-Check law ... To hear Collegeville builder Gustavo Perea tell it, the prospect is frightening. Some ambitious union organizer would take his carpenters out to a bar, buy them a couple of beers, get them to sign some union cards, and the next thing Perea knows, he'd wake up in the morning with a union shop. That's how he imagines the future if the federal Employee Free Choice Act is passed - a proposed law that unions say would make it easier for them to bring unions into workplaces. It would allow workers to bypass traditional union-establishing elections if a majority sign cards that would authorize a union, a process known as card check. "It's a bad law," said Perea, president of Adams-Bickel Associates Inc. (philly.com)


We don't need no stinkin' non-union small businesses ... It is true that EFCA makes no changes to the National Labor Relations Board’s Jurisdictional Standards, but the problem is that those standards haven’t been updated since 1959! And currently any non-retail business with revenues (not profits) over $50,000 from interstate operations is eligible for unionization. Retail businesses must top $500,000. Here are the NLRB’s “current” standards: "Jurisdiction will be asserted over any retail operations with a gross volume of business in excess of $500,000 annually and which has some business, greater than de minimis, across State lines. The nonretail standard requires $50,000 of direct or indirect inflow or outflow of goods or services across State lines." But $500,000 a year in revenues is well below the federal government’s standard for a “small business.” In fact, the Small Business Administration’s “Size Standards” consider most non-farm businesses a “small business” if they have revenues less than roughly $10 million (with some exceptions; based on two sets of standards at $7 million and $14 million). So how many small business are eligible for unionization under EFCA? For that we turn to the US Census Bureau (before it was politicized and moved into the White House). There are roughly 1.8 million small business employing 31 million Americans that are eligible for unionization under EFCA. (laborpains.org)


We don't need no stinkin' stock market ... Doubts that the government's stimulus and bank bailout programs can stop the global economic freefall dragged Wall Street to within a fraction of a point of its lowest close in 5 1/2 years Tuesday. As President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill and automakers scrambled to come up with restructuring plans, investors waited anxiously for more specifics about efforts to rescue the economy. "The government has their hand on the tiller. They're steering. And that's the problem. The markets are not confident the proper course has been set yet," said Henry Herrmann, chief executive officer at investment management firm Waddell & Reed. Richard E. Cripps, chief market strategist for Stifel Nicolaus, said Tuesday's drop represented "a crescendo, if you will, of uncertainty. We're still in that period where more information needs to come out." (dcexaminer.com)


The debate is not over



Union operatives focus on political targets ... Of the 11 Blue Dogs who voted against the original House bill, six cast "no" votes last week against the final package. All of them were from conservative districts: Bobby Bright and Parker Griffith, both of Alabama, Colin C. Peterson of Minnesota, Gene Taylor of Mississippi, Heath Shuler of North Carolina and Walt Minnick of Idaho. (washingtontimes.com)


MM: Union-back shakedown artists strike gold ... Fresh off the trillion-dollar porkulus bill signing in Denver, President Obama immediately launched into his next New Raw Deal expansion: A massive mortgage entitlement program forcing lenders to refinance at an initial cost of $50 billion to $100 billion. That’s in addition to the bipartisan-supported $50 billion in the “stimulus” bill to bail out homeowners underwater on their mortgages and the $2 billion in “neighborhood stabilization” funds to alleviate the foreclosure crisis. In tandem with the White House Bad Borrowers Bailout, Obama’s old friends at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) are launching a new campaign of their own: the “Home Savers” campaign. What a coinky-dinky, huh? As with most of the bully tactics of the radical left-wing wing group, it ain’t gonna be pretty. They are the shock troops on the streets doing the dirty work while the Community Organizer-in-Chief keeps his delicate hands clean. ACORN’s foot soldiers, funded with your tax dollars, will scream, pound their fists, chain themselves to buildings, padlock the doors, and engage in illegal behavior until they get what they want. It’s a recipe for anarchy. (michellemalkin.com)


Porkulus protested: No social justice in Ponzi Scheme, Generational Theft ... As President Barack Obama's pen touched paper today to make the federal stimulus bill law, hundreds of people rallied on the west side of the Colorado Capitol to decry the stimulus as irresponsible. Protesters chanted, "No more pork!" and a few wore costume pig noses. They waved giant $30,000 novelty checks, representing the amount they said the stimulus would cost individual taxpayers. Many in the crowd professed great skepticism about whether the stimulus would spur the economy. "I just think there's no stimulus here," said Peter Paulos of Denver. "It's all pork barrel, and I think there are some hidden measures in it. Nobody really read the bill." "We're taking money from current and future taxpayers, giving it to winners chosen by the government and saying there's going to be a return on the investment," Pfaff said after the rally. "To me, that looks like a Ponzi scheme." (denverpost.com)


Anti-Porkulus rally in Denver



Dems kill worker-rights protection, union bigs breathe easy ... Senate Democrats have turned back a Republican attempt to write Virginia's ban on compulsory union membership into the state Constitution. The Senate Privileges and Elections Committee rejected Del. Chris Saxman's proposed constitutional amendment on a 9-5 party-line vote Tuesday. Saxman, owner of a bottled water company in Staunton, said Virginia's right-to-work law is so important for economic development that it should be made part of the Constitution to guard against attempts to weaken it. (delmarvanow.com)


Yawn: SEIU rolls Governator yet again ... Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration began the process of laying off thousands of state workers on Tuesday, but there's a big loophole. Those who belong to the state's largest employee union, which represents 95,000 state workers, have a better chance at staying employed than other state employees. That's because a new tentative bargaining agreement protects members of the Service Employees International Union Local, 1000. The agreement was struck over the weekend between the Schwarzenegger administration and union leaders. "They may get a job that's different than the one they have now, but they will still have jobs as opposed to some people who get these notices," said Lynelle Jolley, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Personnel Administration. (mercurynews.com)


SEIU's lust for 'forced tribute' triggers Iowa air war ... In a news release, ABI leaders said their ads will run throughout the legislative session. Under fire is legislation “that allows unions to collect fees from non-members, the establishment of union wage thresholds for all public construction projects, unlimited open-scope collective bargaining for government unions, and radical workers’ compensation changes related to direction of medical care paid by employers,” ABI board chairman Charles Sukup, the chief executive of Sukup Manufacturing in Sheffield, said in the written statement. ABI president Mike Ralston said in the statement that only a small percentage of Iowans belong to unions. “But these bills force the union agenda on all Iowans,” he said. “It’s a fairy tale if they believe that these measures won't drive up property taxes, health care costs, and decrease the paychecks of working families.” ABI’s membership includes about 1,400 Iowa businesses that employ about 300,000 Iowans. (desmoinesregister.com)


UAW demands keep rising ... This morning the auto industry was asking for $18 billion more (after the $7 billion it got without submitting its plan for survival). But now the auto industry is not happy with $18 billion -- it wants $35 billion. If the amount it asks for doubles every three months it won't be long before it's asking for $100 billion. The question is how much is too much to just rubber stamp? (bloggingstocks.com)


Bam plans to end U.S. term limits ... While State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid Tuesday noted that Washington had received "troubling reports of intimidation," he added that, "for the most part, this was a process that was fully consistent with [the] democratic process." Asked whether Washington approved of the poll's results - which changes the country's constitution to enable Chávez to run for a third term in 2012 - Duguid said the question "was a matter for the Venezuelan people". Washington's reaction marked a distinct change in tone from the consistently hostile rhetoric of the administration of President George W. Bush, which had welcomed a coup attempt against Chávez in 2002, and follows a remarkably conciliatory statement by the populist leader on the eve of the referendum, which Chávez won with a solid 54 percent of the vote. (ipsnews.net)


Editorial: Blame U.S. for Chávismo ... Regardless of the political position held by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the Socialist reformer has once again conducted a vote in his country pertaining to the subject of whether he should be allowed to run for another term of office, which is directly in contrast with a constitution that he and his party crafted in 1999. The practice of constitutional manipulation is not new to world politics. From countries as influential as the former United Soviet Socialist Republics to small countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, constitutional violations have been common practice for regimes paranoid of losing power or simply hungry for more. Corruption and fraud have been undesirable, bad behaviors of the global political system — the United States included. (mndaily.com)


ACORN organizers to conduct U.S. census ... When the Obama administration moved oversight and accountability for the 2010 Census from the Department of Commerce directly to the White House, few noticed until Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) took his name out of consideration for the post of Commerce Secretary. Gregg cited this obvious politicization of a Constitutional function as one of the reasons he withdrew. So what’s the big deal? The data compiled from the Decennial Census -- one of the few governmental functions specificed in the Constitution -- affects directly how our representative government works, from the Electoral College allocation and the allotment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives -- a process based on the population of every state -- to drawing boundaries for congressional and state and local legislative districts. The data is also used for the apportionment over $300 billion in federal funds to local communities. (humanevents.com)


AFSCME rising: Forced-tribute gains in Maryland ... The state's largest employees union wants permission to collect fees from workers who don't pay dues and who might belong to other unions, a plan that has the backing of pro-labor Gov. Martin O'Malley and awaits legislative approval. Critics characterize the proposal as a money grab that would create a labor monopoly. "At some point we can't be a charity," said Sue Esty, assistant director for AFSCME Maryland. "We have to be able to do our job, and we have to have the resources to do it well." The fees could more than double the union's annual income. Currently, the union collects about $3.8 million in dues from about 10,000 members a year. The legislation would apply to more than 30,000 state employees, most of whom are represented by AFSCME and would have to pay the service fee if they don't pay dues. Other bargaining groups also represent some state workers and could collect a fee.(baltimoresun.com)


International Collectivism

Trotskyite Lula tilts Brazil toward Communists ... China and Brazil established diplomatic ties in 1974. In recent years, both countries have witnessed frequent high-level exchanges of visits. The two countries set up strategic partnership in 1993 when then Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Brazil. In May, 2004, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva paid an official visit to China, followed by Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Brazil in November the same year. In June 2008, He Guoqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Central Committee Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, visited Brazil. Thanks to these exchanges of visits, the two sides have deepened their mutual understanding and overcome many differences. In 2007, the two countries agreed to establish a strategic dialogue mechanism to further their cooperation. In 2007, China overtook Germany as the third biggest trading partner of Brazil, and last year, China surpassed Argentina to become Brazil's second biggest trading partner, after the United States. (news.xinhuanet.com)


Communists favor pay cap ... An online survey carried out by China Youth Daily showed 90 percent of people back government moves to restrict pay rises for senior executives in state-owned enterprises. 90.5 percent of those polled said they support the recent order by the Ministry of Finance to set limits on pay rises of senior executives in state owned enterprises, according to an online survey carried out by China Youth Daily. But only 38.9 percent of people thought the order reflected the determination of the government to deal with the global financial crisis. (china.org.cn)


Communists seize Latin America initiative ... Visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping held talks with his Venezuelan counterpart Ramon Carrizales on Tuesday and the two exchanged views on ways of deepening bilateral pragmatic cooperation. Later in the day, Xi attended a seminar with the presence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Vice President Carrizales, as well as business people from both sides. Xi arrived in Caracas Tuesday for an official visit to Venezuela, the fourth leg of his six-nation tour. He has visited Mexico, Jamaica and Colombia and will travel on to Brazil and Malta. (news.xinhuanet.com)
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