Saturday wrap

Shameful SEIU dumbs democracy downward ... Sometimes even unions have union problems. Dozens of employees of the Service Employees International Union picketed their own union Friday over its decision to lay off about 75 workers. The staffers marched outside SEIU headquarters in Washington as they yelled into bullhorns, passed out flyers and chanted, "Justice for all, not just some." "This union is supposed to be at the forefront of the progressive movement, but it can't seem to follow its own ideology," said Malcolm Harris, president of the Union of Union Representatives, which represents 210 SEIU organizers and field staff around the country. The UUR has filed unfair labor practice charges and age and race discrimination claims against SEIU. Harris called SEIU leaders "hypocrites" for calling out corporations that shed workers, yet moving to lay off their own employees. SEIU spokeswoman Michelle Ringuette called the complaints meritless and said layoffs are needed because the union is shifting organizing work away from its national office to local unions. "We're in the middle of realignment," Riguette said. "This is how we implement the democratic decisions arrived at our convention." But Harris said the SEIU's treatment of employees could undermine the union's effort to pass federal legislation that would make it easier to organize unions. He said the politically powerful union was borrowing unsavory management tactics, such as dismissing workers without proper notice and refusing to meet with employees before their collective bargaining agreement expires next week. Ringuette denied any wrongdoing. She called the protest "a sign of a thriving democratic movement" and says the union hopes to work out the dispute. (google.com)

Related video: SEIU Staff Union Pickets the SEIU

Union-only P2P: It's how Dems allocate political power ... The media tossed around the phrase "pay-to-play" like beer at a Cubs' game when it came to alleged scandals surrounding former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Can the same be said for local politics, such as when city council candidates get contributions from construction companies that do work in the city? Only if the contributions come with strings attached, and there's no evidence of that locally, according to experts. As long as companies are not "giving something to get something," there is no "pay-to-play," said Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Rupert Borgsmiller. (suburbanchicagonews.com)

P2P renews U.S. collectivism ... Let's not kid ourselves. The prevailing modus operandi of Washington politicians — Democrats and Republicans alike — is "pay to play." Money is the "mother's milk" of politics. Nothing warms the hearts of members of Congress as much as campaign contributions. Special interests invest in political campaigns as a cost of doing business expecting that, if they ride the right horse across the finish line, they will get a return on that investment. And what a return! Billions of dollars in bailouts, subsidies, tax breaks, immunities from liability, preferential treatment by regulators — the list goes on and on. (renewamerica.us)

Collectivizing child care ... The child-care-union proposal is the latest in a series of efforts to expand collective-bargaining rights to private workers who provide care paid for by the state. In the past seven years, unions have added more than 65,000 members by pushing through new collective-bargaining laws. Under these laws, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has organized nearly 40,000 state-paid home-health-care and child-care workers. This activity helped the SEIU become the state's largest union. The Washington Federation of State Employees also has added thousands of members by winning new bargaining rights. Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle, who sponsored the child-care bill, said he attended an inner-city day care in South Central Los Angeles growing up and understands the financial troubles operators of child-care centers in his South Seattle district are enduring. He said that allowing day-care centers and their employees to bargain collectively would "close the gap" between what day-care centers spend on providing care and what they receive from the state. That extra money would help child-care centers improve the quality of early-childhood education, he said. (nwsource.com)

Local gov't cracks down on anti-socialist protests ... A tea party to protest government spending and taxing is canceled. Canceled by the government. Why? They feel too many people could show-up. Lynn Rosko planned to hold a tax payer tea party at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral on April 1st. The idea was announced at a Cape Coral City Council meeting, then an e-mail blast by the Republican Party and it was mentioned in the local media. With all of that attention, the City of Cape Coral felt there could be more than 500 people attending the tea party. Therefore Rosko needed to get a permit and insurance for the event. Rosko says she's not willing to get insurance and accept liability for something that a stranger could do. Rosko told WINK News, "I have rescinded any organizing or supervision or what ever you want to call it over this tea party on April 1st." (winknews.com)

Community organizers rally anti-socialists ... Though the Raleigh News and Observer stated otherwise, there were over 350 concerned folks that rallied in front of the State House last Saturday, 21 March, for a Tea Party. I say that with certainty because I was there and I counted. Granted, it was something of a small turnout – the Tea Party in Orlando drew more than 4000 patriots - but it was a good start for what has become a national movement to call attention to what President Obama and his administration have done in the few weeks that he has been in office. In February, the Tea Party in Greenville, S.C. had 3000 in attendance. On March 15, nearly 5000 patriots attended Cincinnati's Tea Party. There are Tax Day Tea Parties scheduled for April 15. Over 300 Parties are scheduled across the nation, with events in every state. As of this writing, in our state, there are events planned in Asheville, Charlotte, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Fayetteville, Franklin, Greensboro, Newton, Raleigh, Rutherford, Smithfield and Winston Salem. More events are being announced weekly. Signs from last Saturday's Tea Party announced - Don't Spread My Wealth, Spread My Work Ethic * Pork is For Barbeque – It's Not a Stimulant * Stop Stealing Our Kids' Future *Stop the War on Prosperity * I Keep My Money, You Keep the 'Change' * Not Outraged? You're Not Paying Attention (beaufortobserver.net)

Sen. Barbara Mikulski put on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). WHAT: Mikulski received the following dirty money: Boilermakers Union (PAC) $2,000 in 2008 election cycle: $2,000 in 2006 election cycle. PMA Group (PAC) $3,000 donation in 2008 election cycle; $1,000 in 2006 election cycle. WHY IT’S DIRTY: The Boilermakers have had at least 10 of their members convicted of federal charges such as embezzlement. PMA Group (Paul Magliocchetti and Associates) is primarily a defense lobbying group based in Washington D.C. that was raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last year. In total, PMA Group's employees and its political action committee have given current members of Congress $3.4 million since 1989, with 79 percent of that going to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets. Org. WILL MIKULSKI GIVE IT BACK? Mikulski did not respond to a phone call requesting comment. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Globe cuts land on oppressed non-union news workers ... A steep drop in revenue is forcing the Boston Globe’s parent company, The New York Times, to cut most employee pay by 5-percent for the rest of the year. Non-unionized Boston Globe employees will bear the brunt of the 5-percent pay cut. The Globe is in the midst of another round of buyouts and is expected to announce layoffs shortly. That makes yesterday’s pay cut announcement even tougher to take, according to the Globe’s editor, Marty Baron. (wbur.org)

Related video: Dems prep News Union takeover

Axelrod pimps folksy unionist propoganda ... President Obama has promised to change the way the government does business, but in at least one respect, he is taking a page from the Bush playbook, stocking his town hall meeting Thursday with supporters whose questions provided openings to discuss his preferred message of the day. While any member of the public with an Internet connection could submit a question for the event, the five identified questioners called on randomly by the president in the East Room shared commonalities. They included: a member of the pro-Obama Service Employees International Union; a member of the Democratic National Committee who campaigned for Obama in the Hispanic community during the primary; a former Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates who endorsed Obama last fall in an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star; and a Virginia businessman who was a donor to Obama's 2008 campaign. "The audience was composed of approximately 100 people, including teachers, nurses, small-business owners, and community leaders -- and the virtual audience of thousands across the country who have submitted questions online," said White House spokesman Nicholas S. Shapiro. "The White House reached out to a number of community groups and the chamber of commerce, and those groups invited their folks to come and participate." (washingtonpost.com)

Benito Hussein Obama ... The results are in and all are in agreement, the radical leftist that was elected in as our current President is exactly the sort of person we thought he was. Non-Council Winner and former Watcher’s Council Alum Big Lizards spells it out by putting Barrack Obama in the same category as Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini, the former leader of the Italian National Fascist Party. When one realizes that Mussolini started large construction and public works projects as a way to fight unemployment and combines that with the massive power grab that put almost all businesses under state control one can not help but compare the two. (watcherofweasels.org)

FedEx resists Hoffa, Teamsters ... In a March 18, essay this column pointed to the victory over Big Labor’s Stalinist Card Check scheme predicting it would be the first sign the tide is turning against the lazy greedy thugs that run labor unions. The next sign of eventual victory for the American consumer and American business is here. In a sure indication that America’s business interests have drawn a line in the sand and will not be bullied by Labor, Fedex, the Memphis based package delivery giant, has made a major announcement. It will consider canceling its plans to purchase up to 30 new Boeing cargo planes if the Democrat controlled Congress passes the union’s card check scheme which would lead to unionization of Fedex’ s workers. As predicted the power the Democrats were handed last November went directly to their heads and they over reached, The Union/Democrat crime family was sure they would waltz into Congress on Tuesday March 10, and walk out with Card check in their pocket. But a wonderful thing happened. We shouted to Congress, it had better not pass this pile of crap or it would pay the price next year. Chief Union thug Jimmy Hoffa junior (now there’s a pedigree) smugly asked, “ Since when is the secret ballot a basic tenet of democracy?” Well Jimmy boy if you didn’t get the lesson about the sacredness of the secret ballot when the Democrats backed down, Fedex is sending you another one. Fedex didn’t become a mega business by backing down from challenges. Fedex just punked you and your street thug pals. Fedex executives aren’t afraid of you or your Democrat lackeys. They will not be bullied into unionization which they know will kill their business. You think you know what hardball negotiations are but you don’t: watch and learn. The evil regime has some cracks and this is a big one. We MUST win this card check fight if we are to save our country. When you have a choice use Fedex and encourage others to do the same. Send Fedex a note of support. http://www.fedex.com/. The CEO is generally conservative but strayed to support Dear Leader. Let’s send him an “atta boy” and ask him to stay America’s our side. (tips-q.com)

Hoffa, Teamsters subdue Google ... It's not often that a board of directors recommends voting for a proposal on the annual meeting's agenda that it didn't put there itself, but that's what happened at Google, according to its proxy filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission before its May 7 shareholder meeting. In addition to re-electing its 10 directors, ratifying its choice of auditors and approving changes to its stock plan, Google's board is asking shareholders to vote for a proposal put forward by the Teamsters union that would have the company report twice a year on details of any political contributions or expenditures "made with corporate funds." The proposal asks Google to disclose all of its political contributions, including payments to trade associations and other tax-exempt organizations, as well as identify those who participated in deciding to make the payments, as well as any "internal guidelines or policies" that govern the company's political contributions. In support of their proposal, the Teamsters said such a policy would bring Google "in line with a growing number of leading companies, including Pfizer, Aetna and American Electric Power that support political disclosure and accountability and present this information on their Web sites." (mercurynews.com)

Enviros reveal corrupt unionist backing ... Four labor unions and two environmental organizations today announced their support for comprehensive cap-and-trade climate change legislation in 2009. The Blue Green Alliance and its partner organizations said this legislation is an effective way to rapidly put millions of Americans back to work building a clean energy economy and to reduce global warming emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change. "We can choose a new direction for our country -- making a clean energy economy the foundation for putting people back to work building America," said Terence M. O'Sullivan, General President of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA). "We have the workers and the skills, and now we need action to build on the green programs of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act." "The significance of this statement cannot be overstated," said David Foster, Executive Director of the Blue Green Alliance. "For the first time, a substantial number of unions representing workers across a broad section of the American economy have endorsed the principle that the way out of our current economic turmoil is through major investments in solving global warming. The labor and environmental movements have truly embraced a common vision for the future." (foxbusiness.com)

Lost 10th Amendment Cited ... The leading anti-stimulus Scrooge is Republican Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, who petitioned the White House to aim $700 million of stimulus money toward debt reduction rather than spending. He was told no, and earlier this week tried to readjust and refocus his intentions. He now hopes to apply $577 million specifically to education debt. He noted: This would immediately free up over $162 million in debt service in the first two years and save roughly $125 million in interest payments over the next 13 years, which could then be directed towards other educational purposes—just as paying off a mortgage early frees up the typical monthly payment for other uses. Obviously, such talk is rather unpopular in the midst of this, the worst economic crisis since last month. For his part, Sanford is accused of putting political ambitions before his state's 10 percent unemployment rate. He's merely preening, critics say, before the rump of the GOP's small-government faithful in preparation for a 2012 presidential run. Lots of South Carolina’s citizens and legislators think Sanford's out of his gourd, that he's robbing the state of its birthright for a mess of message about fiscal probity. Luckily for them, the stimulus bill actually empowers the legislature to override his intentions. The bill contains a provision, added ironically by South Carolina’s own Democratic Rep. James Clyburn, in subsection 1607(b) that holds: If funds provided to any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to such State. But that might well conflict with the spending provisions of several state constitutions, prompting a few thinkers to put forward charming attempts to apply retrograde 10th Amendment thinking to the stimulus bill. As Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda suggested in a Chicago Tribune op-ed, it’s perfectly clear Congress has no legitimate constitutional authority to thusly override state constitutions. (hawaiireporter.com)

AFSCME smacks down Plattsburgh Mayor ... A city union recently won a grievance, sparking a war of words. "It is clear to me that this grievance was a personal attack on my administration," Mayor Donald Kasprzak said. "He's the one who is vindictive," union President Denise Nephew responded. The city's American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees union filed a grievance last year over the hiring of an outside contractor to clean City Hall. The contractor, Champlain Valley Industries, was hired in early 2008 for $12,700 per year to clean City Hall on a daily basis in the evening hours. The mayor hired Champlain Valley Industries after a part-time worker, who was non-union, left the job. Nephew said the union filed a grievance against the city for hiring a contractor because the job of cleaning City Hall always belonged to the union. "And the arbitrator agreed with us," she said. "This is the third grievance we've won. Talk about wasting taxpayer dollars." The mayor said the union wants to hire a full-time union worker to clean the building, which would cost about $30,000 a year with salary and benefits. "I may be a bit confused about some things, but I think I know the difference between $12,700 and $30,000," he said. "CVI has been contracted at the Police Department, and the Finance Department has someone contracted for cleaning, so why did she only grieve the position in this building?" the mayor said. "It's obvious that this is personal." Nephew said she did not grieve the other two positions because it has always been the practice of contracting cleaning services for those jobs. "But cleaning City Hall has always been an AFSCME job," she said. (pressrepublican.com)

Rapacious, dues-hungry SEIU triggers messy union divorce ... About 150,000 members of the hotel workers’ union UNITE HERE split off to form a new union, Workers United. The new union met last weekend for the first time in Philadelphia, and at that meeting voted to affiliate with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Most of the new Workers United members come from the “UNITE” side of UNITE HERE. That is, they were part of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees. UNITE and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union, or HERE, merged in 2004. About 40,000 of the 150,000 who left to form Workers United were hotel and hospitality industry employees. So where does that leave UNITE HERE? The split is reported to have shrunk its ranks from about 450,000 members to about 300,000 members. However, Pilar Weiss, a spokesperson for Unite Here, says the 150,000 figure is not accurate, and she contends it’s closer to 50,000. She also says some of the elections in which locals voted to secede are in question. Nonetheless, most of the remaining members of UNITE HERE are hotel and hospitality industry workers. Bruce Raynor, general president of UNITE HERE, has called for the dissolution of the merger that crated UNITE HERE five years ago, saying the merger has failed and the union is falling apart. (meetingsnet.com)

Leftist News Union limits dues hit in Buffalo ... Members of the Buffalo Newspaper Guild have agreed to an array of salary cuts, staff layoffs and buyouts to save The Buffalo News nearly $3 million this year. Originally, The News said it wanted 52 layoffs to deal with the paper sliding into the red. After some long bargaining sessions and long union meetings to talk about what to do, the pact sent to Guild members yesterday was put together and overwhelmingly approved. Seven full-time and two part-time workers will be laid off. Thirty-seven workers took buyouts. Guild Bargaining Committee Chairman Phil Fairbanks says the paper just wanted to cut people. (foxbusiness.com)

U.S. socialists surveyed ... The latest IBD/TIPP Poll shows the country can be divided into "passionate capitalists" (37%), "hybrid deniers" (35%) and "undeclared socialists" (29%). "Passionate capitalists" oppose the redistribution of income and believe the government should stay out of key industries. "Hybrid deniers" base their views on capitalistic tenets and oppose income redistribution, but they're undecided on health care. They also disagree that the U.S. may be evolving into a socialist state. "Undeclared socialists" support income redistribution and government-run health care. The table below shows further breakdown. (ibdeditorials.com)

International Collectivism

Chávez voter-fraud hikes global cred ... In a little-noted agency hearing, the CIA admitted that Venezuela's Hugo Chávez rigged his recall referendum in 2004. So why does he still merit global recognition as a democratically elected leader? Anyone who steals an election has no claim to democracy. But somehow there's an exception for Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez, who's still recognized as a "democratically elected" leader by the U.S. and others. It now comes to light that the CIA cybersecurity experts know he fixed his 2004 recall referendum. Two weeks ago, at a field hearing before the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in Orlando, Fla., CIA's Steve Stigall cited Venezuela, along with Macedonia and Ukraine, as examples of the risks of electronic voting. Chávez, he said, controlled most voting machines and may have provided the program used to "randomly" select them for audit during a recount, the Miami Herald reported. The problem went beyond cheating. The referendum was then certified as free and fair by none other than ex-President Jimmy Carter and recognized by the hemisphere as democratic. That extended Chávez's term in power at a time when the real sentiment of voters was to throw him out. That, in turn, undercut Venezuela's opposition parties as political forces, making it nearly impossible for them to gain ground. It also made Chávez obnoxious in international forums, using his false democratic legitimacy to undermine the interests of democratic nations while no one said anything. He's about to play this like a fiddle at the upcoming Summit of the Americas, promising to "get the artillery out" against U.S. President Barack Obama in reflexive anti-Americanism all about reinforcing his grip on power. (ibdeditorials.com)

Shifting Latin Democracies cut loose oppressive term limits ... Two presidential polls released Friday show leftist President Rafael Correa easily winning next month's presidential elections. A Cedatos-Gallup International poll showed Correa, a former finance minister, with 48.5% voter support. His closest opponent in the poll, ousted former President Lucio Gutierrez, has 14.6% support, according to the March 22 poll of 2,703 people. The poll had a margin of error of 5 percentage points. Only 13% of respondents said they would vote for banana magnate Alvaro Noboa, whom Correa defeated in the 2006 election. Correa, a political ally of Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chávez, began his four-year term in January 2007, but the new constitution approved last year calls for new general elections, opening the door for two more four-year terms, which could keep Correa in office until 2017. (easybourse.com)

Chávistas bring social justice to Chicago ... In an effort to share experiences led by grassroots struggles, leaders from Venezuela and local community groups here on the Southwest Side of the city came together to talk about what it takes to organize residents, fight for people’s power and encourage participatory democracy from the bottom up. The March 24 event, “People’s organization to solve community problems: Venezuela and the U.S. – comparative experiences” was organized by the Salvation Army in conjunction with local groups here in the Lawndale area and the Venezuelan consulate. “The only way to achieve social justice in Venezuela was to transfer power to the people,” Carrasco said. The first thing they did in Carora was to reform the local bylaws. “It’s important to note that this process was mobilized by the entire community who actively participated in the reform movement in order to gain decision-making power,” Carrasco said. “Once we were in control of the budget, funds were allocated directly toward projects organized by the people. This participatory budget is what we now call ‘popular power.’” Carrasco added that because of their success the national assembly in the Bolivarian government headed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez passed legislation in order to assist grassroots reforms across the country. “This began what we call 'community councils' directed by the people and their priorities,” said Carrasco. (pww.org)

Chávez cuddles up to Iranian mullahs ... Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki visited Caracas Friday to touch up on bilateral ties ahead of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's visit to Tehran next week, officials said. "Some important issues were examined, including the progress of joint projects, especially as concerns industrial cooperation and technology transfers," a diplomatic source told AFP. During a public ceremony, Chávez revealed Mottaki was visiting along with vice ministers and other government officials, and said a meeting had been planned for later in the day. Chávez and his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are both arch-foes of Washington and their governments have significantly boosted their ties in recent years, signing dozens of agreements on binational banks, energy and factories. Cooperation between the two members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has translated into over 200 investment projects valued at more than seven billion dollars in 2007, according to Venezuelan official figures. Chávez is among only a handful of state leaders who support Iran's controversial nuclear energy program, suspected by some of serving as a cover to produce nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies. (tolerance.ca)

Retirement age hiked in Workers' Paradise ... Like much of Cuba's work force, Alfredo Congas is going gray. The chain-smoking 61-year-old retired last March after 42 years as a hotel doorman and rum-company driver. Now he's back working 12-hour shifts as a security guard to supplement his minuscule pension. "I'm here without a cent in my pocket," said Congas, whose new job brings his total income — pension plus paycheck — to the equivalent of $23.45 a month, about $4 more than the average state wage. Sweeping poverty forces most of Cuba's 2.2 million retirees to get new jobs that enable them to keep a steady income and supplement their pensions. Many barely scrape by, wandering the streets selling peanuts and newspapers or guarding parked cars at hotels for tourists' change. Now even that is harder to do. Faced with an aging population and a life expectancy of 77.3 years, nearly the same as the U.S., Cuba's government has raised the retirement threshold by five years, to 60 for women and 65 for men, delaying the second jobs many have counted on to make ends meet in their old age. About 90 percent of Cubans have government jobs, and now both sexes must work at least 30 years, not 25, to get a full pension. "Retirement in Cuba was already no picnic. Now it's more complicated," said Oscar Espinosa Chepe, a state-trained economist turned political dissident. (google.com)
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