4/6/09

Monday wrap

Shameful flood: Out-of-state cash-flow feeds festering local feuds ... The Carpenters Independent District Council has received almost $1 million from its national organization for fiscal year 2008. The district council is affiliated with the Arkansas Regional Council of Carpenters, which represents unions in Arkansas and Oklahoma, including the local 943 in Tulsa engaged in a shame campaign against Green Country Interiors Inc., a nonunion drywalling company based in Tulsa. The union protest began in April 2007 and involves raising awareness of alleged substandard pay and benefits paid by Green Country Interiors. For fiscal year 2008, the state union received $989,556 from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, according to financial disclosure statements required by the U.S. Labor Department. Compared to the previous year, the money represents a 120 percent increase from the national organization to be spent in Arkansas and Oklahoma for recruiting and organizing, records show. The financial increase roughly coincides with the establishment of the union's wage protest against Green Country. Union dues are being used to employ homeless people who stand in for carpenters as protesters at various locations in Tulsa, a World investigation shows. (tulsaworld.com)

Related video: Union hires non-union homeless to picket



In case you missed it: The Union News weekend
Sunday: AFL-CIO teams with Big Brands v. worker-choice
Saturday: Daily Hate: Prescient Orwell was 25 years off


SEIU front-group uses students to pick, freeze, personalize, polarize Rite-Aid ... This past Thursday I joined members of Food AND Medicine, the Eastern Maine Labor Council, University of Maine's Wildcat Student Labor Action Project (Wildcat SLAP) and other community activists in an action at Rite Aid in Bangor. This was a national effort in solidarity with the Rite Aid warehouse workers of Lancaster, California. Last May, after a two-year battle, those workers earned recognition of their union, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local #26. The workers were driven to organize in response to working mandatory overtime - after already working ten-hour shifts - ever-increasing production quotas, at-will employment threatening their job security and the absence of air conditioning during the scorching high desert summers. The extreme heat, consistently greater than 100 degrees at the height of summer, has caused weakness, cramps, fainting, vomiting and in one case, a seizure resulting in death. (mainecampus.com)

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


Interactive map exposes Obama's embedded union operatives ... The list of labor-connected appointees includes some biggies: One is Ronald W. Bloom, a member of the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry who is a special assistant to president of the United Steelworkers of America. Another is White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard, who had been executive vice president for politics and legislation with the Service Employees International Union. Edward Montgomery, the labor economist recently named Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, has been given a fulltime portfolio to aid displaced workers and reeling communities. And Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was certainly welcomed by labor leaders as a staunch advocate. She has been a supporter of the so-called card-check bill that makes it easier for workers to organize, and speaks of being raised by parents who were members of the Teamsters and the United Rubber Workers. Other appointees with direct ties to the labor movement include (in alphabetical order): * FAA Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt, a former pilot and aviation consultant who served two terms as president of the Air Line Pilots Association. * Assistant Education Secretary Gabriella Gomez, who is a former lobbyist for American Federation of Teachers. * Helen R. Kanovsky, named general counsel of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who had worked for the last decade for the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust. * Assistant Labor Secretary nominee T. Michael Kerr, who served eight years in Bill Clinton’s Labor Department, also worked for both the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. * Wilma B. Liebman, chairman designate of the National Labor Relations Board, who has served on the board for more than a decade and who previously worked as counsel to the Bricklayers and Teamsters unions. * White House Communications Director Ellen Moran, a well-known grassroots organizer who has led fund-raising drives for the AFL-CIO, and the Democratic National Committee, and who coordinated the AFL-CIO campaign against Walmart before becoming executive director of Emily’s List. * National Mediation Board member nominee Linda A. Puchala, a former international president of the Association of Flight Attendants and staff director of the Michigan State Employees Association. * Federal Railroad Administrator nominee Joseph C. Szabo, who had been Illinois state legislative director of the United Transportation Union. (muckety.com)


Steelworker big leads workers out on strike v. oppressive employer ... Calling the company's final offer an "attack on manufacturing," more than 600 unionized workers at National Steel Car in Hamilton are on strike. Members of United Steelworkers Local 7135 yesterday voted 95 per cent to reject National Steel Car's final proposal, and immediately set up a trailer and barrels for the strike, which began with the expiration of their contract at midnight. Local 7135 president Gary Pedron, a welder with 13 years' experience at the freight car manufacturer, said the company had asked the union to waive seniority rights and accept a 25 per cent rollback in hourly rates, among other conditions. The company confirmed in a statement today it sought a 25 reduction in the total wage and benefit package that is currently in the $31.00 per hour range under the expired contract. While none of his members has an appetite for a strike, Pedron said they felt there was no choice but to walk out. (thespec.com)

Related video: Ode to Scabs



Penn, Del Toro, Carrey: Socialist Stooges? ... Well, I see MGM is planning to make a movie entitled "The Three Stooges" and might have Sean Penn play Larry. Hey, here's a great idea - why not hire Penn's amigos Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro (or Raul if necessary) to play Moe and Curly? That way they can guarantee truth in advertising when promoting their flick which, of course, would be renamed "Los Tres Idiotos." (the-signal.com)


Union-backed DINO rejects anti-socialist Tea protests ... A New Hampshire group trying to take a stand against government spending is changing its tactics a bit after causing a hazmat scare at a congressional office. Staffers at Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's Manchester office called police last week when the received an envelope full of tea leaves from a Pelham dentist. Similar "tea party" protests have been popping up around the country to express opposition to the federal stimulus package and other government spending. WMUR-TV reports that New Hampshire organizers are now asking people to scale back, and send a tag from a tea bag instead of the tea itself. (wbztv.com)


Barney Frank's goon squad to grease more CEOs ... ""If in the future, banks need exceptional assistance in order to get through this, then we will make sure that assistance comes," while ensuring taxpayers are protected, Geithner said today in an interview on the CBS "Face the Nation" program. "Where that requires a change in management and the board, then we will do that." [...] "Where we've had to do exceptional things," the government has replaced management and boards of directors, Geithner said. [...]" The Treasury secretary pledged to enforce congressional legislation that limits pay at companies receiving government loans. Geithner seems to be referring to Rep. Alan Grayson's (D-Florida) flagrantly unconstitutional, un-American compensation cap bill. This Mussolini-style corporatist legislation that would hand Geithner extensive control over salaries of employees who work for businesses that take in government bailout funds was approved by Barney Frank's House Financial Services Committee last week on a 38 to 22 vote. (spectator.org)


New Prog Era presents familiar dangers ... It seemed impossible a few months ago, but Barack Obama has, in a short time, established himself as the worst president in our history. It is clear that he was not honest when he said he was not a socialist. The only thing he knows how to do is spend and spend. It's his solution to every problem real and imagined. His colossal deficits will imprison our children's grandchildren and beyond. His wish to take control of our capitalist system can only mean we will be a socialist nation with far less freedom and opportunity. This is, after all, the man that has funneled billions to ACORN, a completely corrupt, anti-democracy organization. These people have been caught in massive vote fraud and, by the way, Obama wants them involved in the census. If you love this country, and recognize that it is great because of our wonderful Constitution and a strong capitalism, resist this president, and the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. We are in great danger. (theledger.com)


Forced-labor unionism: Sign up for the union yet? ... I needed extra cash to pay for my long-distance phone calls to my boyfriend, so I applied for work as a cashier. After a week or so, I was moved to the deli, where I learned to serve customers while my manager sat on a stool reading stories about half-human, half-goat babies aloud from her favorite tabloid. I went home exhausted, smelling of salami and dreaming of alien symbols mowed inexplicably into Iowa cornfields. My first night, the butcher emerged from the back room to welcome me. He was a beefy guy with an easy grin; I liked him immediately. He asked me if I had joined the union. I said I hadn't given much thought to it because I was just a part-timer. He gave me a card with some information and said I really should think about it, and I promised I would. I fully intended to join. I had read about the historical plight of workers and I believed in safeguarding their rights - my rights! - through union membership. That is, until I saw the price tag of the union dues. The second of five children, attending a state university on the full scholarship awarded by my parents, I had a new appreciation for hard-earned money from my deli job. So when the butcher came back to the counter the next night to ask if I had decided to join, I told him I hardly expected to make the amount of the dues over a month's time. I told him all about my hefty phone bill. He deftly steered the conversation to the fact that the dues would be deducted a little bit at a time. He said he'd come by next week to discuss this again. I said he didn't have to - my mind was made up. The next time the butcher stopped by, he cut to the chase. I noticed his furrowed eyebrows. Or, more accurately, eyebrow. "Hey Janet," he said. "Sign up for the union yet?" I took this for the same kind of friendly banter I'd experienced at college, so I smart-alecked back, "Well, you let me know when the union's having a meeting, and I'll bring the head cheese." "I'm not kidding," he said. That kidder, I thought. Then, after closing one night my second week, I walked to my lonely car in the parking lot and was surprised to see the butcher waiting there. "Maybe you don't understand, Janet," he said. "You don't join the union, you don't have a job. Have a good night." He left. Maybe it was the hour, maybe it was because we were alone, maybe it was the fact that he knew his way around knives and was still wearing his bloody apron - I was terrified. I said, "OK," got in my car and sped home to my apartment. I joined the International Meat Cutters Union the next day. And this is the first time my brief membership has served me at all: to make a point. In America, we should all be free to join or not join whatever organization we wish to join or not join. I'm sure there are people out there who have been threatened with job loss for joining or organizing a union. It's too bad that a smart girl like me can't quite figure out if the Employee Free Choice Act protects us all. We should not be intimidated by guys in bloody aprons - or by bloodsuckers in power suits, either. (baltimoresun.com)


ACORN: Never-ending war on housing



International Collectivism

Russia MSM stifles Communist protesters ... Thousands of Communists took to the streets in national protests Saturday with anti-government signs that included the pointed query to President Dmitry Medvedev, "Where is the money, Dima?" Ahead of the rallies, the Communist Party said more than 5 million people would participate, but it was impossible to determine how many had actually shown up. Neither the Communists nor the police provided national figures as of Sunday. The Communists have accused state-controlled national television of ignoring their activities. Meanwhile, Vladivostok prosecutors ruled Friday that a banner reading "Putler Kaput" carried by opposition activists at several rallies was "offensive" and issued an official warning to the regional branch of the Communist Party, RIA-Novosti reported. The slogan was examined by experts from the Justice Ministry who ruled it "offensive" and called it a "vividly expressed emotional assessment of the personality or acts of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin," Irina Nomokonova, a spokeswoman for the region's prosecutor, told Interfax. "The organizers of marches and meetings were told of the unacceptability of using this slogan in future," Nomokonova said. The local Communist leader, Vladimir Bespalov, said the warning was "a form of pressure on the opposition," RIA-Novosti reported. (themoscowtimes.com)

Istanbul protesters: Go Away Obama



Japan pays huge bribe to Hugo Inc. ... Venezuela will sign agreements with Japanese companies to secure $1.5 billion in financing for a refining project and investment in the South American country’s Junin 11 oil block, President Hugo Chávez said. Japan and Venezuela will sign seven bilateral cooperation agreements during Chávez’s visit, which started today, according to an e-mailed statement from the Venezuelan Information and Communications Ministry. The accords include a joint oil refining project, with participation from Mitsubishi Corp., which will receive $1.5 billion in financing from the Bank of Japan, Chávez said, according to the statement. The Venezuelan president will also sign agreements on petrochemicals projects. (bloomberg.com)


Anti-U.S. allies strengthen ties ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced on Saturday that his Iranian counterpart Mahmud Admadineyah is expected to visit the South American nation in May aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation. Chávez stressed that the Iranian President's trip is a gesture of respect towards the bilateral cooperation agreements. The Venezuelan Head of State explained that the Venezuelan-Iranian Bank and created strategic fund offers bilateral services and services to other nations -- including in southern Asia. (periodico26.cu)


Guam: Union operatives lick their chops over forced tribute scheme ... A public hearing is scheduled for today on a bill that would repeal Guam's "Right to Work" law. Bill 20 repeals the 2000 law and divides the cost of union representation among every employee covered by union-negotiated contracts, whether they are members or not. Employees who are not union members would be required to pay a "fair share" fee that would help cover the union's costs for bargaining, contract administration and grievance adjustment, according to the bill, which was introduced by Democratic Sens. Rory Respicio, B.J. Cruz and Judi Guthertz. The fee would be determined in the collective-bargaining agreement. Employees who benefit from collective bargaining but do not pay a "fair share" fee could be charged with a misdemeanor. Ranks on Guam that are covered by collective-bargaining agreements include public school teachers, nurses, school bus drivers, Guam Customs and Quarantine and Department of Corrections officers, and employees of the Guam Waterworks Authority and the Port Authority of Guam, according to the Guam Federation of Teachers, a labor union. Guam and many states currently have "Right to Work" laws that guarantee no employee is forced to pay for or support a union, even if a contract the union negotiated covers their position. (guampdn.com)


U.N., Obama exert 'soft power' over N. Korea ... The Security Council Sunday adjourned three hours of closed-door talks on North Korea's long-range rocket launch with no agreement on how to respond to what Western members called a clear violation of UN resolutions. "Members of the Security Council agreed to continue consultations on an appropriate action by the council in accordance with its responsibilities given the urgency of the matter," Mexico's UN Ambassador Claude Heller, the council chair this month, told reporters after the meeting. The United States and Japan, which called for the meeting in response to what they view as Pyongyang's "provocative act," said that the launch of a three-stage Taepodong-2 missile, with an estimated range of 4,100 miles (6,700 kilometers) violated Security Council resolution 1718. "North Korea broke the rules, once again, by testing a rocket that could be used for long-range missiles," President Barack Obama said in Prague. (newsmax.com)
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