Thursday wrap

Union-backed, tax-funded fraud group smears Palmetto protesters ... ACORN sent members over to Chiefs, to ask them to cancel the Pre-Tea party. Chiefs manager and owner told them he would not because as far as he knows this is still a free country. The ACORN members then went into the bathrooms at Chief’s and started to tear down flyers about the tea party that were hanging on the walls. Some members went as far as to smear 'human feces' on the walls before they left that establishment. ACORN is on a mission to infiltrate the tea parties all across the land to start fights and make the others who attend all look disorganized and troublesome. (examiner.com)

SEIU: Rogue card-forger acted alone ... An Ohio union organizer has been fired after he was caught forging documents to deduct money from public employees' wages to pay for political activity, the Service Employees International Union said yesterday. Becky Williams, president of the SEIU District 1199, said she thinks this is an isolated incident, but the union is continuing to investigate. "There's not another organizer or group of members that were affected," she said. The organizer, whom Williams declined to identify, had forged about 40 "PAC cards," which are documents that allow the union to deduct about $14 per month from employee wages to pay for the union's political activity. In two years, the organizer had submitted about 115 cards, about one-third of which now appear to have been forged, Williams said. The union's District 1199 includes about 35,000 members in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. Of that total, about 5,100 members have signed the PAC cards. Williams said the union has not decided whether to pursue legal action against the organizer. She said she is unaware of any potential for criminal charges, but that the union would cooperate with any outside investigation. (columbusdispatch.com)

Labor-state workers use oppressive secret-ballot to reject union organizers ... A majority of employees for upholstery producer Norwalk Custom Order Furniture voted against representation by the United Steelworkers Union, Local 48U, the company said. The secret ballot election was conducted under the supervision of the National Labor Relations Board. "We are glad that this matter is now put to rest so that we can continue to move forward as an organization," said Norwalk spokesman Tom Bleile. "I am grateful our employees have finally had a chance to have their voices heard and that they are willing to give us a chance to make something new here," said Dan White, the company's president. (furnituretoday.com)

Worker-choice alternative considered ... Proponents of right-to-work laws point to the Constitutional right to freedom of association, as well as the common-law principle of private ownership of property. They argue that workers should be free both to join unions and to refrain from joining unions. States with "right-to-work" laws that make union organizing more difficult had twice the job growth of forced union states from 1995–2005, according to the National Institute for Labor Relations. A right-to-work law can be seen as either freeing individual employees from being coerced into joining a union, or as restricting the right of an employer to enter into a voluntary contract with its labor union. But an employer should not have rights that supercede those of individuals and compulsory membership, or at least dues, restricts the freedom of individuals. (libertariansolution.com)

No stopping Obama's favorite union big ... Call it Andy Stern gone wild. The man behind the Service Employees International Union has long been hailed as a visionary within the modern American labor movement, devising strategies that have enabled his union to grow faster than any other in the country. The SEIU has added 800,000 members in the past decade alone. But some labor experts say Stern’s ambition is reaching new heights, which could ultimately hurt the SEIU and the broader labor movement. His push last month to cut into the membership and turf of Culinary parent Unite Here, the long-standing union of hotel and casino workers, is the latest in a series of controversial moves aimed at increasing membership and consolidating power. Stern’s efforts to realign labor affiliations — to the benefit of the SEIU — is “a naked power grab,” says John Wilhelm, who once headed the Culinary Union in Las Vegas and now is co-president of Unite Here, whose numbers have been significantly sapped by the SEIU. (lasvegassun.com)

MSM in the tank for Collectivism ... This mega-gathering of tax protesters is scheduled for every single congressional district. More than 500 events are planned. And the national news media have either been silent or shown contempt for the effort. That’s not journalism. It’s blatant censorship that would amaze even George Orwell. The Big Three broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, and NBC – have only mentioned the tea parties in passing three times. This is especially ironic since NBC’s sister network CNBC gave rise to the movement when reporter Rick Santelli ranted about government overspending and talked about having a “Chicago tea party.” Now the third NBC network – MSNBC – is reduced to making juvenile sexual comments about the event. The Washington Post was even worse than the networks. The paper has only mentioned the movement in a news story once: a brief that ran in a suburban edition. Two major tea parties are planned for Washington this week, and the only Post readers who have a clue of what’s going on live in Prince William County. Or, hopefully, rely on media other than the Post. The New York Times tried a different tack. That paper has mentioned tea parties six times – and five of those have been to disparage and undermine them. The only open exchange of views now occurs despite the national news media – not because of it. Fortunately, protest has a way of surviving even in times of media censorship. But the next time you see stories about more media layoffs or newspapers closing down, hundreds of thousands of tax protesters will know why. (cnsnews.com)

Monstrous: Orwellian Obama image-maker Axelrod disarms Tax Day Tea Party protesters ... Obama said at a White House event Wednesday that he's working toward "a simpler tax code that rewards work and the pursuit of the American dream." "For too long, we've seen taxes used as a wedge to scare people into supporting policies that increased the burden on working people instead of helping them live their dreams," Obama said. "That has to change, and that's the work that we've begun." "We need to simplify a monstrous tax code that is far too complicated for most Americans to understand, but just complicated enough for the insiders who know how to work the system," Obama said. He added: "It will take time to undo the damage of years of carve-outs and loopholes. But I want every American to know that we will rewrite the tax code so that it puts your interests over any special interest. And we will make it quicker, easier, and less expensive for you to file a return, so that April 15 is not a date that is approached with dread each year." (washingtonexaminer.com)

Nurses picket v. oppressive SEIU ... Dozens of nurses picketed in front of Kindred Hospital last week, chanting, “Ready to fight? Damn Right!” and waving signs. But the nurses weren’t disputing their salaries or contracts — they were protesting their own union. The nurses organized the demonstration in order to highlight their struggle with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which they accuse of ignoring them and unfairly sanctioning workers. The SEIU is the largest union in California and merged with the United Healthcare Workers (UHW) late last year. Since then, many Kindred employees say they feel their union isn’t properly representing them. They now wish to join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). (ebpublishing.com)

SEIU strike v. Red Cross enters week 4 ... Red Cross personal support workers continued to tend to the needs of high-priority clients as a series of one-day strikes made its way to Waterloo Region yesterday. A small group of the workers, members of the Service Employees International Union, picketed the Red Cross office on King Street as part of their ongoing effort to be paid for travel time between home care assignments. They have been without a contract since July of last year and have been in a legal strike position since March 23. (news.therecord.com)

Indiana Teamsters picket v. oppressive caregiver ... Union workers with community mental health center Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living took their frustration to the streets Wednesday evening to get the attention of that center's administration. About 50 workers, from therapists to maintenance workers, picketed outside the clinic at 1100 W. 6th Ave. to protest working conditions. From being required to work long hours to purchasing their own supplies, the group is fed up, said Alfredo Gomez, who organized the rally for Teamsters Local 743. Therapists and caseworkers are overloaded with patients -- some with a ratio of 50-to-1 -- Gomez said, yet are expected to see every patient once a month while having to complete mounds of paperwork. They're also required to deal with emergency situations on top of regular work load. (post-trib.com)

Sen. Robert Menendez placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check). WHAT: Sen. Menendez received the following dirty money. Communication Workers of America (PAC) $1,000 in 2008 election cycle; $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $6,000 in 2008 election cycle; $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. Service Employees International Union $1,000 in 2008 election cycle; $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. PMA Group (PAC) $2,000 in 2006 election cycle. WHY IT’S DIRTY: Multiple officers and members of these unions, including division presidents, secretary-treasurers and business managers, have been convicted since 2001 of felonies ranging from embezzlement, falsifying official reports to government, mail fraud and conspiracy. The Boilermakers have had at least 10 members convicted, while the IBEW has had at least 14. The United Steelworkers of America, which includes Paper, Allied-Industrial Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE) has had at least 30 convictions among its membership. The amounts of embezzled funds range from over $5,000 to over $100,000. The PMA Group (Paul Magliocchetti and Associates) was primarily a defense lobbying group based in Washington D.C. and closely associated with Rep. John Murtha, D-PA. The firm’s main office 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 MENENDEZ GIVE IT BACK? Menendez did not respond to The Examiner’s request for comment. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Murtha: Catching up with union-backed Dem House Baron ... "It’s business as usual for Rep. John Murtha," The Hill writes. "The FBI raiding a high-profile defense lobbying shop hasn’t stopped the powerful Pennsylvania Democrat from dealing with its former clients. He’s seeking earmarks for them and accepting campaign contributions from them. Murtha, who chairs the Appropriations Defense subcommittee, on Tuesday reported receiving contributions from three former PMA clients for whom he requested earmarks in the pending appropriations bills." Roll Call: "After a long silence on the unfolding federal probe of the PMA Group and its ties to senior Democrats, House Democratic leaders are cobbling together a defense to offer political cover to their rank and file. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has enlisted Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) to consult with House Democrats on why they should continue to resist Republican demands for an ethics committee investigation into the matter." (msnbc.msn.com)

School choice threatens global unionism ... The worldwide recession hasn't deterred international scholars from attending the American Educational Research Association's annual meeting this week in San Diego. More than 2,000 foreign education researchers, hailing from 73 countries — possibly a record — have shown up for the April 13-17 meeting. A handful of their number yesterday, along with certain U.S. researchers, offered interesting perspectives on how charter-style schools operate in other countries. (Did you think the U.S. had the monopoly on that concept?) (edweek.org)

School unionists grieve heartless privatization ... But even acknowledging the considerable discomfort to employees, it's easy to understand why school districts make this move. After years of flat revenues and rising expenses, they're looking to cut costs whereever they can -- and this can be a big way to cut costs. Comstock schools estimated they will save $600,000 this year by privatizing its custodial work. I was talking with a union official who was said that it's unfair for school districts to balance their budgets on the back of employees. But the reality is that personnel costs make up about 85 percent of a district's expenses, and if you have to cut costs, it's hard to avoid impacting personnel. (blog.mlive.com)

Liberal use of P2P in labor-state exposed ... A political powerbroker and a hedge fund manager who owns a prominent talent agency for classical musicians have become the latest people ensnared in a "pay-to-play" scandal at the huge state pension fund. Former Liberal Party chairman Raymond Harding and Dallas entrepreneur Barrett Wissman were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday with participating in a scheme to collect kickbacks from financial firms seeking work managing the retirement fund's assets. (chron.com)

Garbage strikers digging in ... The strike by Windsor’s outside workers is “unfortunate” and “regrettable,” said Mayor Eddie Francis. But city workers who formed a picket line at the WFCU Centre on Wednesday night had harsh words for Francis, and blamed him for the situation. “It’s the mayor that’s causing the strike. He set the agenda. He’s telling (management) what to negotiate, what to take away. And they’re not moving,” said CUPE Local 82 member Butch Reaume. “That’s not negotiating — that’s dictating.” Meanwhile, Windsor residents have been told by the city that they’re on their own in handling garbage, recycling and yard waste. Pickup has been suspended. Mounds of waste were already accumulating Wednesday outside the city’s waste transfer station at E.C. Row Expressway and Central Avenue. (windsorstar.com)

AFSCME concerned about dues from crossing-guards ... School crossing guard Mary Ellen Mordarski doesn't mind the thought of having a part-time job to keep her busy this summer. Mordarski said Tuesday that she could only take the position if she knew it wasn't replacing work that could be done by members of another union. Over the past several days, the city has held a "job fair" for the city's 38 paid crossing guards as part of an effort to provide summer positions and reduce the number of unemployment claims, but the effort has left members of the union with questions and concerns rather than optimism. "There's a lot that still hasn't been explained to us, like how many jobs are available and why they were offered to us and not other unions," said Linda Ceneviva, president of Local 3886 of Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. (myrecordjournal.com)

International Collectivism

Collectivist Olympic Games underway in Havana ... Granma daily reports say there are more than 1,100 foreign participants in the games, an initiative of the Bolivarian Alternative of Our Americas (ALBA). Of them 786 are sportspeople and 318 officials, though the numbers are expected to increase. Colombia, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Panama, Haiti, France, Popular Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Germany, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and Canada are the countries already represented in the competitions. More than one thousand people take part in the opening ceremony that includes sports and artistic demonstrations, including children’s performances and a gymnastic show by senior citizens and a human blackboard by 600 students from the Manuel Fajardo Higher Physics Culture Institute of Havana. The Games included 30 official sports tournaments and four disciplines for exhibition. (cubanews.ain.cu)

Trotsyite Lula preps Obama for Latin give-aways ... President Barack Obama on Thursday embarks on a trip to Latin America, where the leader of the world's lone superpower said he seeks to engage in talks with the region's leaders as equals. President Obama refuses to criticize Latin American leaders. President Obama refuses to criticize Latin American leaders. "Times have changed," President Barack Obama told CNN en Español on Wednesday. Referring to his planned meeting in Trinidad and Tobago with Brazilian President Lula, he said, "My relationship with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is one of two leaders who both have big countries, that we are trying to solve problems and create opportunities for our people, and we should be partners. "There's no senior partner or junior partner." (cnn.com)

Obama, Clinton downgrading human rights in Latin America ... The more pragmatic Mr. Obama will take a different, more muted approach, bending U.S. advocacy on human rights to other concerns. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apparently suggested that in her February visit to Beijing, where she signaled to the Communist Party's leaders that the United States would not let human rights get in the way of other priorities. But how far will this pragmatism go? Are we entering a new era in which the rights of the hundreds of millions of people who still live under authoritarian rule are relegated to third-tier status in the U.S. agenda? (brookings.edu)

Communists unveil India election reforms ... At least 17 people were killed as Maoist guerrillas targeted polling officials and security personnel across four insurgency hit states, giving a violent start to India's general elections. The states that were hit were Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Orissa, amongst the 17 states and union territories conducting elections in the first phase, where Maoists tried to implement their poll boycott in a hail of bullets and blasts. The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist, which seeks to carry out an agrarian-based revolution, routinely calls for a boycott of all elections. It often enforces its boycott call with deadly attacks. (sify.com)

Russia said to backslide on democracy ... President Dmitry Medvedev chose one of the country's most Kremlin-critical publications for his first Russian newspaper interview since taking office, a move that could boost his image of being a cautious liberal. Although the interview published Wednesday did not break ground in policy matters, Medvedev's giving it to Novaya Gazeta had symbolic resonance. The newspaper consistently challenges the Kremlin on matters including human rights, freedom of speech and Russia's alleged backsliding on democracy. (cnsnews.com)

Hiding from Hugo: You can run, but you can't hide ... Manuel Rosales, mayor of Maracaibo, Venezuela's second largest city, is missing—in what the opposition is calling the latest instance in a wave of persecution by the government of President Hugo Chávez. After Chávez vowed on national TV to have Rosales imprisoned, the government filed corruption charges against the 56-year-old mayor. Two weeks ago, Rosales dropped out of sight, and his supporters say he is in hiding. Chávez and President Barack Obama are both scheduled to attend an April 17-19 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. Chávez suspended cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration in 2005, accusing its agents of espionage—an accusation the DEA denies. (ww4report.com)

Iran employers oppress workers ... The news that Iranian workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company were forced once again to resort to industrial action this month will come as little surprise to those familiar with the pattern of labor relations in Iran. With the presidential election looming it is not difficult to see how the question of industrial unrest and the associated collapse in living standards may yet be a vital factor in the campaign. It is in recognition of this growing momentum inside Iran that the Committee for the Defense of the Iranian People’s Right (CODIR) renews its call for international solidarity with the workers at Haft Tapeh and demands an end to the imprisonment of Ali Nejati and members of the union’s executive board. (pww.org)
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