Wednesday wrap

Obama rule promotes union-dues corruption ... The Labor Department moved Tuesday to rescind a regulation approved during President George W. Bush's last days in office that would have increased scrutiny of union finances to help root out financial corruption. The agency said it considered the comments of numerous labor organizations that claimed the new rule was overly burdensome and would have little effect on efforts to detect fraud. Unions had also complained that the previous administration failed to take into account how well existing compliance forms already worked. A notice published in the Federal Register proposes to withdraw the rule entirely and seeks comments on the agency's proposal. Union officials praised the decision, the latest in a series of pro-labor actions taken since President Barack Obama took office. Unions are required to file annual financial disclosure reports to the Labor Department's Office of Labor-Management Standards. The agency's criminal enforcement program uses the information to investigate embezzlement from labor unions and other types of union fraud. Labor Department figures show that investigations of union fraud from 2001-2008 resulted in more than 1,000 indictments, with 929 convictions and court-ordered restitution of more than $93 million. (google.com)

We don't need no stinkin' minority workers ... Harry C. Alford, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, says Card Check – the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) – along with the Project Labor Agreement Executive Order 13502 will impair the rights of black business owners, open the door for black employees to be threatened, and flat out put black laborers out of work. The Employee Free Choice Act would eliminate the secret ballot in workplace unionization voting, and EO 13502 would require the use of union-friendly "project labor agreements" in connection with large-scale construction projects. Regarding Card Check, Alford says, "By eliminating the right to vote in private, workers would not only be deprived of the right to vote their conscience, but would also be more vulnerable to the intimidation and coercion tactics known to be used by union organizers," Alford opined. Not surprisingly, project labor agreements are highly favored by unions and are typically criticized and resisted by nonunionized construction contractors. (newsmax.com)

In ACORN We Trust ... Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels said that, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." The community activist organization ACORN seems to have taken a page from Goebbels' playbook because CEO and Chief Organizer Bertha Lewis has repeatedly denied that ACORN is involved in voter fraud. ACORN (Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now) is a self-proclaimed "nonpartisan" social justice organization that runs one of the nation's largest voter registration drives in order to elect Democrats and advance ACORN's agenda. Surrounded by controversy, ACORN has been implicated in over a dozen states for voter fraud in addition to mafia-style racketeering tactics worthy of a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act (RICO) investigation. But to listen to Lewis, one would get the impression that ACORN has done nothing wrong. On Lou Dobbs' April 7th CNN program Lou Dobbs Tonight, Lewis asserted that "ACORN is not being investigated anywhere in any state." Not so. No less than nine states are currently investigating ACORN (Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, and New Mexico) which Dobbs confirmed the next day. In April, Lewis issued a statement to CNN stating that voter fraud allegations against ACORN are "imaginary and false." In Missouri alone, at least 13 ACORN employees have pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to voter registration fraud over the last two years. In response to Republican accusations, Lewis told C-SPAN on October 12, 2008, "There's a pattern of attacks, a pattern of allegations, but just because you repeat a lie, doesn't make it true." Lewis is the one repeating the lie. Not only is there an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting the allegations of voter registration fraud, there are many ACORN employees who have been found guilty. Bertha Lewis – in true Goebbels fashion – repeats these lies at every opportunity in her media appearances. So when Bertha Lewis talks, how can we really believe anything that she says? (familysecuritymatters.org)

Backlash v. union-backed, tax-funded fraud group ... ACORN, the community activist group embroiled in controversy over its voter registration practices during the presidential campaign, caused one of the livelier discussions at the state Association of Township Supervisors meeting in Hershey today. A resolution to dissolve ACORN was narrowly defeated, but not before several supervisors stood up to condemn the organization. In a related resolution, also defeated, the Lycoming County contingent asked the organization to seek legislation to prohibit tax dollars from being used by nonprofit agencies to perform a government function like voter registration. (pennlive.com)

Left-stream unionized media sheds jobs, dues ... However, there are so many other things about the man and his mission that I find terrifying, I hate to have us so busy concentrating on his left hand while, with his right, he muzzles the conservative media; destroys our missile defense capability; funnels funds to ACORN, AmeriCorps and Hamas; nationalizes the banks and takes control of the automotive industry; and, for good measure, discusses nuclear disarmament with Russia while trusting the U.N. to deal with Iran and North Korea. So, while I regard Obama’s plan to use the tax code to impoverish productive Americans while using tax rebates to bribe those who don’t even pay income taxes as a vile left-wing plot, I’d hate to have my fellow conservatives so completely focused on this one area that they fail to see all the other tricks this con artist has up his sleeve. Something that has bothered me over the years is the way the lamebrains in the left-stream media invariably turn into unlicensed shrinks whenever a Republican is in the White House, but toss a dust cover over the couch as soon as he’s replaced by a Democrat. (bighollywood.breitbart.com)

Union hostility: All-out Civil War declared in California ... All that labor solidarity we’ve been hearing so much about is being put to the test in California, where the California Teachers Association and a handful of building trade unions are lined up opposite the California Federation of Teachers, SEIU, AFSCME, the California Nurses Association and a bunch of other unions. The bone of contention, of course, is the set of budget ballot initiatives pasted together by Gov. Schwarzenegger and the leaders of both political parties during the state’s most recent deficit crisis. CTA wants the initiatives passed in order to get its hands on $9.3 billion. The other unions don’t receive such a payoff, and oppose the establishment of spending caps associated with the passage of Prop 1A. With CTA prepared to spend up to $12 million on the campaign, the opposition unions find themselves struggling to make up ground. The state SEIU approved a $500,000 contribution - the largest single opposition donation thus far. But the battle has been escalated, with the National Education Association contributing $1 million to support Prop 1B. The use of national union funds, contributed by NEA members from all 50 states, could prompt the opposition unions to seek financial and staff help from their respective national affiliates, plus the AFL-CIO and Change to Win. It’s unclear whether the labor federations consider events in California to be that much of a threat to their interests, but if they get involved, we could have a union civil war in California next month. (eiaonline.com)

Sen. Benjamin Cardin placed on Dirty Money Watch ... WHO: Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check) WHAT: Cardin received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $5,000 in 2006 election cycle. The Boilermakers Union (PAC) $1,000 in 2008 election cycle; $2,000 in 2006 election cycle. The American Federation of Government Employees $10,000 in 2006 election cycle. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (PAC) $5,000 in 2008 election cycle; $8,500 in 2006 election cycle. The Service Employees International Union (PAC) $5,000 in 2006 election cycle. United Steelworkers of America (PAC) $5,000 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 Communication Workers of America and the American Federation of Government Employees have had at least 8 members convicted, The Service Employees International Union has had at least nine convictions, 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. WILL CARDIN GIVE IT BACK: Sen. Cardin responded to The Examiner as follows: "I am proud to have the support of working men and women who are union members. While I am saddened by the individual actions cited, I am confident that these isolated incidents are not a reflection of national unions or unions in Maryland." THE SCORE: Number of Democrats who have given it back: 0. Number of Republicans who have given it back: 0 (sfexaminer.com)

Court smacks down Teamsters, FedEx workers remain free ... A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that a unit of FedEx Corp. didn't break federal labor laws when it refused to negotiate with a union that was bargaining on behalf of some of its workers who want to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. The vote overturned an earlier ruling by the National Labor Relations board regarding the Massachusetts based workers of FedEx Ground Package System Inc. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters had filed petitions to the board in 2006 alleging the company's failure to bargain. The company maintains its belief that these workers, because they are allowed to own multiple routes, should be classified as independent contractors. But as contractors, the workers don't get benefits, are responsible for their own equipment and are precluded from directly organizing under federal labor laws. FedEx has about 13,000 of these employees nationwide. (latimes.com)

SEIU caregivers continue strike v. oppressive Red Cross ... Red Cross home care workers are on strike. The 50 local members of the Service Employees International Union, which provide home care for hundreds of people in Renfrew County, held a one day picket Monday to draw attention to their failing contract negotiations with the provincial government. The strike will rotate across the province, with workers in cities and towns across the province striking for one day. (myfmradio.ca)

Related video: SEIU Local 1 cures laryngitis

Jumbo union ousts pro-SEIU big Bruce Raynor ... Today, the General Executive Board of UNITE HERE met in Chicago and voted to suspend the General President, Bruce Raynor. The suspension comes as a result of President Raynor's attempts to divide the Union as well as promote SEIU as a competing labor organization within UNITE HERE's jurisdiction. The vote margin was 32 in favor of suspension, 0 against, with 3 abstentions. The UNITE HERE General Executive Board, which is the Union's highest governing authority between conventions, voted to take harsh action against its General President because of his actions violating the Union's Constitution. Actions have included trying to remove the International Union from control of the Amalgamated Bank, the Union's pension and benefits funds, and the Union's building in New York City, as well as fostering the illegal secession of joint boards from the Union. The General Executive Board took two actions against President Raynor. First, the Board named Executive Vice-President Henry Tamarin of Chicago as the hearing officer for extensive charges filed against Raynor. The hearing officer will make recommendations which could lead to penalties up to and including permanent expulsion. Second, the Board voted to suspend Raynor for up to 90 days while the charges are being processed, as provided by the UNITE HERE Constitution. The Board also delegated to John Wilhelm, the Union's Co-President, the authority to decide when the suspension will begin, depending on Raynor's degree of cooperation within the next several days on transitional administrative matters. In other action taken by the General Executive Board, Pittsburgh Local 57 and Baltimore Local 7 were both affirmed in their membership decisions to remain in UNITE HERE, Bruce Raynor was replaced by John Wilhelm as UNITE HERE's representative on the Change to Win Leadership Council, and trusteeship hearings were voted for failure to represent at Local 431 Albany and vote fraud at Local 274 Philadelphia. (businesswire.com)

Chicago workers attacked by oppressive employer ... Workers at Commercial Forged Products (CFP) have had enough. After signing a new contract last year, 60 members of USWA Local 2154 have endured a constant stream of attacks and African American and Latino workers have been targets of racist harassment. They are mounting a fight back for workplace dignity and equality. Chicago Jobs with Justice and other labor, community and religious activists joined the workers on a spirited picket line in front of the company recently while jets from nearby Midway airport thundered overhead. “I’ve been here for 14-1/2 years, said Charles Gilyard, Local 2154 president. “The last three years the company has decided to attack the workers on civil rights. They have no concern for individual rights.” The workers went on strike when the company sought contract language to limit the local union’s president leave to one term in office, whether re-elected or not. (pww.org)

Don't blame IBEW bigs ... We, the members of the bargaining committee of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 1060, wish to respond to the April 16 Sheboygan Press editorial, regarding Sen. Joe Leibham's statement. We understand he requested clarification on April 17, expressing that he places fault with the union and management for failure to work out differences and sees this inability to reach agreement as the primary reason for Gardner Denver's decision to move jobs from Sheboygan's Thomas plant to Monroe, La. (sheboyganpress.com)

UFCW takes dues hit in Maine ... Wolverine World Wide, Incorporated's pigskin plant in the heart of Rockford closed down Saturday after 100 years of production. A skeleton crew of 16 finished their final shift in the tannery and filed out Door 1 at noon. Dave Avery described the atmosphere in the plant as "somber, just quiet," as he carried a bag full of belongings out of the plant with hands blackened from the morning's work. He has 28 years with Wolverine and no job lined up. He's also in danger of losing his home. "I expected to work another 20 years," said Avery. "But January came and they said they were shutting down this year. It blindsided us." Harvey White, vice president of the union, UFCW Local 600-A, watched from across the street with a small group of onlookers. He put in 33 years at the tannery and worked his final day on March 17. White is part of a union committee working on negotiations with the company involving severance pay for tannery employees. (rockfordindependent.com)

Corrupt Labor Secretary still backs Job-Killer Act ... Solis was on the Hill today in one of her first appearances since a prolonged confirmation process. During her confirmation hearing, Solis declined to provide an opinion on the so-called card check issue, frustrating Republicans who largely oppose the measure. The legislation would make it easier for unions to organize and is staunchly opposed by the business community. Solis’ support for an earlier version of the bill as a congresswoman fueled scrutiny of her nomination as Labor secretary. She served on the board of a main advocacy organization. Solis said today the details will be for Congress to decide. “The president and I are on record in support of this legislation -- I as a former member of Congress, he as a former senator. But he continues, as I do, to believe that this is a good bill and we would hope to see it passed,” Solis said on the show. (lasvegassun.com)

International Collectivism

Meet the new Oprah ... Want to promote your book? Forget Oprah. Call Hugo Chávez. Thanks to the flamboyant Venezuelan president, Uruguayan political writer Eduardo Galeano's 1971 'The Open Veins of Latin America' shot to No. 2 on Amazon's bestseller list 24 hours after Chavez gave a copy to President Barack Obama. Chávez, who once compared George W. Bush to the devil, added a tender note: "To Obama, with affection." According to one review, Galeano's tome "analyzes the history of Latin America as a whole, from the time period of the European discovery of the New World to contemporary Latin America, arguing against European and later U.S. economic exploitation and political dominance over the region." Galeano wasn't the first to benefit from Chávez's golden touch. In September 2006, he flourished a copy of Noam Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival during an anti-American speech to the United Nations, transporting the trenchant analysis of U.S. foreign policy to Amazon's No. 2 position and sparking a 25,000-copy reprint from the publisher. (thestar.com)

Workers' paradise plagued by brain-drain ... Peru Tuesday said Venezuelan opposition leader Manuel Rosales was in Lima, a day after his allies said he would seek asylum abroad to avoid corruption charges by the government of President Hugo Chávez. Authorities say Rosales, the most visible face of a fractured opposition, could not explain some $60,000 of income while he was governor of the oil-rich state of Zulia. He says the charges are politically motivated. He is expected to request asylum in Peru, which will add him to a long list of Chávez adversaries living out of the country: * Pedro Carmona -- An anti-Chávez business leader who served as de facto president during a bungled 2002 coup, Carmona faced charges of civil rebellion but fled house arrest and was given political asylum in Colombia. * Carlos Ortega -- Former head of Venezuela's top union, Ortega led repeated efforts to force Chávez from office through national strikes, including one in late 2002 that nearly shuttered the OPEC nation's oil production. He was granted exile in Costa Rica but returned to Venezuela to work clandestinely against the government. He was captured and jailed on rebellion charges but later escaped and was granted asylum in Peru. * Carlos Fernandez -- Successor to Carmona as head of the country's leading organization of businesses, Fernandez led merchants and industry leaders in the 2002-2003 national strike that failed to force out the leftist Chávez. He was charged with civil rebellion but later left the country to receive medical treatment in the United States, where he applied for political asylum on the grounds he was being persecuted by the Chávez government. * Eduardo Lapi -- An opposition governor from the state of Yaracuy, Lapi escaped from prison in 2007 after being convicted on corruption charges. He was granted political asylum in Peru and even attempted to run for governor in last year's regional elections while in exile. * Protesting Officers -- In late 2002 dozens of active military officers staged a protest in an opposition stronghold of Caracas demanding Chávez's resignation. Numerous officers of varying ranks later requested asylum from countries such as El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and the United States after the government accused them of violating military protocol and fomenting rebellion. * Oil Executives -- A group of executives from state oil company PDVSA led workers in walking off the job in the 2002-2003 strike. The government later filed criminal charges against several of the group's top leaders, who chose to move overseas rather than face trial. (reuters.com)

Communist revolution stalls in Moldova ... Vladimir Voronin's party is Communist only by name, while the president's son became the richest man in the country, a fact that "is not an attribute of the true Communists", said officials of the ex-Soviet Space Communists’ Party, accusing the leaders in Chisinau of duplicity. In a review of several analysis published by Russian newspapers and positions adopted by Communist leaders, Unimedia.md concludes that the authority of the Moldovan Communist Party decreased and that the Opposition, despite failing to put up a "revolution" may raise serious problems for the Communists' fresh mandate. (english.hotnews.ro)
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