Friday wrap

Divisive, secretive Administration throws rank-and-file union members under the bus ... President Obama, who campaigned on a promise of greater disclosure and transparency, has taken a step in the opposite direction. Under his administration, the Department of Labor has announced it will delay and review implementing a requirement from the Bush Administration that union managers and employees fully disclose how union dues are managed. This foot-dragging by the Obama Administration — which could lead to a gutting of key disclosure regulations affecting labor unions — is the second misstep by the new president in the area of labor. The first was his embracing the controversial and blatantly misnamed Employee Free Choice Act. As we have editorialized, this act would strip union members of their right to a secret ballot. The great irony is that, in both cases, Obama and his labor supporters would argue that these policies protect union workers. In fact, they work against the rights of union members by extending preferential treatment to labor unions' managers, top-level officials and staff employees. It would be best for union members if (1) the pending Employee Free Choice Act remains stalled in Congress (and ultimately dies) and (2) Obama stops using the Department of Labor to coddle union bosses by keeping their work secret. (columbian.com)

Rust Never Sleeps ... The apparent demise of a bill intended to make it easier for unions to form has left nearly all sides bloodied from battle. Two esteemed senators caved into pressure and reversed prior support. Business groups that for years had no trouble with inane rulings by a packed National Labor Relations Board (that just happened to invariably favor their positions) were suddenly defending secret union elections as a central tenet of democracy. And a blatant attempt by union groups to grab power and swell their ranks was exposed for being just that. That's one win for those against the new labor law, a loss for those for it and a huge drop in credibility for all involved. Now that the Employee Free Choice Act is essentially dead, it's tempting to point out that a win-at-all-costs mentality drove and undermined the debate. Except there's one problem: The fight may not really be over. (mcknights.com)

Pro-Union Gangsta President exposed ... Give President Barack Obama credit — he at least made the proverbial offer Chrysler’s secured creditors couldn’t refuse. The way Obama strong-armed creditors who rightfully expected to be treated justly under the law was right out of Juan Peron’s playbook. Like the Argentinian strong man, Obama muscled the owners and creditors out of a productive private company and gave it to union leaders, who will then fill his campaign coffers in gratitude for his generosity. The Examiner’s Michael Barone — who has forgotten more about American government and politics than most Washington, D.C., political experts know — was correct to dub Obama’s Chrysler heist “an episode of Gangster Government.” Forget what anybody in the White House or what is left of the Chrysler executive corps claims to the contrary because the UAW effectively owns the company now, holding 55 percent of its stock. True, the union doesn’t get an explicit controlling majority of the board of directors, but who needs that when you’ve got the White House guaranteeing your work and the U.S. Treasury Department making sure you never have to worry about the bottom line. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger’s place in Big Labor’s Hall of Fame is now secure. He found a sugar daddy with an endless supply of cash. So UAW members and retirees can keep right on drawing those pay and benefits so excessively generous they made it impossible for the old Chrysler to compete with Toyota and Honda. (sfexaminer.com)

Union-backed, tax-funded fraud group returns to the news ... Seven Pittsburgh-area ACORN workers were charged with falsifying voter registration forms, with six accused of doing so to meet the group's alleged quota system before last year's general election. District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said he's hoping the workers charged Thursday will help authorities determine whether Allegheny County ACORN officials will be charged with requiring the illegal quotas or otherwise directing that voter registrations be faked. "You should consider the investigation as ongoing," Zappala said. Six suspects forged a total of 51 cards, a felony that carries up to seven years in prison. The same six also were charged with illegally accepting payments to meet a quota of 20 registrations per day — a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. The one defendant not charged with either of those crimes told police he filled out at least 100 voter registration cards in his own name, even though he was already registered and knew it was illegal. He's charged with misdemeanor counts of obstructing and interfering with the elections process, as are several of the others. Zappala said investigators targeted 100 local ACORN canvassers after county elections officials started noticing dozens of possibly forged registration forms in August. ACORN registered 38,000 new voters in southwestern Pennsylvania, including about 33,600 in the county last year, Zappala said. (washingtonexaminer.com)

AFL-CIO law enforcement unit treasurer embezzled dues, awaits wrist-slap ... Karen S. Calhoun, 42, Clayton, who resigned about 10 months ago as a county emergency dispatcher, surrendered Tuesday afternoon to a Jefferson County sheriff's detective to face a 119-count sealed indictment charging her with embezzling more than $15,000 from her former labor union. She was arraigned Wednesday morning in Jefferson County Court and was released without bail by County Judge Kim H. Martusewicz. She asked for representation by the public defender's office and was given an adjournment. Her indictment, opened at the arraignment, contains single counts of third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and 39 counts each of second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree falsifying business records. The investigation that prompted her resignation July 6 focused on allegations that she had stolen funds from the Jefferson County Sheriffs Employees Local 3089, AFL-CIO, while she was the unit's treasurer. (watertowndailytimes.com)

Union election fraudster was also a dues-embezzler ... A Gary woman and five other former Teamsters employees and officers have been convicted of rigging a 2004 union election. Before a jury convicted three of her codefendants Friday in Chicago federal court, Cassandra Mosley, 52, of Gary, agreed to plead guilty to embezzlement and conspiracy to commit theft and fraud. Mosley, the former Teamsters business agent, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. Mosley and the five others were involved in a scheme to steal ballots and rig two union elections for incumbent officers of Teamsters Local 743. After two days of deliberations capping a four-week trial, a federal jury convicted Richard Lopez, 55, of Maywood, Thaddeus Bania, 54, of Forest Park, and David Rodriguez, 36, of Chicago, in the scheme Friday. Former Local 743 President Robert Walston, 65, of Chicago, and Mark Jones, 49, of Joliet, both reached plea agreements before the trial. The men testified at the trial. Mosley did not testify, said Randall Samborn, spokesman for the Chicago-based U.S. attorney's office. (nwitimes.com)

Barney Frank rallies to the defense of union-backed fraud group ... Rep. Michele Bachmann went head to head with Finance Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., on the House floor today – and lost -- over a portion of a home mortgage bill that would withhold federal funding from organizations or individuals that have been indicted for voter fraud. Bachmann had successfully added the language on a voice vote during markup last week of the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, which the House will vote on today. Soon after, however, Frank admitted that he had made a mistake in allowing it to pass. His amendment would change the language to prohibit funding from organizations that have been convicted of voter fraud, or continue to employ individuals convicted of voter fraud. A short time ago, the House approved Frank’s amendment on a largely party-line vote 245 to 176. In a statement released after the vote, Bachmann said that she was “disappointed,” adding, "This is a shameful abdication of our fiduciary duties.” Earlier in the day during his floor debate with Bachmann, Frank said he wanted to uphold “an important principle of American law. That indictment should not be the cause of serious penalty, that people should be continued to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.” (minnpost.com)

Obama-ACORN: 24/7 ... It's all ACORN -- all the time. Much has been happening in the wacky world of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now in recent days. Longtime ACORN ally Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) backed out of the congressional probe of the group he promised. The Washington Examiner's Kevin Mooney has the story and quotes me in it. Mooney is slated to be on the "Glenn Beck Program" to talk about ACORN at 5 p.m. Eastern today. I have a longer piece on the same topic right here at the American Spectator. GOP lawyer Heather Heidelbaugh testified in Congress about ACORN's many misdeeds and Conyers said at the time the allegations were "a pretty serious matter." Heidelbaugh testified the nonprofit group violated a host of tax, campaign finance, and other laws. She said the presidential campaign of Barack Obama sent ACORN its "maxed out donor list" and asked two of the avowedly nonpartisan group's employees "to reach out to the maxed out donors and solicit donations from them for Get Out the Vote efforts to be run by ACORN." (spectator.org)

Anti-capitalist Obamunists scored ... The Obama administration is populated for the most part by community organizers, academics, economists, and financiers. I doubt whether 1 in 100 has shared McGovern's experience of running a small business into which they have risked their life savings. So here's my idea: We amend the US Constitution's provisions on the qualifications required of a President, Vice President, Senator, and Representative to mandate that they have started a small business into which at least 75% of their net worth was invested and have operated said business for no less than three years in order to be eligible for office. Then they too might be alarmed by government taking control of the basic management decisions that determine business success or failure. (professorbainbridge.com)

MM: Selective transparency plagues Obama Administration ... Sunlight is for suckers. The New York Post reported on Tuesday that the White House will not release the $328,835 snapshots taken of the president's Boeing VC-25A that buzzed Manhattan. The entire world has seen news and amateur photos and videos of the incident, but if President Barack Obama has his way, taxpayers won't be able to see the flyover photos they paid for. This will make for an interesting response to my Freedom of Information Act requests. After the bizarre mission caused distress and panic among countless New York City residents who were intentionally left in the dark about the photo-op stunt, I filed public records requests with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff FOIA Requester Service Center. Obama broke his transparency pledge with the first bill he signed into law. On Jan. 29, the White House announced that the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act had been posted online for review. One problem: Obama had already signed it, in violation of his "sunlight before signing" pledge to post legislation for public comment for five days before sealing any deal. Jim Harper of the Cato Institute reported in April: "Of the eleven bills President Obama has signed, only six have been posted on Whitehouse.gov. None have been posted for a full five days after presentment from Congress ..." It's this utter disregard for taxpayer accountability that prompted hundreds of thousands of citizens to join in Tea Party protests, many of them holding signs that read "No legislation without deliberation" and "Read the Bill First." (modbee.com)

Fred Ross: Why I turned against Andy Stern and SEIU ... For the past ten years I have worked for SEIU, most recently leading a campaign to organize 9,000 healthcare workers at St. Joseph Health System (SJHS) hospitals across California. I was drawn to SEIU because of its commitment to social justice, including its inspiring Justice for Janitors campaign, its successful work on behalf of homecare workers, its leadership on immigrant rights, and its innovative strategies to hold corporations accountable. I have been an organizer since 1970, when I first started organizing with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers (UFW). I know a little bit about struggle and the terrible cost of internal union conflicts. I’ve been shot at by a supermarket security guard, knocked unconscious by a Coachella Valley grape grower, and survived a heated confrontation with the Salvadoran military. This is why SEIU’s recent attacks on UNITE HERE have come as such a shock. I am deeply disappointed that SEIU president Andy Stern is financing and helping staff a disruptive attack on the leaders and members at UNITE HERE around the country — the worst instance of a union undermining another union since the Teamsters sought to undermine Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in the late 1960s and 1970s. Last month I decided to leave SEIU, in part because of these attacks. (beyondchron.org)

Dem Solon Nelson: "Card Check" deal is a "fool's errand" ... You might think that statement would come from a Republican, but it’s actually from a Democrat. Reports that there might be a deal near on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), or “card check,” as critics and now some proponents call it, appear to be vastly overwritten. Sen Tom Harkin, D-IA, a lead negotiator, is in talks with the Senate’s newest Democrat, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, but there are MANY more pieces to this complicated puzzle, namely a number of other Dems who do not want this. Harkin and Specter have known each other for decades, so it is natural they would work together, but Harkin has a heavy lift to get a deal out of this Senate. Sen Ben Nelson, D-NE, told me he does not see a deal happening this year at all. He sees no way to put a compromise together that’s pallatable. “You take away the arbitration issue, and you still have the ‘card check’, so that doesn’t work. You take away the ‘card check’ and you still have the arbitration problem. And if both go away, you’re left with nothing. It’s a fool’s errand to do this. I just don’t see an agreement happening,” Nelson said. (congress.blogs.foxnews.com)

Congress expected to smack down Supreme Court, protecting union bigs v. workers ... Here’s the background. Night watchmen for a New York office building owned by 14 Penn Plaza worked for Temco Service Industries and belonged to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In 2003, the building owner hired a different security contractor, and Temco reassigned several of its night guards to cleaning and porter positions. The guards found their new jobs paid less and were less desirable; moreover, they were the only Temco employees over the age of 50. They filed a grievance with SEIU, but the union had agreed not only to the hiring of the new contractor but also to the guards’ reassignment, so it did not pursue the grievance. The guards sued, despite the union’s agreement that its members would submit all employment disputes to binding arbitration. Here’s where it gets tricky, especially for HR pros whose workforce is not unionized: SEIU had refused, by rejecting the grievance, to submit the charge to arbitration. So the guards felt they had no option but to sue for violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Says Robert Cleary, a labor and employment specialist in the Southfield office of Michigan law firm Warner Norcross & Judd, “Unions are encumbered by collateral agendas, such as the ‘law of the shop’ and internal union politics,” that get in the way of protecting individual members. Cleary points out further that the only remedies available to the guards from arbitration would have been reinstatement and back pay. “Other remedies available to them in court would include punitive damages and attorney’s fees,” but the union had waived those possibilities in the collective bargaining agreement. Cleary says, “14 Penn Plaza strikes a blow against unions. Employers who want their workforces to remain union free can point to this ruling as an illustration of the disadvantages of unionizing.” Cleary believes that “Congress will find portions of the Penn Plaza ruling offensive,” and that lawmakers may move to overturn the decision. (hr.blr.com)

Union Bullsh*t Watch #6: The AFL-CIO’s Glass House ... Well, AFL-CIO, the federation of comprised of about 50 or so fat-cat union bosses is protesting at Verizon’s annual meeting in Louisville. Among the issues the federation is protesting: The fact that Verizon’s Chairman & CEO has two titles…Chairman and CEO. “We just think that it doesn’t make sense for Ivan Seidenberg or any CEO to have two jobs,” said Rand Wilson with the AFL-CIO. “How can he be his own boss?” We think that’s a great question. Perhaps Mr. Wilson should ask his own union bosses the same question. For example, for years, unions have notoriously had officers who are local officers, as well as officers of the international union, as well as trustees of various pension funds. Although this happens with many different unions, probably the most well known is the Teamsters union. Take a look at the IBT’s $150,000 club (here) and you’ll see what we mean. Now, we don’t begrudge the Teamsters of having multiple salaries (other than the fact that their members are paying for it two and three times over), it’s just that protesting something you’re doing yourself is just a tad hypocritical. However, if double dipping is what bothers the AFL-CIO protestors, perhaps Mr. Wilson and his fellow protestors will take their pickets to the next Teamsters convention? Somehow, we doubt it. (laborunionreport.com)

CWA militants haul out the rat to protest AT&T ... A couple dozen unionized AT&T workers picketed outside a company office in Waldorf on Thursday, demanding a new contract that would maintain their medical insurance, retirement benefits and pay raises. Carrying signs that read, "Honk if you support health benefits," "Taking a stand for justice," and "AT&T=Corporate Greed," workers from AT&T locations in Waldorf and Fairfax, Va., gathered near the busy roadway in front of a large inflatable rat. (gazette.net)

How jumbo, fat-cat teacher unions control labor-state politics ... Powerful teachers unions spent $6.6 million to push their political agenda in Albany last year, according to a Post analysis of new state lobby data. The United Federation of Teachers and its parent, New York State United Teachers, burned a combined $5.3 million in 2008 to bus hundreds of teachers to Albany, pay some 20 lobbyists and run ads bashing Gov. Paterson. The teachers last year also doled out more than $1.3 million to various political candidates, according to a report by the New York Public Interest Research Group. (nypost.com)

Update: Clinton Culture of Corruption ... A disgraced Democratic fundraiser pleaded guilty in Manhattan today to 10 counts of wire and mail fraud. Norman Hsu, 58, was indicted in 2007 on charges of cheating investors out of $20 million in what federal prosecutors claimed was a massive Ponzi scheme and a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act. His trial was scheduled to start on Monday in Manhattan federal court. The feds also claimed Hsu made illegal donations to politicians, including former presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her senate campaign later returned a whopping $850,000 linked to Hsu donors. Federal Election Commission records show Hsu alone donated $260,000 to Democratic Party groups and candidates since 2004. Hsu could face 30 years in prison. Federal prosecutors said Hsu, who has been in jail since he was arrested, also pressured his victims to contribute to political candidates as a way to raise his public profile. (nypost.com)

International Collectivism

Vichy Redux?

Related Posts with Thumbnails