Saturday wrap

Balls of Steel: Non-union workers picket v. oppressive UFCW organizers ... Bashas' employees who say they're tired of a labor union's dirty tactics have launched a "grassroots effort" to strike back. The group "Save Our Stores" is fighting against the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 99, which has targeted the locally run chain for unionization. We covered the battle and exposed some of the union's tactics in a feature story last year. The new effort by employees made for an unusual sight today in Phoenix as employees of a corporation turned out to picket the offices of a labor union. The group, which sent a letter to New Times this week about its efforts, also put on a protest last month. "You should have seen the look of disbelief on [Local 99 President] Jim McLaughlin's face!" says the letter of the May 1 protest. Employees say they are hoping more employees join the group, which will continue to protest the UFCW. (blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com)

The Pogo President: We have met the enemy ... Our own government has declared us the enemy; never in my life did I believe this could happen in my Country. How did we get to this point? There is no doubt that we are now fighting against a fascist regime that seeks to silence our voice. What shall the history books say of us? What shall we leave to our children and grandchildren as a legacy of this Republic? Now is the time to fight back and I encourage all of you to do so, do not be afraid, our forefathers were not. America is heading towards a tumultuous 2009 and there shall indeed be a Constitutional crisis. I do not care about any “historic moment”. So far this Obama administration has insulted us overseas, called us a “nation of cowards” here at home, and now has declared open war against those who stand in opposition. We have true enemies who seek to destroy our Country; drug cartels, illegal immigrants, radical Islamic ideologues, Muslim terrorists at sea, and rogue Nations such as North Korea. It seems we can now add our own federal government to that list. America, it stops here, join me and do not run away intimidated by Obama, Holder, Napolitano, Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Soros, Moveon.org, and ACORN. (americandailyreview.com)

Job Freeze misunderestimated: Employers respond to Obama's anti-business onslaught ... The unemployment rate jumped to 9.4 percent in May, the highest in more than 25 years. But the furious pace of layoffs eased, with employers cutting 345,000 jobs, the fewest since September. If laid off workers who have given up looking for new jobs or have settled for part time work are included, the unemployment rate would have been 16.4 percent, the highest on records dating to 1994. The Labor Department also says a total of 14.5 million people were unemployed in May. Job cuts were smaller than the 520,000 economists expected, while the unemployment rate was higher than the 9.2 percent forecast. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Union-backed voter fraud: ACORN scapegoats to sing ... Four former Pittsburgh-area ACORN workers will face trial on charges they forged or otherwise illegally solicited voter registration cards before the November election. One worker waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday on charges he forged 30 cards using bogus names or other fake information, allegedly to meet a 20-card per day quota. Voter registration canvassers can be paid an hourly wage in Pennsylvania, but quotas are illegal. A district judge found sufficient evidence to hold three others for trial on charges of fudging a total of eight cards between them. Public defender Alan Skwarla doesn't deny his three clients helped fill out the cards in question, but said there's no proof that they were responsible for the forged portions. "Anything could have happened at any point of the process, from beginning to end," Skwarla said. "All three are looking forward to vindicating themselves at trial." (google.com)

Undoing free markets: How Alinskyites created a wave of Angercrats ... Schumpeter once commented that Capitalism would not exist in the future. Socialism would replace it. Capitalism would destroy itself; its own success would cause its failure. This is a rather odd statement for one who believed strongly in Capitalism, and fought to uphold its principles. But in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Schumpeter made some very good points. He used the words “supernormal ability and ambition” to describe people capable of moving up in the business world. Without capitalism, they could never advance; only the ruling class gets to decide who succeeds. The capitalistic society does not assure happiness along with being better off. “Talents necessary for economic success don’t translate well into other realms of life.” - Don’t we all know people who shine in their arena of success, but in other ventures in life they haven’t a clue at how to manage themselves. Through the rising up of big business, the small producers suffer. Alienation within the business community. Unhappiness. Sad people. Those out of the system. Those who don’t participate. That’s what Saul Alinsky was betting on. A lot of angry people that he could “organize” into one group. As individuals, he told them they had no power. But as an organized group they could take away the power from the “haves” so that the “have-nots” would be powerful. Community organization of the deprived; that was who Saul Alinsky targeted. Take it away from those who have it. Redistribution. (therightperspective.org)

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

Biden Rx: Accelerate anti-business medicine ... Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Friday the White House plans to ramp up the pace of its economic recovery efforts as the government reported the unemployment rate jumped to its highest level in more than a quarter century. Addressing reporters, Mr. Biden said the latest jobs report reflects how millions of Americans are still hurting, but he also said there were some signs of hope today. The jobless rate in May shot up from 8.9 percent to 9.4 percent and 345,000 more jobs were slashed from company payrolls. (washingtontimes.com)

Dem Pelosi refuses to drain Murtha's swamp ... But Pelosi took two giant steps back this week, too. The FBI investigation of allegations surrounding the PMA Group is clearly heating up, as evidenced by subpoenas issued for documents and other evidence in the official and campaign offices of Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-In. He and Representatives John Murtha, D-Pa., and Jim Moran, D-Va., are at the center of allegations about PMA Group, a lobbying firm started by Paul Magliochetti, a former aide on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on defense. Murtha, Moran and Visclosky have in recent years sponsored legions of earmarks worth hundreds of millions of dollars that went to firms represented by PMA Group, or others close to the three members. The congressmen in turn received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from executives with the firms getting the earmarks. It appears to be a Chicago-style “pay to play” network that trades earmarks for campaign dough that could potentially involve at least 100 congressmen. Murtha’s support was crucial to Pelosi’s election as Speaker, and she has since sought to blunt official probes of the PMA Group’s multiple and profitable relationships with congressmen, particularly Murtha. Rep. Jeff Flake’s resolution directing the House Ethics Committee to investigate the PMA Group has been defeated multiple times, but it has drawn a few more Democrat votes on every balloting. Pelosi is gravely mistaken if she thinks transparency on office accounts will quiet demands for transparency on pay-to-play earmarks. (sfexaminer.com)

DOJ: No comment on mushrooming Richardson corruption probe ... U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder came to Albuquerque Friday to discuss anti-drug efforts on the border but declined to talk about federal investigations of Gov. Bill Richardson's administration. One of those "pay-to-play" probes is looking into the allegations that New Mexico awarded a lucrative state contract to a California financial services company in exchange for contributing $100,000 to Richardson political committees. "I don't comment on either the existence or non-existence of investigations," Holder said. "When we have something that we are publicly ready to say we will say it." Richardson has denied any wrongdoing. (krqe.com)

Sign on-line "Stop ACORN" petition to Speaker Pelosi here ... "Speaker Pelosi, I think that Congress has a duty to the taxpayers to keep our hard-earned money out of the hands of those who play fast and loose with the law. I urge you to bring Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s Taxpayer Protection and Anti-Fraud Act to the floor and to support its passage. I want to know if you are on the taxpayer’s side … or ACORN’s." Background: Since 1994, ACORN has received more than $53 million in direct federal funding. And, over the years, ACORN and its employees have also been the subject of investigations, indictments, and consent decrees in states all across the nation for election-related activities that run afoul of the law. This isn’t a political witch hunt, as many Democrats claim. The prosecutors who have brought the charges against ACORN and its employees are both Republican and Democrat. They’re doing their jobs, enforcing the law and protecting the integrity of the voting process. Yet even as fresh charges were being filed against ACORN and its employees in Nevada and Pennsylvania, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives worked to protect the stream of tax dollars to this organization. They stripped down language that I had put in a mortgage reform bill (HR 1728) – language that would have ensured that Congress sets a high bar for who has access to your tax dollars. Congress and the Administration have been on a spending spree with your money, racking up trillion dollar deficits for years down the road. If Congress can’t draw the line here – if they can’t say that an organization repeatedly charged with violating the law and public trust should not have access to federal funds – where will they draw the line? I urge you to sign this petition and join me in the fight to protect your tax dollars from being used and abused. -- Rep. Michele Bachmann (ipetitions.com)

GovMo in the making: How the UAW rolled GM management ... Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Ingrassia is putting forward a very specific theory about where General Motors lost its way in his new column. The company born in Flint in 1908, went off track in Flint as well, Ingrassia writes, by the cowardly way it handled the 1998 strike at two Flint plants that made components critical to every GM assembly plant in the country. "The union was defending production quotas that workers could fill in five or six hours, after which they would get overtime pay or just, you know, go home," Ingrassia writes. "Most strikes are forbidden during the life of a labor contract, so to provide legal cover the union started filing grievances. GM lawyers contended the walkouts violated the contract anyway and drafted a lawsuit -- the first by the company against the UAW in more than 60 years. But GM's labor-relations department freaked out because the lawsuit would antagonize the union... "Just think about that. The union had shut down virtually all of GM, costing the company and its shareholders billions of dollars, and yet the company's labor negotiators were afraid of giving offense. After heated internal arguments, the suit was filed and GM seemed on the verge of winning. But the company settled just before the judge ruled. UAW members marched victoriously through downtown Flint. GM executives who advocated a tougher stand got pushed out of the company." (blog.mlive.com)

Flint: Typical labor-state strike, day 2 ... Friday was day two of a strike stalling construction projects in downtown Flint, and potentially, all the way to Lapeer. Two separate unions are involved. Friday also brought a better understanding of what one of the issues is for one of those unions. It's all about certain contract language and money, a "significant" wage increase wanted by workers of Plumbers, Pipe Fitters and Service Trades Local 370. That's according to the group they're striking against. For Laborers Local 1075, that's not so clear past the fact they don't have a contract. Whatever the reason is, workers were not working Friday. Instead, they were walking the picket line at contractor properties and job sites. (abclocal.go.com)

No cookies for Stella Doro strikers ... Today, Marrero is 49 and on strike. He led a pack of Stella D’oro workers, union teachers, community members and socialist agitators up Broadway on Saturday, May 30 to the landmark factory. “No contract, no cookies!” Marrero went on strike nine months ago, when factory owner Brynwood Partners proposed a wage and benefits cut; 135 workers now picket outside Stella D’oro. Brynwood bought the factory in 2006 and boosted business, then shot itself in the foot, Marrero said. Temporary workers operate the factory today. “Years ago, we sold the bakery waste to a pig farm,” Marrero said. “The cookies that Stella D’oro has now I wouldn’t feed to a pig.” At first, the Stella D’oro workers picketed in relative obscurity. But a boycott is underway. A number of powerful unions – NYSUT, PSC and SEIU – have decided to champion the strike. PSC president Barbara Bowen called Brynwood a “vulture capitalist.” (yournabe.com)

A window into labor politics: Union bigs slug it out in labor-state ... James Bodrato says he is not out of the running in the battle for the IBEW Local 363’s top post. A union judge may have ruled him off the ballot against Business Manager John Maraia, but Bodrato said he appealed the decision and it awaits a decision by the IBEW District Three. If he loses the appeal, Bodrato said he can appeal to the Department of Labor. Bodrato said that 12 of the 15 elected spots on the union ballot have defected from the Maraia camp and have come over to his “Team 363.” “At the end of the day, it’s going to be a bullet vote against Maraia; they are going to vote all Team 363 in and they are going to be able to measure Team 363,” he said. “If I am off the ballot, it’s going to bullet vote. If I am on the ballot, it’s going to be an election, me against him.” In his handwritten complaint to the IBEW election judge, Maraia charged that Bodrato, as executive director of the Construction Contractors Association, represented 13 contractors that are members of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), and as such, he is an agent of those NECA contractors. But, Bodrato said Friday that he was never paid, nor was he an agent, for NECA. Bodrato also said 10-year union president Timothy Riley has also been challenged by Maraia, who he said is trying to knock him off the ballot as well. Union elections are scheduled for late June, but until then, Bodrato said he is continuing to hold rallies and has raised some $20,000 in contributions from union members who support him and his team. (midhudsonnews.com)

Jumbo labor-state unions embarrass, shame gay mayor ... Vice President Joseph Biden and several top members of the Obama administration on Friday canceled plans to visit Providence to attend next weekend’s annual U.S. Conference of Mayors to avoid crossing a labor union picket line by the city’s firefighters union. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement that The International Association of Fire Fighters had asked –– and the administration agreed –– to “respect the picket” planned by Providence Fire Fighters Local 799. While the administration is “taking no position” in the dispute, the statement read, it has “always respected picket lines and Administration officials will not cross this one.” The Obama administration’s cancellation is a huge blow to Mayor David N. Cicilline, who as a member of the conference’s advisory board had lobbied to bring the conference to Providence for the first time and was eager to show off his city before a national audience. It comes just a week before about 1,200 people from around the country, including 180 mayors and their families, are to arrive in downtown to share ideas with government experts and industry leaders and hobnob with politicians. Among the Obama administration guests who will not be attending now are Attorney General Eric Holder and several cabinet members. (projo.com)

AFSCME gov't-union operatives set P2P, key political attack in Virginia ... Organized labor is attempting to capitalize on Virginia's shifting political landscape by investing as never before in the race for governor, a gamble union leaders are hoping will bring them leverage in a state that has long resisted their influence. Union officials hope recent elections have brought lasting change and will produce a more labor-friendly administration in Richmond. But as they have become more bold, Democrats have been forced to balance that against their own effort to hold onto the centrist, business-minded voters who helped create their electoral majority. Organized labor's largest investment has been made to start an early assault on the Republican nominee, Robert F. McDonnell. Unions have injected $1.15 million into the Democratic Governors Association, which has financed an ad campaign designed to define McDonnell as an enemy of working people, even before Democrats have chosen a candidate. Most of the direct contributions have gone to Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee whose long-standing ties to national unions appear to be paying off. McAuliffe has collected $733,000 from unions, including an unprecedented $600,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He has also racked up a half-dozen labor endorsements. (washingtonpost.com)

IAMAW defense workers vote to strike ... The union representing some 775 employees of CSC Applied Technologies LLC and three sub-contractors at Vance Air Force Base voted overwhelmingly Friday night to strike. The union’s three-year contract with CSC and its sub-contractors, PRI/DJI, DenMar Services and M1 Support Services, expires at midnight Sunday. That means union members will begin picketing at 12:01 a.m. Monday near Vance, if an agreement can’t be reached over the weekend. Members of Inter-national Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 898 cast two separate votes Friday. The first was to accept or reject the company’s final contract offer. That vote was 666 to decline the contract, and 28 to accept, a 96 percent rejection of CSC’s “last, best and final offer.” (enidnews.com)

International Collectivism

Ecuador Progressive tilts to Chávez, stiffs Obama ... Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa announced on Friday that Quito will join the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), an initiative boosted by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Correa confirmed Ecuador entry into the regional trade bloc, according to a communiqué from the press office of the presidency, as quoted by AP. The announcement was made days after Chávez had said the Ecuadorian head of State told him that Quito would join ALBA on June 24, when the member countries of the bloc will meet in Carabobo state, Venezuela. Correa defended joining the regional group, where "there are large benefits," according to the press release. (english.eluniversal.com)
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