The president called for a jobs summit, but didn't invite the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Small Business Association, the National Federation of Independent Businesses or a host of other private sector associations that could provide jobs.
Was this presidential clarion call one to beef up federal, state and local government employment and promote union membership? Welcome to socialism — where the responsibility for job creation rests with government and our unions, and the manufacturing sector is either irrelevant or in need of further regulation. (Let me suggest a distinction between the cowboy investment (Wall Street) sector, which is an arm of the Treasury Department, and the manufacturing people who actually make products.)
On the other hand the president invited the presidents of the American Federation of Teachers and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the invisible hand of ACORN — Obama's alma mater — not Adam Smith. All were in attendance, along with other labor leaders, liberal economists and environmentalists.
Good morning! It's Friday, 19 degrees outside, and, like you, we're ready for the weekend! So, without further ado, we offer you this week's edition of Labor Shorts #7: Exposing Union Bosses' One Skid Mark at a Time.
• Selling a 2" caterpillar as a 10" python: Three nurses' unions merged to create what union bosses and the media are touting as a "massive" union for RNs. As the rest of the country battles frigid temperatures, the National Nurses Union met in sunny Scottsdale for its founding convention and appointed non-nurse and former Teamster organizer Rose Anne DeMoro as the union's Executive Director. [Note to Nurses: A 150,000 member is rather puny by union standards…but, hey, if you want to believe it's massive, we won't burst your bubble.]
• Bah! What Constitution? As Democrats in the United States Congress reaches the final stretch in nationalizing health care in the U.S., unions and liberal groups demand the public option, the Heritage Foundation points out a little problem that ObamaCare has: the U.S. Constitution.
• Is America Killing Off Business? Even though 76% of Americans prefer a free-market economy, the Department of Labor has issued a 32-page wish list for 2010. Download Secretary Solis' 32-page wish list here.
• Maids & Babysitters of the World Unite! Imagine, some day, when Buffy-the-Babysitter comes to your door to care for your kids, she could be coming with her union steward in tow. No. It's not a joke.
• And Their Parting Gift Is… In Colorado, as ads for replacement workers are posted, accused nepotist and money mismanager, UFCW boss Ernie Duran, Jr. is leaving office with more than just a gold watch.
• Don't Cross Our Picket Lines…Pleease...? After four months of striking Ontario's drive testing centers, Canadian Steelworkers are begging the public not to cross their picket lines.
• Hoffa's Wall of Protectionism = Unemployment. As Hoffa calls for more protectionism, the ChamberPost points out the flaws in his logic.
• Doomed? The votes are in, roughly 1,000 Chicago Teamsters may have just sealed the fate for 40,000 other workers at failing trucking company, YRC Worldwide. Teamster bosses were 'disappointed.'
• Tired of being pushed around. Pulte Homes' subsidiary, Jones Company filed a lawsuit accusing the Laborer's International Union of North America (LiUNA ) of assault, battery, theft, destruction of property and intimidation. The suit includes an allegation that, at an October 19th company meeting, a LiUNA member, put his finger on a pregnant woman's abdomen and shouted "working here, you are sacrificing the future of your child."
• Dues-Sucker Picket Blood Sucking Event. As a Teamster strike against the Red Cross ends its second week, striking members picketed outside a New Jersey blood drive.
• I Can't Hear You! Teamsters stage a sit in at Spanish radio station in Washington state that is, according to Executive Director Maria Fernandez, an effort to take over non profits and a radio station.
• The Job Killers. A partisan approach to killing jobs is reviewed by commentator Paul Moreno.
• More SEIU Dirty Tactics in Union v. Union Battle? Monsignor John Brenkle says "SEIU has prevented any ground rules from being set, and workers are facing a hostile atmosphere in what should be a place of healing and caring."
Readers, that wraps up our Labor Shorts for this week. For more news & views on today's unions, join the LUR Group on Linkedin.
• Summary of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'
• More Saul Alinsky stories: here
• 'Rules for Radicals' at amazon.com
With unemployment stuck around 10 percent, President Obama has pledged "to take every responsible step to accelerate the pace of job growth." Here's a thought: Instead of trying to "create" jobs by tweaking this tax break or increasing that spending program, why not stop doing things that destroy jobs?
-- Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. Passed in the 1930s to "stabilize" the construction industry (in part by protecting white workers in the North against competition from migrating Southern blacks), this law requires employers to pay the "prevailing" local wage on federally funded projects. Today, Davis-Bacon applies to about a third of all public construction spending.
A large staff at the Labor Department calculates prevailing wages using a formula skewed to reflect union pay rates. This inflates the cost of labor on public construction by an average of about 10 percent, according to a 2008 study by the Beacon Hill Institute of Suffolk University in Boston. The added cost to taxpayers was $8.6 billion in 2007, the study found.
Repealing Davis-Bacon would enhance the employment impact of Obama's proposed infrastructure spending. In fact, the president has the power to suspend the law by declaring a national emergency. If the job crisis doesn't qualify, what does?
-- Reduce the federal minimum wage. In 2007, Congress enacted a three-step increase in the minimum wage, which was then $5.15 per hour. The final installment took effect in July, raising the rate to $7.25 per hour. In the meantime, unemployment climbed from 4.7 percent to 9.5 percent.
Economist David Neumark, co-author of a definitive book on minimum wages, said in a June Wall Street Journal op-ed that the July increase probably killed 300,000 jobs that would have otherwise gone to teenagers and young adults.
We are experiencing the worst unemployment since 1982 (when Congress enacted the sugar program), and the second-worst unemployment since the Great Depression (when we got Davis-Bacon and the federal minimum wage). Yet these outmoded, job-killing policies linger on the books.
Our politicians would get rid of them if they're really serious about putting America back to work.