12/9/08

Tuesday wrap

Lights, Cameras, Teamster Thug Action ... Teamsters Local 25 has sought to shed its shady film industry past, but the union still allows career felons - including a killer, bank robbers and repeat drunken drivers - to rake in up to $3,000 a week on taxpayer-subsidized movie sets without going through basic criminal background checks. A Herald probe matched criminal records to the names of nearly a dozen Teamsters who drove stars and crew on the set-in-Boston Bruce Willis flick “The Surrogates” this summer, among them an armored car thief, a murderer-turned-accused rapist and various thugs, including a Hells Angel identified by law enforcement sources. (bostonherald.com)


Wrist-slap for wayward union-backed pol ... A judge in Alexandria on Monday sentenced disgraced New York Rep. Vito Fossella to five days in jail for drunken driving. The May 1 arrest of the Republican from Staten Island led to revelations that he had fathered a child in an extramarital affair. In October, he was convicted of drunken driving. Fossella was ordered to report to jail Dec. 19, but his lawyers said they planned to appeal the sentence, which could delay its start date. (dcexaminer.com)


Teachers Union intimidation cited ... Day says the HEA sent a letter from its lawyer to the Howell school district’s attorney threatening litigation if Day did not stop “monitoring” and “publishing” union information. Day defends that her first amendment and freedom of speech rights are being attacked and has since filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union. Day is not only asking the HEA to cease and desist what she called “intimidation” but is also requesting a public apology from HEA leadership. Day tells WHMI she’s disappointed and hopes the rank and file of good teachers in Howell will stand up to union leadership and say its not the way they want time and union dues spent. She says the focus should be on student achievement, teacher improvement and putting kids first since that is the union's mantra. Union officials say Day is misrepresenting the situation and that her blog and its commentary are that of a publicly elected official and not a private citizen, a notion Day disputes. A link to Day’s blog and the e-mail in question may be found by Clicking Here. (whmi.com)


Teamsters subdue InBev/Bud ... But in the meantime, there will be lots of empty chairs. Monday's announced cuts are in addition to the retirement of roughly 1,000 A-B employees this year under a $1 billion cost-cutting plan announced this summer. Busch Entertainment and the company's packaging division were left untouched in this round of layoffs. Members of the Teamsters union were also protected from the cuts. (stltoday.com)


Gov't-union needed ... Burlington's top school official says a school bus driver charged with drunken driving will be fired. Region 10 Superintendent of Schools Alan Beitman says the driver, Paula Thibault, 40, will receive a letter of termination from the Sikorski Bus Co. "in the coming days." School officials say none of the 15 students at Lake Garda Elementary School were injured when Thibault's bus struck a utility pole Friday. The driver dropped the students off at home after the collision, school officials said. (courant.com)


'Unconscionable' gov't-union thuggery smacked down ... Kudos to the Ontario Court of Appeal for upholding a lower court ruling that unions cannot ask courts to enforce fines a union may impose on its members who cross a picket line. The issue revolved around two members of the Union of Taxation Employees, Local 70030, who crossed the picket line to work three days during a 2004 strike at the Canada Revenue Agency. The union tried to fine the two three days' gross wages, and the man and woman refused to cough up the cash. Canadians have the freedom to organize a union in their workplace, and they most certainly have the freedom to cross a picket line, if they so wish. According to the Canadian Press, the court's decision stated that a fine is "unconscionable" when one party, such as a union, has an unfair advantage over a member by virtue of its constitution. (chathamdailynews.ca)


Auto-maker eyes worker-choice state ... A startup company that plans to manufacture a car specifically for police use is considering South Carolina among other states for its planned factory and headquarters, its chief executive said Monday. William Santana Li, who is also chairman of Atlanta-based Carbon Motors Corp., wouldn't say whether his firm had secured the financing it needs to begin manufacturing its vehicle, the E7, by 2012. "We're a privately held company, and we don't discuss financials in public," Li said. (greenvilleonline.com)


Prez Bam's blank-check collectivism ... Obama offered no price estimate for the grand plan, how the money might be divided or the effect on the country’s financial health; this is Obama with more rhetoric. The president-elect’s address never once used the word “spend,” relying instead on “invest” or “investments,” and pledging wise stewardship of taxpayer money in upgrading roads and schools, and making public buildings more energy-efficient. “We won’t just throw money at the problem,” Obama said. “We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve ? by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.” The fact is Obama is suggesting Federal control over local schools, which means socialization of an already poorly run system with too much union and government influence and not enough performance accountability. Barack Obama is digging out dinosaurs of failed public policy only to offer more taxes, more government involvement, more regulation, less accountability, no goal setting with a measure for success. Obama says he “won’t just throw money at the problem” but in economics we call his plan “throwing more good money after bad.” Businesses invest, government taxes and spends. That’s lack of leadership. Indeed! (agoravox.com)


Andy Stern: It's showtime ... Stern's plans call into question whether the union agenda really is the same as the national agenda and whether a swaggering special interest group really deserves the right to remake society on its own terms. Card check and nationalized health care are bound to do exactly what Stern says they will — turn America into the uncompetitive place Europe has become where purchasing power is falling. Should $450 million taken from the pockets of SEIU's janitors and maids and other union members, many of whom are not even citizens, really be worth that much political return? Should U.S. foreign policy be held hostage to a union that will use even national security as a bargaining chip? Something out there suggests the union agenda is a thin reed on which to base a presidential legacy. If labor trashes the economy, it also might not endure a new election. If Obama cares at all about being a good president for everyone, he might need to stand up to union muscle. We hope he does. (investors.com)


Banks to become social welfare agencies ... Meanwhile, it was announced Dec. 8 that a move is underway to stop the city of Chicago from doing any business with the Bank of America. 15 aldermen are introducing an ordinance to require the city to cease all business connections with the bank. “It is outrageous for the bank to cut off credit, a company’s livelihood, after receiving billions in taxpayer money,” said Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward). “It’s not only unfair to workers, but also Bank of America is thumbing its nose at Congress,” declared Tom Balanoff, president of SEIU’s Local 6. (pww.org)


SEIU: It's the United States of Social Justice now ... The powerful Service Employees International Union has decided that, because of the $700 billion financial-system bailout, it wants to organize bank workers. Banks that get taxpayer money need to "ensure their workers have a voice," a union spokeswoman says. Banks that get taxpayer money need to "ensure their workers have a voice," a union spokeswoman says. In an e-mail dated November 12 and obtained exclusively by CNN, a member of SEIU's Private Equity Project outlined initial discussions to organize bank workers "since the banking industry is now being infused with billions of taxpayer dollars." (cnn.com)


A Constitution for the United States of ACORN ... As has been pointed out on this blog and in numerous investigations published on the net, ‘community organising’ is straight out of the Alinsky/ Gramsci Marxist playbook – a means of radicalising the proletariat so that it takes power and overturns the values of the society. Instead of the Founding Fathers and the Supreme Court, America is about to get a new constitution written by the thugs of ACORN. Alinsky was the Marxist thinker who preached cultural revolution from the grass roots up through community organisation, and whose thinking permeates ACORN and other community groups that in the past were associated with or funded by Obama – now the nation’s First Community Organizer. Now look at the latest email Camp Obama has sent to the 13 million-plus names on its database of supporters: "Exactly one month ago, you made history by giving all Americans a real opportunity for change. Now it's time to start preparing and working for change in our communities. On December 13th and 14th, supporters are coming together in every part of the country to reflect on what we've accomplished and plan the future of this movement. Your ideas and feedback will be collected and used to guide this movement in the months and years ahead. Join your friends and neighbors – sign up to host or attend a Change is Coming house meeting near you.Since the election, the challenges we face -- and our responsibility to take action – have only gotten more urgent." (familysecuritymatters.org)


Stimulate this economy ... The stimulus plan proposed by Barack Obama focuses on public infrastructure projects, which have a long history of cost overruns, corruption, and construction incompetence. Public infrastructure construction and maintenance is important, it's just not an efficient use of funds if a quick economic stimulus is desired, or a suitable way to build long-lasting job growth. This misplaced focus is compounded by the "use it or lose it" component to Obama's plan, which will force projects through state bureaucratic systems which are having trouble handling current projects. There is one group, however, which must be dancing with joy at the prospect of hundreds of billions of federal dollars being thrown at large infrastructure projects: Organized Crime. (legalinsurrection.blogspot.com)


DINOs back union thuggery ... The Democrats in Wisconsin's congressional delegation -- all of them -- have lost their way on an issue essential to democracy. Voters should urge them to find their way back. The issue is secret ballots, one of Americans' most fundamental rights. Democrats in Congress have made it a high priority to pass early next year legislation that would take away the right to a secret ballot in union-organizing elections. Union leaders are seeking the legislation, perversely named the Employee Free Choice Act, so they can organize unions without the freedom of choice that prevails in a secret ballot. If the bill becomes law, it would end union-organizing elections. In their place would be a system in which union organizers hand out authorization cards to be signed by workers publicly. If a majority sign the cards, the union would be certified. If a worker declined to sign the card on the spot, the organizer could return again and again. Union organizers and employers would know who signed and who didn't. The opportunities for intimidation are clear. (madison.com)


Economic recovery hinges on union organizers ... "We are trying to shine a little broader spotlight on what we think are the dangerous aspects of this legislation, particularly in this economy," said Katie Packer, executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute, one of a growing number of business coalitions working to defeat the measure. In recent television ads, opponents have linked heavy unionization to job cuts and other problems afflicting the airline, steel and automobile industries. "I really worry that this issue is a public policy disaster and political nightmare in waiting," said political strategist Mark McKinnon. "We see the Employee Free Choice Act as part of an economic recovery package," said Greg Denier, spokesman for the labor coalition Change to Win. "Workers' wages are what drive consumption. If their wages are stagnant, you are undermining the foundation of economic growth." (washingtonpost.com)


Union-backed fraud group receives taxpayer cash ... "ACORN is not an organization that should be subsidized by taxpayers' hard-earned money," Boehner wrote. "ACORN, which for years has been closely connected with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, appears to have played a key role in the irresponsible schemes that led to the recent financial meltdown that has already cost Americans trillions of dollars in the form of government bailouts and lost retirement savings. Congress has not yet held investigatory hearings to examine the details of ACORN's involvement in these schemes. Until credible oversight hearings are conducted and completed in a manner that clears ACORN of wrongdoing, the organization should not receive taxpayer money." (swamppolitics.com)


Union-backed racketeers deserve RICO ... That's why the Justice Department should bring a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) prosecution against ACORN nationally, and shut it down permanently before it can taint any more elections by delivering its legions of multiply (or otherwise fraudulently) registered "voters" to the polls. (And remember, too, that while high-profile contests like the ones cited above make the headlines, there's no way of knowing how many closely contested down-ballot races - from city council members and county commissioners to state representatives and senators - ACORN may affect the outcomes of with its suspect electioneering.) With a scant six weeks left in this administration, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey should promptly initiate a review of a possible RICO prosecution, because President Obama - with ties to ACORN dating back to at least 1995 - certainly will have no incentive, let alone desire, to bring charges. (At the same time, Congress should rescind the millions of dollars in federal funds going to the ACORN Housing Corp., its tax-exempt affiliate, which receives 40 percent of its funding from taxpayers, and should investigate whether any of that money is being diverted to financing the voter fraud.) Finally, if the Bush Justice Department declines to prosecute, the RICO statute also permits private parties harmed by the actions of an ongoing "criminal enterprise" to file civil suits in either state or federal court; if successful, the plaintiffs can collect treble damages. (washingtontimes.com)


Militant gov't-unionists draw the line ... Members of the Teamsters union overwhelmingly rejected a proposal from Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson to forgo their 2 percent pay raise for most of the rest of the fiscal year. More than 600 of Local 783's nearly 900 members voted against Abramson's proposal, in ballots that were tallied yesterday, said Denny Norris, the local's principal officer. Teamsters officials sent out ballots on the issue to members last week. Norris would not release vote totals yesterday, saying only that the plan was overwhelmingly rejected. Members of the unions representing police and corrections officers also have voted to reject any pay reduction. Firefighters and members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have not voted on the issue. Abramson said the city could save about $2.6 million if every employee gave up his or her raise. (courier-journal.com)


Dues cut off the table ... Greg Johnson, the president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 1072, which represents university workers, said he would meet "immediately" with the university's human resources department to protect staff members with lower-paying jobs. "The university has to realize hard times will be with us awhile," Johnson said. "We have to be economical in all areas of university action." Blair said the university will work to minimize the effects of the furloughs on employees who are not as capable of absorbing a loss of income. "We want to ensure that those who can least afford it will be hurt the least," Johnson said. (diamondbackonline.com)


AFSCME grieves privatization ... Union leaders said yesterday the city hasn't justified its plan to lay off 69 Trenton (NJ) workers and asked for more information from the city so they can develop alternatives to the job cuts. The state approved most of the layoff plan Dec. 1, including the elimination of 89 vacant positions. The statement questioning the city's justification for the layoffs was issued by three American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees officials: Dave Tallone, who represents blue-collar workers; Cleveland Thompson, who represents white-collar workers and whose position is being eliminated; and Gerard J. Meara, executive director of AFSCME Council 73. He said the unions may file an unfair labor practice charge with the state, alleging union leaders were targeted by a move to privatize the city's technical inspections department. Roughly 10 inspectors would lose their jobs under the plan, under which the city would hire a private company to do electrical and other technical inspections. (nj.com)


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