SEIU violence justified v. union-busting union

Up to six busloads of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) organizers and members started a scrum inside the lobby of a hotel holding the Labor Notes Conference in Dearborn, Mich., on April 12. Labor Notes is a monthly progressive and union democracy journal. The SEIU group wanted to disrupt the banquet hall dinner where California Nurses Association (CNA) leaders, who SEIU accuses of busting an Ohio union drive, addressed 800 conference participants from various unions.

“They [SEIU protestors] were banging on the doors like a marching band base drum. Real quick they rushed through the door,” said Roland Day, a unionized dockworker from Baltimore.

In the lobby, Day said that he and dozens of other conference participants formed a human chain in the attempt to stop the SEIU rush, but ended up clashing with organizers Frank Hornick and Rachel Holland who were accompanied by a horde, hundreds thick, of purple t-shirt-clad SEIU protestors.

“I tried to stop the big guy and was holding him back with all I had,” Day said.
Hornick, the 6’4” son of miner, said he had worked on the three-year campaign to organize more than 8,000 healthcare workers at Ohio based Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) facilities. He explained how CNA organizers had descended on the campaign’s March 2008 culmination to encourage nurses and other workers to vote against affiliating with the SEIU. The election was cancelled before going to a vote. The CNA has begun to organize nurses nationally, competing with SEIU for members.

“Our intent was to educate the conference; they knew what we were there for,” Hornick said. Holland, a petit 5’4”, told The Indypendent she sustained hand cuts and was “football tackled” by a conference participant and that SEIU’s goal was to “draw to light union-busting by unions.”

Things quickly got out of control in the lobby, as fliers spilled to the floor and a cacophony of chants, noisemakers and screams ensued from the SEIU group’s push towards the banquet doors.

“SEIU should hold their head in shame. Some of their people had purple bandanas over their face like the anarchists at WTO protests,” said Frank Halstead, a California Teamster.

In the midst of the donnybrook, retired union member Dianne Feeley was shoved to the floor by a SEIU member and hit her head on a the end of a table requiring stitches.

“I don’t feel the person did it on purpose,” Feeley said. Feeley commented she didn’t think many in the SEIU crowd knew they were protesting at a labor solidarity conference.


Central to the SEIU-CNA dispute are accusations by both organizations of raiding each other’s members and campaigns, and disagreements about the direction of the labor movement. The CNA is a mix of progressive politics — empowering female nurses to take on Republican politicians for the public interest — and old style unionism. The CNA only organizes nurses, prompting cries of elitism from the SEIU, which organizes healthcare professionals including nurses and technical workers, but also health aides and other service workers. The SEIU is almost singular in its mission, organize workers at all costs, and provokes criticism for its consolidation of smaller locals into mega unions and that it is autocratic and top down.

With the Ohio health care chain, the SEIU signed an election agreement where management agreed to be neutral and not to coerce workers against the union and SEIU would not run a traditional union drive. The SEIU had employed traditional organizing tactics for three years — running a campaign against the employer while rallying workers — but still couldn’t overcome CHP’s anti-union campaign.

“When you see a worker at a captive audience meeting, you’ll see how scared they are,” said Hornick, referring to an employer mandated anti-union meeting.

“When the employer agrees not to run an anti-union campaign, that’s historic,” Jennifer Farmer a SEIU spokesperson said.

But the devil is often in the details and in other neutrality agreements with employers, the CNA and even some SEIU locals accuse SEIU of selling out the workforce and the public interest. Furthermore, the CNA distributes literature with SEIU President Andy Stern on the cover of trade magazine Human Relations Outsourcing Today talking about how companies can outsource their labor relations to unions, arguing that unions be hiring halls a practice that has long existed in some industries.

“Their vision to grow is focused on signing agreements with corporate employers, essentially agreeing to anything,” Charles Idelson, CNA spokesperson said, referring to SEIU’s push to gain more members.

In California, the SEIU negotiated an agreement (now expired) with the nursing home industry that brought the union thousands of members but also included provisions against workers reporting bad employer practices to authorities and the union agreed to lobby for tort reform favorable to the nursing homes.

The feud is only getting worse. The CNA obtained a temporary restraining order against the SEIU April 16 for following the association’s members around the country to picket them. SEIU, however, got the order dismissed April 21. Both unions have competing websites that bash each other and seem willing to further escalate the battle with no mediation in sight.

- Bennett Baumer is a member of the United Auto Workers (UAW) and a former SEIU organizer.


CNA hangs nurses against decert, open shop

The new board chairman of Fremont Rideout Health Group is charging the California Nurses Association with filing unfair labor practices complaints in an effort to prevent an election that could lead to its decertification.

In a document hand-delivered to the Appeal-Democrat, Jim Kennedy wrote that the board does not normally become involved in negotiations, but decided to now in order to "object to the stalling tactics CNA has recently employed."

Nurses contacted Monday disputed Kennedy's assertion, saying the complaints are legitimate.

The hospital and nurses represented by CNA have been in contract negotiations for more than a year.

Hospital officials made their final offer in January. The nurses union rejected the offer three weeks later.

The hospital's final offer includes $12 million in improved wages and benefits; a 50 percent reduction to premium costs for benefit packages; an employer match to the 403(b) retirement plan; a voluntary paid time off cash-out program for up to 80 hours each year; and discount coverage for medical services provided by the hospital.

Three nurses strikes have been held in the past six months over failed negotiations. The last strike took place in March.

"It's not in the best interest of the community, the hospital or the nurses to continue to delay this contract," Kennedy said in a phone interview.

Kennedy said a closed shop is the union's ultimate goal.

"I believe it should be an open shop so nurses can chose either way," he said.

An "open shop" means nurses can chose whether or not to be a part of a union, while a "closed shop" would require all nurses to pay union dues. About 500 nurses are employed.

Heather Avalos, a nurse at Rideout Memorial Hospital's intensive care unit, said the charges filed with the NLRB are real and not a delay tactic.

"These have absolutely not been filed to stop the decertifying election," Avalos said. "They are not made up."

The number of unfair labor practice charges filed and the status of those charges was not immediately available.

Several phone calls made to union officials were not returned Monday.

Even if a vote took place, Avalos said there isn't enough support to decertify the union.

Kennedy said there is union opposition, but if the nurses do vote to keep the union the hospital would need to accept that result.

"But as long as they continue to file (unfair labor practices), no election will be held," he said.

Avalos said several issues, beside open versus closed shop, still need to be addressed. Those issues include the right to outside counsel for grievances and arbitration; guaranteed seniority if two nurses with the same qualifications apply for a position; and shift priority over traveling nurses.

Avalos said pro-union nurses will continue to try to get back to the negotiation table to discuss these issues. Hospital officials maintain there is no reason to return to the table.

Kennedy said CNA continues to insist upon mandatory dues from all nurses and that CNA hasn't let an open shop prevent them from signing contracts elsewhere.

Avalos said there is only one open shop in California.

"The hospital refuses to accept the democratic majority," Avalos said of a unionizing vote held a year and a half ago. "Union security protects nurses right to advocate without the fear of retaliation. We are not going to accept open shop."


Coming to regret Writers Union strike

The writers strike ended two months ago. But many in Hollywood remain on the brink. Some are at risk of losing their homes. Some can't afford groceries. Others have filed for bankruptcy. Still others struggle to work enough hours to hold on to their health insurance.

Across Los Angeles, many crew members who work behind the scenes and on the sets of television shows and movies are still quaking from the temblor of the 100-day writers strike that shut down scripted TV production.

Blame the aftershocks. Networks have sharply curtailed the number of TV pilots this year, continuing a trend toward ordering fewer shows for the new season.

The shows that did return are filming 20% to 40% fewer episodes. And in Los Angeles County, location permits for sitcoms and dramas since the strike ended have plunged 51% and 35% from last year, respectively, according to FilmL.A., which handles film permits.

Although hard figures are not available, union officials say that thousands of crew members who normally would be busy at this time of year are still idled because of the sharp contraction in television production. Some union locals report a quarter of their members are sitting at home.

Karen Hartjen is one. She can't bring herself to open the utility bills lying on her kitchen table in Simi Valley.

The 53-year-old assistant prop master has been out of work since early November, when a string of jobs on TV shows such as "CSI: New York" and "Medium" came to a halt after the writers walked out.

Although Hartjen is accustomed to earning $100,000 a year, she is now $10,000 in debt and her home is threatened with foreclosure. She has turned to her church and the Salvation Army for help with groceries.

"I've been in this business for two decades, and I've never experienced anything like this," Hartjen said. "I'm just fighting for my life."

It will take several more months before TV production -- and the jobs that go along with it -- return to normal levels, said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. And that's assuming there is no actors strike. "It's going to be a nerve-racking year for 'below-the-line' workers," he said.

Anxieties build

The downturn comes at a tough time for Hollywood's blue-collar employees, who are grappling with what many economists view as a nationwide recession, as well as a steady drain of film jobs to New Mexico, Louisiana and other states offering production incentives not available in California. Michigan upped the stakes recently by offering film producers 40 cents back for every dollar they spend shooting in the state.

Adding to the anxiety among so-called below-the-line workers -- such as technicians, carpenters and makeup artists -- are fears that they could suffer a double whammy if actors and studios fail to reach a new contract by June 30. Studios, which have spent months preparing for a walkout by actors, began negotiations with the Screen Actors Guild two weeks ago.

The parties a few days ago agreed to extend the talks an additional week. Nonetheless, each side remains far apart on a number of issues, including how much money actors should earn when shows are distributed online.

"Any possibility of an actors strike weighs heavily on the minds of our people," said Ed Brown, business agent for Local 44 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. The local represents set decorators, special-effects workers and prop makers who are among the more than 30,000 Hollywood workers represented by the union.

Brown estimates that about 25% of the local's 5,000 West Coast members are still looking for jobs -- double the normal level for this time of year.

Without any income, they've sought help from charitable groups such as the Writers Guild Foundation, which has raised money for crew members, and the Actors Fund, which provides financial help to economically distressed workers in the entertainment industry. The latter, with help from the Writers Guild Foundation, has provided more than $1 million in assistance to nearly 700 people since November. Recipients receive payments of $500 to $2,000 to help with car payments, mortgage payments or utility bills.

The Actors Fund has been getting about 20 calls a day for emergency help, double the usual volume.

"A lot of people are trying to dig themselves out of a hole," said Keith McNutt, western region director for the Actors Fund. "They're desperate."

The reason: Work has been slow to rebound.

Fewer shows, fewer jobs

Most TV shows couldn't return immediately after the writers reached a new contract with studios because of the four- to six-week period it takes for most shows to complete scripts, rehire crews and prep locations for shooting. When production did resume, there were many fewer shows and thus fewer job opportunities for crew members.

The downturn has been partially offset by a 50% upswing in feature film production, a possible sign that studios are ramping up production to complete films before June 30, when the actors contract expires. Studios have braced for a possible walkout by juggling their slates so that most films would wrap up by the contract deadline.

But the increase has not been enough to fill the paucity of jobs. Indeed, an actors strike would be more debilitating than a walkout by writers because it would shut down most production, a nightmare scenario for people such as Ed Lippman.

"I can't even think what might happen to me if SAG goes out," says Lippman, a location manager. The 16-year industry veteran has been unemployed since November, when his last show, the NBC cop drama "Life," shut down after filming only 11 episodes.

When the strike ended, Lippman figured he would return to work on "Life," but NBC chose not to resume filming until June. For the first time in his career, he wasn't getting any calls for pilot work, and neither were his colleagues.

After maxing out his credit cards, Lippman, 42, did something he never imagined he would do: He filed for personal bankruptcy this month.

"It was hard to accept. I thought, 'How could this happen?' " Lippman said.

Phillip Gordon has been wondering the same thing.

After four months of unemployment, the 38-year-old prop maker and general foreman returned to work a week ago, overseeing construction of the set for the comedy "Mostly Ghostly," an upcoming movie based on the R.L. Stine book series. The job pays $17 an hour, well below his usual rate, and requires a two-hour commute from his home near Palmdale to the set in Playa Vista.

Gordon has little choice. He's four months behind on his variable-rate mortgage. His payments ballooned to $3,700 from $2,700 a month in January, shortly after he lost his job on the set of the next "Star Trek" movie. To stay afloat, he's sold off tools at swap meets and mowed his neighbor's lawn.

"I don't know what else to do," Gordon said.

Benefits could cease

Many crew members are in a race against the clock to keep their health insurance. Union rules require that members work at least 300 hours every six months to maintain their benefits.

After a four-month hiatus, foley artist Dominique Tabach of Valencia recently returned to work part-time on the CBS drama "Numb3rs." But she has nothing else lined up.

Without additional work, Tabach, 43, is concerned that she won't accumulate enough hours to keep her union health insurance beyond September. The insurance covers Tabach, her 8-year-old daughter and her husband, a former TV executive who recently lost his job.

"There's just not enough TV work out there," Tabach said.


Barack tied to union-backed voter fraud group

In ruling on the constitutionality of Indiana's voter ID law – the toughest in the nation – the Supreme Court had to deal with the claim that such laws demanded the strictest of scrutiny by courts, because they could disenfranchise voters. All nine Justices rejected that argument.

Even Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the three dissenters who would have overturned the Indiana law, wrote approvingly of the less severe ID laws of Georgia and Florida. The result is that state voter ID laws are now highly likely to pass constitutional muster.

But this case, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, also revealed a fundamental philosophical conflict between two perspectives rooted in the machine politics of Chicago. Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the decision, grew up in Hyde Park, the city neighborhood where Sen. Barack Obama – the most vociferous Congressional critic of such laws – lives now. Both men have seen how the Daley machine has governed the city for so many years, with a mix of patronage, contract favoritism and, where necessary, voter fraud.

That fraud became nationally famous in 1960, when the late Mayor Richard J. Daley's extraordinary efforts swung Illinois into John F. Kennedy's column. In 1982, inspectors estimated as many as one in 10 ballots cast in Chicago during that year's race for governor to be fraudulent for various reasons, including votes by the dead.

Mr. Stevens witnessed all of this as a lawyer, special counsel to a commission rooting out corruption in state government, and as a judge. On the Supreme Court, this experience has made him very mindful of these abuses. In 1987, the high court vacated the conviction of a Chicago judge who'd used the mails to extort money. He wrote a stinging dissent, taking the rare step of reading it from the bench. The majority opinion, he noted, could rule out prosecutions of elected officials and their workers for using the mails to commit voter fraud.

Three years later, Justice Stevens ordered Cook County officials to stop printing ballots that excluded a slate of black candidates who were challenging the Daley machine. The full court later ordered the black candidates back on the ballot.

Barack Obama has approached Chicago politics differently. He came to the city as a community organizer in the 1980s and quickly developed a name for himself as a litigator in voting cases.

In 1995, then GOP Gov. Jim Edgar refused to implement the federal "Motor Voter" law. Allowing voters to register using only a postcard and blocking the state from culling voter rolls, he argued, could invite fraud. Mr. Obama sued on behalf of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, and won. Acorn later invited Mr. Obama to help train its staff; Mr. Obama would also sit on the board of the Woods Fund for Chicago, which frequently gave this group grants.

Acorn's efforts to register voters have been scandal-prone. St. Louis, Mo., officials found that in 2006 over 1,000 addresses listed on its registrations didn't exist. "We met twice with Acorn before their drive, but our requests completely fell by the wayside," said Democrat Matt Potter, the city's deputy elections director. Later, federal authorities indicted eight of the group's local workers. One of the eight pleaded guilty last month.

In Seattle, local officials invalidated 1,762 Acorn registrations. Felony charges were filed against seven of its workers, some of whom have criminal records. Prosecutors say Acorn's oversight of its workers was virtually nonexistent. To avoid prosecution, Acorn agreed to pay $25,000 in restitution.

Despite this record – and polls that show clear majorities of blacks and Hispanics back voter ID laws – Mr. Obama continues to back Acorn. They both joined briefs urging the Supreme Court to overturn Indiana's law.

Last year, he put on hold the nomination of Hans von Spakovsky for a seat on the Federal Election Commission. Mr. von Spakovsky, as a Justice Department official, had supported a Georgia photo ID law.

In a letter to the Senate Rules Committee, Mr. Obama wrote that "Mr. von Spakovsky's role in supporting the Department of Justice's quixotic efforts to attack voter fraud raises significant questions about his ability to interpret and apply the law in a fair manner." Of course, now an even stricter law than the one in Georgia has been upheld by the Supreme Court, removing Mr. Obama's chief objection.

The hold on the von Spakovsky nomination has left the Federal Election Commission with less than a quorum. As a result, the FEC can't open new cases, hold public meetings, issue advisory opinions or approve John McCain's receipt of public funding for the general election. Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claims that, even without the von Spakovsky hold, filling the FEC's vacancies will take "several months."

All of this may be smart politics, but it is far removed from Mr. Obama's call for transcending the partisan divide. Then again, Mr. Obama's relationship to reform has always been tenuous. Jay Stewart, the executive director of the Chicago Better Government Association, notes that, while Mr. Obama supported ethics reforms as a state senator, he has "been noticeably silent on the issue of corruption here in his home state, including at this point, mostly Democratic."

So we have the irony of two liberal icons in sharp disagreement over yesterday's Supreme Court decision. Justice Stevens, the real reformer, believes voter ID laws are justified to prevent fraud. Barack Obama, the faux reformer, hauls out discredited rhetoric that they disenfranchise voters.

Acorn's national political arm has endorsed Mr. Obama. And its "nonpartisan" voter registration affiliate has announced plans to register hundreds of thousands of voters before the November election. An election in which Mr. Obama may be the Democratic candidate.

- John Fund is a columnist for WSJ.com.


Pro-union Gov. becomes a Dem embarrassment

Gov. Bill Ritter wants you to believe that he's working to end a duel between Colorado's union bosses and business leaders. He says he wants to prevent a November ballot battle that could see their competing initiatives put before voters. The only problem: Ritter is the source of the rift.

Last Tuesday, Ritter called on the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 to withdraw five ballot initiatives it filed a day before that would impose significant constraints on Colorado employers. Likewise, Ritter also called on business leaders to deny support for a "Right to Work" initiative that would prohibit unions from mandating that employees join a union or pay dues for union representation.

To The Denver Post, Ritter's spokesman Evan Dryer said: "The governor believes the best thing for all of Colorado would be if none of these measures were on the ballot in November. (Ritter) has had conversations with both sides and will continue trying to bring everyone together and find common ground to get to a place that's good for the entire state."

Of course he does. A battle over labor issues could cost Ritter and the Democratic Party serious political capital. And with national Democrats coming to Denver this August for their national convention, the last thing Ritter needs is an extremist union agenda to impede his party's effort to appeal to moderate small- and medium-sized business owners.

Of the five ballot measures the union filed with the secretary of state last week, the most egregious is one that would require employers to give workers cost-of-living raises regardless of outside economic factors.

Another one-size-fits-all measure would require businesses with 20 or more employees to provide health insurance, regardless of whether the employee wants it or could get it elsewhere, such as from a parent or spouse's plan.

The measures come as the country's economy continues to shed jobs, with more than 100,000 jobs lost in the last quarter alone. As too many Colorado employers stand on the brink of bankruptcy, doing everything possible to avoid more layoffs, Local 7's efforts will only help ensure their demise by considerably raising the costs of doing business.

Ritter is stepping in now, before any of the union's five initiatives or the right-to-work effort has successfully navigated the approval process, including gathering the more than 76,000 voter signatures required.

My, how times have changed. It's hard to believe that just five months ago, it was Ritter who secretly met with union bosses to design an executive order that could now impose collective bargaining, conveniently called "employee partnerships," on unwilling state employees. His tactics were enough for The Denver Post to opine in an editorial comparing Ritter to famed mobster Jimmy Hoffa. As the Post concluded, "His promise to usher in a new era of collaborative government -- where business and labor, Democrats and Republicans, would all be at the table -- was nothing more than a sham." It remains a sham.

If Ritter has his way, his November executive order, and the political damage resulting from it, will all just be a distant memory. He's a uniter not a divider. But his goal of having business and labor leaders drop their initiatives will remain a fantasy, especially as long as he remains at the helm of state government. There simply is no fair middle ground, especially given the questionable intentions of Local 7's latest efforts.

Local 7's ballot initiatives, grossly out of touch with the basic market realities of the 21st century and the less than 8 percent of workers who are unionized in Colorado, are indicative of a larger labor movement out of touch with ways to create sustainable job growth in a global economy.

Assuming Ritter fails in his effort to have the dueling initiatives withdrawn, I look forward to a Democratic National Convention this summer where voters from around the country can hear loud and clear the extremist agenda of unions out of touch with the increasingly innovative economies of the Western United States. Maybe then, Ritter will become embarrassed enough to start acting like the business-friendly governor he once pledged to be.

- Jessica Peck Corry is a Denver-based policy analyst with the Independence Institute.


'Prohibition on Certain Conditions of Employment'

A ballot initiative that would ask voters to turn Colorado into a right-to-work state received a "statement of sufficiency" from the Colorado Secretary of State's Office on Monday. According to a release from A Better Colorado, the right-to-work campaign, supporters gathered an estimated 94,546 valid signatures -- 124 percent of the 76,047 required under state law. Proponents gave the Secretary of State more than 133,000 signatures earlier this month.

The right-to-work amendment will appear on the ballot as Amendment 47. Its formal title is "Prohibition on Certain Conditions of Employment."

Organized labor strongly opposes the right-to-work initiative, which bars unions from collecting mandatory dues in collective bargaining workplaces.

In early April, a Denver attorney who represents labor unions filed a complaint with Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman after determining that at least two petition collectors told signers they didn't need to be registered voters and they could sign the petition more than once.

A spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State's office said opponents of the measure may challenge the signatures in court. If found valid and enough signatures could be rejected, then the judge could remove the measure from the ballot.

"With one-third of their signatures deemed invalid, the special interests behind Amendment 47 have raised serious questions about signature fraud," said Jess Knox, executive director of Protect Colorado's Future, an advocacy group that opposes the right-to-work amendment.

Knox said the organization will conduct a more detailed examination of the signatures and petitions.

Unions are working on their own ballot initiatives, including measures that require employers to give employees annual cost-of-living wage increases and provide major medical coverage to all workers. Union leaders say the initiatives would be necessary for Coloradans -- particularly if voters approve a right-to-work initiative.

Some fear that a showdown between businesses and labor unions over the proposals could cost millions of dollars as business interests the fight union-backed initiatives business leaders characterize as "anti-business."

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., both are urging right-to-work supporters and union leaders to drop their competing proposals.

But despite these efforts, right-to-work supporters are confident that their measure will make it to the November ballot and be approved by voters.

"When voters pass right to work in November, it will guarantee that all workers in Colorado have the freedom to choose for themselves whether or not to join a union," said Jonathan Coors, the 28-year-old nephew of Molson Coors executive Pete Coors. "It will constitutionally guarantee the basic rights that all Coloradans deserve."

Coors, government relations director for CoorsTek (a ceramics manufacturing spinoff of the brewing company) is expected to play a key role in voter education and public outreach for the right-to-work proposal.

Supporters of right to work include the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry and the Associated Builders and Contractors Rocky Mountain Chapter.

Along with several labor unions and advocacy groups, the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce has come out in opposition to the proposal.


Blackballing of Financial Core members defended

One of the most difficult aspects of writing fiction is trying to outdo the true stories of real life. As a fiction writer, I struggle, for example, to make sense of a newspaper with a decades-long open bias against unions solemnly telling a union how to conduct its own business, as The Times did in the editorial "Just deal with it." I struggle as well with what to make of the charge of unfair labor practices filed by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, a group not yet known for its efforts to protect workers rights.

If I pitched either story to a studio, I'd be told "Bernard, that would never happen."

Yet the AMPTP, newly vigilant in its concern for employee-management comity, announced its unfair labor practices suit against my union, the Writers Guild of America, for highlighting the anti-union activities of former members. And The Times chided my union's elected officials for suggesting that union members consider the merit of keeping "at arm's length" those who left the union to take over the jobs of striking writers.

What the AMPTP might have missed in its rush to complain is that writers who chose to leave the guild during our recent strike highlighted their own actions. They went public months before the guild issued the letter to which The Times objects. They openly took the jobs, salaries and benefits of striking writers. With an eye to union-earned residuals, they even took screen credit for what they did. They published their own names on screen during the strike.

Times editorial writers -- apparently finding no irony in the fact that they make judgments in every editorial -- suggest that we union members cannot judge the motives of those who traded union membership for "financial core" status. "We don't know," The Times writes, "what led those writers ... to drop out of the strike." Nonsense. We know that they wanted the jobs of striking writers, and they took them.

Perhaps WGA writers are more comfortable than editorial writers in making judgments about our fellows. We've supervised them, and they us; we've read their writing, and they ours. Because the production process produces intimacy in writers' relationships, we know their hopes, dreams and aspirations. We know their loves, families, hobbies and quirks. We know whether they prefer Mexican or Thai food, scotch or gin, Chaplin or Keaton, Gervais or Carell. We know they have access to union loans, and we know what they earn because the biggest open secret in the entertainment industry is one's salary. With that knowledge, we may confidently question the motives that The Times bids us not to judge.

Implying that we ought not judge motives ignores our obligation to judge the switch to fi-core status and the effect it has on the community of writers. If, by their actions, writers hurt the shows they're working on, we're professionally obligated to make judgments to protect the show. If some actions hurt writers, we must make judgments to protect the greater community against the consequences.

The Times routinely judges politicians and policies, laws and attitudes, trends and values. If politicians serve themselves before the commonweal, we are encouraged to vote against them. What is that but keeping those politicians at arm's length? If a policy is judged to be detrimental to our future, we're encouraged to abolish or modify it; in other words, we are told to keep bad policy at arm's length. If a hospital has a lousy record, we're advised to keep its physicians at arm's length. Someone has the measles? Arm's length.

But it's not just the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do tone of The Times' editorial that bugged me. There is the matter of that dismissive title, which implies that the damage done by fi-core writers is already ancient history. On the contrary, it is ongoing and keenly felt. Some striking writers were fired during the strike and have not been rehired. And in what the WGA argues is an open and ongoing violation of the terms of the strike settlement agreement, some financial core writers hired to replace striking writers are still working. Management continues to punish striking writers and reward those who took their jobs.

Finally, there's this: The editorial confuses giving reasons to keep someone at arm's length with blackballing, when in fact what the guild did was nothing more than pass along worthwhile consumer information. I have a right to know what hurts me and who hurts me. I want to know of decisions inimical to me and my community. I need to know about such actions. So when gathering or joining writing colleagues, I must do what I've always done and what Times editorialists do every day of the week: I must make judgments. I will look for talent and integrity. I will also look for the union label because it reflects a set of values that I prize. Those in the community of Times editorial writers will do exactly the same. They'll make the judgments they've always made, seeking talent and integrity and a prized set of values while keeping those antithetical to their values at arm's length.

- Bernard Lechowick is a two-time winner of the Writers Guild Award and a veteran television staff writer, show runner and series creator. He teaches writing at USC. During the recent strike he lost his job as a creative consultant to the CBS serial "The Young and the Restless."


Pennsylvania hostile to worker-choice

State Sen. Jeff Piccola (R-Dauphin) reached into a shopping bag, taking out a package of bacon representing the pork projects (known in Pennsylvania as walking around money or "WAMS") legislators frequently initiate.

When these legislators use taxpayer money to "bring home the bacon" to their districts for "economic development" he said at a panel called "The Impact of 'Special Interests'" at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in Harrisburg on Friday, they clog up the state's economic engine the same way bacon clogs up human arteries.

He then took out a container of Quaker Oatmeal to represent the tax and spending reductions as well as the investments in the state's decrepit infrastructure that he said will clean out the state's economic motor just as oatmeal cleans human blood vessels. State lawmakers, he averred, need to stop bringing home the bacon and "bring home the oatmeal."

"The basic principle I live by is that government does not create jobs or economic development," Mr. Piccola, chair of the Senate Committee on State Government, told the audience.

The state of Pennsylvania government growth won't cheer those who accept the senator's maxim. Since 1970, according to the Commonwealth Foundation, the state budget has expanded by 168 percent after adjusting for inflation. But in that time the state's job market has grown more sluggishly than 48 other states.

Mr. Piccola noted that business and other special interests have generally served to exacerbate what he considers a serious problem. Entities like PNC Bank and Comcast have gotten grants upwards of $30 million from the commonwealth, and they have plenty of company in so doing. Legislators secure millions every year for other businesses that locate in their districts.

A problem with this notion of spending, ostensibly to spur job growth, Mr. Piccola said, is that "friends [of powerful officials] get picked and people who aren't friends don't get picked."

Other panelists lamented the influence of another interest that, while moribund in many regions of the U.S., retains much of its power in Pennsylvania, namely labor unions. Brian Johnson, director of policy at the Alliance for Worker Freedom, noted that Pennsylvania ranks among the states most hostile to the principle that workers should be free to determine whether or not they join a union.

He urged audience members to take account of which federal lawmakers from Pennsylvania take the most money from unions, noting that Democratic congressmen Jason Altmire, Chris Carney and Patrick Murphy all derive barely under a third of their campaign cash from labor unions.


SEIU pimps sick-pay mandate, sick or not

By now you've probably heard of the so-called, "Healthy Families Act." For Ohio's employers, it's just the next battlefront in the ongoing fight over who gets to decide the nature and extent of the compensation and benefits employers provide to their employees. Should it be employers? Or should it be state government?

The Service Employees International Union is behind a new proposed state law that would force every employer in Ohio with 25 or more employees to provide full-time employees with a minimum of seven days of paid sick leave annually. Part-time employees would have to be provided a pro-rated amount of sick leave.

The proposed law has been submitted to the Ohio General Assembly for its consideration. If the state legislature fails to enact the law by May 8, it most likely will end up on the November general election ballot for voters to decide.

The Licking County Chamber of Commerce recently passed a resolution recommending that members of the Ohio General Assembly reject the proposed law and urging voters to oppose the proposal if it appears on the ballot.

Ohio employers consider their employees to be their greatest asset. They know to attract and retain valued employees, they must provide a competitive wage and benefit package. They also recognize the enhanced productivity and higher morale that stem from a healthy workforce. That's why the majority of employers already voluntarily provide sick leave to their employees.

Given the fragile state of our economy, Ohio needs to demonstrate the Buckeye State is open for business. This proposal sends yet another signal to companies considering Ohio that our state might not be their most business-friendly option.

It also acts as a disincentive for existing small businesses to grow by hiring additional employees. Why hire a 25th employee when doing so would result in the company having to comply with the mandated sick leave law? Or, worse, some employees could lose their jobs if employers reduce their staffing levels to fall under the threshold for providing mandatory sick leave.

Ohio has a rich history of business innovation -- do we really want to be the first state to tell employers how much sick leave they must provide or micromanage the private sector this way?

The Healthy Families Act also poses substantial financial and administrative burdens on employers, particularly when it comes on the heels of the minimum wage increase. Every employer -- no matter how large its work force -- will be adversely impacted, both directly and indirectly, if the mandated sick leave proposal becomes law.

- Cheri Hottinger is president of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce.


What keeps Hillary going

Unions United for Unity Behind Hillary
With AFSCME, AFT, OPEIU, and SMART in the City of Brotherly Love.

There is an intense struggle going on inside the ornate Grand Ballroom of the Park Hyatt Hotel at the corner of Walnut and Broad streets. Hillary Clinton will give her victory speech here in a couple of hours, and it’s not clear whether AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFT, the American Federation of Teachers, will have more signs and T-shirts spread throughout the crowd. AFSCME takes the early lead after workers haul in a giant box of green T-shirts, plus hundreds of green “AFSCME For Hillary” signs, at about 7:45. But AFT comes on strong when lots of red, white and blue “Hillary AFT” signs magically begin to appear in the crowd. There’s even a late surge of yellow “Hillary SMART Choice” signs, which you might think mean that voting for Hillary is a smart choice as a general proposition but actually convey the endorsement of the Sheet Metal, Air Rail and Transportation Workers — SMART.

Union membership, especially in this Democratic race in which organized labor is deeply divided, can sometimes be tough on your loyalties. Certainly most of the union members here — everyone I meet seems to be a teacher — are true Hillary supporters. But not all. I talk to a man who goes by the name G.P., who is here on behalf of the OPEIU — the Office & Professional Employees International Union. OPEIU endorsed Clinton last November, and G.P., who is from Georgia, is here to hand out Hillary T-shirts. We start talking — I have to admit I approach him because he’s black, and there are very few black faces in this crowd — and it becomes clear he’s doing his job, he’s loyal to his union’s position, but his heart isn’t quite in it.

“Do you personally support Hillary?”

“Yes, I think Hillary is a great candidate, and I also think Barack Obama is a great candidate,” G.P. says. “I think both of them would do great things for the Democratic party.”

“Would it be OK with you if either one wins?”

“With me? Like I said, I would support either Democratic candidate — anybody who gets elected to run, that would be the person I would support.”

“Did you vote in the Georgia primary?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Who’d you vote for?”

“Like I said — ” We both begin to laugh, because it seems pretty clear who he voted for. “In Georgia, the primary was decided overwhelmingly for Obama, and, once again, you’ve got two great candidates, two great people, and whichever person wins, I’ll be really happy with that. My union, OPEIU, really supports Hillary, and we’re all behind her 100 percent.”

No doubt Clinton will take all the support she can get, voluntary or not. Especially here, in Philadelphia, with its big African-American population. According to exit polls, Obama won 89 percent of the black vote in Pennsylvania — that’s actually down a bit from his results in some other states — and much of that was in this city. Clinton, on the other hand, won 60 percent of the white vote. That’s a continuation of a black/white divide that has plagued this race nearly from the beginning.

In western Pennsylvania, where I spent the last couple of days, I talked to lots of white Clinton supporters who told me they would not vote for Obama if he were the nominee. A number of them seemed not so much pro-Hillary as anti-Obama. Here at the Park Hyatt, a Clinton volunteer tells me he spent the day knocking on doors in the white ethnic enclaves of north Philadelphia, and he got the same sort of reaction — lots of anti-Obama comments. Some of it was racial, which troubled him, but a vote is a vote.

I bring the subject up with Terry McAuliffe, Clinton’s top fundraiser and all-around booster. “I don’t like to hear that,” McAuliffe says. “I have said consistently that when people stop voting on June 3, we count Michigan and Florida — we’ve got to include those voters — I think at that point we need to begin to bring people together. It’s been a tough contest, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near as tough as it was in 1992. . . . We’ve got plenty of time to bring everybody together.” On Clinton’s terms, that is.

Speaking to reporters before the results come in — it was about 8:00 P.M. — McAuliffe downplays expectations for Clinton’s victory. “I’m with Sen. Obama,” he says. “Fifty plus one is a win. We were outspent three to one, they threw multiple kitchen sinks at her, negative mailing, negative television, and you know what? She still won.”

And she did, by the double-digit margin that seemed to be the threshold for a truly convincing victory. So what does it mean, now that Clinton has won Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, California, Texas, and Ohio — pretty much all the big states, other than Obama’s home state of Illinois? Her advisers throw Florida and Michigan in that list, too. Standing on the balcony of the Grand Ballroom, watching the proceedings below, Ann Lewis, another Clinton strategist, stresses that Clinton has won the states that a Democrat will have to win to prevail in November. But wouldn’t Obama win those states, too, if he were the nominee? Maybe not Florida, and maybe not Ohio, and maybe not Pennsylvania, Lewis says — and the Democratic candidate will need victories in at least some of those states to win.

Lewis doesn’t put it this way, but wouldn’t it seem a little odd to have a Democratic nominee who didn’t win New York, New Jersey, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas, not to mention Florida and Michigan?

Early Wednesday morning, after Clinton flies to Indiana to campaign for the May 6 primary there, her campaign sends out a memo entitled, “The Tide Is Turning.” Even though Obama poured millions of dollars into Pennsylvania, the memo says, he “again failed to win a state that will be vital to a Democratic victory in November and spurred new questions about his ability to beat John McCain. No candidate has ever had more resources or enjoyed the kind of momentum that Sen. Obama had in Pennsylvania.”

It’s true. But Obama has piled up delegates, in part by concentrating on places like Idaho, and Wyoming. Here in Philadelphia, that strategy frustrates the Clintonites: How could he win by putting together all those little bitty places? Yes, they’ll support Obama if it comes to it, most of them say. But they really, really don’t want to. “I think Obama will be a good candidate, maybe ten years from now,” a volunteer named Susan, who has come up from McLean, Va., tells me. “But he’s just not ready.”

- Byron York, NR’s White House correspondent, is the author of The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President — and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time.


The Clintons' unions rip Barack

A political advocacy group consisting of backers of A pro-Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign group will begin airing ads on TV stations throughout Indiana today that ridicule Barack Obama’s economic plan. With ominous music in the background, a narrator says Indiana’s economy “is in trouble. Rising prices. Unemployment. Foreclosures. So what’s Barack Obama’s plan?”

The ads, which will air in Fort Wayne and other Hoosier cities beginning this morning, are paid for by the American Leadership Project, which spent $700,000 on the commercials.

Indiana native Jason Kinney, chairman of the American Leadership Project, said, “Indiana has been ground zero for economic anxiety since 2001.”

The American Leadership Project is an independent political group, but it ran $1.1 million in anti-Obama TV commercials before the Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania primaries.

Under federal election laws, political action committees, including ones operated by unions, may contribute a maximum of $5,000 per election to a candidate. But independent groups – called 527s for the IRS code they fall under – have no limits on donations. They may not advocate voting for or against a candidate and may not coordinate their activities with candidates’ campaigns.

The most famous 527 – Swift Boat Veterans for Truth – ran ads in the 2004 election that attacked Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. The Federal Election Commission fined the Swift Boat Veterans $299,500 after the 2004 election because the group functioned as a political action committee but didn’t file disclosure reports with the FEC or abide by contribution limits.

Kinney said his organization has been careful to follow the rules governing 527 organizations and that the descriptions of the American Leadership Project as pro-Clinton or anti-Obama are assigned by the media, not based on fact.

“We are an issues-based organization,” he said.

The ad quotes an Associated Press article saying Obama’s “proposal to clean up financial markets have no specifics.” It said the Washington Post wrote that “what Obama would actually do remains a mystery in too many areas.”

The ad does not advocate Hoosiers vote against Obama or for Clinton and says the commercial is not authorized by any candidate. It urges viewers to call Obama “and tell him to give Hoosiers a real plan to fix our economy.”

According to filings with the FEC, the American Leadership Project has raised $1.5 million since its founding in late February; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a union that has endorsed Clinton, contributed $1.2 million.

Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer said the group is an attempt by Clinton backers to get around limits on financial contributions.

“Hillary Clinton was short of money, and supporters got together to pool their funds and conduct an illegal bailout operation,” Bauer said.

Kinney said Bauer is just trying to “bully potential donors away from contributing” to American Leadership Project.

Clinton’s campaign theme in Indiana has been that she can improve the sour economy. She and Obama are in a virtual tie for Indiana’s 72 pledged delegates who will be decided in the May 6 primary.

Obama, who has more cash than Clinton, has spent more money on commercials and mailings in Indiana than she has.


Gov't unions control labor-state special election

Two powerful labor unions financed more than a quarter of state Rep. James O’Day’s successful special election campaign to fill the seat of former Rep. James B. O’Leary, who left last year to become chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray.

Mr. O’Day, a former union leader and West Boylston (Massachusetts) Democrat who also represents northern sections of Worcester, was supported by $11,384 from the SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Local 1199, and $2,629 from the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

The money came in the form of independent expenditures from the unions to design and distribute direct mail fliers and to buy newspaper ads before the March 20 primary and the April 17, 2007, special election, when Mr. O’Day defeated independent Joseph Cariglia.

Unions were the single largest contributors of independent expenditures in last year’s elections, helping candidates in four special state Senate elections and three House contests, four candidates for Boston City Council and 10 municipal candidates in Lynn.

Mr. O’Day was the only Central Massachusetts candidate to receive such independent expenditures.

Critics say Mr. O’Day and other candidates who benefited from the outside spending are beholden to the unions at the expense of other constituents.

“With taxes rising and spending out of control, the only thing Jim O’Day seems to be able to do is to line his pockets with special interest money,” said Barney Keller, a spokesman for the state Republican Party.

Mr. O’Day raised a total of $51,275 during the election cycle, apart from the union expenditures, which technically are separate from the candidate and do not have to be reported on the candidate’s filings to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

Unlike individual campaign contributions, generally capped at $500 a year, independent expenditures are not limited. They must be made without cooperation or consultation with any candidate or campaign.

Mr. O’Day also received significant in-kind help during the election from Neighbor to Neighbor, an activist community organizing group that mobilized dozens of volunteers to canvass low-income neighborhoods on his behalf.

The SEIU accounted for most of the spending, $69,234 of the $99,704 that was contributed by the outside groups. One conservative group, the Coalition for Marriage, spent $6,134 on an unsuccessful campaign to elect a candidate for state representative in Dedham.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association and the Lynn School Employees Local Union 1735 were the other labor groups making the expenditures.

Mr. O’Day, 53, a former state social worker and SEIU official, said he does not feel that he owes votes to organized labor, and pointed to a recent vote on an unemployment insurance bill in which he said he sided with small business.

“I’m not beholden to anyone. My district consists of all kinds of people, and for anyone to think I’m incapable of representing every one of them is very shocking,” he said. “I’m very honored to have support from unions because I support working people.”


Union political front-group kills property tax cap

The debate over a property tax cap in New York may be finished before it started. Weeks before a special state commission headed by the Nassau County executive, Thomas Suozzi, is expected to recommend a plan for imposing a cap on local school property tax increases, state lawmakers are signaling that the proposal will be dead on arrival.

In a published interview, the Democratic speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, suggested that a property tax cap was not up for negotiation.

Democrats in his conference, meanwhile, are rallying around an alternative — and more costly — approach for lowering the tax burden of homeowners.

The idea, which organized labor groups are advancing, would increase the personal income tax on those earning more than $250,000 a year and then redistribute the money to lower-income individuals who face high property tax bills.

While facing a wall of opposition in the Assembly, Mr. Suozzi and other proponents of a property tax cap are faring little better in the other side of the Legislature and in the governor's office.

Senate Republicans have avoided discussing the issue — going only as far as supporting the idea of giving school districts the option of capping property tax increases, rather than mandating a ceiling.

Governor Paterson has sharply criticized a multibillion-dollar program that Albany has relied on for dealing with rising property taxes but has stopped short of endorsing a cap.

Mr. Silver, in an interview published by the newsletter of the New York State School Boards Association, took his strongest stance yet against a cap, saying he didn't believe it could be imposed without leading to damaging school budget cuts.

"The caps are not going to work," he reportedly said.

Assembly Democrats appear to be embracing another plan, one put forward by the Working Families Party, a labor-backed third party whose intensive ground operation and ability to deliver votes has made it a potent force in Albany.

The party is supporting what it describes as tax relief in the form of a "circuit breaker," which would give grants to homeowners when their taxes consume a certain percentage of their income. It would be graduated, setting a lower percentage for lower earners.

The cost of the program would be paid for through a marginal income tax increase on residents earning more than $250,000.

The tax increases would increase along with the income being earned, with new rates ranging from .5 to 4 percentage points more than the current 6.85% rate.

"This thing is real because it's the right thing to do. This is power politics attached to a set of progressive principles," a Democratic assemblyman of Westchester, Richard Brodsky, said.

A spokesman for Senate Republicans, which opposed an earlier Assembly proposal to raise taxes on millionaires, said the conference would not support any rate hike and said the Working Families Party plan would just lead to increased spending.

"It's a wolf in sheep's clothing," the spokesman, John McArdle, said.

While more than a dozen states have some sort of cap on the annual growth of property tax collections, putting a limit on property taxes — also known in New York by the friendlier-sounding name of school taxes — has never gained much traction in Albany.

It received a boost in January when the then-governor, Eliot Spitzer, promoted it in his State of the State speech and then tapped Mr. Suozzi to run a commission that would draft a policy proposal.

Mr. Suozzi, a popular leader in his county, has convened eight public hearings around the state on the issue and is expected to issue recommendations next month.

The resignation of Mr. Spitzer, however, was a major setback to his commission, which many lawmakers now dismiss as a vestige of a past administration.

At the same time, powerful public-sector unions, particularly New York State United Teachers, have come out with increasing force against the cap, giving pause to lawmakers who might be sympathetic to the policy.

"You have the overriding issue of the teachers union coming in there, which is obviously a major concern to our conference," a Republican senator, George Winner, said.

Mr. Suozzi, in an interview, said the problem of rising school taxes cannot be contained without Albany legislating a restriction on school tax growth. "We're not moving away from a cap," he said.

Outside of New York City, which raises revenue primarily by taxing income rather than property, property taxes have long been a burning issue.

To quell voter anger, Albany spends more than $5 billion each year on a program first started by Governor Pataki that is supposed to lower school taxes by providing districts with subsidies and homeowners with rebate checks.

Homeowners have seen their bills climb despite the aid because school districts have increased their tax levies by an average of 7% each year.

Advocates of a cap argue that homeowners won't see their taxes decline without imposing restrictions on school spending. A cap, they say, would also force state and local governments to deal with escalating union contract and pension mandate costs that have contributed to the higher taxes.

Opponents, including Assembly Democrats and the state teachers union, say school budgets and tax increases should be decided by school district elections, which are heavily influenced by organized labor participation.


Pro-union Progs bemoan conservatives

"Jacked: How 'Conservatives' Are Picking Your Pocket (Whether You Voted for Them or Not)" is a short book by Nomi Prins that makes an excellent education for those remaining Americans who still do not understand that right-wing politicians take from those who work and give to those who live in luxury off the sweat of others.

At the end of World War II, corporations paid half the cost of the federal government. They now pay 7 percent, and many of them pay 0 percent. Unless you are very wealthy, you pick up the tab, and the tab has grown. The federal government now spends more than what it spends on everything else on the military alone, and that cost keeps rising.

So does the price of oil and gas, which is great for oil corporations, and maybe even for the chance our species has of surviving on earth, but not for your wallet. Americans are going more heavily into debt than ever, which is great for the credit card companies, banks, and blowhard politicians, but the most reckless debtor of all is the federal government, which makes things even worse for us.

Pensions are vanishing along with unions and jobs. Student loans are shrinking and college costs rising. Health care costs, too, are rising, while health insurance slips out of reach. Washington is still working hard to trash (or "privatize") Social Security and Medicare.

New Orleans still lies in ruins. Home insurance companies have still not paid up. Washington has still not stepped up. And Bush has neither apologized nor ceased making jokes about people's suffering.

Bush, on one of his Katrina-damage tours, remarked:

"An old lady walked up to me... and I said, 'How are you doing?' And she looked at me and she said, 'Not worth a darn.' And I said, 'Well, I don't blame you.' She said, 'I've been paying all my life for my insurance. Every time that bill came, I paid it... And, all of a sudden the storm hit, Mr. President, and it came time to collect, and they told me, no.' And she was plenty unhappy and she was looking for anybody she could be unhappy with, and I just happened to be the target."

Prins comments:

"No, Mr. President, you actually WERE someone she thought might be able to help her, a subtle difference that may have gone above your head."

The trouble is that it may have gone above some of his listeners' heads too. There are people who take it for granted that Bush can choose to destroy entire nations, but who accept at face value his claim that he has no power whatsoever to see that the victims of a hurricane are cared for. And it goes over even more heads that the two things are intimately related. We are killing and dying for the fossil fuels that lead to the destruction of global warming, and the financial cost of the killing and dying produces massive destruction in our economy. Meanwhile, we've allowed our government to empower loan sharks and insurance agents of all varieties to defraud us and defenestrate us from our homes.

Prins' advice is to write hand-written letters to your congress member's district office. Mine is to get this book read by any non-millionaires you know who believe "conservatism" to be something other than a cover for robbing the poor to enrich the wealthy. If enough people understood what we were doing, perhaps we could go to Washington with the message: "We've come to collect, and you don't just happen to be our target, and we won't take No for an answer."

- David Swanson is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA.


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