Voters cool to anti-democratic Democrat

Poll Shows Allen Trailing, Hindered by Support of Card Check

A survey released today by the non-profit Employee Freedom Action Committee (EFAC) revealed that Maine U.S. Representative Thomas Allen trailed United States Senator Susan Collins in head-to-head general election match-up. Rep. Allen's prospects are not improved by his support of the misleadingly named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) or "card-check" legislation that Mainers oppose. Three times as many Mainers said they were more likely to oppose Rep. Allen due to his support for card-check than said they would be more likely to support him.

According to the survey,Maine residents oppose the EFCA proposal by a sizeable 30% margin (57%-27%). The bill is opposed across demographic and political lines in the state as a majority of men, women, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents stated their dissent. When the legislation was explained in greater detail, the results were even more dramatic. 92% of respondents believe that employees should have the right to vote on forming a union by an election where each individual's vote is kept private.

The survey paints a bleak picture for Rep. Allen's chances in November. He trailed Senator Collins 53% to 37% in a head-to-head match-up. His support for card-check made 32% of voters less likely to support him and only 11% more likely to support his candidacy.

"An overwhelming number of Mainers oppose the undemocratic, deceptive, and easily corruptible card check process. This legislation would take away a fundamental American right to a private vote and deny millions of workers the simple right to decide whether they want to join a union or not," Employee Freedom Action Committee spokesman Tim Miller said. "For his own benefit Tom Allen should join the working Mainers that repudiate this deceptive legislation which is being pushed by the big labor funders of his campaign."

EFAC encourages candidates to oppose card-check legislation, cautioning them that it is unpopular with the public.

The telephone survey completed May 4-5, 2008 among 400 adults, statewide inMaine was conducted by NMB research. The margin of error is +/- 4.9%

For more information about the Employee Freedom Action Committee and card-check legislation visit employeefreedom.org.


American Axle strikers axe GM $1.8 billion

An oft-neglected cost of collective bargaining

The UAW strike at American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. is expected to weigh on GM's second-quarter earnings by $1.8 billion before taxes, the automaker said in a federal filing Friday.

In the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, GM also said it will not fully ramp up production at all of the plants affected by the strike.

The strike, which ended late Thursday night, already cost the automaker $800 million before taxes in the first quarter, on top of $215 million the company put up toward a settlement.

Previously that figure had been reported as $218 million by union officials. One week ago, during the last hours of talks, GM boosted its contribution to the settlement by $15 million. The extra money ensured that the agreement could include layoff pay, giving the union a settlement officials felt they could present to the membership.

Last night, the UAW said that the deal passed by a 78 percent vote.

During the course of the strike, GM had cut production or shut down more than 30 plants, mainly pickup and SUV plants, and its own parts factories that supply transmissions and other parts for those vehicles.

In all, the strike kept GM from making 330,000 vehicles during the first and second quarters. Due to declining demand for these vehicles, GM won't fully ramp up the plants affected by the strike.

"We anticipate only a portion of this lost production will be recovered, due to the current economic environment in the United States and to the market shift away from the types of vehicles that were impacted by the action at American Axle," GM said in its filing.

That won't be the case for the 33,000 vehicles that weren't built when local strikes at two GM plants halted production of the automaker's popular crossover vehicles in Lansing, Mich., and shut down the company's main Malibu plant in Kansas City, Kan. GM expects to recover lost production of those fast-selling vehicles throughout the year. Those strikes are expected to lower GM's second-quarter pretax earnings by $200 million.


Union democracy on the rocks

SEIU Convention Ends with a Whimper

The SEIU Convention ended "not with a bang, but a whimper," to borrow a line from T.S. Eliot. Confetti-filled celebrations filled the opening hours of the convention today, but the last hours were punctuated with delays and confusion over SEIU’s internal election.

In the midst of the election chaos, our convention blogger reported hearing SEIU attorney Judy Scott say, “We weren’t prepared to print ballots.” They weren’t prepared to print ballots for an election of some of the highest offices in our International union? This is after Stern’s team repeatedly told reformers that their amendments to ensure greater member democracy were unnecessary because, according to Stern, we already have democracy in SEIU.

But when confronted with real democratic processes, Stern’s team was woefully unprepared. SEIU scheduled elections for its International Executive Board and its International Vice Presidents as the last agenda item on the last day of the convention. After five days of misinformation and disinformation, Stern’s management team apparently felt so confident that the Stern-approved slate of candidates would run unopposed that they did not even bother to plan a process to prepare ballots.
Nothing highlights the arrogance we’ve witnessed here at the convention more than this moment. Our message is that the union is about members; their message is that leadership rules. This election process proves our point.

After SEIU officials nominated their slate of candidates, they opened the floor to any other nominations. SEIU Members for Reform Today (SMART) and other rank and file reformers filled the aisles, lined up at the microphones and put forward 13 rank and file members. While members were making their nominations, Stern offered the following: "I would remind the delegation that if you are worried about leaving to take care of normal bodily functions and not being able to get back in, this process will go on for some time. So if you need to leave you may do so and still get back in." Or, in other words, what’s happening here isn’t important, so you might as well take a bathroom break. (Could he be more insulting?)

After a long delay, the ballots were printed and distributed. All members went into caucuses by Local, and votes finally were cast. Stern recessed the convention for an hour, and many members streamed out of the convention center – an unceremonious ending to a much-hyped convention. Some members from each local union waited more than 2 hours for ballots to be counted.
After 9pm, the outcome of the election was announced with the Stern team winning all of the positions.

While obviously they wanted to go out on a high note, this convention will always have a cloud hanging over it, memorable for its unparalleled security, its level of doublespeak, its stomping on free speech, and now its marred election process.


NLRB: Politicians may aid union organizers

Trump weighs appeal to federal court

The National Labor Relations Board has upheld the unionization vote by dealers at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, turning aside objections from the company that expressions of support by elected officials during the organizing drive tainted the vote.

The ruling was issued Friday and publicized by the United Auto Workers on Tuesday.

It upholds an earlier decision by an administrative law judge that the union election was fair.

"I think it's great," said Doug Migliore, a dealer at Trump Plaza. "We've been trying to get to the bargaining table for over a year. Now we can move forward to get a contract."

The board's ruling comes little more than two weeks before the union plans to hold a massive rally in Atlantic City to call on the four casinos where union votes succeeded to quickly reach agreement with workers on contracts.

"Management's efforts to prevent workers from exercising their legal rights have failed," said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. "It's way past time for them to come to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith with the union."

Trump Entertainment Resorts, Trump Plaza's parent company, may appeal the decision to a federal appeals court, spokesman Tom Hickey said.

"We are disappointed, and we're considering our options," he said.

Dealers at Trump Plaza voted 2-to-1 in favor of forming a union on March 31, 2007. But the company filed objections with the NJRB, claiming public comments expressing support for the union drive made by federal, state and local elected officials constituted unlawful interference with the union election.

Since March 2007, a dealers and other workers at Caesars Atlantic City, Trump Plaza, Bally's Atlantic City, and the Tropicana Casino and Resort have voted to join the union. Bargaining is under way at Caesars and Tropicana.


Teamsters warn of non-union danger

Pointing out perils of privatizing custodial services

The Teamsters union is nothing, if not persistent. Its argument that the Collier County School Board shouldn’t privatize custodial services because one firm in the running for the work has hired three bad people in far away places in past years is as effective as a leaky mop bucket. But the union is pressing on, this week sending out mailers reiterating the charges made last week at a press conference.

On Wednesday, the group organized a roadside protest in Naples, again highlighting the argument that privatizing custodial services is dangerous.

Hiring an outside firm to do janitorial work now performed by district employees may be bad fiscal policy. The Teamsters hint the $3 million in savings the district hopes to achieve can be realized while keeping present employees on the job, although they’ve presented no specifics as to how.

It would certainly be traumatic for the 250 school janitors who would either lose their jobs or take jobs with the private company, presumably at lower pay and/or benefits than they now enjoy.

But dangerous? Based on a union-commissioned investigation that found three instances in which employees of GCA Services, a contender for the contract, were involved in criminal or deviant acts? Please.

Summarizing the investigation’s findings, the Teamsters’ mailer points out that in October 2006, police in Texas found stolen school property at the home of a GCA custodian; in October 2007, a convicted sex offender working for GCA was found dead in a Texas school locker room, his pants down and a bag over his head; and earlier this year, a GCA custodian in Tennessee was charged in the rape of a 16-year-old girl in a school closet.

“Don’t hire companies that employed sex/drug offenders in the public schools,” the mailer states in large type.

As shocking as the three cases might seem, they represent only three of GCA’s 20,000 employees nationwide. That’s .015 percent of the company’s workers.

By contrast, the Teamsters union represents about 1,000 nonteaching employees of the Collier County school district, including custodians, food service workers and bus drivers. In 2006, two Collier County bus drivers were convicted on multiple counts of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl who rode one of the pair’s bus.

The two drivers found guilty of those heinous crimes represent .2 percent of the support workers. By the Teamsters logic, children are more than 13 times more imperiled around Collier support personnel than they would be by employees of GCA.

That’s not a knock on school support workers, the vast majority doubtless being fine people.

Rather, it’s a demonstration of how little stock can be placed in partial statistics and anecdotal evidence.

Yet the Teamsters press on with the “privatization is dangerous” scare tactic.

Taxpayers in Collier County won’t buy it. If the union has a plan to save money, save its members’ jobs and keep the schools tidy, it ought to present it.

Persistently citing a few isolated cases as the best evidence that privatization is bad makes one wonder if the Teamsters really have such a plan at all.


Pawlenty vetoes resolution backing EFCA

Defies lawmakers' support for 'no-vote' union recognition

This legislative session's record number of vetoes by Governor Tim Pawlenty included his veto of a resolution supporting federal legislation to make it easier for workers to organize unions By lopsided majorities, both the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate passed resolutions urging Congress to enact the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800). The vote was 84-10 in the Minnesota House and 41-23 in the Minnesota Senate.

Pawlenty's May 8 veto message, however, characterized the Employee Free Choice Act as "highly controversial." Pawlenty's message read: "The Employee Free Choice Act is fundamentally flawed and I will not play a role in urging its passage."

The Employee Free Choice Act establishes union recognition when a majority of workers at a worksite sign union authorization cards. That's an option currently available to workers and employers. Under current law, however, the employer can reject the cards and insist on an election governed by the National Labor Relations Board.

In testimony before the Minnesota Legislature, workers spoke out about the employer tactics that often mar the NLRB election process, including mandatory anti-union meetings, threats of retaliation to union supporters, and other abuses.

This intimidation skews the NRLB election process in favor of the employer, said Rep. Mike Nelson, author of the resolution in the Minnesota House. Under the Employee Free Choice Act, Nelson added, "a lot of the animosity and intimidation will be gone."

Pawlenty's veto message did not acknowledge worker concerns about the NLRB election process.

"It was interesting what he picked out and why he picked it out," Nelson said. "The biggest objection is this misconception that we're taking away people's right to vote."

"He obviously does not understand the bill," said Jennifer Schaubach, legislative director for the Minnesota AFL-CIO. "It does not take away the secret ballot," Schaubach said, "it gives employees the choice."

Under the Employee Free Choice Act, NLRB elections would take place if 30 percent of workers at a worksite indicated their preference for a NLRB election instead of the card-check process.

Normally, the Minnesota House and Senate can pass independent resolutions urging Congressional action which do not need to go to the governor for his signature. In this case, because the House and Senate resolutions were identical, the matter went to Pawlenty and met with his veto.

Schaubach said this "technical error" by Minnesota proponents of the Employee Free Choice Act was "unfortunate."

The Employee Free Choice Act has passed the U.S. House of Representatives but is stalled in the U.S. Senate.


Teachers brave armed police

Related video: "Puerto Rico teachers denounce SEIU"

Teachers confront SEIU outside convention

As thousands of delegates and guests poured into the quadrennial convention of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and as the Democratic Party primary contest between Sens. Obama and Clinton was taking place, a drama far more meaningful to the workers of Puerto Rico took the stage in San Juan on May 31. Hundreds of members of the Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR), a militant, independent union of teachers, in a courageous display of creative and tactical skills, broke through metal barricades, scores of armed police and SEIU staffers.

FMPR President Rafael Feliciano Hernández gave a series of press interviews and exchanged views with SEIU delegates. In an on-the-scene telephone interview with a Workers World supporter of FMPR he said, “In the local newspapers and the TV news outlets, the protests of the FMPR and the solidarity expression of the [SEIU] delegates were the primary news.”

Later, Feliciano commented on an evening workshop: “About 15 SEIU delegates and some 40 militant teachers came. The discussion was extraordinary. Solidarity was paramount and we shared how the bureaucratic, corrupt leadership hurts all of us. Moreover, we defined bridges of communication for future actions.”

The underlying lesson unfolding is the failure of business unionism—top down, opportunistic, class-collaborationist leaders. The FMPR is structured from below. FMPR President Feliciano earns $2,600 a month, no more than the highest paid teacher. He is limited to two consecutive terms. Dues are based on affordability. Most important, the FMPR is dedicated to raising class consciousness, and to view management/the capitalist government as adversaries.

In a document—“Analysis of the Puerto Rico Teachers Strike of 2008”—Luis Ángel Torres Torres, FMPR secretary of education, analyzes the lessons of the ten-day strike. His insights show how important the trade unions are as instruments of progressive change that elevate the role of the multinational workers/teachers. The document concludes, “There is no triumph without struggle, and no struggle without sacrifice.”

Many feel strongly that when the convention is over, the FMPR will have made many new friends and will be stronger as they fight the Puerto Rican government and SEIU-Stern leadership’s attempt to steal their members.


UFCW organizers call on Barack for help

No separation of union and state

One of America's biggest trade unions accused Tesco yesterday of refusing to recognize its United States workers' rights and called on the Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, to endorse its campaign against the retailer.

United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) staged a press conference in London claiming it had been forced to come to the UK because representatives of Tesco's Fresh & Easy convenience store operation in the US have declined to recognize the union or enter into any dialog with it over the past two years.

Mr Obama wrote to Fresh & Easy's chief executive, Tim Mason, in November, asking him to talk to community organisations in Los Angeles about union recognition. UFCW's campaigns director, Emily Stewart, said: "We are absolutely continuing a dialogue with Mr Obama, and we feel he supports what we are trying to do." She added: "Tesco has a great reputation for employment rights and corporate responsibility in the UK, but this is sullied by its behaviour in the US."

The union has not made any specific demands, but says it wants the same constructive partnership with Tesco that the retailer has in the UK with the shop workers' union Usdaw.

Yesterday, UFCW unveiled its 46-page report, The Two Faces of Tesco. Joining Ms Stewart at the campaign launch was the Labout MP Jon Cruddas, who said: "We are asking for nothing more than Tesco already does here."

A Tesco spokesperson said: "The UFCW do not reflect the views of Fresh & Easy staff who are overwhelmingly in favour of the pay and benefits they receive... we strongly believe that union membership is a matter of individual choice and if our people want to join a union then they can and will. All the signs so far are that there is little interest in doing so."


Labor chaos at U.C.

AFSCME action blocks Dem pols from campus

Picketers rallied at University of California campuses and medical centers Wednesday, even though the union that represents patient care and service workers called off a two-day strike scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Mediation continues between the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and UC after months of failed contract negotiations. The union represents more than 19,000 workers in the UC System, including 2,519 patient care technical workers and 1,055 service workers at UC Davis and the UC medical center in Sacramento.

Adding to the pressure to nail down a contract soon, former president Bill Clinton and California Assembly Speaker Emeritus Fabian Nunez have announced they will not speak at upcoming UC graduation ceremonies unless the labor fight is settled, union officials have announced.

Nunez is scheduled to speak at graduation ceremonies for the UC Davis School of Education on June 11; Clinton is scheduled to speak at UCLA on June 13.

"The speaker (emeritus) does not cross picket lines," said Nunez spokesman Greg Campbell. Nunez "will be honored" to speak if there's a contract in place, Campbell said.

"We appreciate the difficult circumstance the Speaker Emeritus is in, but we remain optimistic that a solution can be found at the bargaining table in a time frame that would allow for his participation in our upcoming commencement activities," UC Davis spokeswoman Julia Ann Easley said in an e-mail.

Pay is the central issue for the union, which contends UC wages have fallen behind other hospitals and community colleges. The existing contract between UC and the patient care unit expired Sept. 30, 2007; the service contract expired Jan. 31.

Both bargaining units have been at impasse with university management since early this year.


Carpenters picket school construction

Protesters allowed to smoke cigarettes at school

A dispute between a Portland-based union and Hillsboro-based construction company reached Bend (OR) on Tuesday morning when picketers hired by the union took up stations outside of Westside Village Magnet School and Ponderosa Elementary School.

The Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters is protesting a decision by Robinson Construction — which has an office in Bend and is working on Westside’s expansion project and the new Ponderosa school — to de-unionize, according to Cliff Puckett, a representative of the union.

According to an unaddressed and unsigned letter displaying Robinson Construction letterhead and provided to The Bulletin by Puckett, employees of Robinson had until May 23 to cancel their union memberships or face termination May 30. In the letter, Robinson also provided the name and phone number of a lawyer and said it “strongly suggests” employees contact him “to find out your rights and any questions you may have; along with your union to find out all your options in this matter and that they are clear to you.”

Puckett said the union has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board. The charge, filed May 22, says that within the past six months, “the employer has unlawfully threatened employees with termination if they did not resign from the union.”

The charge also states Robinson “unilaterally changed the terms and conditions of employment by, among other things, refusing to go through the hiring hall, advertising for workers in local newspapers and offering our members new insurance and pension benefits.”

Chris Robinson, a project engineer with Robinson Construction, said the company was not prepared to comment Tuesday but would release a statement today. The school projects will not be affected by the picketers, Robinson said.

Westside’s principal, Wendy Winchel, said the picketers’ arrival presents “a teachable moment” for the approximately 200 students who attend the school in kindergarten through eighth grades.

“It’s a chance to talk about unions, people having a voice. … The kids had lots of questions, and I’m sure lots of them will go home and find out if their parents are in unions,” Winchel said. “There are all sorts of crazy moments here we turn into teachable moments.”

Winchel said she spoke early Tuesday morning with the picketers, who assured her they would be polite and not engage in heated arguments in front of students.

“They were very nice,” Winchel said, adding that she increased the number of staff on duty during recess.

Puckett said the union, which has roughly 5,000 members in Oregon and southwest Washington, will picket the job sites for as long as it takes to resolve the matter with Robinson. The picketers, at least nine of whom were in front of the Westside School on Tuesday morning, are union members and family and friends of union members, Puckett said.

Julianne Repman, communications director for Bend-La Pine Schools, said safety is not an issue and that the protestors were not on school property.

“At this point, they are really being cooperative, and as long as that is the case, they are free to be out there in the public space,” Repman said.

Regarding concern about the picketers smoking near the school, Repman said the statewide ban on smoking on school property is limited to actual school property and doesn’t extend to the public right of way.

Bend-La Pine Schools bus drivers, who are members of the Oregon School Employees Association union, will cross the picket line and continue to do their jobs, said the union’s field representative, Bob Bradetich.

Jeffrey Gonzales, a parent who dropped off his children at Westside on Tuesday morning, said the picketers were blocking traffic and were a bit of a hazard. Gonzales understands they have a right to speak out, but he wondered if their action would be better in front of the construction company’s offices.

“The strike disrupts school and causes problems for people that have no affiliation with (Robinson),” Gonzales said.


Rep. Zach Space, Ohio DINO

Related story: "Public opinion survey on card-check"

Democrat wants to end secret-ballot union elections

The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R.800) was co-sponsored by 233 members of congress including Ohio Representatives Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich, Steve LaTourette, Tim Ryan, Zack Space, Betty Sutton, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, and Charlie Wilson. Now, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), along with 46 co-sponsors, introduced the Employee Free Choice Act, S. 1041, in the U.S. Senate.

Read text Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800) | Read summary of the bill


Laborers' pay complaint halts construction

Contractors stop work on major projects

After failing to reach agreement on a new contract last week, members of Laborers' Local 274 have shifted from informational picketing at a few construction companies to work stoppages at several multi-million dollar projects in Greater Lafayette. The union represents approximately 1,000 workers in 13 counties, and are not satisfied with the wage and benefits portion of a new contract offered by the Indiana Construction Association.

"Our members haven't had a wage increase on their check for two years," said Leland Mallory, business manager for Local 274. "Gas and everything costs the same for our craftspeople as it does for everyone else."

Indiana Construction Association handles multi-employer collective bargaining for 43 contractors throughout the central part of the state and was able to settle on new contracts with five of the six labor unions whose contracts expired last week.

"We, in good faith, negotiated with other unions whose contracts were up this year," said Charles Kahl, Indiana Construction Association president. "The Laborers wanted to go beyond that and we just can't do that to the other unions."

Kahl said the total wage and benefits package accepted by the other unions exceeds $30 per hour. No new negotiations have been scheduled.

Projects and contractors affected by the union's work stoppage today included:

• Clarian Arnett Hospital, Kettelhut Construction Inc. and F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co.
• Woodland Elementary School, Hagerman Construction Corp.
• A residence hall at Purdue University, F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co.
• Hockmeyer Hall of Structural Biology at Purdue, Hagerman Construction.

Jim Terry, president of Local 274, said members of other construction unions also participated in today's work stoppages, which will continue.

"We probably had nearly 100 percent of the building trades supporting us," he said. "And I hope they continue to support us."


Hoffa ignores troubled kin

Pleads guilty to bank heist

A man who claims to be related to missing Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa pleaded guilty Wednesday to robbing a western Pennsylvania bank and planning a second heist with someone he met at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. William James Hoffa Jr., 48, admitted robbing a Parkvale Savings Bank in Uniontown of $1,490 on Christmas Eve.

He also acknowledged planning to rob another Parkvale branch in nearby Chalk Hill on Jan. 10 with an acquaintance.

But, unbeknownst to Hoffa, that person contacted authorities and the FBI was waiting when he showed up to rob the bank, Assistant U.S. Attorney Soo Song said.

Hoffa's public defender, Marketa Sims, argued Wednesday that the confidential informant was more than just a bystander. Sims told Senior U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond the informant suggested the second robbery -- and even the idea to use a realistic toy gun -- after Hoffa bragged to the informant about the first heist at an NA meeting.

"You'd be surprised how often these defendants and informants approach people about these schemes at AA meetings and NA meetings," Sims said after the hearing. "It's a very common scenario."

Sims said she decided not to present an entrapment defense to the attempted bank robbery charge because then a person's predisposition to commit the crime becomes an issue. Given that Hoffa acknowledges robbing the first bank, it would be hard to argue entrapment even if she could prove the second heist was the informant's idea, Sims said.

Also, an FBI agent had previously testified that he heard a recording of Hoffa telling the informant to obtain a toy gun and two ski masks for the second robbery. The informant was wearing a microphone and a transmitter before the second heist, authorities said.

The FBI also put a tracking device on a rental car the informant drove that day. Hoffa acknowledged in an FBI interview that he paid a "crackhead" to steal the license plate he put on the car that day, Song said.

Hoffa faces up to 20 years in prison each for the heist and the aborted attempt. Sims said she'll raise Hoffa's mental health and end-stage liver disease as mitigating factors when he's sentenced Sept. 3.

"He's just in really bad shape," Sims said.

Sims said she was never able to confirm Hoffa's claimed kinship with the labor leader, but doesn't have reason to doubt it. Her client also resembles the missing Teamster.

"It's a little convoluted what the relationship actually is," Sims said.


Union anti-corruption measure circulating

Curbing "pay to play" extortion

The Montana Secretary of State’s office has approved eight statewide ballot initiatives as qualified for signature-gathering, meaning that supporters will be out asking voters to sign petitions to qualify the initiatives for the November 4 ballot:

Initiative 156: I-156 prohibits political contributions by persons and organizations with certain state or local government contracts until two years after the end of the contract. It prohibits political contributions by labor unions that have collective bargaining agreements with state or local governments. It prohibits political contributions by persons or organizations awarded state or local government contracts without the solicitation of at least three bids. It requires persons with state or local government contracts exceeding $25,000 (or $75,000 of building contracts) to file public reports with the Commissioner of Political Practices.


City biosolids plant threatens dues-flow

Privatization poses environmental danger, too

City municipal workers will try today to convince City Council to reject the Water Department’s attempt to privatize the city’s sludge plant, the Philadelphia Biosolids Recycling Center, according to the June 3 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The privatization of the sludge plant would turn over the processing of the waste of 2.1 million people to Synagro, Inc. The Water Department says it can save at least $240 million over 23 years with the proposed contract, which includes Synagro leasing the current facility and building a plant that will produce dry pellets rather than sludge, the article said.

The workers are concerned about protecting the 60 union positions at the plant, and say the proposal is a bad idea financially and environmentally, according to the article.

To read the full article, click here.


Rosselli v. Stern at SEIU convention

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