A permanent campaign for forced-unionism

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"
More EFCA stories: herecard-check: here

Labor front group to launch ad backing fascistic, forced union dues scheme

The labor advocacy group American Rights at Work is expected to announce Friday the launch of a national TV ad campaign to support the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would make it easier to organize unions and top labor priority.

The ad shows a somewhat confused worker called into a boardroom to be told he’s getting health benefits, a pension and “a nice big raise” -- only to realize he’s dreaming. The announcer says tell Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act and “make better wages and benefits a reality.” The ad is expected to run for three weeks on cable news stations.

Think of it as the start of the post-election campaign season as the new Congress and administration prepare to take office.

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"

Not to be outdone, an organization fighting the bill, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, released a survey this evening that says union households don’t support the underlying concept of the legislation, which is to allow unions to form by signing a card rather than secret ballot.

Both labor and business have said the Employee Free Choice Act is a top priority as they approach the new Congress and White House -- unions want to pass the bill and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business interests want it stopped.


ACORN thugs crack down v. reformers

More ACORN stories: herefraud: hereWade Rathke: here

Covering-up union-backed social justice fraud, Rathke embezzlement

Community organizing group ACORN, investigated this year for filing fraudulent voter registration forms, has fired two board members it had asked to investigate allegations that an ACORN founder's brother embezzled nearly $1 million.

The fired board members were investigating allegations that money was embezzled from ACORN eight years ago. An internal document from the ACORN executive board, obtained by CNN, shows that members Karen Inman and Marcel Reid were "removed from any office or committee position you may have held."

A separate document says that "the memberships of Karen Inman and Marcel Reid in ACORN is canceled, and they are removed from the Association Board."

The documents, dated November 11, are signed by Maude Hurd, president of the ACORN Association Board.

Hurd was not immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon, an ACORN receptionist said.

But ACORN member Gloria Brown, speaking from the group's main office in New Orleans, Louisiana, said in response to a CNN request for comment that Inman and Reid were removed because "they've been saying from the beginning things that were not true."

Brown said she was the only person available from ACORN to speak with CNN at the moment.

Inman, who is from Minnesota, contends that only her state branch can remove her and it has not done so.

She said the ACORN board's actions will lead to a criminal investigation.

"Why would you want us not to clean up things?" she asked. "Why would you not want to do your own investigation instead of bringing in the sheriff?"

Asked whether she thinks the sheriff is coming, she answered: "I think the sheriff's coming."

The possible embezzlement by Dale Rathke, brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, allegedly occurred about eight years ago. But the ACORN board did not find out about it until this year.

In July, the ACORN board selected an interim management committee to look at the possible embezzlement and its concealment. Inman and Reid were two of the members appointed to the committee.

When an ACORN affiliate that acts as the group's accounting firm denied the committee members access to the books, Inman said, she, Reid and several others filed a lawsuit to have the court order ACORN to preserve the books and give them access to all accounting matters.

That suit became known as the ACORN 8 because, according to Inman, eight ACORN people signed onto it. She now says there are 25 members demanding the accountability.

ACORN said the interim management committee essentially had no authority and countersued.

"They didn't have authority from that committee," ACORN member Brown said Thursday. "They filed this lawsuit that basically was not on behalf of the board at all."

According to the documents obtained by CNN, the ACORN executive board met Sunday and decided to remove Inman and Reid and any other members participating in the lawsuit.

The problems at ACORN already have cost it the financial support of one of its major donors.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development froze contributions to ACORN in June amid the embezzlement allegations.

This week, as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Baltimore, Maryland, the campaign's chairman said it was cutting all ties with the group.

"We simply had too many questions and concerns to permit further CCHD funding of ACORN groups," Roger Morin, the auxiliary bishop of New Orleans, told his colleagues in an earlier letter to the conference.

The CCHD has donated more than $7.3 million to ACORN-related projects over the past decade, including $40,000 to an ACORN chapter in Las Vegas, Nevada, that was raided before the November 4 election in an investigation into fraudulent voter registration forms.

ACORN, which conducts voter registration drives, has acknowledged that some of its hires had turned in improper voter registrations. Those workers were fired and some even prosecuted, the group said.

"In nearly every case that has been reported, it was ACORN that discovered the bad forms and called them to the attention of election authorities, putting the forms in a package that identified them in writing as suspicious, encouraging election officials to investigate, and offering to help with prosecutions," ACORN said in an October 9 news release.

Morin said a church review completed earlier this month found ACORN no longer meets standards for further funding.

In a statement to CNN, ACORN Executive Director Steven Kest said his group is grateful for the church's funding.

"We look forward to continuing discussions with CCHD officials and the bishops in the months ahead in hopes that we can continue working together on projects which have been so important to so many in low-income neighborhoods across the country," Kest said.

But Ralph McCloud, the Human Development campaign's director, said the church has "severed ties" with ACORN and there are no plans for further discussion.


Stern seeks anti-capitalist reformation

Andy Stern stories: hereMore collectivism stories: here

Early signs: Obama has to guard his left

As he prepares to enter the ring of White House politics, President-elect Barack Obama might need to perfect that left jab just as much as his right hook.

Not only can the Democratic president-to-be expect the predictable shots from the conservative right, but eventually a pounding from the left if he doesn't deliver "change you can believe in" on issues that concern liberal voters - health care reform, an end to the war in Iraq, environmental protections and taking care of the economy and the housing crisis.

"We gave him a 24-hour honeymoon - and that was generous," joked Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink, Thursday about the chances of Obama's election silencing protests for the foreseeable future. "We believe in celebrating and then moving on."

Her grassroots organization has wasted no time doing just that. On Thursday, CodePink members hit five consulates in San Francisco - those representing Bolivia, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba and Iran - delivering flowers, apple pies and cards with a message as much for the president-elect as for the leaders of those nations: "Yes We Can ... Live in Peace."

"We told them we are embracing Obama's message, and part of that is to push him," said Benjamin. "He's getting a lot of backlash on issues like direct talks with preconditions. But that is what the American people voted for - and we will hold him to that."

With just over two months until the new administration takes office and the transition in full force, Benjamin's words underscore the challenges facing a president whose historic campaign was bolstered by an unusual coalition that involved the activism, energy and money of unapologetic progressives like Benjamin as well as moderates and independents who are far more conservative.

Mainstream tack

And many political observers say that means Obama must tack toward the political mainstream to avoid miscalculations made by President Bill Clinton, who veered left and fired up the 1994 Republican backlash and its "Contract with America" - a GOP rebirth scenario Democrats don't want to see reprised.

Obama supporter Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, an icon to liberals because of her long-standing activism on issues such as AIDS/HIV and her opposition to the Iraq war, said that as Democrats celebrate the new president, they are also very aware of issues to be addressed.

"We know that the president-elect - and rightfully so - is going to work to unite the country, and we will have to see how he does that," said Lee. "I'm not saying it's going to be easy. If we really want change, you have got to do it differently, you have to accept the process of change and accept that his processes will be more inclusive."

But, she adds, "we're certainly not going to lose sight of our goals and our values. ... If you look at the progressive promise - 95 percent of what we advocated for, energy independence, infrastructure, health care reform - it's mainstream," she said.

'Symbolic victory'

At the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs' California Policy Issues Conference this week, Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan-African studies at Cal State University Los Angeles, said that although she and millions of other Democrats sang "It's a New Day" when Obama was elected, "we need to be very clear ... this is a symbolic victory."

African Americans, particularly, who supported Obama "need to think about ... the fact that we are overrepresented in the prison population, that infant mortality in our community looks a lot like developing nations," and that jobs and economic opportunities are still lacking, she said.

"The only way that change can be substantive is if we push him," she said of Obama. "Push him on the issues that are important to us, ... so institutional racism, institutional oppression can really be eroded in eight years," she told a crowd of young activists and students at the conference, which was held in Los Angeles.
SEIU's agenda

Andy Stern, who heads the Service Employees International Union - the nation's largest union, with 2 million members - says that labor fully expects to push ahead on critical interests, such as health care reform.

Especially since SEIU kept a singular focus on the health care issue by spending millions of dollars on advertising that aided the Democrats' cause - even as tens of thousands of its members provided critical ground troops for his election, he noted.

"Most presidential elections, we are electing a transactional president, someone who comes in and has a set of priorities and bargains with the Congress and tries to find solutions," Stern said. "Every once in a while, we have a transformational president, who actually changes the rules. And that is the moment where we're at.

"This is not about transactional discussions with health care. This is about transforming the economy, to change the way we provide health care, to change the opportunities for people to get an education," he said.

"We say we will have a 21st century economy that can compete globally," Stern said. "We need a fundamental reworking of our economic theory - and it can't just be a little stimulus ... or to provide health care for children only. It is a moment where we have to transform the way we think."

Already, there have been complaints from the left regarding Obama's choice of Rep. Rahm Emanuel as his White House chief of staff. Some liberals have complained that Emanuel was too supportive of the Iraq war, too tied to Wall Street and too connected to entrenched interests to represent change - or the views of the left - in the White House, where he worked in the Clinton administration.

Dan Schnur, a former GOP strategist who now directs the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Urban Politics at the University of Southern California, said they may have reason to be concerned.

Perils of pull to left

"Rahm Emanuel ... understands the perils of a newly elected president who intends to govern from a centrist force and how that president can be pulled leftward," he told the Brown Institute conference Wednesday.

"Emanuel is one of the five smartest people in American politics. He has that experience, he's intelligent, he's tough as nails and he's one of the few people I know in Washington who would be willing to go down to Capitol Hill" and deliver the message to the left: "If you really want to help this president ... then give him some space to enact his agenda," Schnur said.

Emanuel's lore includes an incident in which he reportedly sent a dead fish wrapped in newspaper to an adversary, said Schnur.

If Obama is to succeed, he said, "my hope ... is that there is a steady stream of such deliveries from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to another to help President Obama accomplish his agenda."


Union secret-ballot news - Nov. 14

Bookmark Secret-Ballot News posts: herecard-check: hereEFCA: here

Stories-of-the-day concerning Organized Labor's #1 priority.

Socialists claim union thug mandate ... A true market economy should have true labor markets in which labor and business negotiate as peers. Many years ago, the economist John Kenneth Galbraith argued that collective bargaining was necessary so workers had the countervailing force to bargain for their fair share of the growth they’re helping to produce. (pww.org)

A permanent campaign for Big Labor ... The labor advocacy group American Rights at Work is expected to announce Friday the launch of a national TV ad campaign to support the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would make it easier to organize unions and top labor priority. The ad shows a somewhat confused worker called into a boardroom to be told he’s getting health benefits, a pension and “a nice big raise” -- only to realize he’s dreaming. The announcer says tell Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act and “make better wages and benefits a reality.” (lasvegassun.com)

Hoffa: Teamsters will help Prez Bam collectivize America ... With the help of working families, Obama can create new jobs. As soon as he takes office, he can push for relief for automakers. We'll help him. He can pressure Congress to pass a $60 billion program to rebuild our infrastructure. We'll help him. He can give the middle-class a tax cut. We'll help him. We'll need his help, too, in helping working families realize the American dream. We'll also need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give workers bargaining power to raise their wages and achieve health care and retirement benefits. (detnews.com)

No daylight between Obama, Congress on 'Instant Unionization' plan ... Obama’s platform supports the Employee Free Choice Act, which allows a majority of workers who sign union cards to form a union. This would replace a system wherein employers can spend unlimited amounts of company money on anti-union campaigns, require employees to attend vote-no meetings, require employees to attend one-on-one meetings, bar union organizers from the premises during elections, “predict” that the plant will close if the vote is yes and so on. Again, there is no difference between Obama and the Democratic Congress. (dailynexus.com)

Prez Bam hides pro-union agenda ... At the top of their list is revamping the nation's health-care system and enacting the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to organize unions. Obama has championed both proposals, but it is not clear how quickly he will move on them. (washingtonpost.com)

Leftist: 'No-vote' unionism is more democratic ... So some folks will say, hey labor law sounds good, but don't the business lobbies have a point that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) proposed by labor and its supporters will undermine democracy by eliminating the secret ballot. I'll have a post soon about how the secret ballot will be fine and more used in workplaces if EFCA passes, but let's take the basic corporate argument headon. (tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com)

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"

The United States of Unconstitutional Bailouts

More collectivism stories: here

Congress opts for centralization, collectivization of property

Which section of the U.S. Constitution gives the federal government the power to bail out banks? If you don't know, it could be because no constitutional authority exists for such an action. It is all too common for both Congress and the executive branch to ignore that the Constitution limits what they can and cannot do.

The United States is not a parliamentary democracy; it is a constitutional federal republic, giving basic rights to the people and limiting the powers of government. America's Founding Fathers understood that simple majoritarian democracy could trample the rights of minorities and could lead to tyranny. One of the major reasons for the relative success of the American republic is the difficulty of making significant changes in the government structure and policies.

Many find this frustrating, but it allows momentary passions to cool and a more deliberative process to take place. As a result, fewer mistakes are made, in contrast to many parliamentary democracies. Because it was more difficult to put socialist schemes in place in the U.S., such as the nationalization of major industries, the people observed the failure of such programs in parliamentary countries, which diminished the enthusiasm for doing it in America.

A number of constitutional scholars, including former New Jersey Supreme Court Judge Andrew P. Napolitano and Robert A. Levy (who spearheaded the recent successful suit to overturn Washington, D.C.'s unconstitutional ban on gun ownership), have argued that the bank bailout scheme is unconstitutional. In a recent article in the Legal Times,Robert Levy stated: "The federal government has no constitutional authority to spend taxpayers' money to buy distressed assets, much less to take an ownership position in private financial institutions. And Congress has no constitutional authority to delegate nearly plenary legislative power to the Treasury secretary, an executive branch official." (This violates the separation of powers provisions of the Constitution.)

The following is likely to happen: The immediate financial crisis will wane. The problems in the bank bailout scheme will become increasingly apparent, and the politicians who put in it place will engage in their characteristic finger-pointing and denial. The scheme will be the subject of much litigation, some of it over time reaching the higher courts and likely even the Supreme Court. Provisions of the bailout legislation and actions by the Treasury will be ruled unconstitutional. After all of this comes to pass, most government shares in the banks will have been sold, making much of the issue moot, but Congress and the executive branch will be on notice that such actions in the future are impermissible, and the American Republic will carry on. (Pessimists may disagree with this optimistic scenario, but history shows that most often the government swings back from gross excesses.)

The Constitution has been abused by many presidents and Congresses over the centuries (perhaps, beginning with the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798, which was soon repealed). The original Constitution, even though the work of an enlightened collective genius, was flawed, most notably by the allowance of slavery, which was corrected by the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments.

There have always been political pressures on the courts to read nonexistent things into the Constitution. After President Franklin Roosevelt attempted to pack the Court to obtain approval for his "New Deal" excesses, the Court did allow much of the new regulation and reinterpreted the commerce clause far beyond the original text. This abuse of the commerce clause over the last 75 years is the source of many of today's economic problems.

In recent years, as the court's makeup has changed, there has been a slow drift back toward interpreting the Constitution on the basis of the original text and/or what appears to be original intent. Those who are unhappy with this direction, rather than following proper procedures to amend the Constitution, now argue that judges should be appointed who will interpret the Constitution in light of "today's circumstances" and their own preferences for outcomes. Advocates of the "living constitution" frequently advocate the addition of "active rights," such as the right to a home, free medical care, etc., as contrasted with "passive rights," such as freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, the right to bear arms, etc.

"Active rights" force one person to provide for, or subsidize, another person, unlike "passive rights" which do not diminish another's liberty. If you think the "government" should pay for your medical insurance, you are advocating that some other person should pay your bills. Think about someone you personally know (rather than the collective "rich") who has become at least moderately wealthy by working hard and being innovative, providing goods, services and jobs desired by fellow citizens. Then ask yourself, "What moral right do I have to claim a portion of that productive person's income?" The farther the nation goes down this slippery slope, the more "takers" and fewer "providers" there will be, and, at the end, all will share in the poverty of "active rights."

America's founding fathers clearly understood the dangers of "active rights," which is why they kept them out of the Constitution. The American Republic can correct the occasional abuse of the Constitution, such as the bank bailout legislation, but it may not survive the wholesale ignoring of the original text by allowing judges to suddenly create "active rights." The next time some politician proposes a scheme to "help the people," look at the text of the Constitution (which is more clearly written and shorter than many magazine articles). If you cannot find the constitutional power for the proposal, consider its long term consequences - and, in most cases, I think you will conclude it is a bad idea.

- Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.


Election fraud cited in IAM contract vote

More union-dues stories: here

Organized labor will say and do whatever it takes to win

The head of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce called the Machinists union situation at Vought’s North Charleston facility “unfortunate.” “When a small handful of dues-paying union members can agree — without notice to everyone affected — to a contract, the notions of democracy and fair play are abused,” chamber President and CEO Otis Rawl said in a prepared statement released Thursday afternoon.

Representatives from the Machinists union reported that 92% of voting members supported ratification of the labor agreement put forth by the company but have refused to say how many workers actually participated in the vote.

The chamber based its statements on conversations with employees and published reports in which workers have claimed that they were not notified of the vote that took place Friday. On Monday, Vought announced it was temporarily shutting down most of its local operation because of setbacks in Boeing’s 787 program.

“Respect and support for employee rights is a fundamental principle of responsible businesses like Vought,” Otis wrote. “It is unfortunate that a few individuals can commit an entire work force to terms and conditions they may or may not want.”

Vought said its offer does not substantially change working conditions for employees, with a few major exceptions, such as instituting a seniority system for layoffs and callbacks.

“It is imperative that all employees are given the facts about unions and union ratification procedures before they make decisions that may affect them for years to come,” the letter continued. “Employees in South Carolina should take note, and make sure that it never happens at their place of work.”


Non-stop political campaigns v. worker-choice

More worker-choice stories: here

Forced-unionism assault v. workers knows no limit

Organized labor continues to play a major role in bankrolling the Virginia Democratic Party. On Monday, the Treasury Employees Democracy in Action committee gave the state party $15,000.

The organization is made up of federal employees. Since Sept. 1, the state party has collected more than $625,000 from organized labor for its state account. Labor unions also contributed tens of thousands dollars to the party's federal efforts this year in support of President-elect Barck Obama and Senator-Elect Mark R. Warner.

The volume of money the party is collecting from labor could certainly become a campaign issue in 2009, given Virginia's status as a right-to-work state. Virginia Republicans are already asking what, if anything, the labor unions hope to accomplish by pouring so much money into the state party.


No seat at the Obama table for Big Labor?

Obama's first choices

Obama’s first appointments have confirmed the grimmest suspicions about the new regime. The naming of "Rahmbo" Rahm Emanuel as the new bouncer for the regime has caused much consternation, even over at the Daily Kos. Rahm is a former member of the Israeli Defense Force whose ruling passion is that he is a warmonger.

In 2006, when Rahm ran the Democratic congressional money machine, he made sure that only warmongers committed to the open-ended prosecution of the Afghan and Iraq wars could get any Democratic Party financing for their races. Many contests were lost as a result. A tragic case was that of grass-roots antiwar activist Christine Cegelis of Ohio, who was defeated in the Democratic primary by Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who advocated endless hostilities there. Duckworth lost to the Republican by several points.

If the $300,000 Rahm gave Duckworth had been shared with anti-war candidate Bob Bowman in Florida, a Democratic seat could easily have been added. Rahm is also a product of the corrupt Illinois bipartisan Combine, which I have described in my books.

A co-chair of the transition team is Valerie Jarrett, who served as Obama’s travelling schoolmarm during the campaign. Jarrett also comes from the Daley wing of the Illinois combine. She has provided graft and related support for Michelle Obama’s foundation-funded operations. Jarrett is also an integral part of the Chicago housing graft community, a region also inhabited by Obama’s original godfather, the convicted felon and embezzler Tony Rezko. Jarrett is discussed in detail in my Obama biography. She is joined on the transition team by John Podesta, a Clinton-era retread who worked for Sen. Tom Daschle, the senator from Citibank, the biggest employer in South Dakota. Podesta also worked for Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, a close personal friend of Weatherman terrorist bombers Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

Another Daschle-Citibank retread is transition co-chair Tom Rouse, who was the chief of staff for Daschle when he was the weakest Democratic majority leader in recent memory, surrendering to Bush on point after point. Chief strategist remains David Axelrod of the corrupt Illinois Combine, who was taught his mindbending skills in the infamous “1313” Rockefeller-funded think tank at the University of Chicago.


Obama’s transitional council of economic advisers is also notable. The dominant figures here are all Wall Street derivatives merchants and their quackademic apologists and politician clients. The key people here are plutocrat Warren Buffet, Obama moneybags and Hyatt heiress Penny Pritzker, Goldman Sachs-Citibank alum Robert Rubin, woman-hater thug and failed Harvard president Larry Summers, Google spook Eric Schmidt, and Roger Ferguson, the former vice president of the Federal Reserve board. The most outrageous is Trilateral Commission bigwig Paul Adolf Volcker, the bringer of the 22% prime rate of 1981 and the destroyer of the US industrial base. What is truly notable about this list is that there is not one single labor leader. No Sweeney of the AFL-CIO, no Hoffa of the Teamsters, no UAW, not even Andy Stern of the SIEU. Note the difference to the New Deal, when labor reps were indispensable. With Obama, only derivatives dealers need apply.

Also notable by their absence are leaders of women’s groups, small business associations, the congressional black caucus, retirees groups like the AARP – there is not even a token face representing any of these groups, all of which have a vital interest in economic policy. Read the ill omens if you have eyes to see. The Obama regime is shaping up as of the bankers, by the bankers, for the bankers. This is not the FDR New Deal – this is the Mussolini fascist corporate state.


We are also told that Obama has been on the phone to foreign leaders about matters of economic importance. Let us read the tea leaves: whom did Obama call? Here is the list: Australia, the British, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea.

Notice now who is NOT on this list. Start with the great world powers who have been snubbed: Russia and China, both of whom are bigger holders of US Treasury bonds than most of those who are on the list. Saudi Arabia, who might have needed reassurance that Obama is not a commie, also snubbed. Forget ideology, and behold the ineptitude. Most glaring of all is the lack of any phone call to a leading third world or developing sector country, other than Mexico, which is a branch of NAFTA. No calls were made to Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, India or a long list of other leading states. Nobody in Africa, nobody in south Asia, and nobody in South America got a call. Not even those who will be coming to the pseudo-Bretton Woods conference set for Washington later this month. The best we can hope for regarding that conference is that it end in a stalemate, dividing the world between a US-UK dominated derivatives bloc and a Brazil-India-Russia-China-South Africa anti-derivatives bloc interested in real physical commodity production, not fictitious capital.

Obama, in summation, is acting just like the abject puppet of the Wall Street derivatives merchants and warmongers which we have argued him to be.

- Webster G. Tarpley is the author of Obama - The Postmodern Coup: The Making of a Manchurian Candidate, and Barack H. Obama: The Unauthorized Biography, both available from Amazon.com.


Shame on AFSCME operatives

More AFSCME stories: hereMore union-dues stories: here

Forced-dues were used to spread partisan misinformation

In this past presidential election, it was disgusting how many groups were able to run ads that had absolutely no truth in them whatsoever.

It makes a person question why they couldn't point out the positives in the candidate they support. They could only tell lies against the other candidate.

In my opinion one of the most irresponsible ads was sponsored by AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees). The ad in question paid for by AFSCME was called "Risky on Social Security." What were they thinking running this negligent ad? In the ad they claim that seniors that are now receiving Social Security benefits would lose them if McCain were elected. Their benefit money would have been invested and lost in the recent stock market correction, according to the ad. In my view, that is a lie and they know it.

The proposals they lied about would have given younger workers similar options that some AFSCME members have had for years. Older workers, like those shown in the ad, would not have had any option with their Social Security.

Three questions: First, if a person who is now of retirement age had all of the money they paid into Social Security instead invested into the stock market, even after the recent correction, would they have more money from the stock market, or from Social Security?

Second, this is a question for the AFSCME leaders. Where do your members have their retirement money invested?

Third, why has some of AFSCME's unions decided not to participate in the Social Security fund by having their own pension money invested in the stock market instead of the government?

Would an AFSCME leader care to publicly comment truthfully on these questions?

- Wes Kupsky, Chilton


Catholics probe ACORN

More ACORN stories: herefraud stories: here

Union-backed fraud group faces new scrutiny

Roman Catholic churches throughout Alabama, including those in Tuscaloosa, will not conduct the Catholic Campaign for Human Development's second collection on Nov. 22-23 because of potential financial problems involving ACORN, a controversial group that registered voters for the 2008 election.

Birmingham Diocese Bishop Robert J. Baker, in a letter dated Nov. 16, said ACORN will not get money from the second collection until the CCHD finishes a probe into whether ACORN used money in a way that might endanger the CCHD's tax- exempt status.

'In light of recent concerns regarding funding of the ACORN organization by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, we will wait for the result of the [CCHD] investigation into the use of the funds by ACORN before sending contributions to them,' the letter said.

Baker's letter directs parish priests to instead collect for the Church in Latin America. The bishop for the Mobile Diocese, which governs churches in south Alabama, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Not mentioned in Baker's letter were allegations that surfaced during the presidential campaign about ACORN's voter registration practices and the revelation this summer that Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, embezzled $1 million from the organization in 1999 and 2000.

ACORN stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which was formed in 1970 to help the poor in jobs, housing and fighting discrimination.

The national Catholic Campaign for Human Development, formed in 1970 as the Catholic Church's domestic anti-poverty program, takes collections for the poor from parishes the weekend before Thanksgiving. It gave a little more than $1 million in 2007 and $1.17 million to affiliates in 2006, according to Catholic News Service. The news service said the campaign has given more than $7.3 million in 10 years for more than 300 projects.

The church stopped a grant of $1.2 million to ACORN after reports of alleged voter fraud surfaced.

ACORN executive director Steven Kest said Tuesday that ACORN is cooperating with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and that Wade and Dale Rathke are no longer with the organization.

'The parties responsible have been removed and anyone in connection to ACORN involved in the embezzlement are no longer involved,' Kest said in a telephone interview. 'The outside parties and board members concerned about that are taking necessary steps on that.'

Kest also addressed allegations that Campaign for Human Development money might have been used to register voters.

'We don't do any voter registration with that money,' Kest said. 'We report every year on what we do.'

ACORN has been accused of partisanship, registering mostly black voters in an attempt to help elect Barack Obama president this year. Obama worked with ACORN early in his career.

Kest said any group that helps the poor naturally helps blacks. He said 10 percent to 15 percent of the people ACORN helps are white.

Kest acknowledged there were voter registration irregularities by people ACORN hired to register voters this year, including the registration of 'Mickey Mouse.'

'The fact is, it's a very big aggressive program with a very expensive quality control component and a very small percentage, maybe one-and a-half percent of cases, some of the employees gave us bad cards,' Kest said. 'We caught most of them.'

The Rev. Gerald Holloway, pastor of Saint Francis University parish in Tuscaloosa, said he plans to read Baker's letter during the three Masses on Nov. 23.

Holloway was asked if the campaign grant to ACORN was a proper use of money. 'I'm really not sure; they are under investigation,' he said.

The Rev. Gray Bean, pastor of St. James Catholic Church in Gadsden, said he would announce suspension of the collection.

'I don't think the church should support any partisan politics,' Bean said. 'We can speak on issues, but we're not allowed to speak with a partisan voice and certainly some of the things ACORN supports are not in line with Catholic morals. CCHD has some problems. Probably what will happen is there will be a major restructuring.'

Bean said parishioners and priests are talking about the grants to ACORN. 'I know priests who would not take up the CCHD collection in their parishes,' he said.

New Orleans Diocese Bishop Robert Morin, the moderator for the Campaign for Human Development, has called for a forensic investigation of the ACORN donations. His letter said money was not knowingly misused.

Morin is the chairman of the campaign oversight committee. The campaign receives about $9.4 million each year in second collections.


Exposed: The News Union Did It

Post Fesses Up To Obama Bias After The Fact

Guilty! One of the nation's premier newspapers fesses up about allegations of pro-Obama bias.

The Washington Post's ombudsperson, Deborah Howell, tracked its presidential campaign stories, front-page coverage and use of photos covering the period from Obama's nomination on June 4 to Election Day. The result?

Howell writes: "The op-ed page ran far more laudatory opinion pieces on Obama, 32, than on McCain, 13. There were far more negative pieces about McCain, 58, than there were about Obama, 32, and Obama got the editorial board's endorsement.

"Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Reporters, photographers and editors found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic. Journalists love the new; McCain, 25 years older than Obama, was already well-known and had more scars from his longer career in politics.

"The number of Obama stories since Nov. 11 was 946, compared with McCain's 786. Both had hard-fought primary campaigns, but Obama's battle with Hillary Clinton was longer, and the numbers reflect that.

"McCain clinched the GOP nomination on March 4, three months before Obama won his. From June 4 to Election Day, the tally was Obama at 626 stories and McCain at 584. Obama was on the front page 176 times, McCain 144 times; 41 stories featured both.

"But Obama deserved tougher scrutiny than he got, especially of his undergraduate years, his start in Chicago and his relationship with Antoin 'Tony' Rezko, who was convicted this year of influence-peddling in Chicago. The Post did nothing on Obama's acknowledged drug use as a teenager.

"One gaping hole in coverage involved Joe Biden, Obama's running mate. When Gov. Sarah Palin was nominated for vice president, reporters were booking the next flight to Alaska. Some readers thought the Post went over Palin with a fine-tooth comb and neglected Biden. They are right."

Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

Now, when can we expect the New York Times (endorsed Obama), Los Angeles Times (endorsed Obama), Chicago Tribune (endorsed Obama) and the other major papers to man up and admit their bias and their resultant anti-McCain, anti-Republican, pro-Obama coverage? What about ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN?

So, what does this admission tell us going forward? MSNBC's Chris Matthews already gave us a preview. As a "journalist," Matthews recently said his "job" is to "make (Obama's presidency) work successfully."

Put aside the absurdity that the anti-Bush, opinion-giving Matthews calls himself a "journalist," but the same rabid Obama-for-president bias now becomes a cheering section. You have, no doubt, seen and heard stories about Obama facing challenges "more daunting than any president in living memory." Really?

Many Americans were alive when Franklin Roosevelt took over in 1933. At the low point of the Great Depression, 25% of adults were unemployed, including nearly 50% of urban black adults.

Economist David Wheelock of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis says that by 1934, almost half of urban homes with mortgages were in default, and 7.3% of housing structures had been foreclosed. Today 6.4% of mortgages are delinquent, 2.75% are in the foreclosure process, and 0.6% of all housing units are bank-owned.

What about when Ronald Reagan took over the presidency in 1981? He inherited an economy with unemployment at 7.5% (vs. 6.5% today); annualized inflation at 13.5% (vs. today's 4% or so annualized — through the first three quarters — and dropping rapidly); prime interest rates peaking at 21.5% (vs. 4% today); and conventional mortgage interest rates of 15% (vs. 6% today).

Reagan inherited a presidency in full Cold War mode, the Islamic country of Iran had just released 52 hostages held for 444 days, the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan, and the communists had infiltrated many countries in South America.

Because of outgoing President Jimmy Carter's price controls and the imposition of oil company "windfall profits" taxes, Americans waited for hours in gas lines.

Raising taxes on the so-called rich is bad. Giving welfare "tax credits" to those who pay no federal income taxes is bad. "Bailing out" homeowners and lenders who made ill-advised decisions is bad. Rewarding the Big Three domestic auto companies for decades of poor management is bad. Obama wants to do some or all of this — and more.

What will the pro-Obama media say about all of this? "Hey, come on, after the evil/incompetent/dictatorial Bush, anything is better, right?" "Look, what do you expect? Things are as bad as they've ever been, so give Obama a break!"

It's going to be a long four years.

- Larry Elder


Socialists claim union thug mandate

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"
More EFCA stories: herecard-check: here

Did voters really authorize more union power?

On Nov. 4 voters rejected an anti-union big business campaign against the Employee Free Choice Act and elected candidates who support the bill. The labor law reform measure is at the top of the unions’ post-election agenda.

Six newly elected senators expressed strong support for the bill, despite the millions of dollars the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big business outfits spent to try and defeat them. The new senators – Rep. Mark Udall of Colorado, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Rep. Tom Udall of New Mexico, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Warner of Virginia and Jeff Merkley of Oregon – could play a key role in passing the legislation. The EFCA would vastly expand the number of unionized workers because it requires recognition of unions at workplaces as soon as a majority of workers sign pledge cards expressing their desire to be represented.

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"

The bill was passed by the House last year but killed by a threatened GOP filibuster in the Senate. President Bush had vowed to veto the bill even if it had passed.

The picture is changed now because of greater progressive majorities elected in the House and Senate and because President-elect Obama, who co-sponsored the EFCA in the Senate, has said he will work to pass it and then sign it once he takes office. Obama, as a presidential candidate, showed his pro-labor credentials when he actually walked picket lines with striking workers including the picket line in front of Chicago’s Congress Hotel where employees have mounted a five-year strike.

A poll by Peter D. Hart Research Associates right after the election showed that nearly two thirds of voters believe it is important to pass the EFCA and nearly one-third believe it should be a top priority for Congress. Overall, 55 percent of voters said they approve of labor unions, compared with just 27 percent who say they disapprove.

The labor movement has long viewed the EFCA as critical to rebuilding the U.S. economy. According to David Bonior, chair of American Rights at Work, a group affiliated with the AFL-CIO, “Workers are supporting the Employee Free Choice Act because it gives working people the freedom to make their own decision about whether and how to form a union. Working people are struggling to make ends meet and the Employee Free Choice Act will allow more people to bargain for better wages and bargaining conditions – which in turn helps rebuild our middle class and create an economy that works for all.”

While it is no surprise that support for the EFCA is strong in the labor movement and among its allies there is growing recognition, even in some business circles, that unions play a critical role.

Robert Rubin, Treasury secretary under President Clinton and now director of CitiGroup, recently co-authored an article in the New York Times with Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. They wrote: “The problem is that the benefits of productivity growth have largely eluded working families. Though productivity grew by some 20 percent from 2000 to 2007, the real income of middle class, working-age households has actually fallen $2,000, down 3 percent.

“One factor behind this outcome is the severely diminished bargaining power of many workers, and here the decline in union membership has played a key role. A true market economy should have true labor markets in which labor and business negotiate as peers. Many years ago, the economist John Kenneth Galbraith argued that collective bargaining was necessary so workers had the countervailing force to bargain for their fair share of the growth they’re helping to produce. To re-establish that force, workers should be allowed to choose to be unionized or not.”

In addition to allowing workers to make that choice by simple card check, the EFCA would also sharply increase penalties, up to $20,000 per violation, for companies that violate labor laws and would make it easier to get court orders against labor law breakers. The law would also mandate binding arbitration between unions and employers if they cannot reach agreement on an initial contract within 120 days of starting talks.

One of the reasons the ultra-right is so determined to defeat the EFCA is that a larger union movement, it fears, would strengthen the broad progressive movement that helped elect Obama president, solidifying a new progressive direction in American politics.

Even with their current numbers union voters had a powerful impact in this election. Across the battleground states, the Hart poll found, they backed Obama by an impressive 68-30 margin.

The special union “difference” was dramatically shown in other findings:

Obama won among white men who are union members by 18 points while losing that group by 16 points in the general public.

Union military veterans voted for Obama by a 25 point margin. He lost among that group in the general public by nine points.

Obama even won among union gun owners by a 12 point margin while losing that group in the general public by 25 points.


Leftist: 'No-vote' unionism is more democratic

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"
More EFCA stories: herecard-check: here

Neo-fascist hoax: Force disinterested working folks to pay tribute to union bigs, Dems

So some folks will say, hey labor law sounds good, but don't the business lobbies have a point that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) proposed by labor and its supporters will undermine democracy by eliminating the secret ballot. I'll have a post soon about how the secret ballot will be fine and more used in workplaces if EFCA passes, but let's take the basic corporate argument headon. Under EFCA, instead of holding an election with a secret ballot, workers can also choose a union alternatively by a majority of workers signing cards asking to have their union recognized.

Related video: "Employee Forced Choice Act"

Horrors, the business lobby cries, weeping for the lost democratic voice of their workers (as they threaten to fire anyone who supports the union during the election), but here's the thing-- an NLRB election recognizes the union if a majority of THOSE VOTING support the union, while the card check option requires support from a majority of ALL WORKERS IN THAT COMPANY OR VOTING UNIT. So the latter option is harder and actually is more guaranteed to reflect the will of the workers. Follow below the fold to imagine how this would play out in a federal Presidential election.

Think of it this way, according to numbers at CNN.com, Obama won a solid victory with 66,495,305 votes across the country. But that was out of 213,005,467 total eligible voters, so Obama received only 31.2% of those who could vote.

Let's say their was a "card check" option for the Presidency. First, instead of having the government set up polling places in every community and manage an election, just to get those original 66 million plus votes, the Obama campaign would have had to independently pay to send cards to each voter and do far more extensive "get out the vote" work to get those cards returned. No depending on voters just to show up at the polls in safe states and districts. Every voter would require individual outreach.

So just duplicating the exact numbers Obama got would be more daunting under a card check Presidential system. But getting those same numbers would still leave the campaign short. On top of the 66 million plus votes he received, Obama would need an additional 40,007,429 legal voters (213,005,467 divided by 2 minus Obama's election total) signing cards supporting him for President. Which means Obama would have to reach deep into the mass of non-voters-- whether apathetic, disenchanted, dispirited Republicans, or whatever -- to get those last 40 million supporters. The resources required for that outreach would be a level truly daunting, and even the Obama machine is grateful that the government provides the easier route of elections. But I think unquestionably, a President who could demonstrate support from an absolute majority of all eligible voters, having 106,502,734 voters state their support for them, would have a clear democratic mandate.

The fact that unions would even want the option of card check is just a testament to how awful and unfair the NLRB election system has become (a topic for another post).

What about "coercion of workers? Yes, business lobbies claim that unions want the option so they can "coerce" voters to sign pro-union cards. Here's a question, since such coercion is clearly illegal under present law and unions have used card check authorized under some state laws for public workers and in negotiated cases with some employers, where is the list of convicted union organizers illegally coercing workers to sign cards? The Bush administration would have been happy to prosecute yet there are no examples. The union "coercion" argument is a lie and red herring to justify denying labor rights just as the right's cries of "voter fraud" is their screen for voter disenfranchisement.

The secret ballot is a useful institution and workers will retain that right under EFCA, since 30% of workers in a worksite can always demand an election and as long as a majority of workers refuse to sign cards authorizing the union, they hold onto a right to have an election instead. But where a majority of workers recognize that they want a union and want to avoid the employer threats and coercion that accompany an NLRB election, the right to a card check option should clearly exist and is the best way to reflect the real democratic will of workers.

- Nathan Newman


News Union dues hit in Baltimore worsens

More union-dues stories: here

Tree-killers beset by paper-stream waste, red-ink, newsroom collectivism

The Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild said Thursday it expects another round of job cuts at the Baltimore Sun, and officials are preparing to fight any future layoffs.

The union said it expects more job cuts within days. Angie Kuhl, a unit chair with the union, said she does not know how many job cuts are planned. But union officials don’t expect buyouts to be offered, as they have been in the past, and the cuts will impact the newsroom.

Renee Mutchnik, a Baltimore Sun spokeswoman, said Sun management has no comment. The Sun eliminated 100 positions at the paper in August. It also recently eliminated its standalone Maryland and Business sections as part of an overall redesign.

“We’re trying to mitigate the effects” of any job cuts, said Kuhl, an advertising designer at the Sun. “We want to make sure people are treated fairly. We try to impress that cutting is not the way to prosperity.”

Tribune Co., the Sun’s parent, posted a $124 million third quarter loss this month.

The newspaper, Maryland’s largest daily publication, saw its average Sunday circulation number fall 3.9 percent to 350,640 during the period.


Labor-state Teamsters served dues hit by Pepsi

More union-dues stories: here

Job cuts in Delaware foreshadow Barackonomics

Pepsi Bottling Group has eliminated about 45 of the 58 positions at its bottling and warehouse facility in Wilmington, a company spokesman confirmed Thursday.

The move is the result of Pepsi Bottling Group's decision to stop making and bottling beverages at the plant on Gov. Printz Boulevard, which the Somers, N.Y.-based company has owned since 1988.

About half of the 45 affected workers will have the option of transferring to a Pepsi Bottling Group warehouse in West Chester, Pa., said Jeff Dahncke, a company spokesman, who declined to disclose details of any severance packages workers will receive.

"We worked closely with the union to offer packages to impacted workers," he said.

The Wilmington facility will continue to operate as a warehouse to "serve the needs of our local customers," Dahncke said. About 13 workers, in sales and delivery, will continue to work from the facility, he said.

An official with Teamsters Local 830 in Philadelphia, which represents workers at the plant, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

A weak economy forced the bottler to streamline its operations, Dahncke said.

"Consumers are spending less and we've been forced to adapt to the realities of the marketplace," he said.

The job losses are the latest blow to Delaware's slumping manufacturing sector. In recent weeks, automakers Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp., auto parts manufacturer Lear Corp. and textile maker Invista have said they will eliminate a total of about 2,100 jobs.

The biggest cuts will come at Chrysler, which will lay off more than 1,200 workers next month when it shutters its Newark assembly plant and Mopar parts distribution center in Newark.

Delaware's unemployment rose to 4.8 percent in September, up from 3.3 percent in September 2007.

Pepsi Bottling Group is the world's largest manufacturer, seller and distributor of Pepsi products, with more than 70,000 employees worldwide. Its operations include about 40 bottling facilities around the U.S, as well as operations in Canada, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Turkey and Greece.


Teamsters served dues hit at Rite Aid

More union-dues stories: here

Militant union's cash flow crimped

Rite Aid Corp. has notified 26 associates at its distribution center in Poca that they will be laid off effective Friday, a company spokeswoman said.

"I can confirm that last week we notified 26 associates at our distribution center in Poca that the layoff would take effect this Friday, Nov. 14," Rite Aid spokeswoman Cheryl Slavinsky said.

"The reduction is in response to the changing business conditions in the markets served by the West Virginia distribution center," she said. "Honestly, it's the economy - everybody cutting back on their spending. Retail has been hit hard. We've done everything we could do to not lay anybody off but we had to. We certainly hope the economy turns around and we can bring people back."

The employees are members of Teamsters Local 175. Slavinsky declined to describe the positions affected. She also declined to say whether the employees have been offered a severance package.

"We gave a week's notice and are operating within the boundaries of the collective bargaining agreement," she said.

Ralph Winter, the Teamsters' business agent, did not return a call seeking comment.

The distribution center, which is in the Rock Branch Industrial Park, has about 500 employees. The center supplies more than 400 Rite Aid stores in West Virginia, central and western Pennsylvania, northern Kentucky and most of Ohio.

The center last made news in 1999 when Rite Aid announced it would close. Following that announcement the Teamsters, employees, community leaders and government officials rallied to change the company's decision. Following a change in Rite Aid's top management, the decision was reversed.

Rite Aid Corp. is one of the nation's largest drugstore chains with more than 4,900 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The company has a strong presence on both the East and West coasts. The company has about 109,000 employees.

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