Monday wrap

Union secret-ballot ads on TV ... Unions are to blame for the Big Three automakers’ problems, according to a television ad meant to stoke public opposition to organized labor’s number one legislative priority. “Steel, auto, airlines. What do these industries all have in common?” asks the ad sponsored by the business-backed Employee Freedom Action Committee, which was active in several hotly contested Senate races this year. “Hundreds of thousands of lost jobs and union bosses that helped put them out of business.” Business groups are paying for the ad to run on CNN and the Fox cable news network Monday through Wednesday, according to the group’s spokesman, Tim Miller. He said the ad buy was “fairly substantial” but declined to specify a figure. (thehill.com)

Secret gov't-union bargaining defrauds taxpayers ... If you decided to have a home built and the contractor said he’d build what he thought was best for you and tell you what it will cost afterwards, you’d be looking for a new contractor. Yet, we routinely sit back while public employee contracts are signed and sealed before the taxpayers know what the deal will cost. That’s wrong, and our local state legislators need to put together a bill that would create a law giving the public more say in the contracts they pay for. (uticaod.com)

SEIU-UHW FUBAR in CA ... The presidential election has come to an end, but a stormy political battle of another sort is in high gear in labor circles, with long-ranging consequences for California healthcare workers. At issue is whether as many as 300,000 employees now represented by three separate local unions across the state will be rolled into one enormous local, a proposal that was put to a nonbinding vote of members on Monday. At the same time, the Service Employees International Union wrapped up hearings this week into allegations that leaders of one of those locals misused dues, creating a secret war chest to fight the merger. Some within SEIU say the proposed megalocal would be too big and unresponsive -- most loudly the heads of the United Healthcare Workers West, the subject of the trusteeship hearings and a local that would either be reduced by half or swallowed completely in the merger. They claim that their parent union's real motivation is to squelch dissent and that they will be ousted either by consolidation or trusteeship, replaced by pliant appointees. "This is an unprecedented war by an international union against a local," Sal Rosselli, president of UHW, said outside the hearing room at the San Jose convention center. The rift has become so ugly that guards were hired to stand at the door. (latimes.com)

SEIU organizers betrayed workers' trust in Fla. ... Two years after the Service Employees International Union lost its campaign to unionize service workers at Nova Southeastern University, janitor Wanda Rodriguez says she has learned a hard lesson: Be careful about trusting unions because they may not be able to help you after you are fired. As a federal judge weighs Davie-based NSU's role in the organizing effort, those who lost their livelihood as a result of the campaign see the court action as meaningless since it won't get them their jobs back. And they feel angry and betrayed by not only NSU and its contractors but also by the government and union. (miamiherald.com)

Foreign collectivist counting on Prez Bam ... It is not clear when the Obama stimulus package will create the first job. And without knowing the cost of that package, the stamp of approval by George Soros is indeed puzzling. But the markets are desperate for feel-good stories, and it is very reasonable to expect the incoming Obama administration to oblige. Periodic Obama bounces are on the cards in forthcoming weeks. Most such bounces will open short trading windows. (seekingalpha.com)

AFT fights against GOP candidate

Is it time for a union resurgence? ... "Our time has come!" proclaimed the South Florida AFL-CIO at Friday's post-election meeting. Having helped Barack Obama win the White House and the Democratic Party expand control of Congress, unions are ready to tackle a wish list that has gotten crumpled and faded. At the top: the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to join unions -- therefore ensuring the very survival of the House of Labor during the nationwide economic crisis. "This is a defining moment for labor," South Florida AFL-CIO President Fred Frost told about 30 union leaders over a plastic-fork lunch of Boston Market chicken and corn bread, described as their "last meal" until budgets recover from the election. "All of the work we've done for Obama is for naught unless we can revitalize the labor movement." (miamiherald.com)

Bad timing for militant Actors' Union ... The Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) sent out a message to its members saying that SAG negotiators continued to "unrealistically... insist on a substantially better deal than all the other major Hollywood guilds and unions have negotiated so far in 2008." AMPTP representatives added that SAG was provoking a strike at a time when the national economy is already suffering. They said their current offer to SAG was "fair and strong," and that the current economic downturn might actually force them to scale back their offer. (ktla.com)

Labor-state SEIU militants out of step ... Upset over stalled contract negotiations, about 230 employees at Hastings' 57-bed Regina (MN) Medical Center will begin a two-day strike today. Their union, which plans to picket 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Tuesday, is unhappy with the hospital's offers on pensions and health insurance, steward Jan Salo said Sunday. (startribune.com)

Collectivists less likely to become problem drinkers ... People who tend to be socially independent and self-reliant are more likely to become problem drinkers, says a new study. The study led by researchers from University of Texas-San Antonio has found that high levels of individualism lead to more problem drinking. During the study, Yinlong Zhang and L.J. Shrum, compared beer and alcohol consumption within countries, and states within US. (entertainmentandshowbiz.com)

Obamunists attempt to ditch socialist baggage ... Several readers have written in saying that the Nazis must have been socialists or on the left because they have the word "socialist" in their name. This is a shallow analysis. The Nazis used the word "socialist" because at that time the word had great appeal, particularly among Germany's large, well-organized working class. Employing the word was salesmanship, nothing more. While some of Hitler's street-level supporters did take the "socialist" part seriously, it was big business which helped bankroll Hitler's rise to power. (mensnewsdaily.com)

Declaw the Fat-Cat Education Union Bigs ... The Pennsylvania State Education Association causes untold damage to kids, taxpayers and the commonwealth. Few Pennsylvanians know how costly is this teacher union. But the public has the power to tame the beast. With more than 185,500 members, 281 full-time employees and an annual income above $84 million, the PSEA is one of the state's wealthiest, largest and most politically active labor unions, reports The Commonwealth Foundation, a public-policy, free-market think tank in Harrisburg. The PSEA has had cancerlike growth because of its ability to organize employees into collective bargaining units, influence legislation through its puppets that the union's political action committee helped to elect, and push for endless amounts of public financing for public schools, which usually ends up in union members' pockets. But the public can fight back by demanding the repeal of Act 84 of 1988, which made Pennsylvania a "compulsory union" state, allowing unions to bargain for extracting "agency fees" from workers who don't want to be members. And even though Pennsylvania is not a Right-to-Work state, each school district still has the right to stop this extortion whenever bargaining with the union about a contract. The people must use their power to declaw the PSEA. (pittsburghlive.com)

Clueless in collectivist Michigan ... Barack Obama shows poor judgment by naming Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to his economic transition team. Michigan has suffered through a one-state recession for years in part due to the harmful ideas and policies advocated by Jobless Jenny. After the March 2007 decision by Comerica to relocate its headquarters from Michigan to a more business-friendly state, Granholm moaned that "In a world where major corporations are making decisions for shareholders instead of communities it makes me mad, frankly ... It's bad." Imagine if you ran your business or your life based on the irrational whims of "the community!" If Obama thinks collectivism will get our economy back on track, our country is in for a painful four years. (tucsoncitizen.com)

Even unionists favor secret ballots by 2-1 ... The so-called “Employee Free Choice Act,” which is being promoted by unions across the country, would strip away the rights of 140 million American workers to a federally supervised, private-ballot election when deciding whether or not to unionize. Contrary to what some are claiming, this legislation does not create a level playing field. The basic right of casting a ballot, without fear of retaliation, creates a level field — especially for an individual. The issue with the mis-named Employee Free Choice Act is freedom. Freedom is to vote one’s conscience without fear that anyone — not business owners or the unions — will ever know how you voted, and therefore, can never hold it against you. An interesting statistic came out during the recent election. Polls were conducted in states where the candidates for senate made the Employee Free Choice Act an issue. Among union households — yes, union households — more than two-thirds favored retaining employees’ rights to a private-ballot election when deciding whether or not to unionize. (heraldnews.com)

Payback that stabs the American people in the back ... The “Employee Free Choice Act” is an insult to anyone with an IQ greater than zero. Let me get this straight: Take away a worker’s right to cast a secret ballot for labor union elections and that’s free choice. That’s just plain stupid, which is also what the Democratic leaders in Congress think of the voters who elected them. The union bosses want to replace the secret ballot with a “card check” system, so the union officials can see how people voted as they collect the cards. I think that’s called open intimidation, but they probably have a cutesy name for that also. If a worker votes to not unionize, the union officials would be able to let all the other workers know who voted against unionizing. This would allow pro-union workers to harass other workers on the job until they changed their vote the next time around, or until they quit. - Herman Cain (northstarwriters.com)

GOP goes DINO hunting ... The second issue such that is likely to arise is the Employee Free Choice Act, which would effectively eliminate secret ballots in determining unionization. The act allows for "free choice" in the same way the Democratic People's Republic of Korea allows for "democracy." Unions have been increasingly marginalized and they see this legislation as their path to become more relevant. But Democrats will have a hard time defending a proposal that effectively replaces the secret ballot with the card check system, which is open to coercion and intimidation, for the obvious reason that it is indefensible and stands squarely against the very values upon which America was founded. Republicans should be all over the airwaves opposing this outrageous bill when it comes up. (northstarwriters.com)

Job-killer bill would be OK in good times ... Darlene Robbins, president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association, said the act might be “a good idea when the economy is good,” but right now, it’s a “horrible idea.” “Our policy makers focused on true economic stimulus should not support it because it harms our economic growth and our ability to create jobs,” Robbins said. She said employees’ signatures under the card-check system would be made public to union organizers and coworkers. “Secret ballots are the only way to protect an employee’s freedom to choose without subtle or overt coercion,” Robbins said. (timesleader.com)

Needed: A check against a left-wing Congress run amok ... George Orwell is turning over in his grave. But if you live in Georgia, you can put a stop to it. The so-called "Employee Free Choice Act," is as Orwellian a name for any law we've ever seen. The proposed law before Congress, in fact, is not about free choice at all; rather, it seeks to restrict the free choice of those who don't want to join a union, in a most underhanded way. Democrats love the law for what it will do for their bread-and-butter Big Labor friends: It will take away employees' right to a secret ballot when voting on whether to form a union. Democrats and union bosses know that public votes on unions will put crushing pressure on intimidated workers to vote in favor of forming or joining unions. And what kind of reprisals might the workers risk if they vote against the union? (chronicle.augusta.com)

Defiant tyrants send message to Prez Bam ... Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday visits US foe Venezuela for talks with President Hugo Chávez and joint naval exercises in the Caribbean Sea in a show of defiance on Washington's doorstep, AFP reported. The visit comes on a four-country Latin American tour in which the Russian leader has vowed to revive partnerships from the Soviet era, when the region was an arena for intense Cold War rivalry between Moscow and Washington. Russian officials have insisted the tour is not directed against "third countries" -- a clear reference to the United States -- but analysts see it as evidence of growing military assertiveness by Moscow and a response to US moves in former Soviet lands. (focus-fen.net)

Communist officials fear civil unrest over job losses ... Only a few days after Beijing announced it is putting up $586 billion US to try to stave off the worst effects of the looming global recession, a government minister last week said the job picture is "grim" and prospects of increased social unrest the "top concern." China's state-owned Xinhua news agency reported Social Security Minister Yin Weimin saying on Thursday shrinking demand for Chinese products and consumer anxiety is hitting small, labour-intensive businesses especially hard. (canada.com)

Voters limit leftist thuggery ... Chávez, 54, gave a generally subdued speech at party headquarters, in contrast to past elections when he typically punched the air and shouted victory slogans from his palace balcony in front of thousands of celebrating supporters. Fireworks screamed overhead in the capital's upscale areas, marking the opposition's win. "I invite the president of the republic to work with us to rescue Caracas from anarchy," Antonio Ledezma, who won the mayoralty of Caracas, said. The losses of major power centres indicate an erosion in the support base of Chávez, who calls ex-Cuban President Fidel Castro his mentor and has bolstered ties with Russia and Iran. The opposition, which showed more unity than in previous elections by generally fielding single candidates, made its gains despite huge disadvantages. Chavez blocked some of its stars from standing with legal manoeuvres and threatened to cut off government funds to areas that elected the president. "The result was sensational for the opposition," said Luis Vicente Leon, director of polling company Datanalisis that works for both sides. "Chávez will have to chew over how he sells the idea that there is no alternative to his project." (swissinfo.ch)
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