2/27/09

Friday wrap

What happens when workers unionize the union ... We have told you about President Obama's deeply disturbing executive orders aimed at blacklisting the 92.5 percent of America's private-sector workers who have chosen not to unionize. One of the orders effectively bars federal contractors from sharing truthful, non-coercive information with their employees about the downsides of unionization. For an example of what this kind of information is like, look no further than what union management says when employees of a union wish to unionize. In the letter [.pdf], International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union president J.J. Barry warns against "chang[ing] the system ... solely because of an effort stemming from the isolated complaints of a few [union employees]." Moreover, "The selection of a bargaining representative is likely to change the nature of the employer/employee relationship, by making it more formal and structured, and diminishing the present system of direct resolution of issues between Representatives and their Vice Presidents, Department Directors, etc." But union bosses cry foul when other employers express similar opinions, and now their powerful pro-forced unionism allies in government want to ban such speech by federal contractors so the contractors' employees are denied the right to make a fully informed choice. (nrtw.org)


The business of America is government, unions ... It is clear that members of the Democratically-controlled Congress and President Barack Obama have either not read or have chosen to ignore the 10th amendment to the United State constitution. That’s the amendment that reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” In his recent address to the joint session of Congress, Obama, cheered on enthusiastically by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, declared how the federal government will become more fully involved in the financial industry, the auto industry, the health care industry, the energy industry, higher education, and K-12 education among other things. This speech reflects an attitude of a federal government that is unbounded in its powers and responsibilities. It is consistent with the so-called stimulus package that contains a vast array of federal government intrusions into the private sector and what are properly the responsibilities of state government. Ludwig von Mises in 1927 warned about the coming Depression and Second World War. He did not warn that it was poor monetary policy, or high taxes, or too much government spending that would lead us into what he called “an approaching catastrophe in the world economy.” Rather it was the adoption in the West of a philosophy skeptical of market capitalism and enamored with government planning. The greatest threat to our society is not credit default swaps or mortgage-backed securities. It is the loss of our understanding of limited government, individual liberty, and the economic system which creates a prosperous and free society. (dcexaminer.com)


Defunding the Left: Massive union pension-fraud to be exposed ... Members of a local carpenter's union may lose their pensions and benefits because of the Bernard Madoff scandal. It's a headline you won't miss in Friday's Rochester Business Journal, "Unions face big losses." We're talking about the Local 85 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Because of the Madoff Ponzi scheme its members could lose their pensions and benefits. Reporter Will Astor talked with someone close to the union's pension funds. “His take is that it's a pretty serious situation and that it's going to have repercussions beyond the pension funds,” explained Astor. His source didn't want his name used in the article. We went to the union headquarters in Chili, and left a single piece of paper with a name and phone number for Patrick Morin, the secretary-treasurer for the Empire State Carpenters fringe benefits funds. He never called back. (whec.com)

Related video: Defunding the unions



Dues embezzlement by union bigs a national epidemic ... A Watertown man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly stealing union funds. Norman Stefanik, 51, was treasurer of Steelworkers International Local Union 1450 when the embezzling took place, according to federal officials. The indictment alleges that the thefts took place from February 24, 2004 through November, 2007. Stefanik allegedly embezzled approximately $25,808.29. Conviction could bring him up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. (newswatch50.com)


Typical wrist-slap for typical AFL-CIO embezzlers ... Two former officers of a defunct Bethlehem chapter of an Ironworkers union who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $16,000 in union funds escaped prison sentences Thursday in federal court. Scott Gehringer, 45, of Catasauqua, was placed on three years' probation, two months of which is house arrest. Alex Margaritis, 50, of Allentown, was sentenced to four years' probation, two months of which is house arrest. Both men pleaded guilty in September to one count of felony embezzlement from a labor union, and to aiding and abetting. They could have been sentenced to up to five years in prison. (mcall.com)


SEIU rank-and-file use decert to reject Andy Stern's corruption ... An absolute majority of the 50,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente’s California facilities have filed petitions to oust SEIU and join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). Kaiser is California’s largest healthcare corporation and the largest healthcare provider in the United States. “We need stability, democracy, and a union we can trust,” said Bebs Nonato, a registered nurse at Kaiser’s Los Angeles Medical Center. “SEIU tried to move nurses at my hospital back and forth between three different local unions in five years. They pushed us around like furniture, and ignored our voices and votes. We’re building a stronger union in NUHW, with healthcare workers in control.” Until today’s filing, Kaiser workers were represented by local union SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West (SEIU UHW-W). The local union’s elected leaders helped Kaiser caregivers win the highest wage and benefit standards in the country, safer staffing levels, and a stronger voice to advocate for their patients. Workers’ most recent contract with Kaiser is the best healthcare union contract in the nation, and agreements with several other healthcare companies link caregivers’ pay to the Kaiser contract’s standard-setting wage scales. Despite these accomplishments, national SEIU officials seized control of the local union on Jan. 27 to retaliate against members who had blown the whistle on corruption and undemocratic practices within SEIU. SEIU fired Kaiser workers’ elected leaders, took control of workers’ relationship with their employer, and established rigged voting rules for bargaining that allowed local unions with only 4,500 Kaiser workers to outvote the 50,000 Kaiser workers in California. (indybay.org)


New Progs move to oust remaining capitalist Dems ... A group of liberal bloggers said it was teaming up with organized labor and MoveOn.org to form a political action committee that would seek to push the Democratic Party further to the left. Soliciting donations from their readers, the bloggers said they were planning to recruit liberal candidates to challenge more centrist Democrats currently in Congress. (iht.com)


Resistance is futile: We don't need no stinkin' Republicans ... The political reality at the moment is that regardless of the wisdom or foolishness of what is or will be proposed by the Obama administration or Congress in the next two years, it will pass. This is the consequence for the GOP of losing elections and losing them big in both 2006 and 2008. The Democratic majority in the House is 257-178. After the 2004 elections, the GOP held a 232-203 edge, so nearly a quarter of GOP held seats are gone. There is no power of filibuster for the minority in the House, and there won't be any key votes where 40 blue dog Democrats align with the Republicans to stop some piece of legislation from being passed. In the Senate, the Coleman Franken race will likely wind up with Franken being seated, giving the Democrats a 59-41 Senate majority, one seat from the 60 seat filibuster proof majority. After the 2004 elections, the GOP held a 55-45 edge in the Senate, so just over a quarter of the GOP seats are now gone. (americanthinker.com)


Ex-Soros partner blasts D.C. socialists ... Q: What do you think of the government's response to the economic crisis? Jim Rogers: Terrible. They're making it worse. It's pretty embarrassing for President Obama, who doesn't seem to have a clue what's going on—which would make sense from his background. And he has hired people who are part of the problem. [Treasury Secretary Tim] Geithner was head of the New York Fed, which was supposedly in charge of Wall Street and the banks more than anybody else. And as you remember, [Obama's chief economic adviser, Larry] Summers helped bail out Long-Term Capital Management years ago. These are people who think the only solution is to save their friends on Wall Street rather than to save 300 million Americans. Q: So what should they be doing? What would I like to see happen? I'd like to see them let these people go bankrupt, let the bankrupt go bankrupt, stop bailing them out. There are plenty of banks in America that saw this coming, that kept their powder dry and have been waiting for the opportunity to go in and take over the assets of the incompetent. Likewise, many, many homeowners didn't go out and buy five homes with no income. Many homeowners have been waiting for this, and now all of a sudden the government is saying: "Well, too bad for you. We don't care if you did it right or not, we're going to bail out the 100,000 or 200,000 who did it wrong." I mean, this is outrageous economics, and it's terrible morality. (businessweek.com)


UAW serves vital purpose ... In order to receive an exceedingly generous government bailout, American auto makers are planning cost- cutting, layoffs and plant closings, as well as grievous pay cuts for millionaire executives who will have to rent out their Aspen ski lodges to make ends meet. No one, however, is mentioning the giant pink elephant in the room. It's name is UAW. It is amusingly ironic that while car makers are losing money, our beloved labor unions remain comfortably in the black. Does it not strike anyone as odd that the net worth of UAW is higher than that of any single U.S. auto maker? I must agree that labor unions do serve a purpose. How would sympathetic politicians get elected without their generous contributions? How would auto workers have huge pensions and health coverage after they have stopped working, adding cost to vehicles produced long after they have retired? Giving up executive jets is a reasonable concession for the auto company big shots. However, they are not the only ones who ran American auto makers into the ground. If the industry is to survive, UAW must make concessions as well. (mcall.com)


Job-Killer Act: Unionists hoodwink, bamboozle



'Labor-states' cited in Card-Check report ... But the card check system heavily favors unions. It allows an organizer to repeatedly visit a worker's home until he eventually signs. It also leaves plenty of time for the union to combat any intimidation taking place on the job. And that scares the shit out of employers. Yet Obama will have no choice but to push for card-check soon. He swept the labor states from Massachusetts to Minnesota, where unions remain the single largest influence in the Democratic Party. And if the president wants those thousands of members manning phone banks and going door-to-door four years from now, pushing card check is the best way to satisfy them. (nashvillescene.com)



Union fascists want IRS to silence oppressive employers ... Change to Win and the AFL-CIO filed a joint complaint with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today against Rick Berman's Center for Union Facts and Bernie Marcus' the Marcus Foundation for violating their "charitable" tax status by engaging in partisan political activity on behalf of Republican Senate candidates during the 2008 election. The complaint alleges that the two 501(c)(3) organizations should have their tax status revoked because Marcus, Berman and another Marcus Foundation official explicitly endorsed and tried to raise money to elect six Republican candidates on a conference call held just two weeks before Election Day. On the teleconference, they repeatedly asked for contributions, to the candidates and the Center for Union Facts itself, in order to elect Senators who opposed the Employee Free Choice Act. The call, hosted by Bank of America, was titled "The Impact of Card Check Legislation on the Retail Industry" and was attended by representatives of numerous businesses. But the teleconference was primarily devoted to a discussion about how to support the Republican Party and the specific Republican candidates who opposed this legislation. (sunherald.com)


Socialists pimp for unions on-campus



Unionist smacks down fascistic Hightower ... I read the editorial in the Feb. 23 issue by Jim Hightower and wanted to try and set the record straight for your readers. He is referring to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). If Mr. Hightower is for this, then why have secret ballots for our election system. The reason is that the secret ballot gives a modicum of anonymity. People can then vote the way they REALLY feel. I am a union employee and have been for over 40 years, but I can understand situations where a union is disadvantageous to a worker, i.e., the work will get out-sourced to another country. I did go to Jimhightower.com to see his work and your readers should do so also. This guy is the gooberhead. (metrowestdailynews.com)


GOP clings to ugly secret-ballot scheme ... On Wednesday, U.S. Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, and Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-SC), Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Ranking Member of the House Education, and Labor Committee and Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) to introduce the Secret Ballot Protection Act. Endorsed by the Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF), aWashington, D.C. based organization dedicated to combating anti-worker legislation and promoting free and open markets, the Secret Ballot Protection Act will guarantee the right of all workers to a secret ballot election, conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, when voting on union membership. (newsblaze.com)


Hawaii inches closer to workers' paradise ... The controversial union card-check measure, which would allow Hawaii labor unions to more easily organize workers by having them sign authorization cards, is gaining ground having cleared its initial committee hearings in the state Senate. The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations on Thursday passed Senate Bill 1621, which essentially removes the use of traditional secret-ballot elections by allowing employees to sign cards indicating they’d like to organize under a labor union. If a majority of a company’s workers sign the cards, the union is automatically recognized and free to bargain with management. The measure also mandates binding arbitration in collective bargaining and removes private-property rights for business owners if the unions want to picket on sidewalks and near entry ways of their establishments. It also establishes legal immunity for unions in actions relating to collective bargaining. (bizjournals.com)


Socialists target oppressive museum director ... It's always exciting, in organizing campaigns, when labor unions/organizing entities single out an individual and make the campaign about his or her alleged indifference to the plight of the worker. Will shame work where guilt and traditional organizing did not? It's particularly interesting when the target of the shame is not some corporate bigwig, who's probably mostly about the money, but the head of an institution like a university or a museum — like Gail Harrity, the CEO of the Art Museum. Harrity is being singled out by Jobs with Justice in its campaign to get security guards at the museum into the Philadelphia Security Officer's Union (and, presumably, a raise). (citypaper.net)


Militant Teamsters quit failed strike ... A five-month strike between Oak Harbor Freight Lines Inc. and its union has ended. Al Hobart, vice president of the Western Regional of the Teamsters International Union, says some employees returned to work today. "The union made an offer to unconditionally return to work, which we've done, but there are still major issues to be resolved," he said. "Even though we're back to work we still have ongoing issues with achieving the new agreement." (king5.com)


High Court issues wrist-slap to NEA operatives ... The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled 6-3 in Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association that states may prohibit union officials from using payroll deduction to divert government workers’ money into union coffers. In overturning a Ninth Circuit appeals court decision and upholding an Idaho law banning payroll deduction for union political dues from state and local government employees, the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, agreed with arguments made by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys. The lower court had blocked the state from requiring local government bodies to comply with the state law. (hawaiireporter.com)


U.S. buys 'green-jobs' social justice hoax ... In a time of grave economic uncertainty, it’s surely positive news that we can agree on the benefits of green jobs, right? Not quite. If the green-jobs claim sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Holding it up to the light exposes it as economically hollow. Making matters worse, a powerful green-jobs movement has emerged, made up of left-wing antipoverty activists and union leaders, all of them clamoring for a more conventional kind of green: government dollars. Higher costs and job losses aren’t the only drawbacks of the green-jobs push. We also must contend with a burgeoning activist movement that is mobilizing around the idea of a green economy. Many of these activists come from self-styled environmental organizations, but some aren’t typical environmentalists in any sense of the word. These unlikely eco-cadres—largely composed of labor union officials and inner-city community organizers—appear far less interested in protecting the environment than in agitating for “economic justice” and airing ethnic, racial, and other grievances. (city-journal.org)


Unionist: IBEW terrorizes L.A. ... I would estimate that 70% … or more … of the audience was made up of members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, whose Business Manger Brian D’Arcy is alleged to be the author of Measure B. I say allegedly as I have not personally verified that fact. I have strong feelings about public hearings and debates that are loaded with Union members, not because I’m opposed to Unions, I was raised in a Teamster household and both my dad and brother retired on nice pensions from the Teamsters. Union’s are a critical offset to the power of big business. Regrettably, in most cases both sides try to put it to the other side and the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other. I’m from Detroit and I can tell you from first hand experience that the Auto Unions help put the big three where they are, assisted by some of the most stupid executives I have ever run across, but that is another story. (citywatchla.com)


GOP breaks free of Bushism ... It was evident from the first few minutes of John R. Bolton's speech to a conservative summit in the District on Thursday that, as harshly as he criticized former President George W. Bush, that was nothing compared with how he will treat President Obama. "President Obama is the most radical president we have ever elected in this country. That's the bad news," said the heavily mustached Mr. Bolton, speaking inside the cavernous Omni Shoreham ballroom to a packed house. "Here's the good news: if we get our act together, he is a one-termer," Mr. Bolton said. The large crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference cheered lustily, and then something unusual happened. The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who usually gives off the air of a reserved, impatient, slightly angry professor waved his arms to the crowd, encouraging them to cheer louder. "I bet they could hear that down the street," he said after the applause had died down. (washingtontimes.com)


International Collectivism

Democracy rigged, perverted by socialists ... Twenty years after the long-awaited and dramatic end of the Cold War, democracy is now under increasingly hostile threats around the world. In Russia, under Vladimir Putin, the political opposition continues to be stifled as does the independent media: More than two dozen Russian journalists, most of whom turned a critical eye to the government, have been murdered since 2000. In China, where Tibetans and other minority groups are denied basic freedoms, dozens of political dissidents were recently arrested as part of a crackdown on Internet "vulgarity." Censored websites include those of the BBC and Voices of America. But Russia and China are not the only countries where authoritarianism is on the rise. Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, whose government has restricted demonstrations, the media and academic freedom, recently won a referendum allowing him to run for president as often as he wants. Libya's Moammar Gadhafi recently took over leadership of the African Union, and has said the best model for Africa is his own country - where opposition parties are not allowed. Then there is Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, among other dictatorial leaders. In many of these countries, the democratic opposition is in tatters. And citizens appear willing to accept a closed political system, like those of China and Russia, as long as the economic system is open and they can ear money and provide for themselves. (newswire.ca)


Latin socialists cry foul ... Venezuela and Bolivia on Thursday condemned a U.S. State Department report on human rights problems in the South American countries, saying Washington has no right to pass judgment. President Hugo Chávez's government said it categorically rejects the U.S. report, which cited a politicized judiciary and harassment of Venezuela's political opposition and the news media, among other problems. The report's allegations are "plagued with lies," Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said. "No government in the world has the right to use a report to meddle in, judge or qualify the situation in other nations," he told reporters. (google.com)


Chávez reaches out again to Venezuelan Jews ... Representatives of Venezuela's Jewish population said Thursday that a community center was attacked by unidentified assailants who threw an explosive at the building. Abraham Garzon, president of the Jewish Community Center located in downtown Caracas, said a small explosive resembling a pipe bomb was lobbed at the building before dawn on Thursday. The explosion damaged the doors to the center, but nobody was injured by the blast. This is the second attack against a Jewish institution this year. About a month ago an armed group vandalized Caracas' oldest synagogue, shattering religious objects, throwing Torah scrolls on the floor and spray-painting walls with anti-Semitic messages amid Venezuela's diplomatic spat with Israel over its military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Leaders of Venezuela's estimated 15,000-member Jewish community have complained that vocal denunciations of Israel by President Hugo Chávez and Venezuela's state and pro-government news media may have encouraged the attack. (ynetnews.com)


Gov't union militants shut down Germany ... German schools, police and fire brigade services ground to a halt Thursday as teachers and other public sector employees went on strike over pay negotiations. In the state of Saxony-Anhalt alone, 15,000 people took part in the demonstrations. Teachers refused to work in all 950 of the state's schools, and virtually no regular lessons took place all day, the union said. In the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, 4,500 public service staff gathered from across Bavaria. 'The citizens are right to demand good work from the public services, but this must be paid for,' Verdi trade union leader Frank Bsirske said. 'The public sector needs to remain interesting for qualified applicants,' Bsirske said. (monstersandcritics.com)


Underpaid teachers threaten to strike in socialist Argentina ... Teachers are demanding that the governments increase salaries by 15.5 percent, as had been agreed in the national collective bargaining meetings on Monday. The City government offered a 7 percent increase and the provincial government offered 4.2 percent increase to the basic salary. Both administrations claim they cannot afford higher increases. In seven provinces teachers will go on strike or are to threatening to go on strike, also due to salary demands. (buenosairesherald.com)

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