Thursday wrap

Dem Pay-to-Play: All in the SEIU Family ... Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is not known for selflessness but there does seem to be one occasion on which he appears to have reached out to help a fellow incumbent Democrat state executive. Illinois campaign finance records show a $20,000 donation on Nov. 9, 2006, by Friends of Blagojevich to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Why would the Illinois governor’s campaign committee make such a sizeable contribution to the New Mexico governor’s re-election campaign two days after the 2006 election? Richardson is a focus of a federal probe of a California consulting firm that received more than $1.5 million in fees from a New Mexico state agency. The firm and its CEO contributed more than $110,000 to Richardson’s campaign committees. Blagojevich is also being investigated by federal authorities concerning “pay-to-play” allegations in Illinois. Are the two federal probes related? (dcexaminer.com)

SEIU in court to block Pay-to-Play probe

Union organizers on top ... "For American labor, 2009 will be a big year,” McEntee said. “We have a new administration. We have governors all across the country who are looking toward being able to organize more workers in red states that have become blue." Notice that McEntee, who is the top official at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union, says that it will be politicians who unionize workers. This is the dirty little secret: It's increasingly uncommon for employees to seek unionization on their own. Instead, most "organizing" takes place because union officials target workers for unionization from the outside top down-style, often with Big Labor supported politicians playing a central role. (nrtw.org)

Labor's socialistic power to be tested ... The Employee Free Choice Act was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007, but it stalled in the Senate. Its chances have improved substantially, supporters and foes agree, with Democratic gains in the Senate and the election of Obama, who included the bill in his presidential campaign platform. But Larry Sabato, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia, said he still doubts the bill will be approved without changes. Too many moderate Democrats in the Senate - including Virginia's Mark Warner, who has not taken a position - might balk, he said. "Just because Democrats have large majorities in both houses does not mean that labor has large majorities in both houses," Sabato said ... The latest version of the bill possesses another controversial clause: During collective bargaining talks, either side could call in a federal mediator after 90 days. If 30 more days elapsed without agreement, an arbitrator would decide a two-year contract. Williams Mullen lawyers called it unconstitutional. "To some," said Ira Agricola, senior vice president for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, "it smacks of socialism." (hamptonroads.com)

Bam to knock Dem heads for Job-Killer Act ... It's no secret that Big Labor is demanding somewhat more than the standard pound of flesh after throwing its heft behind not only President-elect Obama but most Democratic candidates this past election. And the “pound” they desire is specifically titled the Employee Free Choice Act, the noxiously ill-named measure that would remove the secret ballot from the process of union organization. But a funny thing has happened to Big Labor on its way to the flesh farm. Democrats, particularly in right-to-work states, and moderate-to-liberal Republicans, such as Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, are suddenly no longer bullish on this so-called “card-check” legislation. It’s not a battle they’re inclined to fight, citing other more important lawmaking matters, like saving the economy. As The Wall Street Journal said in a recent headline, they’ve gone “wobbly.” ... Now the fate of “card-check” appears to lie in Mr. Obama’s ability to yank his fellow Democrats back in line. (dailynews-record.com)

Labor union ad appears in D.C. papers ... In advance of Friday's confirmation hearing for Labor Secretary, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) today began a print ad campaign urging Rep. Hilda Solis to protect worker privacy and secret ballot elections. Rep. Solis has previously supported the anti-worker Employee Free Choice Act, also known as "card check". This undemocratic legislation will effectively remove secret ballots for workers in union organizing elections and bind employers to contracts that inhibit their ability to create much-needed new jobs. (myprivateballot.com)

You'd better get used to it ... So the Chicago Way hauled off and slapped the U.S. Senate in the face—one of those backhands with the knuckles to unsuspecting lips—and guess who blinked? It wasn't Chicago. It was the Senate. Get used to it, America. And it won't be the last time either. Roland "Tombstone" Burris, the amiable Illinois Democratic political hack who is being called eminently qualified by the national Democrats—perhaps because he's from Illinois and he hasn't been indicted—has almost reached his goal of being addressed as "Yes, sir, Senator." Now Tombstone has President-elect Barack Obama behind him, muscling Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid in a phone call earlier in the week. So much for transcending the old politics. (chicagotribune.com)

Devour the hand that feeds you ... But the mentality is bizarre. Government gets almost all of its revenue from business activity. Their solution to falling revenue? Stick it to the business community ... Government lives in a world where price is irrelevant. They expect us to pay what they say we will pay. In business it doesn't work that way. You can't put a gun to your customers head and demand whatever price you want. At some point there may be nobody left to take from. If America does manage to pull out of this economic tail-spin it will be in spite of government, not because of it. (examiner.com)

Labor-Dems in D.C. makeover ... The 111st U.S. Congress is in session, and quickly, new House rules have been established that turn South Carolina's delegation into figureheads. When we voted for Addison G. "Joe" Wilson to be our representative from the 2nd Congressional District, we voted him to be able to propose legislation, propose amendments to bills, participate in active debate over congressional issues and help represent the people of this district. Unfortunately, the United States has turned into the Bolivian Republic of America, with dictator Nancy Pelosi's new rules for the House of Representatives, creating a dictatorship where legislators from the Pacific Coast will run roughshod, and those people we have elected will become "Congressmen in Name Only" (CINO). They will not be able to exercise the duties of office for which we have elected them. Her tactics through HR 5, the new rules of the House of Representatives, resemble that of Hugo Chávez and the dictatorship of Venezuela. (timesanddemocrat.com)

Felonious, union-backed community organizing decried ... A group of dissident members is seeking a federal investigation of ACORN for alleged criminal violations stemming from an embezzlement scandal that rocked the organization last year. The splinter group, ACORN 8, released a 24-page document Wednesday that asks federal investigators to consider fraud, embezzlement and conspiracy charges, and criminal civil rights violations relating to the embezzlement of nearly $1 million from the nonprofit's accounts and an alleged cover-up of the theft for almost a decade. "Moreover, due to the admission that a felony has been committed, other federal offenses may have also been committed ... ," states the document signed by 14 members of ACORN 8, including recently expelled members of ACORN's national board of directors ... ACORN has chapters in 110 cities and 40 states. The group boasts it represents about 400,000 members. It completed a massive registration drive this year in poor and working-class neighborhoods, which tend to vote Democratic, across 21 states, signing up more than 1 million voters. (pittsburghlive.com)

IAM strikers all out of ammo ... After striking for 14 weeks, more than 840 Vought Aircraft Industries' union workers say they will continue to seek a better contract, despite the company's announcement this week that it will hire permanent replacements for them. But the union's options are few, experts say, especially at a time when unemployment is rising and a troubled economy continues to wreak havoc on businesses. "Since they went on strike, (the union) used their nuclear weapon," said Mark Johnson, president of Grapevine, Texas-based ERISA Benefits Consulting Inc. "The company, by hiring permanent replacements, is telling the union take it or leave it." (tennessean.com)

Teamsters take unexpected dues hit in Illinois ... The company contacted Alton Mayor Don Sandidge and Teamsters Local 525 in Alton about the impending closure, giving a 60-day layoff notice. "This is devastating to the economy and to the city of Alton," said Tom Pelot, business manager-treasurer-secretary of Local 525. "These were some decent-paying jobs; they paid about $17 per hour. These jobs will be hard to replace." Pelot said 26 of the employees are Teamsters - who deliver lumber, load and unload trucks and railcars, and work in the yard. None of those workers has been offered a transfer, he said. "It's very devastating," he said. "It was kind of unexpected." (thetelegraph.com)

Workers decertify strike-happy union ... Less than 18 months after a five-week strike to back demands for a new contract, more than 100 TD Canada Trust employees in Greater Sudbury voted to get rid of their union. The vote took place Dec. 18 said Kelly Hechler, TD Canada Trust spokeswoman in Toronto. She said the bank learned of the decertification from the Canada Labour Relations Board. "It's something that the employees have decided to do," she said. "We look forward to working along with our employees in the days to come." Hechler said TD Canada Trust played no part in the decertification drive. "The bank was not involved with it," she said. "It's basically up to the employees if they want to belong to one or vote for one." The more than 100 employees belonged to the United Steelworkers of America Local 2020. (northernnews.ca)

AFSCME on the job ... Mansfield (OH) City Engineer Jim DeSanto said the city is investigating street department worker Curley Lanier after a water department worker reported seeing him engaged in a sexual act at the department’s night shift office ... Another city official said Tuesday a separate investigation may still be pending regarding a wastewater treatment employee allegedly falling asleep on the job. A photo of the woman asleep at the plant during her shift reportedly was passed on to city officials by a manager. (mansfieldnewsjournal.com)

Left undeterred by ERISA ... Earlier today, Americans for Limited Government announced that it had formally asked Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to launch an immediate investigation into a well-orchestrated plan by top union officials, environmentalists, and political interest groups to raid worker pension funds in order to push the green agenda. Should the Secretary find that the coalition, which calls itself the “Investor Network on Climate Risk” (INCR), is, indeed, undertaking such a raid, as it has already announced, it would appear to be a clear violation of the government’s strict fiduciary standards under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). And should the INCR plan be fully implemented, it would place billions of dollars of worker retirement funds at an unprecedented and unacceptable risk. In a letter hand-delivered to Secretary Chao one week ago, ALG president Bill Wilson warned, “Union officials are putting the retirement security at grave risk to pursue a dubious political agenda. This is more than irresponsible, it may in fact be a crime in violation of ERISA.” (netrightnation.com)

Wealthy, pro-union collectivists kiss off democracy ... The selection of the Canvassing Board and the recount were controlled by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, an ultra-liberal Democrat with close ties to the controversial far-left activist group ACORN. It is no accident that such an extremist came to control this recount in the Land of the Loon, as my Newsmax colleague David A. Patten reported Dec. 22. Following Vice President Al Gore's narrow defeat in the 2000 presidential race, wrote Patten, wealthy radical leftists created the Secretary of State Project (SoS), “whose express purpose is to seed state election bureaucracies nationwide with partisan activists — Ritchie among them — who are strategically positioned to influence the outcome of close recounts like the one now under way in Minnesota.” One of the biggest funders of the left's Secretary of State Project is Hungary-born eccentric billionaire and global currency manipulator George Soros, a radical obsessed with defeating Republicans because he fears America being too strong in the world. (newsmax.com)

Leave room for union dues? ... Today's planned National Labor Relations Board trial over whether coffee purveyor Starbucks unlawfully fired Grand Rapids barista Cole Dorsey was canceled after the parties agreed to enter into settlement negotiations. In its case against Starbucks, the National Labor Relations Board claimed that the company fired Dorsey, an organizer with the IWW’s Starbucks Workers Union, because of his efforts to organize the Wealthy Street Starbucks in East Grand Rapids. The NLRB sought reinstatement for Dorsey, who was fired in June, and back pay. Starbucks said they fired Dorsey because he was late to work. (michiganmessenger.com)

SEIU faces dues hit in Bay State ... Advocates for the mentally ill are concerned about some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens in the wake of the state Department of Mental Health’s decision to lay off 100 case managers. Karl Ackerman, president of the Transformation Center in Boston, tells The Boston Globe that case management is a "key element" of recovery and proper treatment. John Labaki, president of the Department of Mental Health chapter of the Service Employees International Union, says there are concerns that some of the 3,000 people who will lose their current case managers may end up on the streets, in the hospital or even prison. (news.bostonherald.com)

International Collectivism

Chávez, Castro orchestrate anti-U.S. internationalism ... Earlier this week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez -- who has signed a "strategic alliance" with Iran, main state sponsor of Hamas -- expelled the Israeli ambassador, citing Israel's alleged ''genocide'' in Gaza. While there were heated street rallies in Miami and other U.S. cities, in South American cities they have been bigger and more violent. Argentina's government-backed leftist street protests organizer Luis D'Elia, who this week confirmed to Noticias magazine that he had received $1 million from Cuba to pay for anti-American protests during President George W. Bush's 2005 visit to Argentina, on Tuesday led a rally in front of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. Protesters threw paint and other objects at the mission. What is going on? I asked myself. Is it because Argentina and Uruguay have large Jewish and Arab communities? Is it because of a somewhat perverse subliminal feeling of comfort that people in other regions have it worse than South Americans? (miamiherald.com)

Chávez reverses, will continue to aid U.S. ... CITGO, the Venezuelan government's U.S.-based oil subsidiary, reversed course Wednesday and said it will continue shipments of heating oil to poor families in the United States. Former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy, head of the Boston-based nonprofit which distributes the fuel, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez intervened directly. (masslive.com)

Nicaraguan marchers burn Israeli flags ... Israeli flags were burnt by the dozens on January 6 in pro-Hamas marches in this nation. Hundreds of people took to the streets of Managua chanting "Israel, fascist and murderer".

Related Posts with Thumbnails