Friday wrap

Executive Branch pro-union slush funds exposed ... A prominent labor activist is questioning why the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center, which has set up offices in 26 countries with the mission of “promoting democracy and freedom and respect for workers’ rights in global trade,” receives 95 percent of its budget from federal grants. The information about the Solidarity Center’s funding came from its 2008 annual report. “Union members were not told that the Bush Administration had been financing the Solidarity Center for years through large grants from the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Labor Department, while the AFL-CIO contributed only a minimal amount to the Center,” labor activist Harry Kelber wrote in a Jan. 29 column for the Labor Educator. (michiganmessenger.com)

Unionist: Democracy is anti-union ... “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” That was a saying that came to mind upon reading “Secret vote is fundamental” in The Daily Progress on Jan. 28. Being the daughter of a business agent for a local in Fredericksburg, I know the secret ballot’s rarely publicized seamier side. Perhaps even journalists have no knowledge of it. (dailyprogress.com)

Gov't unions thank GOP troika ... The labor movement, for instance, has not recovered from the split between the AFL-CIO and Change To Win. To make matters worse, the unions themselves--in particularly, SEIU and Unite Here--are rent by division. As a result, the unions have either been on the sidelines during the debate over the stimulus and bank bailout or uncritically backing Obama and Reid. One labor group, Americans United for Change, which is backed by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), even ran ads thanking Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Ben Nelson, and Arlen Specter for agreeing to back the stimulus bill that they had significantly weakened. (tnr.com)

Alinsky Rules D.C. ... Fellow citizens, if you like what ACORN did to the home mortgage industry, then you're going to just plum love what the Democrats have in mind for talk radio. For the past few years, hardly a week goes without some Democratic Party Senator or Representative throwing out the term, "Fairness Doctrine." Hardly a month passes without a Democrat spurning the so-called "dangers" of conservative talk radio, often invoking Rush Limbaugh by name. Why, if I didn't know better, I might think there's a vast left-wing conspiracy afoot, an evil conspiracy to storm the gates of talk radio. Actually, that might not be a far stretch. After extensive studies of Alinsky and how and where his infamous revolutionary tactics are currently at play within the once-august Democratic Party, I must conclude that this is precisely the case. (americanthinker.com)

Bonus links:
Summary of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'
'Rules for Radicals' at amazon.com

U.S. Organizer-in-Chief Gets Right To Work

Bam to accelerate crackdown on oppressive non-union employers ... In an Oval Office interview with major newspapers yesterday, President Barack Obama reaffirmed his strong support for the freedom to form unions and bargain. The Detroit Free Press and the Philadelphia Inquirer were among the papers that got a chance to talk to Obama about the challenges facing our economy, and Obama once again offered his support for the Employee Free Choice Act. The president said that, indeed, workers’ freedom to bargain was good for the long-term health of the economy. "I don’t buy the argument that providing workers with collective bargaining rights somehow weakens the economy or worsens the business environment. If you’ve got workers who have decent pay and benefits, they’re also customers for business." (blog.aflcio.org)

Bam's union-kickback scheme to reinstate slavery, destroy civilization ... "This should be called the anti-free choice, pro-slavery bill." That's what Forbes national editor Mike Ozanian said about U.S. President Barack Obama's Employee Free Choice Act in a Jan. 31 interview on "Forbes on Fox." On the same show, another Forbes contributor compared the bill to the Gestapo, because it allegedly takes away the secret ballot. Former Home Depot CEO called it the "demise of civilization." (media.www.usavanguard.com)

Thug unionist plays the 'ridiculous' card ... A lawyer, author, and former vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Beth Shulman is currently a senior analyst with the Russell Sage Foundation and a true believer in the power of unions to improve people's lives — especially in tough economic times. "The employer has total control over the workplace," Shulman said. "They can fire you anytime they want. They can change your schedule. This idea that there is equal intimidation is just ridiculous, truly ridiculous." (tallahassee.com)

'Project Labor Agreement' really means 'Taxpayer-funded union kickback' ... Labor unions spent an estimated $300 million helping elect President Barack Obama last year and he is wasting no time paying them back. His latest gift for the union bosses is his new executive order encouraging Washington bureaucrats to require costly Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on federally funded construction projects worth at least $25 million. A PLA means only companies with unionized labor can bid on federal contracts. Costs increase as much as 20 percent as a result on contracts to build critically needed infrastructure like roads, bridges and office buildings. Obama’s executive order thus bars from federal contracting thousands of companies that employee the 93 percent of private sector workers who are not union members. This is grossly discriminatory in addition to being a blatant pay-back to the labor bosses who control a tiny minority of all private sector workers. Forcing government contracts to include PLAs will also cost taxpayers more. Between 2001 and 2007 when PLAs were not mandatory for federal contracting, more than $123 billion in federal contracts were awarded. Those contracts would likely have cost federal taxpayers about $25 billion more had they included PLAs. (dcexaminer.com)

Kotkin: Corrupt parasites plague U.S. ... Joel Kotkin makes a serious indictment of the stimulus package "as a massive bailout and expansion of the public-sector workforce as well as quasi-government workers in fields like health and education." One of the things we're likely to see in the next few years is a vast expansion of the public sector work force (as has happened in New Labour's Britain), with public sector employee unions taking their slice in the form of union dues and putting much of that money into electing Democratic (and sympathetic Republican) politicians. It threatens to ratchet up the public sector—much of which is in state and local rather than the federal government—as a part of our economy, a leech that sucks the life out of the private sector economy. By the way, if you think this is a partisan screed, Kotkin is a Democrat. (usnews.com)

Fidel heaps praise on Bam, Rahmbo ... Castro wondered in his column if Rahm Emanuel's name derived from 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, "who together with Aristotle and Plato formed a trio of philosophers that have most influenced human thinking." His column also spoke about the U.S. economic-stimulus package, which Castro said would not work. "Obama, Emanuel and all of the brilliant politicians and economists who have come together would not suffice to solve the growing problems of U.S. capitalist society," he wrote. (upi.com)

Get to know your official U.S. community organizer ... What is ACORN?ACORN was originally called the Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now, a group founded in Little Rock in 1970 by Wade Rathke, a former member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and a New Orleans union leader. The group was an offshoot of the National Welfare Rights Organization, founded by George Wiley to launch a socialist revolution in New York City using welfare mothers on the front lines. Wiley was instrumental in doubling that city’s welfare rolls. Later renamed the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, ACORN is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization with major offices in New Orleans, New York and Washington, D.C. Its official website (ACORN.org) claims to have 400,000 registered community members and more than 1,200 chapters in 110 U.S. cities, but doesn’t include the number of paid workers. According to Discoverthenetworks.org, ACORN also “owns two radio stations, a housing corporation, and a law office, and maintains affiliate relationships with a host of trade-union locals. ACORN also runs schools where children are trained in class consciousness; a network of ‘boot camps’ for training street activists; and operations that extort contributions from banks and other businesses under threat of racial violence and trumped-up civil rights charges.” The ACORN Housing Corporation, which was heavily involved in forcing banks to underwrite sub-prime mortgages, has offices in 34 cities. Its revenue in 2006 was $6.9 million. (dcexaminer.com)

ACORN: Timeline of union-backed social justice achievements ... 1970 – Former SDS member Wade Rathke forms ACORN in Little Rock, Ark. 1977 - After intense lobbying from ACORN members, Congress passes the Community Reinvestment Act to increase lending in “underserved” communities. The law also gives leverage to non-profits like ACORN by allowing them to derail bank mergers. 1990 – Illinois state regulators hold the first-ever public hearing to consider a thrift merger challenged by ACORN. 1992 - Project VOTE is launched. Barack Obama is hired by ACORN to run its voter registration project. 1993 – ACORN is given $55 million by 14 big banks to set up an 11-city lending program to comply with CRA. 1995 - A team of Chicago attorneys, including Obama, win a lawsuit on behalf of ACORN that forces the State of Illinois to implement the federal “motor voter” law. Meanwhile, ACORN sues the State of California to exempt its own employees from the state minimum wage, arguing that if it has to pay higher salaries, it won’t be able to hire as many people. 1996 – ACORN volunteers in Chicago work on Obama’s state senate campaign and picket Mayor Richard Daley as he welcomes delegates to the Democratic National Convention. 1997 - ACORN activists in Arkansas block the drive-through lanes of Pulaski Bank & Trust while pressuring banks nationwide to ignore bad credit histories and low incomes when underwriting mortgages. 1998 - ACORN activists disrupt Federal Reserve hearings on Citicorp/Travelers merger even though Citigroup promised to provide home loans to illegal immigrants in California. 2000 – ACORN volunteers work on Obama’s failed bid for Congress and the group endorses the Senate candidacy of Hillary Clinton. A Senate subcommittee estimates that CRA directed $9.5 billion to non-profit housing groups like ACORN. 2001 - When workers in ACORN's own Seattle office sign cards to join the Industrial Workers of the World, they’re locked out by ACORN management, which refuses to recognize the union. In New York, ACORN-sponsored candidates win a veto-proof majority on the New York City Council and torpedoe Mayor Rudy Guiliani’s efforts to let non-profit Edison Schools manage the five worst public schools. 2003 - The National Labor Relations Board finds that ACORN violated federal law by interrogating employees about union activities and firing workers who threatened to organize its Dallas office. 2004 – ACORN volunteers work on Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign. The Wall Street Journal reports that one ACORN worker in Ohio who turned in voter registrations for “Mary Poppins,” “Dick Tracy” and “Jive Turkey” was paid in crack cocaine. 2006 – Under pressure by ACORN, the Chicago City Council requires big-box retailers to pay employees at least $10 hour. In Washington State, ACORN registers 1,800 new voters, all but six of whom were later determined to be fake. 2007 - The largest case of voter fraud in Washington State history is settled when three ACORN workers plead guilty to submitting nearly 2,000 fraudulent voter registration forms, which one prosecutor called “an act of vandalism upon the voter rolls.” 2008 – ACORN founder Wade Rathke steps down as chief organizer after his brother Dale’s $1 million embezzlement in 2000 becomes public. Michael Slater, head of Project Vote, admits that 400,000 voters newly registered by ACORN in its $18 million voter registration drive were rejected by state and local elections officials as fraudulent. Meanwhile, election officials all across the country complain of widespread voter fraud, including Philadelphia’s city commissioners, who vote unanimously to hand over more than 50,000 fraudulent registration forms gathered by ACORN workers to the U.S. attorney. (dcexaminer.com)

Strongman Stern rankles SEIU rank-and-file, tarnishes brand ... “The only people happy with the SEIU takeover are the bosses, especially those of nursing homes,” Boros said. “SEIU negotiates agreements that give away gains for patients and workers.” Rosselli publicly criticized Stern in January 2007 for agreeing to a pact with the Tenet nursing-home chain in California that barred workers from striking for seven years. A year later, Rosselli, as president of the SEIU California State Council, knocked Stern’s stance on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s failed health-care initiative. Stern’s response? He disbanded the entire state council, then stacked it with members more amenable to his positions. (newsreview.com)

Socialist drugmakers, charity cuddle up with SEIU ... A variety of interest groups are joining to spend more than $10 million in television and newspaper ads that thank 83 lawmakers for expanding children's health insurance and urge them not to stop there. Other organizations paying for the ads include The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents prescription drug makers, the Service Employees International Union and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. (miamiherald.com)

Jumbo fat-cat union sells out labor-state workers ... Oregon’s largest public employees union is proposing a two-year contract that would forgo a cost-of-living increase for 23,000 state workers and require that they take eight unpaid furlough days in the next two years. The Service Employees International Union Local 503’s proposal, described Thursday at a state Capitol news conference, was presented two days earlier to the state. SEIU represents nearly half the state’s work force, including 4,000 classified employees on seven university campuses, including the University of Oregon. The union still proposes to keep experience-based “step” increases that could result in annual pay increases of up to 4.8 percent. (registerguard.com)

AFSCME bigs fight against rank-and-file defender ... On the radio in Nevada, an ad urged Republican Sen. John Ensign not to be a Dittohead of Rush Limbaugh, who had said on his radio show he hopes Obama fails. After Ensign voted against the Senate version of the bill Tuesday, a new ad from the same groups, Americans United for Change and the union AFSCME, asked on air: “Haven’t you ever wished you had a second chance to do the right thing?” The “second chance” spot tells listeners to call Ensign’s office and urge him to support the bill when it comes up for a final vote. (lasvegassun.com)

Jumbo union food fight in desert ... A group of union leaders is suing Unite Here and dozens of individuals to break up the nearly 5-year-old merger of the two union organizations. Unite Here is the parent company of the state’s largest union, Culinary Local 226. The day before the union’s executive board, made up of vice presidents, voted 39-24 against ending the merger. The Culinary Union represents about 50,000 workers in Nevada, primarily employees in casinos and laundries in Las Vegas. “By every measure, the 2004 merger of Unite and Here has been an abject failure and, unfortunately, it is time for our unions to divorce,” said Unite Here General President Bruce Raynor in a statement before the failed vote to dissolve the merger. (lasvegassun.com)

AFSCME tackles workplace oppression ... Under current law, all these people - and about 7,000 more state workers - are "at-will" employees, just like department heads. That means they could be fired at any time, unlike other "merit" employees who can only be dismissed for cause. In practice, that doesn't happen often; as far as I can determine, no governor has ordered a truck driver's firing. But the fear of it weighs on some employees. "It's the threat, the fact that this is held over people's heads," said Sue Esty, assistant director of AFSCME Maryland, a union that represents 30,000 state workers. "People are afraid that if they become noticed in some way, they show some initiative, management will say, 'Oh, troublemaker.'" (hometownannapolis.com)

Teachers humble inept labor-state management ... The state Labor Relations Board sided with East Providence teachers in the union’s pay dispute with the school committee, according to the board’s written decision released Thursday. The board issued a complaint against the school committee, alleging its move to roll back salaries by 5 percent and impose a 20 percent charge for heath insurance co-payments resulted in "the denial of the rights of the employees as guaranteed them by law." The labor board reached the decision Tuesday in a closed session. It was sent by certified mail to both sides and not revealed until Thursday. (turnto10.com)

Pulling a fast one: Striking Teamster militants offer to surrender ... The union representing nearly 600 workers striking for more than four months at Auburn's Oak Harbor Freight Lines Inc. offered Thursday to return to work unconditionally. "There's no winners here," said Al Hobart, vice president of the Western Regional of the Teamsters International Union, in an interview Thursday. Oak Harbor Freight Lines spokesman Mike Hobby said federal law gives the company five days to decide whether to accept the unconditional offer and, if it does, to organize the workers' return. (seattlepi.nwsource.com)

International Collectivism

Clintons agree to rehab communist terrorists in Nepal ... Visiting United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher has expressed the confidence that the US cooperation will be continued with the present government of Nepal, the National News Agency RSS reported on Friday. He said U.S. cooperation will increase to present government and U.S. will also cooperate in the management and rehabilitation of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) fighters through United Nations. On UCPN (M) being in the U.S. terrorist list, he said both sides were heading towards normalization of relations through regular dialogue and discussion. (news.xinhuanet.com)

Rathke campaign advice boosts Chávez ... Venezuelan armed forces have started moving to polling stations in Caracas to guarantee security during an upcoming referendum that would abolish term limits of elected leaders and could allow President Hugo Chávez to seek re-election indefinitely. Army General Jesus Gonzalez Gonzalez said soldiers were on their way to 11,670 voting centres, where they would safeguard all voting equipment. Venezuelans will vote on the constitutional amendment on Sunday, with recent polls suggesting that Chávez is gaining support for the controversial measure. (3news.co.nz)

Constitutionalism retards social justice ... Tens of thousands of Venezuelans clad in red flooded the streets of the capital on Thursday, saying a referendum that would end term limits is the only way President Hugo Chávez can complete what he calls a socialist revolution. Nearby, a few hundred opponents rallied in a square after the government denied their request to mount a giant march across the city, as they did last weekend. They have fought Chávez in a bitter struggle that culminates in Sunday's vote, which is expected to be close. Supporters jumped and screamed as Chávez rode through the crowd atop a red truck. They danced to salsa music booming from sound trucks, then listened rapt as Chavez addressed them. "I have four years left in government," he said to boos. But if the amendment is approved, he said, "the horizon will change for the rest of the century." Gregoria Escalona, 21, said she has bought a house and fed her two children thanks to social programs Chávez put into place. She fears those programs will end if Chávez leaves office when his term expires in 2013, as the constitution currently requires. "Thanks to him, we have everything," she said. The referendum would remove all term limits for elected officials, meaning that if he keeps winning elections Chávez could remain in power for decades, as he has said he should. (google.com)

Chávez smacks down iconic anti-communist ... Polish icon Lech Walesa has canceled a visit to Venezuela after President Hugo Chávez said the Solidarity veteran could be banned. "This behavior is not very mature and insults a Polish citizen," Piotr Gulczynski, a spokesman for Walesa said Thursday. Walesa, an anti-communist former labour leader and 1983 Nobel Peace prize winner, was scheduled to arrive on Friday for a five-day trip during which he was to have met with students and members of non-governmental organisations, Gulczynski told Poland's PAP news agency. Walesa has publicly described Chávez as a "demagogue" and a "populist," and stated that government opposition must be allowed. He tried to visit Venezuela in November, but local authorities talked him out of it for an unstated "security reason." On Tuesday, just days ahead of a Sunday referendum on amending the constitution to allow the leftist Chávez to seek reelection indefinitely, the Venezuelan president slammed Walesa, a 1980's anti-communist icon. A former paratrooper and close ally of communist Cuba, Chávez said he might stop Walesa from entering the country. "We are obliged to make sure the dignity of Venezuela is respected," Chávez said told ministers. Walesa can stay "wherever he wants beyond Venezuela's borders, but not here, in Venezuela," Chávez said. He urged Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro to remain alert. "There is a plan here that is not new... to take us down the path of violence," Chavez said. "The statements of this idol with clay feet are very suspicious," he added. Walesa acquired worldwide recognition as the leader of the Solidarity labour union which negotiated an entirely peaceful and bloodless end to communism in Poland in 1989. He served as Poland's first democratically-elected post-WWII president from 1990-1995. (petroleumworld.com)

Non-union workers to leave U.S. for Mexico ... Mexico's highest court, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, last year unanimously ruled in favor of secret votes for workers considering which union could represent them in collective bargaining agreements. While Mexico's labor law differs from that in the U.S., any step to safeguard workers' freedom and privacy is a great advance in an economy long bedeviled by measures that destroyed jobs while strengthening unions. Mexico's highest court affirmed a lower court ruling which cited as justification for their decision the United Nation's Universal Human Rights Declaration and Convention number 87 of the International Labor Organization. The declaration and convention established that secret ballots permit employees to exercise democratic principles while open voting allows for undue pressure and coercion. The National Association of Democratic Lawyers, a group of labor lawyers, academics and labor organizations in Mexico, called the secret ballot "an essential element for respecting workers' rights and for the democratization of unions and the country itself." Democratization and the secret ballot have always been the hallmark of worker freedom and protecting the rights of workers to organize. Mexico is the latest example of other nations following America model for a free and fair workplace-ironically, just as the Obama Administration seems to be abandoning it. (washingtontimes.com)
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