Monday wrap

Stern's NLRB goes right to work against worker-choice ... Statement of Eliseo Medina and David Regan, Trustees of SEIU UHW, after it was revealed in BNA's Daily Labor Report that the National Labor Relations Board has blocked the attempts of Sal Rosselli and other former officers of UHW to weaken their former local. The NLRB also announced its intent to investigate charges of Unfair Labor Practices after learning that the ousted leaders of UHW had failed to bargain and close contracts for workers. (prnewswire.com)

In case you missed it:
The Union News weekend: Saturday | Sunday

Bankruptcy cancels News Union collective bargaining agreements ... Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C., which owns The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com, filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday in a bid to restructure its $390 million in debt load. The company, bought by a group of Philadelphia-area investors for $562 million in 2006, said the voluntary Chapter 11 filing would not interrupt its daily operations. "This restructuring is focused solely on our debt, not our operations," chief executive officer Brian P. Tierney, who led the group that provided about $150 million of the purchase price three years ago, said in a news release. "Our operations are sound and profitable," said Tierney, referring to operating profits before interest and certain other costs. The Newspaper Guild, which represents newsroom and other employees of the company, alerted its members of the bankruptcy filing yesterday. (philly.com)

Pro-union Dem blasted by angry Anti-Porkulus protesters ... Angered by Congress’ approval of the $787 billion economic recovery plan, a crowd protested Saturday outside the Overland Park office of U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore. Protesters held placards and chanted their disapproval of the vote by Moore, a Kansas Democrat, in favor of the relief package. President Barack Obama signed the measure into law on Tuesday. Overland Park police estimated the crowd on a cold and windy Saturday morning at 200 to 300 people. The demonstration lasted about an hour, Sgt. Todd George said. (kansascity.com)

We don't need no stinkin' free choice ... It's a simple concept - just get a majority of employees to sign a card that says they want to unionize their place of work and, voila!, the business will now have a union. That's what the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also known as "card check", would do if allowed to become law. However, it is neither "free" nor a matter of "choice". It would be costly and open the doors of intimidation. Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, are opposed to "card check" in any form. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud are strong backers of this side-door political tactic. The primary reason this bill ought to be defeated is that it eliminates the provision for a secret ballot which is the central safeguard for both employers and employees against intimidation. If "card check" passes, then everyone would know who signed and who didn't. The signed cards are a matter of public record. That makes for a hostile workplace. (villagesoup.com)

Oppressive U.S. employers frightened by Obama ... Yet it's the card check bill that has energized the unions most -- and is most bitterly opposed by business leaders, who consider it among the worst pieces of legislation on the horizon. "Most of our members are in disbelief that this could actually happen," said Laurie Ehlbeck, who heads the Trenton, N.J., office of National Federation of Independent Business. "It's very frightening to them." The proposal would grant workers union representation if a majority signed a card, or petition, requesting representation by a specific union. At present, representation is triggered if 30 percent of workers in a unit sign a card calling for an election and if a majority backs the union in the secret ballot. Businesses say the change would make it easier for unions to organize workers, pushing up the cost of doing business and restricting managements' ability to control its workforce. "It would be a disaster for New Jersey," said Philip Kirschner, president of the Trenton-based New Jersey Business & Industry Association. "It's going to raise prices, and it's going to make us less competitive." (cleveland.com)

Related video
AFL-CIO: Shame on oppressive U.S. employers

D.C. organizers throw rank-and-file Dems under the Big Labor-P2P bus ... Beginning today, Congress has six weeks of legislative work before the next recess, which sounds like plenty of time to move through some big initiatives, including the Employee Free Choice Act Democrats promised labor unions would be passed quickly. But the legislation, which would make it easier for unions to organize workplaces, has turned into a political minefield for the Democrats who, despite wide majorities in both chambers, have pushed action on the legislation into the summer to avoid what one blogger called “the mother of all labor brawls.” Support for the legislation has weakened in the House, too. While the bill passed easily last year before dying in the Senate, the more conservative Democrats in the Blue Dog Coalition have grown sensitive to opposition from the business community, which has decried the bill as a job killer. (dcexaminer.com)

Middle Class demands union representation ... Doug Smiley in his Feb. 18 letter, "Hurting middle class needs protection of unions," supports the Employee Free Choice Act and states that "The economy will be better off when workers can exercise their democratic right to associate with organizations that seek to improve their condition." His statement contradicts the purpose of the act, which is to eliminate an employee's democratic right to a secret ballot vote on whether to be represented by a union. Union representation has declined in the United States because employees have expressed their voice in secret ballot elections in favor of being union free. His premise that the economy would improve if more employees were governed by collective bargaining is false. Just look at the demise of the union-dominated Big Three auto industry. (indystar.com)

Iconic Alinksy guides sour President ... I read recently that "Obama supporters see an end of 'sour partisanship' " They should, because they and the rest of the Democrat Party have been the major cause of "sour partisanship" over the last eight years. During that time, they unfairly and brutally demonized President Bush and his administration. Almost without exception, they obstructed every action the former president attempted. They constantly vilified him personally, lied about the war in Iraq and falsely accused our troops of atrocities, torture, raping innocent civilians and bombing villages. Now they say we are in a "kumbaya moment." (The famous "Can't we all just get along" plea.) Sure, now that they have driven the evil George W. Bush from office, they whine ... Can't we all just forget the last eight years and, for the good of America, support the most radical onetime senator in Washington? A man, now president, with a cabal of radical Marxists in his entourage? A man with a history of "community agitation" with longtime friends and mentors, such as the America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright; terrorist Bill Ayers; Marxist Saul Alinsky; and old family friend, communist and journalist Frank Marshall Davis? And a man trained in the corrupt breeding ground of Chicago politics by the indicted slum lord, Tony Rezco? As I recall, someone once said, "By his friends, ye shall know him." Lots of luck with the "kumbaya" nonsense. (newschief.com)

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

Contradictory Obama: Pro-union favoritism really means "Anti-stimulus" ... President Obama and his advisers insist that they place national economic recovery over every other policy objective. However, when it comes to labor policy, they support measures that economic history indicates would significantly hinder such recovery. Perhaps the most shocking is Sen. Ted Kennedy’s cynically mislabeled Employee Free Choice Act, known more generally as “card check.” Card check would not promote “free choice” but would instead take away employers’ right to demand secret-ballot elections for union representation. By pressuring workers into signing cards rather than voting in booths, union officials could gain bargaining power over millions of private-sector workers. Almost invariably, these workers would fall under “monopoly bargaining power” — meaning that even if an employee chooses not to join, union officials have the sole power to negotiate wages, benefits, and working conditions on his behalf. Monopoly bargaining violates employees’ freedom and is therefore in itself bad policy. But for Congress and the Obama administration to help Big Labor foist monopoly bargaining on millions more workers now, as the national economy reels from the combined impact of the housing and stock-market crashes, would be fatal to our hopes of timely recovery. And we can expect that the increase in unions’ power and numbers will impair U.S. competitiveness for generations to come. If the new president and his allies in Congress are to succeed in reviving the economy, they must first do no harm. This will mean abandoning all such Big Labor schemes. Otherwise, what the stimulus plan could give, labor legislation will take away — and the economy will stay in recession. (nationalreview.com)

Obama defined by P2P politics-as-usual ... Barack Obama has been embroiled in a cronyism row after reports that he intends to make Louis Susman, one of his biggest fundraisers, the new US ambassador in London. The selection of Mr Susman, a lawyer and banker from the president's hometown of Chicago, rather than an experienced diplomat, raises new questions about Mr Obama's commitment to the special relationship with Britain. American commentators denounced the selection of a rich friend to the plumb post, regarded as one of the most prestigious in the president's gift, as worthy of a "banana republic". They said it was proof that Mr Obama has turned his back on his campaign pledge to end politics as usual. Critics said that it would have been more appropriate to dispatch a high profile diplomat at a time when there are fears in British government that Mr Obama is not as attached to the special relationship as his predecessors. And they pointed out that there is little difference between handing a major diplomatic post to a fundraiser and the "pay to play" scandal in which disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich apparently auctioned off Mr Obama's senate seat to the highest bidder. (telegraph.co.uk)

Porkulus centerpiece rife with P2P ... Hundreds of billions of dollars are now set to flow into left wing liberal and environmental programs from the Government Stingallus (sting-all-us) Bill. But what concerns me more is -- how much of this money — OUR MONEY — will be funneled into the Democrat party as campaign contributions in 2010 and 2012 to assure political power remains in Democrat hands? Does anyone think there are any provisions in the bill to prevent the money from being used for that purpose? Of course not. Pelosi, Reid, Obozo, and the Democrats are now rewarding campaign contributors with handouts of our money. You can bet that those organizations and unions will recycle our money back to liberal organizations and Democrat candidates. This disastrous pile of socialist fly paper called a "Stimulus Bill" does little or nothing to stimulate the free market economy. It does everything possible to stimulate the growth of socialist government and the Democrat party. The communistic policies that Obozo is putting into place through Congress and by use of executive orders are no different from what we saw in the Soviet Union before it imploded. Acting President Obozo very quietly signed a pro union executive order on Friday that mandated the exclusive use of union labor for federal construction projects mandated in the Stingallus Bill. This assures that any federal money will go to benefit unions, which contributed considerable amounts of money to Democrat campaigns. It also pretty much guarantees that a lot of that money will be delivered into Democrat campaign funds in future elections. (renewamerica.us)

New Prog Era P2P protects Pick-Your-Pay ... The Sandlers pioneered Pick-Your-Pay, a type of adjustable rate mortgage that many see as a form of predatory lending. They have been somewhat pilloried by the press-including a controversial satirical skit on Saturday Night Live. The US Attorney in San Francisco is investigating the company. Will they pay a price? Given that they have showered the Democratic Party and Democratic interest groups will their wealth, they may have accumulated a lot of chits in Washington and among Democrats (including our President) that may help them avoid responsibility. Ed explores the topic in Will Herb and Marion Sandler Pay a Price? Or will they pick what they choose to pay? (americanthinker.com)

Another News Union Freed ... The Journal Register Co. quietly filed Friday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, becoming the third publisher in as many months to succumb to an overwhelming debt load. Journal Register, whose stock closed Friday at a third of a cent per share, had shut dozens of its non-daily newspapers since the first of the year in an effort to raise enough cash to avoid defaulting on $646.3 million in debt. The so-called forbearance agreement lapsed a few weeks ago and documents filed along with the Chapter 11 case indicate the Journal Register seeks to be reorganized as a privately held company owned by the lenders. JRCO owns the New Haven (CT) Register and about two dozen dailies and several hundreed non-daily publications. It has shut at least three dozen of the 321 non-daily properties it claimed in its 2007 annual report. In seeking protection from its creditors in a federal court in Manhattan on Friday, JRCO joined in the Tribune Co. and the Minneapolis Star Tribune in Chapter 11. Tribune filed in December just days short of the first anniversary of its acquisition by Sam Zell and the Strib filed last month. (newsosaur.blogspot.com)

Pro-union government waste in desert ... Of course a local laborers union is embracing Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman’s elaborate plans for a new City Hall. Why wouldn’t it support a pork-laden project guaranteeing its membership jobs for the next few years? Keeping the members working keeps union dues coming into the local and supporting the staff with guaranteed paychecks. This is not the time to be spending garish sums of money on a Taj Mahal-like setting to give Oscar Goodman his place in local history. Putting the city in more debt during an economic meltdown is the wrong idea and must be challenged. I support the concept of keeping the masses employed, but unfortunately I can see only another wasteful government project built on bonds and promises that cannot possibly be cashed now or in the next 20 years. Perhaps, if the unions were to make concessions and be willing to overlook “prevailing wage” considerations and be willing to work within tight guidelines for the completion of this project, myself and other skeptics could go along with this outrageous project. But when was the last time any public project came in under a proposed budget or a labor union agreed to concessions on a job funded with public money? (lasvegassun.com)

International Collectivism

Deadbeat Socialists backed by GOP solon ... The U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC issued the following press release in response to the Lugar report: "U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) is a great public servant of unquestionable character. Unfortunately, the Cuba Policy Report ("the Report") issued this weekend by his Foreign Relations Committee Latin America staff ignores key elements of the Cuban reality and contains major policy contradictions. "First and foremost, the report noticeably ignores the plight of Cuba's courageous -- yet brutally repressed -- pro-democracy movement. According to the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996, support for Cuba's pro-democracy movement is at the core of U.S. policy towards Cuba. Not once does the report mention representative democracy as a central tenet of U.S. policy towards the entire region. Yet during a 2001 summit in Lima, Peru, 34 out of 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which placed representative democracy as a priority in hemispheric relations. Cuba remains the glaring exception. Perhaps the most domestically-tailored policy recommendation espoused by the report is for the U.S. to provide unconditional financial credits for agricultural purchases to the Cuban regime. While the Report might equivocally presume that such a policy change would benefit Indiana farmers, it fails to mention that the Paris Club of creditor nations recently disclosed that Cuba already owes $29.7 billion to its international trading partners -- with little hope for repayment -- and ranks second on the list of the world's most indebted nations. (newsmax.com)

Coming to America

Friend of Hugo Chávez earns Hollywood nod ... As Penn's career has flourished he has also become a vocal political activist, enraging conservative pundits in the United States for his criticism of former president George W. Bush, who he has said should be impeached. He was lambasted for visiting Iraq in December 2002, which came two months after he paid 56,000 dollars for an advertisement in the Washington Post protesting Bush's "war on terror" and planned invasion of Iraq. Penn has also reportedly developed a friendship with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, another bete-noire of the Bush administration. (asiaone.com)

Trickle-up economic policy yields political power, but no social justice ... This month (February 2009) marks the tenth anniversary of Hugo Chávez’s coming to power in Venezuela, and ten years of the “Bolivarian revolution”. This process has included waves of state intervention in the economy and fervent rhetoric against US imperialism. But while some on the left see this Chavista movement as the new “socialism for the 21st century”, a more radical critique has argued that it is actually more like an old-fashioned attempt at modernisation by a technocratic élite (including an ex-situationist as second-in-command of the ministry of information and propaganda); that increased bureaucratic power over capital is not inherently progressive; and that the “revolution” in Venezuela allows for very little working-class control or initiative from below. (indybay.org)
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