Thursday wrap

Stimulus takers paid to lobby for even more Federal Pork ... Hundreds of members of the Service Employees International Union are taking off from their jobs to join the fight to pass President Obama's $3.55 trillion budget, a union official said on Wednesday. "SEIU intends to bring the full force of the union and its 2.1 million members to bear," Khalid Pitts, director of political accountability at the SEIU said on a conference call. "Right now, we have hundreds of our workers, who have taken leave from their jobs in 18 crucial states to moving this budget." Pitts said that the members will be going door-to-door to convince their neighbors to support the budget as well as organizing house parties and other events. Bertha Lewis, CEO and chief organizer of ACORN said the group was "excited" to play a role in the effort. "ACORN is gearing up to get it on," she said. Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United for Change, said that the coalition would spend roughly $5 million to $7 million on the effort, which will include 1,500-1,800 events nationwide as well as television and radio ads. Among the other groups represented in the call were the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, USAction, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Women's Law Center, and Environment America. (spectator.org)

Global War on Capitalism: Union bigs demand control of U.S. banks, end to other free-market rules ... The nation’s largest labor federation has called for nationalization of the nation’s major banks. “This is an issue of both fairness and our national interest,” the federation said. “It makes no sense for the public to borrow trillions of dollars to rescue investors who can afford the losses associated with failed banks. “We believe that the debate over nationalization is delaying the inevitable bank restructuring, which is something our economy cannot afford,” the statement said. “Free market rules that workers must live by do not apply to these banks,” the AFL-CIO said, noting that the government has stepped in to bail out banks repeatedly since September. (pww.org)

AFL-CIO defends lavish Miami retreat

Obama-Pelosi Stimulus Package discriminates against non-white, non-union workers ... Sen. John Thune says he's concerned that new contracting rules imposed by President Obama could hurt nonunionized South Dakota contractors vying for millions in federal construction projects included in the economic stimulus plan Congress just passed. "With all the money that's going to be shoveled out the door - and it is going to be an enormous amount of money ... we just want to make sure that companies in South Dakota which for whatever reason may not be unionized aren't facing any disadvantage when it comes to securing these contracts," the Republican told reporters Wednesday. (argusleader.com)

Uneasy DINOs queasy over Big Labor litmus-test ... So far, no legislator has introduced the bill in the 111th Congress. But that hasn’t stopped America’s labor unions from salivating at the prospect of being able to force their way into workplaces across the country and be able to unionize them with no secret-ballot election. That’s why it’s all the more surprising why three local members of Congress — Democrats Jim Webb and Mark Warner in the U.S. Senate and Tom Perriello in the House — are so difficult to pin down when asked about their positions on card check. It shouldn’t be a difficult decision to make, even for a politician coming from a party as beholden to Big Labor as the Democrats. Do you support the ability of workers to freely choose, by secret ballot, whether to affiliate with a union? It’s a no-brainer. It was even a no-brainer for Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., one of the most liberal members of the House and a chief patron of the legislation in the 110th Congress. Except he backed secret-ballot elections for workers in Mexico. Just not in America, it seems. (neweraprogress.com)

The dangers of Card-Check

Obama vents fury at Dem Card-Check defectors ... President Barack Obama is in the second month of his administration and Congress still hasn’t passed the Employee Free Choice Act – aka Card Check – to abolish the secret ballot in workplace employee representation elections. So, the Big Labor bosses who spent more than $300 million in 2008 to get the best Democratic president and Congress that dues money can buy are getting antsy. Yesterday Obama offered an AFL-CIO gathering a video message reassuring them that “we will pass the Employee Free Choice Act.” Note that Obama conspicuously said nothing about when he expects Card Check to become law. Guess what else – the Obama message was videotaped nearly two weeks ago, and a lot has happened since then. A growing number of Democrats in Congress are having second thoughts about Card Check, according to the liberal blog Huffington Post, which headlined its March 2 post with “Worry grows over Democrat defections on EFCA.” Huffington noted that “right after the election, union officials were adamant that EFCA be considered within the president's first year in office. Now, however, there seems to be a loosening of the deadline.” The “loosening” is because the more people know about Card Check, the less support the proposal has in Congress and the general public. A recent national survey by McLaughlin & Associates found 82 percent of those surveyed believe the secret ballot is the best way to protect workers’ rights in the workplace. And three-fourths of those surveyed oppose Card Check, including the same percentage among union members. Numbers like that may explain why Card Check hasn’t even been put on the legislative calendar despite the fact it passed the House last year. The times they are changin’ indeed. (dcexaminer.com)

Beck takes on AFL-CIO luxury confab

Trumka to employers: We'll be your best friend ... It was reported that in October, Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot, said that passage of the Employee Free Choice Act would trigger “the demise of civilization.” Now, my guess is that if you asked most people what the greatest threat is to civilization today, they might say global warming or terrorism or disease or hunger, but very few would say it’s making revisions to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. So why the hysteria? It’s not because the Employee Free Choice Act is a threat to civilization - but because it’s a threat to an approach to management that’s a throwback to an era when an employer could get by only valuing workers for their muscles and not their minds. It was a bygone era when businesses thought unions were the enemy, when we can actually be their best allies. (communitytimes.com)

Union bigs force DINOs against U.S. small business job engine ... I am writing in response because I feel it is important to emphasize that this legislation could have profoundly disruptive repercussions for small businesses, like mine, the hard-working men and women we employ, and the economy as a whole. Despite its name, EFCA actually takes away choices from workers by denying them their right to a private-ballot vote in union-organizing elections and making it easier for them to be subject to union dues and the standard union seniority-based promotion system. For businesses, the insertion of a binding federal arbitrator into labor-management negotiations that run longer than 120 days (a tiny number for most negotiations) would create yet another layer of costly bureaucracy at a time when most businesses are fighting tooth and nail just to stay afloat and are already struggling with a heavy combined local, state, and federal regulatory burden. We are a country built on democracy, and this act would take away workers’ ability to freely vote their choices without fear and the freedom to speak their own mind. (inforum.com)

Another flaw detected in Card-Check scheme ... Exposing a key flaw of the Employee Free Choice Act, the Labor Relations Institute is offering a $10,000 reward to the first Federal arbitrator who can show they have settled a first contract between a union and a private-sector employer in less than 90 days. "The Employee Free Choice Act puts a 90-day limit on the bargaining process before the employer and union members are effectively removed from the negotiation. In our experience, this timeline is simply unrealistic," said Phillip B. Wilson, president and general counsel for LRI, the nation's leading union avoidance and positive employee-relations consultants. "That is, unless there are a large number of Super arbitrators out there we have yet to meet. To make this point, we're offering one dollar for each of the 10,000 union elections we've been involved in that not a single arbitrator will come forward to accept this prize." (prweb.com)

DOA: GOP curb on pro-union arbitration ... Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell has a plan to make the system of binding arbitration — which replaced the right to strike for teachers, police officers and other public employees — more friendly to Connecticut's cities and towns. The plan includes giving communities the option of suspending the arbitration process — in which a three-member panel weighs the arguments and imposes an award — for two years. Under the proposal, if management and labor in a town could not reach a settlement during that period, the union employees would be forced to accept a zero increase. Rell has sold the plan as a way to save money for budget-strapped localities, but sources at the Capitol said that staunch union opposition makes it unlikely that the plan will get though the Democrat-controlled legislature. (courant.com)

Union political operatives shamed in Utah ... A heated and extensive debate in the Utah House Wednesday led to passage of a resolution that would give Utah voters the chance to vote on a state constitutional amendment designed to preempt pending federal legislation that facilitates union organization. HJR8, sponsored by Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, proposes a constitutional change that would require labor organizations to hold secret-ballot voting to establish a union at a Utah business. Changes to the state's governing document require a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate and voter approval in the 2010 election to become law. Wimmer's resolution passed the House on a 53-22 vote, just three votes stronger than the 50 needed in the 75-member body. Wimmer cited the support of Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr., Sens. Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett and 3rd District Rep. Jason Chaffetz, all R-Utah, on the bill and called the pending Employee Free Choice Act an "attack coming down from the federal government." (deseretnews.com)

ACORN backs anti-social justice forced-labor union mandate ... The community group ACORN, which itself is under federal investigation for alleged voter registration fraud, has been pushing “card check” legislation that would deprive workers of the right to a secret ballot, Rep. Tom Price tells Newsmax. Calling the card check bill the “union worker intimidation act,” Price says Democrats are organizing “ACORN and MoveOn.org and others, whatever groups they’re able to mobilize,” to urge passage of card check. A Georgia Republican, Price is chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of House conservatives. With Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., Price has introduced the Secret Ballot Protection Act, an opposing bill that would specifically guarantee the right to a secret ballot. (newsmax.com)

AFSCME worker will not be forgotten ... Let me start by saying that I am pro-union and a member of AFSCME. Our union is the foundation for negotiating fair wages and benefits so that we may provide a quality life for our families and also the assurance of a safe workplace and working conditions. With the rights we earn, we equally assume certain responsibilities. One of these should be to encourage others to join our ranks through positive actions in the workplace and in the communities that we serve. With that taking place, a law would not be necessary to force membership as is requested in Senate Bill 264. The truth that no one wants to tell is that a portion of our dues is given directly to the Democratic Party. Is it any wonder that Gov. O’Malley, 12 senators and 26 delegates support such a bill? My guess would be that they are all Democrats which would just make easy money for their party. The only law we need is one that prohibits giving any money from union dues to any political party without personal consent. Signed, registered Republican and AFSCME member, Kent Beeghly (times-news.com)

How to get rid of SEIU

How to defund powerful unions ... The Bernie Madoff investment fraud scandal has affected thousands of people across the country, including the pension funds of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 910 in Watertown. John Love, funds manager for the union that represents workers across six northern New York counties, says the union didn’t directly invest with Madoff, but it did employ a money manager who had some of the union funds invested with Madoff. Love says the union’s loss at this point totals somewhere under $2 million. The union has filed claims and is working with attorneys to recover lost assets. Love says the loss will have no effect on current or future benefits. (wwnytv.net)

Steelworkers seek lengthy delay in City secret-ballot decert vote ... The United Steelworkers of America has filed a motion to stay the union decertification election scheduled for March 17. The motion was filed by USWA District 1 with the State Employee Relations Board the week of Feb. 16. The union has also filed an unfair labor practices charge against the city, claiming it isn't possible to have a fair and impartial election. In the motion, USWA District 1 contract coordinator Mark Shaw said the USWA believes the city continues to try to influence the members of the bargaining unit with promises of possible wage increases the city wouldn't be permitted to grant unless the 17 city employees now represented by the USWA separate from the union. The union wants the decertification vote delayed until the unfair labor practices charge is adjudicated. Both the motion to stay and the unfair labor practice charge are currently under review by the SERB. There is no timeline as to when a decision will be made. (thisweeknews.com)

Teamsters overcome ugly secret-ballot, quorum rules to win gov't workers' dues ... After two days of voting, county employees voted 331 to 110 in favor of allowing the Teamsters to represent them in a union. The votes were tallied late Wednesday in downtown Brooksville. John Sholtes, business agent for Teamsters Local Union 79, said there will now be a 15-day grace period to allow someone to file an objection to the election. After that the state must certify the Teamsters as the bargaining agent for the employees, who will be split into two separate bargaining units: about 14 professional, white-collar positions and about 535 non-professionals. Then it will be time to begin contract negotiations, Sholtes said. County Administrator David Hamilton added that he was not surprised by the vote outcome, given the strong organizing effort and the "understandable level of anxiety" due to the economy. Three other times, county employees tried to organize and form a union. They voted down earlier alliances with the Teamsters and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). It required 50 percent plus one of the county's eligible employees to vote in favor of union representation. (hernandotoday.com)

International Collectivism

Socialistic strikers bedevil French colony ... Union leaders on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe agreed late Wednesday to suspend a 44-day-old general strike as most of their demands continue to be met. Union leaders on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe agreed late Wednesday to suspend a 44-day-old general strike as most of their demands continue to be met. The LKP collective warned it would resume the strike if government officials and business owners renege on their promises, which include lowering gasoline prices and raising some workers' pay by 200 euros ($252) a month. The strike paralyzed the economy, shuttered schools and businesses and forced thousands of tourists to cancel their vacations. France sent 450 riot police when demonstrations erupted in gunfire, arson, looting and the killing of a union member. Police have arrested dozens of protesters since the strike began in late January. Not everyone was celebrating the suspension of the violent strike. One union that forms part of the LKP Collective urged protesters to continue to block businesses and force owners to immediately increase salaries. CTU leader Alex Lollia was among the 100 protesters who remained stationed at several large businesses in the town of Jarry on Wednesday night. (etaiwannews.com)

Leading Latin Bolivarian socialist consolidates military power ... Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, in his role as Commander in Chief of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB), has fired his existing commander of the Strategic Operational Command (CEO), Major General Jesus Gonzalez Gonzalez, who had served in office since its inception in 2008, and appointed Major General Carlos Mata Figueroa in his place. Chávez made the announcement on the topical show Dando & Dando on state channel Venezolana de Television (VTV). Chávez argued that this appointment is a result of the changes being made in the armed forces in order to comply with the stipulations of the new Organic Law of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces. "These are some of the changes being done to implement the new law that states that the ministry should be a predominantly administrative body and everything is operational up to the CEO and will receive direct orders from the Commander in Chief," Chávez added. (laht.com)

Chávez toys with Banco Santander ... The Venezuelan government announced it is deferring at least for this year the nationalization of a local banking unit of Spanish group Santander, while the South American country is going through falling oil prices, government and bank sources told Reuters. Santander, Europe's second-largest lender, has said it is in talks to sell its local unit to President Hugo Chávez's left-wing government, which has already nationalized oil projects, a telecommunications firm and a large private power producer. (english.eluniversal.com)
Related Posts with Thumbnails