Sunday wrap

Big brands sell out ... A potential compromise for the labor movement’s No. 1 legislative priority this Congress is earning harsh reviews from a number of industry-affiliated groups that have lobbied against the bill. Three of America’s biggest brand-name companies — Costco, Starbucks and Whole Foods — are reportedly planning to announce an alternative next week to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would help workers organize much more easily into unions if passed. The compromise would allow workers to bypass secret ballot elections to form a union if 70 percent of them sign authorization cards stating their intention to organize. In the current version of the bill, workers could organize into a union if 50 percent of them sign cards. (thehill.com)

News Union ignores rising anti-socialist protests ... The tea party movement continues to gain steam, as anti-tax increase, anti-bailout, anti-ballooning deficit citizens turned out around the country today. Glenn Reynolds, as always, has a roundup with links and photos. One emerging theme is the absence of press coverage, especially at the national level. For some reason, reporters and editors believe it is not news when thousands of people, all around the country, gather to protest the government's bailouts, trillions in debt, etc. And yet, when a mere forty people turned out in Connecticut for an ACORN-sponsored bus tour of homes owned by AIG executives, there were more media people covering the event than there were people on the bus. So let's see: conservative and libertarian opposition to the government's economic initiatives--not news. Far left opposition to the government's economic initiatives, no matter how few participate--that's news. But of course, not a single person reading this will be surprised. (powerlineblog.com)

Global War on Free Enterprise ramps up ... In recent days, President Barack Obama's administration continued its war against free enterprise and American businesses by expressing its strong support for the controversial "card check" bill, which eliminates a worker's right to a secret ballot when voting on unions. The secret ballot is a cornerstone of freedom that multitudes of Americans have fought valiantly for over our history. Now Obama wants to pay off the union bosses who supported his election by eliminating each worker's right to a secret ballot. Instead, Obama is more than happy to reintroduce strong-arm intimidation tactics and physical threats to workers if they do not sign up for a union. After all, he wants more union dues flowing into the Democrat campaign coffers. Shameful beyond description. (livingstondaily.com)

At long last, union-backed mob rule ... Like most Americans, we found ourselves angry and perplexed that a company that took $173 billion in bailout aid because it had failed to run its affairs competently would hand out $165 million in "bonuses" to its top employees. Yet, as with many things, the tale is a bit more complex than the sound bite. For one, Congress authorized the bonuses to be paid — at the direct instigation of Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who took $103,100 from AIG during the 2008 political cycle. And while letting AIG pay some employees retention bonuses might seem wrong or even immoral to some, it wasn't illegal. Yet Congress, which created the problem in the first place, acted with consummate cowardice by trying to "claw back" the money through a punitive, 90% retroactive tax, one specially levied on those who work at AIG. It wants to do the same thing with recipients of TARP money, too. Why the big change? Public anger. Welcome to mob rule. A measure to impose the 90% tax passed by more than a two-thirds majority, 328 to 93, in the House. Only problem is, it's almost certainly unconstitutional. (ibdeditorials.com)

Census: Union-backed fraud group smacked down ... The Obama administration is certifiably nuts to think letting ACORN help recruit workers for the 2010 U.S. census is a good idea. Despite being linked repeatedly to voter fraud -- and then there's the subprime mortgage mess -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now has been helping the U.S. Census Bureau since February with recruiting 1.4 million temporary workers. Yes, ACORN is just one of more than 250 organizations helping with census recruitment. But this liberal activist group can't be trusted even to recruit honest workers of its own. A Berks County ACORN worker who was sent to prison in March 2008 for falsifying 29 voter registration forms to collect a cash bonus is just the tip of the organization's iceberg of fraud. Thankfully, key members of Congress are questioning ACORN's census role, including Rep. Lynn A. Westmoreland, a Georgia Republican and member of the House subcommittee on the census. He told Fox News that ACORN's census role "should be the concern of every citizen in the country. We want an enumeration. We don't want to have any false numbers." The Obama administration, which already has attempted to politicize the census, must put an accurate 2010 count ahead of the president's cozy 2008 campaign relationship with ACORN by putting ACORN out of the census recruitment business -- now. (pittsburghlive.com)

Unionized actors picket Leno, Obama

Togetherness: DeMoro & Stern oppress Rosselli ... The national agreement reached on March 18 between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the California Nurses Association (CNA) sent shock waves through organized labor and the progressive community. It was only recently that CNA chief Rose Ann DeMoro described SEIU as a “management surveillance team,” and the two unions came to physical blows at a Labor Notes conference last year. CNA staffers at the Democratic National Convention even directly insulted BeyondChron for allegedly failing to write about SEIU’s “corruption.” Today, the world has changed. DeMoro describes CNA’s alliance with SEIU as “an exciting new day for nurses and patients across the nation,” and “a huge spark for the emergence of a more powerful, unified national movement.” SEIU leader Andy Stern says that while the accord is “perhaps surprising,” — now there’s an understatement! — “this is the right step to help us meet the challenge and call of the moment.” Left out of the festivities is the newly created National Union of Health Workers (NUHW), created by Sal Roselli and other former SEIU-UHW members after SEIU placed their local in trusteeship. DeMoro appears to have used NUHW’s conflict with SEIU as leverage to secure a better deal with Stern, while SEIU has removed a potential financial and political backer of Rosselli’s new enterprise, while burnishing its image as a unifier. (beyondchron.org)

Card-Check: Truth goes missing ... A threat to democracy at a very basic level - in the workplace - has resurfaced in Congress. It is the Employee Free Choice Act, an inappropriately named bill if ever there was one. Last year the measure was blocked by lawmakers concerned about true freedom of choice for working men and women. But the proposal has been introduced again in Congress. Should the bill become law, it would make changes in the rules involving labor unions and employers. Concerning approval of unions solely through authorization cards, McGovern noted, "There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards ..." He added, "Under EFCA, workers could lose the freedom to express their will in private, the right to make a decision without anyone peering over their shoulder, free from fear of reprisal." McGovern has a persuasive answer to members of Congress who insist that they have to support organized labor leaders who backed them. In his opinion article last summer, McGovern put it this way: "While it is never pleasant to stand against one's party or one's friends, there are times when such actions are necessary I hope some of my friends in Congress will re-evaluate their support for this legislation. Because as Americans, we should strive to ensure that all of us enjoy the freedom of expression and freedom from fear that is our ideal and our right." The distinguished public servant is right. Members of Congress who truly want free choice for workers should vote against the dishonestly titled Employee Free Choice Act. They should stand with McGovern - for what is right. (news-register.net)

Good For Unions, Bad For U.S. ... The Obama administration's budget is full of proposals that threaten to weaken our staggering economy: • Higher taxes on high earners and reduced deductions for their charitable contributions and mortgage interests. • A cap-and-trade system that will impose higher costs on everyone who uses electricity. • A national health insurance program that will take $600 billion or so out of the private-sector economy. But the most grievous threat to future prosperity may be off-budget — the inaptly named Employee Free Choice Act. Politicians can read numbers. Pollster Scott Rasmussen reported last week that 61% of Americans think it's fair to require a secret ballot vote if workers want a union. Only 18% disagree. Congressional Democrats used to believe that themselves — in the course of a trade debate in 2001, they urged that Mexico hold secret-ballot unionization elections. Rasmussen also reported an interesting difference between current union members and nonmembers. Union members by 47% to 18% think most workers want to join a labor union. But nonmembers believe by 56% to 14% that most workers don't. Card check would give coercive union organizers the chance to impose on large swaths of the private-sector economy the burdens the UAW imposed on the Detroit automakers. It would set up tollgates to channel the money of consumers as well as taxpayers to the Democratic Party. You can see how that would be good for union leaders and Democrats. But good for America? (ibdeditorials.com)

International Collectivism

Unions stage ugly riots in France

Chávez smacks down remaining rivals ... having gone after erstwhile opposition presidential contender Manuel Rosales, President Hugo Chávez’ supporters now appear to have got it in for Governor César Pérez Vivas – one of three states which spurned the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) at the regional elections last November. National Assembly Deputy Julio García Jarpa, a little-known legislator from the PSUV, called on his colleagues to launch an investigation of Pérez Vivas. He alleged that the governor had changed the budget, which was against the law, and was refusing to hand over funds to municipal mayors. García Jarpa claimed that Pérez Vivas, who hails from the Social Christian party, Copei, but was elected as the single unity candidate for the opposition, had held on to BsF36 million that was supposed to have gone to town governments. The move by García Jarpa coincided with a report saying that the Supreme Justice Tribunal (TSJ) was about to invalidate Pérez Vivas’ victory. Any such move would mean that the election would have to be held again. Pérez Vivas’ assumption of office was delayed by the outgoing pro-Chávez state government dragging its feet by not turning over official documents. Officials claimed fraud had been committed during the election. (laht.com)

Communist military seizes hostile Venezuelan ports ... Venezuela's federal government seized ports and airstrips in at least four states on Saturday, a move critics say is meant to limit the powers of mayors and governors opposed to President Hugo Chávez. The takeover, ordered by Venezuela's socialist president last weekend and approved by parliament, aims to bring major transportation hubs under federal control this year. Troops were dispatched to ports in the three Venezuelan states governed by Chávez opponents: Zulia, Carabobo and Nueva Esparta. Chávez said the takeover of air and sea ports in the state of Anzoategui, which is governed by a Chávez ally, was also under way. The socialist leader said his government will formulate a "strategic investment plan" to modernise the ports and to guarantee the jobs of thousands of workers in the facilities. Chávez has defended the move as a national security issue, but critics say they target facilities previously controlled by state authorities opposed to the president. (ninemsn.com.au)

Emulating Obama: Latin Communist raises taxes, debt ... Venezuela will hike taxes and issue more debt to deal with a collapse in the price of oil that is squeezing the government's finances and threatening the socialist agenda of President Hugo Chávez. The value-added tax will increase to 12% from the current 9% and the government will almost triple its domestic debt issue plans for 2009 to 34 billion bolivars ($15.8 billion) from the previous forecast of VEB12 billion. The measures are geared "to confront a great threat that originates in the economic model defended by the national bourgeois," Chávez said referring to the global economic crisis during a countrywide television broadcast on Saturday. The president staunchly defended his government's socialist-inspired agenda and pledged that he would "protect what we've been achieving" as he listed scores of social projects which are behind a massive jump in public spending in recent years. The president labeled the package as "anti-crisis economic measures." (wsj.com)
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