Thursday wrap

Lawsuit compares unions to 'corrupt racketeers' ... Cintas Corporation announced today it has appealed the ruling issued March 9th, 2009 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissing the company’s federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) and trademark infringement claims against the labor unions UNITE HERE, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Change to Win. “We strongly believe in the merits of this case and are hopeful that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals will not allow the District Court’s decision to stand,” said Scott Farmer, Chief Executive Officer of Cintas Corporation. “We disagree with the recent ruling and remain committed to protecting Cintas and our employees from the unions’ ongoing extortion,” he added. Cintas alleges that, for the last six years, UNITE HERE and the above named labor organizations have carried on a campaign of negative, untrue and unlawful attacks against Cintas in an effort to extort concessions from the company that would enable UNITE HERE and the Teamsters to become the official bargaining representatives for Cintas employees without a valid showing of majority support and without those employees ever being able to freely decide whether they want a union. At the outset of its corporate campaign against Cintas, Bruce Raynor, Co-President of UNITE HERE publicly stated he intended to ‘break the back’ of Cintas if the company did not agree to his demands. The company has long maintained that the right to choose whether to be a member of a union belongs to each individual employee, and has continually reiterated its commitments to protect its employees’ rights to the secret ballot election process. (theunionlabelblog.com)

Lawsuit exposes Andy Stern's dirty SEIU laundry ... An unexpected lawsuit has provided dramatic new details about who SEIU is hiring - and how much money it's spending - to carry out its trusteeship of SEIU-UHW. On Friday, an international security company sued SEIU in federal court for failing to pay all of its $2.2 million in bills for surveillance and security services related to the trusteeship. The company, called the OSO Group, is just one of several security companies hired by SEIU to carry out the trusteeship. The OSO Group provides surveillance, intelligence, counter-terrorism and other services to multinational corporations and describes itself as "the first commercial counter-espionage group established in the private sector." Its leaders and staff are mainly former agents of the U.S. Secret Service, FBI and CIA, as well as national law enforcement officials. One of the company's top executives - Garnett Williams, an ex-Secret Service agent who has been working directly with SEIU on its trusteeship of SEIU-UHW - is a former executive of the Steele Foundation, a strike-breaking company hired by Sutter Health to break a 60-day strike by hundreds of SEIU-UHW members in 2005. In an infamous incident during the strike, security guards kicked and punched workers on the picket line, most of whom were women. Dietary Aide Lorena Hernandez was hospitalized after a guard knocked her to the ground and kicked her repeatedly in the abdomen. (indybay.org)

We don't need no stinkin' oversight ... Obama’s labor initiative gives union leaders a blank check to commit fraud and engage in corruption by removing mandatory fiscal record keeping and reporting. The Obama administration is embarking on a progressive deregulation of enforcement on the relationship of union leaders and their members. Although Barack Obama promised to bring accountability and transparency to government, his intent in terms of the union members and their leadership is just the opposite. The Department of Labor is revising the standard for disclosure that up to now had made mandatory reporting of potential conflicts of interest and itemized spending reports on expenses a necessary part of union practice. Some union leaders have been quoted as saying that such detailed reporting is not necessary because there is very little corruption. (americandailyreview.com)

Union-backed, tax-funded fraud group gets a big raise ... At least $53 million in federal funds have gone to ACORN activists since 1994, and the controversial group could get up to $8.5 billion more tax dollars despite being under investigation for voter registration fraud in a dozen states. The economic stimulus bill enacted in February contains $3 billion that the non-profit activist group known more formally as the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now could receive, and 2010 federal budget contains another $5.5 billion that could also find its way into the group’s coffers. An Examiner review of federal spending data found that ACORN has received at least $53 million in federal money since 1994. A downloadable spreadsheet of the $53 million is posted on washingtonexaminer.com. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Okalahoma trend: Teachers get rid of NEA ... The trend away from teachers unions continued on Monday when Verden teachers elected the Verden Professional Educators, an independent local teachers association, to represent teachers. The Verden election was the second in the state this year, and the sixth since Bridge Creek Public School teachers pioneered the movement in 2005. VPE will eliminate the confrontational collective bargaining tactics typical of unions in favor of the Collaborative Communication Model supported by the Professional Oklahoma Educators, a statewide independent professional association serving more than 4,000 teachers across the state. POE Executive Director Ginger Tinney co-wrote the model in response to teachers’ concerns with the union’s collective bargaining methods. In addition to Verden and Bridge Creek schools, Dibble, Hanna, Macomb and Strother Public Schools have made the switch. Tinney said she expects the decertification trend to continue. “This is a movement that will continue to grow as more and more teachers learn of its success,” Tinney said. Teachers want to be a part of this process, and they are choosing independence, collaboration and professionalism over the divisive models of the past.” (chickashanews.com)

Dem Barons circle the wagons around ACORN ... “Based on my review of the information regarding the complaints against ACORN, I have concluded that a hearing on this matter appears unwarranted at this time." There’s a lot of this going around. As The Examiner reported on Wednesday Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) plans to strip out an anti-ACORN provision Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) succeeded in inserting in the proposed Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act that could be voted on by the House today or Thursday. Bachmann’s amendment was unanimously approved by Frank’s committee in a voice vote last week. It would block organizations that have been indicted for voter registration or vote fraud from receiving housing counseling grants and legal assistance grants. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Related video: Rep. Michele Bachmann takes on ACORN

Who's looking out for the little guy? ... Union membership peaked in the 1950s, when more than one-third of American workers belonged to a union. Today, just 7.6% of American private-sector workers belong to a union. A Rasmussen Research survey conducted in March found that 81% of nonunion members do not want to belong to a union. The response by union leaders and their Democratic allies to declining union membership is the Employee Free Choice Act. To increase unionization, it would deprive workers of private balloting in organizing elections, and it would substitute a signature-card process that would expose workers to coercion. The bill would also deny workers the right to ratify, or not ratify, labor contracts drafted by government arbitrators when negotiations in newly unionized workplaces exceed the bill's rigid timetable. The Obama administration likes to say that it is "pro-worker." But something is amiss when its labor priorities are forcing unionization and labor contracts on American workplaces, and denying union members information on how their dues money is spent. (online.wsj.com)

McGovern takes on EFCA's binding arbitration mandate ... Last year, I wrote on these pages that I was opposed to this bill because it would eliminate secret ballots in union organizing elections. However, the bill has an additional feature that isn't often mentioned but that is just as troublesome -- compulsory arbitration. This feature would give the government the power to step into labor disputes where employers and labor leaders cannot reach an agreement and compel both sides to accept a contract. Compulsory arbitration is bound to trigger the law of unintended consequences. A federally appointed arbitrator cannot be expected to understand the nuances specific to each business dispute, the competitive market position of the business, or the plethora of other factors unique to each case. Yet fundamental decisions on wages and benefit costs, rules for promotions, or even rules for exiting an unprofitable line of business could fall to federal arbitrators under EFCA. (online.wsj.com)

We don't need no stinkin' EFCA ... New data showing labor unions won nearly two-thirds of private ballot organizing elections last year is prompting some business groups to question the need for Congress to pass a bill that would make it even easier to form unions. Union officials say the latest figures from the National Labor Relations Board are misleading because anti-union intimidation prevents many elections from happening at all. Unions won 63 percent of representation elections conducted by the NLRB in fiscal 2008, a 4 percent increase from the previous year and the highest level since the mid-1950s, according to figures released last week. "This new data clearly demonstrates that the current system, if anything, is working to the unions' advantage," said Daniel Yager, chief policy officer of the HR Policy Association, a group of 250 Fortune 500 companies. (manufacturing.net)

Hawaii Dems strip middle-class workers' right to a secret-ballot union recognition election ... A bill making it easier for workers to form labor unions has passed Hawaii’s Legislature. The Democrat-controlled state House and Senate gave final approval yesterday to the measure, which permits a union to be certified if a majority of workers sign union authorization cards. The proposal is mostly limited to agriculture businesses because they’re not covered by federal labor rules, and it exempts businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenues. Similar legislation expanding unions in many more industries nationwide is pending in the U.S. Congress. The measure now heads to Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, who vetoed a previous “card check” bill last year. Lawmakers would then have to decide whether to use their overwhelming majorities to override her veto, which they declined to do last year. “This is an attempt to assist the middle class,” said Senate Labor Committee Chairman Dwight Takamine, D-Hilo-Honokaa. “The statistics point out that unionized workers in the state generally have a higher wage level.” (starbulletin.com)

Pro-NEA operatives throw school kids under the bus ... Obama’s fiscal 2010 budget proposal contains $12.2 million to maintain private school vouchers for the 2010-2011 school year. The president believes no new students should be allowed to participate. Details of the budget are slated to be released Thursday. House Democrats killed the program through budget language that bars future reauthorization of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program without congressional and D.C. government approval -- both of which are controlled by Democrats. The Appropriations Committee urged urge D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee to “promptly take steps to minimize potential disruption and ensure smooth transition” for voucher recipients who must re-enroll in a public school. (washingtonexaminer.com)

Government Motors: UAW swindles workers ... In an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, Chrysler workers represented by the United Auto Workers voted four-to-one on April 29 to take major contract concessions. The consequence of a no vote, workers were told, would be that the company would declare bankruptcy. A yes vote would secure jobs and protect pensions through a new alliance with the Italian auto company Fiat. Yet not even 24 hours after the ballots had been counted, Chrysler double-crossed the workers and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. On May 4 nearly every U.S. Chrysler employee was put on layoff while the “surgical” bankruptcy reshapes Chrysler LLC into a leaner, meaner—and they are plenty mean now—“New Chrysler.” After the workers were told their sacrifice would ensure job security, Chrysler told New York bankruptcy Judge Arthur J. Gonzalez of its plans to close eight plants by the end of 2010. Four closings were already known, but workers at plants in Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio were stunned to hear their plants were now “bad assets” and up for sale. Workers at the Twinsburg, Ohio, plant voted 88 percent in favor of the concessions. They had no idea. The workers were swindled! (workers.org)

Cliff Asness: Bend me over, Barack ... The President's attempted diktat takes money from bondholders and gives it to a labor union that delivers money and votes for him. Why is he not calling on his party to "sacrifice" some campaign contributions, and votes, for the greater good? Shaking down lenders for the benefit of political donors is recycled corruption and abuse of power. Let’s also mention only in passing the irony of this same President begging hedge funds to borrow more to purchase other troubled securities. That he expects them to do so when he has already shown what happens if they ask for their money to be repaid fairly would be amusing if not so dangerous. That hedge funds might not participate in these programs because of fear of getting sucked into some toxic demagoguery that ends in arbitrary punishment for trying to work with the Treasury is distressing. Some useful programs, like those designed to help finance consumer loans, won't work because of this irresponsible hectoring. Last but not least, the President screaming that the hedge funds are looking for an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout is the big lie writ large. Find me a hedge fund that has been bailed out. Find me a hedge fund, even a failed one, that has asked for one. In fact, it was only because hedge funds have not taken government funds that they could stand up to this bullying. The TARP recipients had no choice but to go along. The hedge funds were singled out only because they are unpopular, not because they behaved any differently from any other ethical manager of other people's money. The President’s comments here are backwards and libelous. Yet, somehow I don’t think the hedge funds will be following ACORN’s lead and trucking in a bunch of paid professional protesters soon. Hedge funds really need a community organizer. (zerohedge.blogspot.com)

Union lobbyists infect Obama Administration ... Thirty of 267 senior administration officials, about 11 percent of the president's top staff, had lobbied within the past five years, according to National Journal. The list includes Mothers Against Drunk Driving CEO Chuck Hurley to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, who lobbied for defense industry giant Raytheon; and Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson, who represented Goldman Sachs' interests. At the White House, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Director Cecilia Munoz lobbied for the National Council of La Raza; Office of Political Affairs Director Patricia Gaspard is a former Service Employees International Union lobbyist; and Deputy National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon is a former lobbyist for Fannie Mae. At the White House, Office of Intergovernmetnal Affairs Director Cecilia Munoz lobbied for the National Council of La Raza; Office of Political Affairs Director Patricia Gaspard is a former Service Employees International Union lobbyist; and Deputy National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon is a former lobbyist for Fannie Mae. In principle, there is nothing wrong with former lobbyists serving the president. Their expertise can be useful in developing effective public policy, and the president should be free to pick his team. Still, we wonder what happened in the past few short months to dramatically improve Mr. Obama's view of lobbbyists. (washingtontimes.com)

ACORN rejects oppressive election laws ... Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto on Monday announced voter registration charges against activist group ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Ms. Cortez Masto said the group broke state law by instituting registration quotas, which in turn encouraged fraud. In their voter registration drive last year, the group illegally required paid canvassers to meet quotas to keep their jobs, resulting in thousands of "garbage" registrations gumming up Clark County voter rolls, officials said. Larry Lomax, the Clark County registrar of voters, said his office reviewed the 91,002 voter registration forms turned in by ACORN. There were 28,097 forms that were duplicates or changes of name, party or address, leaving 62,905 new voters. But almost 40,000 of the new voters registered by ACORN did not vote, and of those, almost 19,000 had information on file that did not match what was turned in on the forms. "That's 48 percent of those forms that I believe are clearly fraudulent," Mr. Lomax said. Lisa Rasmussen, a local attorney representing ACORN, called the allegations against the group "patently false." (lvrj.com)

Welcome to the SEIU Hotel California ... Unions would have you believe that union cards are the pinnacle of democracy—or at least that’s what they’d like you to believe when it comes to passing the Employee Free Choice Act. Union cards, they say, are far superior to secret ballot booths when it come to measuring an employee’s interest in joining a union. Of course, everyone knows thats a load of horse manure. That being said, here’s one more example of why union cards–in this case, SEIU’s card use to raid UNITE-HERE–are a terrible measure of employees’ interest. Here’s the process of getting the card back from the union, should an employee change his or her mind: "This authorization shall be irrevocable for one year from the date signed below, or until the expiration of WORKERS UNITED’s contract with my employer, whichever is sooner, and shall be automatically renewed for successive one year period from the date signed below. I can revoke this authorization only by sending written notice by registered mail to my employers and to WORKERS UNITED not more than 20 days and not less than 10 days: 1) before the expiration of each yearly period, or 2) before the expiration of WORKERS UNITED’s contract with my employer." Seriously, this is worse than the worst fine print on a Bank of American credit card policy statement. (laborpains.org)

Citizens circulate worker-choice petition to Congress ... Citizen's Petition to: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, & Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: I am writing to encourage you to oppose the draconian policies being pushed by Big Labor. These union bosses are seeking to subject workers to intimidation and strip them of their rights, all in an effort to increase their own power and influence. It is vital that you oppose all legislation that strips workers of their rights, or expands the oppressive power of Big Labor. Whereas: The overwhelming majority of Americans believe it is just plain wrong to force workers to pay union dues; and Whereas: The Card Check Forced Unionism Bill would do away with the secret ballot election and allow the union bosses to intimidate one-on-one a majority of workers into signing so-called “union authorization cards”; and Whereas: The Police and Firefighter Monopoly Bargaining Bill would force all police officers and firefighters under union boss control and is just the first step towards forcing all public employees under Big Labor’s thumb; and Whereas: Legislation repealing Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act would automatically wipe out all state Right to Work laws, forcing hundreds of thousands of American workers to join and pay dues to a union just to get or keep a job; Therefore: In the interests of freedom, a healthy economy, and a productive job market, I urge you to oppose any effort to advance Big Labor’s forced-unionism agenda. (righttoworkcommittee.org)

Union members' dues flushed down the political drain ... "The real work starts now," said Bing, 65, an NBA Hall of Famer and owner of the Bing Group, to loud cheers at the Doubletree Suites Fort Shelby Hotel. "What we will bring ... is efficiency, transparency, honesty and integrity back to the mayor's office." Cockrel, who led in the polls, lost to a first-time politician despite the backing of nearly every powerful union in the city and matching Bing in fundraising in a race that cost more than $2 million. (detnews.com)

International Collectivism

Chávez picks, freezes, personalizes, polarizes, ridicules Obama ... Perhaps a simple handshake to demonstrate some class, a bit of elegance, and a renewed and refreshing diplomatic modernism would not have been too much. But from there, to ingratiate themselves, joke around, gave one another slaps on the back and offer smiles left and right - I think it was a naive and enormous mistake in terms of the foreign policy concerns of the Americans. As far as U.S. foreign policy is concerned, Mister Obama’s recent actions are very disturbing. He bows before the king of Saudi Arabia, he apologizes to Europeans for the errors of the North American government that preceded him, he insists on negotiating with genocidal autocrats the likes of Castro, Ahmadinejad, Mugabe, Chávez, etc. It seems that Obama is not the friend we thought and that he hasn’t realized that he embodies the most powerful country in the world: a symbol of justice, liberty, peace, and prosperity. Obama should remember that the presidency of the United States isn’t made for just one man. It’s a long-standing institution that owes everything to people who have shed their own blood on every corner of the planet for years on end, confronting characters precisely like Chávez and Castro. (themoderatevoice.com)

Bonus links:
Summary of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'
• More Saul Alinsky stories: here
'Rules for Radicals' at amazon.com
Related Posts with Thumbnails