Thursday, December 31, 2009

EFCA, Union Call Centers & the Con Job of Today's Command & Control Unions

As 2009 comes to an end and union bosses prepare for an early 2010 push for the job-destroying and hallucinogenically-named Employee Free FORCED Choice Act (EFCA), unions are getting a near-free pass as media types and union bought-off politicans portray today's unions as democratic, worker-run organizations. 

A case in point is the union talking point that EFCA is intended for workers who want to "form" unions.  This is particularly prevalent through the union-paid EFCA astro-turfing group American Rights at Work, which describes itself as an "educational and outreach organization dedicated to promoting the freedom of workers to form unions and bargain collectively."

The reality is, unions have not spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying politicians,setting up an astro-turf organization like ARAW, and pursuing a misleading campaign to deceive America only to allow workers to former their own unions.  After helping to push industry out of the U.S., today's command and control union bosses want workers in their unions in order to collect dues.

Unfortunately, many of today's unions are top-down autocracies which, in many cases leave "rank and file" union members out in the cold.

Take, for example, this ad for a "Service Center Organizer" for the now-infamous Service Employees International Union:


Title: Grievance/Contract Enforcement Representative (also known as a Service Center Organizer)
Purpose: To assist the leadership of Local 615 in building a powerful rank and file union, through organizing and representing workers within the Union's jurisdiction. Specifically, the role of the Service Center is to enforce the terms of the collective bargaining agreement on behalf of members. Equally important, the Service Center's role is to increase the capacity of the internal organizing staff to identify, recruit and train member leaders by assuming a larger share of member representation. [Emphasis added.]

By posting this ad, the SEIU apparently failed to see the irony of talking about a "rank and file union" while attempting to hire from outside the union.  Nor does the union apparently see the irony of having a so-called "service center," which is nothing more than a non-rank-and-file-run call center run by union bosses to deal with union members' problems (no face-to-face member contact is necessary).

Another example of a union that apparently feels that grooming rank-and-file union members to build their own union would be this ad for Organizers-in-Training, Organizers, and Journey Organizers from the American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME):

Organizers-in Training, the ad states, "learn the nuts and bolts of an organizing campaign from home calling unorganized workers, to organizing direct actions, to preparing for a first contract campaign."  For this, OiTs are offered a starting salary of $36,648 with free single or family health coverage, car allowance, paid travel, 12 paid holidays, 401k, pension plan and more.  Journey Organizers (organizers with at least 3 years of organizing experience) start at $52,670 but often, according to AFSCME's reports with the US Department of Labor, take in more than $100k.

As 2010 begins and politicians return to Washington to put the final nails in the health care reform coffin, union bosses are salivating to see EFCA return to the spotlight.  It is important to know as EFCA returns that the job-destroying bill has nothing to do with workers forming their own unions and everything to do with union bosses raking in more money.

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"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes." Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

URGENT: Unions Using Health Care Bill to Kill Small Non-Union Construction Firms

According to the Nashville Business Journal, Senate Democrats are trying to do their union handlers a favor by excluding small construction companies from the small-business exemption to the employer mandate in the health care bill.
The Senate is about to put coal in the stocking of home builders and other small construction firms.

The amended version of the health care reform bill, which cleared another procedural hurdle Wednesday morning, includes a provision that penalizes small construction firms if they don’t offer insurance to their employees. Under the bill, businesses with more than 50 employees would have to pay a $750-per-worker penalty to the federal government if any of their employees purchases subsidized insurance on their own. The new version of the bill lowers that threshold to five employees for construction firms.

The National Association of Home Builders contends the provision, reportedly suggested by the AFL-CIO, could put many small home builders out of business and derail the housing recovery.

“This narrow provision is an unprecedented assault on the construction industry and unjustly targets an industry trying to keep its doors open during the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression,” said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a home builder from Tulsa, Okla.

“This is a true jobs killer,” he said. “Thousands of small builder firms struggling to stay afloat could go under. We strongly urge the Senate to reconsider and pull this onerous provision.”

The amendment is clearly targeting the non-union construction industry, which comprises approximately 85% of the enitre construction industry.  Unionized construction firms, on the other hand, typically obtain their workers from unions (usually though union hiring halls, which are like a temp agencies) and, as part of the 'package,' unionized companies must pay into the unions' health and welfare mutli-employer funds.
The Associated Builders & Contractors, a trade association of roughly 23,000 mostly small (and union-free) construction companies is urging its members to call their senators to remove this discriminatory language from any final bill.
“At a time when our industry is facing the worst construction economy in decades, the last thing contractors need are vast new mandates from the federal government dictating to them how they will run their business,” said Kirk Pickerel, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors.

Here is the text of an e-mail sent out earlier to its membership:

Construction Industry Targeted in Senate Health Care Bill
New Last Minute Mandate Added

The Senate health care bill mandates that all companies must provide their employees with health coverage. The one exemption to that mandate is that small businesses, companies with 50 employees or less, are not subject to that health care requirement. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) proposed an amendment which excludes construction firms (and only construction firms) from the small business exemption. The Merkley Amendment 's language was never voted on, but was added to the health care bill at the last minute. The Senate will vote on the entire health care package on Christmas Eve.

In other words, construction firms with five employees or more will now be required, by federal law, to provide their employees with health coverage.

Call your Senators TODAY. Tell them that this bill unfairly singles out small construction firms for vast federal government mandates at a time when our industry can least afford it.

Like so many other things in Washington today, this is another example of big payback to big union the expense of the rest of America.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Driving Down Detroit: Thanks, UAW!

This humorous, but pointed video on the City of Detroit merits a look. 
[Watch for the falling enviro-polar bear at around 7m 30s.]

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

98% of Workers Vote to Give SEIU an 'Old School A** Whooping' ...

When given a choice, ninety-eight percent of workers chose to give the Union of Purple People Eaters (formally known as the SEIU) give the union a good 'old school a** whooping.'
National Union of Healthcare Workers soundly defeated the SEIU, but the margin of workers wanting no union was close. Results are not yet final.

An upstart union challenging the giant Service Employees International Union won a plurality Friday in a disputed and closely watched union vote at a Sonoma County Hospital.

But the National Labor Relations Board, which oversaw the vote at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, said it could not declare a winner because the final margin was close and 17 ballots were challenged.

"At this point, we don't have a determinative result," said Tim Peck, assistant to the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board.

During the two-day voting, the breakaway National Union of Healthcare Workers garnered 283 votes, compared to 13 for the rival Service Employees International Union.

However, 263 voters cast ballots for no union in the tightly contested race.

So out of 576 voters, the Union of Purple People Eaters (more commonly called the SEIU) only received 2% of the vote.

The message these workers have sent to the SEIU's command-and-control style of unionism was that of an 'old school a** whooping,' which should send shivers down Andy Stern, Anna Burger, and Dave Regan's spines backsides.

[For background on SEIU's 'Civil War', go here.]
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Starbucks' Union Problems: Marxist Unionists Come to the Lone Star State

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.
Preamble to the constitution of the IWW

For about five years, a radical communist Marxist union known as the "Wobblies" (formally known as the Industrial Workers of the World) has been targeting coffee giant Starbucks.

The union has done rallies and demonstrations in traditionally liberal cities as Madison, New York and San Francisco...until this week.

The Wobblies have made their way down to the Lone Star state this week, claiming to have unionized Starbucks' baristas in Fort Worth.
Fort Worth, TX- Baristas and community supporters at the 8th and Rosedale Starbucks shut down the store’s drive-thru this morning and delivered a list of demands including affordable health care options and sick days for those displaying H1N1 or other cold and flu symptoms.

The protesting baristas are members of the Starbucks Workers Union, which is an international campaign of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union. The store action makes the 8th and Rosedale location the first Starbucks in Texas to have a public union presence.

Hmmm.  Communists Marxists in Texas?  That sounds rather oxy-moronic.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mr. President, Your Recovery Has a Problem...

No amount of caulk will fix the cracks in the fantasy that the economy is getting better.  The numbers are bad and they're really not improving.
The number of Americans claiming jobless benefits has risen for the second week running, as the US economy continues to wrestle with persistent unemployment.

First-time jobless claims rose by 7,000 to 480,000, according to labour department figures on Thursday, defying expectations of Wall Street economists that they would sink. The less volatile four-week average of new claims, however, fell by 5,250 to 467,500, maintaining a healthier trajectory.

“Jobless claims join many other indicators in suggesting that the official government payroll data have been overstating the degree of improvement in the labour market,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief US economist at MFR.

Ooops!  Sorry, Mr. President, we hate to break it to you but no amount of talk on caulk will fix this mess.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Unions' Health Care 'End Game' Revealed

It's been known for quite some time that unions want to nationalize health care for their own gain (increased members = increased dues).  However, few have blatantly come out and stated just how far they want to take the nationalized health care train...until last night.

The new "super" union for nurses, National Nurses United, which is headed by former Teamster Rose Ann DeMoro sent out an e-mail blast last night calling not only for nationalized, single-payer health care, but as well as mental, dental, vision, and long-term care. [Truly a 'womb to tomb government plan.]

URGENT! Tell Senator Reid:

"Support Amendment No. 2837"

The US Senate healthcare reform process is clearly off the rails, with proposals being thrown about willy-nilly. Meanwhile, an elegant, efficient, and politically expedient amendment awaits its vote: The Medicare-for-all, single-payer Sanders Amendment No. 2837 should have gone before the body for debate last weekend.

Funny thing, though. In spite of Sen. Harry Reid's statement that he would get to amendments "in numeric order," the Sanders amendment keeps getting bypassed. Senator Reid gave no explanation for this.

We've been through this before. We had promises from the House leadership that the Weiner Amendment for single-payer would receive a full debate and go to a vote. We know how that worked out. Senator Reid must follow through on his promise to hold the debate this Tuesday as promised!

Unless we act now, Senator Reid can easily argue that he's skipping over this amendment due to a lack of public hue and cry. We can't let this happen.

Tell Senator Reid in no uncertain terms that a full debate and vote on Sen. Bernie Sanders' Amendment No. 2837 is absolutely essential.

Senator Sanders' amendment, cosponsored by Sens. Sherrod Brown and Roland Burris, gives states the power to enact single-payer programs with federal funding. It has everything a state single-payer bill needs: one plan that covers health, mental, dental, vision, and long-term care.

Right now the Congressional Budget Office is scoring a plan to establish private, nonprofit health insurance programs run by private companies, with a trigger for a new government insurance plan if the private plans are not "acceptable."

Let the American people decide what's "acceptable" before everything falls to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and their influence over the Senate. Tell Harry Reid that this amendment matters.

Make the calls to Sen. Harry Reid TONIGHT:

• Washington, D.C., office: (202) 224-3542
• Las Vegas, NV, office: (702) 388-5020
• U.S. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

In solidarity,
California Nurses Association
National Nurses Organizing Committee
National Nurses United

[Emphasis in original.]

There you have the unions' end game: Not only do unions want to nationalize your health care, they also want your teeth, your eyes, as well as the ability to change your diapers when you get old. 
h/t RNs Against Forced Unionism
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Desperate Dems: White House tells Harry Reid "cut a deal"

Tension must be tight in the White House. The President and his Democratic cronies have everything riding on a government take over of the nation's health care. However, resistance is strong against an increasingly unpopular plan, with the president's poll numbers sagging like a two-bit free prostitute in Copenhagen.

Evidence is mounting that the Democrats are getting desperate as the White House is reportedly telling Harry Reid to "cut a deal" with Sen. Joe Lieberman.
The White House is encouraging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to cut a deal with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), which would mean eliminating the proposed Medicare expansion in the health reform bill, according to an official close to the negotiations.

But Reid is described as so frustrated with Lieberman that he is not ready to sacrifice a key element of the health care bill, and first wants to see the Congressional Budget Office cost analysis of the Medicare buy-in. The analysis is expected early this week.

"There is a weariness and a lot of frustration that one person is holding up the will of 59 others," the official said. “There is still too much anger and confusion at one particular senator’s reversal.”

[Audible 'ahh' here.]

Now, President Obama apears to be showing his desperation as well by inviting all 60 Democrat senators to the White House tomorrow:
President Barack Obama will meet with Senate Democrats at the White House Tuesday to press for action at a make-or-break moment for his health care overhaul.

All 60 members of the Democratic caucus have been invited, according to three Democratic officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement was not yet public.

Sounds like poor Joe's gonna get a Chicago-style beat down. [We wonder if the SEIU will be invited to the meeting.]

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"In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit." - Ayn Rand

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Smoking Gun? Former IL Gov Defense Team Wants FBI Data on Obama, His Surrogates & SEIU Bosses

Not having been in the news of late is last year's post presidential election scandal of now-ousted Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and his alleged attempt to sell then-Senator Barack Obama's Senate seat in exchange for...something.

The Chicago Sun Times is reporting this morning that:
Rod Blagojevich's lawyers want the FBI to give up details of interviews conducted last year of President Obama, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and others as part of the investigation into the former governor.

Then-President-elect Obama, Emanuel and Jarrett sat down with the FBI about a year ago --just after Blagojevich was arrested on charges of trying to sell Obama's recently vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Obama revealed he was interviewed in a report he made public last December.

The defense request, filed in federal court, asks for "notes, transcripts and reports" of interviews with the Obamas, Emanuel, Jarrett and union chiefs Thomas Balanoff and Andy Stern.

While this may just be subterfuge by the governor, is it possible there is a smoking gun linking the SEIU bosses to the sale of Obama's Senate seat lying somewhere in the FBI's files?

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

The UAW's Rubble: The Ailing Union Picks a New King as UAW Staff Has Contract Driven Down Their Throats

It hasn't been called the Union of Ailing Workplaces for nothing.

The UAW, the once-mighty auto workers union has become something of a joke, a pitiful shadow of its former self, taking government handouts and trying to unionize anyone that is breathes, from graduate students to casino dealers.

The fact is, nothing the union has tried has seemed to work to reverse its free fall into oblivion. 

UAW's Failures Outweigh Successes

In its own industry, the UAW has tried and failed to unionize plants owned by Toyata, Nissan and BMW.

When it attempted to do an end-run around workers right to vote at Dana Corp., its tactics created a backlash from Dana's workers.

In 2007, the UAW began a campaign to unionize casino dealers in Atlantic City, NJ and elsewhere only to fail (so far) to get contracts for any of the workers it unionized.  In fact, its weapon of choice in the auto industry--the strike--has proven to be nothing more than a pea shooter in New Jersey's rough and tumble casino industry as the casinos readied to replace the UAW dealers if they struck over the summer.

"We take their threats seriously," said J. Carlos Tolosa, the company's eastern regional president. "There are 14,000 employees in Atlantic City who rely on Harrah's for their livelihood, and we are not going to let the misguided tactics of the UAW interfere with our guests or the employees who are working hard to keep Atlantic City competitive this summer."

Even the UAW's one notable success could be viewed as a dismal failure by the rest of America.

Early in 2009, the UAW (along with executives at General Motors and Chrysler) succeeded in getting the Obama administration to implement a government-structured bankruptcy of the two failing automakers which resulted in the UAW becoming significant shareholders of both GM and Chrysler.  However, the UAW's success has come with an estimated loss of $30 billion for American taxpayers who, in turn, have responded with revulsion toward the UAW.

Amid a Pile of Rubble, the UAW Gets a New King

Ron Gettlefinger, the UAW boss who has presided over much of the UAW's failures over the last decade announced earlier this year that he would be retiring.  His retirement is, at least in part, due to the union's own rule to give the boot to presidents when they reach the age of 65.  In Gettlefinger's place, the UAW hierarchy will be placing Bob King and the ailing union's helm.

King, 63, is a lawyer, the son of an industrial relations director at Ford, and has been in charge of the UAW's Ford department. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, King "ascends with strong relationships with many management figures, especially at Ford Motor Co., and the experience of navigating the shrinking union through the most turbulent period since its founding in 1935."

Meanwhile, in a shockingly hypocritical move, the UAW has taken what is normally considered a "management approach" to labor relations with its own unionized staff.  As the Detroit News reports, to cope with its misfortunes the UAW is laying off many of its union staff, as well as imposing cuts--even after they voted to reject the cuts.
The UAW has lost so many members that it is cutting at least 120 staff positions in an effort to balance its budget, UAW sources said.

"We've got to downsize," a union source said. "It may not end there."

In a stunning role reversal, Gettelfinger told UAW employees Thursday that he would impose the terms of a concessionary contract that they voted down last month. That means reduced benefits for the union's own retirees and requires each UAW employee to take a two-week unpaid furlough or give up their 401(k) matching contribution next year.
UAW spokesman Roger Kerson said the union had no comment.

Only time will tell if the UAW, with a new King at its throne and significant government-backed ownership of two failing auto companies, will be able to stop its decades-long slide into oblivion.

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"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes."
Thomas Paine December 23, 1776

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wisconsin Students to be Force-Fed Union Propaganda

While the headline of this post says it all, here's the story from AP:
Wisconsin schools will be required to teach the history of organized labor under a bill signed by Gov. Jim Doyle.

The bill Doyle signed Thursday also requires Wisconsin schools to teach the history or collective bargaining.

The proposal has been around for years but never passed. This year it cleared the Democratic controlled Legislature despite opposition from school boards and administrators who said they didn't want the curriculum micromanaged.

Labor unions supported the bill.

Doyle said in a statement that he was happy to sign the bill so students would understand the importance of the labor movement in creating basic workplace rights.

No word on whether the curriculum will include how unions have killed industry, buy politicians, and beat dissenters.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Maids & Babysitters of the World Unite!

According to internationalists, lefties, labor bosses and other assorted loons, today (December 10th) is International Human Rights Day.  Organized around the 1948 signing of the U.N.s  Universal Declaration of Human Rights, union bosses co-opted this day some years ago to use as a day to push for the ultimate union bailout, the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free FORCED Choice Act or EFCA

The job-destroying EFCA, as it's commonly referred to, effectively kills secret-ballot elections on unionization and gives the government the ability to dictate workers wages and benefits through 'binding arbitration.' [Read the bill.]

This year's International Human Rights Day has taken a slightly different twist.  As opposed to the usual holding of rallies across the U.S. demanding that the government take away workers' right to vote, union bosses being a bit more subdued and, instead, calling for a whole host of changes in the way "domestic workers" (housekeepers, maids and babysitters) are treated.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's assistant Ana AvendaƱo states: “the domestic worker industry is riddled with abuse, mistreatment and labor violations.”

The mostly female and immigrant domestic workforce is particularly vulnerable due to the isolated nature of the industry, where women labor behind closed doors and out of the public eye.

Domestic workers’ exclusion from the National Labor Relations Act means they are unprotected when asking for respect of their basic rights and are unable to collectively bargain for conditions allowing them to labor in dignity. For all these reasons, it’s critically important that we create strong labor standards for domestic workers.

According to the AFL-CIO's blog:
In New York and California, domestic workers are proposing Domestic Worker Bills of Rights that ensure overtime pay, workers compensation, health and safety protections, notice of termination, vacation and sick leave, annual cost of living increases and five hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Imagine, some day, when Buffy-the-Babysitter comes to your door to care for your kids, she could be coming with her union steward in tow.

And, those smelly diapers?  They could be considered hazardous-duty pay.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

UNBELIEVABLE! Union Gives Ousted Bosses Truck and a Car As Retirement Gifts!

A week ago, we wrote about Crisanta Duran's campaign for Congress.  Ms. Duran is the daughter of accused nepotist and money mismanager, Ernie Duran, Jr. the outgoing boss of Colorado's UFCW Local 7.

As Mr. Duran was voted out of office earlier this year amid allegations of improprieties, it seems his soon-to-be former members may have made the right call.

According to Denver's Westword, the outgoing Executive Board of UFCW Local 7 has voted to give Mr. Duran and his sidekick outgoing Secretary-Treasurer Stan Kania their union vehicles as parting gifts--gifts paid for by his union members dues.
Today was the outgoing executive board's last meeting. Duran serves as chairman of that board and when his term is up on Dec. 31, he's slated to keep his 2007 diesel-fueled Ford truck. Kania will drive home his 2006 Ford Five Hundred car, which he says has 59,000 miles on it.

"I told the board that if they wanted to do me a favor, they'd give me a motorcycle," Kania jokingly told Westword last month. "They said no."

They don't call it a racket for nuttin'...

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UPDATED: Steelworkers Plead with Public: Please don't cross our picket lines...

For nearly four months now, the United Steelworker-represented driving instructors in Ontario (Canada) have been out on strike. 

By putting a stranglehold on wannabe drivers' ability to get their license for three months, the government contractor DriveTest partially opened several centers on November 12th.

Unfortunately for the union strikers, the public isn't paying much attention to the striking Steelworkers.
United Steelworkers member Herb Daniher said they have a legal right to strike and people should respect that picket line by not crossing it.

Despite Daniher asking the public not to cross, people continued to make their way inside the testing centre on Memorial Avenue. Striking workers continue to patrol the walkway and protesting the staffing structure of the business.

Roberta Taylor, an employee, said she feels the side of the striking workers is lost on the public.

This video is from the beginning weeks of the strike.

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Note: This article has been updated following a reader pointing out that DriveTest is a contractor of the government, not the government itself.  Thanks, Justin!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

After Biting Basha's Into Bankruptcy, Union Calls Off Attack Dogs

The United Food & Commercial Workers hates nonunionized grocery stores. So much so, in fact, that the UFCW bosses' approach to nonunion grocers has been, as former UFCW president Doug Dority declared, to: "...either reduce these chains' market share ... or we must put them out of business. There is no other option."

Tom McNutt, another UFCW chieftain, once stated, "If we can't organize [nonunion supermarkets], the best thing to do is to erode their business as much as possible."

In Arizona, that 'scorched earth' mentality forced family-owned Basha's supermarkets to file for bankruptcy in July. Before finally succumbing, the iconic Arizona grocer had endured four years of relentless and damaging UFCW attacks.

In July, the Arizona Republic noted:

The 1.4 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has conducted a years-long campaign to punish Bashas' for daring to resist its efforts to unionize company workers.

The union manufactured a dubious "scandal" about baby food sold at Bashas' stores. It launched a remorseless campaign, especially in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods, to turn loyal Bashas' customers away from the company.

It has organized rallies alleging, egregiously and falsely, that the Basha family is somehow anti-immigrant. It has spread baseless rumors about the cleanliness of Bashas' warehouses. And it has conducted a leaflet campaign characterizing Bashas' as a higher-cost supermarket than its competitors.

It would be one thing if any of the allegations against Bashas' were proved. They are not. It would be another thing if the Bashas' employees the union seeks to represent are underpaid compared with unionized workers elsewhere. They are not. Bashas' workers actually make slightly more than local union-represented supermarket employees. [Emphasis added.]

Moreover, when Basha's filed in July we pointed out that:

Bashas Supermarkets, Inc. had 14,000 employees not so long ago. To the UFCW, Bashas' 14,000 employee workforce meant approximately $420,000 (at $30 per month) in union dues every month, or $5,040,000 every year. [The chain is now down to 10,000 employees.]

The problem was, the UFCW didn't want the employees to vote on union representation through a secret-ballot, the UFCW wanted the Company to agree to "neutrality" and "card-check." In essence, like a gang of rustlers trying to steal a rancher's herd in the dead of night, the UFCW wanted the Bashas' family to turn their employees over to the union without a fight. [Emphasis added.]

Yesterday, a truce was called between the UFCW and Basha's, making way for Basha's to emerge from bankruptcy:

According to court documents, both sides have agreed to call off negative informational campaigns against one another and settle a raft of lawsuits.

"All parties will terminate hostile public campaigns and the use of Websites supporting these campaigns," the agreement reads.

Additionally, the union will suspend its efforts to organize the supermarket chain's employees "for a period of time."

The documents did not specify a time, but Phoenix labor lawyer Christopher Mason said six months to a year is typical.

Given the destruction that the United Food & Commerical Workers has caused to this well-regarded Arizona grocer, as well as the thousands of jobs it has cost Arizonans, "six months to a year" seems much too short.

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"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes." Thomas Paine December 23, 1776

Friday, December 4, 2009

Health Care: Obama's (and Unions') Waterloo?

The debate over the nationalization of health care is fully underway in the U.S. Senate and union bosses know it's 'do or die' time for them and their Democrat puppets.

In fact, earlier today, Andy Stern, the boss of the Union of Purple People Eaters (aka the Service Employees International Union) seemingly threw down the gauntlet on what a Democratic failure means:

"I think the real issue here is people vote about issues, and people are enormously frustrated,"Stern told us. "It's taken us a year; we don't have a health care bill, we're missing all kinds of other deadlines. I think the Senate, if it does not find a way to get some things done here, are going to disappoint people.”

[Deadlines?...Set by whom?...Andy Stern and Anna Burger?]

"People had huge hopes and expectations,"he continued. "The president laid out a broad agenda, and the Senate does not seem able to keep up with him. And the Republicans are doing everything they can to trip him up. America's at a pretty critical moment, and the Senate better act, or it will be Obama's Waterloo.” [Emphasis added.]

Elsewhere, on the ultra-left Firedoglake, blogger Jon Walker put health care front and center as the only key to private sector unions' survival.

Unless We Do Health Care Right, Every Private Sector Union Will Be Dead In Nine Years

....I don’t care if unions get the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), “card check,” or the super awesome ultimate labor organizing bill passed. (And it isn’t going to happen. If we can’t force the Senate’s 60-member Democratic caucus to pass the extremely popular public option with a huge grassroots push over the objections of one very unpopular industry, there is no way even a watered down EFCA is going anywhere in the Senate against the full opposition of corporate America.) If health care premiums keep growing, there simply will not be a private manufacturing sector to unionize.

The only hope long term for private sector unions and the rest of the American economy is to rein in our health care cost. The only way that will happen is if we destroy this 60-vote myth in the Senate. An excise tax will not really control costs, insurance exchanges will not really control costs, none of these “free market economagic” solutions will work. Peter Orszag admits these pathetic market-based efficiency reforms he is championing will take decades to realize. We don’t have decades to spare. The Federal government is the entity only big enough and strong enough to really bring down health care costs.

The public option may seem small. The weaker version’s cost-controlling component, while in the tens of billions, is still less than I hoped for. The important thing though is that if a real public option is part of the final bill, that means Congress stood up to one of the extremely well-funded lobbies in our health care system, and used governmental power to rein in waste and profits. If we can get Congress to do it with one segment of our health care industry, we can eventually force them to do it with the others.

I hope the private sector unions don’t try to cut a short-sighted deal to stay on some senator’s good side. If they trade away the public option, they are trading away the only hope we have had in years to use the government to give regular Americans the upper hand against large corporations. And the worst part would be that the private sector unions would be trading it away for, at most, only a few months’ reprieve of their death sentence. [Emphasis added.]

Other than his glaring advocacy for full-blown, government-run health care, Mr. Walker's main point is interesting in that he states that only nationalized health care can save private-sector unions....not increased efficiency or competitiveness (to stop bankrupting companies), better representation or less corrupt leaders, things that could actually make unions more relevant.

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The Naked Emperor: A Bold Businessman Ignored at a Faux Summit

As talk turned to such stupid ideas as "cash for caulkers" at yesterday's two hour and 15 minute photo op "jobs summit," at least one businessman in attendance had the fortitude to answer the President's question on why jobs aren't being created:
Mr. Obama told the chief executives that he wanted to know: “What’s holding back business investment and how we can increase confidence and spur hiring? And if there are things that we’re doing here in Washington that are inhibiting you, then we want to know about it.”

He got a blunt answer from Fred P. Lampropoulos, founder and chief of Merit Medical Systems Inc., a medical device manufacturer in the Salt Lake City area. Mr. Lampropoulos said some in his discussion group agreed that businesses were uncertain about investment because “there’s such an aggressive legislative agenda that businesspeople don’t really know what they ought to do.” That uncertainty, he added, “is really what’s holding back the jobs.” [Emphasis added.]

Of course, like any good statist would, the President dismissed the honest truth.
The president acknowledged, “This is a legitimate concern,” one that he and his advisers had discussed before he took office.

But Mr. Obama said he had decided that “if we keep on putting off tough decisions about health care, about energy, about education, we’ll never get to the point where there’s a lot of appetite for that.”

Translation: I can't hear you. I can't hear you. I'm not listening. I'm not listening.


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Thursday, December 3, 2009

They Came, They Did Nothing...Obama's Jobs Summit: The List of Attendees

It's a list of "who's who" from the non-job creating House of Labor (listed in bold), with a smorgasboard of company chieftains (many with unionized workers), a few of Obama's "czars", some politcos, some "progressive" think-tank policy wonks and a few other if-you-can't-do-then-teach type academics thrown in for good measure, a lunch and a photo op.

Here's the list (from Politico):

The White House released a list of participants in Thursday's jobs summit at the White House. Among the notable attendees:

Former McCain campaign economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former Bush administration National Economic Council Director Lawrence Lindsey, retired Gen. Wesley Clark and the SEIU's Andy Stern.

Here's the full list, according to the White House:

Gerard Arpey, American Airlines
Mark Ayers, Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Chandra Brown, United Streetcar
Larry Cohen, Communications Workers of America
Frank Cownie, Mayor, Des Moines, IA
Peter Darbee, PG&E Corporation
Theresa Daytner, Daytner Construction Group
Dan Dimicco, Nucor Corporation
Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink
Paula Hammond, Washington State Department of Transportation
Steve Heminger, Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Doug Holtz-Eakin, DHE Consulting
Reed Hundt, Coalition for the Green Bank
Robert Kuttner, American Prospect
Wick Moorman, Norfolk Southern
Rhonda Perry, Missouri Rural Crisis Center
Doug Pitcock, Williams Brothers Construction Company
Rob Puentes, Brookings Institution
Charles Whittington, Grammer Industries
Edward Wytkind, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Mortimer Zuckerman, Boston Properties
Diana Aviv, Independent Sector
David Barber, Barber Foods
Dorothy Bridges, City First Bank of DC, NA
Ben Burkett, Mississippi Association of Cooperatives
Ralph Everett, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Zoar Fulwilder, Mavid Construction
Woody Hall, Diversapack
Ed Hill, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
William Hite, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters
David Ickert, Air Tractor, Inc.
Kara Kelley, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce
Joni Marie O'Neill, Mission Viejo Florist, Inc.
Ed Pawlowski, Mayor of Allentown, PA
Rodney Rodrigue, Timewise Management Systems
Eric Schmidt, Google Inc.
Carl Schramm, Kauffman Foundation
Sheryl Schwartz, Blue Canopy Group, LLC
Angie Selden, Arise Virtual Solutions Inc.
Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia
Jesse Turner, Tri-State Bank, Memphis
Rose Wang, Binary Group
Ron Bloom, Senior Counselor to the President for Manufacturing Policy
Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Policy
Frank Alix, Powerspan Corporation
Frank Blake, The Home Depot
Jan Blittersdorf, NRG Systems
Stephanie Burns, Dow Corning
Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, TX
Wesley Clark, Growth Energy
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Green for All
Tom Friedman, New York Times
Leo Gerard, United Steel Workers
Lynn Jurich, SunRun Solar
Lawrence Katz, Harvard
Scott Lang, Silver Spring Networks
David Lincoln, Element Partners
Andrew Liveris, Dow
Frank MacInnis, EMCOR
Terry O'Sullivan, Laborers International Union of North America
John Podesta, Center for American Progress
Jeff Sachs, Columbia
Ronald Saxton, Jeld-Wen
Tom Soto, Craton Equity Partners
Bill Aossey, Midamar Corporation
Greg Bentley, Bentley Systems
Ursula Burns, Xerox Corporation
Susan Collins, University of Michigan
James Hoffa, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Bob Iger, Walt Disney Company
Farooq Kathwari, Ethan Allen
Paul Krugman, Princeton University
Larry Lindsey, The Lindsey Group
James McNerney, Boeing
Raul Pedraza, Magno International
Jeffrey Schott, Peterson Institute
Frederick Smith, Fed-Ex
John Surma, United States Steel Corporation
Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser to the Vice President
Julius Genchowski, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
Alan Blinder, Princeton University
Byron Auguste, McKinsey & Company
David Bing, Mayor of Detroit, MI
David Brennan, AstraZeneca
Anna Burger, Change To Win
William Bynum, Enterprise Corporation of the Delta Hope Community Credit Union
Christianna Connell, future-ink
Roger DeRose, Kessler Foundation
John Eagleton, Northstar Aerospace
Glenn Hutchins, Silver Lake
David Jones, Chrysalis Ventures
Fred Lampropoulos, Merit Medical
Debra Lee, BET
Arpana Mathur, American Enterprise Institute
William McComb, Liz Claiborne
Larry Mishel, Economic Policy Institute
Surya Mohapatra, Quest Diagnostics Inc.
James O'Brien Ashland, Inc.
Don Peebles, The Peebles Corporation
Antonio Perez, Eastman Kodak Company
David Sandahl, Princeton Job Creation Forum
Robert Shapiro, New Democratic Network
Peter Solmssen, Siemens USA
Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO
Raul Valdes-Perez, Vivisimo, Inc
Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat
John Wilhelm, Unite Here
Ed Montgomery, Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers
Ceci Rouse, Council of Economic Advisors
Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Burrell Ellis, County Executive, DeKalb County, GA
Rob Carmona, STRIVE/East Harlem Employment Service
Rev. Luis Cortes, Esperanza USA
Noel Cuellar, Primera Plastics
Ted Daywalt,
Ray DiPasquale, Community College of Rhode Island
Bob Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Joe Hansen, United Food and Commercial Workers
Sal Iannuzzi, Monster Worldwide
Randy Johnson, Workforce Development, Inc.
Donna Klein, Corporate Voices for Working Families
Jamie Merisotis, Lumina Foundation
Ralph Moore, St. Frances Academy
Penny Pritzker, Pritzker Realty
Barry Rand, AARP
Bruce Reed, Democratic Leadership Council & Progressive Policy Institute
Robert Reich, Berkeley
Ken Rogers, Automation Alley
Matthew Segal, 80 Million Strong for Young American Jobs
Randall Stephenson, AT&T
Andy Stern, Service Employees International Union
Ashley Swearengin, Mayor of Fresno, CA
Andy Van Kleunen, Workforce Alliance
Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers

Reminiscent of a scene in Atlas Shrugged, is it not?

It is true that the welfare-statists are not socialists, that they never advocated or intended the socialization of private property, that they want to “preserve” private property—with government control of its use and disposal. But that is the fundamental characteristic of fascism.
Ayn Rand

Untrusted Teamster Leaders to Members: A "No" Vote Could Doom YRC Worldwide, Up to 40,000 Could Lose Jobs

It's considered the 'Last of the Mohicans' in the world of big Teamster-represented less-than-trailer load (LTL) carriers, all the rest having been doomed to the scrap heap of uncompetitive unionized trucking companies.

Now it seems, however, the question is not "if," but "when" YRC Worldwide will be closing up shop.

YRC Worldwide, which is the combination of Yellow Freight's 2003 acquisition of Roadway and its later merging of operations, has around 40,000 employees nationwide, the majority of them represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

For a variety of reasons (the economy, fuel costs, as well as its union obligations), the company has been struggling to survive for more than a year now. In fact, the company has had to go to the Teamsters' leadership twice for concessions in their labor contracts.

All told, the Teamsters leadership has agreed to wage cuts of 15% and the company has gotten the union to agree to an 18-month suspension on pension fund payments, saving the company an estimated $35 to $45 million per month.

[Note: The primary pension plan that YRC had been contributing to is the critically underfunded Central States Pension Plan (see the movie Casino as a reference).]

According to the Houston Chronicle, YRC had "$1.69 billion in liabilities and $1 billion in assets as of Sept. 30. It has sold real estate, cut thousands of jobs and taken other steps to keep operating. The company lost $158.7 million in the third quarter."

In November, YRC closed its big Richfield, Ohio terminal, sold part of its logistics unit, and launched a debt-for-stock swap in order to try and stave off bankruptcy.

Now, there may be even more trouble on the horizon for the company which, in short order, may drive YRC straight off a cliff. Union members are beginning to have serious doubts about their union leaders.

In Chicago, Teamster-represented workers are rebelling at the union leadership's insistence that they vote to agree to the concessions that were already negotiated.

According to a forum for Teamster members, one unidentified member exposed the mistrust between the Teamster leaders and the members by 'reporting' on what happened when IBT leadership visited Chicago on Tuesday:

Tyson Johnson and the Flynn crew visited the Chicago Terminal of Holland today, well lets just say they didn't the welcoming they expected. The members were told that 39,000 jobs rest on the shoulders of 710 and 705 members to except the MOU! Flynn had stated that YRC will probably close regardless, and that by voting no it will just be sooner, well lets just say, they were told to stick it in a place...

Tyson and Flynn told the members that its all about the pension (how funny, because Flynn told everyone that the pension was no concern anymore) and without
710 and 705 accepting it that they are still responsible for the pension. Then Flynn had the nerve to stand there and tell everyone that he has never lied to them, "but he just did" Oh! "he probably forgot about the lie at the meeting prior to the last vote that stated its only about the 5 percent" ....

Well lets just say that at the end of the meeting they were all directed where to go!! Well guys I guess there you have it, they admitted its about the pension, the company wants out, and we better accept it. Pat Flynn gave a member his word that they will put back into it in 18 months or he will vote no to it himself, "I feel so warm and cozy inside, when the union stands behind us"!

According to the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (a dissident group within the Teamster' union) union leaders are threatening members that, if they don't vote to accept the cuts, the entire company may shut down:

YRCW will close if 1500 Teamsters in Chicago don’t take a $1.16 per hour pay cut: that’s what IBT Freight Director Tyson Johnson and IBT vice president Pat Flynn have told the YRC Teamsters.

On Dec. 1-2, YRC management gave time to Flynn and Johnson to offer a hard sell to Local 705 and 710 Teamsters at the four Chicagoland YRC and Holland terminals.

On Dec. 8, Local 710 dock workers will vote for a third time on the concessions, and Local 705 for the second time. Both groups previously rejected them by a 2-1 margin. The vote will be held at the terminals, not by mail.

This follows Hoffa’s power grab of November 24, when the IBT claimed the power to dissolve the Local 705 and Local 710 contracts, which do not expire until 2013, into the national freight contract. That move gave the IBT total control of the bargaining and disbanded the union bargaining committees. But they feared imposing concessions without a vote because it would lead to a lawsuit to protect members’ right to vote.

Across the nation, in Washington and Oregon, Teamster members at YRC's Reddaway have also given a 'thumbs down' to the concessions.

Reddaway Teamsters in Washington and Oregon have narrowly rejected a proposed
contract which the IBT and YRC agreed to.

By a vote 214-208 the Teamsters at YRC’s regional carrier said No, and will retain their contract wages and benefits until a contract is ratified.

It seems as though, it is only a matter of time before YRC declares bankruptcy. It could be a matter of days, weeks, or months.

However, when YRC does get tossed into the scrap heap of so any other Teamster-represented trucking companies, while many will point to the economy as the cause of the company's demise, it will be misplaced blame. The economy will have only exposed a company already vulnerable due to a union whose leaders are not trusted by their members.

For the Teamsters, it will be especially humiliating when YRC crashes since the union that Jimmy Hoffa built with companies like Yellow and Roadway will be losing one of its biggest players while Hoffa's son is in control.

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California Home Care Workers March on SEIU Offices

California home care workers march on SEIU's offices, protesting SEIU's alleged threats to have undocumented members deported during a recent election campaign.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The SEIU & Obama's Job Summit: How Much Influence Will the Queen of Labor Have?

Behind every man, there is a woman...
Behind every king, there is a queen...
Behind SEIU boss Andy Stern, there is Anna Burger.

Who is Anna Burger?

She's the less public face of the Union of Purple People Eaters (aka the Service Employees International Union). But her less-public profile should not fool you. She is as every bit as powerful (and perhaps moreso) than her public counterpart, the Lord of Labor, Andy Stern.

When SEIU boss Andy Stern broke apart the AFL-CIO in 2005, Anna Burger's the woman that he appointed to head his new federation "Change to Whine.""Win"

Make no mistake about it: Anna Burger is the Queen of Labor.

If Andy Stern is the hand in Barack Obama's puppet, Burger could easily be the rubber glove.

In addition to her bonafides in the utmost upper echelons of the union pyramid, Ms. Burger also happens to be the vice chair of George Soros' Democracy Alliance.

When people focus on Andy Stern, they lose sight of just how powerful Ms. Burger is and how integral she has been in helping orchestrate the Left’s coup d’ etat…and how she, like Andy, has the president’s ear.

On Thursday morning, President Obama is holding his overly-touted "Jobs Summit". As Politico noted over the weekend:

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the presidential playbook: when you want to focus attention on an issue, hold a meeting and call it a “summit.”

However, on Sunday, with union bosses on the exclusive invite list, we questioned whether union bosses would use the "jobs summit" to push the job-destroying and hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

All evidence suggests that, not only were we correct on our assumption that EFCA would be pushed at the jobs summit, but that union bosses plan to use the jobs summit to push more government spending programs that will further add to the nation's debt.

Considering that the Queen of Labor has never created a job, we find what Ms. Burger, writes today in the Huffington Post rather fascinating:
Creating jobs isn’t rocket science. We just need the political will, courage and determination to make it happen.

Now it’s time to get to work.

1. We need to extend the safety net, including increasing unemployment insurance and expanding work sharing programs to provide unemployment benefits for reduced hours of work. and

2. We need to use TARP funds to increase credit for small businesses.

3. Federal fiscal relief to states and local governments needs to be expanded to save an anticipated 900,000 jobs and the vital services in our communities.

4. We need to target the fastest-growing sectors of human services such as child care, in-home services for the elderly and disabled, and other services our communities need through a public jobs program. This will create jobs in the public and private sectors and ensure our communities are healthy, educated, and well cared for.

5. We need to leverage private investment with public dollars through a Green Bank that will promote energy-efficiency and renewables as a major source of job creation, in both the short and the long term. The jobs we create today will lay the groundwork for the industries of tomorrow.

Expanding the home retrofitting programs begun under the Recovery Act will
create good jobs in construction and related industries. Including commercial and public buildings would increase the scope of the program, create high skilled jobs, and protect the planet by reducing demand for energy. By acting now, America can lead the way on green technology.

6. We must invest in our aging and failing infrastructure by rebuilding our schools, roads and bridges—putting millions to work. An Infrastructure Bank can foster public/private partnerships in developing regional and large scale projects critical for a 21st century economy.

7. The passage of health care reform will add tens of millions of Americans to the healthcare rolls and create more than a million new and different jobs in healthcare and related industries. We need to ensure our present healthcare workforce is prepared and we need innovative recruitment and training programs to meet this new workforce demand.

8. We must pass the Employee Free Choice Act to once again protect workers’ freedom to form unions and allow them to share in the prosperity of a new 21st century economy.

9. We need expanded worker training programs on a national scale so that young people are prepared for new industries and workers can the learn skills necessary to compete for new jobs. It’s time to coordinate across agency lines and provide flexible lifelong training for the new economy.

Paid for by whom?

Without saying 'you,' Ms. Burger's answer is as any wealth re-distributor's would be: Tax the rich bastards!

It’s time for Wall Street and the financial industry to pay back their debt to our society. Wall Street must do its part by paying a speculators tax on their obscene profits and transactions. This tax can fund the entire program over ten years.

This isn’t a hard ask. After the trillions in taxpayer investments to bail them out, the excessive profits of firms like Goldman Sachs, and the $150 billion in compensation and bonuses the top six banks plan to dole out this year, this is a small price for Wall Street to pay.

Of course, "Wall Street" is made up millions of "Main Street" investors who have their 401(k)s, their pensions, and their investments in Wall Street.

So, what Queen of Labor is essentially pushing for is a hidden tax on anyone with any kind of investment, covered in the we'll screw the rich blanket.

Given that government can only steal from, expropriate, or tax the wealth of its citizens, it cannot create jobs without killing jobs in the private sector.

In ordinary times, Ms. Burger's proposals would be laugh-out-loud funny.

However, these are not ordinary times where leaders in Washington understand basic economic principles (which is why there is a job summit to begin with) that, in order for the private sector to be able to create jobs, government needs to get the hell out of the way.

Unfortunately, these are extraordinary times. Our nation has a president whose ear is being bent by the Lord of Labor and his Queen whose only apparent know-how on meeting a payroll is through taking the hard-earned income from working Americans. And, whose only apparent growth plan is through higher taxes, bigger government, and stripping Americans of their right to vote on unionization.
Here's our prediction: If President Obama chooses to take union bosses' advice, he can be assured unemployment will reach 13% or more by 2012.

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"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes." Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

A Family Affair: UFCW Legal Counsel & Ousted President's Daughter Files for Colorado House Seat

The daughter of Ernie Duran, Jr., the accused nepotist and money mismanager, as well as soon-to-be ex-president of United Food & Commercial Workers' Local 7 in Denver has filed papers to run for the House District 5 seat being vacated by a term-limited Joel Judd.

Crisanta Duran, is legal counsel for the UFCW local, as well as listed as the 19th vice president (out of 25) for the local. Her father, who recently lost a re-election bid (which he and his union-employed family are currently disputing) is the president of the local.

UFCW Local 7, according to reports on file with the US. Department of Labor, took in over $13.8 million in 2008 from Colorado workers (most of whom work in Denver and vicinity grocery stores).

According to one news report:
Former employees said Duran and his family are living the good life on the union
dues of some of the lowest-paid workers in the state.

[Note: According to the DOL report, the average UFCW Local 7 members paid an average of $644 in dues and initiation fees. Because Colorado is not a Right-to-Work state, the vast majority of these workers are required to pay union dues or be fired from their jobs.]

"I'm not sure if the common union member is aware of how much the Duran family brings home in salary. In addition to their salary, the expenses that they have that the union pays for," said Irene Goodell, Duran's former secretary who was fired and who is suing for wrongful termination.

Ms. Duran, her father, as well as her brother (Ernie Duran, III aka E3) are fighting to retain their lucrative positions with the UFCW local, but that combativeness should come as no surprise, according Denver's Westword blog:
Duran's combativeness should come as no surprise to readers of two late '90s reports by former Westword staffer Eric Dexheimer. The articles told the tale of a young UFCW worker who was sexually assaulted by her boss, Gilbert Padilla; afterward, she filed a civil lawsuit pinning part of the blame for the attack on Local 7. May 1997's "An Unholy Union" notes that Duran is a boxing aficionado who kept a heavy bag in his office and, according to several sources, once threw a man against a car and threatened to "beat the sh*t" out of him. He was also the target of a May 1992 restraining order granted to one of his neighbors after he allegedly "climb[ed] over a six-foot privacy fence to attack and beat plaintiff in plaintiff's backyard." Dexheimer's followup piece, February 1998's "Union Busted," confirms that the assaulted woman settled her lawsuit for a lump sum payment of $200,000.

Meanwhile, in addition to its internal bickering over nepotism and financial mismanagement, Local 7 has been locked in a two-pronged battle. One is with Denver-area grocers, where UFCW members are voting over the next two weeks on the companies' 'last, best and final offers.' The other battle has been with the Washington, DC-based UFCW international union which has seemed reluctant to let Local 7 leaders call grocery workers out on strike.

Whether Ms. Duran a) retains her UFCW member-paid $119,000 per year salary, b) moves up in Colorado politics to become another pol beholden to unions, or c) gets ousted along with her father, will be determined a multitude of factors, including Colorado's Democrat voters.

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LABOR SHORTS: The Grinch, The SEIU & More...

Labor Shorts is back for its sixth installment and, in honor of the season and the first story below, we've changed the shorts (so to speak):

  • Bah Humbug! No egg nog for those Union Scrooges! An ongoing brouhaha between NBC and NABET/CWA has the union threatening to pull the plug on "Christmas in Rockefeller Center."

  • Why do they want to eliminate voting rights? Unions won 73% of NLRB Elections in the first half of 2009 which begs the question: Why do union bosses want to eliminate workers' right to a secret-ballot with the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act? [What losers.]

  • WTF?!? God, Guns and…Goldman Sachs? The SEIU is bragging (and Bloomberg is reporting) that executives at failed New Jersey governor John Corzine's former company, Goldman Sachs, are arming themselves against a potential proletariat uprising, as SEIU continues to harass the bailed-out billionaires club.

  • Speaking of Class Warfare…In a newly uncovered video, SEIU's former favorite son (and current DNC Chair) Howard "Hear Me Yell" Dean has declared the debate between socialism and capitalism OVER and announces the DNC's "permanent campaign."

  • Show Me State Turns Blind Eye To Purple People Beaters. Three months after the fact and just when it appeared that justice would be served upon the SEIU thugs who beat a black conservative last August, justice just got downgraded to an "ordinance violation."

  • SEIU settles PR SNAFU with Boy Scout…sort of. After threatening to file a grievance for a boy scout volunteering his time to clear a path, SEIU bigwigs found themselves picking up sticks by the roadside in an attempt to revitalize their already-blown image.

  • Fat Chance, Fat Head! The Machinists union is calling on President Obama to save 1,000 Pratt & Whitney jobs that are moving out of Connecticut. Apparently, the union is hoping that "the silver-tongued orator" Obama has forgotten Machinist President Tom Buffenbarger's anti-Obama tirade during last year's Democratic primaries. [Perhaps the IWAS is befitting.]

  • How Objectionable: SEIU's Press Release Calls Out NLRB & Attempts Scare Health Care Workers. The National Labor Relations Board has apparently offended the seemingly above-the-law SEIU by granting health care workers at Kaiser Permanente the right to vote to choose whether or not to remain represented by the Union of Purple People Eaters. Read the release here.

  • An Ex-SEIU staffer shares what he found wrong with Andy Stern's SEIU: "…an organization that dampened freedom of speech, weakened internal democracy, reduced meaningful member involvement, made secret deals with employers that harmed members’ interests, and isolated and punished members and staff who disagreed." [Read the rest here.]

  • Union extortion gets NY contractor 3 Mos. in slammer. "After apologizing to his family and the court, Petrocelli told the judge that if he hadn't paid off McLaughlin, the crooked labor leader would have put him out of business by drumming up labor unrest."

  • Thief Steals Millions from Sandhogs Union. "Like sand in an hourglass, so were the..." Over the last seven years, Melissa G. King of Irvington, N.Y., transferred $42 million from three union funds to bank accounts she controlled.

  • SEIU Set to Walk Out on Patients. Richard Palmisano, president and CEO of Northern Berkshire Healthcare, the hospital’s parent corporation, said in a release that the hospital would continue to "provide high quality health care services to our patients without interruption" if the strike takes place as planned.

  • Teamsters' Hoffa Imposes Concessions on Teamster Members. “We’re proud that we stood strong against concessions, and we did it on our own. Now our own International union comes in and undercuts us. They’ve sold themselves to the company,” stated Local 705 steward Mike Jordan.

These, as you know, are but a few of the stories we post seven days a week on LaborUnionReport's Linkedin Group. If you're not on there yet, you're missing a lot.

Readers, we wish you a very productive and prosperous week's end.


"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes." -- Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

WOW! Goldman Sachs Execs Arming Themselves Against...the SEIU?!?

We first saw this on the blog of the Union of Purple People Eaters (aka the SEIU), so we had to 'fact-check' the story and, sure enough, it appears to be true.

According to Bloomberg, executives at failed-NJ governor John Corzine's old company, Goldman Sachs, are applying for handgun permits and exercising their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.
While it should always be everyone's (except outlaws') right to carry, locked and loaded, in this case, the "why" is a bit odd.
According to Bloomberg's Alice Schroder:
“I just wrote my first reference for a gun permit,” said a friend, who told me of swearing to the good character of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who applied to the local police for a permit to buy a pistol. The banker had told this friend of mine that senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.

I called Goldman Sachs spokesman Lucas van Praag to ask whether it’s true that Goldman partners feel they need handguns to protect themselves from the angry proletariat. He didn’t call me back....

Talk that Goldman bankers might have armed themselves in self-defense would sound ludicrous, were it not so apt a metaphor for the way that the most successful people on Wall Street have become a target for public rage.

Now, to make matters even stranger, the Union of Purple People Eaters (aka the SEIU) seems to relishing in the idea that the 'bourgeoisie' is arming itself against a 'proletariat' uprising.
The SEIU blog almost gleefully notes:

That's nothing, though, compared to today's news. Bloomberg is reporting that Goldman Sachs execs are loading up on firearms "and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank." The NYPD confirmed that, in fact, senior-level Goldman executives are now packing heat to protect themselves from... us? [Emphasis in original.]

...before announcing another demonstration:
If we really want to get the message across, I guess we're going to have to meet them in New York. On December 14th - around the time Wall Street
banks are expected to announce their bonuses for 2009 - we're gathering outside Goldman Sachs to suggest some alternate uses for that money.

And, this time, you can be a part of it even if you aren't in New York. There will be dozens of actions taking place in cities across the country at the same time - all outside the big banks that have taken our tax dollars but done nothing to help get the economy moving again.

We'll have the details at in the next few days about how you can get involved. I hope you'll come out and join us. And I hope we won't need to wear our bulletproof vests. [Emphasis in original.]

Forgetting the SEIU's mocking tone, regardless of their (and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, and other Democrats') culpability in the financial morass the nation is in, Goldman Sachs execs are probably right to have a concern for their own safety.

In fact, given the SEIU's brutish and thug-like tactics against its own members, a boy scout, its egg-throwing at teachers, as well as its alleged beat down on one of its own members and a flag-selling black conservative, their fear may indeed be very justified.

One consolation though: At least with the nationwide shortage of ammunition Goldman Sachs execs will be able to use taxpayer bailout money to load up their 9 mms with.

"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes."
Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

"When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will carry guns."

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Will Unions Use Obama's Job Summit to Push Job-Destroying Legislation?

With unemployment reaching 10.2% and likely to rise over the coming year, the Obama administration is getting desperate to show that it can reverse the rising unemployment and the President's falling poll numbers.

As Politico notes:
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the presidential playbook: when you want to focus attention on an issue, hold a meeting and call it a “summit.”

President Barack Obama’s already done a “Fiscal Responsibility Summit,” a “Health Care Summit,” an “H1N1 Flu Preparedness Summit,” and even a “Distracted Driving Summit.”

Next up: a “Jobs Summit” Thursday, and if Obama thought fighting the flu or getting health reform done was tough, wait until he faces the hard truth that presidents ultimately face when they need an economic quick-fix.

There isn’t one.

Nevertheless, with much fanfare and photo ops, the President will be holding a jobs summit where he's invited "business executives, labor leaders, community activists, economists and others to the White House to spur ideas." [See partial guest list here.]

Interestingly, Bill Clinton's former secretary of labor and ultra-liberal Robert Reich states: “Most presidents don’t have all that much control over creating jobs. They can affect things at the margin.”

While Mr. Reich is half-correct (Presidents cannot create jobs, nor can government-at-large), he misses a larger point: Presidents and government, with ill-conceived policies, can and do kill jobs.

A near-bankrupt treasury, higher taxes, excessive regulation and uncertainty over big government proposals like health care nationalization and 'cap and trade' all have a strangulating on the creators of jobs.

Another piece of legislation that is creating great uncertainty and, therefore, a reluctance to create jobs is the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act (or EFCA).

Even though the President, according to AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka, has pledged to advance EFCA after the health care debate is over, Thomas Kochran suggests in the Huffington Post that the President's "jobs summit" should be used to push for EFCA.
The president needs to use this historic opportunity to break this impasse and launch an era of productive and innovative labor management relations needed
to foster and sustain the new pact.

To do so, the president should announce his intention to work for speedy passage of a reframed and expanded Employee Free Choice Act, a labor law reform bill currently stalled in Congress.

The problem is, EFCA (which, as written, replaces secret-ballot elections on the question of unionization with majority 'card-check' and gives government-imposed arbitrators the power to dictate wages and benefits) is a job destroyer.

As renowned Professor Richard Epstein wrote earlier this year:

The likely consequence of EFCA will be to retard the formation of small businesses, as fledgling entrepreneurs will reassess their prospects of success to take into account the danger of derailment at an early stage in the process. In the long‐term the EFCA will reduce the rate of firm formation, and thus deprive the economy of a central driver of new job creation and technology growth.

And for larger firms?
Faced with these constraints, a firm’s ability to shift and meet the rising competition from new firms could easily result in the loss of jobs from the failure of certain business lines, or the conscious redeployment by management of assets and new investment to locations that have lower costs and greater flexibility –traits most often associated with nonunion operations. The decision to send more activities offshore is also a distinct likelihood.

In 2005, even Andy Stern of the now-infamous Service Employees International Union seemed to implicitly acknowledge that unions hurt jobs when he presented statistics on a PowerPoint slide (at right) indicating that manufacturing jobs that were unionized suffered a much higher loss than did overall manufacturing jobs.

More relevant to Thursday's "jobs summit" is President Obama's own Larry Summers. Prior to his joining the Obama administration, Mr. Summers seemed to get it.

Just a few years ago, Mr. Obama's Director of the National Economic Council wrote that unionization is a cause of long term unemployment.
Another cause of long-term unemployment is unionization. High union wages that exceed the competitive market rate are likely to cause job losses in the unionized sector of the economy. Also, those who lose high-wage union jobs are often reluctant to accept alternative low-wage employment....

There is no question that some long-term unemployment is caused by government intervention and unions that interfere with the supply of labor....

As the meeting of the minds come together on Thursday to hold a photo op and give the appearance they are doing something to try to curb unemployment, perhaps they will get a sudden revelation that they, in fact, may be partly to blame for the high unemployment.

But, then again, the expectation that common sense economics would prevail from an administration that was paid for by union bosses may be asking too much.
"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes." Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
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