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Monday, August 31, 2009

MACHINISTS UNION DODGES "ANGRY AND DISGUSTED" MEMBERS AT MERCURY MARINE

"I am angry and disgusted with our union. They fought us tooth and nail all week long in our effort to get a re-vote," said Fred Toth Jr., an IAM member and Mercury Marine employee.

Toth, like other members of the International Associatation of Machinists employed by Mercury Marine, will likely be unemployed soon. Last Sunday, a majority of members rejected their employer's 'last, best and final offer' and, after they realizing their employer was indeed serious about closing their plant, asked their union for a re-vote. All they got was the run around until the last minute.

Unfortunately, the Machinists union delayed letting its members conduct a re-vote until the day the company's offer was expired...too late to have all its members vote.

According to the Journal-Sentinel:
A second vote on a labor contract at Mercury Marine Inc. came to an abrupt halt Monday afternoon when union officials said there was no longer anything to vote on.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers called off the vote mid-afternoon Monday rather than allow it to continue until 6 p.m. as had been scheduled.

"The union has no other options but to consider (the company's) last, best and final offer to have been removed from the table, and the current (labor) agreement remains in full force and effect until June 23, 2012," a statement from IAM District 10 headquarters said.

Union, not company, blamed...
Toth said he did not blame the company or Lodge 1947 for the cancellation of the second vote, but he was upset with District 10 officials in Milwaukee.

"As far as I am concerned, they failed their membership," Toth said.

District 10 officials would not comment beyond what was in their written statement.

Then came the classic duck 'em and dodge 'em response from the Machiists' union bosses:

Michael King, a spokesman for the IAM Midwest Territory office, declined to discuss the second vote.

"To discuss what happened, when we didn't initiate it, may not necessarily be in our best interest," King said. [Emphasis added.]

For background on this story go here, here, and here.

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UNITED AUTO WORKERS VOTE THEMSELVES TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE

Just last week, we reported on the United Auto Workers' rejection of Continental Tire's request to re-open their contract to negotiate cost reductions.

As a result of the UAW-represented employees' rejection to re-open their contract, Continental Tire announced today that it will be closing its Huntsville, Alabama plant.

Today, Continental Automotive Systems U.S., Inc. announced that the company will close its automotive components manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama by December 31, 2010. The product lines currently manufactured at the Huntsville facility will be relocated to other Continental automotive facilities located in Seguin, Texas and Nogales and Cuautla, Mexico. Product development operations will be relocated to other Continental facilities located in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Deer Park, Illinois and Guadalajara, Mexico. The Huntsville facility employs approximately 1281 salaried and hourly employees, which includes approximately 300 employees currently on layoff with recall rights.

"The Huntsville facility has the highest manufacturing costs of any Continental automotive electronics plant in North America and we were unsuccessful in reducing these costs through labor negotiations with United Automobile Workers (UAW) union and other cost reductions in capital, equipment, overhead and expenses."

While it is unknown what the UAW told its members to secure their rejection of the company's request to re-open the contract, or if the UAW members rejected it on their own, one thing is certain: Any cost reductions negotiated by the union and the company still would have been better than unemployment.

AFL-CIO'S NEW THUG-IN-CHIEF OPENLY THREATENS POLITICIANS...AND THE PRESS DOES NOTHING

Is the labor movement about to become re-acquainted with the mob? It seems the incoming head of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, has himself confused with Don Corleone from The Godfather.

Imagine a business leader openly saying this about politicians: "We need to stand by our friends, punish our enemies and challenges those who, well, can't seem to decide which side they're on."

If a business leader said this, he would be pilloried in the press and likely called in front of Congress and given the third degree...and perhaps more.

Yet, when the unions' soon-to-be-coronated boss of bosses says: "We need to be a labor movement that stands by our friends, punishes its enemies and challenges those who, well, can't seem to decide which side they're on," the press reports it as though it is merely another news story on the health care debate.

No reporter questions about the audacity of threatening members of Congress, not even a raised eyebrow, nor a whimper of dissent. No question about the appropriateness of the remarks or the boorishness of the manner in which Trumka views elected officials.

Of course, then again, we're talking about Richard Trumka, the same union boss who twice pled his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination for the Teamsters money-laundering scandal a decade ago.

Trumka, who is set to take the reins of the AFL-CIO (unopposed) in just two weeks, was speaking to the Center for American Progress, a liberal "think tank" that backs nationalizing America's health care system.

According to a New York Times blog:
Mr. Trumka, who has been the labor federation’s secretary treasurer since 1995, gave examples on the type of lawmakers he had in mind: “Legislators who don’t understand that their job isn’t to make insurance companies happy; it’s to keep Americans healthy. Legislators who say they’re are all for health care reform, but refuse to stand up for a public system that puts people before profits.”


Oh, really? Perhaps Mr. Trumka doesn't quite understand that putting Americans under the thumb of a federal bureaucracy while further bankrupting the nation is what might have these legislators refusing to stand up to nationalizing health care. And, unfortunately, Mr. Trumka's thuggish and behavior appears to be going unchecked by the media and the legislators he's threatening.

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HOLLYWOOD'S SCREEN ACTORS GUILD IS SAGGING

In a town known for its uplifting silicone implants and botox injections, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is looking rather droopy these days.

As ballots go out for SAG members to decide on a new president and whether or not to merge with the smaller American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Los Angeles Times has published an article on the weakened state of SAG as it goes into its election.

With 125,000 members, the 76-year-old SAG is still the mightiest union in Hollywood. But its clout has been diminished by internal bickering, a divided boardroom and a disastrous power struggle with a smaller union that represents actors as well as broadcast journalists and disc jockeys.

....

Among the most startling signs of SAG's weakened state is its grip over primetime television. SAG's contracts cover only 17% of the new scripted primetime TV shows on the major broadcast networks, down from 86% a year ago. When it appeared SAG might strike last year, the broadcast networks took their business to AFTRA, which now controls 83% of new primetime shows. AFTRA suspended its longtime bargaining partnership with SAG last year after a dispute over turf, freeing the union to negotiate directly with the studios for primetime TV contracts.

Although SAG continues to dominate primetime television, the shift of work to AFTRA is taking a toll, reducing contributions to the actors' health and pension plans and eroding union dues, which were already depressed because of last year's production slowdown.

The guild had a nearly $6-million operating deficit in fiscal 2009, which ended April 30, thanks to investment losses, a drop in member dues and excessive expenses. That included funds spent on a fruitless campaign to oppose AFTRA's contract because SAG's former negotiators felt it contained too many concessions and undercut their own negotiations.

The guild laid off 35 workers this year to balance its $60-million budget. Although it has $20 million in reserve, SAG has projected a $4-million deficit for fiscal 2010, people familiar with the guild's finances said.

SAG's decline comes as actors are having a tougher time finding work. Studios cut back production because of the sagging economics of the business, and networks have replaced more scripted programs with less expensive reality fare, game shows and talk shows. Actors have seen a steady slide in their income from residuals, the extra fees they get from reruns, as fewer shows repeat on the networks or are sold in syndication. Networks increasingly repeat shows on the Internet, where residuals are a fraction of those on network television, or on cable TV, where pay rates are lower.

With all that the actors' union is facing, perhaps this is one time that silicone implants and botox injections won't help lift the SAG.

SEIU'S WORKERS UNITED ENDS 40-DAY STRIKE

By the looks of it, striking workers in Terre Haute, Indiana lost a lot of money on an issue of principle and union dues.

Workers represented by the SEIU's new affiliate Workers United (formerly known as UNITE) ended a 40-day strike with a contract that 1) addressed the union's need to include seasonal workers into the bargaining unit (more dues), while 2) partially addressing workers' concerns that they and their families would not be required to take a Health Risk Assessment by the company's insurance carrier.

According to the Tribune Star:

According to the [union press] release, issued by Eric Sharfstein, a spokesman out of Workers United’s New York office, “the agreement does away with Bemis’ plans to utilize temporary workers. Seasonal employees working for more than five months will become a part of the bargaining unit.”

Union officials noted throughout the strike that the issues of temporary workers and mandated Health Risk Assessments were key to their opposition.Regarding the proposed Health Risk Assessments, which would have required workers and their families to submit to medical testing, the release states “the union now has the right to bargain an alternative health plan that does not mandate Health Risk Assessment testing. In the company’s health care plan, children of workers will not be required to submit to Health Risk Assessments for the term of the contract.”

According to this strike calculator, it's estimated that each of the workers lost over $2500 during the union strike leaving one to question: Was it worth it? [It sure appears to be worth it to the union.]

Sunday, August 30, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: MACHINISTS' LAST MINUTE REVOTE TACTIC REBUFFED

After feeling the heat from the soon-to-be-unemployed membership at Mercury Marine, the International Association of Machinists finally relented and made a gesture toward allowing the members to revote on the contract offer they rejected last Sunday.

The problem was, the voting started at 10 p.m. on Saturday night and again at 6 a.m. this morning--a full six hours after the company said its offer would expire.

From JSOnline:

A last-minute decision Saturday to have a second vote on a labor contract at Mercury Marine Inc. was effectively killed early Sunday when the company said it would not accept the results of any ballots cast after midnight.

Late Saturday night, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Lodge 1947 announced there would be a second vote on the contract proposal that was scheduled to expire at midnight. Voting began at the union hall in Fond du Lac shortly after 10 p.m., was expected to last until midnight and continue on Sunday until 6 p.m.

But early Sunday morning, union officials said a Mercury Marine executive told them the company would not accept any ballots cast after midnight.

Thus, the polls will not be open Sunday as announced earlier, said Dan Longsine, the union’s chief negotiator.

Ballots cast Saturday night will probably be voided, Longsine said. The union had wanted to continue voting on Sunday, thus giving members adequate opportunity to cast their ballots.

In a statement released at 2:15 a.m. Sunday, Mercury said:

"The IAM conducted a last-minute vote on the original proposal terms and conditions but did not complete the process to a definitive conclusion prior to the expiration of the proposal. As a result, Mercury said it will continue to operate the Fond du Lac facility under the terms and conditions of the existing contract, which expires in 2012. Manufacturing workers in Fond du Lac are represented by the IAM, Local chapter 1947. As previously announced, the company will now begin the transition planning process to its Stillwater, Okla., facility."


It appears that the union, which knew of the company deadline all week, tried to pull a quick PR stunt in an effort to cast the pall of blame back on the company.

Whether or not the members see through this transparent effort is unknown. What is known, however, is that 850 Machinists' members will soon be unemployed.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

MORE ON THE MACHINISTS MERCURY MARINE MASSACRE

Rules are rules. In this case, however, it sounds as though the Machinists international union rules are so strict that 850 members will be losing their jobs as a result.

Below is another video explaining that the International Association of Machinists won't let the soon-to-be unemployed members revote on the previously rejected contract.




TEACHERS UNION DRAWS IRE BY IGNORING TEACHERS

Teachers laid off from the North Clackamas School District are upset with their union for what sounds like some very good reasons:


A group of teachers in the North Clackamas School District took the initiative Thursday, amid losing their jobs because of budget cuts, by gathering signatures
in an effort to have their voices heard by their union.

The teachers, who gathered outside their union office, said they want a response from the union and put their demands in writing in the form of a petition.

Those speaking out said it shouldn't have reached this point, and they would have
accepted the district's offer, favoring a wage freeze to save jobs.

“We took a poll in the spring and they got our opinion and the majority said wage freeze,” said Monica Whiteley, who was laid off. “So I would like them to look at the poll or honor it and have us look at the memo of understanding that is out there.”

They said they feel the union hasn't been listening or communicating.

“I have felt like my voice has not been heard. I wasn’t asked was I OK with losing my job,” said Jenny Klassen, another laid off teacher.

....

Teachers said the cuts could mean 45 kids in some classrooms, which could mean squeezing in an additional 17 desks into a classroom.

And the response from the teachers' union?

Union leaders said they had no choice. They have to do what is best for the students and all of their membership, they said.

Somehow a pay freeze and having more teachers, rather than 45 in the classroom, seems better for the kids than laying off good teachers.

UPDATE: MACHINISTS MEMBERS HOPES SINKING AS INTERNATIONAL UNION NIXES REVOTE

With time running out before their jobs go away, Machinists union members in Fon du Lac, Wisconsin are asking for a revote on the vote they took last week to either accept or reject their employer's final offer.

Last Sunday, despite warnings from their employer that a rejection would mean closing their facility, Machinists members rejected the concessionary contract. Within days, members began having second thoughts.

Now, however, it appears as thought their international union is prohibiting the members from taking a revote unless their are changes to the company's final offer. The company, however, states that its offer will not change. As WBAY reports:


"I think the bylaw thing was a straw man. There's somebody on the IAM that doesn't want this to happen, and it's very unfortunate because they are not representing the interests of the people of this community," County Executive Allen Buechel expressed.
....

"The situation at some point may need a hero, and may need a hero making a decision that is outside the box. We're hoping somebody is going to step forward and make that decision that is going to keep jobs in Fond du Lac," City Manager Tom Herre said.

It's a decision that also divides the union.

"I'm afraid there's going to be some violence. Actually, I'm not sure that wouldn't happen now if a second vote and the vote went the other direction, because there's still people who feel strongly on both sides," Buechel said.

Some ask why the local union doesn't just ignore national leaders and hold another vote. The county executive tells us they worry if the vote isn't sanctioned it won't count at all.

The company's offer will stand until midnight tonight.



Friday, August 28, 2009

TED'S DEAD. LABOR ACTIVIST MARKS KENNEDY'S UNION SINS

Not everyone on the Left was in love with Ted Kennedy. Steve Early, a well known labor writer and activist writes in CounterPunch on the late Ted Kennedy's "sins against labor":

I was not a fan of Ted when he was alive and expressed this dissenting opinion, on several occasions, in our local rag, The Boston Globe, after Kennedy’s recurring lapses as a friend of the working class became too painful to ignore. Ted Kennedy was not on labor’s side when key public policy shifts were engineered that disastrously weakened and marginalized American unions. After helping to deliver these legislative hammer blows, Ted was quick to offer his hand to a labor movement now lying flat on its back. But forms of assistance like boosting the minimum wage, helping immigrants, securing local defense plant jobs, or co-sponsoring the Employee Free Choice Act have hardly compensated for the ravages of “neoliberalism” that Kennedy aided and abetted.

Calling Kennedy an Architect of Deregulation, Early writes:

In several key industries—trucking, the airlines, and telecom--nothing has undermined union membership and bargaining power more than de-regulation. Kennedy embraced de-regulation with gusto and, despite his other differences with Jimmy Carter thirty years ago, helped ram through industry restructuring harmful to hundreds of thousands of workers and their union contracts. By 1985, as Kim Moody describes in U.S. Labor in Trouble and Transition, the number of workers covered by the Teamsters’ biggest trucking contract had been halved. Today, fewer than 100,000 work under the National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA)—down from 450,000 before Carter and Kennedy transformed the role of the Interstate Commerce Commission and codified that regulatory change via the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. The business-backed policy agenda “that would become known as ‘Reaganomics’ or more generally as neoliberalism,” had its roots in the Carter Administration, Moody points out. Two of its key objectives were deregulation and free trade; the first having been accomplished under Carter, the second was pursued with equal fervor and further Kennedy legislative vigor after Clinton became president.


In addition to Kennedy's deregulation transgressions, Early also accuses Kennedy of failing to support Nynex strikers during a bitter 1989 strike over health care, as well as Kennedy's free-trade credentials. To read more of Early's list of Kennedy "sins," go here.

Hmmm
. Before the Labor Left determines to canonize the Liberal Lion of the Senate, perhaps Kennedy's alleged labor creds should be more closely examined?

TEAMSTERS' DESTRUCTION OF THE UNIONIZED TRUCKING INDUSTRY NEARS COMPLETION

The Central Penn Business Journal is tracking the last major trucking company that is unionized by the Teamsters:

"We think there is a high probability the company runs out of cash between now and first quarter 2010," David Ross of St. Louis-based investment firm Stifel Nicolaus told the Business Journal in an e-mail. "We see no significant rebound in freight volumes ahead, and the competitive landscape in (trucking) remains fierce. YRC has been bleeding a significant amount of cash this year, and even with the recent Teamsters concessions, they should continue to do so."

YRC might think twice about going back to the union for additional concessions, he said.

"Given the thin margin of the last vote -- and some members clearly voting the concessions down, like New Penn - we don't think any further concessions would be ratified by the rank and file," Ross said.

Local Teamsters leaders are being diplomatic. They know the impact on their members if something can't be worked out, Carlos N. Ramos II, president of Harrisburg-based Teamsters Local 776. That's why they're still confident the company can make it, he said.

"It can be saved with a couple of things falling in place," Ramos said.

That includes all union members voting for the concessions package, the economy turning around, the banks helping to shore up YRC credit and the company retaining its customers, he said. It's not an easy list for YRC to check off, he said. Especially since New Penn workers voted down the concessions.

To read the entire article, go here.


To review a partial list of Teamster-represented companies that are now out of business, go here.

COMMUNIST LEADER PRAISED BY DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSWOMAN

In her own words...




Thanks, Congresswoman, for showing your true colors...



SENATE BILL WOULD GIVE OBAMA 'EMERGENCY' CONTROL OF THE INTERNET

From the Right to the Left, government is on the march to take freedom. This from CNET.com:


Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

Read the entire story here.

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UNION BOSS BOOED OUT OF TOWN HALL MEETING LEAVING CWA 'RED SHIRTS' POWERLESS

THIS IS A MUST-SEE VIDEO:

The red-shirted union goons from the Communications Workers of America were out in full force at New York Congressman Tim Bishop's town hall meeting. Unfortunately for the CWA goon squad, however, they were outnumbered by ordinary citizens who did not appreciate a union boss from outside their district taking the mic.

The fun begins at about 2 1/2 minutes into the video.




Hat-tip to MAinfo who writes: "Red is SUCH an appropriate color. They stand together for Obama's Red Communist Agenda."

"THE PLAIN AND SIMPLE TRUTH": HOWARD DEAN ON WHY TORT REFORM ISN'T INCLUDED IN THE DEMOCRATS' HEALTH PLAN

Why isn't tort reform in the Democrats' bill to nationalize health care?

Well, let Howard Dean explain it to you:




Now, you've heard the "plain and simple truth."

JOB-DESTROYING EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT IS LYING IN REPOSE

A call came in late last night, a voice mail left by fellow freedom-fighter Tom W:

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID IS DECLARING EFCA DEAD FOR THIS LEGISLATIVE SEASON.

Yesterday, at a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce meeting, according to Roll Call, Senate Majority Leader stated that the Senate's calendar is too full this year to consider the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act.



“We have too many other things on our plate,” Reid said.

But even if the Senate’s schedule was freed up later this year, it is unlikely Reid would bring the bill to the floor short of major changes to the legislation. Republicans have universally panned the bill — as have a few Democrats — making it impossible for Reid to break a Republican filibuster.

While this is not entirely surprising given the statement earlier this week from AFL-CIO's Top Boss Richard Trumka that EFCA would follow health care reform.

Since nationalization of health care has blown up in Democrats' faces (for reasons that are too numerous to list here) it will be hard to get enough Blue Dog Democrats to take any more fire from their constituents on controversial legislation.

[Besides, President Obama has also said he wants to take up Immigration Reform (amnesty) this year as well.]

That said, here's our prognosis and advice on the job-destroying and delusionally-dubbed EFCA:

  • Don't let your guard down and don't let up. With any given crisis, political winds shift in Washington and the nation's capitol is filled with sleazy politicians with low morals and even less character (on both sides of the aisle, by the way). Whenever possible, these pols like to pass legislation in the middle of the night. [Arlen Specter comes to mind, does he not?] The unions are not going to let up pressure on the politicians, nor should you.
  • For now, however, EFCA will hinge on the mid-term elections in 2010.
  • We give it a slightly better than 60% chance that EFCA will be dead until the results of 2010 mid-terms are in. If the voter storm over nationalizing health care creates a back lash and there are fewer Democrats left standing after the mid-terms, then EFCA (as written) will go down in flames. HOWEVER…
  • Watch for unions to:
  • Use the union-controlled NLRB (not-so affectionately known as Wacky Wilma's Union Tribunal) to do all it can to help unions press their case for enactment of EFCA while, in the meantime, making employers' lives living hell.
  • Get shorter elections through the NLRB's administrative procedures. It is not unrealistic to expect to see 21-28 day elections under Wacky Wilma's Union Tribunal.
  • Use the recession and high unemployment (especially in the unions) as an excuse to further lay false blame on employers "union-busting"
  • Not give up on EFCA…
  • Be prepared. Unions really don't need EFCA's card-check to expand their membership at your expense. If you're not in tune with your employee relations, you can still get knocked out with a union campaign. And, since unions already win more than 66% of campaigns nationwide, with a union-controlled NLRB, this number will likely increase.
  • We're already seeing unions, after resting on their electoral laurels for almost an entire year, get more aggressive in the targeting of companies and expect this to significantly increase under a new leadership at the AFL-CIO.
  • Bottom line: With or without EFCA, unions need to act quickly or they'll be relegated to 5% membership in the private sector and no more important that a flea on a hound dog. [Don't ask…]
ON TO OTHER NEWS:

We've been discovering quite a few things this week that, like us, may make you feel a bit uncomfortable with the direction nation is heading. For example:

ANOTHER REASON WHY DEMOCRATS' SOCIALIZED MEDICINE PLAN SUCKS: PRYING EYES UP YOUR FISCAL RECTUM...

As though "end-of-life-choices" (aka Death Panels), "cost-containment" (aka rationing), and the "public option" (aka socialized medicine) were not bad enough, CBS News has uncovered yet another pitfall with the 1,000 page+ Obama-Pelosi-Reid health care plan (HR 3200) and that is the provision that states that the Internal Revenue Service must divulge your tax records to the "Health Choice Commissioner" (aka Health Czar). [Read more here]

WHY ARE UNIONIZED WORKERS OPTING FOR MASS INDUSTRIAL SUICIDE & UNEMPLOYMENT?

There's a disturbing trend occurring across America. It seems as though there is a move toward mass industrial suicide being executed by unions and their members these days. Despite unemployment being around 9.5% nationwide and likely to see double digits, more and more often it appears that unions and their members are
opting for pink slips and plant closures rather than agreeing to concessions that just might save their jobs. [Read more here]


ANOTHER UNION BAILOUT? THE CWA WANTS HIGH SPEED INTERNET TO BE AN AMERICAN RIGHT

The Communications Workers of America, of which we're all too familiar, is looking for a bailout of sorts. That is, the CWA (that old dinosaur union from the old Ma Bell days) wants to convince America that high-speed internet is an American birthright (something akin to Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and, of late, Nationalized Health Care). [Read more here]

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Best wishes
LaborUnionReport.com

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ANOTHER REASON WHY DEMOCRATS' SOCIALIZED MEDICINE PLAN SUCKS: PRYING EYES UP YOUR FISCAL RECTUM...

As though "end-of-life-choices" (aka Death Panels), "cost-containment" (aka rationing), and the "public option" (aka socialized medicine) were not bad enough, CBS News has uncovered yet another pitfall with the 1,000 page+ Obama-Pelosi-Reid health care plan (HR 3200) and that is the provision that states that the Internal Revenue Service must divulge your tax records to the "Health Choice Commissioner" (aka Health Czar). According to CBS News:

Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and "other information as is prescribed by" regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for "affordability credits."

Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details -- there's no specified limit on what's available or unavailable -- to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify "affordability credits."

Section 1801(a) says that the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a "low-income prescription drug subsidy" but has not applied for it.

Over at the Institute for Policy Innovation (a free-market think tank and resumably no fan of Obamacare), Tom Giovanetti argues that: "How many thousands of federal employees will have access to your records? The privacy of your health records will be only as good as the most nosy, most dishonest and most malcontented federal employee.... So say good-bye to privacy from the federal government. It was fun while it lasted for 233 years."


Yes. America was fun for most of 233 years. Too bad "change" is trying to control it.

INVOKING TEDDY TO PASS A POISONOUS HEALTH CARE BILL

As the saying goes: You can put icing on a turd and call it a cupcake, but it's still a turd. Or, you can put wings on the devil and call him an angel....Well, you get the point.

Democrats, it seems, are hell-bent on passing a health care bill this year (mid-term elections are right around the corner) and their latest strategy is to use the Tuesday death of Ted Kennedy to rally the troops aroud 'KennedyCare.' The problem is, a turd is a turd.

This from ABCNews:


Democrats are hoping that the memory of Sen. Ted Kennedy will revive the Democratic Party's flagging push for health care reform.

"You've heard of 'win one for the Gipper'? There is going to be an atmosphere of 'win one for Teddy,'" Ralph G. Neas, the CEO of the liberal National Coalition on Health Care, told ABC News.

Democrats are hoping that Kennedy's influence in death may be even stronger than it was when he was alive as they push for President Obama's top domestic priority. Democratic officials hope that invoking Kennedy's passion for the issue will counter slippage in support for heatlh care reform.

"Ted Kennedy's dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement.

Pelosi's sentiment was echoed by former vice president Al Gore who served with Kennedy in the Senate.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WHY ARE UNIONIZED WORKERS OPTING FOR MASS INDUSTRIAL SUICIDE & UNEMPLOYMENT?

There's a disturbing trend occurring across America. It seems as though there is a move toward mass industrial suicide being executed by unions and their members these days. Despite unemployment being around 9.5% nationwide and likely to see double digits, more and more often it appears that unions and their members are opting for pink slips and plant closures rather than agreeing to concessions that just might save their jobs.

Is it that there is a big game of chicken being played between labor and management around the nation? Are workers being told by their union leaders that it is better to be unemployed than to work with "the boss"? Or, have unionized workers adopted a mass nihilistic philosophy toward work? And, if the latter is the case, who is at fault when the companies involved are in entirely different industries and different geographical regions?

The Union of Ailing Workplaces (UAW)

In Huntsville, Alabama, members of the United Auto Workers have rejected their employer's request to re-open their contract to obtain cost-reductions to make their plant more competitive. Their decision comes just a few days before their employer, Continental, an automotive parts supplier decides whether or not to keep the plant open.

Continental has said it would consider closing the plant and relocating product lines to lower-cost facilities if cost reductions aren't made to make the operation here "globally competitive."...

Continental last month told UAW representatives that the company's automotive business has been hurt by a slowdown in the automotive industry, and UAW sources say the company was looking for some $60 million in cost savings a year at the plant.
According to Continental, the Huntsville plant has the highest manufacturing costs of all Continental's North American plants that make electronic parts.

The Huntsville Continental plant has about 550 hourly employees who are union members, nearly 100 salaried employees who are union members and about 300
salaried, nonunion employees.

On the Heels of the Machinists' Mass Suicide at Mercury Marine

A mere four days ago, 850 members of the International Association of Machinists voted to reject their employer Mercury Marine's request for givebacks, despite the clear message from their employer that the company would move work from its Fon du Lac, Wisconsin plant to its Oklahoma plant.

Unless the union and its members change their minds by August 29th, job cuts will be starting soon. However, according to Phillip Gruber, Midwest Director for the Machinists union, it would appear the decision to see the company move rather than accept concessions is final.
Union officials say the company's latest proposal is a "suicide offer."

Which option would you take?

"Mercury Marine never intended for this offer to be accepted," said IAMAW Midwest territory vice president Philip Gruber. "Despite progress on every major issue and a commitment by the IAM to continue bargaining, the company balked in the final hours and added terms and conditions that assured members would reject the offer … Mercury Marine has been threatening these workers and this community for weeks. Some companies may hint at dire consequences as a bargaining tactic, but rarely do we see such extortion in plain view. It's unethical, it's
un-American and I respect any worker who stands up and refuses to be bullied."

Sounds like 'case closed' for Mercury Marine's Machinists.

Boeing, Going...Gone?

Just last month, the same Machinists' union was given an ultimatum by its largest employer, Boeing, that the union must ensure labor peace (through a long-term no strike pledge) or it may move part of its 787 Dreamliner assembly out of Washington state.

Last year, the Machinists union engaged in a long, "costly and damaging" strike at Boeing, idling 27,000 union workers and shutting production down for 52 days (and which followed a three week strike in 2005). With Boeing locked in a competitive battle with European-government backed Airbus, it appears the company is no longer tolerant of having an unpredictable workforce.

However, when the company signaled its desires to have longer-term labor peace, the union establishment in that state essentially gave Boeing "the bird" by saying giving a long-term no strike pledge is“...something that we would probably never do."

As of Wednesday "the plane maker has notified the South Carolina Department of Commerce that it will seek a permit to add a commercial aircraft assembly line in the state." [In Charleston, South Carolina, the employees at Boeing's recently purchased plant currently have an election scheduled to determine whether they will decertify the Machinists union.]

While Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx stated that no decision has been made on whether the company will move some of its assembly to South Carolina yet, he also added, "Production stability will be a factor [in where the new production line is located], but that doesn't mean that we have a preference for a non-union facility."

It does appear, however, that the writing is on the wall for many of the Machinists in Puget Sound. Their last long strike may just have been the straw that broke the camel's back and their resistance to ensure labor peace will cost them dearly.

Bad Leadership or Bad Decisions?

With the seemingly disparate decisions being made by these unions and their members likely to result in the loss of thousands of jobs, the question becomes: Are these union workers being deceived by their union leaders into believing that their employers won't actually close their facilities? Perhaps time will provide us with the answer but, if this is indeed the case, then there is ample evidence that should demonstrate to them the folly of following their union leaders lockstep to the unemplyment lines.

ANOTHER UNION BAILOUT? THE CWA WANTS HIGH SPEED INTERNET TO BE AN AMERICAN RIGHT

The Communications Workers of America, of which we're all too familiar, is looking for a bailout of sorts. That is, the CWA (that old dinosaur union from the old Ma Bell days) wants to convince America that high-speed internet is an American birthright (something akin to Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and, of late, Nationalized Health Care).

"Every American should have affordable access to high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. This is essential to economic growth and will help maintain our global competitiveness," said Larry Cohen, president, Communications Workers of America, in a statement.

We recently blogged about this topic, stating:

In any case, comrades, we expect to see the White House, its union allies at the CWA and IBEW, as well as the main stream media to begin an attack on these greedy capitalistic companies and their evil executives for their concerted denial of a basic American Right...high speed internet in every home.

Well, a little more than a week later, it seems that we were right again. The CWA is coming out with a full-court press claiming all Americans deserve to have high-speed internet.

[Note: The attacks on internet providers AT&T, Verizon and Comcast haven't begun in earnest yet, but they will soon.]


This week, the CWA issued a study (its third) making its usual claim that America is inferior to other civilized nations in providing high-speed internet. The union even set up a website [called speedmatters.org] and began issuing press releases complaining about high-speed internet's lack of speed across America. The sum of the union's releases are that poor, rural Americans are being denied a critical need and have the right to have high-speed internet.

So, what is this issue really about? As always, the answer lies in the old adage: Follow the money.

The CWA, a union that has lost hundreds of thousands of dues-paying members since the break-up the old "Ma Bell" system and the invention of primarily non-union wireless telephone industry, wants its members to install the high-speed internet. According to ChannelWeb:

For every $5 billion invested in U.S. broadband infrastructure, 97,500 new jobs in the telecommunications, computer and IT sectors will be created, according to a study by the Communications Workers of America.

Of course, 97,500 members at $600 per year each in union dues means $58,500,000 to the union's coffers every year.

Perhaps this isn't about the right to high-speed internet so much as it is about the right to take taxpayer money to line CWA bosses' pockets.

Editor's note: The writer of this blog post is a former CWA representative and activist.

Monday, August 24, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: AFL-CIO TOP BOSS SAYS MISNAMED EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT WILL FOLLOW HEALTH REFORM

The hallucinogenially-named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) has been put on hold until after health care reform, according to incoming AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.

This afternoon, during a live webchat on the liberal blog firedoglake, Trumka stated that President Barack Obama and his advisor Rahm Emanuel have indicated that they will not bring up EFCA until the push to nationalize America's health care is complete.

According to the Hill:

"The President and Emanuel have both said they dont intend to bring Employee Free Choice Act up until Health Insurance Reform is done," Trumka wrote on the blog. "Which gives us an additional reason to do Health Insurance Reform now!"

The remarks all but acknowledge that EFCA, one of labor's most prized legislative goals, will take a backseat to the Obama administration's most pressing priority for the meanwhile.

For more information on no-vote unionization and binding arbitration provisions of the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act, go here.

Trumka further commented:
The rich have monopolized the winners circle for the last thirty years and their neo-liberal policies have proven [a] disaster to the working men and women of this great country! To break their monopoly on the economic policy we must grow and that is why the Employee Free Choice Act and Health Insurance Reform are so vitally important [for] the country.

On the topic of health care nationalization:
Rest assured the Unions of the AFL-CIO are in lock step when it comes to getting Health Insurance Reform passed and we are prepared to do what it takes to get it done because the working people of this country deserve no less.

On what else the AFL-CIO is up to, Trumka stated:
We are developing our own version of a contract with America that will make the economy work for all of us. We will present it to politicians who seek our support and support those who support it.

Given that nationalization of health care and no-vote unionization are anathema to most Americans, the AFL-CIO's efforts seem to be a Contract On America.


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REVEALED! UNION HEALTH PLANS MAY GO BROKE WITHOUT NATIONALIZED HEALTH CARE

If one ever wondered why all of the unions are 'astro-turfing' for nationalization of America's health care, the answer is as simple as this: Many unions (especially the United Auto Workers) have negotiated plans that are too rich and too unsustainable, and they want America to pick up the tab.

If there is any doubt, then one should read the article 'Without Aid, Union Health Plans Face Failure' by Gannett News Service coming out this morning:
The health care debate roiling the nation promises an even greater impact in Michigan: It could determine whether the UAW’s gamble that it can insure 850,000 retirees from Detroit’s automakers pays off or goes bust.

Thanks to Detroit’s twin auto bankruptcies and other concessions, the UAW’s voluntary employee benefit association, or VEBA, had to take stock of unknown value for $24 billion in claims, while adding thousands of early retirees to its rolls.

Outside experts estimate the funds have about 30 cents in cash for every dollar of future claims, with no guarantee of what its stock assets will be worth. Lance Wallach, a New York-based VEBA expert, said if the funds “don’t get something, they’re out of business in 12 years.”

That something may be national health care reform.

We blogged about the Hidden Union Bailout in the Health Care Bill on Friday and asked the question:
Did the United Auto Workers know when they negotiated concessions on their VEBA in exchange for ownership in General Motors and Chrysler that the their friends in Congress and the Obama Administration would make it up to them with the health care bill?

The answer may be in Gannett's article.

VEBA-expert Wallach states: “I really think” the UAW “were gambling there would be some health care nationalization.”

The question posed again: Did the UAW know (through inside sources) that their friends in Washington would throw them a second bailout in the health care bill when they negotiated for GM and Chrylser stocks?

Thus, as the saying goes: Follow the money. Especially if one wonder's why the unions are clamoring for nationalized health care wth such fervor.

Read the entire Gannett article here.

AN INSIDE LOOK AT OBAMA'S 'ORGANIZING AGAINST AMERICA'

Grass roots organizing--it's been the subject of ridicule, fear and loathing from the Right for having taken President Barack Obama from relative obscurity to the White House.

Now that President Obama's campaign machine has been converted to an ongoing war machine for the Left, the White House and the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America has been dispatched by its Commander in Chief to take on the fight to nationalize America's health care.

To understand the war machine that brought America "change," "hope." and a huge (as in $9 trillion) deficit, it helps to know what it's like at the ground level.

Like a look from behind enemy lines on the Eastern Front, Sunday's Washington Post ran a story following one of Organizing Against America's generals which provides a good account life on the ground. Here are some excerpts:

The last three years had unfolded in an unrelenting series of what Jeremy Bird called Big Moments, and here began the latest on a sweltering afternoon earlier this month. Another rental car, another unfamiliar highway, another string of e-mails sent from his BlackBerry while driving 70 mph. Bird took a sip from his coffee and looked over at Dan Grandone, a co-worker riding in the passenger seat.

"I don't know about you, but I'm running on adrenaline right now," Bird said. "I love this feeling that we're on the verge of something crucial." ...

As deputy director of Organizing for America, a national network of Obama supporters, Bird was scheduled to speak with a group of volunteers who had been threatened at town halls, outshouted at local rallies and weakened by a general sense of post-campaign fatigue. With one 90-minute visit, Bird hoped to leave them confident, empowered and reenergized.

"We want these people to feel like they can control almost anything that happens in government," said Bird, who had traveled from his office at Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington to spend two days visiting volunteers across Wisconsin. "They should feel like there's no barrier between the regular people out in the states and the power players in D.C."

When Bird was named deputy director of OFA last year, he became the vanguard of much more than 13 million e-mail addresses collected from supporters during Obama's campaign. He became one of the people most responsible for validating Obama's campaign ethos: that grass-roots support can power government and shape legislation.

Since the organization sent an e-mail to its members asking for help on health care in May, more than 1.3 million have visited a phone bank, shared their personal health-care stories on the Internet or attended one of 12,000 local rallies. More than 150,000 people have given an average of $38 to OFA's health-care campaign. This month, Obama spent an hour providing OFA members with "bullet points" for the debate during an Internet video.

"Usually, when a campaign ends, everybody is exhausted and people just go their separate ways," Bird told the volunteers assembled in Racine. "But we knew from the beginning that this could be different."

Bird and other top Obama operatives had decided as much during the first days after the election, when they began conceptualizing OFA at a conference held in Chicago. They polled thousands of Obama volunteers through a sequence of surveys and conference calls and sought advice from David
Plouffe, the architect of Obama's campaign. By the time of Obama's inauguration, Bird and OFA Director Mitch Stewart had settled on a basic vision: OFA would get by with limited staff by relying on volunteers who would work as many as 30 hours a week to ensure grass-roots activity in each U.S. voting precinct.

Read entire article here

Sunday, August 23, 2009

MERCURY MARINE MACHINISTS MAY HAVE VOTED TO COMMIT MASS INDUSTRIAL SUICIDE BY REJECTING COMPANY'S REQUEST FOR CONCESSIONS

The statement from their employer, Mercury Marine, could not have been any clearer: We need concessions or we move.

Yet, it seems as though Machinists members in Fon du Lac, Wisconsin purposely ignored the warning and drank a whole lot of arsenic-laced Kool Aid in order to commit mass industrial suicide.

Now, if the 850 members of the International Association of Machinists soon find themselves on the unemployment line, they will have no one to blame but themselves.

The union knew the choices:

If the union votes to accept the proposal from Mercury on Sunday, existing jobs will remain in Fond du Lac and reduce operations in Stillwater and elsewhere, Mercury President Mark Schwabero said today.

A no vote, he said, means Stillwater could become a primary operations location

Nevertheless, earlier today Machinists members of Local 1947 'overwhelmingly' rejected the company's offer, knowing full well it cold cost them their jobs.



Granted, their choice was a difficult one (give back wages and benefits or see if the company's 'threat' to move is real). However, by deciding to reject the company's request and roll the dice, the Machinists members cannot blame Corporate America or anyone else if their jobs are eliminated.

Friday, August 21, 2009

THOSE DEATH PANELS WE'RE HEARING ABOUT? THEY'RE ALREADY HERE.

Erick over at Redstate.com posted this earlier. The death panels we're hearing about during the debate over nationalizing America's health care system is already happening...only, right now, it's confined to the state level.


OUTRAGEOUS: HIDDEN UNION BAILOUT IN HEALTH CARE BILL

Did the United Auto Workers know when they negotiated concessions on their VEBA in exchange for ownership in General Motors and Chrysler that the their friends in Congress and the Obama Administration would make it up to them with the health care bill?

Bloomberg has uncovered a portion of the health care bill that is truly a sweetheart deal for the unions and provides an even bigger bailout to the United Auto workers. And, in so doing, may have uncovered one of the greatest swindles of all time in the making about to be committed by a government on its people.

Legislation overhauling U.S. health care includes $10 billion to pay some of the most expensive medical costs for millions of autoworkers, steelworkers, schoolteachers and other early retirees with coverage.

The provision, embedded in legislation passed in July by House and Senate committees, may help offset health-care concessions made earlier this year by the United Auto Workers as part of a government rescue of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC and related cost-cutting at Ford Motor Co.

The UAW cited the provision in an e-mail this week urging its members to support a health-care overhaul, President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

This may help explain a large part of the union astroturfing going on at town hall meetings.


The UAW agreed during the first half of this year to let GM, Ford and Chrysler forestall about $21 billion in cash contributions to union-run retiree health-care funds in exchange for equity and future payments. Thousands of UAW members also agreed to retire early in the restructuring.

In the e-mail Aug. 17 urging support of a health-care revamp, the UAW said the plan would “provide assistance to employers and Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Associations, to help them continue coverage for early retirees.”

A UNION SWINDLE?

Earlier this year, as the UAW negotiated to swap GM and Chrylser stock in exchange for forestalling the $21 billion in payments to its VEBA, did the UAW bosses (who contributed $5 million to elect Barack Obama) already know that they were getting a deal that would later be covered by the health care package?

If the UAW bosses knew that they would get 80 cents on the dollar back through health care legislation passed later in the year in exchange for partial ownership of two America auto companies (which the union helped drag down), this may become one of the greatest frauds ever committed by a government on its people.

This would mean that the Executive Branch the United States government helped orchestrate the takeover of not one but two private enterprises and literally gave those companies' stocks to one of its primary backers (the UAW) with the full knowledge that later this year the Legislative Branch of the United States government would attempt to pass a bill to reimburse the UAW.

To read the entire Bloomberg story, go here.

ARE CONSTRUCTION UNIONS LIVING IN GLASS HOUSES?

Unions (including the Laborers union and the Operating Engineers Local 542) protesting the use of non-union work have finally shut down a jobsite in Pennsylvania.

Interestingly, the unions' claim of shoddy or unsafe workmanship seem to be just be a little more than hypocritical, since accidents happen on both union jobsites as well as non-union jobsites and the unions were apparently protesting long before the gas main strikes.

This protest is more about discriminating against union-free construction workers than it is about safety.



View full article here

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

KENNEDY, MISSED IN HEALTH CARE DEBATE, MAY NOT BE COMING BACK

Missing from the Senate for much of the last 15 months, since being diagnosed with brain cancer, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) may not be going back to Washington.

According to Politico, a Democratic insider is quoted as saying, “Nobody seems to have any details. It just seems like [Kennedy] is not coming back.”

This apparently does not bode well for Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or President Obama as they try to hold their coalition together in order for the federal government to take over health care.

Throughout his career, Kennedy has been known for reaching compromises within his own party and with Republicans, as he did during the Bush years over the “No Child Left Behind Act” and immigration-reform legislation. Without his presence, some Republicans previously seen as key to advancing a bipartisan health deal are keeping their distance from Democrats.

Julian Zelizer, a professor of history at Princeton University, said Kennedy could help push health care reform over the hurdles it faces by supplying the public passion on the issue that he said Obama has failed to deliver so far.

Now, Zelizer said, Kennedy could be a critical conduit on Capitol Hill, both to Senate Republicans and the Democratic liberal base, and Kennedy could use his political weight to support Obama in the public debates over the issue.

“I think that’s been very harmful,” Zelizer said of Kennedy’s absence.

While the Kennedy name has for two or more generations symbolized a political dynasty in America, it appears Ted Kennedy's days in the Senate are behind him. However, in the end, this may not be a bad thing if stopping the nationalization of health care and further frustrating the efforts to pass the no-vote unionization bill (otherwise known as the oxymoronically-named Employee Free Choice Act) is the result.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

MORE SEIU ASTRO-TURFING...

HAS ARLEN SPECTER'S EFCA VOTE BEEN BOUGHT?

Frankly, we just assumed Arlen Specter's repeated flip-flopping over the no-vote unionization bill (otherwise known as the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act) was due to a lack of polictical backbone or principles--a man desperate to save his political butt.

We even considered his lack of fortitude might be due to addle-brained feeble-mindedness or senility. We did NOT, however, even contemplate that Specter may have been bribed.

That said, after Specter's latest flip-flop on Friday over EFCA, Erick over at Red State gives an interesting hypothesis which merits some further examiniation.

Arlen Specter is, admittedly, the most unprincipled opportunist in Washington, but something sure seems fishy.

Back in April after switching parties, Arlen Specter said, “I will not be an automatic 60th vote and I would illustrate that by my position on employees’ choice, also known as card check. I think it is a bad deal and I am opposed to it and would not vote to invoke cloture.” He was pretty adamant about it.

Well, Specter goes to the lefty blogger confab in Pittsburgh on August 14th and is asked, “Is it fair to say that on the climate legislation, on Employees Free Choice, on the public option health care plan, these are all areas where you would be voting with the majority for cloture?”

Specter’s response? “Yes.”

Guess what. Three days after Specter’s yes, Obama decides to raise money for Specter.

Sure, Obama had already said he’d campaign for Specter, but had actually done not one thing to help Specter. Heck, Obama did absolutely nothing to keep Sestak out of the primary, something Obama could have done.

But Specter goes on record saying he will now vote for cloture on stuff four months ago he adamantly was opposed to and now Obama says he’ll raise money for Specter, as will Joe Biden.

The question is: which came first? Did Specter saying ‘yes’ persuade Obama or did Obama persuade Specter?

The buzz in Pennsylvania last week was that Obama would not be helping Specter despite promises to do so. Now Obama is all in.

Unless you think the news is wholly coincidental, we must now consider the need to spell Arlen Specter’s last name with a dollar sign instead of an “S”.

It sure looks like Presidential bribe to get a filibuster proof Senate.

While there is nothing conclusive here, knowing that politicians often have less morals than snakes, this could be an explanation of why Specter's stance on EFCA changes from party to party or, for that matter, from month to month.

AS AMERICA CONSIDERS A GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF HEALTH CARE...

As America is currently embroiled in a debate on whether or not to embrace socialized medicine, her next door neighbor Canada is having troubles with its own socialized medical system.

Dr. Anne Doig, the incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association, said her country’s health care system is “sick” and “imploding,” the Canadian Press reported.

“We know there must be change,” Doig said in a recent interview. “We’re all running flat out, we’re all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands.”

Canada’s universal health care system is not giving patients optimal care, Doig added. When her colleagues from across the country gather at the CMA conference in Saskatoon Sunday, they will discuss changes that need to be made, she said.

And this woman discusses how her father was killed by his government health care system:

Monday, August 17, 2009

MONDAY MAYHEM: UNIONS & THEIR DASTARDLY DEEDS DONE (NOT SO) DIRT CHEAP

It's Monday evening and it was a hot one today. While the air-cooled Harleys were parked in the shade, we felt it an opportune time to share the some of the latest and (not so) greatest news on the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act as well as what else today's union bosses are up to.

Another Harley Strike?

First and foremost, on a subject near and dear to our hearts (as well as other body parts), the International Association of Machinists is scheduling a strike vote on September 20th at the Harley Davidson plant in York, PA.

With 2,000 jobs at stake, this is a seemingly suicidal tendency on the part of the IAM as it comes on the heels of Harley's ultimatum that it needs to trim costs or it will (like Caterpillar before it) leave York, especially following the three-week strike just 2 1/2 years ago.

Arlen Specter's Little Purple Pill & Its Ugly Stepchild ACORN

If you you've been reading our blogs, just when you think Arlen Specter (D-R-D PA) is heading into proverbial town hall hell with flaccid poll numbers, it seems as though he just takes a little SEIU Purple Pill, mixed with some mixed nuts at ACORN, and WHAMMO! his poll numbers start to rise again.

According to a Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, Specter is once again back in the saddle, riding a five point lead over his Republican rival Pat Toomey.

While it does seem hard to believe that Pennsylvanians would support a man who switches his opinion and his party likely more often than his underwear, it may be that Specter's Viagra-like poll numbers are due to the cover he's getting from the Purple People Eater union known as the SEIU.

The SEIU and its ugly stepchild known as ACORN have apparently been astro-turfing for Specter by busing their storm troopers to Specter's town hall meetings to avoid more embarrassing 'senior moments' for the octogenarian politician who, it seems, has forgotten who he works for.

The Spectre of EFCA in September

Speaking of Senator Specter-the-Spectre (the man just who can't make up his mind when it comes to the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act), on Friday, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned Democrat Senator told an audience of left-wing bloggers in Pittsburgh that he wood vote for cloture on EFCA.
This means, contrary to his statement in March that he was opposed to EFCA, he is once again fully for it AND, if all Democrats are in alignment, EFCA will pass as written (see caveats below).

Here's Our Current Prognosis on EFCA...A Lot of IFs:

  • Nothing before September 8th (when the August recess is over)

  • IF Democrats Mary Landrieau (LA), Mark Pryor (AR), Blanche Lincoln (AR) and Dianne Feinstein (CA) all vote along party lines the Senate will pass EFCA as written.

  • IF Senators Byrd and Kennedy are back in town

  • NOTE: It will be a surprise if a "frail and failing" Ted Kennedy is able to re-enter the Senate chambers to cast a vote and, it is unknown how long it will take for his successor to be named and pressured into supporting EFCA

  • IF the Health Care debate sucks all of the oxygen out of Washington, it is remotely possible (though doubtful) that the Democrats may become so embattled with intra-party fighting that it will not be able to focus on another highly contentious bill until after the mid-term elections.
  • Utilizing our favorite motto: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst…
On a Lighter Note: Shark Attacks are Down, BUT…

A brighter side to the recession if we've ever heard one...

The good news is: According to Surfer magazine's July '09 issue, shark attacks in 2008 dipped to their lowest level in five years.

Apparently, more Americans are skipping out on their annual pilgrimages to the beach, which means less tasty morsels for those hungry man-eaters swimming in the deep.

The bad news is… [Click here to find out]

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DETAILS OF BAY AREA RAPID TRANSIT (BART) CONTRACT EMERGE

A strike affecting nearly 300,000 bay are commuters was averted with what appears to be concessions coming from the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).

"Our members knew that sacrifices were going to be involved in this. We recognized that throughout the process. But, what we couldn't do was accept an unfair burden being placed upon our members," said Jesse Hunt, president of the 850-member ATU.





BECK EXPOSES SEIU'S INVOLVEMENT IN OBAMACARE

ON A LIGHTER NOTE: THE GOOD & BAD OF THE RECESSION...LESS SHARK ATTACKS BUT...

A brighter side to the recession if we've ever heard one...

The good news is: According to Surfer magazine's July '09 issue, shark attacks in 2008 dipped to their lowest level in five years.

Apparently, more Americans are skipping out on their annual pilgrimages to the beach, which means less tasty morsels for those hungry man-eaters swimming in the deep.

The bad news is: We've also heard that the Great White People Eaters Union (GWPEU) is preying upon job security fears and attempting to unionize the mostly non-union shark population.

Their hook (so to speak) is to demonize humans for causing the plunge in edible victims. This has, in turn, caused the Coalition of Sea Snacks (which encompasses seals, seal lions and other savory sea creatures) to complain to their union representatives that the loss of homo-sapien suppers is causing an overall decline in the quality of sea life.

"We need to level the playing field!" seems to be the most recent rallying cry of the unionized sea creatures' representatives, large and small.

As a result, the Federation of Carnivorous Sea Monsters is seeking to change the law to to mandate human swimmers be eaten by the Great White sharks without a fight or the opportunity to swim away. In a twist of language, the new legislation is oddly named the Shark-Human Interest in Teamwork Act (or the "S.H.I.T. Act" for short).

You can read more about the S.H.I.T. Act here.

  • Editor's note: We assure you, we only buy Surfer magazine for the articles.

--------------------------

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

THIS IS IMPORTANT: HEALTH CARE FIGHT MAY HINGE ON AFL-CIO CONVENTION

Do you want to know "who" is controlling the direction the health care debate is heading? Here's a hint: It's not Barack Obama, Harry Reid, or even Nacy Pelosi.

If you guessed that the unions are the ones controlling the debate, you would have guessed right.

From Workday Minnesota comes this interesting piece indicating who is controlling the current healthcare debate.


With one month to go before September’s national AFL-CIO Convention in Pittsburgh, the biggest floor fight there may be over health care. And that floor fight, in turn, could affect the whole health care battle on Capitol Hill and nationally.

That’s because while the federation has supported and actively campaigned for legislation based on the principles of universality, cost controls, choosing your own doctor and a government-run alternative to the insurance companies, 552 labor bodies -- from international unions down to local councils -- want to go in a different direction: A government-run single-payer Medicare-like system.

So if the AFL-CIO yanks its support for legislation being considered in Congress, and backed by Democratic President Barack Obama, that legislation could sink.

As of Aug. 10, four days before the resolutions deadline, single-payer health care coverage advocates had sent 40 draft resolutions backing the bill (HR 676, S 703) to the AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer’s office. One was from the California School Employees Association, a union that sits on the AFL-CIO Executive Council.

While dozens of union groups back single-payer, the Executive Council has not -- so far. That may change, a CSEA council rep previously told Press Associates.

Backers include the Steelworkers, CSEA, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and more than a dozen other AFL-CIO unions. Several, but not
those three, call single-payer one of several alternative roads to health care reform. Other labor bodies sending single-payer resolutions to the AFL-CIO include two central labor councils in the greater Cleveland area (the Dayton-Miami Valley AFL-CIO and the Erie-Crawford Pa., CLC), two in the Iron Range (the Duluth AFL-CIO and the Marquette County, Mich., Labor Council), the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, many California central labor councils and the Wisconsin and South Carolina state feds.

The resolutions are blunt, with a model version, from Troy, N.Y., blasting the health insurance companies. The Troy CLC’s resolution not only supports the single-payer bill by long-time Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., but bars the AFL-CIO from taking a fall-back stand in favor of a “public option” in a wider health care reform plan.

If passed, the single-payer resolutions would put the federation on record as trashing and abolishing the private insurers and their high co-pays, premiums and deductibles, denial of care and resulting 101,000 deaths from refusal to pay for care. [Ephasis added.]


This is noteworthy because, if the AFL-CIO goes along with the single-payer option (aka full socialized medicine), as opposed to the quasi-socialistic "public option", with the newly-annointed (and much more vocal) AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka at the helm, there will be much more heated rhetoric following the federation's convention.

However, if there is no consensus (which is doubtful), then President Obama's push to pass PelosiCare will be ran off the tracks without key union support.

How Much Do You Know About the Employee (Not So) Free Choice Act?

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