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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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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eagle Scout Update: SEIU's PR SNAFU Shames Union into Volunteerism

A mere two weeks ago, the Union of Purple People Eaters (aka the SEIU) found itself in the middle of a media maelstrom for picking on a pathway-clearing eagle scout.

In pursuit of an Eagle Scout badge, Kevin Anderson, 17, has toiled for more than 200 hours hours over several weeks to clear a walking path in an east Allentown park. Little did the do-gooder know that his altruistic act would put him in the cross hairs of the city's largest municipal union.

Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told Allentown City Council Tuesday that the union is considering filing a grievance against the city for allowing Anderson to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park.


Within a few days, the offending Purple People Eater had resigned his post after having been thrown under the purple bus by his New York bosses.

On Wednesday, after getting hit by a steady onslaught of rights, Balzano got hit by one big left when his own union distanced itself from his comments and called Balzano's wounds self-induced."

His comments were completely unauthorized and they do not reflect the position or views of the union," wrote area leader of the SEIU's Mid-Atlantic District Wayne MacManiman in an apology letter to Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

"The careless and insensitive comments were prompted by frustration over recently laid-off workers in Allentown," MacManiman wrote Wednesday.

Now, however, in what may be too little too late, the SEIU is trying to make amends for its ill-conceived attack on the eagle scout.

Hauling brush and old tires out of the woods in Allentown early Friday, members of the Service Employees International Union learned an Eagle-Scout-to-be is just as forgiving as he is trustworthy, loyal and helpful.

The Eagle Scout service project of Kevin Anderson, 17, of Upper Saucon Township was caught up in a national media firestorm after Nick Balzano, an Allentown union official, threatened to file a grievance over Kevin's work clearing a trail in Kimmets Lock Park. Conservative pundits seized on the remark as evidence of the SEIU's ''thuggery,'' and Balzano later resigned.

To show there were no hard feelings, SEIU members from as far away as Philadelphia and New Jersey accepted Kevin's invitation to help with the project Friday.''They completely agreed -- to come out, to help, to make amends,'' said Kevin, a member of Troop 301 of Center Valley.


Of course, SEIU bosses wasted no time using their 'volunteerism' as a means of trying to get a boost in its PR debacle:

Wayne MacManiman, who leads the SEIU's Philadelphia-based mid-Atlantic district, said he thought Kevin's invitation was a great idea.

''Everybody's here on their day off, volunteering,'' said MacManiman, of Burlington County, N.J.

He noted SEIU members from Allentown had signed up to be part of the union's 20-member crew.

''Kevin's doing an amazing thing. We've always supported the Boy Scouts, whether it's here in Allentown, Bethlehem or Philadelphia,'' MacManiman added, gathering branches alongside Bethlehem SEIU chapter leader Bill Tone.

Always supported the boy scouts? Well, "always" may be always except when your union gets caught threatening to file a grievance against one and you, Mr. MacManiman, after throwing the offender under the purple bus for getting caught.

[Editor's note: It might be a safe bet that a union heavy like MacManiman wouldn't be picking up branches on a Friday after Thankgiving were it not for the bad PR his union received for picking on the scout to begin with.]


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Friday, November 27, 2009

Will Unions’ Billion Dollars Buy Exemption from Obama’s Crackdown on Lobbyists?

The Obama administration is giving lobbyists the boot, according to the Washington Post, in an effort to reduce their influence in Washington.

No, really. It's not a joke. The Washington Post says it's the case.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of lobbyists are likely to be ejected from federal advisory panels as part of a little-noticed initiative by the Obama administration to curb K Street's influence in Washington, according to White House officials and lobbying experts.

The new policy -- issued with little fanfare this fall by the White House ethics counsel -- may turn out to be the most far-reaching lobbying rule change so far from President Obama, who also has sought to restrict the ability of lobbyists to get jobs in his administration and to negotiate over stimulus contracts. [Emphasis added.]

The Heritage Foundation notes that "[u]nions as a whole spent more than $1 billion of their members' dues to elect Obama and the current Congress."

Apparently, however, the Administration has forgotten all the union appointees like Patrick Gaspard (White House Communications Dir.), Ellen Moran (Commerce Department), Mary Beth Maxwell (Dept. of Labor), Jordan Barab (OSHA), Craig Becker (NLRB nominee) or John Sullivan (Federal Elections Commission) that have been handed plum jobs due to their special interest advocacy.

The initiative is aimed at a system of advisory committees so vast that federal officials don't have exact numbers for its size; the most recent estimates tally nearly 1,000 panels with total membership exceeding 60,000 people.

Under the policy, which is being phased in over the coming months, none of the more than 13,000 lobbyists in Washington would be able to hold seats on the committees, which advise agencies on trade rules, troop levels, environmental regulations, consumer protections and thousands of other government policies.

"Some folks have developed a comfortable Beltway perch sitting on these boards while at the same time working as lobbyists to influence the government," said White House ethics counsel Norm Eisen, who disclosed the policy in a September blog posting on the White House Web site. "That is just the kind of special interest access that the president objects to." [Emphasis added.]

There is little doubt that the "special interests" the White House is aiming at do not include union bosses like SEIU's Andy Stern (who seems to have his own key to the Lincoln Bedroom) and Anna Burger, or the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka, all of whom enjoyed a seat at the White House state dinner last week and spent hundreds of millions of dollars putting Obama into office.

[Of course, perhaps the White House is only targeting registered lobbyists. If that's the case, unregistered Andy Stern may be off the hook and the hypocrisy can continue.]

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Cross-posted on RedState.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER? Charges Filed Against SEIU Purple People Beaters...

It is said that the wheels of justice turn slowly.

In the case of the SEIU purple shirted thugs who beat a conservative black man (video) selling Gadsden flags (see right) at a town hall meeting in August, justice is coming more slowly than usual and the wheels?...Well, in St. Louis, the wheels of justice seem to be nothing more than that of a blue matchbox car.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch, which has a reporter among one of the charged, writes:

Six people arrested in August outside a raucous town hall meeting in south St. Louis County have been charged with misdemeanor ordinance violations.

The six, including a Post-Dispatch reporter, had attended a demonstration outside an Aug. 6 forum called by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, at Bernard Middle School in Mehlville to discuss health care reform....

The maximum penalty upon conviction would be one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Some bloggers have been writing for months about the lag between the arrests at the politically-charged event and the filing of charges.

County Counselor Patricia Redington insisted it had nothing to do with politics, influence or pressure from any official.

"These charges are like the 90,000 other charges we file each year," she said.

[Emphasis added.]


Interestingly, although the county counselor insists her delay has nothing to do with politics, she seemed much more interested in justice nine years ago when she filed charges against a Republican staffer for pushing a camera away from his face.
Redington was quick to file charges back in 2000, when a staffer for Democrat Richard Gephardt stalked serious contender Republican Bill Federer on a parade route. The staffer, James Larrew, tried to shove his camera into Federer’s face until Federer was forced to push the camera away. The staffer freaked, flagged down a cop and claimed that he had been assaulted. Larrew then called Gephardt’s office and spoke to Joyce Aboussie, Gephardt’s top political adviser, who then contacted Redington’s office. Two days later Redington filed assault charges against Federer, on Columbus Day, a national holiday; after which Redington, Aboussie, and Larrew conducted a media blitz, all arranged for by Gephardt’s office.

Something tells us that the wheels of justice are a bit off track in St. Louis.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AFL-CIO Top Boss and SEIU's King & Queen Dine at the White House

Described as the 'hottest ticket in town,' an impressive, star-studded list attended President Obama's first state dinner at the White House.

According to ABC News, "fewer than 400 lucky guests received the official invitation."

Among the guest list of dignitaries, luminaries and Hollywood bigwigs were a trio that, under ordinary circumstances, might go unnoticed were it not for their nefarious influence on this Administration.

The "exclusive" list included:
From Hollywood: David Geffen (who stepped into the middle of the Obama/Hillary Clinton primary fight in Feb. 2007 when he told the New York Times Clinton was the “easiest to beat” in the Democratic field and that nobody believes that since leaving office, “all of a sudden Bill Clinton has become a different person”).
Jeffrey Katzenberg
Alfre Woodard
Blair E Underwood
Steven Spielberg

Prominent Indian-Americans:
Mr. Deepak Chopra
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R)
Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN (and once the subject of much speculation for the position of Surgeon General)

From the world of politics:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
General Colin Powell (who endorsed Obama during last year’s presidential election)

From television media:
ABC’s Robin Roberts
NBC’s Brian Williams
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria
CBS’ Katie Couric
Oprah pal Gayle King
(Not on the list – anyone from FOX News)

From organized labor:
Andy Stern (SEIU)
Anna Burger (SEIU)
Richard Trumka (AFL-CIO)

And Obama family and friends:
Maya Soetoro-Ng (Obama’s sister)
Konrad Ng (Maya’s husband)
Dr. Eric E. Whitaker
Martin Nesbitt
Anita Blanchard (Nesbitt’s wife)
Penny Pritzker

Since the SEIU's union-busting boss Andy Stern seems to have his own key to the White House and is considered the hand in Barack Obama's puppet, it should come as no surprise that he and his fellow union accomplices were served a full-course meal at tax-payer expense.

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Rasmussen: Democrats More Likely to be Unemployed than Republicans...

What a shocker!

We haven't seen this on the evening news yet but according to a new Rasmussen poll, Democrats are more likely to be unemployed than Republicans:

Data from Rasmussen Reports national telephone surveys shows that 15.0% of Democrats in the workforce are currently unemployed and looking for a job. Among adults not affiliated with either major party, that number is 15.6% while just 9.9% of Republicans are in the same situation. [Emphasis added.]

This explains much ...

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

SEIU Bosses Lose Fight With Boy Scouts

Last weekend, when the Union of Purple People Eaters' (aka the SEIU) picked a fight with a lone boy scout, little did it know that a firestorm would ensue.

Apparently, the Purple People Eaters bit off more than they could chew:

Allentown union official Nick Balzano has been a political punching bag all week because he threatened to file a grievance against the city for allowing a Boy Scout to clear a walking path in a city park.

Three days of taking body blows nationally from conservative pundits, a rebuke from the Lehigh Valley's congressman and even a lashing from his own union led Balzano to voluntarily resign his position Thursday as head of the
local Service Employees International Union.

Balzano said he and seven other executive officers of the local SEIU stepped down.

Even more telling that the Purple People Eaters will, when backed into a corner, chew off its own arm:
On Wednesday, after getting hit by a steady onslaught of rights, Balzano got hit by one big left when his own union distanced itself from his comments and called Balzano's wounds self-induced.

"His comments were completely unauthorized and they do not reflect the position or views of the union," wrote area leader of the SEIU's Mid-Atlantic District Wayne MacManiman in an apology letter to Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

"The careless and insensitive comments were prompted by frustration over recently laid-off workers in Allentown," MacManiman wrote Wednesday.

He said the union "has no intentions" of filing a grievance against the city and continues to support the efforts of voluntary organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America.

Let it be a lesson for moral cannibals everywhere. Attack an American icon, expect a backlash.

Hat-tip: Moe Lane.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Have Shopping Cart, Will Picket: Unions Rent Homeless for Picket Duty

Every now and then (actually, quite often these days) today's union bosses will do something that leaves one to wonder: Are union bosses really that moronic?

Some cases in point:

The latest case of union idiocy comes from Pittsburgh, where the International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA), announced that the union would gather several hundred homeless to picket in front of the [Rivers Casino] at a later date.

Why? Because the security guards at Rivers Casino voted to reject the union (in a secret ballot election).

Hmm. Let's see... Workers exercise their democratic rights to vote against unionization and the union, P.O.'d about losing, decides to rent a bunch of non-union homeless people to demonstrate against the employer because the targeted workers voted against the union.

Somehow, like America's union-controlled public schools, today's union leaders seem to have been...er...dumbed down. [Perhaps victims of their own scholastic successes?]

According to Steve Maritas, the organizing director for SPFPA:
...the union sometimes employs homeless picketers, paying them between $15 and $20 per hour, to represent the employees inside the establishment who may be too fearful to protest themselves. The idea is to get people’s attention, he said. In fact, Maritas seemed excited by the casino’s announcement that it would collect canned food and supplies for the holidays to benefit the region’s poor. The coincidence can be a cross-promotional opportunity.

It wouldn't, however, be the first time homeless people were hired by a union to picket.

Back in 2007, the Carpenters union became the subject of some media attention for hiring the homeless for picket duty:
Many have arrived with large suitcases or bags holding their belongings, which they keep in sight. Several are smoking cigarettes. One works a crossword puzzle. Another bangs a tambourine, while several drum on large white buckets. Some of the men walking the line call out to passing women, "Hey, baby." A few picketers gyrate and dance while chanting: "What do we want? Fair wages. When do we want them? Now."

Although their placards identify the picketers as being with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, they are not union members.

They're hired feet, or, as the union calls them, temporary workers, paid $8 an hour to picket. Many were recruited from homeless shelters or transitional houses. Several have recently been released from prison. Others are between jobs.

"It's about the cash," said Tina Shaw, 44, who lives in a House of Ruth women's shelter and has walked the line at various sites. "We're against low wages, but I'm here for the cash."

Carpenters locals across the country are outsourcing their picket lines, hiring the homeless, students, retirees and day laborers to get their message across. Larry Hujo, a spokesman for the Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters, calls it a "shift in the paradigm" of picketing.

National Public Radio did a report on this 'shift in the paradigm of picketing' as well.
Most people who pass the picket line don't look closely at the protesters. Diego Castaneda, a doctoral student from California, snaps a picture of a marcher and gives her a thumbs up.

"I just like seeing people demonstrating and standing up for their rights," Castaneda said.

But when I tell him the protesters are actually homeless people, his face falls.

"Are you serious?" he says in disbelief. "It's pretty disingenuous of the union to hire people who aren't carpenters."

But that doesn't mean it's likely to change. As long as the union can hire low-wage workers to do the job for its members, it makes good business sense. After all, that's the genius of outsourcing.

According to the NPR report (audio), when one rent-a-picket (at 3:57) was asked if she needed more pay, she responds in the affirmative. When asked if she ever thought about unionizing, she says 'yes.'

Perhaps the Purple People Eaters' union (the SEIU) would be interested in unionizing the homeless picketers?

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Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.

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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

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Let Your Fingers Do the Talking: SEIU has 60,000 on Pro-Amnesty Call

The Purple People Eater (aka the SEIU), one of the main pushers of nationalized health care, denying secret-ballot votes on unionization, and amnesty for illegal aliens participated in a big town hall on Wednesday to push for "a pathway to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented people currently living in the United States."

According to event organizers and the SEIU, the event involved 60,000 pro-amnesty activists. From the SEIU's site:

Differing from past years, the Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign is already building a field movement that outnumbers and outpaces the other side. Last weekend, the controversial "Tea Party" anti-immigrant activists held a meager 50 events in 26 states that they themselves acknowledged were "not drawing huge crowds."

Well then. Another taunt from the purple puds.

Following this weekend's beating of anti-amnesty camera carriers, it seems the SEIU and its cohorts are spoiling for a fight.

Instead of stooping to the purple behemoth's low levels, energy may be better spent contacting the people who will be bowing to union pressure. You can go here to find them.

UPDATE: ACORN's Former Chief Organizer Comments on Union's "Pink Sheeting" Practices

Following our earlier post (based on a New York Times article) about union organizers who exposed the outrageous psychological warfare tactic known as "pink sheeting" that used on workers and themselves, ACORN's former Chief Organizer Wade Rathke posted the following on his blog:
Now in one of the rare articles we have about internal union business we get to read about tawdry internal affairs and psycho-babble mind games: kill me now!

....

I should disclose quickly that although I understand “one-on-ones” as a methodology, I have never been comfortable with their practice or their claims, largely because in my view they inappropriately elevated the role of the organizer in a way that both create a false mutuality with potential leadership and a distortion of the roles that would most effectively build the organization particularly around the issues of organizer-dependency and a conflation of organizers and leaders making them almost synonymous. It is neither the way I have trained or supervised organizers nor the way I have been involved in building organizations or organizing models. Nonetheless, I have always been respectful of the practice, despite my reservations, because I was confident that the best practices in the craft probably protected against some of these potential problems. In organizers’ shoptalk we used to kid about talking to organizers from other “schools” and having the conversation turn creepy when they started “one-on-one-ing” us and crossing boundaries on a personal level. But, realistically in doing leadership visits and building leadership relationships over time, all of us understood that real personal friendships would emerge and rigid protocols would evaporate over years of work and mutual understandings.

As the use of “one-on-ones” from community organizing morphed into some labor organizing, I think the adaptation got even more bent. In looking under the hood with HERE UNITE organizers, part of the construction of the “one-on-one” was more deliberately an effort to pull out of the organizers a core motivation for why they did the work that was deeply rooted in explaining their motivations, angers, and sense of powerless they shared with the workers based on intensely personal experiences in the organizer’s life. Divorces, family issues, dependencies, addictions, and whatever else frequently emerged as core issues for sharing in the one-on-one. Staff meetings and training sessions described to me were sometimes too eerily reminiscent of some of the old, hugely discredited Synanon sessions so notorious from the last years of the United Farm Workers under Caesar Chavez. [Emphasis added.]

Psycho babble indeed.

To read our earlier post, go here or see below.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

OUTRAGEOUS! Union Organizers Expose Psychological Warfare Used On Workers...and Themselves

At a time when union bosses are desperately attempting to appear to be on the "up and up" in order to convince lawmakers to pass the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act, an the New York Times has published an article about the dirty (and what many would likely consider unethical) tactics unions use on workers to convince them to unionize.

Surprisingly, in this case, the whistle blowers are the union organizers themselves. And, according to them, they are as much the victims as the workers they target are.

According to the NYT story, using a tactic called "pink sheeting," union bosses of UNITE-HERE pressured union organizers to reveal highly personal information about themselves to potential members in order to convince them to unionize.

Ms. Rivera said her supervisors at Unite Here, the hotel and restaurant workers’ union, repeatedly pressed her to reveal highly personal information, getting her to divulge that her father had sexually abused her.

Later, she said, her supervisors ordered her to recount her tale of abuse again and again to workers they were trying to unionize at Tampa International Airport, convinced that Ms. Rivera’s story would move them, making them more likely to join the union.

“I was scared not to do what they said,” said Ms. Rivera, adding that she resented being pressured to disclose intimate information and then speak about it in public. “To me, it was sick. It was horrible.”

The practice of pink sheeting wasn't just a once to twice occurrence, say the organizers. In fact, the union kept their personal information in a database to pull up when needed.

More than a dozen organizers said in interviews that they had often been pressured to detail such personal anguish — sometimes under the threat of dismissal from their union positions — and that their supervisors later used the information to press them to comply with their orders.

“It’s extremely cult like and extremely manipulative,” said Amelia Frank-Vitale, a Yale graduate and former hotel union organizer who said these practices drove her to see a therapist.

Several organizers grew incensed when they discovered that details of their history had been put into the union’s database so that supervisors could use that information to manipulate them.

“This information is extremely personal,” said Matthew Edwards, an organizer who had disclosed that he was from a broken home and was overweight when young. “It is catalogued and shared throughout the whole organizing department.”


Once the information was catalogued, how did the union bosses use this information on workers?

Several organizers said supervisors wanted this information so organizers could inspire prospective union members by telling them things like, “I suffered sexual abuse or I was an alcoholic, and thanks to the union, I overcame it.”

Numerous organizers said their supervisors, having pink-sheeted them, had in turn ordered them to elicit highly personal information from workers they were seeking to unionize.

Separately, in an open letter published last month in the Monthly Review, four UNITE-HERE organizers detailed how "pink sheeting" works.

...[P]ink sheeting is actually a serious problem in the union. It entails union staff gathering sensitive personal information about the lower-level staff that they directly supervise, as well as unorganized workers and members, in order to discover their personal weaknesses. This information is then used at a later point to "push" them to follow the union's program if they are resistant. For example (and this is a scenario we have heard about from multiple organizers in different cities), a lead organizer will share personal struggles that they have experienced in their life with a new organizer. The lead will then ask the new organizer about hardships they have experienced. Thinking that their fellow staff is simply opening up to them, the new organizer often shares sensitive information of their own. The information that the new organizer shares is then remembered by the lead (and in many cases actually recorded on a form that was originally pink). Down the line, if the organizer is told to do something on a campaign that they feel uncomfortable doing, the lead will put this information to use. They will bring up the sensitive information to convince the new organizer that, by following the lead's direction, they are confronting their fears and insecurities and becoming a stronger person, just like when they dealt with personal hardship in the past. While the details of how the practice is used vary, the constant is that emotionally vulnerable information is methodologically gathered on workers and staff. Later, if they express doubt about the union program, it is used to convince them to follow the union's plan.

This practice is a cynical and manipulative system of control. It creates a cult-like relationship of dependency between staff and their supervisors because staff who are successfully subjected to this come to see their supervisors as playing an important role in helping them develop emotionally.

UNITE-HERE top boss John Wilhelm publicly condemns the practice of pink sheeting but, according to the Times' story, it may be the practice still exists but only the name has changed:

Mr. Wilhelm said that he was cracking down on what pink sheeting existed. Unite Here leaders issued new guidelines in early 2008 and again in early 2009, in theory banning the practice. But several organizers detailed numerous instances of pink sheeting in recent months despite that supposed ban.

These organizers said the question sheets were no longer pink, had been renamed “motivation sheets” and contained such questions as, “What risks or difficulties has your target undergone in her/his personal life?”

Among the information on several pink sheets was:

“Her childhood was a mess. Her mother was extremely passive aggressive. She would stop speaking to her children sometimes.”

“Has social anxiety disorder. She should have been on medication or in therapy but her parents refused.”

“Mom was not around growing up. She’s heard from her twice. Once to ask for money.”


Of course, as they push for passage of EFCA, union bosses would rather sweep this and other tactics under the rug.

However, as one of EFCA's main provisions is the removal of secret-ballot elections on the question of unionization, if union organizers can convince a majority of workers to sign union authorization cards using tactics like pink sheeting (or "motivation sheets"), as well as a variety of other tactics, there should be a re-examination of the authenticity of all practices such as these.

The reality is, if unions are permitted to use tactics like this and more, the workers they target are not really wanting to join a union but are getting brainwashed into joining a cult with as much skills and ability to manipulate individuals as Jim Jones had in convincing his followers to drink poison-laced Kool Aid.

[To learn more about common union organizing tactics, go here.]

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SEIU's Stern Hints Union Bailout Bill's Time is Now or Never

The Lavender Lapeled Lord of Labor, Andy Stern (the boss of the Purple People Eaters Union aka the Service Employees International Union [or SEIU, for short]) is hinting that the job-destroying union bailout bill known as the oxy-moronically named Employee Free Choice Act may be rigor mortis in the making.

According to The Hill, Stern (who is known for projectile vomiting whatever is on his mind) stated during a panel discussion that 2010 is going to be the year for EFCA...or not.

"The Democrats really have a historic and decisive moment, for anybody who runs a business there are moments where you sort of make big choices," Stern told the audience. "They have 60 votes for the first time and probably the last time they're gonna have it. They have to decide if they are an army of one or an army of 60."
....

Stern said that card check would be a testing ground for the Democrats in 2010, and "a question of whether the Democrats can act as a functioning, effective team."

The SEIU chief seemed less than optimistic about the party's ability to pull together to support the legislation, though.

"They just have to decide, if not I think they're going to miss a historic moment that won't come back for a very long time," Stern said. "And so far I wouldn't bet with them."

[Emphasis added.]


This is an important video to watch of the exchange.




Correction, Mr. Stern: This is more of a question of whether the Democrats will put their party and special interests (like union bosses) ahead of their country.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

The SEIU's Evil Health Care Empire

Like the Borg on Star Trek, the Purple People Eaters Union, otherwise known as the Service Employees International Union (or SEIU) has much to gain with the nationalization of America's health care.

As guest columnist Kevin Troutman noted on Friday in the Houston Chronicle:

The House resolution establishes a scenario that would effectively exclude non-union employers from eligibility to work on program-funded contracts. It also requires participating health care providers to pay wages and benefits that have been collectively bargained or that union-friendly appointees determine are competitive. This is plainly a move toward coerced unionization. With guaranteed seats at the table, unions are poised to control many newly formed oversight posts and/or committees, formed in connection with new employer mandates and cooperative health care associations.

Yet another provision would establish lucrative state training partnerships that contain little or no opportunities for non-union employee organizations. Provisions in Senate proposals would exempt union-negotiated health care plans from taxes on “Cadillac” health plans.

The Ultimate Political Payback?

According to Big Government's Liberty Chick, it would appear that the SEIU is reaping its reward for the dollars it has poluted the political landscape with.
From 2000 to current, SEIU has spent at least $187,500,000 through combined lobbying, PAC and 527s group donations and expenses on candidates and policy issues – nearly 100% of which went to Democrats and to liberal policy initiatives. Much has been focused on influencing universal health care, as well as other indirectly related health legislation, such as public nutrition, food safety, research, and environmental health – all part of SEIU’s supposed plan for Building a New American Health Care System. Because, in their words, they “will not stop until every man, woman and child has quality, affordable care they can count on.”

...And, of course, every health care worker is unionized.

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SEIU's Got a Little Problem & Updates Galore

A Good Monday to you.

This is just a quick post to let you know some BIG news from Washington, courtesy of Hot Air:
At 9 am ET today, Americans for Tax Reform and the Alliance for Worker Freedom will deliver a letter to both chambers of Congress and to US Attorney Channing Phillips in Washington DC, demanding a federal investigation of Andrew Stern, president of the SEIU. They will claim that Stern, who stopped registering as a federal lobbyist in 2007, has continued his lobbying efforts. They claim to have compiled evidence of Stern’s lobbying from the recently released White House visitor logs, media reports — and Stern’s own Twitter feed, in what has to be a first for the social networking service.
[Read the rest here.]

Whether or not the Obama Justice Department does anything with this seemingly unlawful lobbying activity remains to be seen. However, since Stern has been called the hand inside Obama's puppet, the ramifications of this are huge!

In other news all about Andy from over the weekend:

And then there's these:

Readers, we hope you have a productive and prosperous week.

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As union bosses spend money, it's the members who pay the price

2008 was a good year for the bosses of Sheet Metal Workers Local 73 in Chicago.

In fact, according to reports on file with the U.S. Department of Labor, Local 73 took in $13.5 million in 2008. The problem is, however, the Local spent $13.9 million.

Now, as the union's coffers run dry and union bosses in Washington are telling the Chicago local to build up a six-month reserve, the Chicago union bosses are doing what union bosses do well--raise the members' dues...nearly 70 percent!

This isn't sitting well with some members, according to the Chicago Union News.

"When times are tough and jobs are few and far between, I think squeezing your members for more money is ridiculous," said SMW member Marc Noreuil in an email.

Others in the union called the raise "excessive" and "inconsiderate" for a local with 600 to 700 members unemployed. People were also surprised by the high amount because dues rose only about $35 the last time contracts were up, one worker said.

So where did all the money go?

Well, for starters (according to the DOL report) the union had its business to take care of.
In 2008, SMW Local 73 spent:
  • $20,998 on "furniture and equipment"

  • $88,011 on automobiles to add to its $174,226 fleet of "automobiles and other vehicles"

  • The local's "business manager" brought in $274,705 in total compensation with another $190,903 going to the "financial secretary."

  • $185,967 went to the local's "recording secretary"

And then, of course, there were the employees of the local union that were taken care of:

  • "Business representatives" took in in 'total comp.' $165,700, $162,667, $165,946, $164,361, $166,183, and $166,242, respectively; while...

  • "Organizers" (the union's salesmen) also took in in 'total comp.' $143,530, $138,805 and $120,417, respectively.

  • The local even had an office manager that cost the union's members $98,122 in 2008.

But, it doesn't end there. The local also spent:

  • $177,309 on legal counsel.

  • $11,162 in hotel expenses for a conference in Washington

  • $8,014 at Caesar's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (for another conference)

  • $13,697 on Disney Reservations (in FL) for yet another conference

  • $21,091 to the Chicago Sun Times for "Death Announcements"

  • $13,751 for flowers

  • $10,745 for jackets and St. Patrick's Day T-Shirts

  • $40,154 for Building Maintenance (cleaning services)

  • $14,220 to "Steve the Snowman" for snow removal (is this a union snow remover?)

  • $6,646 to Build-a-Bear for a Christmas party for members' kids (aaah!)

  • $7,141 for caterers for an "executive board meeting" (yum!)

  • $21,820 for caterers for a "PIN party" (sounds like the members got stuck with the tab for the pin)

  • $24,000 for the local's newsletter (Here's a newsflash: The newsletter probably didn't tell say much about the local's spending habits.)

  • $8,657 for more caterers...

  • $14,100 for a Christmas party (were the members invited?...Because that seems light for 5,000 [+] members.), and...

  • $192,767 went to the union's officers and staff retirement fund.

Meanwhile, the local is telling its members that their dues could increase from $337 to $562 per quarter, or from $1348 per year to $2248.

Perhaps, instead of taking more from their members (600 to 700 of whom are unemployed), the union bosses might cut back on their expenses like any other business would.

Just a thought.

______________________

"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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Sunday, November 15, 2009

UNBELIEVABLE! SEIU Bullies Eagle Scout

Just when you thought the Purple People Eating union known as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and their thug-like tactics couldn't sink any lower comes this story from Allentown, Pennsylvania.


In pursuit of an Eagle Scout badge, Kevin Anderson, 17, has toiled for more than 200 hours hours over several weeks to clear a walking path in an east Allentown park.

Little did the do-gooder know that his altruistic act would put him in the cross hairs of the city's largest municipal union.

Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union,
told Allentown City Council Tuesday that the union is considering filing a grievance against the city for allowing Anderson to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park.

"We'll be looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails," Balzano told the council.

Balzano said Saturday he isn't targeting Boy Scouts. But given the city's decision in July to lay off 39 SEIU members, Balzano said "there's to be no volunteers." No one except union members may pick up a hoe or shovel, plant a flower or clear a walking path.

"We would hope that the well-intentioned efforts of an Eagle Scout candidate would not be challenged by the union," said Mayor Ed Pawlowski in an e-mail Friday. "This young man is performing a great service to the community. His efforts should be recognized as such."

Balzano said Saturday the union is still looking into the matter and might cut the city a break.

"We are probably going to let this one go," Balzano said.

[Read full story here.]


Back in July, after two weeks of negotiations with the SEIU failed to reach an agreement, the City of Allentown was forced to lay off 39 SEIU-represented employees. According to Allentown's newspaper the Morning Call:


[Allentown Mayor] Pawlowski wanted members to defer roughly half of a 8.9 percent increase that kicked in on Saturday in exchange for no lay offs, but members narrowly rejected the offer two weeks ago.

On Monday, the mayor made a second offer that included a second pay cut in the form of a shorter work week for the remainder of the year. That offer was rejected by union heads and not taken to members for a vote.

"During the current economic downturn, the city has been attempting to reduce costs to avoid the layoff of city staff," Pawlowski said in a written statement this afternoon.

"Unfortunately, the union rejected both of these offers leaving the city no choice but to reduce the workforce through layoffs."

Now, when an Eagle Scout does something good for the City of Allentown, the SEIU bosses make a stink!

We wonder, does this mean that whenever a cub scout helps a little old lady cross a street the SEIU bosses will file a grievance too?

Unbelievable!

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

They're Baaack! Here comes the debate on illegals!

The White House agenda just keeps getting busier and busier...
  • Nationalizing Health Care

  • Taking away secret ballots from workers through the job-destroying EFCA

  • Killing the economy through 'cap & trade'

  • Devaluing the dollar by printing it like it's Scott toilet paper

  • Dithering over 'the war that matters'

  • Winning faux Peace Prizes

  • Conferring the rights of U.S. citizens onto terrorists by trying them in New York

...the list goes on.

And now this:


The Obama administration will insist on measures to give legal status to an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants as it pushes early next year for legislation to overhaul the immigration system, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Friday.

In her first major speech on the overhaul, Ms. Napolitano dispelled any suggestion that the administration — with health care, energy and other major issues crowding its agenda — would postpone the most contentious piece of immigration legislation until after midterm elections next November.

Laying out the administration’s bottom line, Ms. Napolitano said officials would argue for a “three-legged stool” that includes tougher enforcement laws against illegal immigrants and employers who hire them and a streamlined system for legal immigration, as well as a “tough and fair pathway to earned legal status.”

With unemployment surging over 10 percent and Congress still wrangling over health care, advocates on all sides of the immigration debate had begun to doubt that President Obama would keep his pledge to tackle the divisive illegal immigration issue in the first months of 2010.

Speaking at the Center for American Progress, a liberal policy group in Washington, Ms. Napolitano unveiled a double-barrel argument for a legalization program, saying it would enhance national security and, as the economy climbs out of recession, protect American workers from unfair competition from lower-paid, easily exploited illegal immigrants.

"climbs out of recession"...? How about 'puts us in a depression'?

The one thing the President was correct on: ObamaCare would not include illegal aliens. The reason is, he's going to legalize them.

And, more importantly, he's going to do it just prior to the 2010 mid-term elections.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

UAW Workers Taking Strike Vote Over Having Too Much Work To Do...

With tens of thousands of members unemployed, after helping to drive General Motors and Chrysler into bankruptcy, the Union of Ailing Workplaces (aka the UAW) is taking a strike vote over a disagreement on workloads at Ford.

As unbelievable as this may seem, the UAW workers in Kansas City, Missouri seem upset over being asked to become more effcient.

According to the Detroit News,
The dispute began during the company's annual "rebalancing" talks with the union, which are aimed at increasing the plant's efficiency.

According to people familiar with the situation, the United Auto Workers feels that some of the proposed changes would give some workers too many tasks to perform. A strike vote is typically taken in such cases as a way of increasing pressure on the company, though these rarely result in actual work stoppages.

However, the situation at the Kansas City plant, which produces the Ford F-150 and Escape, the Mercury Mariner and the Mazda Tribute, remains volatile after 92 percent of UAW members there rejected a recent agreement on concessions between the union and Ford.

With a national unemployment rate of 10.2% (and likely to rise further), the UAW seems to be working hard to hardly work. Perhaps, if the UAW does strike Ford, the company could find some workers who are willing to work.

SEIU's Andy Stern Says He's a Capitalist!!!

Andy Stern, the president of the Purple People Eaters, otherwise known as the Service Employees International Union, claims he is a "capitalist"!...
Despite what Glenn Beck says, I am a capitalist, not a socialist, communist, or anything else he’s called me in the last two weeks.


[Yeah, and 'Das Kapital' was really written by Adam Smith, Andy!]

Apparently, Mr. Stern is no longer interested in sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom any longer as this will surely cause him to fall out of favor with the Administration.



h/t to NewsReal

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reason TV Takes on the Teamsters

Reason TV has a brilliant video out on the battle between the Teamsters' UPS and FedEx.

Take a look...



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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Labor Shorts, an EFCA Rumor & Health Care

An EFCA Update: The Latest Rumor…

We have not been hearing much about the job-destroying and hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act. However, given last Tuesday's Democratic drubbing at the polls in NJ and VA, we know that unions and their allies on the Hill are getting a bit antsy (read desperate) to try to get their agenda passed before the mid-term elections in 2010.

On EFCA, as it's been stalled in the Senate, rumor has it that there will be an attempt to do something…anything…after the first of the year.

While "anything" may be a watered-down version (i.e., "quickie elections," baseball-style arbitration, equal-access, and punitive fines), or it could be the EFCA in its original form, the real reason unions and their cohorts are going to try for something after the first of the year is to see who's with them and who's against them. This way, with the help of Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and his help in developing labor's 'hit list,' they'll know who to target in the mid-terms.

Now, this might sound a bit like 'extortion' to laypeople (like us). But no one should dare call it 'extortion.' For 'extortion' really has no place in politics…And, stating the truth would be about as absurd in today's political environs as laypeople calling political threats from union bosses 'extortion.'

Labor Shorts #6: Exposing Union Bosses, One Skid Mark at a Time…

The Coming Apocalypse? Nationalized Health Care…or Not.

Okay. So "apocalypse" may be a bit of a stretch (*see footnote).

However, despite being declared DOA in the Senate (and whether you like it or not), Nancy Pelosi and her minions passed a 1,990 page monster of a bill under the cover of darkness on Saturday night.

“There’s no doubt that this is the most liberal health care bill that’s ever going to be passed by the Congress,” said a senior Democratic aide who helped ram it through the House. “Everything after this is likely to be weaker.”

While union bosses, like CWA's Larry Cohen gloat on the House's passage of PelosiCare, others are not so keen on the idea of a government-run, nationalized health care debacle.

"If this health care bill becomes law, America, life as you have known it, freedom as you have exercised it and privacy as you have enjoyed it will cease to be," says Judge Andrew Napolitano of the nearly 2,000 page freedom-ending monstrosity of a bill.

You can download all 1,990 pages here and sink into a recliner for a few hours, or you can view a partial breakdown of the bill on WSJ here.

And, if you're into that "holding-your-representatives-accountable" thing, you can see how your representatives voted here.
  • Footnote: A few of our readers rebel at our staunch promotion of individual liberty so, on occasion, we like to throw a bit of hyperbolic bluster their way to gauge their reactions. [Bro-hugs, dudes!]
Readers, that is our take on all that which is important on the union front.

As always, for Labor News & Views delivered to your inbox daily, join the LaborUnionReport group on Linkedin.

And, don't forget, you can also follow us on Twitter.

We hope that you have a productive and prosperous week.

Best wishes.

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

UFCW Local Threatens its Own Staff Union With Layoffs!

From the Hypocritical Union Department.

With its top officers raking in $177k and $145k, respectively, members of the United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 5 members had their dues increased on them earlier this year.

Now, with its financial house in disarray, the union is going to its own unionized employees and looking to open its contract with the staff union.

According to a letter sent to the staff union F.A.I.R., if the UFCW leadership cannot convince the staff unions to re-open their contracts, the union threatens that "Local 5 will have no choice but to implement severe budget reductions that will include layoffs in each of our bargaining units and a reduction in service to our members."

Sounds like Big Business, eh?

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Monday, November 9, 2009

SEIU Leaked Memo Exposes Union Propaganda Techniques Used For Union Bailout Bill

Propaganda, according to Dictionary.com, is the "information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc." and "the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc."

Over the last several years, big union bosses have been using spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying politicians to push a delusionally-dubbed bill called the Employee Free Choice Act (or EFCA).

Simply put, EFCA is made up of three components:
  1. No-Vote Unionization: If a majority (50% +1) of an employer's employees sign a union's authorization cards, then all workers are unionized;

  2. One-hundred thirty days following unionization, if there is no agreement between the employer and the union, the federal government can dictate the contract terms through a process called arbitration; and

  3. An employer (but not a union) can be punitively fined if found guilty of 'unfair labor practices.'
Throughout the unions' campaign to use the government to boost their sagging membership, unions have used a variety of propaganda techniques to try to make the bill sound more attractive.

First among the tactics is "doublespeak" and is found in the bill's name itself--the "Employee Free Choice Act."

Doublespeak is "language deliberately constructed to disguise its actual meaning, such as euphemisms. "

Take, for example, the AFL-CIO's argument for EFCA:

Giving working people the freedom to form unions and bargain collectively is key to turning around the economy and rebuilding America’s middle class.

The above statement implies that workers should be able to "form" their own unions and do their own bargaining. This is misleading. Union bosses would not have spent hundreds of millions of dollars only to have workers form their own independent unions. Their real goal is to drive up their own falling memberships.

This too could be considered an example of doublespeak.

Another example of propaganda is called "The Big Lie." The Big Lie, often attributed to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, is the practice that “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

Here is another example from the AFL-CIO:

Too few workers are able to form unions and bargain because companies routinely block their efforts—and our current legal system is too broken and dominated by corporations to help them.

The reality is, unions win over two thirds of all NLRB elections which are conducted by secret ballot. Yet, unions want to do away with the secret ballot. The AFL-CIO's statement above could be considered utilization of both, the "Big Lie" technique, as well an ad hominem attack on "corporations."

The latest example (and proof) of union propaganda techniques comes courtesy of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

At right is a language 'Tip Sheet,' prepared by the SEIU for EFCA-pushers to put the 'union spin' onto explaining the Orwellian legislation.

Here are a few examples:

EFCA supporters should avoid terms like Card-check but use Majority sign-up.

Avoid We need to "make it easier for unions to organize workers" (or make it easier to "unionize workers" or "strengthen the labor movement")

But use We need to make sure that "workers can have a free choice to join together in a union without management interference or intimidation"

Avoid "Employers" but use "Big corporations" or "corporate CEOs" or "corporations" or "companies"

Avoid "The secret-ballot system" we have today ... (or the "private ballot system") but use
"The company-dominated system" we have today that "denies workers a free choice ... "

Avoid Talk about unions in a way that emphasizes process or conflict ("Unions are the way workers get power in the workplace to take on management and restore fairness. ")

But use Focus on positive results. ("Joining together in a union is a way for companies and workers to work together for good jobs with fair wages, health care, and retirement security.")

The SEIU, like other so many other unions, is skilled in the art of propaganda and the internal memo proves this fact.

Unfortunately, at some point in the near future, union bosses may actually succeed in getting their political cronies in Washington to pass the oxy-moronic Employee Free Choice Act. However, if they do succeed, it will only be through using propagnda techniques that go back decades.

Hat-tip to Labor Pains.

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Machinists' Union Democracy is 'MUD'

Unions like the International Association of Machinists are fighting to get a no-vote unionization bill signed into law. Elections can, after all, be such a dirty business....People might actually vote differently than the union bosses want.

But, apparently, the Machinists' union bosses don't just dislike elections for union-free workers, it seems the union bosses don't like them for their members either.

The Association for Union Democracy points out:

IAM election needless. All 20 officers coast in.

The constitution of the International Association of Machinists provides for the election of international officers by direct membership vote. But machinists are not actually burdened with the chore of casting ballots because it's so difficult for any dissident to get nominated that no one runs against the administration. So it was in January this year when the election committee (more accurately, the non-election committee) announced that all candidates of the administration for all 20 posts, including president, secretary treasurer, vice president, law committee, and AFL-CIO and CLC Delegates were automatically declared elected.

Wannabe candidates must be nominated by at least 25 locals to get on the ballot. The election committee reported that only the administration candidates --- each with over 300 local nominations --- made it. It's not clear whether there was even a single errant nomination from anywhere, no reference to any local nomination for anyone else, not even a possible token nomination for a local favorite son. However, the committee did note that, for one technical reason or another, the returns from around 150 locals were not included in the count. How many of these locals, if any, nominated independent candidates or local favorites is not known.

No wonder unions like the IAM want to do away with elections. After all, they are sooo inconvenient.

UFCW bosses quibble on constitutional language as member claims union is "playing games with our lives..."

Amidst the worst recession in a generation, members of the United Food & Commercial Workers are upset with their union for, of all things, not allowing them to walk off their jobs.

In Colorado, where UFCW Local 7 has been negotiating for more than six months with the grocery chains there, local union members have urged their parent union in Washington to give them permission to strike.

However, it seems that the UFCW bosses in Washington are reluctant to allow their members to go through another devastating strike like they did in southern California in 2003-04.


According to 9News.com:

Unionized Safeway workers in Colorado have voted to authorize a strike, but workers cannot walk out without permission from the UFCW international union.

UFCW Local 7 spokeswoman Laura Chapin told the Longmont Times-Call newspaper on October 2nd, "We do have strike sanction from the international, which is key".

The international union tells 9Wants to Know investigative reporter Kyle Clark that such sanction is under consideration but has not been granted.

A letter from the international union to local branch on September 15th gives Colorado workers the ability to vote on a "final offer" from the supermarkets, but makes clear the local union "must receive final authorization" before beginning a strike.

Several union members tell 9Wants to Know that UFCW Local 7 President Ernie Duran Jr. told workers that strike sanction had been given.

According to a letter the local president sent to UFCW International President Joe Hansen, the international's dragging of its feet appears to be wearing thin in Colorado, as the local presses its case to strike over the holidays.

As noted above, on June 19, 2009, you stated you would not let this process drag out and would facilitate securing a last, best and final offer. Almost five (5) months have lapsed since those words were written. Despite numerous bargaining sessions, attended by International Representatives, this has not been accomplished. Moreover, the workers and I have repeatedly asked the Corporations to submit their “last, best and final” offers. They have consistently refused to do so. More importantly, the Corporate Negotiators have made only minor changes in their proposals since April and have said they will reduce pension benefits. This will adversely affect workers until the day they die.

As I told you in June, time is of the essence. We have already lost many holidays. We simply cannot let Thanksgiving and Christmas pass us by. As you are well aware, January, February and March are the slowest months of the year. Further, the Corporations have scheduled an arbitration, wherein they are attempting to eliminate all adjustable benefits and future pension accruals, on December 16, 17 and, if necessary, 18. Finally, the winter in Colorado can be punishing.

I respectfully request you release the final strike sanction. I firmly believe the Corporations do not want a strike or lockout. If they know we can go out before the upcoming holidays, I believe they will bargain seriously and a settlement can be reached.

[Emphasis added.]


Meanwhile, UFCW member and former Safeway worker Arlys Carlson states on Local 7's website:
“We were told by the International that we had sanction to move forward on the strike votes. After the workers voted to strike in order to get a fair contract, we were told at the Oct 20 negotiations session that the requirements had been met, that they had the results, and a decision could happen in a day or two....

The International needs to respect our votes and give us final sanction as soon as possible. We have delivered our part of the equation, and now the International needs to deliver theirs. The International is playing games with our lives, our futures and our families’ needs.”

To the UFCW, the slogan United We Bargain, Divided We Beg seems to have a special meaning--especially as UFCW members beg their own union for permission to go out on strike.

To read more about the UFCW, go here.

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

If you are seeking information about the Employee Free Choice Act, go here.

If you would like more information about unions and their tactics, go here.

If you would like to receive regular updates on the status of the Employee Free Choice Act, as well as news and views about today's unions go here.

More on the Hallucinogenically-Named Employee Free Choice Act

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