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Author Topic: unions  (Read 3239 times)
ccp
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« on: September 11, 2009, 09:14:11 AM »

We need more journalism into the infiltration of the unions in this government.
The corruption of unions is legendary.  Yet the great one, the arbitor of the universe, the annointed step father of the downtrodden, embraces them.
 
From a logical point of view this is not reconcilable.

***Lead StorySpecial report: How Obama cronyism threatens rail security
By Michelle Malkin  •  September 11, 2009 07:29 AM

How Obama cronyism threatens rail security
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2009

New Delhi. Mumbai. Chechnya. Madrid. London. The question isn’t whether America will suffer a jihadi attack on our passenger rail lines, but when. So, why has President Obama neutered the nation’s most highly-trained post-9/11 counterterrorism rail security team?

All signs point to business-as-usual cronyism and pandering to power-grabbing union bosses.

Amtrak’s Office of Security Strategy and Special Operations (OSSSO) grew out of a counterterrorism and intelligence unit developed by the Bush administration in the wake of global jihadi attacks on mass transit systems. The office was staffed with Special Forces veterans, law enforcement officers, railroad specialists, other military personnel, and experts who collectively possessed hundreds of years of experience fighting on the front lines against terrorism. Each member underwent at least 800 hours of rail security-related training, including advanced marksmanship, close quarters, and protective security exercises.

OSSSO’s mobile prevention teams acted as “force multipliers” working with local, state, and federal authorities across the country to detect, deter, and defend against criminal and terrorist attacks on mass transit. They conducted hundreds of show-of-force, uniformed, and rail marshal rides.

OSSSO also provided security services for President Bush, the Pope, the 2008 Democrat and Republican conventions, then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign events, and then-Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden’s Amtrak whistle stop tours. The counterterrorism unit’s push to conduct random passenger and baggage screening earned predictable criticism from civil liberties absolutists, but also garnered bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill. Even Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas hailed the rail security team’s work last year:

“Let me congratulate them for being aware” of the threat to rail passengers, the chairman of a House Homeland Security subcommittee on transportation security, told USA Today in July 2008. “(But) this has to be the new standard for Amtrak.”

How will Congress react to the news that this high standard has been obliterated?

According to multiple government sources who declined to be identified for fear of retribution, OSSSO’s East Coast and West Coast teams have not worked in a counterterrorism capacity since the summer. Their long-arms were put under lock and key after the abrupt departures of Amtrak vice president for security strategy and special operations Bill Rooney and Amtrak Inspector General Fred Weiderhold.

Weiderhold played an instrumental role in creating OSSSO’s predecessor at Amtrak, the Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU). He tapped Rooney to oversee the office. But Rooney was quietly given the “thank you for your service” heave-ho in May and Weiderhold was unexpectedly “retired” a few weeks later — just as the government-subsidized rail service faced mounting complaints about its meddling in financial audits and probes.

As I reported in June, Weiderhold had blown the whistle on intrusion of Amtrak’s Law Department into his financial audits and probes. A damning, 94-page report from an outside legal firm concluded that the “independence and effectiveness” of the Amtrak inspector general’s office were “being substantially impaired” by the Law Department – which happens to be headed by Eleanor Acheson, a close pal of Vice President Biden.

Biden, in turn, is tight with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the powerful union that represents the Amtrak Police Department. According to OSSSO sources, the APD brass have been aggrieved over the non-unionized counterterrorism unit’s existence from its inception. A West Coast OSSSO team member told me that union leaders blocked police credentialing efforts by his office for more than a year. An East Coast OSSSO team member told me that the FOP recently filed a grievance against one of its counterterrorism officers for assisting a train conductor who asked for help in ejecting a ticketless passenger.

Unlike the highly-specialized officers at OSSSO, APD officers possess minimal counterterrorism training. Past studies show alarmingly low pass rates among APD patrolmen who have attended undergone basic special operations classes, according to government sources. The Amtrak FOP continues to squabble over turf with the rival Teamsters Union; its leaders can’t even agree on minimal physical fitness standards for its members that have yet to be implemented. Nevertheless, OSSSO is now under the command and control of the APD — and federal stimulus funding specifically earmarked for the counterterrorism unit has now been absorbed by the police department.

Amtrak did not respond to my questions about OSSSO by my column deadline Thursday afternoon.

Al Qaeda operatives have repeatedly plotted to wreak havoc on our mass transit systems. And they will try, try again. American jihadi Bryant Neal Vinas recently gave the feds details about a plot blow up a Long Island Rail Road commuter train in New York’s Penn Station. As America marks the September 11 anniversary and the “Never forget” mantra echoes, an OSSSO team member told me: “There is no room for internal protectionism, vested interests of unions, or asset-manipulating bureaucracies where the safety of our national passenger railroad is concerned.”

Does anyone else in Washington agree?

***
The RAND Corporation conducted an internal review of the Amtrak Police Department’s deficiencies in counterterrorism training, and made the following observations:

Although APD officers receive police training, they do not receive special counterterrorism training either as part of their initial training or in training activities after they join the APD. The lack of counterterrorism training might explain why every APD officer interviewed indicated that he or she saw no fundamental difference between police and counter-terror work.

(By counterterrorism training, we refer to knowledge and skills to conduct counter-surveillance, special training to respond to chemical, biological, radiation, and nuclear threats and familiarization with attack methods that might involve the use of these types of weapons, profiling techniques to identify suspicious behaviors, knowledge about protocols for security information sharing, and awareness of how to work with Federal Government agencies and other entities involved in counterterrorism.)

…Moreover, there are no metrics in the Amtrak Security Threat Level Response Plan against which to monitor compliance or to gauge the effectiveness of prescribed countermeasures. There are no performance metrics for the divisional security coordinators program either. RAND’s review of Amtrak security documents and interview responses also did not find any explicit criteria guiding the selection of additional or alternative countermeasures or shifts in response levels within the system. It was, thus, not clear what would guide the Chief of Amtrak Police’s decisions on these matters. In this connection, it is also not clear how management would know with high confidence that the response posture chosen by APD translates into reduced vulnerability for Amtrak….****

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ccp
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2009, 09:21:42 AM »

Another post from MM on this topic going back to May.
Didn't we already have a long history of corruption and organized crime with unions in this country?
Too bad unions are not a public company.  I would definitely buy stock in what we will eventually see an explosion of corruption.  It is the union version of Fannie May in its early stages. 

The annointed one has the nerve to insult all of us with the idea we will pay for the increase in Medicare by cutting fraud and abuse and he can't and won't even do it now.  And he suggest that increasing speding in this area by a trillion is not going to come with an explosion of more fraud and abuse?  This flies in the face of common sense.

Our government is obviously overflowing with fraud and abuse as it is.
 
  ***Michelle Malkin  Obama slashes anti-union corruption budget at DoL
By Michelle Malkin  •  May 7, 2009 12:19 PM Well, well, well. The President uses toy knives to “cut” the rest of the budget, but somehow finds a working chainsaw to slash funding of the anti-union corruption unit at the Labor Department.

Philip Klein at the American Spectator has the scoop:

…buried in the budget documents released by the White House today is a 9 percent cut in the unit of the Department of Labor that is in charge of regulating unions.

Under the leadership of Elaine Chao during the Bush administration, the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards took its job of policing unions seriously. Its actions led to 929 convictions of corrupt union officials and to the recovery of more than $93 million on behalf of union members. Yet the Obama administration has proposed slashing its budget from $45 million in 2009 to $41 million in 2010, citing an insufficient “workload” for the office.

Instead of using the money to make sure unions play by the rules, the Obama administration proposes shifting resources to the department’s Wage and Hour Division, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — all areas of the agency focused on regulating businesses.****

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ccp
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2009, 08:40:57 AM »

In this vein Obama appears more like Lou Dobbs or Pat Buchanan.
It has the appearance he is protecting his union friends.  Another possible explanation is he is using this to punish China for something or to send them some sort of signal.  Unclear.   

***U.S. to Impose Tariff on Tires From China

By Peter Whoriskey and Anne Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, September 12, 2009

In one of his first major decisions on trade policy, President Obama opted Friday to impose a tariff on tires from China, a move that fulfills his campaign promise to "crack down" on imports that unfairly undermine American workers but risks angering the nation's second-largest trading partner.

The decision is intended to bolster the ailing U.S. tire industry, in which more than 5,000 jobs have been lost over the past five years as the volume of Chinese tires in the market has tripled.

It comes at a sensitive time, however. Leaders from the world's largest economies are preparing to gather in Pittsburgh in less than two weeks to discuss more cooperation amid tensions over trade.

The tire tariff will amount to 35 percent the first year, 30 percent the second and 25 percent the third.

Although a federal trade panel had recommended higher levies -- of 55, 45 and 35 percent, respectively -- the decision is considered a victory for the United Steelworkers union, which filed the trade complaint.

"The president sent the message that we expect others to live by the rules, just as we do," Leo W. Gerard, president of the union, said Friday night.

China's government and its tire manufacturers, as well as tire importers and some U.S. tire makers with plants overseas, had strenuously objected to the measure.

"The President decided to remedy the clear disruption to the U.S. tire industry based on the facts and the law in this case," the White House said in a statement released Friday night.

Obama's decision signals a marked shift from the policy of the Bush administration, which had rejected taking action in four similar cases it reviewed.

The union complaint was filed under a law Congress passed in 2000 that allows the United States to impose tariffs and other trade protections if a surge in Chinese imports damages a U.S. industry.

China agreed to the provision while negotiating to join the World Trade Organization, but until Friday the general "safeguard" provisions of the law had never been invoked.

Critics warned that if the general "safeguard," which expires in four years, was never used to protect American workers from Chinese imports, then political support for free trade would be eroded.

"Since China joined the WTO, American workers have not been assured that the government would defend them against unfair trade," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said.

The tariff, which will take effect Sept. 26, represents the first such case under the law for Obama, and his decision has been highly anticipated.

During the campaign, he had pledged to "crack down on China" and "work to ensure that China is no longer given a free pass to undermine U.S. workers," as his Web site put it.

But his commitment to that point of view was thrown into doubt during the primaries when a Canadian official said an Obama adviser had privately characterized his tough stance on the North American Free Trade Agreement as political posturing.

Marguerite Trossevin, who represents a coalition of U.S. tire companies that import Chinese tires, said the tariff decision is "very disappointing." She predicted price increases for U.S. consumers and losses for U.S. tire importers.

"For the U.S. tire distributors and consumers, there's going to be a heavy burden to bear," she said. "It sends the message that special interests will get protection if they ask for it -- regardless of what that means for broader trade policy."

China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement early Saturday that the move violated WTO rules. "China strongly opposes this serious act of trade protectionism by the U.S," the ministry said, according to the Associated Press.

Not surprisingly, there were conflicting predictions about what effect the tariff might have on the U.S. industry.

Supporters said the measure would have only a negligible effect on the price of tires and would lead U.S. manufacturers to invest in their U.S. plants.

The tariff's detractors said higher tire prices could lead some consumers to wait longer before replacing tires, creating a safety risk. Moreover, they said, the tariff won't result in more jobs. Tires will simply come in from other low-cost countries, they say, and U.S. manufacturers, keep making their cheaper tires in China.

"U.S. tire manufacturers years ago decided to move production of low end tires off-shore," said David Spooner, a lawyer representing the Chinese tire industry. "Frankly, a temporary tariff is not going to get them to change their business plan."****
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ccp
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2009, 09:36:11 AM »

One interesting analysis of the "net" affect of the trade tariff imposed by Obama.   I guess this could go under a "trade" or "tariff" thread but since it was imposed at a request of a union it seems reasonable to put here under a "union" thread.  I think the bottom line is this is a political reward to his constituency which is now obvious Obama consistently does - reward his base and pretend he is willing to compromise with his opponents.  In affect he makes the divide in this country worse.

http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2009/09/simple-economic-analysis-of-tire-tariff.html
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 04:57:37 PM »

GDP Is Up, But Government Unions Ate Your Raise
Posted January 29th, 2010 at 5:01pm in Enterprise and Free Markets 5  Print This Post

Figures released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics provide less encouragement than today’s GDP report. Total compensation increased by only 1.5 percent in 2009 (without adjusting for inflation) – the lowest increase on record. If a turnaround has begun, workers are not feeling it in their wallets.

However, this pain has not been distributed equally throughout the economy. In the private sector, total compensation grew just 1.2 percent in 2009. On the other hand the compensation paid to state and local government employees grew 2.4 percent. The average government employee got twice the raise that private sector workers did.

Why did government workers get higher raises? In the private sector workers compete to produce goods and services that others value. In a recession, production falls and employers have less money to pay raises with. On the other hand, taxes fund government paychecks. Government employees can continue getting raises no matter the health of the overall economy, so long as taxes keep coming in.

This fact has turned the labor movement into determined tax hikers. Union membership has grown in the government even as it has fallen in the private sector. Three times as many union members now work for the Post Office as in the Auto Industry. In 2009 the numbers crossed: a majority of union members now work for the government. Higher pay for government employees can only come through higher taxes on private sector workers.

Unions almost never go on strike anymore. Instead, they fight to get more for their members by lobbying for tax increases. Unions spent tens of millions of dollars last year campaigning for higher taxes across the country: Illinois. California. Minnesota. Washington State. Arizona. In many cases they have succeeded.

The latest example comes from Oregon, where public sector unions outspent businesses 3 to 2 to pass two ballot initiatives raising taxes by $700 million. The unions wanted higher taxes to prevent spending cuts. Had the taxes increases failed government employees in Oregon would have faced cost cutting measures such contributing toward the cost of their health benefits – something they currently do not do.

Government employees have done well in this recession. Few government jobs have disappeared – unlike in the private sector – and their pay rose at twice the rate of their private sector counterparts. No wonder that government employees are almost three times as likely as private sector workers to believe that the economy is in “good or excellent” shape. The question for policy makers is why should private sector workers have to pay for this?

http://blog.heritage.org/2010/01/29/gdp-is-up-but-government-unions-ate-your-raise/#more-25116
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2010, 02:03:52 PM »

Forced Unionization
Posted By John Stossel On February 11, 2010 @ 6:40 am In Entrepreneurs, Fox Business Appearances, Government, Labor | 271 Comments

 [1]Michelle Berry runs a day-care business out of her home in Flint, MI. She thought that she owned her own business, but Berry's been told she is now a government employee and union member. It's not voluntary. Suddenly, Berry and 40,000 other Michigan private day-care providers have learned that union dues are being taken out of the child-care subsidies the state sends them. The "union" is a creation of AFSCME, the government workers union, and the United Auto Workers.

This racket means big money to AFSCME, which runs the union, writes the Mackinac Center for Public Policy [2], a free-market think tank.

Today the Department of Human Services siphons about $3.7 million in annual dues to the union….

The money should be going to home-based day-care providers — themselves not on the high end of the income scale. Ms. Berry now sees money once paid to her go to a union that does little for her…

Patrick Wright, a lawyer for the Macknac Center, says the union was forced on the women after a certification election conducted by mail in which only 6,000 day-care providers out of 40,000 voted. Wright told me his clients, like Berry, say they were "shocked" to learn they were suddenly in a union.

They want nothing to do with the union. One of my clients has said, “Look, this is my home, I’m both labor and management here.” They’ve wanted nothing to do with this union and don’t think that it has any purpose besides than to siphon money away from them.

Michigan isn't the only state funding unions this way.

Fourteen states have now enabled home-based day-care providers to be organized into public-employee unions, affecting about 233,000 people.

Mackinac sued Michigan on behalf of the day-care owners, but the case was dismissed. They have appealed. Neither Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, the Department of Human Services, nor the union would talk to me about this. Last month, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash [3] proposed a law that would end "stealth" unionization of private entrepreneurs.

We’ll talk more about unions in tonight’s show [4] on Fox Business at 8pm and 11pm ET.

Article printed from John Stossel: http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com

URL to article: http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2010/02/11/forced-unionization/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/files/2010/02/Ball.jpg
[2] Mackinac Center for Public Policy: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703478704574612341241120838.html
[3] Michigan Rep. Justin Amash: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(a2ho4v55g4ctxi453uztjsvi))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=2010-hb-5771
[4] tonight’s show: http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.comwww.johnstossel.com
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2010, 02:19:34 PM »

Liberal fascism continues its rampage.  Another attack on our American freedom-- time for some serious DTOM! (Don't tread on me!)
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Rarick
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2010, 04:37:33 AM »

The unions wonder why their membership has slid so badly.......  It is shenannigans like this that are making them "The 2 Edged Sword That is Cutting with the Wrong Edge".   They grew from industrial abuses, but now the are the abuser, bad mojo on them.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2010, 07:53:59 AM »

Private sector membership may have slid, but my understanding is that public sector union membership, especially under SEIU puppet Obama, is growing quite rapidly.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2010, 08:21:52 AM »

Crafty is correct: unions are expanding in the public sector, where they work hand in glove with expansionist government that further inflates union roles, bulwarks the nanny state, and creates a mewling block constantly demanding higher taxes to fuel pay raises which fuel union dues. It's a scary dynamic.
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ccp
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2010, 10:05:27 AM »

Aren't the unions and in particularly public sector unions what busted the Governator in Kalifornia a few years back?

I've posted a couple of times that I don't get the rationality of hiring people for public jobs, than allowing them to collectivize and turn around and then demand taxpayers give them more.

I am not sure why this is not some sort of collusion (that was the cry when some doctors started talking about unionizing).
Then again there must obviously be many legal arguments for and against as well as I would think much case law on such matters.

IMO we are being screwed by our own government servants - with a notable exception - the military.  I would think most of us are grateful to them and support pensions, health care etc for them.  OTH how come they can't simply unionize?



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Rarick
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2010, 04:40:02 AM »

Aren't the unions and in particularly public sector unions what busted the Governator in Kalifornia a few years back?

I've posted a couple of times that I don't get the rationality of hiring people for public jobs, than allowing them to collectivize and turn around and then demand taxpayers give them more.

I am not sure why this is not some sort of collusion (that was the cry when some doctors started talking about unionizing).
Then again there must obviously be many legal arguments for and against as well as I would think much case law on such matters.

IMO we are being screwed by our own government servants - with a notable exception - the military.  I would think most of us are grateful to them and support pensions, health care etc for them.  OTH how come they can't simply unionize?


I think Unionization was considered "conspiracy to mutiny" at one point, there would have been court martials to make it stick.........
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