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Topic: Unions (Read 14642 times)
Reply #150 on:
February 28, 2012, 09:53:35 AM »
Mention the word Ponzi scheme and your are vilified as a cook, a jerk, an idiot by the liberal MSM.
The endless shell games by those in power.
Private concerns would be subject to laws, law suits.
The government can do whatever it wants.
Reply #151 on:
February 28, 2012, 10:26:28 AM »
POTH acknoledges reality , , , when a Dem is governor:
Cuomo's pension proposal
Across New York State, years of generous and sometimes overly generous benefits have made government pensions unaffordable. Thanks to contract sweeteners and giveaways by Albany politicians, New York City’s pension costs have risen more than fivefold, to $8 billion this year from $1.3 billion in 2002. Other communities are in similarly tough straits.
To Pay New York Pension Fund, Cities Borrow From It First (February 28, 2012) Gov. Andrew Cuomo has outlined a major pension reform for new city and state workers that could offer desperately needed relief. It would change pension offers for future state and local workers, including teachers and fire and police personnel, bringing their contributions and benefits closer to those of employees in other states.
The governor estimates that over the next 30 years, the pension fix, which has the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and many other mayors, could save $30 billion for New York City and $83 billion for other state and local workers. Despite predictably strong opposition from unions and some of Mr. Cuomo’s fellow Democrats, it is a generally sound approach.
Under the proposal, new hires would contribute 4 percent, 5 percent or 6 percent of their salaries for their pensions depending on their pay levels, compared with 3 percent for workers hired recently.
Many government employees in the state can currently retire at age 62 and receive a full pension. Mr. Cuomo would increase the retirement age for most employees — except for police and fire personnel — to 65. In New Jersey and Maryland, retirement age for most workers is 65, and in Rhode Island it will be 67 starting in July.
And instead of retiring on 60 percent of salary after 30 years of service, the payout would be about 50 percent — closer to New Jersey, Illinois and Vermont. The new law would also stop employees from loading up on overtime and other payments in their final working years to increase their retirement allowance. Those changes make sense.
Mr. Cuomo said on Monday that he could be flexible about parts of his proposal, like his desire to create a 401(k)-type plan for new employees. That’s fine, but he must hold the line on the fundamentals: bringing the retirement age and employee contributions into line with other states. There is no other way to tackle the crushing pension burden.
Reply #152 on:
March 27, 2012, 03:10:33 PM »
Tweeted by Rush:
DC Circuit brushes back Baraq's NLRB
Reply #153 on:
May 15, 2012, 07:46:46 PM »
This is a fund raiser letter. I've no knowledge of the group and so caveat donor. I post the letter for the info it offers:
Following on the heels of two National Right to Work Foundation-won victories against Obama Administration lawyers, a federal court has overturned yet another Obama Labor Board power grab.
Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) ambush elections rule change that generated record opposition last summer from concerned citizens like you.
You see, the former union lawyers on the NLRB were so desperate to enact the rule change in December before radical Member Craig Becker's term expired, they rammed it through without securing the quorum necessary to vote on the rule.
Yesterday's decision prevents implementation of a rule that deprives employees of hearing both sides of the story about unionization.
Ambush elections are designed to make union organizing campaigns as one-sided as possible and to stifle the rights of employees who may oppose bringing a union into their workplace.
Just weeks earlier in a case brought by Foundation attorneys, a federal appeals court enjoined the NLRB from enforcing another new policy that would force most private sector employers nationwide to post biased notices that effectively serve as a roadmap to forced unionization.
And recently the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rejected arguments by union and Obama Administration lawyers to roll back one worker's groundbreaking victory against a corrupt card check scheme.
While these victories for workers against the ideologically-charged Obama Labor Board are crucial, I'm afraid things could continue to get worse.
As you may recall, President Obama double-downed on his bureaucratic assault on workers and job providers by installing "recess" appointees to the NLRB -- while Congress was still in session.
This cynical move represents an unprecedented defiance of Congress and the Constitution.
Obama's spin doctors claim that the Senate had long stalled on the President's nominations. But that's simply not true.
The White House never even submitted the proper paperwork to the Senate Labor Committee to let the Committee members conduct background checks and interview two of the nominees -- including a lawyer for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE).
With such a flagrant abuse of power by the Obama Administration, I'm grateful for the continued generosity of Right to Work supporters like you who enable us to fight back in the courts and in the media.
These recent victories in court are encouraging and remind us why our legal program is so critical. Thanks for helping us stand up for worker freedom.
P.S. The Foundation relies completely on voluntary contributions from its supporters to provide free legal aid.
If you can, please chip in with a tax-deductible contribution of $10 or more today to support the Foundation's programs.
public sector pension funds
Reply #154 on:
May 28, 2012, 12:47:43 PM »
Court overrules scratch my back deals
Reply #155 on:
June 03, 2012, 05:38:41 PM »
Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 08:52:09 PM by Crafty_Dog
Trojan horse in Obamacare
Reply #156 on:
June 28, 2012, 04:38:10 PM »
Dear Marc F.,
Now that the United States Supreme Court has narrowly upheld Obamacare, it's worth looking back at some of the provisions hidden deep within the 2,500 pages of the bill to remember that the public outcry wasn't just about the individual mandate.
You may remember that Nancy Pelosi sneered, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it."
Well, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys studied the law and found obscure and overt provisions designed to hand union officials billions of new forced-dues dollars.
Here's just one example of the dangers uncovered by Foundation attorneys:
Under Title VIII -- the "Community Living Assistance Services and Supports" (CLASS) program -- ALL 50 states are ordered to create legal entities to serve as "employers" of home health care providers.
This may sound familiar to you.
Foundation attorneys know from direct experience that schemes like this are just a trick to force independent home health care providers into forced unionism.
You see, these schemes corrupt the political process by enabling Big Labor's political puppets to handpick unions as the sole representatives for thousands of care providers -- including independent contractors and parents or grandparents who take care of sick or disabled children.
In fact, Foundation attorneys currently have a case pending at the Supreme Court that could blow apart one such forced-dues bonanza in Illinois implemented by Governor Pat Quinn and his disgraced predecessor, Rod Blagojevich.
After the Obamacare decision, the federal government remains empowered to mandate states implement similar programs.
But more than 15 states have already cooked up such schemes -- with millions of dollars in forced union dues from home health care providers up for grabs.
That's why with free legal aid from Foundation staff attorneys, Pam Harris and seven other Illinois in-home care providers have asked the Court to invalidate the scheme.
This scheme marks a new low and is a gross violation of workers' rights under the Constitution.
While we await the Court's order in that case, much attention will understandably be paid to the Obamacare decision.
Hopefully that discussion will include a renewed discussion about what's in the bill. For more on how Big Labor stands to benefit from the government health care takeover, read my Wall Street Journal column from 2009.
Reply #157 on:
June 29, 2012, 10:11:54 AM »
Over the decades there have been calls for physicians to unionize but I am not aware if it has happened anywhere.
Naturally it was only physicians who would have been for such a thing. We are not monolithic. We are really a hodgepoge of different groups with different situations.
Older vs younger, academic vs nonacademic, group vs individual, specialties vs primary, surgeons vs nonsurgeons, employed vs in private practice etc. So the concept of doctors unifying was really a mirage anyway.
But now reading the above post and seeing on drudge that one congresswoman hinted that doctors might unionize - all now that this might strengthen the union/democrat party cabal - well - what can I say?
Again Obama calls for us to move "forward". The use of that word is again a reminder of what this has all been about.
As long as the "New" Democrat party can continue to rob some taxpayer groups and pay other who pay little taxes I don't know if this can be stopped.
WSJ: Chicago's teaching moment
Reply #158 on:
September 11, 2012, 10:13:10 AM »
Chicago's Teaching Moment
Can Mayor Rahm hold out against the union? Calling Mr. Obama..
Has Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker? If he hasn't, we'd be glad to mediate a call. Chicago teachers went on strike Monday for the first time in 25 years, and Mr. Emanuel can help the cause of education reform nationwide if he shows some Walker-like gumption.
On Sunday night, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis promised that her 25,000 members would walk the picket line until they have a "fair contract," and she called the battle an "education justice fight." Nice to know they're thinking of the kids at the start of the school year. Middle-class parents and two-earner households scrambling for child care may not sympathize. According to the union's own figures, the average Chicago public school teacher makes $71,000 a year in salary, and that's before pensions and benefits generally worth $15,000 or more a year. Senior teachers make much more. That's not a bad deal compared to the median household income of $47,000 for a Chicago worker in the private economy.
Ditto working conditions. Union leaders have bellyached mightily about Mr. Emanuel's decision last year to extend the Chicago school day to seven hours from five hours and 45 minutes (the shortest among the country's 10 biggest cities). The longer hours are one reason the union says teachers need a 29% pay raise over two years. The average Chicago teacher works 1,039 instructional hours per year—roughly half the time logged by the average 40-hour-a-week working Joe.
When Mr. Emanuel came to office last year, the Chicago Public Schools were already facing a $700 million deficit. Over the next three fiscal years amid mounting salaries and pensions, the Chicago system will be $3 billion in the red. Mr. Emanuel's negotiators still offered a 16% pay raise over four years, but the union walked away.
There's a case for no raise considering that Chicago's schools are among the worst in the country, with a graduation rate around 55%. A 2006 study by the Consortium on Chicago School Research found that for every 100 Chicago public high school freshmen, only six get four-year college degrees. Among African-American and Hispanic boys, the number is three of 100.
Another issue is accountability, with Mr. Emanuel seeking a new teacher evaluation program that includes student test scores as a significant factor. The union wants student scores to play a minor role. The union also wants laid-off teachers to be hired back first if school principals have new job openings. Chicago may close up to 100 failing schools in coming years, and if principals have to dip into that layoff pool to hire even lousy teachers, students will suffer.
Under state law, teachers can strike over wages but not over policies set by the Chicago Board of Education. So the strike is also illegal.
The Chicago brawl is notable because it shows the rift between teachers unions and some Democrats. Unions have long had Democrats in their hip pocket, but more office holders are figuring out that this threatens taxpayers and is immoral to boot.
Perhaps Mr. Emanuel should ask his former boss, President Obama, for a good public word. Recall how eager Mr. Obama was to speak against Mr. Walker's collective-bargaining reforms, at least until the Republican looked like he'd win his recall election.
The Chicago stakes are nearly as high. The chance for major school reform comes rarely, and if Mr. Emanuel gets rolled in his first big union showdown, he'll hurt 350,000 Chicago students and the reputation he's hoping to build as a reformer.
A version of this article appeared September 11, 2012, on page A12 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Chicago's Teaching Moment.
More on Chicago teachers
Reply #159 on:
September 11, 2012, 12:10:21 PM »
Reply #160 on:
September 11, 2012, 02:32:55 PM »
haha that's because they can afford it! Teachers in Chicago get paid a LOT of money!
More on Chicago Teachers
Reply #161 on:
September 12, 2012, 11:04:52 AM »
"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders." --Samuel Adams
Chicago's children aren't learning
"Labor Day may have passed, but in Chicago school is still out for the summer. That's because, for the first time in more than 25 years, the brothers and sisters of the Chicago Teachers Union are striking. Though they are already among the best-paid educators in the country, making an average of $76,000 per year in salary -- plus benefits -- the union is unsatisfied with an offer from the city's board of education that provides them a 16 percent raise over four years, worth a total of $400 million. (The CTU's original offer was for a 30 percent raise over two years.) Accounts from both sides indicate that the sticking points are the maintenance of the union's lavish benefits structure and a teacher-evaluation system that labor officials worry could -- horror -- result in the firing of large numbers of its most ineffective members. On the merits, the case isn't close. Chicago teachers currently pay just 3 percent of their own health-care costs, and nearly three-quarters of new education spending over the last five years has been gobbled up by their retirement costs. ... The proximate consequence of the union's intransigence is that a mass of youths won't be in classrooms, but on Chicago's increasingly murderous streets. The contrast with the city's 45,000 charter-school students, along with its parochial- and private-school enrollees -- all of whom remain in their classrooms -- is stark. The benefits of school choice are manifold, but not least among them is that your child's education needn't be held hostage by the whims of public employees who finance and staff the campaigns of their putative bargaining 'adversaries.' That sort of thing doesn't happen in competitive markets. ... Political reality alone ought to force the Democrats to push labor for a quick agreement that maintains most of the cost-saving concessions, at least cosmetically preserves the teacher-evaluation model, and, most important, gets Chicago kids back to school. Whether this happens will say much about who wears the pants in the liberal coalition." --National Review
"Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis walks, talks and barks like a rootsy Occupy Wall Street activist. ... When she's not urging other teachers to ditch the classroom or organizing traffic blockades to impede everyone else in Chicago from getting to and from their jobs, Lewis spends her time trashing public charter schools and business leaders trying to reform our Soviet-style monopoly in education. The results speak for themselves: While CTU members earn an average of $74,000 a year and are now spurning 16 percent pay hikes, 71 percent of the third-largest school district's 8th-grade students can't attain the most basic level of science proficiency, and nearly 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in reading. ... It bears repeating often: The goals of the teachers union radicals are not academic excellence, professional development and fairness. The goals are student indoctrination, social upheaval and perpetual grievance-mongering in pursuit of bigger government and spending without restraint: 2, 4, 6, 8! One agenda: Agitate!" --columnist Michelle Malkin
WSJ: Official Time
Reply #162 on:
October 02, 2012, 07:52:13 AM »
By MALLORY FACTOR
Imagine thousands of government employees reporting to work each morning at their government offices and then doing no government work. They use government workspace, government telephones and government computers, all while working on projects unknown and unidentified to their government employers. They receive hefty taxpayer-funded salaries, promotions, bonuses and benefits, plus generous government pensions when they retire—all without doing any work on behalf of the taxpayer. Instead, they work as paid political operatives for powerful government unions.
Welcome to the common practice of "official time." Sometimes called "release time," it's a mechanism by which the government pays union officials to work on union matters during their government workdays. This mechanism—enshrined in law and contracts—is an enormous subsidy to public-employee unions, who defend it fiercely.
The Office of Personnel Management reports that federal employees spent over three million hours on official time in 2010, costing the taxpayers about $137 million in salary and benefits costs.
At the federal level, about 77% of official time (as reported to the OPM) is spent on "general labor-management," a broad catchall for union activity other than contract negotiations or dispute resolution, which are the activities most directly related to employee representation. But when more than three-quarters of all official time is used for unspecified activities, red flags should be raised.
.Some union officials split their time between union work and government work. Others, amazingly enough, work exclusively on union business while getting paid for their government "jobs," and may not even show up at their government jobs for months at a time. The Department of Homeland Security alone had 62 employees on full-time official time as of July 2011, according to the department's disclosure. It's not clear how many other federal employees are on official time all the time, since the OPM doesn't require federal departments and agencies to report that figure. The less that is reported, the harder it is to discover abuse.
The only thorough report on official time at the federal level was released in 1998, when the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee required the OPM to do so. At that time, 946 federal employees were on full-time official time, with another 912 spending at least 75% of their days on official time. Today the overall number is a mystery, because no law requires the federal government to disclose it.
States and municipalities don't generally track official time for their employees, much less disclose it, so data on the subject are hard to come by. But based on the total number of unionized workers at all levels of government and the reported levels of official time in the federal government from 2010, we can estimate that American taxpayers are paying for some 23 million total hours of official time every year, at a cost of more than $1 billion. And that doesn't include free government office space, equipment and services used by union officials.
All this persists even though 47 states have "gift clauses" in their constitutions that prohibit government subsidies to private entities. In June, Arizona's Goldwater Institute successfully challenged official time for Phoenix police union officials. Arizona's Superior Court enjoined the practice, concluding that official time violated Arizona's gift clause because the union, not the city, "determines how the money is spent, by whom, and when."
Such challenges to official time are in their infancy—another is pending in Albuquerque, N.M.—but with time they should become more widespread. (In a sign of enduring union power, though, Phoenix signed a new contract with the police union in July that included official time; the Goldwater Institute has filed for a second injunction.)
Why should official time exist at all? Government-employee unions argue that because they represent many workers who don't become members, they should be subsidized by our government. But if workers don't value union representation enough to join the union, why should taxpayers pay for it?
Official time is a ruse for getting taxpayers to support union activities in the government workplace, including the lobbying of legislators for ever-more benefits. This effectively subsidizes unions so they can spend more dues income on political organizing. And it's all done without taxpayers' knowledge. It's a shadowy practice that must be stopped.
Mr. Factor, a professor of international politics and American government at The Citadel, is author of "Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind," recently published by Center Street.
Armed & Unionized
Reply #163 on:
October 26, 2012, 11:56:27 AM »
Police Union Intimidates California City Council
from Reason Magazine by Steven Greenhut
Many people were outraged this summer after a private investigator, with ties to a law firm that represents 120 police unions in California, made an apparently false report to the cops claiming that a councilman in the Orange County, California, city of Costa Mesa stumbled out of a bar drunk and was weaving all over the road as he drove home.
The clear goal was to embarrass a councilman who had been leading the charge in his city for pension reform, outsourcing, and other reforms. Evidence showed that the councilman, Jim Righeimer, had nothing to drink and did not stumble. Subsequently, other officials revealed similarly disturbing tactics from police in their cities.
Despite the revelations, police unions continue to behave as if nothing has changed, as they intimidate council members who refuse to go along with their demands for ever-higher pay and benefits, and protections from oversight and accountability.
Two councilmen in Fullerton, Bruce Whitaker and Travis Kiger, are experiencing disturbing attacks similar to the ones that Righeimer experienced. The Fullerton police union is angry at the role those men played in demanding reform in the wake of the horrific 2011 beating death by officers of a homeless man named Kelly Thomas.
The unions also dislike Whitaker’s and Kiger’s call for pension reform, their consideration of a plan—common in Orange County and elsewhere—to shift police services to the more cost-efficient and professional sheriff’s department.
The private eye mentioned above had ties to the Upland law firm of Lackie, Dammeier & McGill. The Orange County Register had reported on the political “playbook” which the lawyers had published on their web site until the ensuing bad publicity. The playbook detailed how police unions should bully elected officials into giving in to their demands. Although the Fullerton union uses a different firm, it is following a similar blueprint.
As the firm explained, the union “should be like a quiet giant in the position of, ‘do as I ask and don’t piss me off.’” It detailed the “various tools available to an association to put political pressure on the decision makers.” The firm advises police to “storm city council” and have union members and supporters chastise targeted council members “for their lack of concern for public safety,” even though the issue is about pay rather than safety.
The playbook even calls for the police to engage in dubious behavior—calling in sick (Blue Flu) even if officers are not sick and using the color of authority to scare residents (i.e., calling for unnecessary back-up units) into thinking there is a crime problem in their neighborhood. The scared residents will then, presumably, give the police more money.
In Fullerton, union members have repeatedly stormed the city council. The union has handed out free T-shirts and free hamburgers for those residents who went into the council chambers to support them.
Supporters have yelled at council members and leveled unsubstantiated charges designed to scare Fullerton residents into electing pro-union wastrels.
They have sent out one hit mailer after another. For instance, the union claims that the council’s failed vote to get a bid from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for the provision of police services amounts to “putting our families at risk,” something that would be news to the sheriff and her deputies.
Reminiscent of those “reefer madness” efforts from the 1950s, the union has transformed the council members’ irrelevant support for a statewide marijuana initiative into something ominously portrayed in mailers that proclaim, “Our neighborhoods could be full of marijuana dispensaries.” Even if the initiative passes, Fullerton’s law bans such dispensaries. And there is no evidence dispensaries “jeopardize our families’ safety,” although I understand why police are addicted to the federal cash that funds the drug war.
Kiger and Whitaker are freedom-oriented conservatives who oppose Fullerton’s DUI checkpoints on constitutional grounds, which has led the union to claim yet another assault of Fullerton’s tranquility. I’ve been driving through Fullerton during those infuriating checkpoints, forced to wait in lines on public streets as cops randomly poke around everyone’s cars, so I am glad some council members question this intrusion.
These are standard campaign efforts, perhaps, but these tactics don’t stop there. Kiger talks about a police officer who makes a “repeated false assertion to the public that I smoke marijuana.” Kiger also relayed an incident in which an officer followed him in a patrol car around town in what he viewed as a clear act of intimidation.
The officers claim the council race is all about “public safety,” but the union is backing a liberal candidate with no obvious commitment to actual safety issues, but who seems willing to support the pay and pension packages the union demands, and who was mostly silent during the Thomas incident.
“If I wasn’t able to contribute money, these councilmen wouldn’t be able to defend themselves against these union attacks,” said Tony Bushala, a local businessman and blogger who was the main supporter for a recall effort over the summer against three union-allied council members. “The unions put out a hit mailer every day, which explains the importance of Proposition 32.” That is the statewide paycheck-protection initiative that would stop unions from using automatic payroll deductions to fund political campaigns.
Last week, I wrote about a new study revealing that between 2005-2010 pension costs to the state government have soared by 94 percent for “public safety” officials. People often ask me why the state is in such a fiscal mess, why council members don’t implement reasonable reforms, and why so many localities are considering bankruptcy.
The answer can be found in Costa Mesa, Fullerton, and elsewhere. Most council members don’t have the courage or resources to stand up to the union fusillade. Until the public rejects these despicable union efforts, neither public services nor public finances will improve.
Reply #164 on:
October 26, 2012, 05:01:41 PM »
They should dissolve this dept. and use the Sheriff's Dept.
Reply #165 on:
November 16, 2012, 08:48:30 PM »
Day by Day on Hostess; POTB-- It's management's fault
Reply #166 on:
November 26, 2012, 07:02:49 AM »
Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 09:43:00 AM by Crafty_Dog
WSJ: There will be blood
Reply #167 on:
December 12, 2012, 07:27:34 AM »
By JAMES TARANTO
As the Michigan House debated a right-to-work measure today, a member of that august body warned of--or perhaps threatened--violence. "We're going to pass something that will undo 100 years of labor relations and there will be blood, there will be repercussions," WWJ-AM quotes Rep. Doug Geiss, a Detroit-area Democrat, as saying. "We will re-live the battle of the overpass."
The station offers a refresher in labor history: "The battle of the overpass was a bloody fracas in 1937 between union organizers and Ford Motor Co. security guards. [United Auto Workers organizer] Walter Reuther was famously thrown down a flight of stairs and another union organizer was left with a broken back."
So far this time there are no reports of violence or threats by management (unless you count Geiss, who is after all supposed to represent taxpayers, as part of "management" vis-à-vis government employees). But union leaders have echoed the violent rhetoric. WWJ quotes Terry O'Sullivan of the Labor International Union of North America, as saying at a rally, in reference to elected officials who support the right to work: "We are going to take you on and take you out."
MLive.com, a Michigan news site, reports that union thugs "tore down a large tent maintained by American's [sic] For Prosperity Michigan, which reserved the space to support the right-to-work legislation":
"We had been contacted by that group that they had three or four people that were actually trapped underneath the tent," said Lt. Mike Shaw. "Two of them were in wheelchairs and there was also a propane tank in there. So we had to send troopers out, and naturally, the crowd was not too receptive."
Several protesters booed and heckled mounted troopers who responded to the incident, calling them scabs and refusing to allow them through the crowd.
Scott Hagerstrom, executive director of AFP-Michigan, said his group had already ceded its reserved spot on the Capitol steps when protesters began ripping out support wires holding up the tent.
"The [sic] couldn't engage in a civil debate, and it's very unfortunate," Hagestrom said as he stood atop the fallen remnants.
Lori Dougovito of Flint's WJRT-TV reports on the station's Facebook page that a thug "told me it wouldn't have fell [sic] if it was union made"--a quote that nicely encapsulates the protection-racket nature of contemporary organized labor.
Steven Crowder, a Fox News contributor, tweets that he "was punched in the face four times" during the attack and adds that he didn't fight back because "the mob would have literally killed me." Glenn Reynolds posts video of the incident and writes: "The video shows numerous union representatives engaging in violent, illegal conduct. Their faces are clearly identifiable. I hope they will be prosecuted, and sued." Indeed.
Unionized nurses protest in Lansing.
BuzzFeed.com reports that "President Barack Obama launched an assault Monday on Michigan's proposed 'right to work' legislation." Unlike his supporters in Michigan, however, the president did not launch a literal assault. Speaking at a Daimler plant in Redford, just north of Geiss's hometown of Taylor, Obama said: "These so-called 'right to work' laws, they don't have to do with economics; they have everything to do with politics." There is some truth to that: Coercively collected union dues are an important source of funding for Democratic candidates and causes.
Obama went on to laud Big Labor: "You only have to look to Michigan--where workers were instrumental in reviving the auto industry--to see how unions have helped build not just a stronger middle class but a stronger America." By all means, let's look. Here's a report from TheTruthAboutCars.com:
Two years ago, a group of Chrysler workers were caught . . . drinking and doobing [i.e., smoking marijuana] on their lunch break. Not just that, they were caught on camera by a local TV station. The video went viral, and Chrysler was forthwith associated with quality enhanced by booze and marijuana. 13 workers were fired. Yesterday, they got their jobs back, courtesy of Chrysler's contract with the UAW.
The workers followed a grievance procedure process outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Chrysler and the United Auto Workers. The matter went to arbitration. Two years later, an arbitrator decided in the workers' favor, citing "insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold the dismissals." Apparently, a video wasn't good enough.
Chrysler was owned by Daimler until 2007.
The unions arguably brought right-to-work on themselves. Michigan's Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican who was elected in the wave of 2010, long resisted the measure, reports Tom Walsh of the Detroit Free Press:
Too divisive, he'd say. Why go to war with unions when there was a tax code to fix and a budget to balance to begin his reinvention of Michigan?
And what did Snyder's stance get him? Headaches, mostly. . . .
Public employee unions opposed Snyder's moves to put more teeth into emergency manager laws that would enable swifter action to rescue cities and school districts that bungled themselves into insolvency.
In Detroit, Mayor Dave Bing and a spineless City Council were stonewalled by employee unions at every turn, slow-walking needed reforms and cost-cutting while the city burned through cash at a frightening rate.
As a result, Snyder's patient attempt to help fix Detroit via consent agreement instead of imposing an emergency manager has failed.
To top it off, Snyder found himself having to fight off Proposal 2, the ill-advised November ballot attempt to stuff a bag of goodies for organized labor into the Michigan Constitution.
This is the third major state-level victory against Big Labor in the past two years, after Wisconsin's triumph over greedy government unions and Indiana's lower-profile right-to-work effort. "People always say this is a really tough battle, you can't win," Mark Mix of National Right to Work tells the Washington Examiner's Byron York. "Then one morning we woke up and guess what? We found out it wasn't nearly as strong as we thought." The violent rhetoric looks like a sign of weakness, not strength.
Twinkie union gets twinkies from feds
Reply #168 on:
February 25, 2013, 06:17:14 AM »
After Bankrupting Hostess, Union Workers Rake In The Federal Dough
Posted 02/22/2013 06:34 PM ET
Labor: Who says intransigence doesn't pay? After driving Hostess out of business by
refusing to negotiate, union bakers have been rewarded by the White House with Trade
Adjustment Assistance. It's all the foreigners' fault.
Politics: Who says intransigence doesn't pay? After driving Hostess out of business
by refusing to negotiate, the White House has decided to reward the union bakers
with Trade Adjustment Assistence, blaming foreigners. What a sweet deal.
Last November, Hostess Brands went into liquidation, throwing 18,500 employees out
of their jobs. The baking giant had been through two restructurings, but the company
All the same, most workers at the bread and pastry maker, famous for its Twinkies
and Ho Hos snack cakes, were willing to tighten their belts until good times
They included hard-line unions, such as the Teamsters, not known for making
But there was one exception: the AFL-CIO-affiliated Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco
Workers & Grain Millers International (BCTGM).
It refused to deal, taking the entire company, including fellow workers, down with it.
Turns out the union knew exactly what it was doing.
This week, the Labor Department decided to shower Hostess workers with Trade
Adjustment Assistance, a multibillion-dollar pork barrel program that was beefed up
as a bone to Democrats, who were blocking passage of three free-trade treaties in
Congress in 2012.
TAA is a lavish program doled out by the Labor Department for laid-off workers
who've lost their jobs due to "global trade."
It provides worker retraining due to the supposed evils of free trade — plus moving
expenses, baby-sitting expenses and as much as two years of unemployment pay. If a
worker ends up making less than his union salary afterward, Uncle Sam spots the
worker for 50% of the supposed lost wages in a "free" subsidy.
What's more, "virtually anybody can qualify," said TAA certifying officer Elliott
Kushner in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Kushner was the one who signed off on shoveling the pork to Hostess.
Two problems come with this scenario.
One, there is no evidence foreign baked goods — cited in his report — are flooding
into the U.S., putting bakery workers out of business.
Imports of baked goods have been basically flat since 2010, according to the Bureau
of Labor Statistics.
The Labor Department, meanwhile, notes that baking as a profession should see 2%
growth until 2020 — not big growth, but not negative, either.
As for the industry itself, the American Bakers Association reports that its key
concerns aren't imported goods, but soaring energy costs, high grain costs due to a
drought (and, no doubt, the Obama administration's inflexible ethanol mandate that
has made food grain scarcer) and the threat of environmental regulations that force
bakeries, regardless of size, to buy $500,000 catalytic oxidizers.
In Hostess' case, labor costs were almost certainly a factor. The Labor Department
says the average wage for bakers nationally is $11 an hour.
The unionized Hostess bakers were pulling in as much as twice that amount, which,
together with pensions, was what made the company uncompetitive.
Imports weren't the problem.
But it's so much easier to blame foreigners, even if no significant foreign goods
can be found.
This shows how something like the TAA can turn into a perverse incentive,
encouraging all workers to make no concessions in tough times, even if it means
saving their company.
The BCTGM union's intransigence was directly responsible for the liquidation of
Yet the same union is being rewarded with premium unemployment packages that
encourage its members to go on the dole — and to blame foreigners for it.
Undoubtedly, more examples of this perverse incentive will take down more companies,
an unintended consequence of a boondoggle that sounds good on paper.
It's not good. It's a reward for those who refuse to negotiate, and a sop to the
manipulative unions that are most adept at gaming the system.
This doesn't create value. It's corruption.
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