Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category
Deep in the list of taxes that the president’s Obamacare plan will hit Americans with is a 40 percent excise tax on health plans typical union members have, especially in Midwest states, according to a new analysis.
The Obamacare tax won’t take place until 2018, but when it does it will smack high cost, or so-called “Cadillac” health insurance plans, according to the group Americans for Tax Reform.
“This tax will most directly affect union families and early retirees, who are likely to be covered by such plans,” said ATR in a review of upcoming tax cuts in the health reform package set to go into effect in January. It will target plans whose premiums exceed exceed $10,200 for an individual and $27,500 for a family.
“Middle class union members tend to be covered by such plans in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan,” said ATR.
Unsaid: Many more people are likely to be hit if insurance firms raise premiums by up to 400 percent after Obamacare kicks in. A House report provided to Secrets said that 17 major insurers said the average premium increase will be 100 percent and others could top 400 percent.
ATR also warned that Americans participating in flexible spending accounts at work will no longer be able to put away whatever they want, thereby cutting their tax bill. The cap will be $2,500 a year, resulting in a $13 billion tax bill over the next 10 years for those who used to put away more than $2,500.
For much of the last four decades, the Alabama Education Association has risen to become one of the most powerful teachers’ unions in the country. As odd as it may seem in a dark red state, over the years long-time AEA executive director Paul Hubbert, oftentimes described as the “shadow governor” of Alabama, has earned his union the distinction of being one of the most politically involved organizations of its type in the country.
Hubbert and the AEA won one of their first major battles in 1971, when they were able to keep then-Democratic Gov. George Wallace from directing funds meant for education and diverting them to the state retirement system. Since that victory, Hubbert has been able to wield his power and influence in ways that are almost unfathomable to an outsider.
Under Hubbert, the teachers’ union head has employed such tactics as installing his own un-elected assistant in state legislature budget committee hearings to be called upon by the committee chairman and essentially re-writing the state’s budget with little or no regard for what the governor had submitted to the state legislature.
Hubbert himself has also played a visible role. Over the years, the teachers’ union head could be seen standing in the balconies of the Democratic-controlled legislature, giving hand signals to members of both chambers on which way to vote.
But the beginning of the end of the AEA’s reign of power came with the 2010 state office elections. The Republican Party took control of both chambers of the state legislature for the first time in 136 years. And shortly thereafter — at age 76, Hubbert retired as the AEA head and former Alabama State Finance Director Henry Mabry took them helm.
The newly elected Republican legislature and Republican Gov. Robert Bentley enacted measures to prohibit public employees from having dues for political activities paid through payroll draft. That measure is much like what Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and that state’s Republican-led legislature pushed in 2011.
But perhaps the biggest blow to the AEA came last week when the state legislature passed the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013, which made school choice, private or another public school, possible for the family of a student, if he or she is attending a failing school.
That legislation will provide income tax credits for families with students in a failing public school to attend a non-failing public or private school. It will also expand tax credits to individuals or businesses who donate scholarship money to non-failing schools.
Democratic State Rep. Mary Moore of Birmingham implied that the bill had a racial element. “Welcome to the new confederacy where a bunch of white men are now going to take over black schools,” Moore said according to a report last week from AL.com’s Kim Chandler.
The bill’s passage was heralded by conservatives and received national attention, with the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation celebrating it as “historic.”
Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, the mastermind behind the legislation, sees the court ruling and other efforts to thwart its passage as the teachers’ union’s last gasp.
“They look at this as an issue that’s a do-or-die issue thing,” Marsh told The Daily Caller. “They go to do all they can to defeat it. It’s unfortunate. But you know the AEA works for their union. They don’t work for the children or the parents of this state. We do. And this legislation was designed from day one to give those parents and children of those failing systems a shot. And that’s what it’s about.”
AL.com politics writer Charles Dean described it as “perhaps the single greatest defeat for the AEA in the last 44 years” for the once all-powerful entity.
The union’s relatively new head Henry Mabry, with just two years on the job, was dumbfounded.
“We were railroaded. We were lied to. Lawmakers lied to us. The Senate pro tem lied to us. … The governor lied to us,” Mabry told Charles Dean of The Birmingham (Ala.) News last week. Mabry’s own children attend private schools.
On Wednesday, the bill hit a speed bump as Democratic Montgomery (Ala.) Circuit Court Judge Charles Price temporarily blocked Gov. Bentley from signing the bill into law until questions are answered as to whether or not the tactics in passing the legislation had violated the Open Meetings Act.
However, Price’s ruling is expected to be struck down by the state’s higher courts, which are all controlled by Republicans, including the Alabama Supreme Court.
“We expected it,” Marsh said. “If you look at Judge Price’s history and his affiliation with just a liberal lean, I think it’s unfortunate because I think it’s pretty unprecedented in the judicial branch to involve itself in the legislative process. It’s one thing if the bill had been signed, but right now it’s a process.”
Alabama has traditionally struggled with its ranking among others states while teachers’ union’s power was at it heights under Hubbert. But in recent years, it has shown signs of improvement.
Nonetheless, the move according to Marsh is a step in the right direction since it takes the focus off “special interests.”
“It was a proud day for me because what you saw — this legislation truly was constructed, drawn by the legislature,” Marsh said. “I mean, if you look out there, no special interests were involved in this — AEA didn’t have a stake in it. Superintendents didn’t, the school boards didn’t. This is truly pure legislation — the legislature talked with members throughout the legislature to come up with something that would have the votes to get passed. I think it’s a great piece of legislation, and I think it’s a turning point in Alabama. And I truly pray the Supreme Court does the right thing and sends it on to the governor and lets him sign this, and let’s move forward.”
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/07/alabama-on-the-verge-of-breaking-powerful-teachers-union/#ixzz2MxMHKt7S
Editor’s note: Below is the video of author Mallory Factor’s speech at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2013 West Coast Retreat. The event was held February 22nd-24th at the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, California. A transcript of the speech follows.Mallory Factor: I don’t know if you know how unions run elections and are involved in elections. I’d like to give you an idea of how that works.
When a union official was talking to the head of elections for the union, he was talking — he said — how did it go? He said — well, I got some good news for you, and I got some bad news for you. Said — well, what could be good, if there’s bad news? Said — well, the bad news is that the guy we didn’t want to win got 53 percent of the vote. Said — well, what could the good news be? Said — the guy we wanted to win we got 54 percent of the vote for.
That tells you everything you need to know about unions and elections.
I am just deeply honored to be here with you today. And I mean, you have to thank David Horowitz for all that he’s done over the years. You have to.
And likewise, Mike Finch — I don’t know how he does all of this. I mean, that is –
But I thank all of you, really, the great Americans that support the Freedom Center. Your work is vital to keeping our country free and for preserving and defending our American way of life. I can’t thank you enough for having me at this terrific gathering.
The first time I attended a Freedom Center event was this past November at Restoration Weekend. Once I came to that forum, I could not believe that I hadn’t been there before. It was like coming home. And now, coming back together with you all here in California, it’s an even richer experience. Mike, I guess I’m going to have to write another book so I can be invited back next year to these events.
My friends, today I want to give you an overview of the landscape of government unions in America, and why government unions are a huge problem for our nation. I covered some of this ground at the last meeting, when I shared with you some of my discoveries in researching “Shadow Bosses,” which is my recent book on how unions impact our government.
But today, I’m going to give you some new information for the first time. I’m going to share with you how the unions impacted the 2012 elections and how they secured victory for President Obama. I’ll explain what we need to do to have a fighting chance in the next election cycle.
First, all the things that you’ve heard about private sector unions are true — the violence, the corruption, the feather bedding, the wasteful rules, the graft. But what I discovered in writing “Shadow Bosses” is that government employee unions are far, far worse for this nation. Private sector unions have to make sure that their demands are not so excessive that the employer is driven out of business.
Hostess’s bankruptcy — you know, the death of the Twinkie — is just the latest example of what happens when unions representing private sector workers make unreasonable demands on the employer. Unions end up negotiating members out of a job, as 18,500 Hostess workers learned firsthand. By the way, it was just announced that the unions that bankrupted Hostess will be receiving generous government subsidies.
But the picture’s entirely different for government employee unions. Outrageous concessions to these unions don’t drive the government out of business and throw union members out of jobs. Unwieldy union contracts just make government immensely bigger and more burdensome to you, the taxpayer.
Republicans and Democrats used to agree that collective bargaining for government employees is harmful to our nation. One of the most pro-union Presidents in American history, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, said that collective bargaining for government workers was wrong. Strikes against our government were “unthinkable and intolerable.” This is what Roosevelt believed. Even union officials thought the idea of a government employee union was a nonstarter.
George Meany, the former head of the AFL-CIO, actually said, and I quote — “it’s impossible to bargain collectively with government.” The Democrats then realized that they could use the unions as a piggybank for their election campaigns. Suddenly, Democrats were able to get campaign support for unions in exchange for supporting the union agenda. In January 1962, President Kennedy signed an executive order to give collective bargaining to federal workers. And since then, government employee unions have taken over the union movement and even the entire Democrat Party.
The power and the money in today’s labor movement is centered on government employee unions. Unions elect their own bosses. They elect government officials and legislators who grow the size of our government, hire more government employees, and give these employees higher pay and benefits. Then unions keep government inefficient by preventing it from reorganizing, from streamlining and from rightsizing.
There will be a tipping point when our government gets so big and government unions get so entrenched that America will no longer be able to support the enormous cost of running our government. And, my friends, we are rapidly approaching that point.
You may’ve heard that union membership is down. And you may expect that the problems of unions are just going to go away naturally over time. It’s true — less than seven percent of private sector workers are now union members. But for government workers, the picture’s completely different. Of the — it’s mindboggling — 20.5 million government workers, already 42 percent are represented by a union.
Teachers, firemen, policemen and postal workers — they’re the most unionized government employees. And government unions now represent almost every type of government worker, including office workers in state and local government, Treasury workers, state university professors. But even the Peace Corps workers, zookeepers and NASA scientists!
Most people believe that while many other types of government workers are now represented by big labor, our military and our national security employees can’t be unionized. My friends, is that really true? Not at all. Many of our vital national security employees have already been unionized — border patrol agents, FEMA, immigration and customs agents, TSA and civilian military personnel. All these workers have been unionized, leaving our nation exposed to union control, strikes and work slowdowns. Without almost anyone noticing. Twenty percent of our entire military, our Defense Department’s workforce; 60 percent of our civilian military, and over 40 percent of Homeland Security has already been unionized.
One of the main arguments against privatizing government functions within the national security sphere, [as] these functions are too important to be subject to market forces. But if these critical functions shouldn’t be subject to Adam Smith’s invisible hand, they certainly shouldn’t be subject to the iron fist of the labor unions.
Unions are on our military bases, they’re inside our Pentagon. Unions are determining workplace rules and norms, filing grievances and influencing personnel decisions at these sensitive job sites. One Defense Department attorney alerted us to a grievance filed by the union on a military base — the price of a can of soda had been raised from 50 to 55 cents. And this type of grievance is filed all the time, wasting our military’s limited resources.
There’s another danger — organizing any group of employees makes strikes among them more likely. Strikes are illegal for federal workers and many state and local government workers. But that doesn’t prevent strikes from happening. New York City transit workers, Tacoma, Washington teachers; Detroit teachers, Chicago teachers, postal workers — they’ve all gone on strike illegally.
The legendary Al Shanker, former head of the American Federation of Teachers, explained. And I quote — “One of the greatest reasons for the effectiveness of the public employees’ strike is the fact that it is illegal.” When the Professional Air Traffic Controllers struck in 1981 — in violation, of course, of federal law — PATCO President Robert Poli snapped, “The only illegal strike is an unsuccessful one.” And that’s still true today.
As unions gain a stranglehold over our government, we lose something as a nation. We lose control over our national security employees to private entities — labor unions. Unions are private entities working to maximize their profits. These private entities drive big government spending and overregulation of our economy. They are also having a greater and greater influence over who wins our elections.
During the 2012 elections, unions doubled down on political spending. And they did this to build a monumental voter registration, electioneering, and get-out-the-vote machine. As a result, the unions almost singlehandedly won reelection for Obama in 2012. People think that the Labor Movement is a subsidiary of the Democratic Party — they’re wrong. Today, the Democratic Party is a subsidiary of the Labor Movement.
Right after the election, Richard Trumka, head of the huge Federation of Unions, the AFL-CIO, claimed credit for Obama’s victory. The huge push by the nation’s labor unions, Trumka claimed, gave President Obama Ohio, Wisconsin and Nevada, which carry 34 electoral votes combined. And I quote — without the unions, “none of those states would be in the President’s column.” This is what Trumka puffed. My friends, he’s right.
Unions practically ran the ground game for the entire Democrat Party. Matter of fact, I think Obama should hold a state dinner for Trumka. He should, at the very least, continue to meet with Trumka, as he did in his first term, more often than he does with most members of his cabinet.
Unions spent $500 million on President Obama’s reelection campaign. A single union, the SEIU, which Obama had worked for, spent $74 million to reelect President Obama, making it Obama’s largest outside spender, dwarfing spending by any PAC.
But the unions’ biggest contribution to President Obama’s reelection was the manpower and organization on the ground. AFL-CIO registered more than 450,000 new voters leading up to the election, mostly in the swing states. AFL-CIO volunteers knocked on almost 14 million doors nationwide during the election. And this voter canvassing and mobilization machine was not shut down on Election Day. AFL-CIO pledged to build a long-term year-round mobilization structure to keep its issues on the front burner all year long, not just during the election season.
Unions increased their reach over the electorate by using powers available to them under the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United case. Liberals complain that this case gave corporations more leeway to spend on politics. But the real story in the 2012 election was about what this case did for the unions, not the corporations.
As a result of the Citizens United decision, unions can buy advertising and campaign materials for candidates using their immense dues income. And by the way, it’s a little over $14 billion a year, which we were able to show in “Shadow Bosses.” And for the first time in this election, unions were able to canvass and call voters who were not their members as a result of the changes under Citizens United. All these changes meant that unions could vastly increase their voter canvassing and reach in battleground states and swing more union and nonunion voters alike to President Obama and, of course, other people on the Democrat ticket.
In the battleground states, unions overloaded the political landscape with volunteers, many of whom they actually paid for their efforts. Unions put 400,000 members on the streets to work for Obama.
Rather than go into a whole bunch of states, let’s just take one state as an example — Ohio. The unions in Ohio gave the Democrat Party use of 1,800 local union offices as outposts for the Obama Campaign. These local union offices have been operating for years, engaged in the community and in community organizing, and they’ve done this on a year-round basis. The fact that the Obama Campaign used permanent offices with deep roots in the community gave it a huge edge over the Republican ticket, which largely used offices just set up for the presidential campaign.
The Obama Campaign also used local unions to get into the workplaces all over the state. Local unions appointed worksite coordinators for each unionized workplace in Ohio, as well as in other swing states. But we’re using Ohio as an example. The coordinators ran extensive worksite leafleting and education programs — education programs — to reach voters at their place of work. My friends, Republicans didn’t have anything comparable in terms of workplace access, because they don’t control workplaces like the unions do.
Unions registered, in just Ohio, 70,000 new voters and worked to get almost all of them to the polls. And in the last four days before the election, just in Ohio, union representatives contacted 800,000 Ohio voters. One union in particular, the SEIU, had a very carefully targeted plan to drive voter turnout in Ohio. With 2,300 full-time volunteers on the ground in just Ohio, in the last days of the campaign, the SEIU — Service Employees International Union — focused on African-American and Latino voters.
The SEIU also purchased radio ads and targeted calls aimed specifically at communities that vote reliably for President Obama. The message aimed at the African Americans urged use of early voting procedures to overcome alleged voter intimidation at the polls. They said, and I quote — “Those who don’t vote are playing into the hands of those who are trying to suppress the vote.” The result? In Ohio, African-American voters increased from 11 percent of the electorate in 2008 to 15 percent this past election, which alone made the difference in winning the state for President Obama. Obama won this state by about 103,000 votes. And unions made the difference multiple times over.
Unions have spent so much money on political action that they’ve developed very sophisticated political operations. If we don’t counter it effectively, the union political machine at some point could turn the Democrats into an undefeatable majority.
And, my friends, what type of voter registration, canvassing and get-out-the-vote machine did the Republican Party control in 2012? Nothing, nothing even approaching the scale of this well-coordinated and well-funded union political machine. Republicans matched the Democrats dollar-for-dollar in 2012, with each side spending about $1.2 billion on the presidential election. But Republicans didn’t have the benefit of using year-round field offices run by local unions.
And as we know, Republicans probably also, shall we say, prioritized the wrong things in their spending. For example, the Romney Campaign spent close to $500 million on mostly negative TV ads, almost all in the battleground states. Republican spending on TV for Romney exceeded Democrat spending on Obama ads by about $100 million. But a plethora of 30-second spots didn’t change hearts and minds. TV ads couldn’t counter the years the unions have invested in political infrastructure and community organizing, which they shared with the Obama Campaign.
If the Republican Party is going to survive as a major party in national politics, the party will have to build up its own political infrastructure that operates on a year-round basis, particularly in the battleground states. It would take a huge investment and years of work to develop a political arm for the Republican Party that could compete with the unions.
My friends, we may be right on the issues. But Republicans cannot hope to win elections without matching the boots on the ground that the unions provided for the Democrats in the battleground states. The Republican Party is going to have to look to a new paradigm to win 2016, and the time to start is right now.
Since the November 2012 elections, we’ve been told again and again that Republicans will have to secure Latino votes to win future presidential elections. Our pundits debate which potential GOP candidate will attract Latinos, and they suggest changes in our policies to appeal to this growing demographic group.
But while Republicans have been talking about how to court the Latino community, unions have pursued Latinos directly. Unions have been bringing Latinos into the union movement and have been selling the Democrat Party to Latinos and two other groups as well.
To do this, unions have changed their historic approach to immigrants and immigration. Up through the 1970s, unions were openly hostile to immigrants. Unions considered immigrants strike-breakers and competitors who undercut union workers on wages and benefits. But now unions are even treating the 11 million undocumented workers as potential union members and recruiting them.
Unions have made immigration reform one of their core issues today. The SEIU has committed 2.1 million members for the fight for immigration reform and is planning extensive lobbying, rallies and member education on immigration. AFL-CIO Trumka embraces President Obama’s Pathway to Citizenship for illegal immigrants. Trumka explained that the President understands that empowering immigrant workers — and I’m quoting — “is a win for all working people.” Translation — turning immigrants into union members is a win for the shadow bosses and the labor unions.
Unions are courting immigrant and nonimmigrant Latinos to bolster their numbers. A number of unions, especially SEIU, have aligned themselves with immigrant groups and are actively organizing workplaces which rely on immigrant labor — you know, workplaces such as — that have janitors, home healthcare workers, domestic workers — they’ve all been unionized under this new initiative.
And my friends, the strategy’s working! Nationwide — and we’ve just been able to put this together — unions have gained a net of 156,000 Latino members in 2012, many of them immigrants. That also is about $150 million in additional dues, too.
While union membership declined in many states, union membership grew in California and in right-to-work states — Congressman Gohmert — like Texas and other Southwestern states, which the AFL-CIO credits to increases in Latino union membership. These gains are critical. And this is going to shock you all, because this is a new number — because unions have lost in 2012 an astounding 547,000 white members.
By building immigrant Latino membership, unions are riding the tide of growth in the Latino population. But at the same time, unions are also cementing an alliance between Latinos and the Democrat Party. It’s just another way unions are working hand-in-glove with the Democrats to achieve a permanent Democratic majority.
I want to conclude now, fairly rapidly. Because I see my time is going pretty fast, and I want to take some Q&As.
The key to curbing the influence of labor unions is to cut off the flow of the money into their coffers. There are a number of ways to do this. And the best way to do it is by strengthening workers’ rights. States can break up union monopoly over government employees, as Wisconsin did. States can enact right-to-work laws, as Indiana and Michigan did. The result in each case is fewer workers paying dues because they’re not forced to pay dues to keep their job, which means less income for the unions.
The big takeaway, though, isn’t just reducing union revenues; it’s increasing workers’ freedom — increasing their freedom to make a decision if they want a union in their workplace, if they want to have a union represent them. Believe it or not, of all the union members in government, less than seven percent ever voted for or against a union.
These members have had almost no rights. And that’s how we have to approach this. And they need to be able to decide, the workers need to be able to decide, if they want to pay a union. When workers are given these rights, unions will diminish, or unions will have to do something better to serve the workers. They’re going to have to do something for them to join them.
At the same time, the Republican Party needs to come up with an action plan to match the superior forces on the ground that unions provide to the Democrat Party. It’s not just enough to spend money on media and for the consultants to collect their 15 percent, and hope that this counteracts the sea of volunteers. [What] we need is in-person voter contacts that the unions do so well. The Republican Party needs to develop its own year-round political infrastructure on the ground. It’ll be expensive, it’ll take time, but we need to get started.
My friends, it’s going to take us all to stop labor unions and the Democrats from taking America further down the path to socialism and decline, and they’re doing this with each successive election. You, my friends here — you here are the heroes in this battle. And your support of the Freedom Center is just one part of it. You’re the people that are leading the fight to make sure government is held accountable to the people.
Our greatest battles are ahead of us. The fight will be long and hard. But with the help of each of you, we can ensure America’s freedom and America’s prosperity into the future.
I want to thank all of you for what you do to keep America the greatest country on earth. Thank you.
Unidentified Speaker: Mallory, thank you very much. Tremendously illuminating.
Can you comment on union elections, undocumented or illegal aliens, and the policies of the INS?
Mallory Factor: Thank you.
Something just came out over the past couple of days. And unions are willing to go very far to attract immigrants to their ranks. In a dramatic new development, unions are actually protecting immigrants who are potential union members against America’s own labor and immigration laws.
A recent example involves a company called Palermo’s Villa. It’s a Milwaukee, Wisconsin frozen pizza manufacturer that sells to Costco. The United Steelworkers have been trying to organize the largely Hispanic workforce at Palermo with the help of [Foch es] de la Frontera, which is an immigration rights group. In the midst of these organizational efforts, Palermo faced an immigration audit which required the company to ask each worker for proof of work eligibility. The company was compelled and did fire workers who did not comply, as federal law requires. Makes sense, right? Workers struck over this eligibility verification. It’s astonishing that they did.
Even more astonishing is how the federal government responded to the labor dispute of them striking. After union officials complained about the firings to the Obama Administration, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, halted its immigration investigation against Palermo.
Was ICE satisfied that Palermo had resolved its immigration issue? That’s not it. You can’t make this up, this is just shocking — an agreement between the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department actually requires this — if a union and an employer are engaged in a dispute over organizing workers, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency is barred from pursuing an immigration investigation of the workplace under this agreement. A pro-immigrant group explained that this agreement means ICE can’t take action against workers who have a false Social Security number or a borrowed employment authorization document to get a job in any workplace in which there’s an ongoing labor dispute.
My friends, enforcement of our laws apparently now takes a backseat to labor unions’ right to organize workplaces. This is exactly the type of outcome that we should expect when we let labor unions get deep into our federal government.
In 1973, there was a very famous case — it’s called US versus Enmons, a Supreme Court case that involved striking electrical workers who allegedly fired high-powered rifles at three utility company transformers. They drained oil from the transformers, and they blew up a substation. The Court decided that their acts were not wrongful –
– and that they couldn’t be prosecuted under federal extortion laws, because they were in the furtherance of legitimate union goals.
Unidentified Speaker: Whoa.
Unidentified Speaker: Wow.
Mallory Factor: And these goals being improving the outcome of a strike.
Some federal and state laws actually carve out labor union exceptions from laws regulating criminal conduct, such as stalking, trespassing. And we go into this in the book in great detail. Now, there was a bill put in, I think, from Georgia, Congressman Gingrey, to solve this problem. Can’t even get it on the floor, can’t even get it on the floor, with a Republican House. Because Republicans are afraid that the unions could hurt them.
Anyway, thank you, yes. We go into great detail in it, and there’s a whole chapter on that. And some of the stuff is just shocking. I mean, the idea that union violence and coercion is legal, and we can’t even correct it. Thank you.
Unidentified Audience Member: Can you tell us how many states have the right-to-work laws and how we can get more states to take the same approach?
Mallory Factor: Twenty-three — 24 now, I guess, with the last one — states are right-to-work. And basically, right-to-work doesn’t mean — do you all understand what right-to-work means? Okay, let me help you out here. First of all, right-to-work does not mean that you can stop a union from taking away your First Amendment rights. I mean, a union collectively bargains for you, and you have no right to stop them from doing that. This is under federal law. What it means is you don’t have to pay a union to keep your job. That’s all it means.
There are seven states, however, where if you’re a government employee you don’t have to have a union represent you. And these states, obviously, have the lowest unionization rates in government employees. But only seven states, not all the other right-to-work states. And most people don’t have any idea about it. We go into that in the book in detail, because that’s even more shocking.
Remember, if you have a job, and there’s a union in your workplace, even if you’re a right-to-work state, the union still represents you. You just don’t have to pay them dues. Obama wants to get right-to-work abolished by taking a little tiny section of the Labor Relations Act — it’s called section 14b, just a few words. And that goes, there’s no right-to-work states any longer.
Anyway, I could go on for days. If anybody wants to read “Shadow Bosses,” I’ll be happy to sign it for you. I know a lot of you have it already. And thank you all for being so generous and telling me that, it’s made me feel great. And thank you, Mike.
Barack Obama and his union buddies have made it clear what they mean by “immigration reform.” That is, a clear path to citizenship for the 11 million people who are in this country illegally.
If they get their way, guess how many of those new citizens will become Democratic voters?
And guess how many will be targets for union membership?
So it should come as no surprise that when the President gave a major speech on immigration reform in Las Vegas earlier this year, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka was invited to sit in the front row. Afterward, Trumka said it was clear what the top priority of any such program must be: citizenship and all of its privileges for anyone who is in this country illegally.
For “privileges,” read “voting Democratic.” Oh, and “paying union dues.”
The Services Employees International Union says that it will spend millions of dollars to rally support for such legislation. Top officials of the SEIU have made it clear that passage of such a bill is their top priority this year.
No wonder. In recent years, Hispanics have comprised the fastest-growing segment of union membership. According to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, their numbers jumped by 21 percent over the past decade and now make up one-quarter of SEIU membership. Meanwhile, over the same 10-year period, white union membership declined by 13 percent.
One of the biggest problems the unions are facing is that when workers aren’t forced to join a union, many won’t. After Indiana passed a right-to-work law last year, union membership in the State declined by 18 percent. In Wisconsin, passage of a right-to-work law in 2011 led to a huge and bitter battle to rescind the legislation and force Governor Scott Walker out of office. When that effort failed, union membership in the State declined by more than 13 percent.
No wonder the unions are licking their chops at the thought of organizing a substantial chunk of the 11 million immigrants who are in this country illegally. They will be satisfied with nothing less than a quick and easy path to citizenship. Hopefully, Republicans in Congress will stand fast and make sure they don’t get it.
By the way, one thing the unions definitely don’t want included in any immigration reform is an effective guest worker program. While Big Labor likes to claim that temporary workers would “steal American jobs,” that’s a bunch of hooey. Granting citizenship to 11 million illegal aliens would enable them to “steal” a lot more jobs than guest workers could ever dream of filling.
No, the reality is that temporary workers don’t join unions or pay union dues. Is it any surprise that the unions don’t want them here? No wonder Barack Obama omitted any mention of a guest worker program in his immigration speech. Nor did it appear in the White House’s paper on immigration principles.
Senator Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants who has emerged as a leading Republican spokesman for a compromise solution, has said: “The bottom line is that if we can’t convince people of all backgrounds, including Americans of Hispanic descent, that limited government and free enterprise is a better way, not just for them, but for the country, not only is the conservative movement doomed, but ultimately I think America is doomed, in terms of us continuing being an exceptional nation.”
That’s pretty optimistic, don’t you think?
Another Battle Big Labor Wants To Win
Remember the brouhaha that erupted a year ago, when Obama appointed three new members to the National Labor Relations Board without allowing the Senate to “advise and consent”? The President said he could do so because they were “recess” appointments when the Senate was not in session.
The problem was that the Senate said it was in session. The chamber met every day, even if just for a few moments, precisely to stop the President from doing what he did. The dispute soon moved to the courts.
Last month, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled unanimously that Obama violated the Constitution by making the appointments. As a result, the NLRB lacked a legal quorum since January 2012, which means that every decision it issued in the past 13 months could be thrown out.
Two weeks ago, the President re-nominated two of the people he appointed: former Labor Department official Sharon Block and former union lawyer Richard F. Griffin Jr., both pro-union stalwarts. (Obama’s third nominee had previously resigned and did not seek reappointment.)
This time around, Obama did submit the nominations to the Senate, so the upper chamber can fulfill its traditional role to “advise and consent.” Look for a lively battle over their confirmations.
But you can expect even more fireworks — and lawsuits — over the activities of the NLRB. Chairman Mark Pearce has announced that he disagrees with the Federal court ruling and is going to carry on as though nothing happened.
As a result, one critic (Home Depot co-founder and former chairman Bernie Marcus) declared in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal: “After making hundreds of decisions that killed jobs and increased economic uncertainty, the board is set up to decide a hundred more.”
Marcus issued his statement in his new role as head of a new nonprofit organization he helped found, the Job Creators Alliance. He explained: “Today, many job creators are being punished for doing business. Confiscatory taxes. Suffocating regulations. Stifling energy costs. Businesses that have joined the Job Creators Alliance face these challenges every day. Now they must also endure a rogue agency thumbing its nose at an unambiguous and unanimous court ruling. How are they supposed to have the confidence to invest and create jobs?”
Legislation has been introduced in Congress that will bar the NLRB from enforcing any decisions until it has a quorum that has been approved by the Senate. But don’t expect it to be passed anytime soon, and don’t expect the NLRB chairman to pay attention if it is passed.
Marcus got it right when he wrote: “Worried business owners don’t invest, expand and create jobs. They hunker down and try to survive.”
That’s a pretty good description of what all of us will have to do as long as Obama sits in the White House and Democrats control the Senate. The next two years will require every Constitutionalist to “hunker down and try to survive.”
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
CHICAGO (EAG News) — The Chicago Teachers Union is not just about looking out for its members’ interests. The union wants to fundamentally change America, too.
That shift occurred when the radical Karen Lewis was elected as its president two years ago. She’s best known for mocking U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s lisp and for taking on – and defeating – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the district’s first teachers’ strike in a generation.
CTU leaders have been on a victory lap of sorts since the September strike, with union activists seeing themselves as protectors of union power during a time of membership decline and education reform at the state and local level.
They’ve also taken on the role of social activities, fighting for causes like the Occupy movement and gay marriage, which have nothing to do with education.
Some union leaders have called for violence and other radical tactics to achieve social goals.
When Lewis appeared at the Illinois Labor History Society’s “Salute to Labor’s Historic Heroes from the History Makers of Today,” she didn’t disappoint the crowd. She threw gasoline onto the fire of class warfare, and even mentioned mob killings of wealthy Americans.
“… Do not think for a minute that the wealthy are ever going to allow you to legislate their riches away from them. Please understand that. However, we are in a moment where the wealth disparity in this country is very reminiscent of the robber baron ages. The labor leaders of that time, though, were ready to kill. They were. They were just – off with their heads. They were seriously talking about that.”
Some in the audience laughed and clapped at her remark.
“I don’t think we’re at that point,” Lewis laughingly replied, without specifying when “that point” might arrive. “And that’s scary to most people. But the key is they think nothing of killing us. They think nothing of putting our people in harm’s way. They think nothing of lethal working conditions.”
She then used schools without air conditioning as an example of “lethal working conditions.”
The true labor leaders of the “robber baron” age would probably roll over in their graves and remind Ms. Lewis that she and her colleagues have it quite good.
Big salaries with an average income in the $70,000 range. Generous benefits and pensions. Limited work days and nine-month work years. What are these people complaining about?
Lewis also used the occasion to mock “job creators.”
“Which side are you going to be on? So are we going to be on the side of justice? Are we going to be on the side of a living wage for every person? Or are we going to be on the side of people whose entire mentality is based on a lie. ‘Job creators.’ Really? Then why have we lost so many jobs?”
With such a cynical, un-American attitude coming from their union president, does anyone really expect Chicago teachers to introduce students to the many virtues of the free market system, or the nobility of taking a risk to become an entrepreneur and therefore a “job creator”?
As domestic terrorist-turned-professor Bill Ayers acknowledged, leftists have the power in our schools and classrooms, and they’re taking full advantage.
The Chicago Teachers Union is the tip of the spear in terms of “social justice unionism.” It’s a union led by far-left radical activists who are determined to alter American society through our schools and children. Advocating for the interests of teachers is simply a means toward a larger and nastier goal.
Comment by Bob Long – This is what happens when you have affirmative action, cause she is so stupid she could not have made it out of kindergarten without affirmative action. but, I am white, and I suppose you will call me a racist. go ahead you have for years, means NOTHING to me now. I have no white guilt. I have pride for my country, most of them cant say that, we know now, that they hate America as founded. So why would I put my kids in a school with people like this in charge.
By Michelle Malkin
It’s not about jobs. It’s not about safety. It’s not about improving dockworkers’ living standards. The looming, long-planned East and Gulf Coast port strikes are about protecting Big Labor’s archaic work practices and corrupt waterfront rackets.
Are you ready for a fiscal cliff? The union bosses of an estimated 14,500 workers at 15 ports are preparing to send the economy plunging back into recession over productivity and efficiency rules changes. You read that right. Much more on that in a moment. But first, here’s what’s at stake.
The International Longshoremen’s Association’s (ILA) grip extends from Boston to Texas to Florida and all points across the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. The New York-New Jersey ports — which handle cargo valued at $208 billion — could come to a standstill. National Retail Federation executive Jonathan Gold issued a desperate statement: “The last thing the economy needs right now is another strike, which would impact all international trade and commerce at the nation’s East and Gulf Coast container ports. This is truly a ‘container cliff’ in the making.”
Retailers have begged Big Labor-lovin’ President Obama to intervene. Good luck with that. The cozy White House powwow with union bosses immediately after Election Day tells you all you need to know about which side Obama champions.
The United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), which represents 14 Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, has been bracing for a union-spearheaded shutdown since the summer, when labor negotiations fell apart. The ILA’s current contract expired on Sept. 30. Federal mediators granted a 90-day extension that ends on Dec. 29. ILA President Harold Daggett won a unanimous green light earlier this month to call a strike if industry leaders don’t give in completely to the union’s demands. According to my sources, despite overwhelming industry concessions on wages and benefits, port watchers view the likelihood of a strike at “probably 70 to 85 percent now.”
Don’t believe the union sob stories. ILA members are among the highest paid union workers in the country. Starting pay for dockworkers is $20 an hour, with a top straight-time pay rate of $32 an hour. Longevity and overtime bonuses are generous, with ILA members earning an average of more than $124,000 a year in wages and benefits.
The sticking points of the heated ILA-USMX talks are “container royalties” (a fee per ton of containerized cargo that carriers pay to ILA members) and “customs and practice.” On the New York-New Jersey waterfront, union racketeers have turned archaic work rules into a corrupt system of patronage tied to organized crime. Reporter Carl Horowitz of the National Legal and Policy Center broke down the container royalty dispute this fall: “In 2011 these royalties amounted to $232 million or about $15,500 per worker at Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports. This arrangement was established in 1960 when New York Longshoremen sought to protect themselves against job losses resulting from the introduction of automated cargo container weighing. It’s been a ticket for inefficiency.”
In other words, it’s a ridiculously outdated surcharge on business to cushion the blow of modernity to workers. Unions, of course, siphon off a large chunk of the royalties — more than $20 million last year alone, according to the Supply Chain Digest. The trade publication points out that “ILA workers receiving those hefty checks today have no real connection to the perceived threat from container traffic to manually loaded freight and handling work that started the whole program in the 1960s.”
USMX hasn’t even called for eliminating the outdated fees. It just wants to cap them. Under the industry’s contract proposal, ILA’s average hourly rate would increase to more than $55, including overtime and container royalty. Workers would still not be required to pay premiums on their health care plans like most private employers now require their workers to do.
But the union won’t budge, and it is screaming bloody murder over attempts to rein in other inefficiencies.
The additional “customs and practice” that the ILA seeks to preserve are a recipe for corruption. Don’t take industry’s word for it. This was the conclusion this year of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. Decades of favoritism, nepotism and Mafia-friendly hiring practices have bred inefficient and criminal conditions that benefit “a privileged few.” The union protects no-show and no-work jobs, 24-hour paid work for 8-hour-a-day-or-less clerks, and unlimited paid vacation for shop stewards. ILA has demanded that multiple crane operators be paid for the work of a single operator. And the commission’s hearings exposed ILA bosses tied to mobsters and family members being paid more than $400,000 a year for up to 27 hours a day.
Union bosses and their Occupy Wall Street henchmen will be ratcheting up their rhetoric about “greed” and “fat cats” as they move to ring in the New Year by bringing the American economy to its knees. Now you know the rest of the story.
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010).