Labor Unions Swindle Workers and Shakedown Employers

July 30, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

In a nutshell, unions are legal cartels that work to increase members’ pay by controlling the supply of labor, removing competition. The linked article is a good example of how, over time, unions almost inevitably move from serving workers’ interests to being little better than strong-arm rackets out for themselves.

Originally posted on KATY GRIMES:

Labor unions are bad for workers and employers. But sometimes the good guys prevail.

The lawsuit filed by a Fresno farmworker against members of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board alleging civil rights violations will move forward to trial, a federal judge just ruled last week.

Silvia Lopez

In February of this year, Gerawan Farming worker Silvia Lopez sued the gubernatorial appointees and regional staff of the ALRB alleging that their refusal to count the Gerawan farmworkers’ decertification votes violated her 1st and 14th Amendment rights.

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board says it exists to protect the rights of all agricultural employees, including those not wanting labor organization representation, as is the case with Gerawan Farming employees. However, Gerawan farming employees say they have not received any assistance from the ALRB.

Whenever they can, labor unions historically try to gain control over entry into the labor market. “Such measures are for…

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Seattle: $15 minimum wage already costing jobs

May 28, 2014
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the minimum wage!”

And it’s not even in effect, yet.

But, it’s not surprising. Business managers have to plan for the future, and a looming huge increase in their labor cost will force many to rethink how they do business in Seattle, if they continue to do business there at all. Writing for the free-market Washington Policy Center, Erin Shannon reports on how small businesses are planning to cut back on hiring, delaying expansion, or moving out of the city to deal with the new wage law. Most striking, though, is the account of one business owner who supported the law, but now thinks she may have made a mistake:

One of those business owners is a well-known and active supporter of “progressive” labor policies, including a higher minimum wage. Jody Hall, owner of Cupcake Royale, initially supported a $15 minimum wage. But now Hall admits the proposed policy is, “keeping me up at night like nothing ever has.”

While Hall has serious concerns with Mayor Ed Murray’s plan to phase in a $15 minimum wage over seven years with a temporary tip credit, her biggest fear is if voters approve the radical charter amendment sponsored by the group 15Now. The charter amendment would force all large employers to begin paying $15 in 2015, and would give small business owners just three years to acclimate to the high wage. And the 15Now proposal would not allow for any tip credit.

If the charter amendment passes, Hall says she would be forced to close half of her seven locations and lay off 50 of her 100 workers.

But beyond the differences between Mayor Murray’s proposal or the more aggressive 15Now proposal, Hall says she now has “serious second thoughts” about a $15 minimum wage in general, especially since Seattle would be “going it alone” with a wage that is significantly higher than any other minimum wage in the nation.

Hall’s second thoughts about a $15 minimum wage have led to second thoughts about expanding her business. She was set to open a new business in Seattle this year, but has tabled the plan until after voters have their say on the charter amendment in the November election. Hall says if she considers any new locations before then, they will be outside the city limits.

In other words, when progressivism meets economic reality, guess which wins? You would think a successful businesswoman like Hall would have seen this coming. Maybe she thought she’d get a waiver from Obama.

And pay special attention to her comment about “going it alone.” As minimum wage increases are applied and then have the same effect in various places, there will be more and more calls from the fairness crowd to apply these laws statewide and even nationwide, to make sure business owners can’t just move to a friendlier jurisdiction, which would be “unfair.” The minimum wage thus becomes a wedge issue in an attack on local control, federalism, and jurisdictional competition, things progressive just hate, because their favored policies usually fail.

Meanwhile, I want to thank Seattle for volunteering to be a case study on the foolishness of government control of wages.

via Adrian Moore

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Cry me a river: union head finds he doesn’t like #Obamacare after all

March 9, 2014
"Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth."

“Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth.”

Sorry, Don Taylor, head of Unite Here, but Obamacare is working as intended, and your members are getting getting it, good and hard:

A national union that represents 300,000 low-wage hospitality workers charges in a new report that Obamacare will slam wages, cut hours, limit access to health insurance and worsen the very “income equality” President Obama says he is campaigning to fix.

Unite Here warned that due to Obamacare’s much higher costs for health insurance than what union workers currently pay, the result will be a pay cut of up to $5 an hour. “If employers follow the incentives in the law, they will push families onto the exchanges to buy coverage. This will force low-wage service industry employees to spend $2.00, $3.00 or even $5.00 an hour of their pay to buy similar coverage,” said the union in a new report.

“Only in Washington could asking the bottom of the middle class to finance health care for the poorest families be seen as reducing inequality,” said the report from Unite Here. “Without smart fixes, the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage,” said the report, titled, “The Irony of Obamacare: Making Inequality Worse.”

Unite Here was the first union to endorse then-Senator Obama in his quest for the White House and the union was a staunch supporter of the ACA’s passage. Nice reward for all that loyalty, eh?

Once again, it seems the well of my sympathy has run dry. Darn.

Of course, everything Taylor complains about is a feature of Obamacare, not a bug. The Left intended this anti-constitutional monstrosity to be a massive wealth redistribution vehicle, and the middle class, including Unite Here’s members, is the fatted calf at the feast.

Dear Don: You’re welcome.

Don’t forget that unions were among the first to receive the now-infamous Obamacare waivers, in this case for the tax on their “Cadillac” health plans that provide extensive and expensive benefits at little cost to the member. Now it’s finally dawning on these schmucks what has been clear to Obamacare critics for years: that the law creates perverse incentives for employers to cut hours or even dump employees onto the exchanges in order to reduce Obamacare-caused costs.

We tried to tell them, but all we received in return were insults and threats.

Hence my lack of sympathy for Taylor and other union Pied Pipers who lead their members down the garden path and off the cliff.

But I do have a fair bit of sympathy for rank and file members (1), and for them I have a suggestion: You were either lied to deliberately by leaders seeking to increase their own power, or lead by fools who couldn’t see what was plain to the rest of us — that Obamacare was an oncoming disaster of epic proportions. Now it’s here, and you can see you were foolish to trust these people.

It’s too late to avoid the harm that’s already been done, but there is something you can do. Next November 4th, when you go to vote, take a look at the letter after the candidate’s name. If you see a D… vote for the Republican, instead. Fixing Obamacare won’t be easy, but at least we know the right way to fix it:

Repeal it, burn it with fire, and scatter the ashes.

Oh, and stop listening to your union leaders, too. They really don’t have your best interests at heart.

via Rick Moran

Footnote:
(1) I am, after all one of them. A Teamster, to be specific.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Minimum Wage: West Virginia Democrats exempt themselves

February 28, 2014

500px-Flag_of_West_Virginia.svg

Weird, isn’t it? If having the state mandate higher and higher wages for everyone is such a good idea, why on Earth would WV House Democrats vote to exempt themselves from a law being imposed on everyone else?

Last week, the Democrat controlled House in West Virginia passed legislation raising the state’s minimum wage to $8.75 an hour, $1.50 higher than the federal minimum wage. The action is part of a nation-wide effort by Democrats to make a minimum wage increase central to their platform for the midterm elections. The increase didn’t effect all workers, though. Democrats exempted many of their own staff from the wage hike. Businesses may have to pay the higher wages, but the legislature will avoid many of the consequences. 

Why, it’s almost as if West Virginia Democrats didn’t believe in private what they were preaching in public.

But we all know that can’t be.

via reader Lance

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Minimum Wage Laws: Sabotaging the Ladder of Economic Opportunity

February 23, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

The only people who truly benefit from minimum wage increases are union bosses, who salivate at the prospect of more dues coming in, money they can use to buy legislators.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

If I banged my head against the wall every time politicians advocated bad policy in Washington – which is a tempting impulse, I would have been institutionalized because of brain damage a long time ago.

But it’s difficult to maintain my self control when I think about minimum wage laws.

All sentient human beings should know higher minimum wage laws will mean more unemployment. Just ask them, for instance, what would happen if the minimum wage was raised to $100 per hour. Once they admit that would lead to massive job losses, they’ve accepted the principle and it’s simply an empirical issue of figuring out how many jobs are lost when the minimum wage is $75, $50, $20, $10, $6, etc.

At the risk of stating the obvious, businesses seek to make money and they won’t hire somebody who can only produce $6 of value per hour if…

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Tennessee VW workers rejected the UAW because of… racism!

February 23, 2014
Chattanooga VW workers, per MSNBC

Chattanooga VW workers, per MSNBC

But, of course.

According to MSNBC pundit Timothy Noah, workers at the Chattanooga Volkswagen assembly plant rejected membership in the United Auto Workers union because they were a bunch of mouthing-breathing, knuckle-dragging, Southern racists:

“The South has always been hostile territory for union organizing. Y’know, as Harold said, the culture war in the South trumps the class war. You already have in a number of Southern states right to work laws, which means that even if they had unionized the plants, those who benefited from the presence of that union wouldn’t have had to pay union dues if they didn’t feel like it. So you’re in an overwhelmingly hostile climate.

And the opposition I gather, through, portrayed this as a kind of northern invasion, a re-fighting of the Civil War. Apparently there are not a lot of, uh, black employees in this particular plant. And so, that kind of, uh, uh, uh, waving of the Confederate flag was an effective strategy.”

Yep, those Johnny Rebs in Tennessee just took a pull on the whiskey jug, channeled the spirit Jeff Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest, and voted down the union, because they wanted to re-fight the Chattanooga campaign. It couldn’t have been because they made a rational economic decision as free people that the union didn’t provide enough benefits to warrant the dues they’d have to pay. Nah. It just had to be because there were so few Blacks there in the workforce that they weren’t afraid to show their real, neo-Confederate faces.

Who’s the bigot again, Timmy?

RELATED: Naturally, the UAW wants the NLRB to overturn the election results and call a new vote. Typical: If you can’t win, vote and vote again until the rubes vote the way they’re told. What do they think this is, the EU?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


My heart breaks: labor unions feel stabbed in the back by #Obamacare

February 2, 2014
"Revenge of the angry mob"

“Revenge of the angry union members”

And by The One, himself. Like Moe Lane, I find it a bit difficult to choose between laughing and pointing at the naive union leaders who didn’t think Barack Obama would throw them under the bus, or just quietly smiling while they reap the whirlwind of their foolishness and greed:

Labor leaders who have spent months lobbying unsuccessfully for special protections under the Affordable Care Act warned this week that the White House’s continued refusal to help is dampening union support for Democratic candidates in this year’s midterm elections.

Leaders of two major unions, including the first to endorse Obama in 2008, said they have been betrayed by an administration that wooed their support for the 2009 legislation with promises to later address the peculiar needs of union-negotiated insurance plans that cover millions of workers.

Their complaints reflect a broad sense of disappointment among many labor leaders, who say the Affordable Care Act has subjected union health plans to new taxes and mandates while not allowing them to share in the subsidies that have gone to private insurance companies competing on the newly created exchanges.

After dozens of frustrating meetings with White House officials over the past year, including one with Obama, a number of angry labor officials say their members are far less likely to campaign and turn out for Democratic candidates in the midterm elections.

“We want to hold the president to his word: If you like your health-care coverage, you can keep it, and that just hasn’t been the case,” said Donald “D.” Taylor, president of Unite Here, the union that represents about 400,000 hotel and restaurant workers and provided a crucial boost to Obama by endorsing him just after his rival Hillary Rodham Clinton had won the New Hampshire primary.

Taylor and Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, laid out their grievances this week in a terse letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), saying they are “bitterly disappointed” in the administration.

Be sure to read the whole thing there; it’s not just Obamacare the union leaders are angry about — their whole agenda seems to have found its way under the bus. Card check, too, thankfully, has been left to die. And what really bugs them, I think, is that Obama won’t abuse his power to help them. Everyone else, it seems, sure. But unions that literally in some cases emptied the treasury to help get him elected twice? Nada. As a consequence, the article points out, this could lead to less than enthusiastic turnout and campaign support in November.

Darn.

Moe’s right. Time to sit back, enjoy, and not get in the way of our opponents turning on each other. (1)

Footnote:
(1) Other than to point out, gently, in a friendly, sympathetic manner to an upset private union member that there is a better way, and that it starts by not listening to their union bosses and voting against the Democrats, both of whom got him or her into this mess in the first place.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Man-of-the-people President to celebrate Labor his way

August 30, 2013

Because nothing says “fighting for the middle class” more than headlining a fundraiser where a single plate costs more than many people make in a year:

President Obama will travel to Los Angeles on Sept. 9 to recognize organized labor.

Obama will appear at the AFL-CIO convention, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Thursday.

That night the president will also appear at a $32,400 per plate Hollywood fundraiser held at the home of Marta Kauffman, the co-creator of the sitcom “Friends,” according to an invitation obtained by the Sunlight Foundation.

The White House is billing the appearance at the labor convention as the latest in the president’s summer-long middle class economic tour, according to the Los Angeles Times.

I bet the servers at this shindig will feel real honored by all the attention, as they’re passing out plates of surf-and-turf to Hollywood stars, Democratic pols, and union bosses.

The Democratic Party has come a long way since Jackson’s day.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


There’s being a jerk, and then there’s being a swine. This is swinish.

August 1, 2013

Picketing a child’s funeral? Does no one in the Teamsters have any sense of decency?

Don’t bother; I already know the answer:

SCI Illinois Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest funeral home chains, asked a district court to intervene after striking funeral directors and drivers with Teamsters Local 727 allegedly harassed grieving families.

“We are grateful that the court agreed to issue this temporary restraining order, and we are hopeful that it will help protect grieving families who are experiencing the most difficult times of their lives,” Larry Michael, managing director for SCI Illinois Services, Inc., said in a release. “While we recognize and respect the Teamsters’ right to lawfully picket, we have been shocked and saddened by their attempts to make grieving families the target of the cruel and outrageous attacks.”

The company testified in its filing that union members blocked grieving family members from leaving its parking lot, used bullhorns to shout obscenities at workers and mourners, and unleashed a German Shepard on a dead woman’s daughter and husband.

The funeral home was eventually forced to call the police when picketers allegedly disrupted a child’s funeral with laughter. The officer asked the Teamsters to leave, but protesters returned when he drove away.

“We will be here for the visitation; we will be here for your funeral,” Teamster driver Lester Plewa allegedly shouted into a bullhorn as a funeral director met with a dying man planning his arrangements with family members.

They pull crap like this, and then they wonder why they have a reputation for being thugs and leg-breakers.

Disgusting.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


My heart bleeds for Big Labor. Really, it does.

July 15, 2013

It’s just that you can’t see that through all my laughing and pointing:

Like millions of other Americans, our members are front-line workers in the American economy. We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.

Now this vision has come back to haunt us.

Since the ACA was enacted, we have been bringing our deep concerns to the Administration, seeking reasonable regulatory interpretations to the statute that would help prevent the destruction of non-profit health plans. As you both know first-hand, our persuasive arguments have been disregarded and met with a stone wall by the White House and the pertinent agencies. This is especially stinging because other stakeholders have repeatedly received successful interpretations for their respective grievances. Most disconcerting of course is last week’s huge accommodation for the employer community—extending the statutorily mandated “December 31, 2013” deadline for the employer mandate and penalties.

Time is running out: Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios:

First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.

That’s an excerpt from an open letter written by the heads of the Teamsters, UFCW, and UNITE-HERE unions, whining that Obamacare will hurt their members and that it’s unfair that businesses got a delay in implementation, but the loyal unionistas didn’t. Do read the whole thing and see if you can get through it without saying “We tried to warn you, you corrupt dummies!” several times.

I found it impossible.

I was going to go into a long diatribe about the unions reaping what they sowed, but Ed Morrissey (hat tip) kindly did it for me:

Maybe if they’d listened to Tea Party activists instead of shouting them down, the union leaders might have figured this out in 2009.  Opponents of the bill argued all along that the incentives presented by ObamaCare would kill employer-based coverage, either by depressing hiring or by depressing hours.  We’ve gotten both since the bill’s passage, just as critics predicted.

(…)

[RE: Obamacare's treatment of union group medical plans] Excuse me, but this was even more obvious than the employment consequences.  Subsidies are only available to consumers in the individual insurance exchanges.  Union health plans are group plans (and partly employer coverage, as the letter points out).  They’re no more eligible for subsidies than consumers in employer plans, and they’ll get taxed just like all other “Cadillac” group plans.  This is only news to those who manned the barricades rather than reading the fine print, or really any print at all.

Ed’s right, the union bosses should resign in disgrace for selling out their membership. But, they won’t. Mob bosses never go quietly. Meanwhile, I’m going to relax and enjoy the sweet scent of schadenfreude.

PS: If you’ve forgotten why I feel a special disdain and contempt for Jimmy Hoffa, jr., the Teamsters boss, let me remind you.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The “Walker Effect”: Wisconsin PEU membership cratering?

April 8, 2013

Or maybe it’s the predictable result of restoring liberty to the people and not using the force of law to extort money from them for the benefit of union bosses (1). Regardless, the reforms Governor Walker instituted and then defended against thug tactics in Wisconsin have sent the membership numbers of at least one public employee union, AFSCME, into a tailspin:

According a Labor Department filing made last week, membership at Wisconsin’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 40 — one of AFSCME’s four branches in the state — has gone from the 31,730 it reported in 2011, to 29,777 in 2012, to just 20,488 now. That’s a drop of more than 11,000 — about a third — in just two years. The council represents city and county employees outside of Milwaukee County and child care workers across Wisconsin.

Labor Department filings also show that Wisconsin’s AFSCME Council 48, which represents city and county workers in Milwaukee County, went from 9,043 members in 2011, to 6,046 in 2012, to just 3,498 now.

(…)

They show why the state worker unions and their liberal allies fought such a protracted, bitter battle in 2011 over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s changes to the state’s labor laws. Under the old laws, state employees were obligated to pay dues to a union even if that worker didn’t want to belong to a union. Walker changed that to allow state workers to opt out of paying those dues. He also required unions to submit to an annual re-certification vote. Without those requirements, the unions have found it much harder to retain members.

And I’d say this is a good thing for Wisconsin, as early results from the reforms have shown. As public employee unions have grown (Disclosure: I pay dues to one — against my will), they’ve come to treat the taxpayers as cash-cows, milking them for ever-higher salaries and benefits (often far better than for comparable positions in the private sector), whether justified or even healthy for the state. They’ve fought even the mildest reforms tooth-and-claw, as witnessed during the protests and occupation of the Wisconsin state capitol in 2011. In effect, they were acting as overlords demanding tribute from a subject people and becoming enraged when the people said “no more.”

If these membership numbers are any indication, a large and probably growing swath of Wisconsin public employees don’t like how their unions operate, either, and are making their feelings known loud and clear. And this has to have the union bosses frightened as the reform movement spreads from state to state.

via Power Line.

Footnote:
(1) The dues they take in are often spent on political activities and influence buying to pursue policy goals that many of their members would object to, or even consider irrelevant to their interests. This is often done through large contributions in money and campaign work to (largely Democratic) legislators, who then reward their employers — the unions, not necessarily the voters. It is, in effect, a corrupt kickback arrangement.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Michigan Teachers Union to members: “Pay up or we’ll sue!”

January 23, 2013
"Your MEA shop steward"

“Your MEA shop steward”

And if they don’t, is the next step leg-breaking? Faced with members oddly deciding to keep their money after Michigan passed a right-to-work law, the leadership of the Michigan Education Association sent a memo to locals telling them to monitor incoming dues and, if it declines, be prepared to take their own members to court:

Steven Cook, president of the Michigan Education Association, circulated an email to local unions officials and staff instructing them to monitor revenue streams in light of the right-to-work laws, which are set to go into effect on March 27, 2013. The law allows workers to opt out of union membership unless they have an existing contract with their employer.

“We will use any legal means at our disposal to collect the dues owed under signed membership forms from any members who withhold dues prior to terminating their membership in August,” Cook wrote.

The tone of the message shocked labor reform activists.

“The level to which the MEA appears to be willing to go after its own members—the same ones whose interest they claim to represent—is amazing,” said Mike Van Beek, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center. “When it comes to their revenue, we know where their priorities stand.”

Yeah, and I bet they play this old BTO song before hitting up reluctant members:

Except, unlike the guy in the alley, the union doesn’t say “please.”

Sadly, these suits seem to have a solid legal footing in Michigan; the MEA has sued before and won. But, given the recent report on declining union membership even in public unions, it looks like a short-lived victory, at best:

The union membership rate fell from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent of all workers, the lowest level since the 1930s.

Total membership fell by about 400,000 workers to 14.4 million. More than half the loss – about 234,000 – came from government workers including teachers, firefighters and public administrators.

The losses add another blow to a labor movement already stretched thin by fighting efforts in states like Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan to curb bargaining rights and weaken union clout.

(…)

Losses in the public sector are hitting unions particularly hard since that has been one of the few areas where membership was growing over the past two decades. About 51 percent of union members work in government, where until recently, there had been little resistance to union organizing.

That began to change when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a law in 2011 eliminating most union rights for government workers. The state lost about 46,000 union members last year, mostly in the public sector.

Union officials blame losses on the lingering effects of the recession, as well as GOP governors and state lawmakers who have sought to weaken union rights.

Much to the benefit of their states overall, if the results in Wisconsin and Indiana are to be believed.

Meanwhile, like dinosaurs raging at the asteroid about to rock their world, the unions are denying the inevitable: they’re out of date, obsolete. The proof lies in their own “clients'” actions: when given a choice, they prefer to keep their money. They don’t want what the unions are offering. And the more unions resort (revert) to thuggery to keep members and their dues, the more people will make the same choice, when given the power to decide that they should have by right.

(clip art courtesy of Clipart Mojo)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Peaceful union supporters threaten blood and civil war

December 12, 2012
Democracy, union-style.

Democracy, union-style.

Forget the rule of law. This is rule by fist:

Jimmy Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said Tuesday he expects Michigan unions and lawmakers to break out into “civil war” after the state legislature passed right-to-work bills that would weaken unions’ power.

“This is just the first round of a battle that’s going to divide this state. We’re going to have a civil war,” Hoffa said on CNN’s “Newsroom.”

The Republican-controlled state House passed two bills that had already been approved by the GOP-dominated state Senate. Gov. Rick Snyder, also a Republican, is poised to sign the bill, which would allow workers at union-represented employers to forgo paying dues.

As thousands of protestors gathered at the state capitol on Tuesday, Hoffa called the legislation a “tremendous mistake” and “a monumental decision to make” by outgoing lawmakers in a lame duck session.

“What they’re doing is basically betraying democracy,” he told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin. “If there’s any question here, let’s put it on the ballot and let the people of Michigan decide what’s good for Michigan.”

Proponents of the legislation say it gives workers more freedom, while opponents say a less robust union presence will negatively affect workers’ rights. Hoffa also argued that those who don’t pay union dues will be considered “free riders,” as they’re getting the same benefits from union representation without the cost.

Hoffa pointed to Michigan’s recovering auto industry, saying the Wolverine State has bounced back from the recession without being a “right to work” state.

“This is basically a step backward,” he argued.

(CNN via Zero Hedge)

And if anyone knows about thuggery and violence, it’s a Hoffa.

What Jimmy Junior is saying here is, in a nutshell, that the duly-elected representatives of the people of Michigan, acting in accordance with their state’s constitution, have no right to amend the state’s labor laws. Even though there is strong evidence that the people have already spoken. Under the Hoffa theory of democracy, the mob has the vote and the veto, and he who has the biggest, most violent mob wins. The only debate that counts is “me” outshouting “you,” which means I win.

So, shut up or I’ll kill you.

Now, you’d think this attack on constitutionalism, the rule of law, and representative democracy would draw the united condemnation of the state’s legislators, who are sworn to uphold the US and Michigan constitutions.

Think again:

“There will be blood,” State Representative Douglas Geiss threatened from the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives today as the body debated legislation that would make Michigan the nation’s 24th right to work state.

“I really wish we had not gone here,” Geiss continued. “It is the leadership in this house that has led us here. The same leadership that tried to throw a bomb right on election day, leading to a member switching parties, and came in at the 11th hour with a gotcha bill. For that, I do not see solace, I do not see peace.”

This isn’t democracy or republicanism: it’s mob rule. It’s extortion — “Nice state you have there. Shame if something happened to it.” It’s intimidation, using the threat of violence to impose their will. Now, where have I seen this before?

We know why they’re doing this, of course. It’s not because the union leadership and their Democratic allies are worried about workers’ wages and working conditions: right to work states have been shown to have slightly higher wages and better job choices. And most if not all states have workplace safety and worker’s compensation laws on the books. It’s not as if right-to-work will mean a return to a dime-a-day and child labor. They would still have the right, as every worker should, to form a union and press for collective bargaining. And they still would have the right to withhold their labor should conditions not be satisfactory.

No, what the union bosses and their politician allies are frightened of is the prospect of losing the millions they collected in forced exactions (dues) from their members, money which is then funneled to pliant politicians in the form of campaign contributions and other political spending, in return for laws benefiting the unions at the expense of the taxpayers and regardless of the economic consequences to the state.

They fear the end of their kickback racket.

Whatever the noble origins and ends of trade unionism, we’re seeing now the true face of the corruption that’s overtaken it. Faced with long-term decline, perhaps irreversible if left to the free market, they can only maintain their power in places where law compels membership and tribute.

Threaten that, and they promise blood.

RELATED: What is it with union goons and their hatred for Black small businessmen? First it was Kenneth Gladney, beaten by an SEIU mob in Missouri a few years ago, and now they’ve wrecked the business of Clint Tarver, who ran a hot dog cart outside the state capitol in Lansing. Shouldn’t be surprised I guess; unions have a long history (PDF) of racism. If you want to help Mr. Tarver rebuild his business, click here.

ALSO: Patterico on the Stalinist effort by the online Left to whitewash the violence in Lansing and blame the victim.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#WarOnWomen: SC AFL-CIO president uses bat to repeatedly bash Haley effigy

May 22, 2012

***Written by Sister Toldjah***

ABC News sets the scene:

Donna Dewitt, the outgoing president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, is seen in this video bashing a piñata of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s face while Dewitt and her colleagues were at a retreat in Columbia, S.C. Saturday afternoon.

“Well I will say, she looks like a tough old girl here,” Dewitt says as she gears up to swing at the piñata.

She repeatedly hits the piñata, which bears the phrase “Unions are not needed, wanted or welcome in South Carolina” below Haley’s face. In her State of the State address this year, Haley said, “We’ll make the unions understand full well that they are not needed, not wanted and not welcome in the state of South Carolina.” Dewitt whacks the piñata down and continues to wail away at it once it’s fallen. Onlookers cheer her on, urging her to continue hitting the piñata.

“Give her another whack. Whack her again,” a woman screams.

“Hit her again” another man says.

The video is around 30 seconds. Click below to watch it:

Dewitt defended her actions:

Dewitt told ABC News she has no regrets about the incident and said there was “no ill intent” in what she was doing. Dewitt said her colleagues brought the pinata and were using it as a “memoir” of Haley’s words and actions towards unions in her time as governor.

“They made it and I would have played the game with them no matter it would have been pin the tail on the donkey with Nikki Haley’s face on it. I still would have played,” Dewitt told ABC News over the phone. ”There was no ill intent. We were certainly have a good time. I’m not mad or angry.”

“We’ve been the brunt of her comments now for two years and that’s what the whole thing was. She’s been whacking at us over the last two years,” Dewitt, who has been president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO for the past 16 years and will retire at the end of June, continued.

Do I think Dewitt was fantasizing about that REALLY being Gov. Haley she was beating down with that bat? No (and btw, if it were a man who had been doing the hitting, would NOW have stepped in? Nah.). Nevertheless, the imagery is disturbing – and dare I say a blatant violation of President Obama’s established New Tone Order where we’re all supposed to be civil to each other over tea and toast and not say or do anything that would make our fellow man feel compelled to go out and commit a violent act. Since the mainstream media happily went along with him in the aftermath of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords by doing their level best not to use words or display actions that might “incite violence”, I’m sure they – along with liberal pundits and politicos – will be lined up to express their outrage and condemnation at the very thought that someone, especially a person in a position of power and influence like Dewitt, would symbolically bash the pinata head of her organization’s chief opposition – and a nationally known Governor at that.

The video has proved to be a big embarrassment for the national AFL-CIO, which reportedly wants the video taken offline (via Michelle Malkin). Not quite sure why the concern, considering much worse tactics displayed by the AFL-CIO in the past towards its political opposition. Maybe they’re just trying to clean up their act during a crucial election year. Unfortunately for Big Labor, neither their paper trail – nor their video trail – can be erased from history.

Cross-posted from the Sister Toldjah blog.


White House: “It’s a good thing people are leaving the workforce!”

February 6, 2012

That’s what they said.

No, really:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney explained that the number of people dropping out of the work force, which artificially depresses the unemployment rate, can be regarded as an “economic positive.”

“A lot of that is due to younger people getting more of an education, which is an economic positive,” Carney responded when asked what would happen when people “inevitably” raise the unemployment rating with their return to the work force. He also noted that “an aging population” going into retirement has contributed to the number of people dropping out of the work force.

Head, meet wall.

If people are staying in school longer, it’s because there are fewer and fewer jobs available on graduation, so they stay in school hoping for an eventual turnaround. Oh, and many of them accumulating debt in the process. Is that an “economic positive,” Jay?

But beyond that, people are dropping out of the work force not because they’ve decided to enjoy their “golden years, but because of discouragement, because they’ve been out of work so long, they don’t think they have a good chance of finding a decent job.

Honestly, this administration shovels the you-know-what so fast, you need hip-waders reading one of their press releases.

SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE WHITE HOUSE DARKNESS:

  1. Is the unemployment rate 8.3%, 8.9%, 9.9% or 11.9%?
  2. Why the official 8.3 percent unemployment rate is a phony number—and what it means for Obama’s reelection
  3. Record 1.2 Million People Fall Out Of Labor Force In One Month, Labor Force Participation Rate Tumbles To Fresh 30 Year Low
  4. GOP: Jobless rate above 8% for three years, worst since the Great Depression
  5. Was Today’s Jobs News Good?

via David Freddoso

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Celebrate the Season: bug a lefty for Christmas

December 23, 2011

Jim Pethokoukis gives conservatives and other residents of Reality-ville a great Christmas present: seven charts to flash in the face of liberals (and other unicorn-chasers) when they try to spoil Christmas dinner by talking up Obama. Here’s the one that jumped out at me, the real unemployment rate:

Heckuva recovery, Barry!

I’ll let Jim explains what this represents:

The official (U-3) unemployment rate is 8.6 percent. But the labor force has been shrinking as discouraged workers have been disappeared by government statisticians rather than counted as unemployed. But what if they weren’t? What if the Labor Department added those folks back into the numbers? Well, you would get this.

Remember, Obama and the Smartest Economic Team Ever(tm) promised us that unemployment would go below eight percent if we agreed to his stimulus program. Instead, it’s higher than the White House projected if we didn’t approve the stimulus package. (See Jim’s diagram 1) In fact, the only way it comes even close to White house projections is by not counting people who’ve given up.

Real clever, that.

And once you’re done educating your liberal family members, ask them what possible reason is there is for reelecting Barack Obama?

The reaction should be entertaining.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Seriously, Debbie?

December 12, 2011

According to Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (1), unemployment has not gone up under President Obama.

Huh?

Remember, she was handpicked by President Obama to be the public face of the Democratic Party. Must’ve been for her chutzpah when it comes to telling the Big Lie.

She can’t be that dumb. It must be because she thinks we’re that dumb.

Footnote:
(1) Also a nauseating race-baiter.


Fleecing the taxpayers: it’s not just the Chicago Way

September 23, 2011

Yesterday I linked to a John Kass column about how some union bosses are legally ripping off the taxpayers of Illinois. (ST covered it in much more detail here.) But lest one think this kind of “authorized corruption” is limited to Blue states like Illinois, California, or New York, consider how the public sheep are being sheered in deep-Red Arizona:

Phoenix taxpayers spend millions of dollars to pay full salary and benefits for city employees to work exclusively for labor unions, a Goldwater Institute investigation found.

Collective bargaining agreements with seven labor organizations require the city to pay union officers and provide members with thousands of additional hours to conduct union business instead of doing their government jobs.

The total cost to Phoenix taxpayers is about $3.7 million per year, based on payroll records supplied by the city. In all, more than 73,000 hours of annual release time for city workers to conduct union business at taxpayers’ expense are permitted in the agreements.

The top officials in all of the unions have regular jobs with the city. But buried in the labor agreements are a series of provisions for those employees to be released from their regular duties to perform union work.

For top officers, the typical amount of annual release time is 2,080 hours, a full year of work based on 52 weeks at 40 hours each. They continue to draw full pay and benefits, just as if they were showing up for their regular jobs. But they are released from their regular duties to conduct undefined union business.

Union officials say the time is a good investment that leads to a more productive workforce. Critics say it amounts to an illegal gift of taxpayer money.

Be sure to read the whole thing. I’m not surprised the union officials think this is a good investment. While no mention is made of union political donations,  it wouldn’t surprise me to learn they “invest” a little cash (drawn from member dues) in the campaigns of pliant councilmen, which then leads to the sweetheart clauses that allow them to collect a public salary while never doing a bit of the work they’re being paid for. Or they threaten to use their members’ dues to campaign against uncooperative officials, giving them an incentive to play along to the detriment of the public interest.

This is what happens in general when labor unions are allowed to become a labor cartel, to have a monopoly over the supply of labor: with no fear of competition, union bosses can concentrate on feathering their own nests. (I wonder how long it’s been since Trumka actually got his hands dirty in a mine?) With public employee unions, the situation is even worse, since political leaders are negotiating with the public’s money, not their own, and thus have less incentive to worry about the economic consequences, which may not come about until years later. (I posted a good video explaining this last March.) Combine a labor cartel with control over other people’s money, and you have a recipe for what we see so often at the local, state, and federal levels: a kickback scheme.

It may not be illegal, but it surely is corrupt.

via Jazz Shaw

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


It’s not illegal, it’s Chicago!

September 22, 2011

Today’s Chicago Tribune column from John Kass is a must-read:

What if lawmakers passed a bill that allowed two dozen hand-picked political insiders to fan out across the state and walk up to you and demand your cash?

Not ask but demand.

Got a problem?

There is no passion in the demand, no anger, no urgency. Just a flat look, impassive, the way a hungry hyena on the savanna looks at a herd of meek chumbolones and says, “That one.”

Or the way a butcher sizes up some hanging beef before going to work on it. Except, you’re the beef.

And after you give up the money, the guy smiles to himself and slides into a nice black Escalade. He doesn’t thank you. But he sure thanks the politicians who made it happen. He helps re-elect them, so they or their families make fortunes.

But you? You don’t get thanks. He’d no more thank you than he’d thank a dog.

Now, do you have a problem with that?

Pardon me? I didn’t hear you. So let me ask you again.

No?

Then you must be in Illinois.

Go read the whole thing, and then remember that we elected a president who cut his political teeth in that swamp.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Unions: there’s dumb, and then there’s malevolent

September 19, 2011

Yesterday, I posted an example from Southern California of unions threatening a strike against the interests of their own members. This morning there comes another example of labor-union perversity, this time crossing the line from stupidity to maliciousness. Per “Bookworm” at Pajamas Media, we learn that nurses in northern and central California are planning to walk out on the hospitals that employ them not because of unfair working conditions, but in sympathy with another union’s strike:

Thousands of registered nurses plan to walk off the job at 34 hospitals in northern and central California on Thursday in one of the largest such labor actions here in years.

Up to 23,000 nurses could be involved in strikes at Children’s Hospital Oakland and the large Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente systems, union leaders said.

The hospitals plan to bring in replacement workers and remain open, though many are postponing elective surgeries.

[...]

The walkout has been organized by California Nurses Association/ National Nurses United.

In addition to Children’s Hospital Oakland and Alta Bates Summit, affected institutions include Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, Mills-Peninsula hospitals in Burlingame and San Mateo, Sutter Delta in Antioch and Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo.

Kaiser nurses signed a contract earlier this year, but they plan a sympathy strike Thursday to support members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, who will walk off the job at Kaiser facilities in a separate contract dispute.

So, even though the Kaiser nurses have a signed agreement, they don’t feel bound to it. Nice to know just what their word is worth. I’ll point out that the CNA is known for being politically active and aggressive; they lean well to the Left, are closely tied to the Democratic Party, and are not above a bit of thuggery, including putting patients at risk. Bookworm explains:

Things are even more complicated than simply finding replacement nurses at incredible expense. Most of the hospitals involved now have very complicated computer systems that are custom designed for each hospital chain. These computer systems control everything: nurse’s notes, doctor’s notes, pharmacy, lab tests, treatments, billing — you name it, it’s all computerized. What these means is that hospitals are no longer fungible. In the old days, a chart was a chart, and that was true whether you were in a hospital in Schenectady or San Francisco. Nowadays, though, nurses have to understand computer systems that are unique to a given hospital. That nurse who’s been flown in from out-of-state doesn’t know Kaiser’s or Sutter’s computer system. For those nurses, it’s like having to fly a 747 when you’ve only flown a Piper before.

In other words, the chance for potentially harmful, even life-threatening error goes up measurably because nurses who already have a signed contract are going to strike anyway. And even if there are no computer-related snafus, many hospitals will be working at less than peak efficiency, being staffed with replacement workers, and patients may have to travel further to find the care they need. As the PJM post points out, this strike will leave Marin county with just one fully-functional hospital.

All because of a strike by nurses who have no grievance. This isn’t about wages or working conditions — this is a an act of intimidation, plain and simple.

“Angels of mercy,” indeed.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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