(Video) Do Big Unions Buy Politicians?

June 8, 2015

We’ve all heard of corporate lobbyists and the influence they can buy for their clients in D.C., but what about the influence of big unions over government, specifically government employee unions? When looking at all levels of government –local, state, and federal– unions like SEIU and AFSCME may be the real masters. In this Prager University video, Professor Daniel DiSalvo explains why:

Though DiSalvo doesn’t use the word, the relationship between unions and pols, particularly Democrats, is a “kickback scheme.” For more on that, click.


California: SEIU demands increase in minimum wage, jobs be damned

April 16, 2015
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the minimum wage! Obama!!”

Fresno is fifth-largest city in California, the largest that’s not on the coast, and the largest in the Central Valley, that agricultural cornucopia that’s being destroyed by drought and environmentalist idiocies.

But don’t get me started on that.

Anyway, just by its position and population Fresno is important to the state’s economy, particularly our agricultural sector. (Where do you think your raisins come from?) But, like much of the Central Valley, it’s suffered more than the rest of California from the 2008 recession and the pathetic recovery: unemployment in the Fresno area in 2014 was still over 11%, well above California’s statewide average of 7.1% at the end of that year.

So, when your city is suffering from a lack of jobs, what’s the first thing you think of to increase opportunities for work?

That’s right! You demand an increase to the cost of labor!

On Wednesday, according to the Fresno Bee, over 150 people joined other workers around the country marking Tax Day by marching in rallies organized by unions as they demanded the current federal minimum wage of $7.24 an hour be raised, as well as the California $9 minimum wage.

Standing in front of a McDonald’s, the protesters–comprised of home and child care workers, county and state workers, students and community leaders, but no fast-food workers–chanted, “Hold the burgers, hold the fries. Make our wages super-sized.”

Union members from the Services Employees International (SEIU) helped lead the way; one member, Beau Reynolds with SEIU Local 100, told the Bee, “We’re here to stand up. We’re here to join forces and we are here to demand better. To demand better wages, to demand better benefits and to demand the right and respect that all working families deserve.”

Notice that none of those protesting in front of McD’s actually work there: they’re just there in service of SEIU’s political goal, which is to get a general increase in the minimum wage, which would include the union’s members, leading in turn to higher dues-revenues for the union to spend on politics. (And union bosses’ salaries…)

But the fast-food workers on the inside? The ones inside who didn’t march, the supposed beneficiaries of SEIU’s fight for economic justice? Apparently they know what happens when you raise labor costs too high:

Welcome to the future

Welcome to the future

In other words, when government raises the cost of doing business —and labor is a cost!— business owners have just a few choices: pass the cost to the consumer and risk losing their custom; reduce profits to perhaps unacceptably low levels; reduce labor costs by cutting back hours, letting people go, and not hiring; or just getting out of the business. They’re already learning this in progressive Seattle, and it looks like the Fresno McDonald’s workers understand basic economics, too, unlike SEIU.

Or maybe SEIU just doesn’t care that fast food workers can be replaced with kiosks, as long as they themselves get their cut.

Either way, they’re not helping Fresno county’s unemployment problem.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


SEIU (pronounced “HYP-o-crites”)

February 4, 2011

After fighting tooth-and-nail to get ObamaCare passed and then fighting even more to prevent its repeal, the far-Left Service Employees International Union is asking to be excused from its requirements, because they’re a hardship:

SEIU’s outspoken defense of the law has prompted charges of hypocrisy from Republicans, given that some of the union’s chapters have sought waivers exempting them from a key provision of the law requiring the phaseout of health plans with low caps on annual benefits.

Proponents of the law argue that some limited-benefits health plans should be exempted temporarily from phaseout because it would cause low-income and part-time workers to lose insurance or see their premiums rise.

A spokesman for SEIU referred questions about the union waivers to a fact sheet on its website.

According to SEIU, the overwhelming majority of its members are covered by health plans that comply with the law’s requirements.

Some of its chapters have obtained waivers, the union concedes, but notes the waivers were anticipated by Democrats who passed the law.

“The waiver process is a key part of healthcare reform because it helps ensure that workers won’t lose their employer-provided health coverage,” SEIU states on its website.

Well, cry me a river of crocodile tears. Maybe if the union hadn’t helped pass ram this unconstitutional monstrosity down our throats  in the first place, those low-wage workers it claims to be so concerned about wouldn’t be in danger of losing their coverage — thanks to SEIU and its progressive-statist allies.

“Hypocrisy” doesn’t begin to cover it.

More from Jimmie Bise.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Whose foreign money, Mr. President?

October 19, 2010

Last week, the President called out the US Chamber of Commerce for allegedly using foreign donations to buy add time for Republican candidates and to attack anti-business Democrats. At the time, I noted with contempt our Head of State’s blatant hypocrisy.

Writing at the Washington Post, Marc Thiessen points out, rather than opening a line of attack against the Republicans, the President may instead have open a political Pandora’s Box, full of woe for him and his allies:

The U.S. Chamber says it receives about $100,000 from its affiliates abroad (out of an operating budget of about $200 million), none of it used for political campaigns. Compare that to one of the largest labor unions in America, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is spending lavishly to elect Democrats. The SEIU claims 100,000 members in Canada. According to SEIU’s 2008 constitution, dues include $7.65 per month per member that must be sent to the SEIU International in the United States. This means that the SEIU takes in nearly $9.2 million per year from foreign nationals — almost 100 times the amount the Chamber receives from its affiliates abroad.

Is any foreign money being used to fund the SEIU’s anti-Republican campaign efforts? According to the Wall Street Journal, “The Service Employees International Union, one of the nation’s fastest-growing labor unions, acknowledges that it can’t be certain that foreign nationals haven’t contributed to its $44 million political budget to support pro-labor Democrats.” The SEIU is not the only union that takes in money from foreign members. According to the Canadian Department of Human Resources and Skills Development, the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers has 280,000 Canadian members; the United Food and Commercial Workers has more than 245,000; the Teamsters has more than 108,000; the Laborers’ International Union of North America has more than 68,000; and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has more than 57,000. How much do these foreign union members send to the United States? If the constitutions of their unions are anything like SEIU’s, it could be tens of millions of dollars. Is any of that money being used to help elect Democrats this November?

Read the rest for an… “interesting” discussion of how a good deal of the SEIU’s political funds may also come from illegal aliens.

Democrats have been screaming for an investigation of the Chamber of Commerce and its dirty, dirty FOREIGN!!* money (for which they have absolutely no evidence), so I bet they’ll be happy as can be when the House Republicans** next year initiate investigations into the sources of their union allies’ cash.

And SEIU and the others will be wishing the President had kept his big mouth shut.

*Amusing, isn’t it? The enlightened party playing the Xenophobia Card.

**I suppose there’s a miniscule chance of the Democrats retaining the House, but, honestly, betting on boxcars at the craps table would be a safer bet.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Transparency Watch: Oh, that 40-grand!

June 29, 2010

Somewhere in my memory, way back around the time Obama was elected and a new era of Hope and Change had dawned for America, the then-candidate promised us a new era of transparency in government.

That was then, this is now:

White House aide failed to disclose $40K payout

President Barack Obama’s political director failed to disclose that he was slated to receive a nearly $40,000 payout from a large labor union while he was working in the White House.

Patrick Gaspard, who served as the political director for the Service Employees International Union local 1199, received $37,071.46 in “carried over leave and vacation” from the union in 2009, but he did not disclose the agreement to receive the payment on his financial disclosure forms filed with the White House.

In a section on his financial disclosure where agreements or arrangements for payment by a former employer must be disclosed, Gaspard checked a box indicating that he had nothing to report.

Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, told POLITICO Monday that Gaspard was in the process of correcting his disclosure form to reflect that he did in fact have an agreement for severance.

“We have made the small administrative change to this year’s and last year’s forms to indicate that part of the final payment to Patrick reflected their typical severance of one week of pay for each of his nine years of service at Local 1199 of SEIU,” Burton wrote POLITICO in an e-mailed statement.

Such financial disclosures are governed by federal law, but Stan Brand, a former House general counsel and ethics expert, said the Justice Department is unlikely to pursue an investigation unless they suspected a “knowing or willful” intent to deceive.

Call me a paranoid, racist, dangerous right-wing potential extremist (and don’t forget “Nazi!“, too), but I find it hard to believe that someone could just forget $40,000 paid out to him by his former employer, especially when he needed the money to pay down nearly $80,000 in debts.  Hey, it happens all the time, right?

Oh, and the former employer happens to be a powerful union allied with one’s new boss and his political program. And that union’s then-head was and is a frequent visitor to the White House.

What a coincidence.

They must be using the Tammany Hall definition of “transparency.”

(via Ed Morrissey)


The thugocracy in action

May 23, 2010

Writing in Fortune, journalist Nina Easton recounts a frightening incident as SEIU members, brought to her neighborhood to protest Bank of America’s home foreclosures, invaded the property of one of her neighbors and terrorized a teen trapped within:

Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon, our toddler finally napping upstairs, my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer. Baer is deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), a senior executive based in Washington, D.C. And that — in the minds of the organizers at the politically influential Service Employees International Union and a Chicago outfit called National Political Action — makes his family fair game.

Waving signs denouncing bank “greed,” hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer’s steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer’s teenage son Jack — alone in the house — locked himself in the bathroom. “When are they going to leave?” Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.

Baer, on his way home from a Little League game, parked his car around the corner, called the police, and made a quick calculation to leave his younger son behind while he tried to rescue his increasingly distressed teen. He made his way through a din of barked demands and insults from the activists who proudly “outed” him, and slipped through his front door.

“Excuse me,” Baer told his accusers, “I need to get into the house. I have a child who is alone in there and frightened.”

This is nothing but naked gangsterism and fascism, not legitimate protest. I’d say these union thugs and bullies should be ashamed, but I doubt they know the meaning of the word. And shame on the cops for not moving to protect Baer’s property and family. They should resign for being disgraces to the badge they wear. (Update: DC cops escorted the SEIU to Baer’s house? WTF?)

Of course, SEIU will say they’re fighting for the little guy in a time of desperate need, but what a coincidence it is that SEIU is in debt up to its eyeballs with Bank of America and, in fact, owes them $4,000,000 in interest and fees.

I’m sure that had nothing to do with their choice of target.  Thinking

Ironically, Baer is a lifelong Democrat who worked for the Clinton administration, while his wife was an aide to Hillary Clinton. If this is how SEIU treats its friends….

And let’s not forget that SEIU worked hard to elect President Obama and is a strong supporter of progressive Democrats in general. Since SEIU has been involved in beatings and is known to advocate the “persuasion of power,”  what does that tell us about those who choose to ally with them?

That maybe they’re well-suited to each other.

(via Power Line)


Like leaving a satyr to guard a brothel

February 26, 2010

President Obama has appointed SEIU head Andy Stern to his “deficit reduction commission:”

The president also appointed Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, and former Young & Rubicam Brands CEO Ann Fudge for the panel, to serve on the panel.

“I am proud that these distinguished individuals have agreed to work to build a bipartisan consensus to put America on the path toward fiscal reform and responsibility,” Obama said in a statement announcing the appointments. “I know they’ll take up their work with the sense of integrity and strength of commitment that the American people deserve.”

Oh, please, Mr. President. If you’re going to play the tool and pay off your union allies, don’t insult our intelligence at the same time. Stern doesn’t give a damn about responsible fiscal policy or even the workers he supposedly represents: he wants the Fed to spend money in ways that help him build his corrupt union empire.

Are even Chicago politics this brazen?

RELATED: More on Stern and the SEIU’s corrupt activities. This bunch of corporatist thugs would fit right in with Mussolini’s Italy.

BTW: The whole concept of a “deficit reduction commission” is a pathetic joke. We already have one – it’s called the United States Congress, and it’s about time they started doing their jobs.

(via Hot Air)


Hitler gets bad news from Nevada

February 20, 2010

More bad news in the bunker, when Der Fuehrer learns that Senator Harry Reid doesn’t have much of a chance at re-election:

(via The Jawa Report)


Palin stands up for union workers against union bosses

January 15, 2010

I think quite a few people don’t realize that her husband and several family members are lifelong union members. From her Facebook page, today:

Union Brothers and Sisters: Your Leadership Doesn’t Get It – You Deserve Better

In the latest to come out of D.C.’s backroom health care deals, President Obama yesterday cut a doozy of a deal with labor union bosses. The fed’s health care plan must be so bad that even union bosses had to go to D.C. to say they wanted out. So… to keep their support for a flawed plan they got an exemption to provisions in the deal that others did not. Small business owners, our families running America’s mom & pops, did not get this deal. Ask yourself: why did union bosses get special treatment? And when did our country’s unions get on the wrong track with moves like this that hurt their good members and put them in such a bad light?

Good hard-working, pro-free-market, pro-America union members should join in opposition to their union bosses’ sweetheart deal. Coming from a union background and living in a world with many union memberships among my family and friends, I know that average members will be embarrassed by their bosses’ deal, which basically only delays the heavy tax on their health care plans until 2018 and in the meantime unfairly leaves many fellow Americans in a much less “enviable” position.

Union members don’t want to stick it to non-union colleagues in the private and public sector. Their union leadership is not helping them in the long run, they’re certainly not helping the rest of America, and unfortunately some union bosses are making all union members look bad, selfish, and anti-business with this Big Government backroom deal.

I know that ordinary union members don’t want to hurt their fellow Americans, just as ordinary Nebraskans didn’t want to stick it to the rest of the country with a sweetheart deal on Medicaid subsidies. I urge union members to make their voices heard. Please, call your leadership – don’t put up with these special-interest politics – tell them to fight for all Americans who want common sense health care reform, not this flawed boondoggle.

To quote what may be the battle-cry in 2012, “Boom! Taste her nightstick!”

UPDATE: Phil Klein with more on this union bribe.


Obama and the Democratic Socialists of America

October 24, 2009

Behold the Hexagon of Progress!

4031380806_08eded5528_o

That’s the eye-grabber for an article -the first in a series- at Big Government that will explore the connections between President Obama and the intertwined radical Left groups depicted above, and all tracing back to the Democratic Socialists of America, which is itself an affiliate of the Socialist International. I’ve written before about Obama’s possible membership in and almost-certain close relationship with the New Party. I said then that I was wary of describing him as a Socialist; I still am, but the course of his presidency so far and his background as examined in the Big Government article make it hard to say he isn’t at least sympathetic toward the strong statism favored by socialist groups.

(For the record, I think Obama is more precisely a strong progressive like Wilson and FDR, or perhaps even a corporatist in the style of Mussolini, than he is a socialist. He doesn’t require state ownership of businesses, just that they tow the line and support government policy – in other words, Liberal Fascism)

In any event, be sure to read the article and keep an eye out for the rest of the series.  Once again, It’s up to citizen-journalists to do the work the mainstream media refused to do during the last election campaign.


All roads lead to ACORN?

September 30, 2009

Oh, my. What a coincidence.

More about the New Party here and here.


Happy Labor Day!

September 7, 2009

Any day off is a happy day. 🙂

Meanwhile, Byron York reports that support for labor unions is at an all-time low:

This Labor Day brings word of a new Gallup poll showing that American public support for labor unions has taken a sharp dive in the last year and is at its lowest point since Gallup began polling in 1936.

In response to the question, “Do you approve or disapprove of labor unions?” just 48 percent of respondents said they approve, while 45 percent said they disapprove. That’s a steep fall from August 2008, when the numbers were 59 percent approve, 31 percent disapprove, and it’s the first time approval of unions has ever fallen below 50 percent.

Before this year, American support for unions had remained remarkably stable for nearly four decades. In August 2001, in the first months of George W. Bush’s presidency, Gallup’s results for the same question were 60 percent approve, 32 percent disapprove. In August 1997, in Bill Clinton’s second term, they were 60-31. In 1985, during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the figures were 58-27. In 1978, during Jimmy Carter’s time in the White House, they were 59-31. And in 1972, during Richard Nixon’s, they were 60-27.

The new poll also shows that many Americans believe the future is bleak for unions. In response to the question, “Thinking about the future, do you think labor unions in this country will become stronger than they are today, the same as today, or weaker than they are today?” 48 percent said unions will become weaker, versus just 24 percent who said unions will become stronger.

And here’s Gallup’s chart:

tvcvpa3inugt-f4thu-qlwSupport’s been remarkably steady since 1937, just two years after the passage of the Wagner Act, but the drop since late 2008 is nothing short of startling. Coincidentally, that was about the time we elected the most beholden-to-Big-Labor administration in recent history, probably since FDR. And what’s happened since last November?

  • The legal rights of bondholders were trampled during the bailouts of GM and Chrysler, largely to benefit UAW pension funds.
  • Representatives of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) were allowed to sit-in on a meeting between the federal government and California state officials (who were trying to deal with a massive budget crisis) in which the Obama administration threatened to withhold bailout money unless California maintained the wages of SEIU members, regardless of the best interests of the state as a whole.
  • Union thugs affiliated with the SEIU have beaten Americans exercising their constitutional right to free speech to protest ObamaCare at town-hall meetings.
  • The Democrats in Congress and the Obama Administration continue to push for the Orwellian “Employee Free Choice Act,” which would end the secret ballot in union elections and which even George McGovern opposes.
  • The Administration nominated as Labor Secretary Representative Hilda Solis, who flagrantly violated House ethics rules by acting as treasurer for a pro-union organization lobbying Congress on matters she would be voting on.

And that’s just a few.

I’m not against unions per se: in fact, I belong to one. They serve a useful purpose protecting workers from abusive employers, and the right to collective bargaining -if that’s the workers’ free choice- is a good one. But the stories of corruption in union leadership are legendary (Has anyone found Hoffa yet?), and the thuggish, self-serving actions of the UAW and especially the SEIU are reminding people of the threat of unchecked union power.

We shouldn’t be surprised at the precipitous drop in the public’s opinion of unions; the public seems to be realizing that the Big Unions are helping their own people at everyone else’s expense. On this Labor Day union leaders should be anything but relaxed.

LINKSEd Morrissey; Blue Crab Boulevard; Power Line; 247 Things.

UPDATE: Michael Barone has a good analysis of Labor’s drop in popularity. You should read the whole article, but the last paragraph is key:

There’s irony aplenty here. Thanks to the work of Sweeney, Stern and union political organizers, unions entered calendar year 2009 with more political influence than they have had since the 1960s or 1970s. But the way they have deployed that political influence has made the unions more unpopular than they have been in the last 73 years.

Yep.


Monday links fiesta

August 10, 2009

It’s a busy, busy day, today. (Why is it the day before a vacation is so hectic? At wits end) So, in lieu of a real post, here are some links to keep you amused, enlightened, and on the White House enemies list:

Global Warming Climate Change Junk Science Watch:

One of the major problems with the computer models cited by global-warming alarmists is their utter failure to accurately model the past or predict the future. Ron House at Watt’s Up With That? looks at one, the failure to find the predicted atmospheric red spot. For more background on this, check out David Evans’ 2008 article in The Australian: No smoking hot spot.

Guess what? The sun and variations in the Earth’s orbit are the cause of ice ages, not CO2.

More on CO2 and climate change: it’s a trailing indicator, not a cause.

On the Svensmark theory that cosmic rays influence the Earth’s cloud cover and thus Earth’s climate:

Sarah Palin Watch:

The former Alaska governor last week denounced the proposed health-care reform plan as evil. That caused a predictable firestorm, even on the Right. Rick Moran, normally a level-headed writer, denounced her for outrageous demagoguery. Smitty at The Other McCain, on the other hand, drew his sword to defend Mrs. Palin and denounce Mr. Moran as a blowhard. In this case, I’m with Smitty. Palin may have engaged in a bit of hyperbole when she used the words “death panel,” but, as Despina Karras shows, she wasn’t all that far off the mark. Legal Insurrection points out the underlying accuracy of her words, too.

Fishy Activities Watch:

Opposition to ObamaCare continues to grow, despite the Democrats best efforts to clap their hands to their ears and scream “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”:

First, believe it or not, President Obama wants you to just shut up.

Meanwhile, enjoy this video of peaceful, unionized supporters of health-care reform kicking the crap out of a conservative Black man who dared to voice dissent. (More from Fausta and Hot Air.) And here’s a video of the victim attending a protest in a wheelchair a couple of days later outside of the local headquarters of the ever-peaceful SEIU, whose goons administered the beating. Why does this ring a bell?

More on SEIU’s commitment to democracy.

Meanwhile, did you know that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States, the woman second in line for the Presidency, and the House Majority Leader both think that vocal opposition to ObamaCare is un-American? Way to build that majority, Nancy and Steny! I’m sure slagging large swathes of the American people will bring loads of new voters to the Democratic banner. Minority Leader Boehner, on the other hand, takes predictable (and justifiable) exception to their editorial.

And, hey, if you object to being called un-American, how about being compared to Oklahoma City-bomber Timothy McVeigh? NiiiiceWaiting

Finally:

I always like to end linkapalooza posts with some humor. Tito found this hilarious blast from the past, Don Rickles roasting then-Governor Ronald Reagan. Enjoy.

Rolling on the floor