Los Angeles: union hypocrisy on parade #RaiseTheWage

May 27, 2015
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Union economics adviser at work

You have to love the moxie of these racketeers: demand a economically nonsensical minimum wage, $15 per hour, and then, when the city is about to implement it, demand an exception for union members because business owners have threatened to do the logical thing: cut jobs.

From The Los Angeles Times:

Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create an exemption for companies with unionized workforces.

The push to include an exception to the mandated wage increase for companies that let their employees collectively bargain was the latest unexpected detour as the city nears approval of its landmark legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

Let’s review a basic lesson in economics, shall we, from another progressive, heavily unionized city:

Like I’ve said many times before: the laws of economics cannot be repealed by legislative fiat. Raise the cost of labor, and businesses will be faced with a choice from among four options — pass the costs on to the consumer; reduce labor costs by cutting hours or whole jobs; eat the costs and accept lower profits; or cease doing business in that jurisdiction, either by moving or closing shop. Ritu Shah Burnham may have loved her business, or she may have hated it. But, regardless, she’s come to the conclusion it isn’t worth staying in business in Seattle. She isn’t the first, and other small businesses in other progressive cities have made the same choice.

Apparently Rusty Hicks understands economics better than the Los Angeles city council and realizes he stands to lose union (dues-paying) jobs when the minimum wage goes up. So, he wants the freedom to negotiate a lower wage, more in line with economic reality. Fine. He’s pursuing his members’ interests.

How odd that he doesn’t want to allow that same freedom to all workers and business owners.

Afterthought: There is actually a sneaky benefit to this for the unions, besides preserving jobs. If unions can negotiate lower wages, there would then be an incentive for non-union businesses to unionize. That would lead to more union jobs and more dues coming into the union’s coffers. Oh, Rusty. You sly dog, you.

via Michael Strain

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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)


New Tone Watch: fellow Americans are sons of you-know-whats. UPDATED: Palin answers Hoffa

September 6, 2011

I have this vague memory of a time long ago —last January, in fact– when the President of the United States spoke at a memorial for the victims of the Tucson massacre and called for a calming of heated rhetoric and for a “new tone” in our political debates.

Silly me. That was then, this is now.

This last Labor Day, President Obama spoke in Detroit to an audience of union workers. Leading up to his speech, Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., (1) spoke to the crowd and gave us an example of that new tone in action:

Um… yeah. In case you missed that due to all the marbles in this thug’s mouth, here’s the key moment via RCP:

“We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war,” Jimmy Hoffa said to a heavily union crowd.

“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,” Hoffa added.

(Emphasis added.)

About the only thing missing were the brown shirts and steel helmets. (And yes, I deliberately “went there.”)

Not to worry, though. Right after Hoffa’s speech, the President called him out and gave him exactly what-for:

That’s telling him! (What, you were expecting him to criticize a union boss?)

Let’s go back to that awful day in Tucson when Representative Giffords and several other people were gunned down by a delusional nut. Almost immediately, the baying hounds of the Democratic Party, their media allies, and the Left blogosphere jumped all over Sarah Palin for her supposedly violent rhetoric and an obscure campaign graphic for the 2010 election that used crosshairs to symbolize Democrats targeted for defeat. Though hunting and military imagery has been common in American politics for centuries, these sanctimonious yahoos acted as if Palin had herself whispered in the shooter’s ear, giving him orders. Hence Obama’s “above it all” call for a new tone.

Now, imagine if Sarah Palin, in Iowa and New Hampshire for rallies this weekend, had said what Hoffa said, calling fellow citizens SOBs and talking of war. How would the Democrats react? Or what would be the reaction in the media (2) if she or any Republican or conservative leader had said how proud she was of someone who cursed their political opponents and used indisputably violent rhetoric?

You and I both know they be all over this like ants at a picnic. (3)

Now, I’m not saying Hoffa was encouraging actual violence or that unions themselves are violent (Maybe. Kinda.) or that Obama ever would endorse violence (Well…), but, you see… To call it “rank, cynical hypocrisy” would be to state the obvious.

Meet the new tone, same as the old tone.

Footnotes:
(1) “Hoffa.” “Teamsters.” Now those are words any politician should want associated with his name. Yeesh. Well, maybe in Chicago…
(2) In case you’re wondering, most of the mainstream media have been silent on this story.
(3) For what it’s worth, so would most of the Right. But I doubt we’d have to, since our side doesn’t ally with legbreakers.

UPDATE: via Michelle Malkin, no wonder Jimmy Hoffa likes President Obama so much. “You scratch my back, and I’ll bust some heads for you.”

UPDATE 2: Sarah Palin answered Hoffa on her Facebook page today. No cursing, no calls to violence, just some honest  talk going over  the heads of the union bosses and straight to the membership. The key paragraphs:

To see where this leads, look at what’s happening to the working class in our industrialized cities. These cities are going to hell in a hand basket thanks to corruption, crony capitalism, and the union bosses’ greed. The union bosses derive their power from your union dues and their promise to deliver your votes to whichever politician they’re in bed with. They get their power from you, and yet their actions ultimately hurt you. They’re chasing American industry offshore by making outrageous, economically illogical demands that they know will never work. And now that they’ve chased jobs out of union states, they’re trying to chase them out of right-to-work states like South Carolina, so eventually the jobs will leave America altogether. But these union bosses will still figure out a way to keep their gig, and so will their politically aligned corporate friends. As long as these big corporations have a good crony capitalist in the White House, they can rely on DC to bail them out until the whole system goes bankrupt, which, I am afraid, is not very far off. When big government, big business, and big union bosses collude together, they get government to maximize their own interests against those of the rest of the country.

So, now these union bosses are desperately trying to cast the grassroots Tea Party Movement as being “against the workingman.” How outrageously wrong this unapologetic Jim Hoffa is, for the people’s movement is the real movement for working class men and women. It’s rooted in real solidarity, and not special interests and corporate kickbacks. It represents the needed reform that will empower workers and job creators. We stand with the little guy against the corruption and influence peddling of those who collude to grease the wheels of government power.

This collusion is at the heart of Obama’s economic vision for America. In practice it is socialism for the very rich and the very poor, but a brutal form of capitalism for the rest of us. It is socialism for the very poor who are reduced to a degrading perpetual dependence on a near-bankrupt centralized government to provide their every need, while at the same time robbing them of that which brings fulfillment and success – the life-affirming pride that comes from taking responsibility for your own destiny and building a better life through self-initiative and work ethic. And Obama’s vision is socialism via crony capitalism for the very rich who continue to get bailouts, debt-ridden “stimulus” funds, and special favors that allow them to waive off or help draft the burdensome regulations that act as a boot on the neck to small business owners who don’t have the same friends in high places. And where does this collusion leave working class Americans and the small business owners who create 70% of the jobs in this country? Out in the cold. It’s you and your children who are left paying for the cronyism of Obama and our permanent political class in DC.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Violence? Look for the union label. UPDATED: video link added

August 17, 2011

Ever notice how the Right is regularly accused of violent rhetoric, fascist sympathies, and plain-old knuckle-dragging thuggishness, but it’s from the Left that we usually see garbage like this:

Ohio Business Owner Shot For Being Non-Union, Police Investigating

With around 25 employees, John King owns one of the largest non-union electrical contracting businesses in the Toledo, Ohio area. As a non-union contractor, his business happens to be doing well at a time when unions in the construction industry are suffering. This, it seems, has made the usual animosity unions have for him even greater, making him a prime target of union thugs. So much so, that one of them tried to kill him last week at his home.

(…)

Last Wednesday, however, the attacks on Mr. John King became much more serious when he was awakened late in the evening at his home in Monroe County, Michigan and saw that the motion lights in his driveway had come on.  When he looked out his front window, he saw a figure near his SUV and went outside.

As soon as he got outside his front door, King yelled at the individual who was crouched down by King’s vehicle. As soon as King yelled, the suspect stood and, without hesitation, fired a shot at Mr. King.

Luckily for King, as he yelled, he also stumbled. If it weren’t for that, however, John King’s injuries might have been much, much worse. In fact, he might have been killed.

Upon scrambling back into his house, King got to his cell phone and called 911. However, due to the pain in his knees and shoulder from falling, King was unaware that he had been shot in the arm.

At first, King thought that his assailant was merely trying to break into his vehicle. Little did he know, however, that the perpetrator was targeting him–because of his non-union company.

The night of the shooting, police recovered a shell casing from a small caliber handgun. In addition to the shell casing, police also found a Swiss Army knife that police say was likely going to be used to slice the tires on King’s SUV.

While neither the police, nor Mr. King can say which union was behind the attack, it is very clear by the word ’scab’ scrawled on his SUV that it the attack was union-related.

Emphasis added.

What upsets the unionistas isn’t that King is exploiting defenseless workers like some caricature of an 1890s robber baron. No, they’re angry because he is providing jobs they can’t, because his union-free status allows him to charges prices in-line with a bad economy, while the labor union’s cartel’s contracts have priced them out of the market. In other words, they would rather their workers have no work at all, if it can’t be under the union’s terms.

And those who defy them get their property and even their lives threatened.

Tell me again who the fascists and the thugs are?

RELATED: I suppose Kenneth Gladney should be glad he was only beaten into a wheelchair by union thugs, and not shot. “Labor Union Report,” the author of the quoted article, maintains a very informative site that tracks union intimidation, corruption, and violence. He (or she) can also be followed on Twitter.

FOR THE RECORD: I am not opposed to private-industry* labor unions per se; the right to form one is part of our right to freely associate under the First and Fourteenth amendments. However, I am unalterably opposed to laws that force one to join a union just to have a job; not only does that deny the freedom of the individual negotiate his own contract (yes, I’m a fan of Lochner), it creates a labor cartel that enables price-fixing just as harmful to the consumer as any corporate monopoly. And when labor unions engage in intimidation and violence, they become little better than rackets and should be treated as such.

*(As for public-employee unions, I agree with that noted conservative, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.)

UPDATE: Breitbart.TV has video of an interview with John King, the victim in the shooting.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


California: Democrats shaft farm-workers’ rights

May 17, 2011

If you want any more proof that the Democratic Party-Big Labor oligarchy that dominates California doesn’t give a tinker’s cuss about worker’s rights, let me present in evidence SB104, by which the state legislature gutted the right to a secret ballot in union elections:

The state Legislature has passed a bill that would give farm workers an alternative to secret ballots in deciding whether to join a union.

The Assembly approved SB104 on a 51-25, party-line vote Monday. It would allow field laborers to organize by submitting a petition to the state instead of holding a secret-ballot election.

Workers would sign and turn in state-issued representation cards. If the state determined the cards had been signed by a majority of workers, the union would be certified without holding an election.

Sounds so nice, doesn’t it? Farm workers have a choice now! Isn’t choice good?

Some choice. Instead of a secret ballot in which each worker can make his or her free choice about forming a union without fear of intimidation or threats, now union organizers can just ask you to sign a card endorsing a union. Maybe they’ll do it in front of your co-workers or other union organizers — or maybe they’ll come to your home. Regardless, they’ll know exactly who supported them and who didn’t. Only the naive would think this won’t weigh on a worker’s choice.

This is the infamous “card check” method, something Big Labor pushed hard for as a payback for their support of Obama and the Democrats in the 2008 election. Regardless of the pieties spouted by union bosses and their Democratic allies, this is nothing less than a means to coerce people into joining unions when they may not want to and regardless of how they see their own best interests. It violates the rights of the individual to free association and leaves him or her vulnerable to thuggery. Even George McGovern opposed it. As the National Right to Work Foundation wrote about the national card-check legislation:

The Card Check Forced Unionism Bill would effectively eliminate workers’ right to a secret ballot in workplace unionization drives and replace it with overt union intimidation:

Under the Card Check Forced Unionism Bill, the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) that refer to the secret ballot election would be rendered a dead letter, even though they are not technically stricken from federal law.

Big Labor spin artists can claim all they want that the workers can still “choose” to have a secret ballot election, but there simply is no way by which workers can force union bosses to file for a secret ballot election — and it is union bosses, not workers, who are in possession of the cards.  Reporters who repeat this union boss talking point owe their readers a correction.

Read the full analysis here.  Union bosses prefer card check instant organizing because it puts all of the power in their hands — free from the meddling interference of government election supervisors and the workers themselves.  

So, since card-check died as a federal effort, union bosses shifted their efforts to preserve their empires to the state level. SB104 is one of their victories, and the problems described in the above quote occur under the state law, too. I have to ask: if unionism is such a good thing, why are labor bosses and Democrats so darned afraid of secret ballots? Maybe there’s another reason

What an irony: after fighting for years for the right to organize, farm workers get the back of the hand — from their own union. And the Democrats? Killing a worker’s right to a secret ballot? The party of the working man? I’d expect them to die from shame, but that assumes they have any sense of shame in the first place.

Oligarchies never do.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why do they hate the the working class? The war on cheap groceries.

April 30, 2011

Retail giant Walmart has in recent years moved into the grocery business, bringing its famous pricing power to fruits, vegetables and meats. Good for the consumer, right? You betcha, but some people aren’t happy. Smaller grocery retailers are upset, because they feel they can’t compete. Unions are mad because Walmart isn’t unionized. And Democratic politicians are angry because… well, because their union backers told them to.

Reason.tv takes a dispassionate look at the politics and economics surrounding Walmart’s controversial entry into the New York City and Washington, D.C., areas and asks “Why do they hate cheap groceries?”

Walmart’s no angel(1), but, in hard economic times, you’d think politicians and labor leaders would be interested in anything that lowers food prices and creates jobs.

That is, if they truly cared about the average person.

NOTES:

(1) They’ve been caught benefiting from illegal alien labor and supported ObamaCare because they knew they could handle the added expense better than their competition. In other words, they wanted to game the system to rig the free market.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Workers matter to Obama. Union workers, that is…

March 7, 2011

And if you’re not in a union? Then you can expect a kick in the backside, instead of a pat on the back. It seems that while reorganizing General Motors, Treasury Secretary (and tax cheat) Timothy Geithner protected the benefits and pensions of union workers while gutting those of non-union employees:

Republican Reps. Mike Turner of Ohio and Dan Burton of Indiana are asking House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, to dig into the Obama administration’s decision to cut more than 20,000 private-sector workers’ pensions and eliminate their health and life insurance plans during the General Motors (GM) bailout in 2009.

A spokesman for Issa’s committee told The Daily Caller the committee “remains interested” and is “looking forward” to findings from an ongoing Government Accountability Office investigation, which is expected to come out within the next couple of months. What Turner and Burton are saying happened during the GM bailout is that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner decided to cut pensions for salaried non-union employees at Delphi, a GM spinoff, to expedite GM’s emergence from bankruptcy. The problem with that, according to the congressmen, is that Geithner decided to fully fund the pensions of union workers involved in the process – including workers associated with United Auto Workers, Steelworkers and the IUE-CWA.

“This is a terrible injustice. This is a political decision, not a legal or financial decision,” Turner said in a phone interview with TheDC. “There were people who were penalized and people were chosen as winners and losers. The White House, the administration and the Auto Task Force (ATF) decided who were going to receive their pensions and who were not.”

Bear in mind that this wasn’t some sharing of the burden, no spreading the pain around (rather than the wealth). The Delphi employees saw their pensions savaged while union workers had theirs made whole — at taxpayer expense.

Further on in the article, it becomes clear that the complaint of the Delphi employees (at least those interviewed) is that they didn’t share in the largesse. While I can sympathize, to have bailed them out, too, would have been wrong. What should have happened is a GM bankruptcy that would have cleared existing contracts and brought in new management to try to restore the company to health. Yes, it would have been more painful short-term for everyone, but much better for the regional and the American economies in the long run than the current zombie corporation, which exists only as an appendage of the government.

(Oh, and bondholders wouldn’t have been strong-armed out of their rights, either.)

That said, this picking of winners and losers is another illustration of who the administration thinks its real constituents are.

Just look for the union label.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)