Scab Lists: Unions target workers for campaigns of hate, sometimes violence

Scab Lists
Unions target workers for campaigns of hate, sometimes violence [PDF here]
by Carl F. Horowitz

Summary: Unions have long sought to demonize replacement workers, union members who cross picket lines, and others whom the unions label “scabs.” Sometimes, this takes the form of implied or explicit threats and other efforts to intimidate. Now the Obama administration’s National Labor Relations Board is pressuring employers to give home addresses and other personal information to unions, while the Internet is providing new ways to publicize “scab lists” and make people toe the union line.

In the annals of labor history, few characters are more reviled than the so-called “scab”—the worker who refuses to join a union, or worse, whether or not a member, crosses a picket line during a strike. Unions have long have practiced the dark art of gathering the identities of such persons and exposing them to shame and intimidation among fellow workers. Often, names are compiled on a “scab list.” Over the years, unions have made effective use of the hatred of scabs, to maximize their bargaining advantage. You may have seen this description:

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles. When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and Angels weep in Heaven, and the Devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out. No man has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with.

Continue reading →

Election 2014: Labor Unions Routed (Mostly) …but not everywhere, as unions see some glimmers of hope for better days

Election 2014: Labor Unions Routed (Mostly)
…but not everywhere, as unions see some glimmers of hope for better days [PDF here]

By John Gizzi

Summary: Overall, 2014 was a bad year for unions, at least in terms of political power. They lost most of their highest-priority races, including gubernatorial races in Wisconsin and Michigan and the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky. But not everything went wrong for unions in this year’s elections, with key victories in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Connecticut, and in referenda on the “minimum wage.”

Voters nationwide gave Republicans an across-the-board boost in the midterm elections in November. Pundits and politicians have concluded that it was also one of the most disastrous routs in memory for one of the Democratic Party’s most reliable allies: organized labor.

Republicans captured the U.S. Senate with their largest majority in two decades—54 seats, to 46 for Democrats (counting two independents who caucus with Democrats). In the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans now hold the most seats since 1928 (247, to 188 for Democrats). As a result, the ranks of union allies in Congress have been sorely diminished.

To put the House of Representatives election in perspective, keep in mind that Democrats held 292 seats after the 1976 election. Since then, they have lost almost 36 percent of their seats. Continue reading →

Count the Votes at Gerawan

Count the Votes at Gerawan!
Farmworkers and the new civil rights struggle—the decertification of bad unions 

[PDF here]

By Matt Patterson

Summary: It’s a basic civil right: the ability of union members to get rid of a union if it no longer serves its members effectively. Today, that right is being denied to a group of farmworkers in California by officials who refuse to count the votes the workers cast in a decertification election. That denial of rights shows just how little respect the United Farm Workers, founded by Cesar Chavez, gives to its members.

On August 26, 2014, more than 1,000 angry farmworkers stormed a state labor board office in Visalia, California. For more than three hours, the mostly Latino, mostly immigrant crowd chanted for justice, carrying signs and wearing brightly colored shirts that advertised their cause.

Protests are nothing new in labor relations, of course. But these workers were not union members agitating for higher wages or better conditions. These workers, employed by the Fresno-based Gerawan Farming, Inc., were angrily denouncing California labor authorities for forcing them into a union, the United Farm Workers (UFW). They were protesting collusion between labor bosses and government bureaucrats to impose collective bargaining contracts on them against their will.

They were voicing their rejection of the union. They already had high wages and excellent working conditions, they said. They didn’t need the union, and wanted to dissociate themselves from the union. [Click HERE for the rest of the article]

“Official Time” and the Veterans Affairs Scandal / Sick veterans languish on waiting lists while VA employees work full-time for unions

 “Official Time” and the Veterans Affairs Scandal

Sick veterans languish on waiting lists while VA employees work full-time for unions (PDF here)

By Alec Torres

Summary: The Veterans Affairs scandal shocked the nation, and as further revela­tions of widespread corruption and failure became public, they showed the natural failure of socialized medicine. But one part of the scandal has not received the attention it deserves: the role of special privileges for union officials, who spend their time serving their self-interest, rather than serving the nation’s ailing veterans.

As bad as the VA scandal seems, it’s actually worse. While veterans of the U.S. armed forces wait for health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is paying hundreds of its employees to work full-time for labor unions.

First, a summary of the facts behind the scandal:

The VA boasts that it “operates the na­tion’s largest integrated health care system, with more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics, community living centers, domiciliaries, readjustment counseling centers, and other facilities.” Yet officials at as many as 42 VA facilities have come under investigation for allegedly keeping two sets of books, appar­ently in order to hide long wait-times (and protect bonuses that are paid if wait-times are short). After a patient requested an appoint­ment, administrators would wait to enter the request into the electronic records system until the point at which a doctor would be available within 14 days.

After the scandal broke, first reported by CNN, the VA conducted an internal audit that found that over 57,000 patients had to wait more than three months for their initial appointments at the VA. Around 70 percent of all VA facilities had used an alternative to the official appointment schedule in or­der to deceptively minimize the reported wait-times.

When the scandal became public, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki declared himself “mad as hell,” while President Obama declared himself “madder than hell.” Shinseki was fired and replaced by former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald.

The scandal takes on added significance because the VA has been cited in the debate over health care. As members of Congress considered the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” the VA system was often cited as a model for healthcare in America. [See the sidebar by Steven J. Allen Continue reading →

Gov. Walker & the workers vs. the unions

At PhilanthropyDaily.com, I have a piece on Gov. Scott Walker, who has long fought to save people’s jobs, only to have unions oppose his efforts at every turn:

I heard Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker argue at a recent talk he gave at AEI to publicize his new book, Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challengewritten with my former White House colleague Marc Thiessen.

In the book, the Governor explains how he first learned years ago, when serving as a county official, how callous the leaders of (tax-exempt) unions could be when economic circumstances endangered the jobs of the working men and women they claim to represent: “the unions would not give an inch during my time as county executive. They were perfectly willing to see hundreds, even thousands, of union workers lose their jobs in order to keep the prerogatives they had amassed for themselves. So much for ‘solidarity.'”

…  the unions viewed their generous pension and other benefits as sacrosanct, and if some people had to lose their jobs to maintain those lavish benefits, and if other people would never be able to get a job because no money would be left over to hire them, well, those poor schmucks would just have to sacrifice themselves on the altar of the status quo.

Read the whole article here.

Uncivil Unions

[cross-posted from PhilanthropyDaily.com]

While civil society is great in general, that’s not always true for each group in civil society. Teachers’ unions, for instance, are my favorite example of civil society actors who are in it for us at the expense of others (see TeachersUnionExposed.com or this issue of Labor Watch).

Teachers’ unions regularly fight tooth and nail for their members’ benefit, with scant regard for whether they harm children and parents. Yet even I am amazed at the story of another union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which in New York and New Jersey has resisted the help of non-union utility crews that came up to help restore power.

This story has gone back and forth since Sandy hit, and the precise extent to which unions have kept out non-union crews is unclear. But in the case of at least one IBEW local — number 1049 on Long Island, New York (whose financial info. can be found here) – it’s clear that their greed and lust for control blocked the would-be assistance of crews from Florida. The Daily Caller has posted the “contract” that local 1049 insisted upon before they would allow their fellow Americans to help citizens in desperate need.

Here, in all their bureaucratic glory, are some of the unselfish demands local 1049 had for anyone trying to help New Yorkers:

1. That for the period of time October 29, 2012 through November 29, 2012, UTILITY agrees to normal working hours and overtime provided for in Article VIII of the Utility Agreement….
3. That for the period of time … UTILITY shall contribute $9.75 per work hour to the Union Health and Welfare Fund … as outlined in the Utility Agreement, Article XIX.
4. That for the period of time … UTILITY shall contribute 22 ½ % of each employee’s gross salary into the “I.B.E.W. Local 1049 Craft Annuity Fund” as provided in Section 19.20 of the Utility Agreement.
5. That for the period of time … UTILITY shall contribute 3% of each employee’s gross salary into the “I.B.E.W. Local 1049 Craft Division Skill Improvement Fund” as provided in Section 19.03 of the Utility Agreement.
6. That for the period of time … UTILITY shall contribute 3% of each employee’s gross salary to the local collection agent for the “National Electrical Benefit Fund” as provided in Section 19.05 of the Utility Agreement.

There’s much, much more – extortions are also made for the Electricity Industry Administrative Maintenance Trust of Northeastern Line Constructors Chapter, NECA fund; the National Labor Management Cooperation Committee; the National Electrical Industry Fund; the Northeastern Joint Apprenticeship and Training Trust; and, of course,

“UTILITY shall deduct 1% of gross payroll for employees for the period of time October 29, 2012 through November 29, 2012 and shall remit the same to the IBEW Local 1049 as union dues.”

Talk about the milk of human kindness….

The Daily Caller did the math, and if a nonunion crew foreman would normally earn $40 per hour in Florida, the eleven extortions in the “contract” would jump the hourly wage to $67.74; for work on weekends or after 4 p.m. weekdays, the rate would rise to $70.38.

It’s not hard to see why states like New York have disastrous financial problems with unionized government workers and why local governments are going bankrupt from union demands. Consider, for example, a recent report from the Manhattan Institute which, after reviewing financial data for New York state and its largest local governments, school districts, and public authorities, reveals that the state’s total unfunded liability for public-sector retiree health insurance comes to nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars.

Continue reading →

Scott Walker, Union Slayer

Scott Walker, Union Slayer

by Matt Patterson from the July 2012 publication of Labor Watch, PDF here)

 

On January 3, 2011, Scott Walker was sworn in as Wisconsin’s new governor. The state’s finances were a mess; the economy stalled. Walker addressed the crisis head on that cold, January day, telling the crowd:

“What is failing us is not our people or our places. What is failing us is the expanse of government. But we can do something about it right here, right now, today.”

And the Governor proved true to his word. Within weeks he moved to tackle the driving factor behind his government’s “expanse”—the Badger State’s public employee infrastructure, specifically, the union-driven, gold-plated contracts. In particular, the cost of state employee health plans had risen 90 percent since 2002. Clearly the state needed a restructuring of the relationship between government and its work force. Continue reading →

Official Time: Government Workers Perform Union Duties on the Taxpayers’ Dime

By F. Vincent Vernuccio and Trey Kovacs (Labor Watch, November 2011, PDF here)

Title V of the U.S. Code allows federal government employees to do union work while on the job. This is known as “official time” and it allows unionized government workers to perform union duties unrelated to their jobs while still being paid their government salary.

There is no law or regulation requiring the government to determine and report how much time union members spend on union work at the public’s expense. The amount of official time awarded to employees performing union duties varies greatly. Cases are decided by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). The FLRA has ruled that some government employees can devote 100 percent of their time to union representation activities despite receiving a government paycheck.

In multiple rulings, the FLRA has ordered the use of official time for lobbying activities. In a 2001 case it ordered that the Department of Defense award official time to the Association of Civilian Technicians (ACT) for union duties including “visiting, phoning and writing to Congress in support of legislation which would impact the working conditions of employees represented by ACT.” Continue reading →

Unions: The New Barbarians

In the Washington Times today, CRC senior editor Matt Patterson compares modern-day public sector unions with the Visigoth hordes who plundered the Roman Empire in the 5th century, A.D:

This vicious circle has brought many state and local governments across the country to the brink of insolvency. To give but a few examples, last August, the city of Central Falls, R.I., was forced to file for bankruptcy largely because of the city’s pension plan and its promised $80 million in retirement benefits for city employees, a sum five times the city’s general operating budget. And then there are the fiscal basket cases of California, New Jersey and Illinois, where government unions have long wreaked havoc on state budgets.

So who are the real barbarians? Big Labor is acting a lot like Alaric’s hordes, enriching itself at public expense, either not knowing or not caring about the poverty and decay its actions will unleash.

Read the whole thing here.

Is This the Future?

Jurisdictions across America are starting to take dramatic steps to reduce their financial burdens.

The Little Hoover Commission in California is now recommending that “California state and local governments roll back pensions for existing employees, dump guaranteed retirement payouts and put more of the pension burden on workers.”

In a state known for earthquakes, this strikes me as a potential political earthquake. Who knows what will happen.