Monthly Notes

Labor Notes: April, 2012

Labor Notes

April, 2012

On March 13th, the folks at AFL-CIO made it official – they support Barack Obama’s re-election bid. They also vowed to make their biggest election effort ever, promising to turn out at least 400,000 union members to knock on doors “to counter the well-endowed ‘super PACs’ backing Republicans,” reports the New York Times. “The same Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that set the stage for these political action committees to accept unlimited donations also allowed unions to send their foot soldiers to visit not just union members at home, but also voters who do not belong to unions — a move expected to increase labor’s political clout significantly in this year’s elections.” Labor leaders are vowing to spend as much as $400 million this election cycle on races at all levels, the vast majority of such sum will doubtless go to Democrats.

The late Andrew Breitbart’s (R.I.P.) website reported in March that it had obtained exclusive tape of an Occupy Strategy Session at New York University, an event called “The Abolition of Capitalism.” One of the main speakers at this strategy session of the Occupy Movement was Stephen Lerner, a former leader and International Board Member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). According to, “Lerner argued in favor of people not paying their mortgages and ‘occupying’ their homes; he spoke in favor of invading annual shareholders meetings to shut them down. But his big goal was to get workers to shut down their workplaces.” Unions and Occupy – two peas in an anti-liberty pod.

An interesting addendum to this month’s excellent Labor Watch by Cheryl Chumley: In February the U.S. Postal Service announced that the Hare’s Corner mail processing and distribution center near Wilmington, Delaware would be spared in the most recent round of postal facility closings across the mid-Atlantic. The result is that hundreds of U.S.P.S. jobs will remain in Delaware. In – ahem – unrelated news, U.S. Senator from Delaware Tom Carper (D) sits on the powerful Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, which oversees the Postal Service.

It looks like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is in for the fight of his life in this coming summer’s union-instigated recall election. A recent Public Policy Polling survey finds Wisconsin voters evenly split on the recall, 49 percent to 49 percent. Walker’s approval rating stands at an alarming 47 percent.

Walker’s won’t be the only hotly contested election this summer. A power struggle is brewing at the highest echelons of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), one of the largest and most powerful labor organizations in the country. Danny Donohue, president of the New York State Civil Service Employees Association, and union Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders are competing to succeed retiring AFSCME President Gerry McEntee. At stake: The future of AFSCME’s political giving. AFSCME is expected to spend upwards of $100 million in the 2012 election cycle. But Donohue is promising to refocus the union’s political cash more on state and local races. “We may still spend the overall dollars, but we may not spend them where we are spending them now,” Donohue told The Huffington Post.

More labor leaders for communism: America’s biggest maritime union, The International Longshoremen’s Association, has presented Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao with an award honoring him as the “Best Friend of American Worker” for his “…great contributions in creating more job opportunities for U.S. workers.”