Publication Archives: Blog

Big Labor

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.

Read all »

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. Read all »

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.” Read all »

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.

ACORN Abuses Its Workers, Fights Unionization

A mountain of paperwork detailing extensive, apparently credible allegations of wage and labor law violations against ACORN was received in early August by investigators on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

ACORN, which claims to be a champion of workers’ rights, has been abusing its workers for decades.

Read more in my exclusive report only at the American Spectator.

Communist-Linked Apollo Alliance Dictates to Congress

President Obama’s new “green jobs” czar Van Jones, an avowed militant communist, had been on the board of the pressure group Apollo Alliance, which aspires to flatten the U.S. economy by having government fund “green jobs” scams, according to the “Glenn Beck Program” earlier this week.

Even worse, the green gangster group, which has ties to ACORN, SEIU, and Center for American Progress president John Podesta, has significant pull in Congress and helped to write the stimulus bill.

The Apollo Alliance “is designed to bring together the elements of organized labor with the community organizers with the green groups, the environmental groups, and to access all of the big foundation money that’s been supportive of those causes in the past,” explained Phil Kerpen, director of policy for Americans for Prosperity.

Jones described the group’s “mission as sort of a grand unified field theory for progressive left causes; it ties all these things together,” Kerpen said. He added

They really admire the Apollo mission, the moon-shot mission, and they think that we need a similar centrally-planned, organized massive mobilization to reorder society and take control of energy and their various other objectives. They admire that and they want it like a moon shot.

Beck asked if Wade Rathke, the disgraced founder of ACORN who was expelled by the radical left-wing group last year for covering up his brother’s embezzlement of nearly $1 million in ACORN funds, had been a member of the Apollo Alliance’s board.

Kerpen responded, “Yes. He’s on — he was until this year on the board of the Tides Foundation and the Tides Center, which are the parent organizations that host the Apollo Alliance.”

New Malkin Book “Culture of Corruption” Spotlights CRC Research

In her new book Culture of Corruption: Obama and his team of tax cheats, crooks, and cronies, bestselling author Michelle Malkin highlights my work and Capital Research Center’s work on ACORN.

From the acknowledgements at page 292:

Several organizations left, right, and center deserve singling out for their principled and unwavering dedication to transparency, open government, and accountability. This book drew on the vital research by the National Right to Work Foundation, Capital Research Center, Employment Policy Institute, and Center for Responsive Politics. Many individual whistleblowers provided invaluable information, but I’d like to give special thanks to Anita MonCrief for her enormous courage and vigilance on ACORN corruption –and to Mike Gaynor and Matthew Vadum for their foresight and insight in reporting on the story when no one else would. [emphasis added]

I scored several endnotes too. Blogger extraordinaire Robert Stacy McCain also received special thanks in the acknowledgments section. (Be sure to read the long article on ACORN I have in the August Townhall magazine. It’s the cover story.)

Glenn Beck interviewed Malkin yesterday on his radio show and on his TV show about her book which as of today is #1 in sales at Amazon.com.

On TV Malkin said the radical left-wing group ACORN and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are in the forefront of an effort to radically transform America and are “intimately” and “inextricably” linked. The far-left SEIU is “a union that has remade itself in the 21st century to recruit the next generation of Democrat and hard-left foot soldiers,” she said.

Here is the video from the “Glenn Beck Program”:

Shameless plug: I’ve been on the “Glenn Beck Program,” the “G. Gordon Liddy Show,” and plenty of other programs many times talking about ACORN. Videos may be found here, and audio podcasts may be found here.

Fascism and Michael Moore’s Dumb Ideas About Government Motors

Fascism, or more precisely, Mussolini-style corporatism, continues to advance in America with nary an objection.

The planned government takeover of General Motors, which filed for bankruptcy protection today, is just the latest part of the corporatist assault on American values. Even left-wing careerist Ralph Nader denounced the bankruptcy petition, calling it “an avoidable, crude weapon of mass devastation for workers, dealers, auto suppliers, small businesses and their depleted communities. For GM’s voiceless owners — the common shareholders — it is a wipeout. ”

The Obama administration is handing over a big chunk of GM to its political allies, the United Autoworkers of America, thus giving the workers ownership of the means of production, the textbook definition of socialism. Supposedly to protect the public interest, the rule of law was set aside as the repayment priority of bondholders was taken away in order to help Big Labor.

Of course, this is no way to run a company. Subjecting it to political control guarantees it will fail again and again and need more government bailouts in perpetuity.

GM will continue faltering, producing expensive politically correct environmentalist cars that will crumple like tissue paper in a crash and that nobody will want to buy.

It would be far better to simply allow GM to die rather than continue as the Fascist abomination it is in the process of becoming.

Meanwhile, left-wing nutter Michael Moore is bursting with dumb ideas about what to do next.

One is to “have bullet trains criss-crossing this country in the next five years.” He says they’re a success in Japan but leaves out the fact that Japan is tiny (374,744 square kilometers) compared to the U.S. ( 9,161,923 square kilometers) which is half the size of Russia, and that bullet train systems are prohibitively expensive.

Moore also wants the government to “[i]nitiate a program to put light rail mass transit lines in all our large and medium-sized cities. Build those trains in the GM factories. And hire local people everywhere to install and run this system.” Great. More white elephant mass transit that Americans hate and won’t use. Think of Amtrak multiplied say a hundred times.

Some of the other ideas to spout from Moore’s head include producing expensive “or all-electric cars (and batteries),” using empty GM factories to make “windmills, solar panels and other means of alternate forms of energy,” and imposing “a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline.”

While the powers that be may not be listening to Moore specifically, they are definitely listening to special interests that support the same kinds of boondoggles he wants to force down Americans’ throats.

ACORN Allies Scheme to Distract from Corruption Allegations

 

Was this photo taken at Shining Path headquarters? (just kidding) Disgraced ACORN founder Wade Rathke (left) and ACORN enabler Drummond Pike (right) in an undated photo taken in Peru. On the wall is a large poster of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. (photo: Pike’s blog)

* * * * *

John Podesta’s left-wing Center for American Progress Action Fund has invited many liberal and radical groups to a meeting Thursday morning to discuss how to use rhetorical misdirection to take the focus off ACORN’s increasingly well publicized corruption. One of the groups, Alliance for Justice, is advertising the crisis management meeting called “Reframing the Attack on Voter Registration” on its website.

The intrepid investigative journalist Kevin Mooney of the Washington Examiner reports

Nearly a dozen left-wing advocacy groups are meeting Thursday at the Center for American Progress (CAP)  to discuss how to respond to a growing barrage of damaging news reports and editorial criticism of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform (NOW). [sic]

The strategy meeting at the liberal think tank is being described as a “briefing and discussion” on how to respond to the negative coverage. ACORN is currently under investigation for voter registration fraud and related allegations in at least 14 states.

Among the organizations expected to attend the strategy session are: Advancement Project, Alliance for Justice, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Center for Community Change, Common Cause, Fair Elections Legal Network, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and People for the American Way.

Bertha Lewis, billed as “ACORN’s new chief organizer and CEO,” is a featured speaker. [...]

Lewis is the ACORN executive who lied to Lou Dobbs on CNN last month. Lewis can’t stand controversial Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and she said he claimed to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan. As Newsmax reported:

What Arpaio actually said was that whenever he tried to enforce U.S. immigration laws, activists on the left accused him of being a racist, like a member of the Klu Klux Klan. He then went on to say he didn’t let the insults bother him.

Lewis refused to back down from her malicious lie, which is not surprising because when confronted, ACORN officials routinely lie, lie, and lie some more.

I suspect that ACORN and its allies will play the race card. Useful idiot Adam Serwer of the American Prospect summed up last fall what they’re likely to say in coming days:

The allegations against ACORN are part of a tangle of misinformation and insinuation that is being played out across the media, and within the Justice Department. ACORN, because of its advocacy on behalf of low-income and minority families, and its efforts to register voters in poor and minority districts, has become a focus for the right’s racial anxieties.

They’ll say conservatives and Republicans are sinister, racist scum who don’t want minorities to vote, and all the negative publicity is the result of a vast conspiracy that originated among scab health care workers on the planet Klendathu who all belong to country clubs that frown on same-sex marriage unless it’s solemnized by a non-union pastor who dines on endangered species and who enjoys maximizing his carbon footprint, yada yada yada, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

We’ve heard this fanciful narrative before but the difference is now a surprisingly large segment of the population is paying attention to ACORN’s illicit activities.