Monthly Archives: September 2009

LABOR SHORTS #2: Exposing Today’s Union Bosses One Skid Mark at a Time

Labor Shorts, Vol. 1, Issue 2

Welcome to Labor Shorts, where we expose today’s union bosses one skid mark at a time.

In this week’s issue, we bring to you the following briefs…er…shorts:

  • Harkin Hopes for EFCA in Fall. Union-mastered Senator Tom Harkin “hopes” for an EFCA vote this fall, reports the Hill. [For more information on the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act go here.]
  • Goodbye Norma Rae. EFCA pushers invoke the spirit of the late Cheryl Lee Sutton (aka ‘Norma Rae’) as a means to draw support of the job killing legislation. What the proponents of no-vote unionization neglect to mention is that the textile plant that ‘Norma Rae’ helped unionize closed in 2003 [Listen to the NPR report here.]
  • Kiddie Indoctrination Part Deux. We’ve seen the videos of kids eerily singing praises to the President, but those are considered educational anomalies. On the other hand, Michelle Malkin is posting how union indoctrination (including union organizing, complete with the creation of “peer education program about workers’ rights today”) is built into the curriculum in the L.A. Unified School District.
  • Boeing, Going, Gone? Despite its denial that it has made up its mind about transferring some of it 787 production to its recently union-free South Carolina facility, Boeing is seeking land clearing permits [perhaps to send a signal to its unionized workforce in Washington?].
  • A Paper Tiger? The United Steel Workers (formerly the United Steel Workers of America) will learn tonight whether it will continue representation of 900 Virginia paper workers, many of them who are supportive of an independent union formed by former USW local officers.
  • Let Them Walk and Carry Signs. Did you know that crossing guards are unionized in the State of Rhode Island? And, did you know the City of Warwick gave the crossing guards lifetime health care and pension benefits? No, really! Well, apparently the mayor of Warwick thought the same thing so he fired all the crossing guards. Problem is, the State Labor Relations Board ordered the city to rehire the crossing guards and pay them the salaries and benefits they would have been paid under the terms of their last contract. [Of course, at taxpayer expense.]
  • Union Fundraiser: ‘Raids Made Possible Only Through the Support of Members Like You.’ The Willamette Reds report that the National Union of Healthcare Workers (the union formerly known as SEIU United Healthcare West) had a successful trip to the AFL-CIO Convention two weeks ago, receiving financial pledges from unions around the country. This will allow the NUHW to continue its fight against the Purple People Eater, otherwise known as the SEIU.
  • Speaking of Union Raids… The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is raiding another union’s 6,700 members in Suffolk, NY
  • Goodyear’s Steelworker Contract Saves 1/2 Billion+. The new contract covers 10,300 workers at plants in Akron, Ohio; Buffalo, N.Y.; Danville, Va.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Gadsden, Ala.; Topeka, Kan.; and Union City, Tenn.
  • Everyone is NUTS over ACORN! Of all the czars and union stars proliferating the White House these days, Patrick Gaspard, former SEIU and ACORN front man and current White House Director of Political Affairs (think Karl Rove) has caught the attention of RedState.
  • Where ACORN gets its Nutty Flavor. Union-Free America has posted where some of ACORN’s green money making machine comes from. [Here’s a hint: Unions.]
  • Between a Rock and a Boulder. When teachers abandon school kids for picket lines, education gets short changed. However, in Boulder, CO, the school superintendent plans to use subs to keep schools open.
  • Speaking of Rocky Relations in the Rockies. UFCW-represented grocery workers at Safeway and City Markets have rejected their employers’ offers, setting the stage for a strike.
  • Teamsters get a Time OUT. After representing workers at El Paso’s Time Warner Cable for 30 years, the Teamsters were ousted (130 to 90) by TWC employees.
  • …And Bombs with Plans for FedEX. Teamsters’ most recent efforts to run FedEx (into the ground) by busting founder Fred Smith’s job into two were shot down by shareholders.
  • Take this Shot & Shove it! Hundreds of health care workers in New York protest mandatory pig flu shots: When asked if he’s willing to lose his job, Frank Mannino, RN, said, “Absolutely. I will not take it, will not be forced. This is still America.” [Um… okay…]
  • Don’t Do the Crime if You Can’t Do the Time. Only in New Jersey. Anthony R. Ambrosio pled guilty to five charges, including embezzlement of an employee benefit program, tax evasion and conspiracy, and now faces up to 25 years in prison and $6 million in fines. One of his charges was paying $20,000 (+/-) to leaders of the Operating Engineers Local 825.

And, that, dear readers, concludes this week’s Labor Shorts.

Best wishes for a productive and prosperous week’s end.

For more news and views on today’s labor unions, join LaborUnionReport’s group on Linkedin or follow us on Twitter.

“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” — Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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Filed under ACORN, AFL-CIO, Labor Shorts, SEIU, United Steelworkers

LABOR SHORTS: Exposing Today’s Union Bosses One Skid Mark at a Time

Welcome to LaborUnionReport’s Labor Shorts, where we expose today’s union bosses one skid mark at a time.

You might ask: What is Labor Shorts?

Well, picture New York Times’ labor columnist Steven Greenfield hooking up with Paris Hilton after she’s done about two grams of blow:

Labor Shorts is a fast and easy way to keep you up to date and interested in a freak-show-kind-of-way on the latest union news.

For example:

And that, dear readers, is LaborUnionReport’s Labor Shorts.

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Filed under ACORN, AFL-CIO, NLRB, UFCW, United Steelworkers

BIG NEWS: TEDDY’S FAUX REPLACEMENT TO BE NAMED BY MASS GUV

Big News on the health care and EFCA debates: The Massachusetts legislature approved giving Democrat governor Devil Patrick the power to appoint an interim replacement for the late Senator, Ted Kennedy.

This will bring the Democrats the needed 60 votes in the Senate (assuming Robert Byrd [D-WV] can make it in to vote), to overcome any Repulican-led filibusters.

Read more here.

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Filed under Democrats, filibuster, Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy

ARLEN SPECTER’S PREMATURE MASTICATION PROBLEM

Although it’s rarely talked about in the open, it is a severe problem that affects some men.

We’ve heard that, without understanding partners, it can lead to moments of deep embarrassment and, if not properly diagnosed, an overall loss of confidence.

It’s called Premature Mastication Syndrome and its victims often do not know they have it until it is too late.

Premature Mastication Syndrome is a phenomenon that occurs when certain men (most often men with self-identity issues), in a moment of great passion, prematurely open their mouths in an attempt to deliver an intelligent dissertation, speech, or some other communication, but spontaneously erupts in self-congratulatory dribble.

Apparently, Pennsylvania’s Senator Arlen Specter (the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat) suffers from Premature Mastication Syndrome and, on Tuesday, masticated all over himself in front of 4,000 Lords and Ladies from the House of Labor, as well as labor’s new king, Richard Trumka.

At the AFL-CIO’s convention in Pittsburgh, Senator Specter chose to speak about the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). A controversial bill in Congress that Sen. Specter has been at the center of for more than two years.

[Senator Specter voted for cloture on the bill in 2007 (sending a signal of support for the measure) before turning against the bill earlier this year, then he supported the bill (again) when he switched parties.]
Whether it was his intention or not, Sen. Specter spilled the beans on a secret-deal that he and fellow senators allegedly made with labor leaders on the job-destroying legislation, claiming the bill would pass the Senate by the end of the year.
To make matters worse for himself, Specter even leaked his version of EFCA to the Washington Post.

[Hey, if you’re going to embarrass yourself by prematurely masticating in public, you might as well go all the way, right?]

Here is what WaPo had to say:

An hour before President Obama appeared at the AFL-CIO convention here to reaffirm his support for bill, Specter told hundreds of cheering union officials that by year’s end Congress would pass labor law legislation that “will be totally satisfactory to labor.”

Well, apparently his partners were less than satisfied (how embarrassing!).

According to Secret Ballot Watch:

Arlen Specter made quite a splash yesterday with his declaration that a new version of the Employee Free Choice Act had garnered the 60 votes needed for passage in the Senate.

Yesterday, the newly Democratic lawmaker appeared before the AFL-CIO convention. He announced that a compromise on EFCA has been “pounded out” and would pass by year’s end – to great applause.

After his speech, Specter offered reporters some details of the “new” legislation: a deal that apparently key allies weren’t aware of, especially dropping the “card check” provision of the bill.

National Journal’s CongressDaily sorts out the details here:

“After a key legislator described a pending compromise on card-check legislation Tuesday, backers scrambled to tamp down speculation that a deal on the labor reform bill has been finalized.

“‘There is no final deal in place,’ said incoming AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Ooops! Thus, by declaring a deal was done on EFCA (when it really wasn’t), Arlen Specter revealed that he suffers from Premature Mastication Syndrome and, in the process, caused great embarrassment for himself.

Note: Although rarer, some women are also known to have Premature Mastication Syndrome.

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Filed under AFL-CIO, Employee Free Choice Act, Richard Trumka

A NEARLY BROKE AFL-CIO GETS A ‘NARCISSISTIC, LAZY, SELF-INDULGENT’ NEW BOSS

Next week marks the coronation of a new boss-of-bosses for the U.S. labor movement.

Richard Trumka, the former head of the United Mine Workers and the AFL-CIO’s number two man for the last 14 years will take over the nation’s largest labor federation by proclamation.

While Trumka is well known for being a fiery orator, his rise to the top spot is more a result of no one else having stepped up to challenge him than anything else.

CounterPunch, a left-of-center blog, has a less-than flattering take on Trumka and the federation he is inheriting.

Twelve years ago, the last time delegates to the AFL-CIO’s National Convention mustered in Pittsburgh, the rhetoric was lofty with invocations to organizing and expanded horizons, Union Cities and Street Heat, but in retrospect the most striking feature was money. Money represented by the legions of smarty-pants staffers and the repeated vows to spend $20 million a year on organizing and whatever it took on politics; money as expressed in the ubiquitous media “outreach,” the glossy brochures and overproduced sets whose only functional purpose was to justify the retainers of the formidable crew of hired pr experts; money as an AFL side business in the form of its Union Plus credit card program, then being vigorously promoted.

….

At a boat ride soiree on Pittsburgh’s rivers one night during that 1997 convention Andy Stern, then relatively new as John Sweeney’s successor as SEIU president, was breezily chatty about labor’s fighting side, the potential for blue-green alliances and subjects far afield union matters. He had been instrumental in organizing Sweeney’s victory as president of the federation in 1995, and as the union president most identified with the style and scaffolding of the New AFL, it seemed he could not have been happier.

Now Stern is gone and the money’s gone, from the AFL-CIO at least, and when delegates again converge on Pittsburgh for another National convention from September 13 through 17 they will bid a final adieu to Sweeney too. What will remain most prominently of that season of change will be Rich Trumka, elected secretary treasurer of the AFL-CIO fourteen years ago and now barreling forward to an uncontested election as the head of the federation, promising again to be an agent of change.

However, not all union bosses are enamored with Sweeney and Trumka’s handling of the AFL-CIO, stating in May that ““A new leadership — leaders chosen by our members, leaders help [sic] accountable by our members — is needed.”
Buffenbarger was complaining about the AFL-CIO’s financial straits and, according to the CounterPunch article:

The numbers aren’t fully known, but the federation’s debt is said by one union leader to be in the neighborhood of $24 million. The money gained from royalties on the Union Plus card, which once accounted for something like 30 per cent of the federation’s revenue, has been blown, as have most of the operating reserves. What had been a $66 million surplus in 2000 has vanished, to the point where the Machinists’ Tom Buffenbarger warned earlier in the year that “insolvency might be right around the corner.”

Trumka according to CounterPunch, was not “the financial gatekeeper that his title implied, and in fact for some time now it has seemed that Trumka was merely warming a seat all those years as the AFL’s second man, making the occasional fiery speech and waiting, for John Sweeney to retire and himself to inherit the president’s platform.”

“Bully pulpit” is the term being used, and it fits. Beloved by some in organized labor — for his heroics at the helm of the 1989-90 Pittston strike when he headed the United Mine Workers, for his fist-thumping rhetoric and brusque manner — Trumka is the bane of others for his performance as part of a team that turned out to be less inspiring than many had hoped.

“Narcissistic, lazy, self-indulgent,” one longtime union organizer quickly ticked off when I asked for an assessment of Trumka. “With Richard, everything will always be about Richard.” He will claim center stage. He will disburse rewards and punishments based on who makes him feel comfortable or not. He will take credit for victories and deflect blame for failures. He will bristle at even polite criticism. More than anything, perhaps, he will enjoy the sound of his own voice.
[Emphasis added.]

So, next week, as the media covers the AFL-CIO convention as dutiful union members that most writers are, it is clear that not all in the labor movement are unified behind or enamored with the new union boss-of-bosses.

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THE PURPLE PEOPLE EATER TAKES ON GEICO’S GECKO

Sad news for the little green Gecko America has come to love. The Purple People Eater, otherwise known as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is out to get the little lizard.

It seems that insurance carrier GEICO has replaced its unionized cleaning services contractor with a non-union contractor, which has displaced SEIU-represented janitors.

From the Washington Post:

The chanting procession by 16 purple-clad demonstrators during Thursday’s evening rush on Wisconsin Avenue marked the latest beat in the running conflict between Chevy Chase-based insurer GEICO and the Service Employees International Union.

A purple flier passed out by protesters took on the GEICO Gecko, noting that janitors working for a recently replaced contractor lost their jobs “due to GEICO’s no so funny or cute money saving strategies.” The company “decided to save a penny on their backs,” it read.

More at the Washington Post.

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Filed under GEICO, SEIU, Service Employees International Union

SHOCKING: SEIU-Backed ACORN Officials Caught Telling ‘Pimp’ & ‘Prostitute’ How to Lie to IRS, Claim Child Prostitutes as ‘Dependents’

While new revelations about SEIU-funded ACORN may not be that shocking anymore, the most recent allegations do seem to stretch the senses of even the most cynical.

A video tape made public today by Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com shows ACORN officials allegedly telling a woman posing as a prostitute how to lie to the IRS, as well as how to claim “child prostitutes” as ‘dependents.’

View video (in two parts) below:

According to NPR.com:

ACORN’s biggest union backer, the Service Employees International Union, gave more than $4 million to the community organization and its affiliates from 2006-07, according to Dept. of Labor filings. One SEIU local union, the Illinois Homecare Workers and Home Childcare Providers, sprouted from ACORN’s organizing efforts and pays rent to ACORN.

ACORN’s affiliates also pick up money from the Change to Win labor federation, the Food and Commercial Workers Union and the United Federation of Teachers, among others.

The question will be: Will President Obama’s Justice Department investigate this? Or, will it be swept under the union-made rug?

Hat-tip to LaborUnionReport reader “Jill”

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Filed under ACORN, Barack Obama, Service Employees International Union, UFCW