Monthly Archives: November 2009

Will Unions Use Obama’s Job Summit to Push Job-Destroying Legislation?

With unemployment reaching 10.2% and likely to rise over the coming year, the Obama administration is getting desperate to show that it can reverse the rising unemployment and the President’s falling poll numbers.

As Politico notes:

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the presidential playbook: when you want to focus attention on an issue, hold a meeting and call it a “summit.”

President Barack Obama’s already done a “Fiscal Responsibility Summit,” a “Health Care Summit,” an “H1N1 Flu Preparedness Summit,” and even a “Distracted Driving Summit.”

Next up: a “Jobs Summit” Thursday, and if Obama thought fighting the flu or getting health reform done was tough, wait until he faces the hard truth that presidents ultimately face when they need an economic quick-fix.

There isn’t one.

Nevertheless, with much fanfare and photo ops, the President will be holding a jobs summit where he’s invited “business executives, labor leaders, community activists, economists and others to the White House to spur ideas.” [See partial guest list here.]
Interestingly, Bill Clinton’s former secretary of labor and ultra-liberal Robert Reich states: “Most presidents don’t have all that much control over creating jobs. They can affect things at the margin.”
While Mr. Reich is half-correct (Presidents cannot create jobs, nor can government-at-large), he misses a larger point: Presidents and government, with ill-conceived policies, can and do kill jobs.
A near-bankrupt treasury, higher taxes, excessive regulation and uncertainty over big government proposals like health care nationalization and ‘cap and trade’ all have a strangulating on the creators of jobs.
Another piece of legislation that is creating great uncertainty and, therefore, a reluctance to create jobs is the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act (or EFCA).
Even though the President, according to AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka, has pledged to advance EFCA after the health care debate is over, Thomas Kochran suggests in the Huffington Post that the President’s “jobs summit” should be used to push for EFCA.

The president needs to use this historic opportunity to break this impasse and launch an era of productive and innovative labor management relations needed
to foster and sustain the new pact.

To do so, the president should announce his intention to work for speedy passage of a reframed and expanded Employee Free Choice Act, a labor law reform bill currently stalled in Congress.

The problem is, EFCA (which, as written, replaces secret-ballot elections on the question of unionization with majority ‘card-check’ and gives government-imposed arbitrators the power to dictate wages and benefits) is a job destroyer.

As renowned Professor Richard Epstein wrote earlier this year:

The likely consequence of EFCA will be to retard the formation of small businesses, as fledgling entrepreneurs will reassess their prospects of success to take into account the danger of derailment at an early stage in the process. In the long‐term the EFCA will reduce the rate of firm formation, and thus deprive the economy of a central driver of new job creation and technology growth.

And for larger firms?

Faced with these constraints, a firm’s ability to shift and meet the rising competition from new firms could easily result in the loss of jobs from the failure of certain business lines, or the conscious redeployment by management of assets and new investment to locations that have lower costs and greater flexibility –traits most often associated with nonunion operations. The decision to send more activities offshore is also a distinct likelihood.

In 2005, even Andy Stern of the now-infamous Service Employees International Union seemed to implicitly acknowledge that unions hurt jobs when he presented statistics on a PowerPoint slide (at right) indicating that manufacturing jobs that were unionized suffered a much higher loss than did overall manufacturing jobs.

More relevant to Thursday’s “jobs summit” is President Obama’s own Larry Summers. Prior to his joining the Obama administration, Mr. Summers seemed to get it.

Just a few years ago, Mr. Obama’s Director of the National Economic Council wrote that unionization is a cause of long term unemployment.

Another cause of long-term unemployment is unionization. High union wages that exceed the competitive market rate are likely to cause job losses in the unionized sector of the economy. Also, those who lose high-wage union jobs are often reluctant to accept alternative low-wage employment….

There is no question that some long-term unemployment is caused by government intervention and unions that interfere with the supply of labor….

As the meeting of the minds come together on Thursday to hold a photo op and give the appearance they are doing something to try to curb unemployment, perhaps they will get a sudden revelation that they, in fact, may be partly to blame for the high unemployment.

But, then again, the expectation that common sense economics would prevail from an administration that was paid for by union bosses may be asking too much.
“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 Andy Stern, Barack Obama, Jobs Summit, Larry Summers, SEIU, unemployment

Eagle Scout Update: SEIU’s PR SNAFU Shames Union into Volunteerism

A mere two weeks ago, the Union of Purple People Eaters (aka the SEIU) found itself in the middle of a media maelstrom for picking on a pathway-clearing eagle scout.

In pursuit of an Eagle Scout badge, Kevin Anderson, 17, has toiled for more than 200 hours hours over several weeks to clear a walking path in an east Allentown park. Little did the do-gooder know that his altruistic act would put him in the cross hairs of the city’s largest municipal union.

Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told Allentown City Council Tuesday that the union is considering filing a grievance against the city for allowing Anderson to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park.

Within a few days, the offending Purple People Eater had resigned his post after having been thrown under the purple bus by his New York bosses.

On Wednesday, after getting hit by a steady onslaught of rights, Balzano got hit by one big left when his own union distanced itself from his comments and called Balzano’s wounds self-induced.”

His comments were completely unauthorized and they do not reflect the position or views of the union,” wrote area leader of the SEIU’s Mid-Atlantic District Wayne MacManiman in an apology letter to Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

“The careless and insensitive comments were prompted by frustration over recently laid-off workers in Allentown,” MacManiman wrote Wednesday.

Now, however, in what may be too little too late, the SEIU is trying to make amends for its ill-conceived attack on the eagle scout.

Hauling brush and old tires out of the woods in Allentown early Friday, members of the Service Employees International Union learned an Eagle-Scout-to-be is just as forgiving as he is trustworthy, loyal and helpful.

The Eagle Scout service project of Kevin Anderson, 17, of Upper Saucon Township was caught up in a national media firestorm after Nick Balzano, an Allentown union official, threatened to file a grievance over Kevin’s work clearing a trail in Kimmets Lock Park. Conservative pundits seized on the remark as evidence of the SEIU’s ”thuggery,” and Balzano later resigned.

To show there were no hard feelings, SEIU members from as far away as Philadelphia and New Jersey accepted Kevin’s invitation to help with the project Friday.”They completely agreed — to come out, to help, to make amends,” said Kevin, a member of Troop 301 of Center Valley.

Of course, SEIU bosses wasted no time using their ‘volunteerism’ as a means of trying to get a boost in its PR debacle:

Wayne MacManiman, who leads the SEIU’s Philadelphia-based mid-Atlantic district, said he thought Kevin’s invitation was a great idea.

”Everybody’s here on their day off, volunteering,” said MacManiman, of Burlington County, N.J.

He noted SEIU members from Allentown had signed up to be part of the union’s 20-member crew.

”Kevin’s doing an amazing thing. We’ve always supported the Boy Scouts, whether it’s here in Allentown, Bethlehem or Philadelphia,” MacManiman added, gathering branches alongside Bethlehem SEIU chapter leader Bill Tone.

Always supported the boy scouts? Well, “always” may be always except when your union gets caught threatening to file a grievance against one and you, Mr. MacManiman, after throwing the offender under the purple bus for getting caught.

[Editor’s note: It might be a safe bet that a union heavy like MacManiman wouldn’t be picking up branches on a Friday after Thankgiving were it not for the bad PR his union received for picking on the scout to begin with.]

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Filed under Eagle Scouts, SEIU

Will Unions’ Billion Dollars Buy Exemption from Obama’s Crackdown on Lobbyists?

The Obama administration is giving lobbyists the boot, according to the Washington Post, in an effort to reduce their influence in Washington.

No, really. It’s not a joke. The Washington Post says it’s the case.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of lobbyists are likely to be ejected from federal advisory panels as part of a little-noticed initiative by the Obama administration to curb K Street’s influence in Washington, according to White House officials and lobbying experts.

The new policy — issued with little fanfare this fall by the White House ethics counsel — may turn out to be the most far-reaching lobbying rule change so far from President Obama, who also has sought to restrict the ability of lobbyists to get jobs in his administration and to negotiate over stimulus contracts. [Emphasis added.]

The Heritage Foundation notes that “[u]nions as a whole spent more than $1 billion of their members’ dues to elect Obama and the current Congress.”

Apparently, however, the Administration has forgotten all the union appointees like Patrick Gaspard (White House Communications Dir.), Ellen Moran (Commerce Department), Mary Beth Maxwell (Dept. of Labor), Jordan Barab (OSHA), Craig Becker (NLRB nominee) or John Sullivan (Federal Elections Commission) that have been handed plum jobs due to their special interest advocacy.

The initiative is aimed at a system of advisory committees so vast that federal officials don’t have exact numbers for its size; the most recent estimates tally nearly 1,000 panels with total membership exceeding 60,000 people.

Under the policy, which is being phased in over the coming months, none of the more than 13,000 lobbyists in Washington would be able to hold seats on the committees, which advise agencies on trade rules, troop levels, environmental regulations, consumer protections and thousands of other government policies.

“Some folks have developed a comfortable Beltway perch sitting on these boards while at the same time working as lobbyists to influence the government,” said White House ethics counsel Norm Eisen, who disclosed the policy in a September blog posting on the White House Web site. “That is just the kind of special interest access that the president objects to.” [Emphasis added.]

There is little doubt that the “special interests” the White House is aiming at do not include union bosses like SEIU’s Andy Stern (who seems to have his own key to the Lincoln Bedroom) and Anna Burger, or the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka, all of whom enjoyed a seat at the White House state dinner last week and spent hundreds of millions of dollars putting Obama into office.

[Of course, perhaps the White House is only targeting registered lobbyists. If that’s the case, unregistered Andy Stern may be off the hook and the hypocrisy can continue.]

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Cross-posted on RedState.

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Filed under AFL-CIO, Anna Burger, Barack Obama, Craig Becker, Jordan Barab, Mary Beth Maxwell, Patrick Gaspard, Richard Trumka, SEIU, Special Interests

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER? Charges Filed Against SEIU Purple People Beaters…

It is said that the wheels of justice turn slowly.

In the case of the SEIU purple shirted thugs who beat a conservative black man (video) selling Gadsden flags (see right) at a town hall meeting in August, justice is coming more slowly than usual and the wheels?…Well, in St. Louis, the wheels of justice seem to be nothing more than that of a blue matchbox car.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch, which has a reporter among one of the charged, writes:

Six people arrested in August outside a raucous town hall meeting in south St. Louis County have been charged with misdemeanor ordinance violations.

The six, including a Post-Dispatch reporter, had attended a demonstration outside an Aug. 6 forum called by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, at Bernard Middle School in Mehlville to discuss health care reform….

The maximum penalty upon conviction would be one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Some bloggers have been writing for months about the lag between the arrests at the politically-charged event and the filing of charges.

County Counselor Patricia Redington insisted it had nothing to do with politics, influence or pressure from any official.

“These charges are like the 90,000 other charges we file each year,” she said.

[Emphasis added.]

Interestingly, although the county counselor insists her delay has nothing to do with politics, she seemed much more interested in justice nine years ago when she filed charges against a Republican staffer for pushing a camera away from his face.

Redington was quick to file charges back in 2000, when a staffer for Democrat Richard Gephardt stalked serious contender Republican Bill Federer on a parade route. The staffer, James Larrew, tried to shove his camera into Federer’s face until Federer was forced to push the camera away. The staffer freaked, flagged down a cop and claimed that he had been assaulted. Larrew then called Gephardt’s office and spoke to Joyce Aboussie, Gephardt’s top political adviser, who then contacted Redington’s office. Two days later Redington filed assault charges against Federer, on Columbus Day, a national holiday; after which Redington, Aboussie, and Larrew conducted a media blitz, all arranged for by Gephardt’s office.

Something tells us that the wheels of justice are a bit off track in St. Louis.

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Filed under SEIU, St. Louis, town hall beatings

AFL-CIO Top Boss and SEIU’s King & Queen Dine at the White House

Described as the ‘hottest ticket in town,’ an impressive, star-studded list attended President Obama’s first state dinner at the White House.

According to ABC News, “fewer than 400 lucky guests received the official invitation.”

Among the guest list of dignitaries, luminaries and Hollywood bigwigs were a trio that, under ordinary circumstances, might go unnoticed were it not for their nefarious influence on this Administration.

The “exclusive” list included:

From Hollywood: David Geffen (who stepped into the middle of the Obama/Hillary Clinton primary fight in Feb. 2007 when he told the New York Times Clinton was the “easiest to beat” in the Democratic field and that nobody believes that since leaving office, “all of a sudden Bill Clinton has become a different person”).
Jeffrey Katzenberg
Alfre Woodard
Blair E Underwood
Steven Spielberg

Prominent Indian-Americans:
Mr. Deepak Chopra
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R)
Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN (and once the subject of much speculation for the position of Surgeon General)

From the world of politics:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
General Colin Powell (who endorsed Obama during last year’s presidential election)

From television media:
ABC’s Robin Roberts
NBC’s Brian Williams
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria
CBS’ Katie Couric
Oprah pal Gayle King
(Not on the list – anyone from FOX News)

From organized labor:
Andy Stern (SEIU)
Anna Burger (SEIU)
Richard Trumka (AFL-CIO)

And Obama family and friends:
Maya Soetoro-Ng (Obama’s sister)
Konrad Ng (Maya’s husband)
Dr. Eric E. Whitaker
Martin Nesbitt
Anita Blanchard (Nesbitt’s wife)
Penny Pritzker

Since the SEIU’s union-busting boss Andy Stern seems to have his own key to the White House and is considered the hand in Barack Obama’s puppet, it should come as no surprise that he and his fellow union accomplices were served a full-course meal at tax-payer expense.

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Filed under Andy Stern, Anna Burger, Barack Obama, Richard Trumka, state dinner

Rasmussen: Democrats More Likely to be Unemployed than Republicans…

What a shocker!

We haven’t seen this on the evening news yet but according to a new Rasmussen poll, Democrats are more likely to be unemployed than Republicans:

Data from Rasmussen Reports national telephone surveys shows that 15.0% of Democrats in the workforce are currently unemployed and looking for a job. Among adults not affiliated with either major party, that number is 15.6% while just 9.9% of Republicans are in the same situation. [Emphasis added.]

This explains much …
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SEIU Bosses Lose Fight With Boy Scouts

Last weekend, when the Union of Purple People Eaters’ (aka the SEIU) picked a fight with a lone boy scout, little did it know that a firestorm would ensue.

Apparently, the Purple People Eaters bit off more than they could chew:

Allentown union official Nick Balzano has been a political punching bag all week because he threatened to file a grievance against the city for allowing a Boy Scout to clear a walking path in a city park.

Three days of taking body blows nationally from conservative pundits, a rebuke from the Lehigh Valley’s congressman and even a lashing from his own union led Balzano to voluntarily resign his position Thursday as head of the
local Service Employees International Union.

Balzano said he and seven other executive officers of the local SEIU stepped down.

Even more telling that the Purple People Eaters will, when backed into a corner, chew off its own arm:

On Wednesday, after getting hit by a steady onslaught of rights, Balzano got hit by one big left when his own union distanced itself from his comments and called Balzano’s wounds self-induced.

“His comments were completely unauthorized and they do not reflect the position or views of the union,” wrote area leader of the SEIU’s Mid-Atlantic District Wayne MacManiman in an apology letter to Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

“The careless and insensitive comments were prompted by frustration over recently laid-off workers in Allentown,” MacManiman wrote Wednesday.

He said the union “has no intentions” of filing a grievance against the city and continues to support the efforts of voluntary organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America.

Let it be a lesson for moral cannibals everywhere. Attack an American icon, expect a backlash.

Hat-tip: Moe Lane.

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Filed under Boy Scouts, SEIU, Service Employees International Union