Monthly Archives: February 2010

Countdown: UFCW Just Hours Away From Striking New England Grocery Chain?

With an already expired contract, the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) is gearing up for a possible strike tomorrow against New England grocer Stop & Shop.

However, since losing the 2004-2005 grocery strike (and lockout) in Southern California, the UFCW has refrained from striking grocery chains over the last few years (including in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico earlier this year).

More here…

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“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 labor union strike, Stop and Shop, UFCW, United Food and Commercial Workers

As long as Obama does the SEIU’s bidding, he is and always will be "anti-business"

President Obama has been bending over backwards lately trying to craft himself as “pro-business/pro-free-market.” Almost invoking the spirit of Ayn Rand, Obama has even declared himself to be “an ardent believer in the free market” while making an effort to rebut claims that his policies are “socialist” (a never-before heard statement from a President of the United States, as far as we can tell).


In a recent BusinessWeek interview, Obama even went so far as to state that “We are fierce advocates for a thriving, dynamic free market,” before stating (later in the interview) in a Joe-Wilson moment:

You would be hard-pressed to identify a piece of legislation that we have proposed out there that, net, is not good for businesses.



With all due respect, Mr. President:  You lie…er…That is not quite accurate.

Just today, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration, in a throwback to the Clinton administration’s “blacklisting” program, is looking at using the awarding of government contracts as a way of paying back organized labor, which will affect one quarter of all working Americans.

By altering how it awards $500 billion in contracts each year, the government would disqualify more companies with labor, environmental or other violations and give an edge to companies that offer better levels of pay, health coverage, pensions and other benefits, the officials said.

Because nearly one in four workers is employed by companies that have contracts with the federal government, administration officials see the plan as a way to shape social policy and lift more families into the middle class. It would affect contracts like those awarded to make Army uniforms, clean federal buildings and mow lawns at military bases.

[snip]

Randel K. Johnson, senior vice president for labor at the United States Chamber of Commerce, called the plan a “warmed-over version” of President Bill Clinton’s regulations that sought to bar federal agencies from awarding contracts to companies with a record of breaking labor, environmental or consumer laws. President George W. Bush vacated those regulations soon after taking office.

“We strongly opposed the Clinton blacklist regulations,” Mr. Johnson said, “and this appears worse than that.”

Then, of course, there’s the so-called “cap and trade” which, according to the Wall Street Journal, results in the greatest inequities being imposed “on the parts of the U.S. that rely most on manufacturing or fossil fuels — particularly coal, which generates most power in the Midwest, Southern and Plains states.”

Next up is the mother-of-all bad ideas, the job-destroying Employee Free Choice Act (or EFCA).  EFCA, which consists of effectively eliminating workers’ right to a secret-ballot during unionization campaigns and forcing government-imposed union contracts on businesses (large and small), has been estimated to add one percent of unemployment for every three percent of union membership gains.  

As the White House released its first “Annual Report of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class” earlier today, Labor Pains blogger J. Justin Wilson notes:

Among the pro-labor policies touted in the report on the “Middle Class,” starting on page 23 is a page plus on the importance of EFCA and the values it embodies. The report calling for EFCA does not mean it’s less dead, it’s just that the Administration has a responsibility to stay positive on the party line.

“Unions” or “unionization were mentioned 34 times, by my count. By contrast,”small business(es)” were mentioned just 8 times. The word “entrepreneur” is never even mentioned in the report. Heck, even the Great Depression got mentioned twice.


The House Republicans’ Committee on Education and Labor had this to say on task force report:

Not surprisingly, union expansion is a major theme, with special attention paid to the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a noted job killer.

“Over the course of this year, the Task Force will continue to promote the benefits of union membership and to amplify the President’s message of the importance of EFCA as a way to guarantee workers who want to organize a fair chance to do so.”



Lastly, Mr. Obama’s and his fellow Democrats’ up-in-the-air-at-the-moment and ever-shifting attempt to nationalize the America’s health care industry is being pushed with yet-unknown edicts on business, as well as an unknown price tag. However, one thing is sure, according to the Heritage Foundation, unions will be the beneficiary of “Obamacare.”

The union movement will gain billions of dollars if Obamacare passes.

The most obvious payout is the taxpayer bailout for union health plans. Many union-negotiated retiree health plans cannot pay their scheduled benefits. Rather than reducing benefits, the bill passes those costs onto taxpayers to the tune of $10 billion. But that is small potatoes compared to what the bill will do for union membership.

[snip]

If the government runs health care, then the SEIU’s membership rolls will swell. If union rates among nurses in America rose to Canadian levels, then the SEIU would bring in over a billion dollars a year in new mandatory dues. Newly organized technicians and other medical support staff would add even more to that total. The Labor movement has a huge financial stake in the government dominating health care.



We have long commented on SEIU’s Andy Stern and Anna Berger’s influence on POTUS.  Prior to Andy becoming the most frequent visitor to the White house and before Obama ascendency to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, then-candidate Obama even pledged his allegiance to the SEIU.

So far, Obama’s allegiance to the SEIU has resulted in the President’s efforts to push initiatives that are beneficial to the SEIU (and other unions), as well as the elevation of key SEIU officials to influential positions: 
  • White House Director of Political Affairs, Patrick Gaspard was a high ranking SEIU boss in New York.
  • SEIU EVP Anna Burger was appointed to the aforementioned White House Task Force on the Middle Class last year
  • SEIU Associate General Counsel Craig Becker, before failing to get Senate confirmation, has been nominated and re-nominated by Obama. (It remains to be seen whether the President will seat Becker using a recess appointment later in the year.)
  • Lastly, the man behind the curtain, SEIU’s president Andy Stern was appointed earlier today to sit on the so-called “deficit commission.”

According to The Hill:

Business groups opposed to the card-check bill that has dominated fights between business and labor for more than a year railed against the decision to appoint Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

“Either the White House doesn’t read the newspaper or simply doesn’t care, but naming Andy Stern as a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility doesn’t pass the laugh test,” said Katie Packer, executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute.



As the SEIU has spent millions upon millions of its members dues money on putting President Obama into the White House, one could expect the President to reward his backers.

However, for the President to try to claim that he is a proponent of the free market or try to downplay his anti-business creds is beyond laughable, it’s preposterous. 

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

Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

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Filed under Andy Stern, Anna Burger, EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, Patrick Gaspard, SEIU, Service Employees International Union

Hard Sell? Detroit union members to lose Viagra benefits

With his city in tatters, its finances in ruins, Detroit’s mayor, David Bing, doesn’t mince words.

Mayor Dave Bing today criticized leaders of the city’s largest union for foot-dragging on contract negotiations, saying it’s costing the financially strapped city $500,000 a month and could result in more layoffs.

“Either they can’t read, they can’t add or they can’t comprehend,” Bing said at a press conference this morning in his office at City Hall. “It has to be one of the three.”

“Everyone is running with a deficit in their budgets. It’s leadership or a lack of leadership that has got us to where we are.”

Bing said he’s ready to impose a contract on the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25 but said the city must follow the law. Both parties are now in fact-finding, a process which could last until July.

More layoffs may be necessary in the meantime to help shore up the city’s estimated $325 million deficit, although Bing didn’t give any numbers.

Bing has been at odds for months with AFSCME leaders over calls for concessions, including 10 percent pay cuts through 26 furlough days and fringe benefit cuts. The union represents about 3,600 workers such as landscapers, street pavers and crossing guards.

[snip]

Bing has ratified deals with 26 of the city’s 49 unions, one union vote is pending, and he has imposed contract conditions on three others, staffers said.

He blamed union officials, who he said have repeatedly tried to delay negotiations in court unsuccessfully, including asking a judge at one point to jail Bing for contempt. Bing said he is sensitive to the rank-and-file city employees but said the city is in a “financial crisis”.

“It’s not the rank and file,” Bing said. “The (union) leadership will still have their jobs.”

The City Council recently approved fringe benefits reductions that Bing negotiated with about 25 unions representing nearly 1,400 staffers and another 1,300 non-union workers. They include:

  • Suspending tuition reimbursement until 2012 to save $520,000 a year.
  • Reducing vacation and sick days for new hires, including eliminating up to six bonus vacation days if they don’t call in sick.
  • Dropping coverage for fertility and impotence drugs such as Viagra to save $1.6 million a year.
  • Stopping employees from being able to add adult dependents — parents or adult children — to their insurance as long as they pay the monthly premiums.
  • These are in addition to a 10 percent pay cut in the form of 26 furlough days.

In August, Bing vowed to lay off 1,000 workers if unions didn’t agree to new contracts. He backed down, but noted the city’s work force has fallen to 11,800 from 13,200 when he took office in May.  [Emphasis added.]

More here

Suffice it to say that, if more politicians had the backbone that Bing has, many of America’s states and cities might not be in the dire straits they are in today.

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

Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

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Filed under AFSCME, David Bing, Detroit

Astro-turfing for Health Care: Obama campaign arm focuses on talk radio

As the fight over nationalizing America’s health care goes into its final stages, Politico’s Ben Smith is reporting that the DNC is plotting an astro-turf campaign aimed at talk-radio listeners.

The Democratic National Committee’s Organizing for America has quietly launched an initiative aimed at making Obama supporters’ voices heard on the largely conservative airwaves.

“The fate of health reform has been a focus of debate in living rooms and offices, on TV and online — and on talk radio. And since millions of folks turn to talk radio as a trusted source of news and opinions, we need to make sure OFA supporters are calling in with a pro-reform message,” says the introduction to the online tool.

The online tool presents users with a radio show discussing political topics, to which supporters can listen live, and the phone number for that station, for when health care comes up. It also offers tips for callers and talking points on the issue.

My quick sampling produced Christian radio, a local talk station in Buffalo, and the syndicated talk shows of Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Sean Hannity — who will no doubt be thrilled with their new, liberal callers.

Supporters are then encouraged to report back on their encounters.

The only problem with this OFA strategy is the fact that, much like the control the government will have on Americans’ lives under nationalized health care, the radio hosts also have a ‘kill switch.’
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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.

For more news and views on today’s unions, go toLaborUnionReport.com.

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Filed under D, nationalized health care, Organizing for America

While American Workers Suffer, Union Leaders (and their staffs) Enrich Themselves

As another 496,000 workers lost their jobs last week, Veronique de Rugy has a great post over at Big Government explaining how those that work in the “labor union industry” (i.e., union bosses and their staffs) are faring much better than both all private and financial-sector employees…and even union members themselves.
Based on this data , I am thinking that the good life starts the day one gets a job as an employee of your local Labor Union and in fact those overpaid financial sector people might want to change jobs!
unionpaytable
This table, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows the changes in the wages in three sectors: the private sector, the Labor Union industry and the financial industry. According to the BLS, the Labor Union industry “comprises establishments primarily engaged in promoting the interests of organized labor and union employees.” That’s basically all the guys who work in a Union…

[snip]

As one can see clearly here since the beginning of the recession, private sector employees have seen their wages grown by 3.3 percent (roughly the rate of inflation.) The financial sector employees have been slightly better off with wages growing at a 4.1 percent rate.
Meanwhile, wages in the labor unions have continued to increase. And not by 5 percent or 7 percent but by over 24.9 percent!!!
Read more here
Given the amount of layoffs and concessions being negotiated by unions (on behalf of union members) all over the country, one would think that union bosses might show some restraint when rewarding themselves and their staffs…
…One would think.
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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

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Filed under union bosses, union hyposcrisy

What Union Leaders Don’t Want to Admit: Unions out of step with dynamic U.S. private sector

Following our posting of this a couple of days ago on LaborUnionReport’s Linkedin group, two of our readers’ comments prompted us to post this op-ed on the decline of unions.

As one of the readers stated: “Every Union officer/leader should read this article…and smell the coffee.”

Since we know that some unionists dutifully visit LaborUnionReport, we hope their olfactory senses can pick up the scent of what has caused the unions’ decline:

The story spun by labor leaders is that foreign competition has caused manufacturing and other, more unionized sectors of the economy to shrink, shifting the weight of our economy to less-unionized service sectors.

The reality is more sobering for the union movement. The decline in union density in the United States has not been driven by a shift of employment from unionized sectors to non-unionized sectors, but by a broad economy-wide decline of unionization across sectors and regions. Private-sector unionization rates have fallen in virtually every manufacturing sector and most service sectors in the past three decades and across all regions of the country.

The weight of evidence indicates that, for most firms in most sectors, unionization leaves companies less able to compete successfully. The core problem is that unions cause compensation to rise faster than productivity, eroding profits while at the same time reducing the ability of firms to remain price-competitive. The result over time is that unionized firms have tended to lose market share to nonunionized firms, in domestic as well as international markets.

After studying the effects of unions on company performance, Barry Hirsch of Georgia State University concluded that unions will typically raise labor costs to a firm by 15 percent to 20 percent, while delivering a negligible increase in productivity. As a result, “Unionization is associated with lower investment in physical and intangible capital and slower growth. The combination of a union tax and sluggish governance is proving debilitating in economic environments that are highly competitive and dynamic,” Mr. Hirsch wrote in a 2008 study.

More here…

Labor leaders, can you smell the coffee yet?

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

Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

Photo credit: Noomrise

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Filed under Barry Hirsch, Union decline

Ex-Tuxedo school librarian charged with embezzlement

Apparently this librarian was doing more than watching the books…
Town police said a former librarian in the Tuxedo School District embezzled more than $12,000 from the district’s teachers union while serving as its president and treasurer.

Police said Teresa E. Haslam, 45, of Chester, issued herself 20 checks and one electronic transfer from the union’s account between November 2008 and May 2009, when she left the district. According to the union, all but $645.98 has been repaid.

More here.

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

Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

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Filed under union corruption