Daily Archives: April 25, 2010

Maybe it was something in the glue? Union Mailers Heading to Jailers

This is worth posting based on the New York Post’s headline alone. However, as you read the story, it gets even better in a curious kind of way.

From the Post:

A union leader who was sent in to clean up the newspaper mailers union after the previous president embezzled a six-figure sum from the union yesterday admitted he also had embezzled cash from the union.

Larry DeAngelis, who was dispatched by the Communications Workers of America in mid-2008 to lead CWA Local 14170, also known as Mailers Local 6, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling for siphoning $60,000 from the union.

DeAngelis’ confession came two days after his predecessor, Wayne Mitchell, pleaded guilty to the same charge after admitting he embezzled more than $200,000 from the union he had led for decades before he was forced out.

Wow!  The CWA sent in a thief to clean up after a thief???  It’s hard to believe that any union would be that irresponsible but…

Maybe they were sniffing the glue from the envelopes?

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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 Communications Workers of America, CWA, union corruption

IBEW issues threat to sue…even its own members?

We cannot show you the logo that we’re writing about (you can see it here though).  You see, its union owners are getting hypersensitive about anyone, including the union’s own members, from using its logo.

In a post earlier this month, the IBEW international issued the following warning about unauthorized use of its logo:

But it is in the interest of the membership that the International Office retains sole ownership and usage of the logo to protect members from confusing information and to maintain the integrity of this treasured symbol.

The IBEW retains the prerogative to initiate legal action against anyone using the IBEW logo without permission. 

Even though we think the logo could use a face lift (maybe a picture of a rat and some picketers?), the IBEW’s warning is duly noted…
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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 IBEW, union rat

The Inside Scoop? Former ACORN Co-Founder Wade Rathke offers his take on SEIU’s Purple Palace Coup

Last Friday’s stunning Purple Palace Coup at the SEIU (that is the rejection of the Queen of Labor and frequent White House visitor Anna Burger as the next SEIU president) seems to be a story filled with intrigue and back-room politicking among former friends-turned-bitter enemies.

Wade Rathke, (pictured at right) most famous for his role as the co-founder of the now-disgraced Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), is also the “Chief Organizer” for SEIU Local 100 in New Orleans.  On his blog,  Rathke lays the reason for Burger’s rejection squarely at Burger’s own power-hungry feet.

According to Rathke, the engineer for Burger’s defeat may have been SEIU EVP Tom Woodruff.  Woodruff, according to Rathke, had gone ‘ballistic’ a couple of years ago when Burger tried to do become a multiple-term president of the Change to Win federation by changing its charter rules.

When Woodruff caught wind of this, he went ballistic! This was treachery in his view. A line had been breached even in Tom’s organizing principles. After confronting Anna and demanding that she back off of this amendment and allow leadership change and failing to convince her, the contest then became whether or not Stern would step in and get Anna to do right or not. Woodruff threatened Stern that he would resign if Stern did not honor the original C2W governance provisions and direct Anna to step back from this power grab. Caught in the crossfire between Anna, his old comrade back to his earliest days in Pennsylvania and Tom Woodruff, who had been the architect of much of Andy’s vaunted organizing successes, Stern backed Burger effectively calling Woodruff’s bluff. My buddies in the secretarial pool described the atmosphere as icy on the [SEIU’s eighth] floor with weeks going by and top leaders clearly not speaking

Anna should have known then that if Tom stayed she now had a mortal enemy. With this leadership shift, Woodruff undoubtedly had been organizing an “anybody but Anna” coalition for the last two years as well. He also knows something that even the most disciplined of unions sometimes forget: unions are political institutions and union leaders are fundamentally all politicians.

Anna Burger, according to Rathke, also had more than her hunger for power that dragged her down: She had Stern fatigue pulling her down as well as deficiencies in style:

Anna Burger is nothing if not able, but she is also prickly to work with, brusque to some, and having been a Stern wannabe would have been trying to out-Stern Stern in molding herself to a chance at president. The big locals would not have felt they owed her much of anything, and would have chafed at the prospect.

[snip]

Anna was efficient, tough, and managerial. She is not charismatic, she always speaks so quickly even from the dais that she can often not be understood, and she did not have a long term, loyal base of followers on her team, despite her years of effective and totally committed service.

While Rathke states that the most able leader would have been 1199’s Dennis Rivera, he would have also suffered from the wake of Andy Stern’s divisive, top-down style:

Probably the most able leader in SEIU with Stern out of the picture would have been Dennis Rivera, the charismatic and wildly effective 1199 veteran, who played critical, early behind the scenes work in assembling the coalition to win health care reform. At the same time Rivera is person who sucks up all of the air in the room, and there seemed to have been “stern exhaustion.” The big locals created top down over the last decade and more all owed their existence and in most cases, other than [former SEIU-UHW leader Sal] Rosselli, their very positions to Stern often as appointed trustees or beneficiaries of master marriages. On a successor question they were going to get a voice, and they seem to have wanted a voice.

Rathke writes that Mary Kay Henry is a “fantastic choice.”  In the end, he says:

She is not divisive, and there is huge pushback within SEIU now, growing over recent years, that some of the bare knuckles moves led by Stern, and often orchestrated by many, including Woodruff leading to C2W, and since then with UNITE-HERE and many internal messes, have heard the brand of the union that should be heralded as one of the few modern labor success stories. May Kay may not always deliver for you, but always makes you happy to see her, always has a hug for you, always a good word and a question about your partners and children. It is hard to believe that she was not the perfect compromise candidate.

This may be Tom’s revenge, but she will not be anyone’s puppet.

This is going to be interesting for all of us who care about labor and may just help unite SEIU again and eventually the entire labor movement.

Read the rest of Rathke’s blog 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 ACORN, Anna Burger, Mary Kay Henry, SEIU, Service Employees International Union, Tom Woodruff, Wade Rathke

Two Rats Don’t Make a Right: Carpenters’ Covet IBEW’s Work

Two brothers, one’s a carpenter, the other is an electrician.

Both work in the same neighborhood and, over time, the carpenter notices that his brother, the electrician, seems to always have a smile on his face.

One day, as the carpenter is working on a house next to where the electrician is working, the carpenter looks out the window and sees the electrician’s wife bringing her husband’s lunch to the jobsite and he covets the electrician’s wife:

A quiet, long-simmering feud between two prominent St. Louis labor organizations erupted openly this month in a torrent of insinuations, veiled threats and acts of vandalism.

Tension between the I nternational Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1 and the Carpenters’ District Council of St. Louis is so intense that the two unions have been summoned to a meeting to air and perhaps resolve their differences.

The meeting, jointly called by the general president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and his counterpart in the Washington headquarters of the IBEW, will be May 3 at a hotel near Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

A resolution can’t come quickly enough for Duke Northcutt, one of 200 contractors affiliated with Associated Electrical Contractors Local 57, the start-up chartered 18 months ago by the carpenters union to provide area construction clients with an alternative to the 4,000-member Local 1, the nation’s first and oldest IBEW bargaining unit.

A longtime employee of Reinhold Electric, Northcutt arrived at work on April 7 and discovered the numbers “57” spray-painted, with a slash through the numerals, on the white facade of the electric parts distributorship Reinhold operates on Lemay Ferry Road in Affton.
St. Louis County police later noticed vandals had also tossed rocks through the $20,000 sign that Reinhold erected outside the business two months ago.

A county police spokesman said the department was actively investigating two acts of vandalism against Local 57 contractors.

Now that’s ‘brotherhood!’
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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 IBEW, United Brotherhood of Carpenters

Ridiculous Teamsters End Trash Strike

There is just no other word for this, except ridiculous

Striking garbage workers in King and Snohomish counties said Thursday afternoon they’d return to their jobs at midnight to prevent a “public health crisis.”

Um…yeah, okay… We know the real reason but...if you say so...
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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 International Brotherhood of Teamsters, labor union strike, Teamsters, Waste Management

Single-Payer Health Care is Coming…

The plan all along has been to have European-style, single-payer health care.

A warning was issued in 2008, in 2009 and now:  Under the new health care reform legislation, America will have a single-payer health care system being initiated within three years and implemented within the next five to ten years.   Here’s why [from one of the largest employee and labor law firms in the nation]:

As new benefits, penalties, and programs become effective, some employers may be driven to reevaluate the cost of providing health care coverage to their employees relative to the penalty for not providing coverage. For some, it may become more cost-effective to pay the penalty than provide the coverage. In addition, employers may turn increasingly to contingent workers to eliminate the cost of providing health insurance or the penalty for not doing so.

Or, if you don’t believe lawyers, then how about the Hill?

The report also suggests that some employers will stop offering their employees healthcare coverage benefits: “A number of workers who currently have employer coverage would likely become enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program or receive subsidized coverage through the [Health] Exchanges. For example, some smaller employers would be inclined to terminate their existing coverage, and companies with low average salaries might find it to their — and their employees’ — advantage to end their plans...”

Foster claims that the law’s penalties on employers who don’t offer their workers health insurance “are relatively low compared to prevailing health insurance costs.” 

Smaller employers? How about larger ones too?

You can also just start listening at :35 in the clip below [via Moe Lane]…

You have been warned.  Now, what will you do about it?
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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 nationalized health care, Obamacare, SEIU