Daily Archives: May 7, 2010

Financial Reform: One More Way Unions Plan on Taking Over Corporate America

Last week, we posted on what is really behind the union push for financial reform.  We stated that the union push for financial reform “isn’t to ‘reform’ Wall Street, it is a push to remake America’s quasi-free market system into that of a European model.

While it is not the intent to repeat that post here, it is interesting to note that Politico picked up on the story yesterday and provided a few more details:

Boost for labor in Wall St. bill

For years, Democratic-backed labor unions have been trying to get behind enemy lines, so to speak, by helping to put more union-friendly representatives on corporate boards as a way to shape policies from the inside.

Now, they’ve got a surprising new weapon to help them in that effort: the Wall Street reform bill.

Buried deep in the Democrats’ Senate bill are two major changes to how board members are elected — both designed to crack open the insular world of corporate boardrooms and make them more responsive to shareholders.


But when Democrats set out to reform Wall Street, they also included a few provisions that benefit their allies in the labor movement, along with provisions on reining in “too big to fail” banks and exotic investments.

One provision would essentially give the Securities and Exchange Commission the power to force the names of outside nominees onto the corporate ballot. Right now, corporations can print up the ballots — and leave off the other names.

Such a change could give large, long-term investors — such as the pension funds that fund union members’ retirements — a better shot to get elected to the boards.

The other change would require directors running in an uncontested election to win a majority of votes cast. Currently, most directors need to win only a plurality, which has resulted in directors losing the majority vote but still winning the seat.


Critics argue the push is little more than a move by Democrats to reward their friends in organized labor.

“It is reasonable for some to think that these proposals are more about payback than fixing the economy,” said Tom Quaadman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It’s designed to give labor more leverage over management, he said, adding that the Chamber is working to kill the provisions.

“This has nothing to do with responsible corporate governance,” he said. “This is about selective activist investors trying to advance issues unrelated to better corporate governance.” [Emphasis added.]

Simply put, the union Democrats’ version of financial reform is ruse, a sales job of epic proportions to use the financial crisis to completely restructure America’s quasi-free market into that of Europe’s.

And we know just how well that’s working out for Europe, don’t we?

“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 AFL-CIO, financial reform

Teamsters accused of threatening FL mayor with smear campaign

Is a union’s political threat considered free speech? That seems to be the issue in Panama City, Florida where the Teamsters union represents the city’s police officers and now stands accused of threatening Panama City’s mayor, Scott Clemmons, over the City’s bargaining position.

A letter sent by an Alabama Teamsters Union member, Jim Gookins to Mayor Scott Clemons and Commission Billy Rader outlined a proposed benefits package. The plan he claimed could save $40 thousand a year for Panama City’s 62 union officers, was never discussed during negotiations.

Griffin responded with a lengthy letter emphasizing proper procedure, stating, “it is unlawful for an employer to engage in direct dealing with employees who have a certified bargaining agent.

A month later Mayor Clemons received a letter from Teamsters Washington D.C representative, with negative campaign ads against an unrelated politician attached.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he was threatening me that if I did not meet with him… that they would launch this campaign,” said Clemons.

Union Council Cecil Gardner says the letters were not a threat, but free speech.

“It’s not a smear campaign at all; it’s a campaign of public education. It might very well be a campaign which indicates that the police officers union is not satisfied with what the mayor has done,” he said, “We believe that the city is trying to intimidate the police officer’s union and chill their exercise of first amendment rights.”

Yes, it’s the Teamsters union. And, yes, it represents police officers.

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

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

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Filed under International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Panama City, Teamsters