He made the trains run on time and controlled the Unions

image - October 23, 2003

Fascism is recognized to have first been officially developed by Benito Mussolini, who came to power in Italy in 1922. To sum up fascism in one word would be to say "anti-liberalism".

...............Socialism and Democracy. Political doctrines pass; peoples remain. It is to be expected that this century may be that of authority, a century of the "Right," a Fascist century."

Image Source Page: http://marxistleninist.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/glenn-beck-champions-u-s-pro-nazi-text/

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wall street wants your $$ and wants to break your Unions.

During most of the Bush regime, Social Security "reform" was the star of the Bush administration’s agenda. The idea was to give over $1 trillion from our Social Security payments to create personal investment accounts for employees under 55 years old. Those retirement funds would have been handled by being invested in the stock market.

Our accounts would have magically multiplied in value, giving us a comfortable retirement. You would have taken the risk but not the brokers; no matter how poorly they performed they would have "earned" a percentage of your money to reward their "investment skills".
No matter what happened, the brokers would have been guaranteed huge profits regardless of performance.

A fee of only two percent would have given a return on $1 trillion of $20 billion win, lose or draw.

Well, we all know how that would have worked out.

This situation has been a long time coming. Wall Street thinks that they should have your paycheck whether is called a bailout or "reform". Union pension funds have always been seen as a pot of money workers don’t deserve.

Now, as Wall Street failures get free handouts from the taxpayer. Secretary of the Treasury Paulson sings "I’ll spend it my way" to the tune of Sinatra's I did it my way.
While the banks and Paulson refuse to say where the money is going, the right wing is tries to make sure that the big three don’t get any help.

Sure the CEOs of the big three were idiots for flying private jets to Washington, but this is a smokescreen for the ongoing campaign against Unions. "They make $70.00 an hour!" is the war cry. The $70.00 figure is only true if you include all retirees and all current workers at the present pay scale and don’t look to 2009 where the new UAW pay scale is nearly half of what today’s workers can earn.

Wall Street and the Government use a two prong attack to break Unions

The recent near collapse of the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund is frightening to all workers planning on a pension. The fund covered about 460,000 until UPS was allowed to pull out 44,000 workers. The CSPF even during the Mob years was famous for being able to provide benefits for all of its members until the funds were made a piggy bank for the only group greedier than the mob, Wall Street.

Did the Teamsters lose the money?

The federal government started attacking pensions and Union power under the Kennedy administration and continued under both Democrats and Republicans under the disguise of a campaign against organized crime.

Starting with attacks on the Teamsters, the reason given for the anti-Union campaign was a fight against crooked Unions and Mafia involvement. The links to the mob were real and many Teamster leaders were involved, and convicted of crimes. While ridding the Unions of corruption is a great goal and makes good headlines, there was always a dual agenda, and this was the first step in a long campaign against organized labor in the modern age.

While U.S. corporations and their paid for politicians were claiming to punish corruption, the real target was Jimmy Hoffa's attempt to unite workers in all transport industries into a single Union. The second motive was to gain control of Union pension funds. The control of the Union pension funds would allow the corporations to loot the funds and destroy one of the great drivers of Unionization, security in retirement.

The Teamsters - mainly due to real connections with organized crime were forced in 1982 to turn over control of the Union to the the government. The prizes for the Corporations were two, huge funds and ongoing income of the Central States Fund and the removal of the Union power provided by a fund this size.

The pension fund was turned over to the control of Morgan Stanley, and the cash and half a million employees future became toys for Morgan Stanley. They didn't care if they broke the toys. When the Unions lost control of their investments, they also lost the political power that went with the choice of where to invest.

Morgan Stanley immediately started shifting pension funds into high-risk investments. Buying and selling investments repeatedly to earn fees with no regard for the investor is called churning, an old reliable income generator for brokers. The old method of long term stable investments did not generate enough fees. When successful, the investments earned fat bonuses for the brokers. When risky investments failed the brokers fees never stopped. Only the employees depending on the funds for a secure retirement took any risk. The bankers couldn't lose.

By 2003, after years of the greatest stock market gains in history the pension fund could only find 60 cents for every dollar owed to retired members, and for the first time cut benefits. While cutting pensions, a new rule cut off benefits for employees if the employees returned to work. They were not to be allowed to make up what Wall Street had lost.

Little mentioned is that while the Teamsters’ Fund lent nearly half a billion dollars to Las Vegas’ casinos and hotels during the 1960’s and 70’s, the loans were repaid and the CSPF had always paid benefits owed to its members.

Pension looting as a Union busting tool

The Teamsters retirement funds collapse is not a unique incident. At the top of the list of "under funded" defined benefit pension plans are the "big oil" companies like Exxon which is now crying that they may be forced to spend money if forced to fund pensions to the letter of the law. In 2002 the list included General Motors, Ford, IBM, Boeing, Exxon Mobil, DuPont, Verizon, Lucent and Delphi Automotive. Airlines have been allowed to file bankruptcy, break Union contracts, leave pensions unpaid, and return to profitability with no obligation to restore the pensions of the employees that built the companies.

Many major corporations have followed the models set by the airline and steel industries by defaulting on their pension plans. The pattern has been clear, first the pension funds are used to pay gross executive salaries, provide golden parachutes. The next step is bankruptcy and a release from Union contracts and pension plans. This model of looting and Union breaking became commonplace during the Bush years.

"Under funding" should called what it is, theft. Pensions are a part of workers’ wages. To earn a secure retirement workers delay part of their pay to provide retirement income.

You pay, you lose, you still pay

When the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation was created it was sold as a back up in case an employer pension fund collapsed. At the same time regulations that had long protected employee retirement funds were deregulated, with the claim that freeing the funds from government oversight would allow them to invest freely and grow.

The PBGC is funded by premiums paid by corporations.Premiums that are much less than the amount needed to provide promised benefits if the employer collapses or files for bankruptcy. in a move to escape pension obligations while breaking Unions. At the same time the Corporations were looting their employees pension funds they were lobbying to keep down the payments that would have provided a secure fall back.

In 2005 the PBGC announced a loss of $12.1 billion. The losses increased the PBGC’s deficit to over $23 billion. At that time the PBGC had $39 billion to cover $62 billion owed to retirees. At the same time the government consistently refused to enforce even the lax standards for premium payments that were in place, allowing the gap of assests to grow. The PBGC solution was to cut benefits to employees further rather than collect what was owed.

In 2005 it became clear the PBGC would go fail unless it received billions from the government. When the PBGC takes over pensions it receives the funds of the pensions it controls. Union pension funds make a highly visible target to help bail out years of government mismanagement.

In the years after WWII while the U.S. was becoming a better and better place for the worker, corporations paid about 48 percent of the Federal taxes collected. In 2005 that percentage had fallen to seven percent. This means that workers must pick up the tab first paying for their pensions and then paying the taxes for the PBGC to pick up after the companies go bankrupt.

If pensions were still paid at the agreed upon rate we could make an argument that the government was doing its job, but when companies default on a pension plan, the PBGC, slashes pension benefits by as much as sixty percent. The right is looking for a triple dip. They lost your original pension funds through greed. You are paying the taxes for the PBGC, and they want your pensions to fund the PBGC.

The current bail out is providing "pension" plans for millionaires and billionaires while the right wing foams at the mouth at the suggestion that any Union pension plan be helped in any way. The solution for the right is now to have the big three file bankruptcy, smash the Unions, and drop their pension obligations. Maybe if we called a pension a golden parachute they might let it slide..

Should we let the big three collapse? Do they deserve to fail for bad judgement? We need to look at recent history to judge Wall Streets motives and the possible results. If the deregulating, private account crowd had gotten their way, Social Security would now be bankrupt.

Until Wall Street wanted your money Government intervention was evil. Now government intervention is only evil if it might continue to provide jobs for Union workers. The Bush administration was preparing toloot Social Security in the same way they allowed the Teamsters and other pension funds and the stock market. Unions built strong funds that can recover, but not if they are forced under Wall Street management schemes.

Social Security must be kept strong as an example of the meaning of Security. Pension funds must be kept strong for the workers who trusted their security to these funds. We can not allow the economic crisis to be used as an excuse to break Unions.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Do your job, lose your job.

State Employees offer to pitch in and save money

Friday, November 21 2008

State Employees representing the Executive Branch bargaining units with over 9000 employees came to bargaining today with an offer to help with the budget crisis. State employees who have gone without raises for two years in recent contracts, and consistently accepted raises lower than inflation, today offered to help balance the budget by identifying savings and waste in State government.

State employee’s raises have not kept up with inflation for the last ten years consistently leaving them behind the private sector in real income today called for everyone to pitch in.

The State employees represented by the MSEA-SEIU manage lifesaving services for children and adults through DHHS, DOT, and Public Safety. All branches of State government provide necessary services to the people of Maine and State employees stand ready to help save tax payer dollars by ending wasteful outsourcing and bloated contracts to out of state companies.

“Why send our money out of State, when we can hire Mainers to do the work for less?” said one of the Union negotiators, No one knows how to serve Mainers better than Mainers and we will work with the State to identify areas where money can be saved and funds kept in Maine. When we keep the money in Maine it helps our revenue fo ALL Maine citizens!

'We provide quality services." We want to help cut the tax burden said members of the negotiations team.

Many people don't know that some state employees earn so little that they qualify for state services. Even these employees are dedicated to doing their part to get everyone in Maine through these hard times.

There are so many examples of waste and opportunities for savings said another member of the executive branch teams.

We can find ways to save tax dollars.

“State employees pay taxes too and see their neighbors and friends hurting. With the help of their Union State employees have been trying to point out the waste of outsourcing for years and maybe during this crisis the time has come for the legislature to listen to those who know the work best.

State employees are your friends and neighbors and they don't want agencies to close and the public suffer. Mainers will still need to register a car, adopt a child, be sure their food is safe, and educate their children.

State workers know how fragile the economy is at the moment but they know Maine will weather this downturn better than many States because Mainers will pull together.

Saving State services has strikes home when it is made personal. Here is a personal story.

Recently two public safety workers working long hours and many unpaid hours on their own time were responsible for tracking down a sexual predator. The detective work rivaled the best of CSI. These two heroes don't make Hollywood salaries, they don't get a bonus for catching a monster. They did it to keep your children safe.

No one knows how many children may have been saved from this monster. Last week one of these heroes was told they were scheduled for layoff, after saving children their child would have a mother with no job.

I hope the State will work with its citizens to lower costs and I expect the public would question why State agencies would refuse to partner with State employees at no cost in a mutual goal of saving tax dollars.

The State is expecting as much as a half billion dollar deficit and our members want to be part of the solution, we have the skills and the people to replace contracted services, saving both jobs and money for the taxpayers of Maine while improving services.

The workers' contract does not expire until July 2009 but they are in negotiations now in order help find savings in the coming biennial budget.

State employees know they find ways to save the State millions of dollars. They are willing to commit the resources to make this happen.

Update: Saturday November 22

Ground Breaking Meeting of Executive, Judicial, and Community College bargaining units.

In a show of solidarity and strength the three bargaining units that are most closely associated with the biennial budget process met on Saturday to share their concerns, their talents, and to build solidarity.

The theme developed was "The best for the largest number, regardless of bargaining unit". This unprecedented meeting will lead to more sharing in the future and make it harder to pit one unit against another.

"We all share common interests and we all want to help each other" said one of the Union team members.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Outsourcing Pros and Cons

We don’t need people, technology can answer our questions.

While e-mail and the Web have made strides, the phone remains the primary channel consumers use to interact with customer care. In a 2007 Harris Interactive Research study sponsored by our company, 97% of respondents reported that they most often use the telephone to contact customer service. Today, more than 79.8 billion calls are made to call centers annually, and that is only expected to rise as use of the mobile phone for customer care increases. However, providing one-to-one call center interaction is not always economically feasible.

On the surface, overseas outsourcing—with live human operators—might appear to be a good means to save operational costs. However, research shows that the American consumer sees those that outsourced customer services as providing less satisfaction and lower resolution levels.

Customers are willing to use automated systems for a number of reasons, such as the convenience of ATMs that are convenient, fast and under customer is in control.

Technology will win out in the end because

• It is available 24 x 7.

• It can answer questions without a language barrier.

•Customers can do it for themselves

• Technology is the perfect answer to “I want it NOW”

• Consistent answers every time.

The warm bodies on phones aren’t going away but as technology changes faster than the number of trained support staff the opportunities to implement technology to reduce costs and increase revenue will continue to grow.

Outsourcing and technology don’t add Quality or Value

Cost savings, efficiency, no internal human relations issues, there are a number of reasons to outsource or automate consumer contact centers or help desks. Outsourcing and technology have a proven record of delivering benefits. There are several factors companies should consider before outsourcing vital customer service applications. First the quality of the service should be given priority over cost effectiveness if you want to have long term stability and growth.

Consumers know that support calls are likely to be answered Dallas to India or Viet Nam. For the most customers this has not been a problem but a growing concern is whether their questions are answered quickly, competently, and courteously.

“A sampling of consumer complaints about outsourcing contains comments such as “The worst customer experience I ever had was placing a support desk call that terminated in India for a product purchased in the U.S.

“If you expect to provide customer satisfaction by providing outsourced help, your long-term success is at risk”

“Outsourced customer service is cost effective for some, but at what cost to the consumer?”

Providing support by outsourcing allows companies immediate savings through virtual operations that need no physical space. They don’t hire, train, or retain employees. Staff can be used and dropped at a moments notice to handle call volumes. On the other hand they lose skilled help every time they reduce call volume, they build no employee loyalty or long term product knowledge.

Outsourcing saves money, but only to the short term bottom end. The customer gets excessive wait times, lowered quality, and on many calls the issue doesn't get resolved in a single session. An American customer reaching many call centers feels disrespected and unvalued. Ultimately, outsourcing removes consumer loyalty and trust.

In my opinion, one of the worst examples of not respecting the consumer is a famous maker of scanning software, also a maker of IVR software. They are in favor of automated response systems. You need to check some of the software they sell in the U.S... No tech support whatsoever with the exception of one free call for installation issue. No bug reporting unless you pay them. The only support a regular user of their software gets is an online forum with FAQs, which was off line for months at a time.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Welcome New Subscribers

In the past few weeks I have had a number of new subscribers. I wanted to say thank you for coming on board and please feel free to comment. If I do all the posts, and all the writing I will always agree with myself. If I need to start having multiple personalities and arguments with myself in order to get differing view points...............I won't go there, yet. I am not going to have as much time to write as I would like as I am on the Executive branch negotiations team. There will be a number of topics I can not write about, but nothing stops the reader from sharing their opinions on anything.

Pension Funding

Will this be the next bailout?

Exxon Mobil after posting successive record setting profits and receiving Billions in tax breaks has the most underfunded plan of any company in the S&P 500.

Respect for employees? I don’t think so. Big Oil Has A Hole in Pension Funding

While Republicans are still trying to say the free market will solve everything and prosperity will be trickled down, the employees are in the bottom story of the two story outhouse.

While very few corporate pension funds have weathered the economic problems and State Employee and teachers pension funds have been hard hit, plans at energy companies are in the worst shape..

According to an analysis of S&P 500 companies from Citi Investment Research, companies in the energy sector had pension funds that were only slightly more than 80 percent funded at the beginning of 2008, the lowest funding level among any of the 10 industries examined by Citi.

With the drop in the market and the drops in oil prices by the end of October, Citi calculates that funding levels have dropped off another 20 percent, at least, leaving energy company pension funds barely above 60% funded.

“This could result in a need for energy firms to meaningfully contribute to their plans in 2009,” wrote Citi analyst Tobias Levkovich in a report released Thursday, November 6.

Why does it sound like this analyst thinks it is bad that these companies will have to fund their pension funds? Is it because the obscene profits have not been enough and the companies have been short changing their employees to benefit their investors?

“This would come at a time when earnings revisions for energy companies already are sliding sharply alongside plummeting oil prices … and could add another headwind for energy earnings and stock prices.”

The report noted that a substantial chunk of the funding shortfall in the energy industry belonged to just a handful of companies. That included Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and Chevron, which have been reporting huge profits but still had three of the 10 most underfunded pension plans in the S&P 500 at the beginning of this year.

Indeed, Exxon Mobil had the most underfunded plan of any company in the S&P 500. Exxon Mobil has $27.8 billion in pension plan assets to cover $34.5 billion in pension liabilities, for a $6.7 billion deficit. ConocoPhillips, with a $1.6 billion shortfall, had the fifth-most underfunded plan, while Chevron’s $1.2 billion pension deficit was the eighth-largest of any company in the S&P 500.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Republicans can make a come back.

The election results mean Democrats won....big.

The margins of victory were great but they weren't absolutely overwhelming, overwhelming would have been 65 Senate seats, but they were great.

Simply winning formerly blue states and some new red states does not tell the whole story. Obama beat John McCain with a margin similar to Bill Clinton's defeat of George Bush in 1992, but more importantly Obama picked up formerly red states and significantly increased the Clinton win margin in many blue states.

Although we didn’t get 60 in the Senate and Obama didn't win by 13 points as some early polls suggested the Democratic gains in the Senate and House are so commanding that many in Congress could be tempted to ignore Republicans or look for payback for the next four year.

The G.O.P ignored Democrats and that was a big piece of the Democratic victory this year. Being ignored makes people angry, and being ignored blinds the other side to your strength. We must not ignore the G.O.P. Starting now we must not be tempted to fall into the Bush doctrine of ignoring the other side and not having a clue how they are preparing to make a comeback.

Are we sitting pretty and can we start handing out Democratic laws like Christmas presents? Keep in mind that Newt Gingrich led the Republican Revolution two years after the Clinton win. The Republicans are not going to just go away. Jimmy Carter won large Democratic margins in 1976 and Ronald Reagan became the Republican messiah four years later, leading to an era of a Republican controlled Senate and a G.O.P. relentlessly catering to the far right conservative wing of their party.

The G.O.P. is already using a favorite tool, the big lie, the first claim is that the country is actually center right, and Rush Limbaugh is calling the economic problems the "Obama recession". In Republican eyes and on talk radio, the economy was great until Obama won the election. This is the tale they will try to spin over the next four years. The economy only got worse because the country fears the Obama win.

Suffering denial, the G.O.P. does not yet see there has been a massive swing in voters' willingness to support ideas condemned by the right for years. Stem cell research, an end to an illegal war, and a return to government by the constitution, not by the Vice President. This was a great Democratic year, the election proved our country is not a center-right country, the focus has changed. So much for the good news.

The Republican Party can not be ignored, they got 45% of the vote and the Democratic party can not afford to make dedicated enemies of nearly half of the population. Every one of the remaining red Congressional seats represents voters that we need to reach out to by not being unwilling to listen.

Right Mr. Bush, Mr. McCain?

If we don't watch the right we give them a wedge for a comeback. Our new Senators and Representatives with our new President must keep their promises. Rahm Emanuel when asked what Obama was really going to do now that he won answered "exactly what he said he would do, and in the same priority as he promised". This gives hope that many of the anti-Bush voters that voted for Obama will become true Democrats if we keep our promises.

Obama knows the right will continue to paint him as aloof, an intellectual, not "Main st."

Obama hasn't stopped showing America who he is. Obama said to his daughters "you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the new White House" and when asked about what breed of dog he might get, he said mabe a shelter dog, and that many shelter dogs are "mutts like me". In these two statements he showed a warm and human side of himself in the same mold as Franklin Roosevelt, THE depression era President, (with Scottish terrier Fala), Ronald Reagan (with a spaniel named Rex), and hopefully unlike Richard Nixon with Checkers.

In only a few sentences he bonded with dog lovers all over the country, he shared an experience remembered by millions wondering what dog to bring home.. He showed his love and his concern for his children, and unlike compassionate conservatism, he showed real concern by wanting to find a shelter dog.

Good start, Obama is showing he is smart, funny, and compassionate. I can almost see the first "1/20/2013 We can Again!" stickers. Great start but it will get tougher if we underestimate the right. Keeping an eye on the G.O.P picks for leadership will be critical, who the G.O.P. puts up for leadership, if they move to the center, if the Limbaugh, Hannity influence falls off then we may face a new and energized Grand Old Party. The easiest way for the Republicans to make a comeback is also the farthest from possible. They would have to say they had been wrong and were returning to their roots, Bush was wrong, interfering in the Schiavo case was wrong, and a false war was wrong. If they did that, they could come back. Then again, if they did that they would be Democrats.

Their selection of leaders will tell us if they are going to continue to be mindlessly right wing trying to be even more conservative or if they will try to co-opt Democratic successes and claim victory.

Obama's choice of Rahm Emanuel shows that he will be can see the future and that he will be the architecht of legislative strategy that acknowledges political reality while not being willing to bow to an out of control Congress that could lose if the budget is allowed to become a piƱata in the Republican tradition.

Obama's appointment of Emanuel tells me that Obama is in control and intends to remain at the helm.

Obama will not allow Republicans to blame him for a recession he has inherited, but we can not add to the problems by passing giveaways to every state that elected a Democrat. We can not afford to use the next four years to build a Congress to nowhere.

Obama will be a powerful force for our country's new alignment with the left, but conservatives won't go away. They may just learn how to hide their deregulation, tax cuts for the rich agenda better than they did this election. They hid their intent for at least six years. I hope that rather than change they spend four years trying to put lipstick on a pit bull.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pass that joint, and cut my taxes.

Marijuana busts have always been a favorite of the police. They are after mostly teenagers and very small time crooks. Kids can be pressured to give up the "dealer" that sold them half a dozen joints. A small time crook can be busted with a kilo and the write up says TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS OF POT !!!!!!. The salaries, the lost time, the lawyers, and the ruined reputations that can cost jobs and a future can add up to tens of thousands of dollars for a single joint.

Yes, I know that pot can be found in the hands of hard core criminals, thieves, murderers, and both Republicans and Democrats. In other countries it can be found in religious ceremonies, and open air cafes. Prohibition, did not work, is not working, will not work. Especially when there has never been any scientific basis and the only way the lies could be supported was to ban research on the topic.

Cancer patients have been denied the only drug that lets them eat.
Glaucoma patients have been forced to weigh blindness against criminal action. Science has been outlawed for years so pot could be called the "mother drug" leading to all others.

I don't support driving under the influence of anything. I found out years ago I can't get a DUI on my couch, the worst that can happen is I drop the remote control.

In the excitement of the Obama win it may have been overlooked that the war on marijuana has been lost.

The ridiculous and money wasting war on hemp has been rejected by up to 65% of the population. In Michigan citizens will be living in a state where where marijuana for medical use is legal. Patients will be allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants and possess 2.5 ounces at any one time.

In Mass. the victory is more sweeping but success is not as clear, In Massachusetts 65 percent of voters voted to "yes" on reduce minor marijuana possession to a fine-only offense.

Massachusetts is the thirteenth state to decriminalize personal possession and use of cannabis.
The worrisome news is that under state law, politicians have the option of amending the new law and Massachusetts politicians have a long history of ignoring citizen initiatives.

In the News of the Weird on the same topic,
California's Proposition 5, the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act (NORA), lost by nearly a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent. The law was much wider than Marijuana, it addressed non-violent crimes of many types.
The measure was supported by many in the treatment community, but condemned by national drug-court supporters and California law-enforcement groups. In one commercial, Governor Terminator stood up with enough brass and badges to start his own marching band.

Perhaps California is still just ahead of its time. I am very pro-union but I wonder at the massive support given by the unionized prison guards that stood to lose a large part of the population they are paid to guard. Since the prisons are 50% to 60% or even more overcrowded and the prison guards are vastly understaffed I think the only thing they would have had to fear was not job loss, but having to learn how to help rehabilitate the remaining prisoners when the levels were reduced to levels the guards could handle with safety.

To be absolutely clear my point is that MJ should be legalized, taxed, and controlled. Like booze, drive while high and face the same penalties. Instead of a steady drain on resources that could be used to stop real criminals pot could become a source of income to the government and a source of solace to the ill.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Republicans accuse Obama of intending to keep his campaign promises

Can Labor make gains during Obama's presidency?

The Republicans are acting shocked and Accusing President Elect Obama of intending to keep his promises and pass pro labor laws and return the NLRB to the National Labor Relations Board and to stop allowing the department to be a tool to deny worker rights. Those on the right are acting as if "everyone knew" that promises made to organized labor could be safely ignored after the election. The sickening thing is that I truly believe that they thought Obama and they were on the same page about forgetting promises to the public.

Labor has been under attack by successive Republican presidents and congresses for decades. Anti-Union Pundits cite the lowered Union membership as proof that America does not want Unions while the right has put up more and more barriers to forming Unions.

This could be the largest change for labor since Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in 1933 during the great depression.

Under successive conservative administrations during the last thirty years, union enrollment continued to drop. President Ronald Reagan's anti-union bias was shown when he disregarded public safety and fired air traffic controllers during a strike.

Can labor make a comeback?

Union members voted in such large numbers for Barack Obama and provided larger majorities in both the house and the Senate that they may feel rightfully that the administration owes them some support.

The first bill on the agenda will even the playing field for employees seeking to form a Union, the Employee Free Choice Act will make it easier for employees to form Unions while avoiding harrassment and illegal firings.

No longer will only Unions face fines for their campaign tactics, employers will face substantial penalties for firing or harassing workers for wanting a Union to represent them.

The economy is a wreck because workers need d higher wages to afford increase food, fuel, and living expenses. Henry Ford made sure his employees could buy a Ford, a lesson lost in the greed and selfishness of the rush to deregulate.

Bureau of Labor Statistics reports show the number of workers belonging Unions in 2007 at 12.1 percent, nearly a forty percent drop since 1983.

During thirty years the only time "Republicans have been the the party of smaller government is when they have deregulated protections for workers or small investors. If more regulations could choke labor they are all for new laws.

Now, as in the Great Depression the central problem is the lack of consumer spending.

The mortgage crisis was not completely the fault of a bubble. People got mortgages on the premise that in the future they could make more money, and be better able to pay their mortgage.But that never happened, unlike any other time in US history when profits rose incomes didn't ncrease. When adjusted for inflation incomes actually fell.

When Roosevelt was elected he introduced labor friendly laws, allowing workers to negotiate for better wages and job security. When wages rose, the US entered the longest period of prosperity in our countries history.

Unions this year led what may have been the most active and organized campaign ever seen. Unions don’t want payback.

It is not payback if our new President and Democratic majority pass labor friendly laws, they will only be keeping the promises made to and supported by a majority of the electorate.

It will be a refreshing change if Washington starts keeping promises to the people rather than the richest one percent.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

July 2009 issue of the N.Y. Times

Nation Sets its Sites on Building a Sane Economy

True Cost Tax, Salary Caps, Trust-Busting Top List

Advance copies of the July 2009 issue of the N.Y. times were handed out yesterday. No more copies are available but the website is still up. Last night it was taking a loooooong time to load.

This is a snip from one of the headline stories. If you want to see the future that could be, read the whole paper. Pay special attention to the ads, at first they look exactly like any on line ad, until you read them.

For the rest of this story and all the news that we should be able to print, go to http://www.nytimes-se.com

Details of S.A.N.E. Act

Caps Wages. Caps salaries, in part to reduce the incentive of C.E.O.s to speculate wildly with investors’ funds.

Busts Trusts. Breaks up financial conglomerates and reinstate the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act keeping investment banks and commercial banks separate, in order to reduce speculation.

Taxes Speculation. Spearheads an international 1 percent tax on financial transactions, to slow speculation and reduce market volatility.

Stabilizes Mortgages. Keeps Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were formed to boost home ownership, under government management, and imposes a moratorium on foreclosures.

Invests in Housing. Reinvests in public housing and renews rent control, until the “ownership society” becomes real.

Prices for True Cost. Establishes a “true cost” pricing system to ensure that prices reflect the true cost to society of products, services, and practices.

Taxes Inheritance. Establishes a 100 percent tax on inheritance for fortunes over $500,000. These revenues will enable a quicker implementation of universal health care, affordable housing, guaranteed college education, and other measures considered standard in almost every other developed country.

Sets Emergency Tax. Provides for an emergency surtax on the wealthy in case of future financial meltdowns, to further discourage the sort of reckless speculation that fueled the latest banking crisis.

Limits Derivatives. Regulates and streamlines the market in abstract financial instruments, especially those derivatives and derivatives of derivatives which serve no social purpose whatsoever.

Since I don't want to be sued for breaking the fair use laws, this is all I can print.
Don't forget to read the ads.
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Do you hear something?

You know what it is like when you are driving towards a busy intersection and you can hear sirens? Something big and fast is heading your way and you need to know what is coming in order not to get smashed out of the road.

I am not going to comment on these stories. These snippets are the result of putting three words into a Google search, SEIU, furlough, and 2008. Take a look and make up your own mind if they mean anything.



a. A leave of absence or vacation, especially one granted to a member of the armed forces.

b. A usually temporary layoff from work.

c. A leave of absence from prison granted to a prisoner.

2. The papers or documents authorizing a leave: The soldiers had their furloughs in their breast pockets.

tr.v. fur·loughed, fur·lough·ing, fur·loughs

1. To grant a leave to.

2. To lay off (workers).

Monday, September 8, 2008


Mandatory Furlough/Temporary Layoffs BACK at SEIU 721

SEIU Local 721 represents 85,000 public service workers across Southern California including county, city and non-profit employees.

“check out the latest Civil Service Commission Agenda
(available at lacity.org) it looks like the civil service rule
to permit "mandatory furlough/temporary layoffs" is back again.

“the Coalition of City Unions made a deal to give back $18.25 million to the general
fund (that was savings from the various health plans, which is
part of the contracts with the health plans), and to pursue a
program of $3 million in voluntary furlough days.
that means!

On Thursday, November 6, state workers received a letter from Gov. Schwarzenegger outlining his plans to cut state services, increase sales taxes, impose a one day per month furlough on all state workers, and take away two paid holidays.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will propose one-day-a-month unpaid furloughs for state workers for the next 17 months, as well as rescinding two of the workers' 13 paid holidays.

DA offices in Georgia to have furloughs

District attorney Offices across the state will take across the board furloughs, starting this month.

State-employees of district attorney offices and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council staff will be given one unpaid day off per month.

State Employees Brace For Furloughs

employees are waiting for a decision on mandatory leave without pay.
It was one of recommendation to fill the $432 million budget deficit. .
In 1991 state workers demonstrated were furloughed by Governor William Schaefer.
The state may save $48 million by enforcing six days unpaid leave on State employees.

And way back in 2006

Rhode Island 2006



Faced with a severe budget deficit Governor Donald L. Carcieri issued an Executive Order creating four furlough days for state employees for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2007.

Three additional furlough days for Fiscal Year 2008 are being planned.

Governor Carcieri said. “While I understand that this decision is not a popular one with many state employees, these furlough days are an alternative to deeper personnel cuts,”

To select the furlough days the Department of Administration determined the days traditionally taken off by employees. Those are days that typically precede or follow holidays or holiday weekends.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that furlough days be enforced and no employee is allowed to work on the day of the furlough.

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