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/

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Web Wandering on the Left Wing and Advice from the Right

Hi, I am from the Right wing and I am here to help you.

I preach fiscal control and morals. I will tell you how to live your life. I am going to give away our whole history and our strategy for 2010. It won't matter because you are all too dumb to remember.

I might chase congressional pages.....but it won't hurt the party. As long as we can stand self-righteously against the abortion and gay marriage the base won't care. We could arrest all of the black population for smoking a joint and no one will care. We fixed the courts to get Rush Limbaugh a pass for buying $8000.00 a week in Oxys. I stand here before you and say to my brain-dead constituency that I know you will keep my political career going. Without me, Wall Street will be regulated and we would lose our biggest backers, but we won't let that happen. Sure some of us were sent packing in the last election and maybe we will lay low for awhile, then reappear and issue a budget with no numbers.

We don't need facts, because we only have to yell “illegal aliens” and “tax cuts”. You the populace will think the tax cuts are for you. They never have been, they never will be, but you will still respond to the ditto head mantra. In 2010 the voters will give the GOP another chance. I mean, come on... the voters will forget in four years. They will think the Democrats put us in the hole and we will promise to save the country with tax cuts. I know that the GOP knew what Wall Street was doing and kept it quiet. I know we're in the minority now, but who would've thought we'd actually get the blame for this mess?

Look... our party's given you George W. Bush, the Iraq war, and the current depression, yet we still have the ability to say NO to any meaningful reform in congress. For eight years we were able to give you the 9/11 attacks, two wars, a broken economy, too many scandals to mention, but we will tell you that just when we were going to fix everything the Democrats got a majority during the last two years and sabotaged our final solution. Don't get too depressed just because the Dems seem to have a majority in both houses and the presidency. Look who's still in control.

Harry Reid is going to drop any real help for homeowners while we can still have a court cram down our 2nd homes and investment properties. We broke the Union contracts and let the AIG executives keep their bonuses. By the time we “compromise” on the Employee Free Choice Act, management will get the right to cast 51% of the votes. Look how easy it is, we grab a couple of blue dogs, yell

“drill, baby, drill" , "no, baby, no" and chant fail, fail, fail, to the president.. (Trademark R. Limbaugh). Don't forget to start thinking about the theme for 2010. We tell the public You let this happen, you elected the Democrats.

If we just keep on repeating it long enough you will believe. Now go away, go to sleep, and vote GOP in four years.

"So it's time to admit it: We're fools, protagonists in a kind of gruesome comedy about the marriage of greed and stupidity. And the worst part about it is that we're still in denial — we still think this is some kind of unfortunate accident, not something that was created by the group of psychopaths on Wall Street whom we allowed to gang-rape the American Dream."

-- Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone: "The Big Takeover" by Matt Taibbi/3.19.09

Jobs leaving the US. Do you want to work in India?

Two weeks ago, IBM announced that it plans to shift all operations to India and offered US workers the chance to move to India if they would adapt to Indian wages. Cisco,another heavy hitter in the networking sphere,after announcing that it is planning major cutbacks,also announced moves to India and China. The pharmaceuticals have already climbed aboard this train,moving research work in drugs to India to contain their spiraling costs.

Technology Review,MIT's prestigious journal predicts that in the next ten years 36 million jobs in technology related fields will move to India,decimating an already reeling middle class. This is the kind of calamity that Paul Craig Roberts has been predicting for quite sometime now. As manufacturing moved to China,economists crowed that this need not worry us because we are the leaders in high technology and the best jobs will stay in US. That now sounds like a mirage.

A long age of suffering is upon us because there are now many more competitors who are gaining strength through their educational systems. They have also learned the American trick of empowering the people with capital and encouraging their enterprise. And they can do all this at fraction of our costs. All this bodes ill for our own economy.

MI cop shot unarmed, 20-year-old marijuana activist


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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is It Freedom When You Get to Choose Your Pay Cut ?

Will this post generate comments? You be the judge.

Step right up and pick Your Pay Cut!
Health care cuts! Pay cuts! Lost holidays!, But wait, there's more! If you do nothing in the next ten minutes a free additional pay cut will be added to your paycheck!

Is this what Union negotiations have come to? It seems that member apathy has gotten so bad that the only choice left is to pick your pay cut. Without support from the Union membership, calls to legislators, letters to the editor, and discussions with our neighbors we will lose decades of progress and there will be no good choices left.

Can we fix what is wrong? Can we head off the attacks on employees' pay and benefits? NO!......... Yes!.....You choose.
We can do more together than we can do alone. We, as members, have lost our sense of involvement. The idea that we pay our dues and the "union should do it for us" has taken hold while members forget that the real strength of Unions is numbers and solidarity.

If we take a beating, we the union members, will have allowed the beating to happen
through apathy and our lack of interest about anyone else's job or interests.

My union membership began in 1975 at my first industrial job. I joined the IBEW in Rhode Island and at that time the Union steward was only interested in keeping his job and had no real interest in members. This colored my opinion of Unions and when I was going to lose my job the steward said "too bad".

Then I became employed by a company in Boston running telephone wire and installing phone systems. I worked for a small company, but a Union company. They insisted on safe working conditions, overtime pay and fair treatment.
I paid my dues but did nothing and I thought that was enough. In the late 80's I lost that job due to the economy and was lucky to find State employment two years later. I passed my probation and went looking for my Union steward in order to at least be informed. I had no intent to become active.

I was going to pay my dues and shut up. There was no steward and I said well.... someone has do it. I thought I could fill in for a few months until a real steward showed up. Seventeen years later I am still a steward, I have negotiated contracts, saved employees' jobs, and tried to comfort some who were fired for cause. I have never regretted trying to make a difference. I have had success, I have failed. I have never looked back.

It has not been easy, I am not a political animal. Even in this Union I love, I learned quickly that to speak out or question union staff and elected officials took guts and could make you unpopular. To hell with it. In Maine you could be heard then and you can be heard now, if you speak up. Union staff and Management staff share one trait.

They only listen if you speak.

You can't blame anyone for the results of your silence.
It is way past time to stop sitting back and doing nothing. It is time to come to a meeting, and be willing to put in the effort and unpaid hours it takes to become part of their Union and build the strength it takes to protect your jobs and your pride. It takes commitment and time off from work using up vacation hours or unpaid time. Your stewards don't get paid but they put their own jobs on the line and put their own fears of management retaliation aside to fight for you.

I did this through the 90’s and now the 2000's, trying to build a sense of purpose and solidarity at work sites. I thought that handling grievances and helping my co-workers was right and I still think it is right. The problem is that your stewards and your staff can't do it alone.
I have faced retaliation. Many of your stewards have lost promotions or been given the SHI% jobs. Stewards are subtly and even openly threatened with pay cuts and worse but they keep doing their jobs for you anyway because "someone has to do it".

I can only imagine how bad it would get with no Union and no membership involvement.
The time is now. You are needed. You are at risk of pay cuts, lay offs, health care cuts.

I can do my part to try to stop these things but I don't wear an
S on my chest. Please step forward and talk to your friends. Organize your work sites. You don't have to fight with management, but you vote and pay taxes. You are more than ten thousand strong and you can contact your legislators and tell them not to balance the budget on your back.

What do you think? Is our membership apathetic? Leave a comment and show we are not apathetic. Leave the comments blank and prove those who say the time for Unions is past are right.
Sign up below or if you are signed up click on the comments link.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

No temporary taxes, No temporary benefit cuts

A friend of mine sent this to me and I think it expresses the opinions of a lot of State Employees. Don't change the game half way through, just because you can. Don't make permanent cuts for a temporary situation

You can use this as a model for a letter to your own legislator. Remember do nothing and you have to be happy what ever happens.

As a State employee and as one of your constituents, I am coming to you with great urgency regarding proposed cuts in State employee benefits. We all realize that these are very tough economic times across the nation, if not globally.

Governments, institutions, businesses and families are all caught up in this very unfortunate economic downturn. When you look at what has gone on in this country over the past eight years, however, one tends to seriously ponder the legitimacy of loading fiscal crises on the backs of everyday working men and women, while Bush cronies and corporate thieves seem to continue their pleasure cruise relatively unscathed. I truly feel for honest and concerned politicians who are doing their best at trying to equitably solve financial messes that they likely did not create, but it becomes very unsettling when it looks to be done at the expense of workers who, themselves, are trying desperately to make ends meet.

I became a State employee nearly 20 years ago, a few years before the last major fiscal "event" of the McKernan administration. I have already taken a significant "ding" in my benefits package, as did many, many of my fellow State employees.

Now, another significant blow to State employees' benefits is being proposed, over an issue that is likely very temporary, yet the proposed cuts are again, permanent The temporary cuts will most certainly become permanent, even as budget issues wane. I would venture to say that many others, like me, came to State employment out of desire for a long-term, stable position where a "well-rounded" and sound compensation package would prevail, passing by much more lucrative salaries typically offered by (more volatile) private sector employment. Cutting benefits to State employees is conducive neither to retention nor recruitment of a loyal, dedicated and quality workforce.

Please consider this potential "slap in the face" to State employees, and work with your fellow Legislators and the Governor to turn things around in a more amicable and equitable manner for everyone. Thank you and best wishes for your ultimate success as my Representative in the Maine Legislature.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Proud to Support Maine Republicans

Sorry, I have been running behind in posting due to contract negotiations, having a family, and even working.

We don't always have to contact our legislators to ask for something or to complain. Sometimes we need to let them know they are doing a good job.
In the Portland Press Herald for March 12 one of our independent breed of Republican legislators stood up for the Employee Free Choice act.

From the Portland Press Herald March 12, 2009

MAINE VOICES Employee Free Choice Act just what Maine's economy needs Making it easier to form a union will improve workers' odds of job security and prosperity. JAMES J. CAMPBELL SR. and PENNI THERIAULT

March 12, 2009

Rep. James J. Campbell Sr., R-Newfield, serves on the Health and Human Services Committee. Penni Theriault is owner of Lots of Tots Child Care and president of Kids First, MSEA-SEIU.

We write as a state legislator and a small business owner who share Mainers' deep concerns about the state of our economy.
For the rest of the story, go to the Press Herald story. I personally called Rep. Campbell and left him a heartfelt thank you. I don't know his record on supporting the MSEA in Maine and I didn't look. He is doing the right thing at the right time. Please contact him and say Thank You Click on the link and send him a Thank You. jscampbell@psouth.net

Are you aware of the SEIU-UHW/NUHW situation?

From UnionMaine: I know it is hard to believe, but sometimes what is happening in the rest of the country doesn't seem to affect us in Maine.
This blog is aimed at Labor issues and this is probably one of the biggest stories going on in the Labor world at this time. We are in the middle of a fight for the EFCA, accross the country right wing nuts are ready to dump gas on a spark of labor troubles.
The SEIU seems to be refusing to accept what is the basis for the EFCA.

In some locations employees have overwhelmingly signed cards saying that they want to leave SEIU and join the new NUHW (New United Health Care West) union. Representatives of SEIU have refused to accept the "card check" vote. WTF? (Where's the Freedom?), not what you were thinking.

Are the troubles in California a power grab by local officials or a revolt against SEIU/Andy Stern? We are part of a National organization that is in the middle of a well organized fight for it's image and tens of thousands of members. This is From the Daily Kos. Read the snippet and follow the link for an interesting story.

NUHW: "Let us Vote!" (Source: The Daily Kos_

Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 07:55:21 PM PDT

In the five weeks since SEIU International trusteed California's SEIU-UHW West something enormous has transpired: California's healthcare workers have spoken.

What those workers have said is crystal clear: "We choose NUHW!"

A majority of the workers from 350 healthcare facilities...representing over 91,000 California healthcare workers...have petitioned to be represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) in just five weeks time. That includes an absolute majority of the 50,000 healthcare workers in California's Kaiser network of hospitals and clinics. It also includes homecare workers in Fresno County ...... That total also includes numerous workers at smaller facilities...........who gathered petitions from an absolute majority of the 500 healthcare workers at their two facilities.

Editor: (I would need proof of the absolute majority claim), a neutral party needs to verify the signatures in the same way the EFCA is would do,with a neutral vote counter and verification of eligibility. So far these are claims, not facts. )

Go Here to the DailyKos for the rest of the story

Go here for the NUHW web site and hear what they have to say.

The SEIU Response

Warning! Don't Sign Away Your Contract Rights

Be careful about a petition going around that would put our jobs, wages, and benefits at risk.

Our SEIU UHW contract guarantees our:

  • Wages

  • Health benefits

  • Retirement

  • Job security protections

  • Grievance procedures and safeguards

In a bad economy, a strong union contract gives us peace of mind.

Sticking together in SEIU UHW is the best way for us to keep our contract in force, get involved in rebuilding UHW, and stand united with other healthcare workers to win higher standards, improved patient care, and universal healthcare.

We cannot let people divide us. We cannot allow people to confuse the issues. We've worked too hard and come too far to give up all that we've won with our union. We are the union, and our union is UHW - 140,000 healthcare members strong.

Let's Not Lose What We've Won!
Do not sign petitions to decertify or deauthorize our union. Do not sign cards to revoke your dues. These efforts will only help the bosses and weaken us in this critical moment when we need to stand together to fight the employer.

If we sign the petitions, they will have no obligation to honor our open contracts. If we revoke dues, our union, UHW, won't have the resources to help members win better contracts, take on employers, or fight for universal healthcare.

It's time to move past the divisiveness that has prevented us from focusing on what really matters - our contracts, our wages and benefits, our patients, and our communities. With SEIU UHW, we are stronger together.

And in "The Facts for UHW members" SEIU has this to say:

Facts for UHW Members

What is decertification?
Decertification is a legal process for workers to stop being represented by a union.
Once workers are no longer represented by a union, the union contract is no longer in
effect and management no longer has to bargain with the union or recognize union
stewards. The employer can discipline or fire employees for almost any reason. The
employer has no obligation to maintain the wages or benefits in the contract.

What is deauthorization?
Deauthorization is a legal process that means workers do not have to pay union dues
as a condition of their employment. If the union security clause in the contract is
removed, it means the worksite will be like a right-to-work state. If workers vote for
deauthorization of union dues, it sends a message to management that the workers
don't want to support or back the union.

What is dues revocation?
When individual members revoke their dues authorization cards, it means that they are
telling the employer they don't want dues deducted from their checks. Individual
members may still have an obligation to pay dues under a union security clause. In
order to make sure that everyone carries their weight, the union may have negotiated
contract language that gives us a right to tell employers to fire employees who do not
want to pay dues.

What happens to our contract if we vote to join another union?
If members vote out UHW and vote in another union, the employer has to bargain with
the new union. The employer does not have to agree to the same contract. The
employer can stall and delay. The employer can tell the new union it wants to cut the
wages and benefits and make lots of changes. If the employer and the new union
cannot reach an agreement and there is an impasse, the employer can implement its
final offer, no matter how bad it is.

What if I signed a card or petition and I changed my mind?
If you signed a dues revocation form, or authorization form for another union, you can
sign back up for UHW. You can sign a new membership card, dues deduction card,
COPE card for UHW. You can also send a letter to UHW saying you want to stay a
member of UHW and don't want to be a member of another union.

In a bad economy, a strong union contract gives us job security. For more information,
call UHW at 866-660-5235.

What do you think? Is the SEIU in trouble? What would you do to fix it?

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The EFCA Will Bleed Your Rights Away

The other day I told a Republican legislator "Stop right there, I don't need to listen to you anymore". It seems every time a Republican starts talking these days they say Democrat and Massive deficit in the same sentence. I told him that after Ronnie, and three terms of Bushwhackers I could stop listening for reality when they used those two words together. In small words and easy cartoon colors I tried to explain:
Clinton=Surplus Republican=Deficit. We know how we got here, we know who did it. Now the the Rs, Wal-Mart and the Chamber of commerce want you to believe they are here to stop the bleeding away of your rights by opposing the Employee Free Choice Act.

The GOP puts a tourniquet on the EFCA nosebleed!

Finally real Americans may get some help. The EFCA could end the rape of the middle class. Maybe workers will get a chance to share in the profits.

Corporations, millionaires and billionaires are screaming “Mine, mine, mine, don’t touch mine!” while spitting hate. Bank of America hosted a conference call for corporate executives to strategize about how to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

If EFCA passes, Employees get to choose if they want a Union and get to form one free of fear from being fired or locked out. Employers would also be subject to penalties for when they violate workers' right to organize. President Obama said he would sign EFCA into law.

"[EFCA] is the demise of civilization," Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus said. "This is how a civilization disappears." During the 2008 elections, Marcus declared that corporate executives "should be shot" if they didn't do their part to re-elect at-risk Republican senators who could filibuster and prevent EFCA's passage.

EFCA's enemies have amassed as much as $200 million according to some estimates. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already spent $10 million on its vicious anti-EFCA campaign.
McDonald's directed all franchise owners to lobby Congress against EFCA.
Wal-Mart has joined the battle. In August 2008, Federal Election Commission complaints were filed, alleging the company illegally instructed employees to vote Republican and against Barack Obama in order to stop EFCA.

Republicans are mindlessly repeating leader Limbaugh's talking while corporate special forces infiltrate Congress disguised as bags of money.

The opposition tells you they are fighting the EFCA for you, out of high ideals and support for the worker. ------The check is in the mail.

False front organizations are using names intended to make them sound popular. Names out of a 1950’s “big lie” propaganda manual. The Heritage Foundation, Americans for Job Security, the Employee Freedom Action Committee, and of course the anti-labor Center for Union Facts are all waging a no quarter given attack on the EFCA and the truth.

Union Facts is run by D.C. lobbyist Richard Berman, who once ran a campaign that could be said to be in support of drunk driving. Berman’s anti EFCA ads were on the airwaves during the presidential campaign in an attempt to defeat Obama.

The so-sweetly named Coalition for a Democratic Workplace is a self described "coalition of workers, employers, associations and organizations" opposed to EFCA. If a membership made up of 500 employer and business organizations including the American Beverage Association, National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Meat Institute and Mississippi Manufacturers Association is a group of “Freedom Fighters” I have a summer home for sale on Mt. Washington. The anti-EFCA blitz based on their lack of respect for the public's thinking ability is supposed to convince us if they keep repeating the lies. After all, you are stupid, if you were smart you would be getting trillions and refusing to say how you spent it. A Mulder said, " the truth is out there" and "I want to believe" that we are not going to get fooled again. The internet has become a real force and once we have the facts, the lies can not stand.

Lie Number 1:

A majority of workers oppose EFCA.

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace released a "poll" claiming that 73 percent of Obama voters opposed EFCA.

Nearly four in five adults (78 percent) favor legislation that “makes it easier for workers to bargain with their employers for better wages, benefits and working conditions,” according to new opinion research conducted by one of the country’s most respected polling firms, and 73 percent specifically support the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that would give workers the freedom to bargain collectively for a better life.

The survey of 1007 adults conducted by Hart Research Associates from Dec. 4 to 10 and commissioned by the AFL-CIO, shows overwhelming support for the Employee Free Choice Act and its three main provisions. http://www.aflcio.org/mediacenter/prsptm/pr010809a.cfm

Lie #2:

EFCA would abolish workers' right to a secret ballot in forming a union.

MYTH: The Employee Free Choice Act abolishes the National Labor Relations Board's "secret ballot" election process.

FACT: The Employee Free Choice Act does not abolish the NLRB election process. That process would still be available under the Employee Free Choice Act. The legislation simply gives workers the choice of forming their union through an election or through majority sign-up. The majority sign-up process has been a widely used path to union representation since 1935, but workers may only use the majority sign-up process currently if their employer agrees. The Employee Free Choice Act puts that choice in the hands of employees rather than their employer.

Lie #3

EFCA will expose workers to intimidation by unions.

MYTH: The Employee Free Choice Act will encourage intimidation and harassment by labor unions against workers.

FACT: Coercion and pressure drops when workers form a union through a majority sign-up process. Workers report much less pressure from all sides during majority sign-up campaigns than with NLRB elections. But, harassment by unions is not the problem. Unlike employers, a union organizer can’t fire you, cut your pay, or deny you a promotion. If you’re an employee actively trying to organize your coworkers, you have a one in five chance of getting fired by your employer for simply exercising your rights.

Who is intimidating who?
The House Committee on Education and Labor reported that in 2005, more than 30,000 workers were receiving back pay from employers that had illegally persecuted them for union activity.

Lie # 4:

EFCA is, in the words of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a "job killer."

MYTH: Union wages and benefits have resulted in the auto-industry collapse and are irrelevant to today’s economy.

FACT: Workers and their unions are not responsible for the auto industry’s troubles. Labor costs amount to only a tenth of the cost of building a car. All ten of the most efficient auto plants in North America are union plants. Setting aside their legacy costs, the Big 3’s wages are on par with the Japanese auto makers. The American auto industry has made some bad business choices but agreeing to provide middle class jobs was not one of them.

Employer opposition to EFCA is partially an honest response to competition. I can hear my Union friends hissing a booing already!

Companies must compete. If only a few have Unions then the companies that can squash the employee and lower their pay to poverty levels has an unfair advantage. By leveling the playing field companies will compete fairly with or without Unions as a non-Union company will be forced to pay good wages to keep a Union out, in the same way the foreign auto makers were forced to pay good wages even when they moved to right to work for less states.

Lie #5

Only a Secret ballot protects workers rights..

MYTH: The National Labor Relations Board’s “secret ballot” election protects workers’ democratic rights.

FACT: Secret ballots alone do not guarantee fair elections. Under an NLRB election, employees have no right to free speech, no protection against intimidation from supervisors, and are regularly forced to attend anti-union meetings. They are also typically forced to attend one-on-one interviews with their managers to reveal their electoral preferences. In contrast, union organizers are not allowed to set foot on the property, the one place where all the “voters” can be found.

The worry started in 2007 and continued in 2008 with national Union membership rising by over 400,000 workers. The first increase in nearly 30 years.

The economy has soured and put hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of union jobs are at risk. Public sector unions, a stronghold of Unionization is being hit by budget cuts, lay offs, and attacks by the right meant to distract from their own failed policies.

The U.S.A. is not a center right country and has moved decisively to the left. The EFCA is gaining support. The shift to the left has opened up new opportunities and acceptance for pro-union legislation. Almost all of the Democratic-majority in Congress is on record supporting the EFCA, and President Barack Obama has probably issued more pro-union statements than Roosevelt. Passage of EFCA is possible, but is not a done deal.

We can win. Some politicians were thinking of bailing on Obama's pick for Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, because of her support for EFCA but when tens of thousand of calls and emails arrived they had a change of heart.

The AFL-CIO and Change to Win are gearing up for the fight. Members are calling their Congress Critters and sending a clear message of support for the worker not the CEO.

The story made the rounds that the United Auto Workers, once the gold standard of Union jobs gave up its right to strike in support of the government auto bailout, but it is untrue. They did agree to work on problems longer but they kept the right to strike if problems could not be resolved. Did anyone really believe that Unions would destroy the company they work for? They will work to rebuild the American auto industry and rebuild the UAW on the grounds of sharing profit.

MYTH: The National Labor Relations Board’s “secret ballot” election protects workers’ democratic rights.

FACT: Secret ballots alone do not guarantee fair elections. Under an NLRB election, employees have no right to free speech, no protection against intimidation from supervisors, and are regularly forced to attend anti-union meetings. They are also typically forced to attend one-on-one interviews with their managers to reveal their electoral preferences. In contrast, union organizers are not allowed to set foot on the property, the one place where all the “voters” can be found.

MYTH: The Employee Free Choice Act would require public union card signings.

FACT: Under current law, employees already must sign cards or petitions saying they support a union in order to obtain an election. And, when an employer agrees to a majority sign-up process, employees must sign cards to show the union's majority status. The union authorization card under the Employee Free Choice Act is treated no differently than a petition for election or a card under a majority sign-up agreement under current law. As with petitions for an election, under the Employee Free Choice Act, the NLRB, not the employer, would receive the cards and determine their validity.

MYTH: The Employee Free Choice Act would require a secret ballot election for workers to get rid of a union.

FACT: Under current law, no election is necessary to disband a union. The Employee Free Choice Act would not change this. Under current law, if an employer has evidence, such as cards or a petition, that a majority of workers no longer supports the union, then, without an election, the employer is required by law to withdraw recognition of the union and stop bargaining.

MYTH: Given the economic crisis, now is not the time to enact the Employee Free Choice Act.

FACT: The economy is broken, we need to fix it. The Employee Free Choice Act is needed to address underlying economic problems that helped create the current crisis and to ensure that the recovery is fair and sustainable. Dozens of prominent economists, including three Nobel Prize laureates, recently signed a statement in support of enacting the Employee Free Choice Act, as “a critically important step in rebuilding our economy.”

MYTH: The Employee Free Choice Act requires mandatory arbitration that may force businesses to be uncompetitive.

FACT: No reasonable arbitrator would force conditions onto businesses that would force them out of business and no arbitrator would want a reputation of being unfair as it could end their career.

Even though workers may choose to form a union, employers often stall when it comes time to negotiate a first contract, and current law provides no incentives for the parties to come to an agreement. Under the bill, employers or employees may request mediation from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service if no agreement on a first contract has been reached after 90 days. If an agreement cannot be mediated, the dispute would be referred to binding arbitration. All of the time frames can be extended by mutual agreement. Experience shows that having an arbitration option available brings parties closer together, and, as a result, the parties resolve their negotiations on their own terms and in good faith.

To see your government at work and to get more of the facts quoted in this post go to http://edlabor.house.gov/employee-free-choice-act-myth-vs-fact/index.shtml

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The World will End or We are all gonna die

The Employee Free Choice Act has been introduced to Congress. Listen to the right and you will hear that on passage their will be no life left on earth except Union bosses. God Him/Her self will probably leave the earth to Satan if employees get what they don't seem to understand, FREE CHOICE! What is so hard to understand? Want a secret ballot? You can have a secret ballot. Want to join a Union and more than 50% of your co-workers want a Union....you have a Union. WHAT IS SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND?

The big money is coming together to keep Americans from getting any of theirs, CEO’s Lobbyists, and Union busters are forming their own union to keep you out.

Two years after a defeat fueled by Wal-Mart and business leaders the Employee Free Choice Act was introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

You might think the fight is in the halls of Congress but the real war will be fought by lobbyist guerrillas stuffing bundles of cash into the Republican ammo chest of hate. We need to add our voices, call your Congress Critter and let them know you want a voice in your working conditions.

Congress will debate, the Republican junkie head of the GOP, Limbaugh will be screaming with spittle running down his face while your senators and representative are already hearing from corporate interests. They need to hear from us!

Congress Critters eat both money and votes, let them know that their opponents will get both if they vote against the Employee Free Choice Act. Tell, don’t ask your representatives to vote for this bill..

Now with the most pro-worker Congress in years, while we have a President who must support our cause if he is to keep his word and plan for 2012 is the best chance we have. The other side has not even begun to fight. Support an employees right to vote how they choose and you will be called everything including the Anti-Christ.

Corporate commandos lobbying money grenades are already assaulting Congress, making promises and threats, spending millions on lying ads. They are committed to stopping and killing the middle class because your raise might take one coat of wax off their new car. We have to give a wake up call to Congressional reps who haven’t signed on. We must hold the members who have signed on accountable.!

American labor has already delivered a million and a half signatures supporting the Employee Free Choice Act.

The EFCA is now in the running and it’s time to let Congress know they are being watched.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

From the Heart

This is cross posted from my wife's Blog on the fifth. She is the real writer in the family. I can't add anything to what she said.

News From Hawkhill Acres

Heart Patches

Posted: 05 Mar 2009 06:45 AM PST

TogetherYesterday was the third anniversary of my youngest son Mike’s death. His sister is 11, a few months older than he was when he died. I read about another family who lost a child and what David Cameron, the father, said after his son’s funeral. He said Ivan’s death had left a hole in the family so big “words can’t describe it.”

That hole is what made my chest hurt for months after my son died. Why I didn’t have a heart attack is a mystery to me, because I’ve never felt anything so painful, not even childbirth. My kids felt the same pain, but I think it was worse for my daughter than it was for my oldest son.

Daughter and Mike were inseparable. She came to us when Mike was 3 and after his doctors had assured us that he would lead a normal life, with a few developmental delays. We didn’t want to take on another child if I’d be spending weeks in the hospital like I had with Mike’s many illnesses for his first 3 years. We should have trusted our own instincts, but I guess we wanted to believe that Mike was finally out of the woods and that his immune system had “kicked in” as the doctors put it.

It hadn’t and there were more hospitalizations, but not as many, and he and Daughter bonded immediately. He fed her, held her, read to her and shared his toys and everything he had with her. He was never jealous. To the contrary, he pushed her forward to make sure that she got her share of our attention.

We have so many photos of them snuggled together in a rocker, curled up on the couch watching TV, playing with their little dolls and blocks, and sleeping in a heap like puppies or kittens. Even when they were older and they began to develop separate interests, they still leaned on each other, stood with their arms around each other and hugged each other goodnight every night.

I read somewhere that it surprises parents, when their child dies, how much of their grief is yearning for the physical presence of their child. It surprised me, although it shouldn’t have. Mike needed so much “hands-on” care from me: nebulizer treatments four times a day and sometimes every two hours for days, help with bathing because of the tubes in his ears and severe asthma that meant that a drop of water in his lungs developed into pneumonia almost immediately, help with many things that most kids his age could do independently but he couldn’t because of developmental delays. I didn’t realize until after he was gone how many times during the day I smoothed his hair back, held him in my lap for nebulizer treatments or kissed the back of his neck as he snuggled because he was sick and needed comforting.

How much more must his sister have suffered, because she had lost her biggest source of comfort. I had her and her brother and my husband. She had me, but I have to admit that I wasn’t really “there” for a long time after Mike died. I went through the motions. I hugged her and held her and cried with her, but the biggest part of me had gone with Mike.

So many people told me, starting with the chaplain in Mike’s room right after he died, that I’d heal. I got so tired of hearing that, because I knew that it wasn’t true. You heal from broken bones, cuts and diseases, but not from the death of your child. Go on, yes. Of course, I’d go on; I have other children. If I hadn’t, I would have driven into a pole on the way home, which is what I felt like doing. But heal? Not bloody likely.

I haven’t changed my mind about that. None of us has healed. Our hearts all still have a hole in them. One of my kids said that the problem is that it’s a Mike-shaped hole, so nothing else fits into it. That’s a very wise way of putting it. The only thing that’s happened is that finally, just in the last few months, we’ve started to patch the hole.

Yesterday, instead of keeping to ourselves like we have on March 4th for the last two years, we had friends over. Three kids to throw snowballs for the dog with Daughter, to chase each other around the kitchen and fall into a laughing heap when we tell them not to run in the house. Kids laughing at a funny movie and finally, another little girl to whisper and giggle in Daughter’s bed and sneak the dog up between them so they can both hug her.

Our hearts will never heal, but they’ll grow stronger where they’re patched. Daughter will never stop missing her brother, but memories of what she’s lost are being overlaid with what she’s gaining every day. I’ll never stop missing my son, but watching my other two children reaching toward happiness and growing toward the light is my heart patch.

We realized after Mike died that he was the glue that held our family together in many ways. Mike was a peacemaker, a bridge between Daughter and Son, who are 8 years apart from each other in age. He was our social guy, the kid who drew the rest of us introverts into contact with other people and new experiences. When he was sick, we all rallied ’round and helped each other and him. When he was well, he was usually lying on the floor playing with his cars, while he leaned against me or his sister.

For months after Mike died, I couldn’t settle to anything. I felt like I needed to be moving, to drive, to go away from home. I didn’t know why for a long while, then it hit me. I was looking for Mike. He wasn’t home, so he must be somewhere out there. Naturally, we can’t settle to anything when our child is missing. He’s still gone, but I don’t look for him anymore. I know where he is. He’s in our hearts, right under the patch.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

National news and Bargaining updates

On the national front we really have a secretary of labor, not a secretary for CEOs.

In a public appearance sponsored by the AFL-CIO, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis vowed to fully enforce the laws that protect workers–unlike her predecessor who declared war on working people for eight years. Solis, who was one of the first supporters in Congress for the Employee Free Choice Act also said she would work to pass and then enforce the legislation if it becomes law. Both of Solis’ parents were Union members.

Saying “there’s a new sheriff in town,” Solis told 700 union and community activists that one of the Obama administration’s top priorities is to provide protection for workers in the workplace. Solis added that she would work with employers to help workers get family-supporting jobs.

American workers know how to work and they know how to work hard and smart. If your employee is taking care of your company you should be taking care of your employees. While productivity by the American worker has continued to rise wages have not kept up with profits or productivity.

Introducing the new labor secretary, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney praised Solis as the “only labor secretary in recent memory from a working family, union background.”

Bargaining for the Executive Branch Continues.

During bargaining we got the news that the legislature was holding hearings on State Employee health care. It is not looking like there is going to be any good answers. They don't want to cut health care, they want to hurt State Employees and take the credit. No one at the negotiations table can bargain health care the legislature has it all. If you have any feelings on the subject call the Union and tell them what you want, what you think would work, but do it quick.

The State team had to cancel today, March 4 due to being dragged into the legislature for hearing. We have a lot of dates set up and we have looked at hundreds of proposal forms sent in by members. I have spent hours on the phone calling members and asking about their ideas to get every thing straight. Many of the team members for all units have done the same, hours at the table, more hours on the phone and email at home, your teams will do the best they can.There are more meetings scheduled in March and then the pace gets hectic with April being nearly one long round of bargaining.

04/07, 04/08, 04/14, 04/15, 04/27, 04/28, 04/29, 04/30, 05/01

We are scheduled to have nearly two days every week and a solid week at the end of April. Whether we are supposed to think the State wants to wrap it up or wear us down doesn't matter. We are there for as long as it takes. At some point in April solid proposals will start to go back and forth. The bargaining rules the teams agreed on don't let us list the proposals until we reach a tentative agreement but remember, you have the final vote. We will try to get you something worth voting on.

What do you want? What are the most important things you need to make your job better? Money, security, training, tools, or just a little respect. If you know a team member, email or give them a call of support. We all volunteered but it is not an easy job knowing how much anything we do, or don't do could affect ten thousand employees. At the same time some of the injustices we have seen against a single employee have left me grateful I am not doing those jobs.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Lighten Up!

Maybe Gilligan did have some private moments with one of "the girls".
Bobby (Gilligan?) Jindal
The next link, caught my attention while I was wondering if Advil could help with writers block. At first I thought it was funny, if you are over 50, I hope you are strong enough for laughter. Read the excerpt and follow the link to

"Teach me to booger sleaze"

From the blog, BadAttitudes

If, like me, you have entered the funhouse of late middle age you will soon discover that the mirrors distort not only how you look but what you hear.

Did that refined-looking woman next to you at the lunch counter really say, “Could you teach me to booger, sleaze?” And if she didn’t say that, what did she say? You haven’t a clue, so you retreat into safe territory: you take umbrage. “Excuse me. I beg your pardon. What did you say?”

The woman carefully, patiently, repeats her request: “Could you reach the sugar for me, please.” Link

Check out the Republican Spokesman with no answers, claiming PORK.

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