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/

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Proposal Deadline

MSEASEIU 1989 is engaged in contract bargaining with the State. All proposals will be on the table by May 1 at 5:00 pm.

We don't know if there will be any surprises. Maybe the State feels they don't have to do anything but say no, and let the legislature do the harm.

If we are so important we don't have the right to strike, then nothing should be done without bargaining. Lots of rumors flying around, no facts yet but maybe the Gov. (I voted Democratic and all I got was this lousy Governor) will make an announcement early next week letting all Mainers know how bad things are.

In N.H. they actually want to raise the income tax.............only on State employees. It is bad, they don't care if we tell them where they can save money. State Employees know where the waste is.

How about a contract for 14 contractors that is being renewed for the 7th and 8th year for $133,000.00 per employee NOT counting the money we pay another company to manage the contract.
I could find a hundred more examples if the idea was to save money or they actually cared.

Anyone that doesn't think we could pay and provide benefits for State employees for less does not have their head screwed on tight.

They won't listen because they want to keep feeding rich landlords when we have vacant State owned buildings, and paying bloated prices for rich contractors that might hire a ex legislator.

What about the citizens of Maine?
Alone, I could point out 1/2 to one million dollars of waste a year. Many other employees could prove the same. It is time for the State to put all contracts for goods and services on the web for all Mainers to review. Then the public could make a fair comparison.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

U.S. trades Texas

25 April 2009

Obama trades Texas to Mexico

WASHINGTON - With the clock ticking down on his final 100 days in office, President Barack Obama made one final big decision that many believe will help shape his Presidency. Following hours of give-and-take negotiations, Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon agreed to a blockbuster trade that will send the U.S. state of Texas to Mexico in exchange for the vacation hot-spot of CancĂșn, the famed Mexican soccer club Cruz Azul, and top-ranked female golfer Lorena Ochoa.

“This trade was hard to make, but we felt it was something we had to do to strengthen the nation,” said Obama at a hastily arranged press conference. “Texas did a lot for this country over the years, and the fans won’t forget it. Texas will always have a place in our hearts, and we wish them well as they embark on their new Mexican adventure.”

Obama Administration officials said that the President felt a change had to be made when Texas Republicans - let by Governor Rick Perry - began clamoring for secession. Facing an April 29th trading deadline, pulled the trigger on the deal when Calderon relented and agreed to include Ochoa, the LPGA’s No. 1 golfer, in the trade...
The text, image, and great comedy go to the William K. Wolfrum Chronicles, hop over and read the rest of the story. Stay a while.

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State Employee? Do you think you have Seniority?

Bumping Rights for Maine State Employees stink and you can't put lipstick on that pig.

In the right kind of seniority system, the rights of workers with greater seniority whose jobs are abolished to replace (bump) workers with less seniority so that the worker who ultimately loses a job is not the worker whose position was abolished. Not in Maine.

First, let me say thank you to our fellow Union members, Local 1984, in New Hampshire. The SEA had a great article on "Bumping rights 101" on their web site and this piece is strongly based on that article. We share many of the same concerns.

In Maine a bill has been put forward to get rid of seniority pay as a way of getting rid of older employees. The focus is on the bottom line, not retaining experienced employees to serve the citizens of Maine.

Fairy Tale

You may think you have "bumping rights", but that is mostly a fairy tale unless you work in Augusta and even then you can lose your job while watching a new hire enter a building accross the street. You have almost no bumping rights except to vacant positions. In this economy there will be no vacant positions. Will the State try to eliminate bumping rights? They did. We lost any real bumping rights and Seniority rights years ago. We pretty much let the State take away our job security, they didn't do it alone, we let it happen and even helped make it happen. Bumping rights are often misunderstood by the public and by MSEA members. What, are are bumping rights – and why would we want to preserve or better them at this time?

Bumping Rights 101

In the simplest terms, "bumping” means the displacement of a junior worker by a senior worker to avoid the layoff of the senior worker. The principle is sometimes referred to as "last hired, first fired.” In Maine the ability to bump is almost gone. The State has configured "unit divisions so that they can pick who they want to fire and when". If you have thirty years of State service in the same job, but you are in a small unit division, maybe the only one in your class and a layoff happens in your unit division, you are out of a job.

They may have hired someone in your job class the day before in Augusta, but you work in Waterville.....too bad, good bye, do not pass go, do not keep your job.
Bumping rights is a practice rooted in good, sound, core business practices. MSEA stewards and activists listen to your and know what’s most important to members. They have not lost sight of the need to preserve and better these rights.

In this economy bumping rights have taken on a new level of importance.
State of Maine employees used to have State wide bumping rights. You had the right to choose to bump another junior employee in your area and they in turn could bump another employee in an adjoining area or even much farther away. A senior employee knew their job was secure due to their many years of service and valuable experience.

Now the State operates under the "unit division" method. To make it clear, you can be in the Dept. of Labor and so can the employees across the street, but you can be in different "unit divisions". You can watch the new hire enter the building across the street while you pack the remains of twenty years memories in a cardboard box and go home.

In Public service and private industry, good managers know the importance of a highly skilled and experienced workforce. Recently AIG made the argument that millions of dollars of bonuses were needed to keep experienced staff and after a lot of speeches Congress agreed. The value of an employee who has been trained, and has developed loyalty and dedication through years of service can not be ignored.

Most businesses know the risks that come with mishandling the workforce. Abusing or marginalizing the workforce, taking punitive actions in response to temporary conditions. In the long term employees will be demoralized, and become disloyal, while the State hires inexperienced replacements for highly qualified staff.

The preservation of bumping rights supports the good practices touted by the most successful industries and public sector agencies while avoiding the serious risks that come with a loss of experience and loyalty. The proof that bumping rights promotes loyalty to the employer and preserves a qualified workforce was described well in an article on the Local 1984 website.

A retiree named Michael Andosca, Jr., of Webster, wrote: “Rarely needed, bumping rights are one of the rewards for faithful service; every faithful servant who can demonstrate the ability – by training or certification – should have the option of bumping down in order to keep working. Junior employees, however eager to please, need to pay their dues before they, too, can enjoy the benefits of seniority rights.”

Current bumping rights and recall rights must be a primary concern for any State employee. Current bumping rights are the result of a long history but are now 180 degrees away from good management practices. During the past, administrations have invested in initiatives designed to retain a qualified workforce. Fearing a substantial reduction in the workforce knowledge base because so many state employees can retire in the next 3 to 5 years, the administration made changes to longevity pay in order to retain experienced employees. The fears and risks associated with what is commonly known as “brain drain” are well documented.

Many state governments are facing the same risk and are faced with having to reduce the workforce while at the same time continue to provide quality services to the public. Laying off experienced employees at the top of their range and hiring new employees at the lowest scale has been touted by many as a great idea to save money, but shows no respect for the public or for dedicated, long term employees.

Why would the State resist bettering and preserving bumping? There can be only one reason: they intend to selectively target long-term employees for unethical reasons. Long term employees are more likely to be Union activists and to be at the top of the pay scale. The State is planning to punish and retaliate against workers who have earned a better paycheck or have been active in the Union. Politicians and agency heads would prefer to protect less experienced but “well-connected” favored employees. They would actively engage in age discrimination. Perhaps they simply don’t want to bother with following an orderly lay off process at all.

Why should we fight to improve and protect bumping rights?

1. It is essential to maintaining quality public services, not only today, but for years to come. Bumping rights – and the Personnel Rules that determine how employees are laid off – represent the most orderly and least-complicated process for ensuring that the most experienced and valuable workers are retained when layoffs are needed.

2. Eliminating bumping rights is clearly another attempt by the administration to abuse management authority and attack all employee benefits and protections. We’ve seen the negative effects of management abuse of workers in the private sector. As the largest employer, the State would set a poor example for all employers if they break their promises to their own workers.

3. If we lose bumping rights when we really need them, why even have them at all? We’ve been here before The State warns that there will be workplace chaos if bumping rights are changed or improved. The truth is jobs will be saved and Human Resources is unwilling to do the work needed with their highly reduced staff to manage bumping in the right way. At the same time they are being pressured to allow senior employees to be targeted as a budget reduction tool.

Leaving bumping rights as they are will end with disastrous effects. This year the employees at the Levinson center in Bangor lost their jobs. Even skilled nurses could not walk across the street to the Dorothea Dix center and bump. They had been exiled to a Unit division with no way to bump. DHHS had been ordered to reduce budget last year and agency heads identified the Levinson center as employees with no recourse.

In New Hampshire, SEA fought the State for nearly a decade and finally won reinstatement for 54 of 58 employees represented by SEA that had been fired under similar circumstances. The State paid tens of thousands of dollars in back pay. Why? Because these workers had been selectively targeted by the agency heads for elimination. Experience proves that the chaos predicted by Human Resources and even by some Union members will only happen if the State makes mistakes in handling a painful process in an incompetent and understaffed fashion. They will do it unless we can stop them.

Rubbing Salt into the Wound

To make matters worse, the resistance to improve bumping rights includes even more disturbing rehire provisions.
Currently, laid off workers who are qualified for future vacancies must be allowed four refusals. You have to actually be offered a job and refuse four times to be kicked off the list. The State wants be able to kick you off if you refuse two interviews.

If they don't like a Union activist, or someone who could come back in at top step, in Portland, what do you think the chances are that the first two interviews for jobs will be in Caribou?

The proposal rubs salt into the wound. A laid off worker would watch a non-laid off worker, or worse yet, someone entirely new to state service, be eligible for a job that the laid off worker could not be eligible for simply because they wanted to stay with their family.

The same employees could watch an existing worker with no seniority or even a new hire take their job just because they work in a different building.
This State has nearly succeeded in eliminating bumping rights already and has created the opportunity to retaliate against long-term workers. There is no other reason why the current set of rules is being fiercely protected by the State.

What do we need to do?

Contact your Union, 1-800-452-8794 and tell them to protect and improve your bumping rights. We are the UNION and that means you, your co-workers, all the way up, and every MSEA elected leader, needs to be part of that discussion.

You should:

Call or write to the members of your negotiation team.
Call the Union and leave them a message.
Ask them to improve the current Bumping language – which has been in place for many years, is obsolete and does not protect your seniority rights. Tell them that improving bumping rights is good business practice and will protect quality public services for years to come. Tell them that ignoring bumping rights will leave many valuable State employees open to discriminatory treatment, and personal and political attacks that will harm State operations and cost taxpayers more money in the long run.

Let them know that allowing senior employees to be targeted in the middle of a recession sends a chilling message to workers everywhere that it is OK to abuse management authority.
Lastly, but extremely important, is to talk with newer employees about the reasons we need to preserve bumping rights. The threat of lay-offs shakes out in the workplace many different ways.
It is important that we talk to each other, and help each other, during these difficult times. Long term workers have seen many more injustices happen in the workplace than short term workers; bumping rights could seem to be an unfair practice if a newer worker hasn’t been around long enough to personally witness selective hiring or firing practices play out.
Self-preservation is a keen sense that needs to be respected and understood. Newer workers may feel more at risk if bumping rights are retained and long term workers need to recognize that fact.

The bottom line:

Remember that weak employee rights will only allow employee rights to continue to get weaker.

But I don't want to get involved, I don't care, it won't happen to me.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

What would you do for $1000.00 a second?

Sean Hannity, is acting as if he is a lying, cowardly, dirtbag, without the stones to back up his own lies. He goofed the other night and claimed he would be willing to be waterboarded for charity, for the troops.

Keith Olbermann offered to take him up on it. Offered Hannity, gas bag, $1000.00 a second to undergo real waterboarding. At last word he has backed out and is offering money to charity


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Monday, April 20, 2009

4 -20

New Hampshire

Pot Is Medicine: Let the Ill Use It

Marijuana use can produce lots of outcomes that are not socially desirable. It also can alleviate horrible symptoms of numerous chronic illnesses and, recent research is showing, actually fight some types of cancer.

The psychological effects of marijuana use have been well-documented for decades. Its medical effects have been revealed more recently. They show without a doubt that smoking marijuana has significant benefits for some seriously sick people. With the growing body of evidence revealing just how helpful marijuana can be for some of the chronically ill, the case against making it available to them has gone up in smoke.

New Hampshire's House of Representatives has passed a bill, House Bill 648, to make the medicinal use of marijuana legal under tightly controlled circumstances. The bill would require a doctor's prescription and a state-issued permit for legal marijuana use. The amount a patient or his caregiver could possess would be limited to two ounces, six seeds and six plants.

Marijuana has been proven highly effective at alleviating the side effects of chemotherapy and other treatments for a long list of chronic illnesses, including cancer and glaucoma. It can even stimulate the appetites of cancer patients on chemotherapy, which notoriously weakens appetite. The National Cancer Institute confirms that inhaling smoked marijuana delivers these therapeutic benefits more effectively than taking pills that contain the same active ingredient.

....... at this point, withholding the proven medical benefits of smoked marijuana from those extremely ill patients who cannot be helped by any other treatment would amount to a cruel deprivation of necessary medical care. The Senate should pass the bill

In other news, NORML chose April 20th to launch 7,770 nationwide TV ads that advocate for cannabis law reform; and promoting marijuana legalization; it will run on CNN, Fox News Channel and more. In the spot, Americans say "you can tax it, you can regulate it, apply age restrictions, create millions of new jobs, save our economy.

I joined. $4.20 and maybe someone suffering from cancer with no relief or being killed in Mexico for smuggling pot will no longer be the norm.


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Saturday, April 11, 2009

We have lost a Friend

Members of SEIU 1989 recently lost one of their own. One of our long term field reps, one of the best, was hired by our the State's Human Resources Dept, A.K.A. "The Dark Side", the same group your negotiations team and your stewards sit across the table from. Someone who knows how we think, what we were talking about this contract year, has now joined the dark side and taken his knowledge of our plans with him.

While he won't be working for us I know he won't be giving up our secrets just to get ahead. This guy has honor and I trust him. In this case we don't have a problem. Our ex rep will probably be one of the "good guys" in HR and he will know when we are right as we defend our members and our contract.

The issue is, his years of skill will be put to work to defeat our members in grievances and job actions. He did his best for us, and he will do his best for HR, his best is damn good!

That worries me.
I liked this rep, he did great work for members in the past, but I have to ask, how long the recruitment dance has been going on for, under cover, without MSEASEIU staff being aware. Is it only this rep or have they made an approach to other SEIU staff?
While thinking about offers, can a rep focus on representing our members? Will they worry they might do something that could kill the job offer? Do our members get the representation they need when staff is being solicited? Work done for our members after a job is sought or offered is done under conflict of interest.

We won't have an enemy in HR this time, possibly even a friend, but what about the next time and the time after that?
We have to know why someone would take an offer like this and we need to prevent it in the future.

Our board of directors should take action to prevent this hostile raiding in the future. Our members deserve to receive representation without divided loyalties.
Is this betrayal or did the State just make an offer he couldn't refuse? Maybe the State is paying more.

SEIU employees have NO retirement, and from what I have seen, when they are working for us, they have no lives except the Union. To retire they have to save for themselves and I can only imagine what has happened to their plans in the last few months. It can't be good.

Maybe the benefits that field rep helped us win in the past are better than the SEIU provides employees. Maybe the reality of having to live and feed your family overcame any dedication to Labor Rights.
There are many reasons why someone changes jobs. Money, family, health care, retirement, or just a more interesting job.

The worst scenario is if our Rep. looked around, heard things, and decided he wanted be a winner. Did he hear something from the other side while being recruited that made him think he was on the losing side?

We think we know what we are losing. What is HR gaining? The rep has helped to plan our bargaining in the past.
He knows how we think and what we would use to win a contract or win a grievance. He knew some of our bargaining priorities and strategies for this year. He will never give up our private information, the real danger is brain drain, our reps know how we think, and we are hurt when we lose someone with his skills, abilities, and historical knowledge.

Human Resources, might see him rightly or wrongly as an ace in the hole, a resource they can use to counter our stewards, our bargaining teams, or just to break our spirit.
That rep is lost to us, but we cannot let this continue! We don't know why he left or what they offered him. We can plan for the future. It is time to let the reps still working for us know that we are grateful for their years of service and all the help they have given our members. We can't let one incident change our opinion of this great bunch of men and women, that don't have many of the benefits they have helped us win for ourselves.

O.K. it is a lousy situation but how do we fix it? Both Unions and Business have known two ways to protect themselves from hostile knowledge raiders for decades: pay them more and have a Non-Compete Clause. We have lost a lot of staff recently and we have trouble attracting field reps to Maine. The MSEASEIU rep pay scale may seem good on the raw numbers but in the same way we compare our salaries to other states you need to compare rep salaries to other states. MSEASEIU rep pay is significantly lower and comes with reduced benefits in Maine, how else could the State or even other Unions hire our staff even in this economy?

The second method, a non-compete clause, has become more common in some contracts especially when it protects "secrets" or information that could unfairly advantage the entity hiring an insider.
No one would want to prevent someone from making a living in their field of expertise. You don't want to lock them in to one job and have a miserable employee. It is immoral to prevent someone from finding another job.
What would be wrong with an agreement preventing an SEIU employee from taking an HR position with any company, in Maine, employing members represented by MSEASEIU? You could make it easier by limiting the restriction to only a year.
I don't know what the staff contract says or doesn't say on non-compete. But it certainly looks like something needing investigation.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Email from a Union Buster

I get on the wing nut mailing lists on purpose. This bunch doesn't think Unions are bad, they think they are great! Without Unions they would be out of work although they could find work replacing sewage cleaning services while using bendy straws.

Any comments in BOLD have been added, and BOLD ITALICS are original with emphasis added.
EFCA Updates Your EFCA Early Warning System Today, many company leaders heavily focus on earning quarterly profits and feel there's ample time to react to union organizers. Unfortunately, the news media poorly covers the ramifications the Employee Free Choice Act to businesses. This Act leaves no time to react. Even the so-called "compromise" proposals being floated about have one thing in common - very short to no election periods. (They want the time to intimidate and frighten employees.) The problem is that in most cases companies have no idea union organizers are already soliciting employees to sign check cards. Two months ago one of our consultants (a former union organizer himself) uncovered union organizers (be very scared. Union organizers have poison fangs) offering employees money to sign union cards at a Call Center in Missouri. Yes, they'll pay your employees money to sign a union card. The employer was shocked to learn this. ( I don't see a reference to a published story, an arrest or a conviction) I certainly hope the idiots this bloodsucker is trying to take for their cash can use critical thinking.

And just a few weeks ago during some EFCA training we were conducting for one of our Casino clients another one of our consultants (another former union organizer who works with our clients to educate employees about the problems with unions) uncovered an "underground" card-signing effort (knowing you could get fired for legal activities might explain a lot) during the summer that not one company manager had even heard about.

The signs were not apparent to the untrained eyes of company leadership. As for our consultants...they are highly trained. Many of our consultants actually worked as union organizers (and all of our consultants have been trained by former organizers). They know the insider secrets to union organization.

Our consultants are the best of breed "bloodhounds" who can skillfully spot early union organizing signs.
Wouldn't it be great if you could train your managers to do the same thing these professionals can do almost "second nature"? It's not as difficult as it sounds. Your leaders learn to do a really good job of observing employee behaviors for early signs of early union organization.

We talked last time about some of the basics - that the goal is not focusing on union campaigns, since the so-called "early warning sign" lists can change depending on your company's culture or physical workplace. Instead the idea is to focus simply on behavior change.

Let me give you one quick example of what you might look for. The key is understanding what is going on behind the scenes. When we do our "Boot Camp" training for managers we have actual former organizers put them through an employee meeting - that way they get a chance to experience what it feels like through the eyes of an employees. (What, no spell check?)

For example,
the organizer may tell an employee who is reluctant to sign a card at the union meeting that if the boss finds out they've talked to an organizer that they will get fired. Employees know the boss can fire them with almost no risk, how do you expect them to react?

Then you start to think about how that employee might behave the next day at work. As you begin to imagine interactions between that employee and their manager you can quickly see how behavior might be different. That's just one simple scenario - there are dozens more that are more nuanced - but hopefully you get the picture.

Let's assume you've learned those lessons (if you don't already have training developed to do this - or if you are looking at a way to add some "sizzle" to what you already do - you can look at our management-training materials ).

What happens if your manager suspects that changed behavior is because of an organizing event?
Remember it only takes 50% plus one to unionize one department in your firm. The EFCA requires no election...only sign (too cheap to use spell check?) check cards.

Departments with less than 25 people can be unionized within days. Time is of the essence.
At this critical time there are a couple of key issues. The first one is legal - your leaders must know and understand the legal "do's and don'ts" so they don't accidentally engage in illegal interrogation of employees. Most unions are shocked to hear this, but (unlike what you read about so-called "union-busters" on the web) one of our core principles in campaigns is "don't cheat". As a labor lawyer, I take great pains to make sure each participant is immersed in that principle as a big part of our manager training.

The bottom line for us is they comprehend what is right and legal is also what works best.
"I was trained so it must have been legal to fire the Union sympathizers" Since these situations are often a surprise to the first level leader (who may have gone through training months before) (who may be an idiot or a sadist who likes mistreating employees and doesn't realize they might not like it) we teach them a quick script that gets them comfortable that they (and more importantly the coworker who they are talking to) know clearly that the conversation is not an interrogation.

You'd be surprised how easy it is to get them comfortable with the script.
The second key issue is to make sure the first level leader takes the early warning sign seriously. In almost every one of the more than 10,000 union organizing events we have participated in there was at least one supervisor or manager who noticed the activity early on but never warned anybody about it because they didn't think it was anything serious.

(Maybe they thought it was the employee's right)
That's why we teach the "first breath" principle to managers during our training. I offer this free breath training to Union Busters, breathe in......breathe out.......Stop.

So it is critical for your managers to know exactly what to do to both RECOGNIZE and RESPOND to early warning signs of union organizing. If you haven't already done this training (and maybe even if you have if it was just a legal lecture about the "do's and don'ts" but didn't cover some of the key concepts I've outlined here) do it NOW.

If you're not a subject matter expert there are several good options. You can use some of our tools to deliver the content yourself (we know times are tough, so our "entry level" tool is a very inexpensive PowerPoint presentation you can download and start using TODAY). Our Tool Kit also contains a complete 3-hour training program you can deliver right out of the box. (But wait! There's more! Order now and get a free rack and thumbscrews! )

Bigger organizations may want to consider having one of our former union organizers come in and deliver our "Jump Team" training directly to your leadership team. At the high end you can send your key "Jump Team" members to one of our 5-day Boot Camps where we put you through the same rigorous certification course our own consultants go through and where you earn certification as a counter-organizing "black belt" using our tools and "insiders" knowledge.
Whatever you do, the key is to take action TODAY. Things are likely to start happening very quickly. To your success, Next Time: The Truth About "Union Scale" Wages

No where in the letter does the Union Buster ever talk about the employee, respect for the employee or steps employers can take like listening to their employees or trying to set up better working conditions or pay. The Union Buster never explains that the employer has all the time in the world to approach their employees.

All the employer has to do is hold a meeting starting tomorrow and be willing to listen. Americans know how the job should be done. They want their company to succeed, but they want to be recognized a a big part of that success and to be rewarded for their efforts.

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Union Members Kick Pirates Off Their Ship

Union Members fight off Pirates on the pirated ship, the US Maersk. Bravery and Union training credit get the credit.

Yesterday the crew of the pirated US Maersk Alabama regained control of their ship. Aboard the ship were UNION MEMBERS, you know, the do nothing, Union thugs that only know how to do nothing for something. The intensive training they received for this type of situation may have had some influence, even if it did cut into dividends.

In an interview with the father of the head of security on the Maersk NPR was told that the crew had all been given very specific and thourough training by professional on how to handle a pirate take over.

The right wing, including Boston’s own Howie Carr feel we should break international law and bomb these ships, sorry about the crew, they would be collateral damage. Pat Buchanan thinks we should bomb Somalia! I am sure if the crew died Howie would play the Ted Knight laugh track he plays for any death and suffering he reports.

SIU Profile
The Seafarers International Union, Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters District/NMU, AFL-CIO, represents unlicensed United States merchant mariners sailing aboard U.S.-flag vessels in the deep sea, Great Lakes and inland trades. The union also represents licensed U.S. mariners in the Great Lakes and inland sectors.

According to the SIU ships sailing under US flags carry union crews. Unions have always insisted that their members are trained to handle the job and now that they may face pirates they have insisted on anti terrorism training. Obviously it worked.

9/11/01, Union members (firefighters/police) are running into burning buildings when everyone else is running for their lives. When Sully, the pilot of Flight 1549 knew his plane was going down, the same way his pension and pay had crashed, he landed safely in the Hudson River thanks to his experience and his Union negotiated training. All of the fallen police officers during the last two weeks, Union members.

No Union is perfect but look at the evidence you have been seeing everyday, the evidence the right wing nuts don’t admit, Unions can save lives, they may just save the economy by showing the way. When the UAW has to compromise it is time for the boardroom to share the pain.
President Obama and the Democrats will pass some form of the Employee Free Choice Act, I hope it is not a version that has been gutted to appease the rich. A strong workforce is the core of a strong society.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I am voting Republican

An oldie but a goodie. One of the best "Vote Republican" ads I have seen.
We may have won the election, the troops are starting to come home but all the other issues are out there. The Party of No will block everything that doesn't benefit the rich and cut taxes for the Wall St scum.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

How to avoid Union organizing drives for free.

Union Avoidance
How to ignore the EFCA and Stay Union Free

Employers, there are millions to be made by frightening you into believing Unions are bad and that you need to pay someone to learn how to avoid Unions. The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) does not have to affect you or your business. You can make employees ignore Union organizers in a few easy steps.

The fear mongers want your money and tell you that this legislation will eliminate the secret ballot for joining a Union. They want you to believe that you will have no campaign period to present your side to your employees. Did you receive a shiny email telling you your rights as an employer to free speech would be lost? Did they tell you Unions will destroy your business? Consider the source.....Lawyers! They only want your money.

Don’t wait for a Union election to begin. You can start now. You can avoid Unions.

Learn how to fight Big Labor's new push to pass the Employee Free Choice Act and change the way you do business.

Your can learn a new set of strategies at no cost and maintain a union-free environment.

Learn:· Facts about the Employee Free Choice Act.

The EFCA keeps the secret ballot option.

· Make unions irrelevant: Using several secret steps, respect, and fair treatment.

Train your supervisors to deal fairly with employees and treat them as valuable resources, not replaceable cogs.

· You won’t have to know how to spot the early warning signs of unionization
You won’t have to break labor laws and improperly classify employees as supervisors.

Talk with, not to employees and learn how listening will help you to fight a union organizing campaign

Learn to respect you employees legal rights during a Union campaign and even if a Union is put in place you will already be ahead of the game, not facing the growing tendency for the NLRB to rule against breaking the law.

· Respect, pay, listening, these are all lawful steps you can take now to fight organizing efforts

Things you should know:

  • 1: Know the Employee’s Rights Under the Law
  • 2: The Employee Free Choice Act will encourage Unions especially in organizations that do not respect their work force.
  • 3: Train Supervisors to Spot Warning Signs of bad management.
  • 4: Make Unions Irrelevant through Pay, respect, and being willing to listen.
  • 5: How to Effectively Use the Art of Listening To Stay Union Free
  • 6: Make Unions Irrelevant through Continuous Employee relations that include honest two way conversations.
  • 7: How to fight a Union Organizing Campaigns
  • Number 7, we give away free. You have every day to engage your employees. Start now and when a Union organizer shows up your employees will already be well paid, well trained, and respected. The Unions won’t have anything to offer.

For one low price…….Free you can train as many corporate owners as you like.

The toughest challenge in the fight to stay union-free is ignorance. The lack of knowledge about Unions is what the Union busters live on. Remember they don’t care if they tell the truth; they only want your money.

Know the Employee’s Rights Under the Law

It is hard to believe after the last eight years, but Non-Unionized employees are protected under the law and Unions are spending big money to educate these employees. You can be prosecuted for breaking the law.

If you don’t listen to your employees you will never know when they are going to complain using the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In the past employers without unions believed they could easily violate the NLRA in day-to-day operations. You don’t need an expensive firm to tell you that treating employees fairly will get you their loyalty.

The Employee Free Choice Act Will be law. Don’t be in a position to be prosecuted.
The passage of the EFCA will
dramatically change your workplace. You will be forced by law to do things you could do now on your own, you can recognize and bargain in good faith with a labor union without requiring a secret-ballot vote!
That is the law now. Why pay to avoid what is already the law? Under the EVCA signed authorization cards can be obtained before you're even aware of the Union campaign. If you interfere in the card-gathering activities, you would be subject to civil penalties!

* The
EFCA and how it would modify existing law
The EFCA will not eliminate the employees’ right to secret ballot elections for joining a union
The EFCA will encourage collective bargaining and encourage parties toward an agreement
EFCA mandatory arbitration may leave you unhappy or leave your employees disgruntled. Most likely you will both be unhappy. You can solve this now, why wait?

The EFCA will create real penalties for NLRA violations, including increased use of injunctions to remedy possible violations and the ability to impose fines of up to $20,000 for each violation

Train Supervisors to treat employees fairly and avoid an Organizing Campaign
Employers have the right to talk to employees now. They can participate in their employee’s lives by listening and improving working conditions. You can stop a UnionUnion. When you find bad management, learn how to respond appropriately, go to the employees, talk, and find out what is going on. They have great ideas and they want you to succeed so they will have jobs. before the Union organizers ever show up. They will be showing up and it’s more important than ever for your supervisors to learn how to treat employees and to stop the first signs of bad management. Unfair treatment, intimidation. Favoritism. These are the things that will bring in a

Learning :
Educate supervisors to understand the economic and non-economic reasons why employees may turn to a union
Train supervisors to respect employees rights if they engage in union activity, including what they can and cannot say
Teach supervisors to be willing and available to discuss employee concerns and answer any employee questions

Make Unions Irrelevant Through Effective Employee Relations
Employees’ acceptance or rejection of union representation is heavily influenced by the relationship they have with their supervisors. So what can your management team do to improve that relationship? Train your supervisors to become involved with the employees and not to see them as raw material.

The “jerk manager ” – who they are and why they lead to unionization and how to avoid it
Promote the type of supervisor that employees want to work for will help keep your workplace union free
Holding supervisors accountable for their human relations performance and how it helps your union avoidance strategies
Train supervisors to engage employees on workplace issues
Establish communication and management policies that instill positive manager-employee relations

Bonus – Many reversals of Bush era “employer friendly” rules are expected. You may no longer be able to call the janitor a supervisor because he or she is able to write. Learn how to give them respect now, and make it seem like your idea, not the result of a new law.

Use the Art of Persuasion To Stay Union Free IF EFCA becomes law, employers will no longer have the extended period to intimidate fire and coerce employees to reject a union. With fewer tools, employers will have to ramp up a new strategy based on persuasion. You could hire a consultant, but if you start now you won’t need to.

Understanding what you have been doing wrong and why the
mood is ripe for unionization
Understand immigration and why new workforce demographics could lead to increased unionization
Give them what they want: Seems simple, but it works. The employee won’t force you out of business and a secure workforce is more productive.
How to use work-life balance by granting your employees enough time to be a part of their families lives.

Create programs that will position your company as an “employer of choice”
Why building support in the workforce
can go a lot farther than fear in persuading employees to reject unionization

Make Unions Irrelevant Through Continuous Employee Involvement
Honestly Educating the workforce about unions while doing nothing for your own employees is the worst defense against unionization. “You don’t really want better pay and benefits, do you?” Learn how to use a long-term approach that begins with new hires and continues with sustained information that’s delivered to the workforce using employee surveys, internal magazines and company intranet.
If you treat your employees well they will be your best allies.

Start early to Fight Organizing Campaigns
After the passage of the EFCA if you find a union has targeted your workplace, it is probably too late. Your employees are not happy and you didn’t know it. The way that you respond will be very important, because it could result in unfair labor practice claims and hugely expensive legal bills. When the EFCA passes, illegal actions will be severely fined. The additional penalties, including one that requires triple back pay for unfair labor practices deemed willful or repeated.

Under the EFCA illegal actions will be monitored. Both unions and employers will be subject to fines for illegal practices during the organizing process
The EFCA will not preclude employers from exercising their free speech rights under the NLRA to communicate with employees before they make a final decision on the issue of unionization You can communicate now and every day, long before you will ever see an organizer. You have a tremendous head start.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Unemployment Benefits Running Out

The State of Maine has a hiring freeze, wants to lay off employees and do away with longevity. There was no hiring freeze in the Dept. of Labor. The DOL had to hire recently due to the massive numbers of unemployed in Maine.

New Budget Gap: In the midst of contract negotiations for State employees, State budget writers predict a new budget gap but we won't know how bad the news will be until May. The state is expected to lower revenue estimates. Further job losses mean the state will see declining sales tax and income tax revenue. Where are the "summer complaints"? I just realized how much I love tourists and traffic jams.

In the rest of the Nation:
Hundreds of Thousands Set to Lose Unemployment Benefits A good friend of mine has been unemployed nearly two years now. He got an early start on the Bush depression. He sent hundreds of resumes, has made hundreds more phone calls and has called in every favor from everyone he knows. He is over 50 and the economy is down the tubes.

It's ugly out there: Even the extended unemployment benefits are ending, and it is getting harder to find a job. California is moving to make benefits available up to 79 weeks. Letting people eat is a better stimulus than paying for a banker's Bentley.

PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.flickr.com/photos/minusman/3370951415/

December 2008 S.C. Nearly 70,000 people will run out of extended unemployment benefits in South Carolina.

Schwarzenegger Opens California Fairgrounds to Homeless March 2009 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said a tent city for the homeless in the capital city of Sacramento will be shut down and its residents allowed to stay at the state fairgrounds.

State OKs legislation accepting $3 billion in federal stimulus money. Gov. Schwarzenegger will sign. The maximum period for benefits will increase to 79 weeks from 59.

March 2009
N.J. Unemployment claims force state to borrow to cover benefits. New Jersey unable to pay unemployment claims without borrowing from the federal government, said Gov. Jon S. Corzine.

March 2009 Schwarzenegger Opens California Fairgrounds to Homeless Camp California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said a tent city for the homeless in the capital city of Sacramento will be shut down and its residents allowed to stay at the state fairgrounds. "We cannot look away and pretend like this does not happen, because it is happening and we must take action," Schwarzenegger said. "And that is why we are doing all we can to do right by the people who are living in these difficult circumstances in these difficult times."

Unemployed? If not now, when?
In the Bush years, when claimants ran out of benefits they were dropped from the total unemployment numbers. The reason Bush refused to add unemployment benefits for as long as possible was that losing your benefits under Bush meant you were not counted as unemployed, you were no longer a concern. 500,000 to 750,000 of your neighbors could lose their extended benefits by the second half of this year. Some will find jobs, but it looks like a depression out there, layoffs are continuing to double digits in some states and is at the best stable in some states. The National jobless rate is predicted to hit 10 percent by year's end. 10% by year's end may be the optimistic outlook.

Bleeding jobs: The U.S. lost 663,000 jobs in March, and the jobless rate is the highest it has been in twenty five years. Since December 2007 5.1 million jobs have gone and not been replaced. Many of the jobs that have been replaced have been replaced by lower paying jobs, with poor pay and little or no benefits.

Even CEOs being hit: The head of GM, Richard Wagoner was fired in March and received only a 23,000,000.00 dollar severance package, He has no prospects to lead another major car company.
The long term lack of jobs even more than the total unemployment rate highlights the scope and duration of the recession, which began in December 2007.
Damn that Bill Clinton! Damn that Obama! They took what Bush built and gave us this mess.

If these conditions last until May 2009, this will be the longest since the Great Depression. Every prediction for how bad this could get has been wrong. Every prediction of job losses and duration has been wrong. This is lasting longer and hurting more people than any politician or economist predicted.

The depression may get worse. The extended benefits that are running out now were based on very optimistic predictions of where we would be this year. It is far worse than predicted. Unless you work for AIG you are afraid to lose your job or you are afraid you will not even have a tent to live in.
Even if the Wall St. indicators are right and are showing some type of weak recovery, historically jobs don't return until six months to over a year from signs of life on "the street".

History says Wall st. first, then Main st. later.
In the 1990-91 and 2001 recessions, the unemployment rate topped out more than a year after the recovery began. I am not alone believing that the recent uptick in the market may be a temporary thing, it man not be the sign of a recovering economy only the wealth sharing the TARP dollars before retiring behind the castle walls to keep out the hungry peasants. Even if Wall st. sees returning profits, most Americans will find that a Wall ST recovery won't make any difference to them for up to two years.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Saving Union Jobs, Saving Taxpayer Dollars

The picture has nothing to do with anything. I like it.

This is a cross post from SEIU 1000 in Califooorneeeyaa. Sorry Arnold. In California the SEIU has taken a hit, but they kept the State from taking everything. They DiD make layoff protections and seniority rights better. These are tough times, China says they will be the world leader in the production of electric cars in three years. Congress wants to pay bankers and crucify Unions. In Maine we need to look to the SEIU in California as a model (including the NUHW).
Get involved or get run over

Public Health drops outsourcing plans
Department to fill 53 positions
instead of contracting out

Updated 9:00 a.m., April 1

Bowing to pressure from Local 1000, the Department of Public Health (DPH) has dropped its efforts to outsource civil service work in four separate contracts worth a total of $3.8 million. The DPH decision comes as a result of Local 1000’s two-year campaign against wasteful private contracting that costs taxpayers more than performing the work in-house. Since 2006, Local 1000 has challenged dozens of state contracts and won more than 80 percent of our challenges. Outsourcing raises costs “This is a huge win for us – the department changed its policy because we have proven that it is not cost-effective for the state to hire private contractors,” said Marie Harder, a senior information systems analyst in the Department of Public Health. “It looks like DPH is finally starting to get it and learn not to waste taxpayer money on contracts when state workers can do a better job for less.” The news came as DPH made a budget request to the state Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health & Human Services on March 19. The budget request, delayed during February’s budget battle, was to hire state workers to perform work that previously was scheduled to go to private contractors, including an information technology contract and a janitorial contract in Richmond. In both those cases, Local 1000 challenged the contracts and they were overturned by the State Personnel Board. Avoid future litigation The DPH budget request cited Local 1000’s successful challenges and said “in order to respond to the State Personnel Board’s ruling and to mitigate any future litigation, the DPH came forward with” a proposal to hire state employees to perform that work at a lower cost. The agency said it planned to fill 53 new positions with state employees instead of contractors..

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Ed Schultz Show--P.S. He doesn't like Limbaugh and he does like Unions

"Watch Limbaugh with the sound turned down" "He looks like Hitler" I just followed Ed's advice and watched Limbaugh giving his CPAC speech. Scared yet, no? Stay with the the bloated one long enough to watch the audience. The applause for hate and greed. America is beautiful but this is an ugly mask Rush is trying on for size. His, is the ugliest face ugliest face of America, but it is a mask not the real country, not the face of Americans who love their neighbors without knowing their bank balance.

Every man is Dick Cheney and every woman is Ann Coulter or Sarah Palin, and they all mindlessly cheer for the new leader of the GOP.
The Ed Schultz Show is coming to MSNBC. Get ready for a voice that likes Unions, likes the workers who built the country and thinks that a twenty three million dollar kiss goodbye to a fired GM CEO is sick.

It is against God and Country to break a contract with AIG executives. We have to pay them for sinking their company and our country. It is like sending a thank you note with flowers to a rapist. Thank you and come again.

Adolf Hitler - Closing Ceremony - Triumph of the Will -

Feds Seize Madoff Palm Beach Mansion and Boats. AIG executives to receive funds from sale.

U.S. Marshals today seized the Palm Beach Mansion of Bernie Madoff along with two boats.

The property and boats will be donated to AIG executives as compensation for having their feelings hurt due to being called scum, incompetent, and thieving bastards. Until the AIG executives can figure out how to maintain the property the estate will be "monitored and maintained" at taxpayer expense to protect the future owners.

Just wait a few seconds and watch the body language. Don't bother if you shop at Wal-Mart because Rush says he already has you.

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Elected NUHW Stewards being removed from office by SEIU

I am not taking any sides, I try to present the story in the old way, the facts should speak for themselves. You the reader, are the best judge.

The SEIU is "firing" Stewards and Member contract specialists, elected by their members, from elected office.

The members of the UHW have had card signings at over three hundred sites and voted overwhelmingly to leave the SEIU. They want to form the New UHW, but since NLRB rules don't allow a decertification petition until just before a contract expiry, they can not decertify until 2010 there is no legal NUHW even if a hundred thousand members think they belong to a new Union.

I don't think this is going away, California Union members are "fired up, and ready to go" it looks as if they are gearing up for the long haul.

This is not going to come out well for organized labor unless both sides talk. From this side of the country it looks like the members of UHW have been trying for a long time. It takes two sides both willing to listen to make a deal. This is all about Andy Stern, can he lead? Can he forge unity or simply try to force compliance?

In California the war between the SEIU and the as yet unrecognized NUHW continues. Stewards are being removed for disagreeing with the appointed heads of their SEIU local.

Many won't agree but stewards, when elected, agree not to act against their Union, agree not to promote another Union or to act against their Union. Like it or not, the SEIU is currently the legal bargaining agent and has the right to remove stewards for actions against the SEIU.

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