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, January 31, 2009

Keeping Promises, Supporting Labor

President Obama: "You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement."

Friday January 30, 2009

President Obama signed three critical Executive Orders reversing anti-worker Bush policies and it needs to be heard. Federal contractors can NOT be paid for anti-union activities

I am still in shock, this president is keeping his promises. The Republicans and the old style politicians are (hopefully) in cardiac arrest.

President Obama is not afraid to support labor:

He said "I also believe that we have to reverse many of the policies towards organized labor that we've seen these last eight years, policies with which I've sharply disagreed. I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem, to me it's part of the solution. We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests, because we know that you cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement.

We know that strong, vibrant, growing unions can exist side by side with strong, vibrant and growing businesses. This isn't a either/or proposition between the interests of workers and the interests of shareholders. That's the old argument. The new argument is that the American economy is not and has never been a zero-sum game. When workers are prospering, they buy products that make businesses prosper. We can be competitive and lean and mean and still create a situation where workers are thriving in this country.

So I'm going to be signing three executive orders designed to ensure that federal contracts serve taxpayers efficiently and effectively. One of these orders is going to prevent taxpayer dollars from going to reimburse federal contractors who spend money trying to influence the formation of unions. We will also require that federal contractors inform their employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Federal labor laws encourage collective bargaining, and employees should know their rights to avoid disruption of federal contracts.

And I'm issuing an order so that qualified employees will be able to keep their jobs even when a contract changes hands. We shouldn't deprive the government of these workers who have so much experience in making government work

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Bridge Between Dark Clouds


State employees are facing "troubles on the left of them" and "troubles on the right" as their pay and benefits become a football and a distraction from a real solution for economic problems.

The good news is there is a middle ground between slashing State services and cutting State employee pay and benefits as demanded by some on the right. There is a way and State employees want to be part of the solution. They are not part of the problem.

The State budget released today will cut more State employees and reduce services to the public. Employees are concerned that there will be political attacks on State employees based only on publicity and not on sound fiscal planning.
Will we be looking at more layoffs, furlough days, and a proposed tax hike that ONLY affects State employees?

State employees are all Mainers and all Mainers are facing the same thing. An economic collapse fueled by eight years of tax breaks for the rich and constant attacks on labor.

MSEASEIU 1989 members know that, more than ever, all Maine citizens must work together and work as a group. State employees are not a separate group from the public, we are their neighbors and their friends. We plow the roads, prosecute criminals, and we take the term "public service" seriously. Our message is that the attempt to balance the budget on State employee paychecks is only smoke and mirrors, the budget can not be balanced on the paychecks of State employees.

To get an eleven percent savings in the State budget you would need to layoff EVERY SINGLE State employee, cops, judges, nurses, plow drivers and fire inspectors.
All of them. No lottery tickets. No cops. No aid to schools. Do you want to be asked for your credit card when you call 911? A true Dick Cheney heaven.

State employees are at the mercy of the Governor and the legislature. No one knows what ideas the governor and the legislature may come up with next, and it is too soon to say what issues will be brought to contract negotiations by the State on several key issues, including increased health insurance costs. Both sides are expected to return to the table this coming week.

Meanwhile, the governor and legislative leaders continue to look for solutions to the state’s budget deficit that is now nearly a billion dollars with no short term relief in sight.

While the nearly $200 million expected in federal stimulus will help plug a piece of the state’s deficit, the governor and legislative leaders all say it is not a cure for our chronic budget problem. The federal stimulus package now moves to the Senate where debate over the size and focus of the aid money will rage on.

At home, State employees know where the waste is, we know where contracts send money out of State instead of sending it to Maine businesses. We want to save taxpayers money because we are taxpayers too.

The governor and legislators need to hear from you.

Send the governor and e-mail today using the sample letter or write your own. Don't let them make decisions behind closed doors. We pay taxes, we vote, and we want to help.


Governor Baldacci I am a state employee working at ______________.

Cutting State Employee Health Care is a tax increase, and shutting down state government using furloughs or shut down days is unfair to the citizens of Maine and will not solve the budget crisis.

Closing government or reducing services to the public will do more harm than good to Maine.
State employees have many suggestions for saving money and feel that the shutting down state agencies is unfair and necessary savings can be made without furloughs. We want to work with State government to save money for all Mainers. Our current contract negotiations are an opportunity for cooperation in place of conflict.

Shutting down state agencies won't just harm State Employees, it will harm all Mainers who depend on vital services provided by State employees. You say you want to protect all Mainers and you will not raise taxes. We are citizens and ask you not to raise our taxes.

How will state agencies respond to emergencies when they are understaffed? How many bridges will not be inspected or repaired because no one is there to do the work? Who will issue unemployment checks and drivers licenses?

Will elderly Citizens be safe when there are no nursing home inspectors. Can we drive safely when there are not enough snow plow drivers?
Maine needs you to to focus on solutions to this crisis instead of crippling agencies that provide services all Mainers need and depend on.

MSEASEIU members stand ready to work with the State and present ideas to enable millions of savings that can be realized by stopping contracting State work to out of State vendors.

We can save money by utilizing unused State property rather than pay rents for poorly maintained buildings. Me and my coworkers believe we can save the State millions over the next two year budget without raising taxes. Ideas that would not result in cutting State services to the Public with closed offices and lack of staff.
Will you listen? We live here too.


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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cut, Cut, Cut


The middle of winter and all through the state, workers are working both early and late. What do they get for their long hours and strife? A gift from the state in the dead of the night.
Not just furloughs, but wage freezes, too. But that isn't all they want to give you. They’ve got a plan to jack up health care prices and make you bear the burden for their budget crisis! Check the side bar for the AFSCME Xmas You Tube video.

Governors across the nation are seeking State employee sacrifices and concessions to help balance budgets during the economic downturn.

In States with no strong Unions governors are ordering cuts including pay and benefit cuts, shut downs, and furlough days. In States with strong Unions states are offering bad contracts with concessions and cuts but they are forced to negotiate.

California, Hawaii, Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, and in many more states governors have asked or ordered state workers to accept furloughs, salary reductions, shortened workweeks and/or benefit cuts. The concessions may be the only way to minimize further job losses in the face of record-breaking unemployment.

Unions argue their members shouldn't be singled out and are even more vital in hard times providing social services, to a growing population in need, public safety, and education.

Democratic Governor of Ohio, a long time Union friend is asking over 60,000 state employees to accept a 5 percent pay cut, a 35-hour workweek, mandatory furloughs, elimination of step increases, higher costs for their health insurance ,elimination of paid personal days, along with unpaid holidays. State employees are represented by the Ohio Civil Service Employees

Union president Parks said that the union's negotiating team was "aghast at the scope of the concessions the state proposed." Union negotiators have been told that layoffs might be necessary even if concessions are made

There has been a long history of Unions compromising with State governments and then having the promises to protect jobs broken. When the MSEASEIU accepted the Cliff, furloughs, and contracts with no raises during the nineties hundreds of jobs were still lost.

Another Democratic Governor, Martin O'Malley of Maryland, imposed furloughs and salary cuts on thousands of state workers in December in an attempt to save $34 million.

The part time legislature of Maryland earns $47,000.00 a year and has so far exempted themselves from the cuts.

The largest State employee Union in Maryland, AFSCME, succeeded in preserving employee benefits but could not halt the furlough days. The Maryland legislature is expected to try to cut State employee benefits and health care for both current and retired State employees.

In 2008 the New Jersey legislature along with Democratic Governor Jon Corzine cut two paid holidays, Lincoln's Birthday and the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Utah eliminated one paid holiday and is trying a four-day state workweek.

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, will probably pursue furloughs for 36,000 state employees and ask them to pay a larger share of health insurance coverage and to skip raises. The Governor cut two traditional half day holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. The cuts apply to 53,000 state employees in all departments, including the state Department of Education and the University of Hawaii. Marie Laderta, director of the state Department of Human Resources Development recommended that employees be allowed vacation leave to allow additional holiday time off, subject to operational needs.

Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said layoffs and unpaid furloughs are likely in that state as well.

California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to force furloughs two days a month beginning in February for 230,000 employees mostly represented by SEIU.........GOOD NEWS:............Democratic State Controller John Chiang said he will refuse to reduce state worker pay as demanded by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, possibly sparing more than 200,000 public employees from furloughs and pay cuts.

Chiang filed documents last week in Sacramento Superior Court arguing that the governor's plan is illegal."California law is clear that only the Legislature has ultimate authority over setting state employee salaries,"

Gov Schwarzenegger has so far been unable to cut two paid holidays from State employees due to the need to engage in collective bargaining.

In 1992 and again in 2003, state employees bargained leave agreements that accepted pay cuts 4.6% to 7%, in exchange for leave credits. Those agreements, were collectively bargained and ratified by the Legislature.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Right wing SCOTUS rules for MSEA-SEIU

Thanks to Andrea LaPointe for forwarding these two stories.

It seems even the Supreme Court thought the fee payers should go home and pay up. A long time ago in a forum far, far, away I asked what they would do if the Supreme Court ruled against them. The general answer was that they would either quit or accept the ruling.

IT is the end of the road. To put it nicely, pay up or get out. Either way shut up. It is done, over, finished. If you want to shake hands and agree to disagree with no more small minded comments and bragging predictions over what would happen when the case got to the Supreme Court, come on over. The Union could use some people that can stick to an idea all the way.

Today, January 21, 2009 The Supreme Court today unanimously agreed the MSEA-SEIU can force other State workers who are not Union members to pay Fair Share.

The MSEASEIU has been representing fee payers for years and spending huge amounts of money for a group that (IMHO) only wanted to keep the money and not share the load for the benefits and pay they were receiving.

The court has previously held that people who choose not to join the union still must pay fees to the union because they too are covered by collective bargaining.

No fees can be charged for politics and lobbying. The suit was based on a portion of the fees that were spent on legal costs that also benefitted SEIU on the national level.

In an attempt to avoid paying their fair share, some workers sued in federal court. A District Court judge judge and the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the state. The high court affirmed those rulings today in an opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer.

AMG should be in a hissy fit.

More News, from Andrea

An Order Establishing the Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification

January 14, 2009
23 FY 08/09
WHEREAS, the practice of employing individuals as “independent contractors” when legally they should be classified as “employees” (hereinafter referred to as “employee misclassification”) is increasing nationally and in Maine; and

WHEREAS, employers sometimes engage in employee misclassification in an attempt to avoid the employers’ legal obligations under the federal and state labor, employment and tax laws, including laws governing minimum wage, overtime, prevailing wage, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, temporary disability insurance, wage payment, child support and income tax; and

WHEREAS, employee misclassification has a significant adverse impact on the residents, businesses and economy in Maine, because this practice reduces compliance with employment and safety standards depriving vulnerable workers of important protections and benefits to which they are legally entitled; gives employers who misclassify their employees an improper competitive advantage over law-abiding businesses; increases the risk of avoidance of child support; deprives the State of substantial revenues; and imposes indirect costs on the State from decreased legitimate business activity and increased demand for social services; and

WHEREAS, a 2005 independent study based on audits of Maine unemployment records for construction employers between 1999 through 2002 found that one in seven or 14% of these employers misclassified employees as independent contractors; and

WHEREAS, a review of the unemployment audits performed by the Maine Department of Labor identified misclassification of employees as independent contractors occurring in 29% of employers audited in 2004 (all industry types), 39% in 2005, 43.0% in 2006 (mostly construction employers) and 41% in 2007; and

WHEREAS, law enforcement activities in this area historically have been divided among various agencies, reducing the efficiency, consistency and effectiveness of enforcement; and
WHEREAS, enforcement efforts to address the problem of employee misclassification can be enhanced and made more consistent and efficient through interagency cooperation, information sharing, and the prosecution of violators; and

WHEREAS, the creation of joint task forces has proven to be an effective mechanism for coordinating and enhancing labor law enforcement, including efforts by other States to address the problem of employee misclassification;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, John Elias Baldacci, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby establish the Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification.
Purpose and Duties
The purpose and duties of the Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification shall be to coordinate the investigation and enforcement of employee misclassification matters by the members of the Task Force and other relevant agencies. In fulfilling this mission, the Task Force shall:
1. Facilitate the timely sharing of information relating to suspected employee misclassification violations between and among Task Force members to the maximum extent permitted by law;

2. Identify those industries and sectors where employee misclassification is most prevalent to help inform and focus Task Force members’ investigative and enforcement resources;

3. Assess existing investigative, prevention and enforcement methods in Maine and develop and recommend strategies and measures to improve the effectiveness of these methods;

4. Facilitate the formation of joint enforcement teams where appropriate to leverage the collective investigative and enforcement capabilities of the Task Force members to combat employee misclassification;

5. Identify potential regulatory or statutory changes that would strengthen enforcement efforts, including any changes needed to resolve existing legal ambiguities or inconsistencies, as well as potential legal procedures for facilitating individual enforcement efforts;
6. Increase public awareness of the illegal nature of, and harms inflicted by, employee misclassification;

7. Work cooperatively with employers, labor and community groups to reduce the number of employee misclassifications by, among other means, disseminating educational materials regarding the legal differences between independent contractors and employees, and enhancing mechanisms for identifying and reporting potential employee misclassification; and

8. Meet with representatives of business, organized labor and community organizations, and members of the applicable legislative oversight committees to discuss the activities of the Task Force and ways to improve the effectiveness of its operation.

The Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification shall be chaired by the Commissioner (or designee) of the Department of Labor and shall include representatives of the following state agencies:
The Department of Labor (including the Bureaus of Unemployment Compensation, Employment Services, Labor Standards & Center for Workforce Research & Information)
Workers Compensation Board (including the Office of Monitoring, Audit and Enforcement)
Office of the Attorney General
Department of Administrative & Financial Services (including Maine Revenue Services)
Professional & Financial Regulations (including the Bureau of Insurance)
Members of the Task Force shall serve without compensation.
Annual Report
The Task Force shall transmit an annual report to the Governor summarizing the Task Force’s activities during the preceding year. The report shall:

1. Describe the Task Force’s efforts and accomplishments during the year including the amounts of wages, premiums, taxes and other payments or penalties collected with the assistance of Task Force activities, as well as the number of employers identified as misclassifying workers and the approximate number of employees affected;

2. Identify any administrative or legal barriers impeding the more effective operation of the Task Force including any barriers to information sharing or joint action;

3. Recommend measures, including legislative or regulatory changes, to strengthen the Task Force’s operations and enforcement efforts and reduce or eliminate any barriers to those efforts; and

4. Identify successful preventative mechanisms for reducing the extent of employee misclassification, thereby reducing the need for greater enforcement.
The Task Force shall also take appropriate steps to publicize its activities and findings.
Effective Date
The effective date of this Executive Order is January 14, 2009.
John E. Baldacci, Governor

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Union Members Save Lives

This Miracle Brought to You by America's Unions

Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:17:01 AM PST

(Cross-posted from emptywheel)

They're calling it a miracle--the successful landing of a US Airways jet in the Hudson and subsequent rescue of all 155 passengers. They're detailing the heroism of all involved, starting with the pilot and including cabin crew, ferry crews, and first responders. What they're not telling you is that just about every single one of these heros is a union member.

Go to the DailyKos to read how many UNION members acted selflessly, efficiently, and fast to save lives.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

A message about your money from SEIU

Cartoon Courtesy of XKCD

I just read a message from SEIU. Billions for executives, nothing for employees. Billions for bonuses, nothing for mortgage relief. Check out the video in the side bar or follow the link below.
I read the story and I told Bank of America to use some of its bailout money to support a real economic recovery and provide health care for its 247,000 workers—or give the money back. Watch this video explaining it all:


Taxpayers gave Bank of America $25 billion in bailout funds to help jumpstart our economy, but instead the bank has misspent on executive salaries and corporate jets.

Then Bank of America took even more money from cash-strapped states by not paying for workers’ healthcare.

It’s time for Bank of America to use its taxpayer-funded windfall to support a real economic recovery and provide health care for its 247,000 workers—or give the money back.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Through a Glass Darkly, Wait For It

Through a Glass Darkly

I have been accused of blaming Republicans for too much and not giving credit where it is due. Here is a Post from the right.

Senate Republicans, led by Senators Bob Corker, Mitch McConnell and Richard Shelby, were fighting an auto bailout that was a give away to the UAW. The package did nothing to place the blame for the failure of the Big Three on the bloated and obsolete labor agreements between unions. The straight forward Republican point of view was that by undoing vampire like labor agreements, the car companies could be put back on the path toward profitability.

While this short term thinking may serve the honest Republican effort to put labor unions out of the car business, it is narrow-minded and no substitute for a long-term plan. What was missing from the Corker-McConnell-Shelby argument is long term planning that will dilute or destroy Union influence on Detroit forever, empower business and enlist Democrat support.

Americans should celebrate because President Bush defied Corker, McConnell and Shelby to keep the carmakers alive.

George Bush single handedly threw a Hail Mary pass that had to be caught. The auto bailout that appears to be a giveaway to pay back the UAW is really a last attempt to let free market capitalism intercept the union agenda of the left. The Unions are torn, glad to keep their industry killing jobs, but complaining about being asked to finally do their part. While some are calling this a gift, it is actually a loan that comes wrapped with opportunity for business. When the government gives money it has the opportunity to attach conditions that will better the country.

The UAW bosses are trying to sell this package to their members as a chance for Unions to keep up their old greedy ways and deny the possibility of compromise. This loan will not be a a disaster for conservatism if this loan and the opportunity it brings can be seized by the right and used to end the unfair taking of wealth from those who created it.

Connect the dots; organized labor has been an roadblock to progress and profit for corporations since the New Deal. Work rules, overtime, OSHA, destroyed American capitalism by siphoning money from the shareholders and until the last eight years the Dept. of Labor have been the enemies of profit.

Timely proof of the failure of big labor greed is the announcement by battery maker turned Auto maker, BYD who announced a $22,000 dollar electric car to be sold by China. The Chevy Volt is expected to come in at nearly $40,000 yet the Chinese without big labor and Federal interference in the workplace will be able to produce and sell an electric car with fifty percent more range, at half the cost and have it ready for the US by 2010. China has given us a model to make American labor competitive.

Unions still see the loan as free money, look closely and you can see this is not a gift but an ultimatum, the Unions must fold. During the 90s, when auto companies made billions rather than invest in the US they were forced to send money out of the US and invest in Mexico, and locations more friendly to business, such as Europe and Asia to defend profits from Democrat taxes and Union demands for increasing wages, job security, and benefits.

With bold action by only a few Republican Senators, these profits can now remain protected with no demands on manufacturers to invest in the US. Democrats can not stand up to a filibuster. The last two years have been proof of their inability to defend their policies. It does not take a majority to stop the Democrats.

The government has in effect, undermined Union dominance, allowing the corporations to set wages under the guise of necessity. Under these "emergency conditions" auto makers can import cars to Americans. GM, Ford, and Chrysler have small cars made in Mexico, Asia, and South America ready for import. Federal regulations demanding unfair pollution, safety devices, and archaic labor laws stand in the way of the American Public getting one of these vehicles.

Advance planning by Detroit destroys the claims of poor management, in a far seeing plan they are ready now to import cars. General Motors is prepared to free themselves form the costs of dealerships and close costly unionized plants. Instead of a grab bag for Union graft, Congress is going to help force the unions into releasing the strangle hold and drop unsustainable demands for job security, pensions, and wages.

Unions will be forced to help wipe out legacy costs.There are hundreds of thousands of retired Union "workers", a term used loosely with UAW work rules, expecting to live for free off pensions and health care for who knows how many years.

This is the time to free the companies from this burden. Union members like to compare pensions and retirement benefits to a mortgage, when you pay off the mortgage you own the home. They are right but they don't go far enough. You may own that home but ownership does not relieve you from the need to pay property taxes, education taxes and the need to meet zoning laws. When conditions change new laws are passed and you need to bring your home into compliance.

The world has changed and they must be forced to bring their unrealistic demands into compliance in order to strengthen the economy. Wages for the UAW have not hurt only the Big Three, but have even hurt the new plants in the South. In the effort to protect themselves against being organized, and thereby destroyed, the imports have been forced to pay the same or even higher wages than unionized workers. By destroying the UAW plants in the South will be able to return to an even higher level of profit since they will no longer need to protect themselves from organizing. The EFCA won't matter if there is no Union to join.

How much damage do these legacy costs do? GM workers don't earn $73 an hour; their wages are comparable to Toyota and Honda workers. We get to $73 an hour by adding on the unsustainable demands of the retirees onto current employees. This is a Union Ponzi scheme where new employees pay old employees with current funds, the retirees free ride comes at the expense of current current profits.

The retirees have aged, all of those skidoos, new cars, kids in college, and vacations are long gone. Now the the retirees want hip replacements and prescriptions. They want to continue their ride at no cost to themselves.

If the employees had been forced to invest in the stock market and secure their own futures while they were working, they would not have to depend on someone else to pay their way.

Without the extortionate demands of the Unions General Motors could have set money aside, invested in the stock market, or even bought treasury bonds, but if they had it would have been seen as weakness and caused even higher Union demands. The corporate responsibility was to the investor and foreign investments guaranteed a continuing return. Further damage was caused due to the need to charge higher prices based on Union greed and incessant calls for healthcare and pensions, in turn making American cars less competitive.

In an attempt to earn their way out of the hole the UAW had put them in, that extra money was not put in some dusty "lock box". It took courage but instead of gathering moss the money was invested overseas and used to pay dividends.

Due to good planning GM and Ford now have more plants abroad than they do in this country. They stand ready to import cars to the U.S.and make American industry leaner by shedding the unpayable legacy costs to the workers that placed them in these hard times through greed.

Bold action was needed. employee retirement funds could have been placed into stagnant accounts and slowly accrued interest, but in a bold move the money was invested abroad as a hedge against Union greed and to prevent harm to stockholders. For years this allowed the industry to continue showing profits. The Big Three wasted the opportunity by investing employee retirement funds into retirement accounts, but to protect investors, they opened up plants overseas that will now guarantee the survival of the auto industry no matter what happens in the US.

For a short time we have the chance to eliminate all of the legacy debt and properly restructure labor costs, even under a Democrat president. By encouraging the Big three to increase imports and allowing them to free themselves of blackmail payments to retirees we can allow them to return to profitability. The UAW played politics in the big league, but never expected to face Ronald Reagan, George Bush senior, and his son. Now after the inning, mighty Casey has struck out. The UAW lost and we can finally change the rules so that those who would destroy capitalism will not be rewarded for blackmail.

In this time of recession Congress will act. Congress has for too long subsidized Union greed and laziness. Outsourcing was seen as an evil rather than a tool for profit. Those are things that must be changed.

In the past with huge Union membership numbers work rules benefitting only employees and not the bottom line were passed under pressure from Unions. The Democratic party can be enlisted. They see the Unions weakening and campaign funds drying up. Remember, the Dem hero John Kennedy started the destruction of the teamsters. They will be on board in enough numbers under guise of necessity to make this a golden chance for reform.

The labor costs of the UAW have ballooned to as much as ten percent of production costs, while the money left to encourage management has never risen above 20 percent of production costs, thereby stifling the creative talent that could have grown the Big Three. Rarely is any attention paid to that aspect of compensation. Until now the drive by media and Congress never really looked at management needs, showing their left wing slant. No credit is given to the fact American industry employees three to four times more supervisors than either Germany or Japan. This level of management does not come cheaply and corporations need more capital to provide this level of oversight.

The Big three don't get credit for containing costs, people don't understand. In 1992 General Motors built 4.4 million cars and GM employed 265,000 UAW employees. In 1992 the unions were still fighting downsizing and efficiencies needed to compete.

GM, through good management reduced the workforce by over 154,000 workers by 2005 and still made 4.5 million vehicles. GM had forced efficiencies on the UAW that allowed the industry to produce 4.5 million cars with only 111,000 employees, instead of 265,000. The Unions howled that increased productivity entitled them to a share of profits, but GM avoided pay raises except minor cost of living increases. Productivity doubled and the car companies continued to reign in labor costs. Again the investors were rewarded.

Business and the Big Three must seize this chance to put an end to "labor-problems" by closing Unionized plants in the US or closing the UAW. They must be freed of onerous payments to unions, to dealerships and be relieved of unfair taxes. They must not be forced to compete while meeting the demands for health care, pensions and wages, resulting in Union labor costs that slow growth and kill flexibility.

If George Bush had not seen this opportunity, this chance to strike back at Union greed would have been lost.

After evaluation we can get beyond the spin calling this loan a gift to the Unions and recognize the time is ripe to lay the blame where it belongs, on generations of employees for demanding too much while not admitting how much they added to the costs of manufacturing. With so many Americans out of work it is no challenge to paint Union demands for wages and benefits as greed. This is not a socialist country and American workers can not demand the same health care as a socialist Sweden, France, or England, where nanny state competitors are forced to give their workers unearned benefits like National health care.

At stake is the very existence of American manufacturing. Tax rates for investors could go as high as that paid by the average overpaidaid line worker, further choking investment while stopping the economy cold. Finally, breaking the greed of the Unions will have a trickle down effect all the way to the smallest business, all of which will be affected by doing away with the need for Union negotiations with the Big Three. Business will be free to folllow the Wal-Mart and MacDonalds road to success.

In reality, this bailout can turn out to be the complete return of free market capatalism where wages are set by those who own the companies.

This Xmas gift to the Unions instead of building the UAW will reverse the decades old Redistribution of Wealth from the investor who is willing to take risk, to the unskilled. The amount of stolen wages returned to the investor class is incalculable. It is not just on the Federal level where the chance to return control to the ones who built the wealth is available. States have budgets in trouble. Many State governments are unionized and need some type of help. The Employee Free Choice Act is looming like a thunder cloud threatening destruction. States are looking for ways to trim their budget and with the South leading the way States can pass "right to work" legislation and fight back against Union blackmail.

Between the chance on the Federal level and actions by the States this could mean the end of Union blackmail. The Unions will wither because they will no longer be supported by the public tax dollars and they will no longer take a bite out of products we purchase.

In a best case scenario all States would adopt the right to work legislation that has been so successful in keeping Union presence at a minimum in the South.

If you found yourself nodding in agreement with this post please stand in front of an unshielded nuclear reactor with no lead underwear. Do the world a favor.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

No Posts Just Pictures

I don't really have a post today, but I do have a contest.
Send in your guess as to who is tending the plants and when the poster on slums was printed. Extra points if you know what program funded the artist.

The other picture shows what type of punishment employers face if they break the law under the National Labor Relations Act.

Click on any picture for a larger version.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Bargaining Update.

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On Friday the Governor will announce his budget plans and we will see what the impact on State employees may be. Remember "the governor proposes" and "the legislature disposes".

No matter what comes up tomorrow, nothing is final until the legislature weighs in. In 2008 we worked harder than ever and succeeded in electing law makers that are more willing to listen to labor.

The Executive Branch Negotiations teams met on Thursday and will meet with the State team on Friday. We will be presenting some general ideas and reminding the State that even in these times of challenges and economic problems we are part of the process and our members must be respected.

On Friday the negotiations team will be presenting a suggested schedule of meeting dates with the State and we will be discussing how many days both sides feel we may need to arrive at a contract. We will let the State know that we are serious and we will take the time needed to get this done.

On Saturday January 10 the teams will meet with the C.A.T. (Contract Action Team) members to bring them up to date and discuss the issues and proposals that have been collected.

The C.A.T. members will let the team members know what they have heard from their coworkers and make recommendations on priorities.

There will be some interesting discussions over what the best possible contract looks like in this economy.

Every member of every team determined to do the most good for the most members. We have all promised to do whatever is needed and to stay as long as we have to.
No matter how tough things get, at least we don't have John and Sarah.

here is what is happening in California:

Local 1000 Tells California how to save the state $370 million
State says, 'No exemptions from furloughs'

The California Local 1000 bargaining team met with the the State negotiators and offered a package of proposals that would save the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said "Our members are suffering just like all Californians. Our proposals are designed to reduce that pain.” The proposals included more than $370 million in savings over two years and include:

1) A voluntary reduced work week program of 5 percent, 10 percent or 20 percent.

2) A golden handshake for state workers willing to take early retirement.

3) Converting two state holidays – Lincoln’s Birthday and Columbus Day – for two additional personal holidays.

The State has taken a position that says no one will be exempt from furloughs, but that certain revenue generating departments would be exempt from layoffs.

California follows a bargaining strategy of a Master table and Unit negotiations that is similar to the last contract negotiations in Maine where we had coalition bargaining and small table talks.