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Category : News: Unions

Unions suffer sharp decline in membership

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Published on: January 23, 2013

The nation’s labor unions suffered sharp declines in membership last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday, led by losses in the public sector as cash-strapped state and local governments laid off workers and – in some cases – limited collective bargaining rights.

The union membership rate fell from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent of all workers, the lowest level since the 1930s.

Total membership fell by about 400,000 workers to 14.4 million. More than half the loss – about 234,000 – came from government workers including teachers, firefighters and public administrators.

The losses add another blow to a labor movement already stretched thin by fighting efforts in states like Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan to curb bargaining rights and weaken union clout.

But unions also saw losses in the private sector, even as the economy expanded modestly. That rate fell of membership fell from 6.9 percent to 6.6 percent, a troubling sign for the future of organized labor, as job growth has generally taken place at nonunion firms.

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Federal appeals court upholds Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s restrictions on public unions

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious law stripping most public workers of nearly all of their collective bargaining rights in a decision hailed by Republicans but not undoing a state court ruling keeping much of the law from being in effect.

The decision marks the latest twist in a two-year battle over the law that Walker proposed in February 2011 and passed a month later despite massive protests and Senate Democrats leaving for Illinois in a failed attempt to block a vote on the measure.

The law forced public union members to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits, which Walker said was needed to address a budget shortfall. It also took away nearly all their bargaining rights.

Walker and Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who fought for passage of the bill, called the ruling a win for Wisconsin taxpayers.

“As we’ve said all along, Act 10 is constitutional,” Walker said in a statement, referring to the law’s official designation.

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NJ State Senate Votes to Exclude Non-Union Workers from Hurricane Sandy Cleanup Projects

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Published on: January 15, 2013

On Monday, the New Jersey state Senate, in a party-line vote, passed a bill that would exclude construction workers who are not a part of a union from doing work related to Hurricane Sandy cleanup and reconstruction in the state.

The bill will now heads to the New Jersey assembly. If it passes there, it goes to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) desk.

According to RedState, New Jersey state Senate President Steven Sweeney (D), who also happens to be an Ironworkers’ union organizer, drafted the bill that would “expand union-only Project Labor Agreements” to “included Hurricane Sandy cleanup and reconstruction.”

According to the bill, a “Project Labor Agreement” means “a form of pre-hire collective bargaining agreement covering terms and conditions of a specific project.”

This language excludes non-union construction workers from these projects.

As Breitbart News reported last November, even after President Barack Obama vowed not to “tolerate red tape” and said he was “not going to tolerate bureaucracy,” relief crews from Alabama, a right-to-work state, that used non-union employees were sent to Long Island, that arrived in New Jersey to help after the natural disaster were instead diverted to Long Island, NY

Romney Was Right: Chrysler CEO Announces Plans to Build More Jeeps in China

Remember this? Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters yesterday that the company plans to build more Jeeps in China.

The Detroit News reports:

“As part of our global expansion of the Jeep brand, there are some cars — that because of the price position in the market — can never be made in the U.S. and exported,” Marchionne told reporters on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show. “We’re going to be announcing the first step in the globalization of Jeep (in China). There’s another one that’s going to come in Russia. These things are part of a natural process of expansion.”

Marchionne angrily criticized Presidential candidate Mitt Romney for running ads suggesting that Jeep was shifting American jobs to China.

“I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China,” Marchionne wrote at the time. “Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand. … It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.”

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Moving Company Reports People Fleeing Illinois & New Jersey

The St. Louis based moving company United Van Lines is reporting that Illinois leads the nation alongside New Jersey with the nations highest move out rates.

United Van Lines spokeswoman, Melissa Sullivan told CBS affiliate KMOX in St. Louis, 60.5% of their business comes from individuals and businesses leaving Illinois. She also said, “Illinois has seen more outbound movement every year since” they have been keeping track, beginning in 1977.

The study shows Washington, D.C., the Carolinas, Arkansas, Texas, Oregon and Nevada leading the country with newly inbound residents, and more people moving away from the northeast.

Perhaps Illinoisans are finally fed up with the rampant corruption and abuse of those who hold the power in their state. On Wednesday, the state general assembly swore in three legislators currently facing criminal charges.

New Evidence Confirms Federal Bureaucrats Don’t Work Very Hard, Paid Too Much

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Published on: December 14, 2012

My Cato Institute colleague, Chris Edwards, put together a remarkable (and depressing) chart showing that federal bureaucrats get almost twice the level of compensation as workers in the productive sector of the economy.

Defenders of the bureaucracy (including a federal pay panel dominated by bureaucrats) claim that government employees actually are underpaid because…well…just because.

My modest contribution to the debate was to put together a chart based on the Labor Department’s JOLTS data, which shows that bureaucrats are far less likely to voluntarily leave their jobs than folks in the private sector, which is very strong evidence that they are being over-compensated.

But all this debate about pay is looking at only one part of the equation. What about the stereotype that bureaucrats don’t work very hard? Well, as anyone who’s ever visited a motor vehicles department or a post office already knows, that’s also true.

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Breaking the union stranglehold

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Published on: December 14, 2012

Michigan has joined the ranks of the Free States — states where workers are no longer forced to join unions and pay dues to fat cat union bosses or else lose their jobs. This past week, over and against the frenzied efforts by union representatives to intimidate and terrorize state legislators, both houses of the Michigan legislature passed right-to-work legislation, which was shortly signed by Governor Rick Snyder, thereby officially becoming the 24th state in this nation to emancipate workers to choose what associations — if any — with which they would like to associate their labor. This move is all the more surprising and delicious because Michigan is traditionally a heavily-union state; indeed, it has been one of the hotbeds of union activity and control. The passage of right-to-work legislation — which is like salt on a slug for labor unions — represents the continuation of a process which has been taking place across the country whereby the decrepit, 19th century labor model reliant upon an outdated picture of labor-management relations that unions have tried to perpetuate is being broken, and worker freedom is coming to the fore.

As one might imagine, the unions in Michigan are extremely unhappy about this legislation. With typical union aplomb, union-led protestors have been resorting to violence and death threats to express their displeasure with the workings of the constitutional legislative process that occurred because the voters (i.e. the people) elected legislators and a governor who would put right-to-work in place. Union thugs have physically assaulted those they disagree with and vandalized the property of individuals and groups on the other side of the aisle. Jimmy Hoffa petulantly intimated that there would be “civil war” as a result of the unions not getting their way on this issue. Aiding and abetting this attack on the constitutional legislative process have been prominent Democrats, who have threatened that “there will be blood.”

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Michigan Right to Work law an opportunity to partially defund Planned Parenthood, gay activists

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Tuesday signed the nation’s 24th state Right to Work law, a move that some observers say presents an opportunity to at least partially defund major pro-abortion and pro-homosexual activist organizations.

The Right to Work law, which is expected to take effect in April, frees Michigan workers from being forced to join or pay dues to a union in order to get a job. Michigan has long been one of the nation’s most heavily unionized states. Until now, the government and auto industries, which employ thousands of Michiganders, have required workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Many workers don’t realize that their union dues are spent by union officials not just on collective bargaining, but on politics and social activism – much of it offensive to the union members they are supposed to represent.

Despite the fact that their membership is about evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, major Michigan unions spend nearly 100 percent of their political cash on the campaigns of some of the nation’s most pro-abortion Democratic politicians.

They also support Planned Parenthood and same-sex “marriage” campaigns.

“Planned Parenthood and the UAW [United Auto Workers] share a planned vision for this country,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards at the National Community Action Program (CAP) Legislative Conference in Washington.

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Union Violence In Michigan Is No Tea Party

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Published on: December 13, 2012

The assault on a Fox News contributor protecting women and seniors in a tent is but the latest example of the civil discourse and respect for democracy the president’s union supporters really have.

Imagine the outrage and the mainstream media feeding frenzy had it been a Tea Party member punching an MSNBC contributor covering a protest over ObamaCare.

Or if Tea Party members had descended on a tent full of Occupy Wall Street supporters, flattening and tearing it apart with total disregard for the people inside.

Yet that is precisely what happened to conservative comedian and Fox News contributor Steven Crowder on Tuesday as he tried to get between union thugs and a tent put up by the group Americans for Prosperity, which reserved the space to support Michigan’s right-to-work legislation.

When he was assaulted, Crowder was near the AFP tent, which in his words “was torn down with women and possibly children still (inside).”

White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to condemn the violence and threats by union members in Michigan the day after President Obama made an appearance there to offer his support, merely telling reporters Tuesday that “the president believes in debate that’s civil.”

This, of course, is the president who told supporters in 2008 regarding his opponents: “I want you to argue with them and get in their face.” Well, they sure got in Crowder’s face.

When asked by a reporter about a statement by Michigan state Democrat legislator Doug Geiss that “there will be blood” should Republicans pass a union-choice law in Michigan, Carney professed ignorance. “I haven’t see those comments,” he said, “and I’m not sure they mean what someone interprets them to mean.”

We interpreted them to mean “there will be blood.”

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A History of Union Murder and Sabotage

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Published on: December 13, 2012

The raging union-led protests in Wisconsin have resulted in many Americans taking a closer, more critical look at labor unions and their political clout and influence in shaping policy. With the ubiquitous announcement from AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka that he is granted an audience at the White House “nearly every day,” the American people have become more skeptical of unions and the role that they play in the political process.

Spawning this renewed attention to organized labor are reports that Democratic politicians have been endorsing violence as a legitimate means of protest and political expression. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) has gone as far as telling a crowd of protesters at a union rally that they should be unafraid to “get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” and several other protesters took Capuano’s advice to heart, as former Tea Party Republican congressional candidate Marty Lamb, who ran against Democrat Rep. Jim McGovern in the 2010 elections, was reportedly brutally pummeled to the ground by union operatives at the same rally where Capuano issued his charge to violence.

However, the events that are unfolding now across the country must be placed within the context of organized labor’s broader history of violence and its historical embrace of brutal physical force as a means of legitimate political expression (which crosses the line into what is commonly defined as terrorism). The violence surrounding the various labor uprisings across America is part of a broader culture of bloodlust and savage turbulence within organized labor that has marred the movement since its inception in the late 19th century. It has clear roots in violent, anarcho-communist ideology that lacks any regard for natural rights of life, liberty, and private property — and it threatens the very foundations of our constitutional republic.

Under the presidency of Grover Cleveland, organized labor began to gain clout, and also assumed a bloody persona, as evidenced by the willingness of unions to use savage force to get their own way. The first tragedy to put labor unions squarely within the national consciousness was the Haymarket Square Massacre of May 4, 1886, in which striking union workers threw a bomb at Chicago police, killing eight police officers and countless civilians, after being incited to their lethal rampage by socialist Samuel Fielden (not unlike how Marty Lamb was beaten after the crowd of unionists was inflamed to violence by “progressive” Rep. Capuano).

Similarly, whenever labor unions perceive any threat to their hegemony and dominance in the workforce, they have a propensity to react with bloodshed. On July 6, 1892, union workers at Andrew Carnegie’s steel plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania were enraged when after going on strike, Carnegie hired non-union strikebreakers, resulting in the Amalgamated Association of Steel and Iron Workers union battling private Pinkerton guards and the Pennsylvania militia. Likewise, on May 11, 1894, 4,000 employees of George Pullman’s railroad company erupted into violent riots, sabotaging the delivery of mail (interstate commerce) to innocent Americans, and forcing President Cleveland to send in federal troops, declaring: “If it takes the entire army and navy of the United States to deliver a postal card in Chicago, that card will be delivered.”

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Michigan House passes right-to-work measure in defiance of angry unions, commie Democrats

Michigan House Right To Work

Members of the Michigan House quickly voted in favor of a new bill Thursday evening that would make Michigan a right-to-work state, as Democratic representatives left the floor in protest. The legislation passed on a vote of 58-52 in the House and is currently being voted upon in the state Senate.

The legislation was attached to existing bills in the House and Senate to bypass rules requiring new bills sit in each chamber for five days, according to the Detroit News.

Calling it a measure to protect “freedom in the workplace,” Gov. Rick Snyder (R) finally voiced his support for controversial right-to-work legislation in Michigan. If it passes, the bill would prevent any Michigan company from signing labor agreements requiring mandatory dues payment by employees in union workplaces.

Protesters who rallied against the right-to-work legislation were barred from entering the Capitol building, with at least eight protesters arrested and crowds maced by Michigan State Police. House Democrats walked off the floor to protest the Capitol not being opened to the public, despite an injunction by an Ingham County Court judge, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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Do You Live In A “Death Spiral State?”

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Published on: November 26, 2012

Don’t buy a house in a state where private sector workers are outnumbered by folks dependent on government.

Thinking about buying a house? Or a municipal bond? Be careful where you put your capital. Don’t put it in a state at high risk of a fiscal tailspin.

Eleven states make our list of danger spots for investors. They can look forward to a rising tax burden, deteriorating state finances and an exodus of employers. The list includes California, New York, Illinois and Ohio, along with some smaller states like New Mexico and Hawaii.ac

If your career takes you to Los Angeles or Chicago, don’t buy a house. Rent.

If you have money in municipal bonds, clean up the portfolio. Sell holdings from the sick states and reinvest where you’re less likely to get clipped. Nebraska and Virginia are unlikely to give their bondholders a Greek haircut. California and New York are comparatively risky.

Two factors determine whether a state makes this elite list of fiscal hellholes. The first is whether it has more takers than makers. A taker is someone who draws money from the government, as an employee, pensioner or welfare recipient. A maker is someone gainfully employed in the private sector.

Let us give those takers the benefit of our sympathy and assume that every single one of them is a deserving soul. This person is either genuinely needy or a dedicated public servant or the recipient of a well-earned pension.

But what happens when these needy types outnumber the providers? Taxes get too high. Prosperous citizens decamp. Employers decamp. That just makes matters worse for the taxpayers left behind.

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Teachers Flock to Northwestern University for ‘Marxist Conference’

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Published on: November 13, 2012

This Saturday, the Midwest Marxist Conference was held at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. The event was teeming with teachers who spoke about the new found bond between the radical socialists and their Teachers Union. The all-day event, which collected money to support Chicago Socialists and featured a communist bookstore, provided students on-campus along with the radical left community to plan the next phase in their activism.

Becca Barnes, a Chicago Teachers Union teacher and organizer with Chicago Socialist, proclaimed at the beginning of the conference that “the struggle here in the United States has entered a new phase. Nowhere have we pointed the way forward more clearly than here in Chicago with the teachers union strike.”

After the opening plenary, breakout sessions addressed more specific topics like the history of the Democratic party, education, and case studies in Russia. In these sessions, speakers continued to celebrate the use of education as a mechanism to insert Marxism into public institutions. In one session, the idea of targeting their message to students, even over “the working class,” was debated.

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Pueblo GOP: Machines switched Romney votes to Obama

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Published on: November 5, 2012

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is investigating after some Pueblo voters say voting machines switched their pick from Mitt Romney to Barack Obama.

The Pueblo County Republican Party said they’ve heard of more than a dozen reports of the problem.

One voter, who didn’t want to use her name, told KRDO Newschannel 13 that when she hit the touchscreen for Romney, a check mark appeared next to Obama’s name. She said she asked for help to fix the problem, but still feels unsure about her vote.

“I wonder where my vote really counted,” she said.

Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz said he’s aware of “fewer than ten instances “of the issue, but he said it’s happened to both Republicans and Democrats in their attempt to vote for president. He said he blames human error.

“Just like when you’re texting on your cell phone or using any other touchscreen technology, there’s a chance that you might think your finger is touching one area and it’s actually touching another,” said Ortiz. “It might be dragging your knuckle, we’ve seen that error also.”

He said the DRE (direct-recording electronic) machines have been used since 2006, and this type of error has happened before.

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NJ Union halting Out-of-State power repair crews is top Democratic donor!

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, cited in news reports for halting nonunion repair crews from helping to restore power in superstorm Sandy’s New Jersey-New York path, is one of nation’s top union donors to Democrats, a group President Obamalast year praised in a visit to an IBEW training Center.

The Center for Responsive Politics, a public political spending watchdog, said IBEW has the nation’s fifth highest spending political action committee, doling out nearly $2.3 million, 97 percent of which went to Democrats. According to the group, IBEW during this election cycle has given $2,928,973 to Democratic House and Senate candidates, and just $51,600 to Republicans. They have also helped raise money for Obama.

Among the recipients were political figures and groups in New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania, key political battleground states.

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