Friday, December 28, 2007

Hollywood Hypocrisy, Union-Man Moon, and Drinking the Kool-Aid

Apparently our blog about Hollywood Hypocrisy and the Writers' Strike struck a nerve with at least one reader who wrote:

Big talk from someone who isn't facing the prospect of losing their home. We are part of the group that could be "collateral damage" due to this strike. My husband is Local 80 and was forced out of work four weeks before Christmas when his TV show went down. We support our local brethren when they are actually "talking". Both sides are being greedy and aren't even going to the table. Can't solve a problem unless you are talking! And unfortunately to leave the american dream in CA. you have to live paycheck to paycheck. My husband is making six figures and we are barely surviving. Yes, we could live somewhere else but he has been in the industry for 15 years. And where is in the country do hey produce the amount of shows/movies that they do in Hollywood? So please have a little respect for the people who are actually suffering due to this arrogant strike.

Well, ma'am, here's the deal:

This is a true story.

About six or seven years ago, there was a man whose nickname was Moon who was a truck mechanic in North Carolina. Now, Moon liked giving us a hard time when we were in meetings or out in the shop and, because he was sort of thick-headed, he could really be a pain-in-the-butt.

So, one day, when we were in a meeting and in front of about 30 of his co-workers, Moon says to us rather proudly:

"I'm a union man. I've been a union man all my life and I'll be a union man until the day I die."

My reply was pretty straight-forward and simple:

"Moon," I said, "I can respect that. I may not agree with it, but I can respect it."

Well, a couple of days later, the Teamsters union threatened to call all of the truck drivers out on strike. The company that Moon and his co-workers worked for had pretty deep pockets and it took the threat seriously and hired replacement drivers and trained them over the course of a weekend.

About a week later, we saw Moon in another meeting. Fully expecting his 'I'm a union man' diatribe again, we were rather shocked when Moon stood up and said rather loudly:

"If those f**king drivers go out on strike, I'm going to be one of the first ones to cross the picket line! I can't afford no g**damn strike"

Now, understand we've been in and around unions most of our adult lives so it takes a lot for us to get shocked...but, lady, we were shocked!

The only thing I could say to Moon was:

"Moon, you're not a union man....You're a scab!"

As a former union activist, I went on to explain to Moon that being union isn't like getting on a bus, then getting off at the first stop if you don't like the driver. If you get on the bus, you gotta be able to ride that bus all the way to the end--whether it's a good ride or a bad ride.

Now, ma'am, if the Teamsters called those drivers out on strike, Moon (because he was a mechanic) was going to be collateral damage, just like you and your husband are today. No disrespect.

You have a right to work to feed your family. However, we can only assume you're not one of those mouths that tell other people how to live their lives...Or are you? You see, we're not really picking on you unless you're one of them.

And if you're one of them, that would mean you're a wealthy union elitist, like AFL-CIO boss hog John Sweeney or the SEIU's Andy Stern, who hypocritically tells the rest of America from their bullhorns and pulpits how to live our lives. Or, it could make you one of them--those who can afford to withhold their labor (like Colbert, Daly, Degeneres, Leno, Letterman, Stewart, et al.) and who has decided to abandon your purported principles to cross the picket lines of their union "brethren" with your "oops, sorry..." sheepish, guilty half-shrugs.
You're not one of them, are you?!?

[BTW: As an aside, if you're union, ma'am, you don't just support your brethren when they're talking, you support them when they're NOT talking 'cause that's usually when they're on the picket lines--And there's always collateral damage in a strike.]

You see, ma'am, as former unionists ourselves, we've walked the picket lines of others and have been on strike ourselves. We've endured the hardships that strikes bring.

However, unlike those who are still drunk on the Kool-Aid passed around in today's union movement, we saw behind the sunglasses of the crazy union fat cats and decided to get the hell out before we fully swallowed the Kool-Aid as millions of others have.

We've seen too many times the havoc wrought upon countless workers and their families during strikes that had nothing to do with them--but had everything to do with their union bosses' power.

You see, ma'am, when you witness union fat cats take their paychecks while their members starve, get permanently replaced, only see those same union fat cats end up representing the replacement workers and take their dues, there's a sense of disgust you feel down deep in your gut towards those union fat cats that would cause thousands of workers such hardship.

So, ma'am, the fact that you and your husband are collateral damage is a dirty shame. But, if you're one of those who sings the union tune, don't complain...
Either you're on the union bus, with all its bumps along the way, or you and your husband need to get the hell off!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

STAR CROSSED: Hollywood Hypocrisy & the Writers' Strike

The writers' strike which has arguably crippled the television entertainment industry has entered its eighth week and (gasp!) the sun is still rising, America is still strong, and the political left in Hollywood (and elsewhere) have proven once again that they're a bunch of candy-assed hypocrites.

So much for the union slogans:
  • United we bargain, divided we beg; or
  • An injustice to one is an injustice to all...

Fugheddabout the union credo once called Solidarity. In the end, even Tony Soprano knew that was nothing more than Hollywood hype.

These are all principles that unions stood for at a time when Father Knows Best was still king of the boob tube--but no longer.

It's a dog eat dog world out there and, in the entertainment industry, it seems that, when push comes to shove (or should we say pickets), cold, hard cash trumps liberal ideology by a landslide...(or in California, it may be a mudslide)

In today's unions, as the writers trade their pens for the pickets, the support they've gotten from their 'brothers and sisters' in the union movement has been as thin and as transparent as a piece of onion-paper.

First, it was the Teamsters. Never a union to cross another union's picket lines--guess what they did...They crossed.

Then, it was talk show host Ellen Degenres and Carson Daly deciding early on that their "show[s] must go on," despite the fact that Ellen took some heat for her decision.

Now that late night talk show hosts Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O'Brien have all effectively 'crossed the picket lines' by resuming their shows as well without their striking writers, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert jumped onto the bus recently to resume their shows, leaving their striking writers in the dust too.

Even the AFL-CIO's John Sweeney (aka the Boss Hog of the union movement) has been remarkably silent about all the other union brothers and sisters crossing the WGA's picket lines. An injury to one is an injury to all?...Apparently not to the Grand PooBah of Labor.

With all the hullabaloo about standing together against 'corporate greed' and the 'tyranny of the right,' it appears today's liberal left is willing to abandon their principles faster than Edie Britt (Desperate Housewives) sheds her clothes. For those who are paying attention to this (yawn) labor dispute, you are witnessing first-hand how little solidarity means to today's union movement, and how little principles mean to the leftists who push their ideologies on the rest of America.

Are you watching, Iowa and New Hampshire?

Friday, December 21, 2007

IT'S OFFICIAL: Today's unions are a danger to society...

If there was any question before, the actions of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in the last month have confirmed what we've known for years--today's unions have become a danger to society.

In California, due to a budget crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering the early release of more than 22,000 prisoners from the state's prison system. [Can you say "Willie Horton"?]

If that weren't news enough, further complicating the issue is a lawsuit filed a couple of weeks ago by the SEIU saying that "as many as 33,000 inmates could be unjustly detained beyond their legal release dates."

The SEIU's position is an obvious union position, hire more workers--give us more dues. Problem is, the state has no money. So, as a dangerous PR ploy, the union has sided with the inmates, arguing for their release from their 'unlawful imprisonment...'

Talk about putting screwed-up priorities over that of the public.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Problem with Today's Unions...

Imagine this:

You go to a doctor for a hang nail.

Sitting in the doctor's exam room, (s)he tells you that he's fixed this hang nail problem of your a thousand times and you just need to lie back, get sedated and everything will get fixed in a jiffy.

Before you know it, you're on your back and the doc's giving you a shot and you're getting a little sleepy and...

While you're asleep, you have dreams about running around in a forest, chopping down Christmas trees...You dream you hear a chainsaw off in the woods...And...

It's time to wake up.

You look down and...



Well, that about sums up one of the many problems with unions today.

Workers often think that, when they turn to a union, it's going to make life a whole lot better when, in fact, unions are knocking them out, causing workers to lose jobs, then charging them money for such "fine" service.

Case in point:

In Johnstown, Pennsylvania the United Steelworkers' have done such a fine job at representing the workers at Freightcar America that 390 workers are going to become unemployed soon.

According to the news report:

The company said it must take advantage of its lower-cost facilities and it was unable to reach an agreement with the steelworkers union on a contract that would make it cost effective.
Now, with that kind of union representation, it kind of makes you wonder if Freightcar America's employees may have been better off fixing their collective hang nail themselves, right?

Yeah, we think so too!

Hey! Did you hear the one about the Teamster who went to the brothel?...

Click here for the rest of that story...

Friday, December 14, 2007

NO CARD-CHECK FOR THE UFCW? NLRB Processing Organizers' petition

This just in:

If unions are so damn good, why aren't all union organizers already unionized? Wait a minute! You mean they're not???

Apparently, Joe Hansen and his cronies at the UFCW have even more egg on their face because their NON-UNION union organizers want to unionize!

On November 27th, the General Organizers Association (a labor union in Monroe, Ohio) filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board's Baltimore office to hold an election in order to represent the union organizers employed by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) out of Washington, DC.
Note The only Labor-Management (LM) report the Department of Labor has on the General Organizers Association can be viewed here (pdf).
Upon seeing this, several questions come to mind:
  1. Will Joe Hansen and his fellow union bosses over at the UFCW conduct a card-check and invite the union in without these workers voting on it? OR...

  2. Even though the UFCW wants to do away with secret-ballot elections, will the UFCW allow their union organizer-employees the luxury of voting in a secret-ballot election? AND...

  3. If there is a secret-ballot election, will the UFCW bosses conduct an "anti-union campaign," just like they accuse corporations of doing?


We'll just have to wait and see if the two-faced UFCW's actions mirror their public stance on letting workers pick a union without a secret-ballot in this case.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007



For those of you on Main Street in Middle America, who may not ever have had the (dis)pleasure of visiting the Big Cities of the East Coast, this story may be of little interest to you at first.

However, this story may have a ripple effect nationally that may end up spilling over into a political war between two of the Democrats staunchest constituencies, the African-American community and the union bosses.

For people who know the East, you will probably agree that what is happening in Philadelphia right now is truly astounding.

After you read the background to this story, be sure to read the letter below, which was sent to the head of Philadelphia's AFL-CIO by a Philadelphia City Councilman, issuing the union boss a stern "don't f**k with me" message.

For some background into this story, we'll try to keep it simple and brief:
  1. Philadelphia is notoriously a "union town" and, because of this, has become something of a joke as the city has suffered from years of corruption, incompetence and union abuse

  2. Traditionally, in order for a politician to get elected, they needed to be backed by the unions and were often forever under the thuggish thumbs of the union bosses

  3. Philadelphia's building trade unions have a long history of excluding minorities and women from their unions. (For some history on one of the Philadelphia locals, click here)

  4. In October, Paul Solomon, an African-American member of the Operating Engineers was taunted with a noose-carrying white construction worker from another union

  5. When the African-American worker complained about the incident, the white worker was removed from the construction site and sent somewhere else, BUT...

  6. The African American construction worker also, it seems, began getting retaliated against by his own union for lodging the complaint

Fast forward to last week:

  1. Last Thursday, at Philly's City Council meeting, Mr. Solomon's incident became the catalyst for a verbal volley between the elected officials and an arrogant union boss named Pat Gillespie. When asked about the trade unions inclusion of minorities and women, the union boss snubbed his nose, flicked a booger at, or otherwise basically told the Philadelphia City Council to go "f**k themselves" (Those weren't his exact words but they may as well have been)

  2. In response, the City Council passed an amendment to an agreement on a building expansion at the union-plagued Philadelphia Convention Center to allow non-union contractors to bid the work.

Ouch, Mr. Gillespie! You've never heard the phrase don't bite the hand that feeds you?

For a lengthier news account, you can go here.

Yesterday, an anonymous source gave us a copy of the letter that was sent to the top dog of Philly's AFL-CIO. This letter [emphasis added] details some of the same kind of frustration that has plagued public and private sector employers in Philadelphia for years in dealing with the unions, as well as issues a not-so-friendly warning to the union bosses...

Mr. Patrick Eiding, President
Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO
22 South 22nd Street, 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Dear Mr. Eiding:

On December 6th, City Council unanimously approved an amendment to the Convention Center agreement that would permit qualified non-union employers to obtain construction contracts as they relate to the construction of the Center. As the sponsor of that amendment, I believe that you, your member organizations and their members deserve an explanation of our actions.

For years, City Council has expressed concem over the Building Trades' inclusion of minorities and women. As such, Council requested that Mr. Pat Gillespie attend Thursday's hearing to discuss membership, the percentage of minority and female workers, what programs have been created to address the issue and what progress the Trades have made. Mr. Gillespie knew that he was there to discuss these issues and we expected him to be prepared to answer these questions.

Unfortunately, rather than provide statistical data as requested, Mr. Gillespie scoffed at Council's questions. He refused to accept Council's concerns as real and made no effort to address our questions. It is unclear whether Mr. Gillespie was simply woefully unprepared or whether he chose to disregard these issues. Whatever the case, Mr. Gillespie's perfonnance was inappropriate and I hope his member organizations take note.

During the hearing, it became clear that qualified minority construction firms were disenfranchised by some trade unions because they are required to meet goals that they do not have the capacity to meet. Therefore, in an effort to provide those finns with more
opportunities, the amendment was introduced and adopted.

Please be assured that I understand and appreciate Labor's concerns in this matter and while some labor leaders will accuse this Council and me personally as being "antiunion," the label is disingenuous. Over the past two years, over $2 billion worth of construction has been approved in the First Council District, alone. I was the prime sponsor ofthe IO-year tax abatement, which led to thousands ofunion jobs, and I continue to vigorously defend this program. This support of development will not waiver.

Historically, some of the Trades have harassed and insulted specific members. Some have disrupted Council hearings and sessions. Some have hurled insults publicly while others have issued "anonymous" fliers and letters attacking individual members. Despite this abuse, City Council has continued to support union labor and your members because it has been the right thing to do. At some point, however, I would hope that the Trades begin to treat the democratic process with the respect and dignity it deserves.

Further, while we have supplied organized labor, one concern has been continuously raised: minority and female participation. More importantly, that concern remains to be addressed.

Additionally, I understand that Mr. Gillespie has a signed Project Labor Agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of General Services and he feels that Council's actions mean nothing.

To be blunt, if Mr. Gillespie refuses to address Council's very real concerns, the Convention Center project may die. More importantly, my support of future projects will be in jeopardy. It is time for the Trade Council to represent their members and the communities that their members represent.

I believe City Council's desires are very simple. We want Philadelphia to be built by Philadelphians and we want our construction sites to resemble Philadelphia's diverse neighborhoods. Philadelphia is one of the final bastions of the unions. Help us keep it that way by working with us rather than against us.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. As always, I'm happy to discuss my
concerns with you or any ofyour member organizations.

Frank DiCicco
1st District Councilman

cc: Governor Ed Rendell
Mayor John F. Street
Mayor-elect Michael Nutter
Congressman Bob Brady
Congressman Chaka Fattah
Congresswoman Allison Schwartz
Senator Bob Casey
Senator Arlen Specter
All City Council Members
City Councilmember-elect Bill Green
City Councilmember-elect Maria Quinones Sanchez
City Councilmember-elect Curtis Jones, Jr.
All members ofthe Pennsylvania General Assembly
All Board Members, Convention Center Authority
All members Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO
Building Contractors Association


Monday, December 10, 2007

It's Time to End the Unions' Racist Monopoly in Philadelphia

One would think that with the amount of discrimination that's occurred with Philadelphia's trade unions, the union bosses would be more than aware of how they're doing, but apparently not.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Minority leaders have long complained that the city's construction unions have not done enough to bring blacks and Hispanics into the trades. Many union people agree, despite some recent progress.


On Thursday, Councilman Frank DiCicco, who has been at loggerheads with the building-trades unions over casino construction, proposed the amendment, taking up a cause promulgated by African American council members.
He and Patrick Gillespie, business manager for the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, exchanged sharp words when Gillespie could not produce statistics about minority membership in the council's 42 unions.

At what cost?...

Now, the unions' lack of diversity and feigned (or real) ignorance may come back to haunt them as Philadelphia's City Council has proposed opening the normally union-only Convention Center to open bidding, which would allow non-union contractors into the Center.

Accusing trade unions of standing in the way of minority hiring objectives, City Council [last Thursday] declared the $700 million Convention Center expansion open to nonunion contractors and workers - an unprecedented gesture in a city
dominated by organized labor.

Citing the construction industry's repeated failures to meet minority hiring goals on public projects and the unions' refusal to disclose the racial makeup of their memberships, Council voted to amend the Convention Center's operating agreement to allow nonunion workers, to help increase minority participation.

Mayor-elect Michael Nutter appeared to support Council's action yesterday.

"Clearly, that amendment represents the frustration that many of us have felt in creating opportunities for African Americans and Latin Americans in terms of access to the construction trades and participating in all the tremendous construction activity in Philadelphia," said Nutter.

"We must create a more diverse workforce in the construction industry in the city."
The very thought of allowing nonunion contractors on a major public works project in Philadelphia stunned longtime observers.

"Wow," said public relations executive A. Bruce Crawley, one of the city's leading critics of the union's efforts at hiring minorities. "Wow."

"This is very encouraging for African American contractors who would simply
like not to be excluded from the work," he said.

Patrick Gillespie, business manager for the Philadelphia Building and Construction
Trades Council, said such a requirement would endanger the project labor agreement the 42 local unions he represents are negotiating with the Convention Center Authority. Such agreements are common before major projects -
they set the standards of work and pay, usually require union labor, and are meant to avoid job disruptions.

Yeah, bringing in non-union contractors will be the start of World War III in the heart of the City of Brotherly Love, but perhaps it's been too long in coming.

Perhaps it's time to open the Convention Center to open competition and end the unions' racist monopoly in Philadelphia.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Racism is Nothing New to Philadelphia's Trade Unions

They call Philadelphia the City of Brotherly Love. However, anyone who knows anything about Philly knows there's nothing brotherly about it--especially if you're a union construction worker who also happens to be a minority. In fact, it's surprising that the only sheets you see in Philadelphia are the bedsheets drying on clothes lines.

This morning, as we were posting news items for, we ran across the Philadelphia Inquirer story of Paul Solomon, a black construction worker in Philadelphia who, about a month ago, complained that another construction worker from the Glaziers' union had brandished a noose while working at the city's Comcast Center.

The incident spawned a demonstration called Build Smarter: End Discrimination in Philadelphia's Construction Industry Now!

Well, this morning's article mentioned a couple of things that piqued our attention:

First, the alleged perpetrator of the noose incident has not been allowed to work back at the Comcast Center. However, the Inquirer article does not say that the union (part of the Painters and Allied Trades) has done anything else to further discipline its member, nor does the article state that the union has done anything affirmative to ensure racial incidents will not occur in the future.

Second, Mr. Solomon's own union seems to be retaliating against him for lodging the complaint about the noose.

In fact, Mr. Solomon claims that since he complained about the Oct. 1st incident, he's been "blackballed as a 'trouble maker.'"

However, once we saw that Mr. Solomon is a member of Operating Engineers Local 542, in Fort Washington, PA, it didn't seem too hard to believe. You see, IUOE 542 seems to have a long history of denying diversity is a part of the American fabric--whether you're in a union or not.

In fact, instead of just calling the union hall and being satisfied with writing: "...Local 542 of the International Union of Operating Engineers did not return calls seeking comment yesterday," the Philly Inquirer writer should have dug a little deeper.

Had he done some real investigative journalism he might have found, based on Local 542's past, that Mr. Solomon may not be wrong in feeling as though he's being blackballed.

Although the union bosses in Philadelphia may want to keep their dirty little secret under their sheets, the problem is:

IUOE, LOCAL 542 HAS HAD MORE THAN 30 YEARS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ALLEGATIONS, as well as a U.S. Court-Ordered Supervision of Local 542 because of Racial Discrimination

NOVEMBER, 1971: 12 black plaintiffs, on behalf of an entire class of minority workers, sued Local 542 of the Operating Engineers for:

  • discriminatory membership practices;
  • discriminatory hiring hall practices;
  • discrimination in the hours of work given and the wages earned; and
  • unfair representation.

JUNE 19, 1972: Plaintiffs John Dent and Marion Eaddy, while at a Local 542 hiring hall, were physically attacked by three white members of Local 542. This attack took place in front of Local 542’s business agent and approximately 15 members of the union.

JUNE 20, 1972: Plaintiffs Cleveland Allen, John Dent, and Marion Eaddy were beaten outside of Local 542’s hiring hall by at least fifteen white members of Local 542.

JUNE 20, 1972 - JUNE 22, 1972: An emergency hearing had to be held regarding the violence on June 19th and the morning of June 20th.

AUGUST 4, 1972: The Court found that white members of Local 542 had repeatedly attacked the plaintiffs, as retaliation for filing the lawsuit. Because of this, the Judge prohibited all members of Local 542 from:

Threatening, intimidating, harassing, assaulting, injuring, or otherwise interfering in any manner with the named and class plaintiffs’ federal statutory and Constitutional rights to be free from retaliation because of their instituting and processing the instant employment discrimination lawsuit; and
Doing any and all other acts which in any manner interfere with named and class plaintiffs’ federal statutory and Constitutional rights to institute and process the instant employment discrimination lawsuit.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et. al. v. Local Union No. 542, International Union of Operating Engineers, 347 F.Supp. 268, 302 (E.D. Pa. 1972). The Judge finished by writing that all Federal Marshalls would be available to enforce his order.

JANUARY 19, 1976: The trial into Local 542’s racially discriminatory practices begins.

NOVEMBER 30, 1978: Nearly three years later, the Judge ruled that Local 542 discriminated against minorities. Specifically, the court found:

“At the critical level of viable jobs and equal opportunities, there were intentional and persistent efforts to exclude and discourage most of the minorities who, but for their race, would have been considered for entry into the union and for the more lucrative jobs.” Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Raymond Williams, et. al. v. Local Union 542, International Union of Operating Engineers, 469 F. Supp. 329, 337 (E.D. Pa 1978), (emphasis added), aff’d 648 F.2d 922 (3rd Cir 1981).

The Court also found that Local 542 had repeatedly misrepresented the number of minorities in the union. In 1968, an official with Local 542 estimated that there were approximately 650 minority members out of the total membership of 5000. By 1969, the union determined that there were only 400 minority members out of a total membership of 6000. In a document filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Local 542 finally admitted that it had a mere 259 minority members out of a total membership of 6128. As the Judge wrote:

“It is not acceptable to describe the repeated gross inaccuracies as merely incorrect guesses. . . . While it is conceivable that in one instance the union could have inadvertently made a significant error in overestimating the number of minorities in the union, it is incredible that errors of this magnitude could have occurred consistently by any mere coincidence. . .. Only a finding of discriminatory intent can explain this subterfuge.” 469 F.Supp. at 344, (emphasis added).

AUGUST 8, 1979: The Court enters a “CONSENT DECREE” against Local 542. The first portion of that document, called a PERMANENT INJUNCTION, orders that:

“Defendants shall not discriminate against any minority person because of his color or national origin, with respect to acquisition, retention of membership or affiliation in said local union, with respect to referral and selection for employment, with respect to any training, retraining or upgrading programs, or with respect to any other terms and conditions of employment, union membership or affiliation.”

The document goes on to order Local 542 to increase minority representation in the union and ensure EQUAL WORK AND PAY between minority and white members.

The court decided it needed to oversee Local 542’s compliance with the order, at least through March 31, 1984. A Special Master, attorney Frank Jenkins, was appointed to monitor Local 542’s performance regarding these goals.

DECEMBER 15, 1982: The court approves a monetary settlement reached between the plaintiffs and the union. Local 542 agrees to pay the plaintiffs $1.5 MILLION because of the discrimination.

MAY, 1985: Special Master Frank Jenkins found that Local 542 was still discriminating against minorities.

OCTOBER 10, 1985: The Court, in agreeing with the Special Master, holds Local 542 in contempt of court for failing to take the actions required by the 1979 Consent Decree. Specifically, the Court found that:

“The union was given five years in which to prove to this court that it could operate the hiring hall in a non-discriminatory, fair and equitable manner. The court finds that the union has failed in this regard and to the contrary, has continued to use the hiring hall as a tool of discrimination, albeit at a reduced level, but discrimination nevertheless.” Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et. al. v. Local 542, International Union of Operating Engineers, 619 F.Supp. 1273, 1277 (E.D Pa 1985), aff’d 807 F.2d 330 (3rd Cir 1986).

As a result of the ongoing discrimination, the Court appointed a full-time Hiring Hall Monitor to oversee the day-to-day operations of the hiring hall. The Court also extended the Consent Decree through August 31, 1987.

MAY 12, 1987: The Judge established a Civil Rights Committee to monitor Local 542’s activities. The Judge also ordered that the Special Master (Mark Halpern, attorney-at-law) provide a report on Local 542’s activities by October 15, 1993.

APRIL 30, 1989: Special Master Halpern, and the Court, ended the day-to-day monitoring of Local 542. According to Mr. Halprin, Local 542 had “earned the right to serve as its own watchdog.”

MAY 25, 1993: Because of the numerous complaints received by the Court alleging discrimination by Local 542 against minority union members, the Court ordered Special Master Halpern to again investigate Local 542’s hiring/assignment practices.

APRIL 15, 1994: Local 542 is again placed under strict court supervision. According to Mr. Halpern’s report, the “gains made by minorities prior to April 1989, when court supervision was lifted by Bechtle, were ‘wiped out’ in the following four years.”

JULY 20, 1998: Even though the Civil Rights Committee had been around for over 10 years, Local 542 continued to violate the rules regarding the election of four of the members. Even though only minorities were entitled to vote on the four elected members, Local 542 allowed white women to also vote. Local 542 was ordered to pay the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees - $11,869.50 in total.

AND THE ISSUES CONTINUED MORE THAN 30 YEARS LATER. February 16, 2000, a lawsuit by five black members of Local 542 for discrimination was filed against Local 542 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (Willie Lee Jackson, et al. v. Local Union 542, International Union of Operating Engineers, Civil Action No. 00-854)

It would appear that Mr. Solomon isn't alone in feeling that the City of Brotherly Love's trade unions aren't living up to their city's motto. For, in Philadelphia, there is too much history of discrimination that, in the end, may prove Mr. Solomon wiser than the crackers who take his monthly dues.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New York's NannyGate: How Big Union Bosses have Bamboozled the Babysitter

Q: How is it that a union can win the right to represent (and collect dues) from 28,000 people when less than half of the workers actually voted for union representation?

A: With the government's help, of course.

It seems that the big scheme in union circles these days is how to buy politicians who will, in turn, reward their big union handlers by giving unions the unfettered ability to add bodies (and dollars) to their big union coffers.

Across the country, big union bosses are "convincing" their democrat puppets to give-away the store to bosses by letting them unionize babysitters. Now, before people get their diapers in an uproar, we know that the politically correct nomenclature is to call today's babysitters "day-care workers"--just like it's politically correct to call garbage collectors "sanitation engineers".

Nevertheless, according to union bosses' logic, today's public-sector babysitters get a portion of their income from the public coffers because their customers were coldly shoved off of the public coffers and, therefore, needed to get a babysitter to care for the kids that the public coffers once paid the babysitters' customers to have and, as a result, because the babysitters get their income from public coffers, they are not independent contractors (or entrepreneurs since they work out of their own homes), but really are state employees and, thus, should be unionizable. (You understood that, right?)

Well, in any case, union bosses have convinced eleven states to turn their babysitters over to the union and, with the exception of Maryland, there hasn't been much of a debate.

In New York, for example, the United Federation of Teachers just won the right to represent 28,000 babysitters--even though only 8,382 (or less than 30%) voted to unionize.

The ballot, it seems, was a mail-in ballot and more than 70% of the eligible babysitters apparently didn't even vote.

So, as the union bosses at the UFT are negotiating on behalf of 28,000 people whose incomes are dependent on money paid into the government coffers by the taxpayers, it is the taxpayer who will eventually foot the bill.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Union Boss with a Publicist

Amongst all the disappointed theater goers in New York, drifts a solitary figure not many have ever heard of until Broadway shut down was shut down by his union's strike. His name is James J. Claffey, Jr. and he's the president of IATSE, Local 1.

What?!? You've never heard of him?

Well, perhaps you would have if his publicist wasn't paid to keep him out of the press.

What?!? You didn't think union bosses had publicists?

Well, we didn't either. But, apparently this guy does.

According to the New York Times, Mr. Claffey doesn't like publicity.

“I don’t want this to be about me being a celebrity, about me getting my name in the paper,” said James J. Claffey Jr. “I just want to get a contract for my folks. That’s why I do not look to the cameras. That’s why I have a publicist to do that. Most of the time, I’m paying my publicist to keep me out of the press.”

Boy! Now that's a good use of union dues!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Attorneys & Clients Beware: The Poser

They say that 'imitation is the highest form of flattery.' However, when an individual allows an unsuspecting client to believe he's you, it seems a little more than disingenuous...It seems...well...rather pathetic.

As nearly 100% of our consulting work comes through either referrals from many of the top labor attorneys throughout the U.S., or through clients contacting us directly, we do not generally 'cold call' on companies when they're facing labor strife. That said, there are those consultants who have not built their own reputations and, therefore, must either rely on others or get on the telephone and cold call on companies (or both) in order to survive. [To be fair, I suppose we've all had to do that at some point early in our careers.]

Please allow me to give you some background to this little tale of deceit: Over the last few years, there's been a few instances of our having been introduced to a client through their counsel when at first meeting the client would say to me, "Oh, I talked to you on the phone the other day." When this would occur, I would assure them that they hadn't talked to me and would assume they were just mistaken, confused or just plain absent minded.

It wasn't until the second or third time that this happened that I realized that the client had mistaken their telephone discussion with someone else (whose name sounded eerily close to mine) as having had a conversation with me.

It was after the second or third time that I discovered that there is indeed some consultant somewhere in these United States who has a name that sounds almost identical to mine doing the same type of consulting work that our firm does.

Well, I hadn't given much thought to it over the last couple of years....Until this week.

Earlier this week, I had a conversation with an individual who has met this other person with a name like mine and was told that this poser says people confuse him for me all of the time. Unfortunately, my source explained, while the poser doesn't actually tell his unassuming client he's me, he doesn't dissuade his client that he's not me either!

So, there you have it. Some hillbilly has crawled out from under a rock and has found a way to enrich himself by using my reputation for his own gain.

The pathetic part about this whole thing is that some unsuspecting company executives (and their employees) may be thinking they're getting the real deal, when all they're getting is a pathetic poser.

Right now, I don't have the time to do anything other than to alert you about this subhuman who is profitting from my work and my successes in the field. However, perhaps some day when I'm bored I'll take the time to have an attorney send him a letter, or maybe I'll just jump on the bike and pay him a visit so we can have a little chat "mano a mano."

In the meantime, while his clients don't know he's not me, he does. And now you know what he is as well...0% man and 100% poser.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

An Intersting Couple of Weeks for Unions

It's been an interesting two weeks for unions around the country.

Within the last two weeks, union bosses with the United Auto Workers (aka the Union of Ailing Workplaces) trumpeted their new agreement with Chrysler stating things like:

"Jobs are protected in this contract, contrary to what people have been saying. There is a job security package in here" and

"Once again, teamwork in the leadership and solidarity in the ranks has produced an agreement that protects jobs for our communities and also protects wages, pensions, and health care for our active and retired members."

However, after berating their disgruntled members into ratifying the contract, Chrysler announced last Thursday that is was cutting up to 12,100 jobs on top of the previously announced 13,000 jobs to be eliminated. That brings the total to about 25,000 jobs to be cut.
If that weren't bad enough for union bosses...

Over at the SEIU, security company Wackenhut has whacked the union with a RICO suit over the SEIU's "malicious, four-year, international corporate campaign to force Wackenhut to recognize the Union as the employees' bargaining representative while denying the employees their federal rights to free choice and a secret ballot election."

In SoCal...

After only a week and a half of striking, the Teamsters union caved-in to Waste Management and accepted the contract offered. Why? Well, when the union went out on strike last Monday, they vowed to fight the company to the bitter end. However, when the company advertised for permanent replacement drivers last Friday, "the workers got the crap scared out of them," and decided to return to work earlier this week.

For these and many more amusing news stories, go to

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

SEIU's Andy Stern and Cronies Just Can't Admit They Were W-W-W-WRONG

In These Times, a rather um...shall we say..."progressive" rag has run an article about the Change to Win federation's lack of "win" entitled Has the Change Led to Wins?

Well, here's our take on the article and what it didn't point out...

Despite the all of the hoopla surrounding the break-up of the AFL-CIO in 2005, Andy Stern's Change to Win Federation doesn't have a lot of new members to prove that John Sweeney's political-spending strategy was wrong.

Remember, the whole power play in breaking up the AFL-CIO was the alleged frustration that Stern had with Sweeney over how best to utilize the federation's money--Sweeney likes spending money on politicians, while Stern felt the money would be better spent on organizing.

Well, as of November '06, it looks like Sweeney's strategy has won the day. The old labor boss has gotten himself a liberal and labor-friendly Congress. And, today, all nine of the Democrat candidates are so busy trying to out do each other on getting union endorsements that they've completely left any semblance of moderation behind.

Even so, Stern and his buddies don't want to admit they made a mistake. Although Joe Hansen, the Big Kahuna over at the UFCW came pretty close to it when he said:

Wow! That's pretty damn revealing if you ask us! And this guy controls 1.3 million workers' lives?!?

Nevertheless, Old Joe still "hopes" he'll add two million more workers dues to his union's coffers in the next 10 years.

[As a friend once said: If hopes and dreams were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas.]

Despite Joe's wishy-washiness, break-up artist Andy Stern still has high hopes. At Change to Whine's convention in September, Stern apparently stated:

"We’re at the beginning of another historic moment. We have changed our unions. If we pass the Employee Free Choice Act, these unions will grow by 1.5 million members a year, not just for five years but for 10 to 15 straight years.”
Okay. Let's see if we get this straight, Andy. You and your co-horts broke away from the AFL-CIO because your old boss Sweeney was spending too much money on politics. You allegedly have changed your unions, but the C2W unions really aren't adding any more members. Now, however, you're saying that you'll be able to add more members when the Orwellian Employee Free Choice Act passes?!??

But, doesn't EFCA need politicians to pass it? And, to elect those politicians doesn't that mean you'd have to spend money on...politics? [Gasp!]

Why, Andy....That would mean that the Old Geezer Sweeney was...r-r-right. And, more importantly, Andy, that would mean that you were w-w-w-wrong. Oh my!

Why, Andy, we think you owe John Sweeney an apology.
You see, you really didn't split from Sweeney....You spit on him.
Isn't it time to admit you were wrong? Or, is your ego just too big?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Why companies move away and jobs disappear...

"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes."

When founding, we chose the above quote by Thomas Paine for our tagline for this simple reason:

No matter how hard some people may try, one cannot fake the truth or fake reality.

For example, when businesses move away (whether to another state or to another country), they do so because doing business in their current location has become either too costly or too burdensome.

Despite whatever the sycophants on the left try to convince you of, whatever names they call it, it is an economic reality.

Now, then, comes yet another proposal from those stupid union bosses that will, if enacted, surely cause more Ohio businesses to look elsewhere to relocate and cost more Ohioans their jobs.

Ohio Group Pushes for Sick Days
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A labor-led coalition pushing for mandated paid sick days for workers at larger businesses said Monday it has gathered enough signatures to put the issue before lawmakers.

The Ohio Healthy Families Act, which is backed by the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO, would require businesses with 25 or more
employees to give full-time employees seven sick days per year. Part-time employees could earn sick days on a pro-rated basis.

The coalition has gathered around 140,000 signatures and will continue to gather more before submitting the proposal to the Legislature in January, campaign manager Brian Dunn said. The issue needs at least 120,683 signatures-equal to three percent of the vote in the 2006 gubernatorial election-to be put before lawmakers. If lawmakers fail to act, the coalition can then gather more signatures to place the measure on the 2008 ballot.

The group will continue to gather more signatures because the number found to be valid by the secretary of state's office is generally lower than the total number of signatures submitted.

Uh...Detroit...We Have a Problem...

Problems are afoot for the top brass at the United Auto Workers.

Perhaps Gettlefinger and the boys at UAW's Solidarity House thought the Chrysler workers would just fall into line after walking out on strike for a mere six hours on October 10th. However, that now appears unlikely as ratification of the Chrysler deal is in serious trouble.

Almost immediately following one of the shortest strikes in the history of Big Three negotiations, questions arose about whether the UAW's strike was mere 'showbiz' than a real showing of strength and "solidarity."

Unlike their counterparts at General Motors (who ratified the GM deal without a hiccup), UAW members at Chrysler seem to be rebelling at their own union leaders. So much so that one UAW member stated: "The UAW is trying to be a big powerbroker on Wall Street at our expense. They must think that we are illiterate and unable to read what the contract says."

At present, a larger-than-expected number of UAW locals have voted against the tentative deal. If the final numbers come in later this week, and members fail to ratify the deal, this will leave more egg on Gettlefinger's face and prove to be tougher for the UAW to negotiate a better deal with Cerebrus-owned Chrysler, not to mentioned Ford.

The heart of the disgruntlement seems to be three-fold: 1) members' concern over the lack of job security* in the contract, 2) the two-tier compensation package and 3) the VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association) the contract establishes.
*Note: Less than two weeks after GMs ratification, it was announced that GM would be cutting more than 750 jobs at one of its plants.

As former unionists, all of these are rife with problems for the rank-and-file-minded individual... even though they may be necessary to ensure Chrysler's viability for the future.

However, as the UAW expands its membership away from representing just autoworkers and takes on new customers (aka members) like casino dealers and graduate students, it seems the UAW may be less interested in the auto industry workers themselves anymore and may be more interested in the lucrative financial opportunities the creation of a VEBA presents.
For a good insight into the issues the rank-and-file have with the new contract, go here.

On a different, but related subject...

There was recent op-ed in the Washington Post about the American consumer not caring about whether or not a product is union-made.

For us, nothing could have illustrated that point more appropriately than driving along the interstate last week.

Alas, we came across a car with a union bumper sticker. As avid bumper sticker readers, we believe that bumper stickers can say a lot about the people driving the car. As a result, we always take notice of what people have on their bumpers.

Well, in this particular case, the bumper sticker was an IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) sticker that had only about two words (along with the IBEW logo) on it: Productivity. Craftsmanship.

Okay, although debatable in many circles, those words are pretty normal on union bumper stickers. So, that wasn't what was too shocking...

What was shocking is the fact that the dude wasn't driving a union-made vehicle. He was driving a Suburu!

At that point, in a startling moment of repeating clarity, it became all too clear.

If unions can't even attract their own members to buy union-made products, then why do they think the rest of America is going to buy their products?...

Talk about not walking the talk!

That's like those morons who put bumper stickers on their cars that say "Live Better, Work Union." Yet, when you look at the car, 95% of the time it's a piece of crap!

[If you don't believe us, start looking at the cars that are festooned with that particular bumper sticker!]

For the record: We at drive Fords. Yeah, they're union-made...but we don't hold that against the Company or its employees.

Friday, October 5, 2007

When Cavemen Strike...

They've been outside the Kennedy Space Center for nearly four months (since June 14th), picketing to their collective hearts' content.

By and large, they've been replaced, at least temporarily...for now.

They're members of the Machinists and they're 'fighting mad' at their employer, United Space Alliance (a joint venture between giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing).

Problem is, according to a flyer put out by their replacements a couple of months ago, their jobs appear to be 'so easy a caveman can do it' and their employer seems to be getting along just fine without them.

Instead of working to feed their families, they sit with their pickets under umbrellas and palm trees, drawing $150 a week in strike pay from the union. It's a life.

Unfortunately, either they or their union leadership appear to be we to read the writing on the wall (pun intended).

Especially when you read about the apparent idiocy of a guy, whose wife is missing her cancer treatments because they have no health insurance...because he's out on strike!

So, this neanderthal will let his wife die, so he can sit out with his "brothers" and watch his job evaporate into the paychecks of his replacements?!?

Is it any wonder that evolution replaced the caveman...

And that unions have been dying off?!?

The sad fact of the matter is that when these workers realize too late that they've lost, they'll blame everyone else but themselves.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The NEW Democrats' Oath of Loyalty

A variant of the following is making its way through the vast e-mail cyber-chain, so we thought we'd make it a little more poignant...

The NEW Democrats' Oath of Party Loyalty:

"As a party loyalist, I do solemnly swear to blind obedience to the following beliefs:

1. I am against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.

2. I believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity;
2 1/2. I believe that the AFL-CIO created the middle class, not the employers who created the jobs.

3. I believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. Nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese and North Korean communists.

4. I believe that there was no art before Federal funding.

5. I believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical documented changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV's.

6. I believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural.

7. I believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.

8. I believe that the same teacher who can't teach fourth graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

9. I believe that hunters don't care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside of San Francisco do.

10. I believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

11. I believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make "The Passion of the Christ" for financial gain only.

12. I believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

13. I believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

14. I believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, and A.G. Bell.

15. I believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

16. I believe that Hillary Clinton is normal and is a very nice person.

17. I believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.

18. I believe conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and a sex offender belonged in the White House.

19. I believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites, and bestiality should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.

20. I believe that illegal Democrat Party funding by the Chinese Government is somehow in the best interest to the United States .

21. I believe that this message is a part of a vast, right wing conspiracy.

22. I believe that it's okay to give Federal workers the day off on Christmas Day but it's not okay to say "Merry Christmas."

Stay tuned for the Republican Oath of Loyalty...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Labor's Lost Love for Democratic Leadership

At, we are please to have friends and acquaintances who provide additional food for our collectively independent minds to digest. As such, the following was submitted by our old friend and accomplished writer, Mr. David Denholm:

Brother Saul Alinsky, who trained union organizers through the Industrial Areas Foundation, reminds us in his Fifth Rule of Power Tactics, that "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." It is, therefore, a shame to pass up an opportunity to ridicule union officialdom.

Here's a story with some potential. The "Hall of Fame Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO" (Stark County, Ohio) has informed the Democratic Party Executive Committee that it will no longer support Democratic political candidates in Stark County. "Labor's love lost for Democratic leadership"

This move seems to have been instigated by Mike McElfresh, President of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 540 and the Labor Council's second vice president, who is upset because he lost a vote in the Democratic Executive Committee for a seat on the county election board.

This may not just be a case of "hell hath no fury like a Union Boss scorned." Another story, "Labor cuts support for county Dems," says that the vote for the election board seat may have been the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.

It is worth noting that earlier this month - "Project Labor proposal downsized" - a Democrat on the Massillon, Ohio (in Stark County) City Council offended the building trades unions by indicating a willingness to water down a proposal for a Project Labor Agreement.

It is also interesting to note that, according to Union Stats dot com, in 2006 private sector union density in the Canton-Massillon Metropolitan Statistical Area (Stark County) was 14.9 percent, down only 1.1 percent from 16.0 percent in 1986. This compares very favorably, at least from the unions' point of view, to the drop of almost 10 points from 19.2 to 9.3 percent for private sector union density in Ohio and a decline nationally from 14.0 to 7.4 percent.

It’s not clear who needs whom the most, the Democratic Party or the labor unions. In this case, however, the unions seem to be abusing their constitutional right to be stupid by withdrawing support for the Party over a fit of peak.

David Denholm

Monday, September 3, 2007


Dear readers:

This Labor Day weekend marks's one year anniversary of providing almost continuous news coverage of issues that impact America's workplace, from labor union issues to the political issues that hurt American companies and their workers. As this Labor Day weekend approaches, we approach our 12,000th visitor to

What a year it's been. What started out as a part-time adventure to draw attention to Big Labor's attempt to strip workers of their right to vote on the matter of unionization through the Orwellian-named Employee Free Choice Act, has quickly turned into a second unpaid vocation. As most of our work is done in differing cites, from the airport terminal to the hotel room at night, our work is an after-hours dedication of exposing the truth about unions and their destruction in America today.

In January, we launched the blog to enable us to comment on some of the news items we post on. Although, we don't post as often as we'd like on as many topics as we care about (we do have our clients to consider afterall), we have been able post on some serious (and not-so-serious) issues affecting our nation.

Along the way, we've made many new friends while flustering more than a few of our enemies by exposing their shenanigans. Yes, one could say that we have become a small part of Hillary's imagined 'vast-right-wing conspiracy.'

In June, we started the Pathetic Union Department (PUD) to feature specific issues related to unions' poor treatment of their members. However, the reality quickly sank in that the PU department was just too vast to cite all of the union instances of (pardon the expression) pulling PUDs, so we tossed our PU Department to the trash-heap of tried ideas. If you follow long enough, you'll find that all the stories we cover belong in the PU Department anyway.

This week, be sure to check out, as there will be a plethora of union news, as there is every Labor Day.

In the meantime, as this Labor Day weekend approaches, we encourage you to read a fantastic op-ed by Federic Hamber entitled On Labor Day, We Should Honor Man's Mind, Not Men's Muscles, as the Real Source of Wealth and Progress. It's a great read and puts thing in perspective as Big Labor ties up the media with their stories about union labor.

In the coming year, our goal is to continue to improve, continue to add to our growing list of e-mail subscribers, as well as bring new features to our site.

As the Democrats continue to push Big Labor's agenda, their reach is only beginning to expand (with more in store for 2008). We know our fight is just beginning and we appreciate you coming along for the ride.

Thank you again for continuing to make a success.

Best wishes for a safe Labor Day Weekend.

Peter A. List
Editor & Chief Blogger

"I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes." - Thomas Paine

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Union Organizers are 'Salespeople,' says UNITE-HERE

What may seem to be obvious to some, a major union has confirmed for all: Union organizers are salespeople. Their job is to "sell" workers on becoming unionized.

This now-undisputable affirmation was the topic of a recent lawsuit filed by union organizers against their employer, UNITE-HERE, for overtime pay.

Trenette Savage, a union organizer with UNITE-HERE, along with seven other organizers (who either withdrew or had their suits dimissed) sued her employer for overtime pay.

According to Savage's attorney Gregory Lisi (as reported through Portfolio Media), people in Savage's position, who sometimes work 80-hour weeks, are exactly the type of employees that the FLSA is meant to protec.

“Their job is to go around and do the grunt work for the union,” said Lisi. “They don't make any policy decision for the unions or anything like that.”

“It's a funny case, in that the unions are supposed to be protecting their workers,” Lisi added. “But in this case, they're not.”

However, according to UNITE-HERE's motion for summary judgment (view here) Savage is an exempt outside sales person.

“Although union organizers are not usually thought of as salespeople in the conventional sense of for-profit retail sales, the essential duties of the position are functionally equivalent to those making outside sales people exempt from overtime,” according to UNITE HERE.



Thursday, August 9, 2007

If bloggers of the world unite into a union, does this mean I have to be a scab?

If you've been reading the news on the net lately about unions (see, you may have seen where some whackos (there's just no other word for it) on the blogoshpere want to form a union. (If you don't believe us, go here and check it out.)

According to Leslie Robinson, a writer at who seems really detached from reality: "Maybe we could get more jobs, bona fide jobs."

Here's the problem(s)...

Since blogging is primarily a voluntary spewing of one's creative juices on subjects of a vast array with no particular employers (in most cases), who (or what) is this bloggers' union going to be negotiating with?

And since most (like us) work for free and often for our own amusement, who (or what) is this blogging union going to be negotiating against at what bargaining table??

And, if there is no agreement, do the bloggers strike?

If so, who (or what)?...Themselves???

More importantly, does anyone really care???

Lastly, if the bloggers' union strikes and we keep writing, doesn't that mean we're scabs?

Oh...This is too rich!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Of Glass Houses & Septic Tanks: AFL-CIO Negotiates Less-than-Living Wage Increase with its Unionized Staff

You know the old adage about living in glass houses and throwing stones, right? Or, what about the one that says something to the effect of the grass is always being greener over the septic tank?

Well, see if you can answer this riddle:

What do you call an employer who switches health care providers on its unionized employees, stalls negotiations well beyond the expired contract, has multiple tiers of employees (many without grievance protections, even though they pay unions dues), and negotiates paltry increases of 2.75% in the first year of the contract, 2.85% in the second year of the contract, and 2.75% in the third and final year of the contract?

If your answer is the AFL-CIO, that Big Kahuna of the two labor federations here in the U.S., you're right!

Well, here's another one from the Pathetic Union Department (PUD)...

It seems the AFL-CIO, has recently negotiated a renewal contract with the union representing its "professional staff," the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild (a division of the Communications Workers of America)...and what a contract it is!

According to a fluff piece (see note below) put out by the Bureau of National Affairs (subscription required), the AFL-CIO's previous contract with the Guild expired last October 1st but talks were 'postponed' until January 2007 due to the the mid-term elections.
Note: As the BNA normally doesn't do 'fluff pieces', we thought the piece was a bit too fluffy, so we did some research and found that the WBNG also represents numerous classifications of workers at the BNA, including its writers.
According to the BNA report, Amy Lampkin, the union's unit chair at the AFL-CIO, stated that once negotiations resumed in January, following the mid-term elections, the federation and the union quickly reached a tentative agreement on Feb. 6. The contract, however, was not put up for ratification until now because the parties had to work out details of health care coverage under a new provider.

Lampkin said that the AFL-CIO bargaining unit employees had received their health insurance through ULLICO (click here and here for a brief synopsis of the scandal-ridden, union-owned insurance carrier), but the insurance company got out of the health insurance business last year. She said that the parties agreed to a new carrier--United Healthcare--but had to work out details of "make-whole" language that was negotiated. [Apparently, this was necessary because the new health benefits are inferior to the the previous ULLICO benefits.]

The contract also contains a modicum of job security language for workers with more than 10 years with the federation, but nothing mentioned for workers with less than ten years who would be subject to being laid off if union funding to the AFL-CIO is cut again. This was apparently negotiated following the hypocritical way the Sweeney administration handled the 2005 lay offs at the AFL-CIO, angering some within the House of Labor. (See AFL-CIO layoff articles here and here.)

In terms of wages, the AFL-CIO agreed to a paltry 2.75 percent retroactive to Oct. 1, 2006, when the prior contract expired, followed by increases of 2.85 percent Oct. 1, 2007, and 2.75 percent Oct. 1, 2008. Which, given that the AFL-CIO is located in Washington, D.C., where the cost of living should be considered inhumane, the AFL-CIO's increase is less than a 'living wage' increase! [Perhaps the Carpenter's union could loan the WBNG some of their homeless protestors!]

And, last but not least, the AFL-CIO apparently agreed to continue the WBNG's "union security" provision (withholding union dues from all employees after 30 days of employment, or causing them to be terminated), even though the AFL-CIO has the "unlimited right to discharge" (aka fire) employees within six (6) months of their start date.

This, of course, means that those employees are (gasp!) "at will" employees and can be fired by the AFL-CIO for cause, little cause, or no cause at all!

Say what?!?...Yep! Here it is in their own words (er...writing):

  1. The Employer shall have the unlimited right to discharge a new employee who has not concluded a probationary period of six (6) months, beginning from the date that the employee begins work, provided that on or before the two (2) month anniversary date and on or before the four (4) month anniversary date the progress of the new employee will be evaluated and the Guild will be notified in writing if any problem or problems appear to be developing. After one (1) month on the payroll, if an employee is discharged during the probationary period, he or she shall be given at least one (1) week's notice, or one (1) week's pay in lieu of notice. The probationary period shall end on the last working day before the six (6) month anniversary of the employee. An employee's probationary period may be extended by agreement of the Employer and the Guild.
  2. Employees with more than six (6) months of service shall not be subject to discharge except for just and sufficient cause.
  3. Employees with more than six (6) months of service shall be given two (2) weeks' notice, or two (2) weeks' pay in lieu of notice, of any discharge.
  4. The Guild shall be notified in writing, simultaneously with the employee, of any discharge.
The union has also bargained that the employer (the AFL-CIO) can have multiple tiers of employees--namley, temporary, fund and project employees (aka "casual workers"), as well as part-time employees, consultants, and affiliate staff.

To be fair to the labor behemoth and its staff union, there are some very rich provisions of the labor agreement that provide for 35-hours of work per week, a large amount of paid-time off, a semi-rich life insurance plan, as well as a host of other asundry items that are not found in too many other collective bargaining agreements.

Of special note: However rich the perks appear to be though, it should be realized that all of them are funded through the (in many cases, forced) union dues of union members paid to their unions, then given to the AFL-CIO through its per capita tax scheme.

In the (paraphrased) words of the immortal Erma Bombeck: The grass is always greener over the septic tank...

But, then again, the stink is also stronger too!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

UFCW: Do they ever run out of hypocrisy??

by Rian Wathen

It takes a lot to be the most hypocritical labor union but the UFCW always seems to lead the way. Of course everyone knows that UFCW represents some of the lowest paid workers in the United States but their officers still take the dues to fund some of the highest salaries and lavish lifestyles of any union.

Let’s ignore that for a minute and take a look at the recent grocery contract settlement in Southern California. If you can wade through all the media hype and UFCW propaganda you may notice a slight mention of Health Savings Accounts in some of the articles.

Yes, UFCW is now congratulating itself on the recent contract calling it “a huge victory for grocery workers” as they negotiated all of the Southern California members into a HSA program.

So, before this contract settlement what was UFCW saying about Health Savings Accounts?

On the international union’s webpage you can read a news release entitled Why HSAs are not the solution.”

Here are a few quotes:

  • “The bottom line is that HSAs will end up costing consumers more money while providing less health care”

  • “HSA plans will discourage preventive care, ultimately increasing the cost of health care in the United States”

  • “Racial and ethnic minorities suffer disproportionately from chronic conditions and are so less likely to benefit from HSAs”

  • “HSA plan actually could increase the number of Americans without health insurance”

  • “HSAs would undermine employer-sponsored group insurance”

Next, let’s look at what UFCW said on their page where they routinely bash everything Wal-Mart does. When Wal-Mart implemented HSAs, here is what the UFCW said about it:

  • “Health Savings Accounts Won't Save Health Care”

  • “HSAs are a backdoor for large profitable companies, like Wal-Mart, to further reduce or even eliminate health benefits for hard-working Americans. By shifting health care costs away from employers and on to workers, HSAs will not only undermine employer-based health plans, where two-thirds of Americans get coverage, but will force even more workers and their families to go without health care.”

  • “HSAs are a huge step backward for working families and do nothing to solve our nation's health care crisis.”

There is even a web based petition you can sign to support the position by saying “no to the Wal-Mart/Bush-backed HSAs and yes to corporations paying their fair share for health care.”

To be clear, I’m not repeating all this to say HSAs are bad (I have one myself and like it) or the UFCW should not have negotiated HSAs in Southern California (although the devil is in the details, a subject for another post). It is simply to reinforce how two-faced the UFCW international union officials are even with their own members.

Prior to this contract, UFCW made it sound like HSAs were a tool of the devil. But when they decide to negotiate them, it is a “huge victory for grocery workers”.

Unbelievable !!!!!

Rian Wathen is a former 15-year UFCW officer who was banished from the kingdom when he pointed out the emperor had no clothes.