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.