Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category

U.S. is Going Bankrupt One City at a Time

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, February 9th, 2014

This is article 515 of 527 in the topic Government Spending

Time to start watching U.S. cities go bankrupt. Prior to Detroit, there was Stockton, California, and, according to Stephen Moore, now the chief economist with the Heritage Foundation, there are more than sixty of the largest cities that “are plagued with the same kinds of retirement legacy costs that sent Detroit in Chapter 9 bankruptcy” last year.

“Keep an eye on ‘too big to fail’ cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York,” he warned. Among the twenty cities he listed in an August 2013 Newsmax article, he cited Compton and Oakland, CA, Harrisburg, PA, and Providence, RI. What these and other cities have in common is that “the vast majority are located in states with forced unions, non-right-to-work states.”

As Steve Stanek, a research fellow with the Heartland Institute, reported, when a federal judge, Stephen Rhodes, cleared the way for Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, in December, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFCCME) immediately filed a notice of appeal, but Detroit has more than 100,000 creditors. As its emergency financial manager, Kevyn Orr, said, “The reality is the city has no cash on hand to pay the magnitude of the debt we have, which is $12 billion–$5.7 billion of which has to do with health care obligations, $3.5 billion has to do with pensions, and $2 billion has to do with bondholders.”

At the time it declared bankruptcy, Detroit had 47 different public employee unions. The Detroit Water & Sewer Department had a farrier (a horse-shoer) who received $56,000 in pay and benefits every year even though the city had no horses in the department.

As Moore points out, “For at least the last 20 years major U.S. cities have been playgrounds for left-wing experiments—high taxes on the rich; sanctuaries for illegal immigrants; super-minimum wage rules; strict gun-control laws; regulations and paperwork that makes it onerous to open a business or develop on your own property; crony capitalism with contracts going to political donors and friends; and failing schools ruled by teacher unions, with little competition or productivity.”

The legacy costs of pensions and health benefits to retired teachers and municipal retirees force “city managers and mayors are forced to lay off firefighters, police and teachers. Detroit,” Moore noted, “has three retired city workers collecting a pension for every two currently working.”

Recently published, “The Great Withdrawal” by Craig R. Smith with Lowell Ponte examines the damage that progressive programs and policies have done to cities and to the nation. A nation with a $17 trillion debt who’s President has only one answer, raise the debt limit, will encounter a financial Armageddon if the spending and borrowing is not sharply curtailed.

Craig and Ponte point to 1913 as the year progressive, collectivist ideas “took control of the United States government and began a ‘fundamental transformation’ of our economy, politics, culture and beliefs that continues today.”

Citing Detroit as an example of the result of liberal, progressive policies, Smith said that “by 2013 (it) had become a war zone of urban strife, poverty, decay and government profligacy.”

Recall that President Obama claimed he had “saved” General Motors and Chrysler with bailouts that cost taxpayers “at least $25 billion that will never be paid back.

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ETHICS & EDUCATION

by Burt Prelutsky on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

by Burt Prelutsky

For a long time, I’ve thought that people must be really starved for role models if they keep looking to those in the public arena to fill the vacuum.

I am not one of those people who believe that every politician is venal and corrupt, but neither am I someone who thinks that we should admire those whose only accomplishments consist of casting votes and giving speeches.

Recently, Robert Gates garnered a great deal of attention for writing a book in which he took Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, to task. Once you got past the totally insincere compliments he apparently felt obliged to pay the first two, he basically made a case that none of them was to be trusted. Inasmuch as I had already come to that conclusion without his prompting, my question is why he didn’t resign when he first discovered the truth about them.

I suppose a possible defense would be that he felt he could do more good on the inside than he could as an outsider, except that he quickly discovered he had no real influence when it came to policy. So, in reality, the only purpose he served was as a token for Obama, who could point to Gates and claim he’d reached out to a Republican to serve as his Secretary of Defense.

The fact is that with a President as partisan as Obama, no Republican is going to have any real effect on him. It’s a mistake reminiscent of the one that women often make when they decide they can transform a bully into a pussycat by marrying him. The only change they can honestly expect is that they’ll turn a bum who abuses his girlfriends into a bum who abuses his wife.

In the case of Christie, it shouldn’t have taken the bridge scandal to open the eyes of those morons who decided he should be our answer to Hillary in 2016. It’s one thing for a guy who comes off like a thug to be the governor of New Jersey, and quite another to have his rump perched in the Oval Office.

It wasn’t that long ago, after all, that Christie, tapped to deliver Romney’s nominating address at the Republican convention, spent so much time prattling on about himself that he seemed to forget who the nominee actually was. Not since Obama took all the credit for killing Osama bin Laden, had anyone crammed so many personal pronouns into a single speech.

The next thing we knew, there was Christie, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, just a week prior to the presidential election, walking hand-in-hand with Obama. It looked so much like an eHarmony TV commercial, I almost expected the announcer to point out they both enjoy bubble baths, cuddling and midnight strolls on moonlit beaches. It was such an unsightly spectacle that some folks suggested the two of them should have rented a room.

Some females – generally, but not exclusively, young girls — are apparently so lacking in appropriate role models, they look to real life models for their inspiration.

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Greedy Union Workers Force Boeing’s Exit from Seattle

by Donald Douglas on Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

This is article 61 of 67 in the topic Business

From today’s Los Angeles Times, “Boeing families in Seattle area feel spurned over 777X project: The aerospace giant threatens to build its newest airliner out of state unless a union approves concessions. Some workers have generations of history there“:

MILL CREEK, Wash. — Shannon Ryker is a third-generation employee of aerospace giant Boeing Co. She followed her grandfather into the huge plant in nearby Everett. And her father. And her Uncle Bob.

Her youngest sister worked at Boeing until she became pregnant. Both of Ryker’s brothers-in-law and one of their dads work there. Her other sister’s stepson has applied for a Boeing job.

So it wasn’t easy for the 37-year-old mechanic to sit down in her crowded apartment here on a recent Sunday and write to Boeing management about her growing disappointment.

“Like my 86-year-old grandmother, I would like to tell my children and grandchildren that ‘Boeing has been good to this family,'” Ryker wrote in an open letter that has since landed on company break-room tables and in co-workers’ email in-boxes. But now, she said, “I no longer can hold my head high and say I am proud to work at Boeing.”

At issue is the company’s hunt for a site to build its newest airliner, the 777X. Ryker and other members of the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751 overwhelmingly voted last month to reject a contract that would have cut some pension plans and healthcare benefits but guaranteed the program would stay in the Pacific Northwest.

Since the vote, Washington’s largest private employer has been looking elsewhere for a site to build the plane, a potential move that threatens the state economy and the middle class Boeing helped create.

The company’s decision reflects the hard realities of the industry and the latest skirmish in the fight for union survival. Boeing says the contract concessions are essential to compete financially with its longtime European rival Airbus, which plans to deliver its own new twin-aisle jetliner next year….

Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Raymond L. Conner laid out the stakes in a letter to workers before the Nov. 13 union vote on the 777X, an essential part of the company’s long-term product strategy. “What we want to avoid is that we become one of the companies that made decisions too late to remain competitive in the marketplace,” he wrote.

Boeing gave other states until Tuesday to submit proposals to build the wide-body’s latest generation. Within days of the union vote, California, Missouri and Texas made appeals to Boeing in an attempt to snag the program.

The company joins a long line of manufacturers and municipalities that have sought to wring concessions from unions that once negotiated comfortable pensions and wages.

After a bitter strike in 2008, the company shipped much of the work on its 787 Dreamliner to South Carolina, a right-to-work state. Seven years earlier, it moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. Its Washington workforce is more than 83,000 strong, but there are fears that the company’s future is elsewhere.

“If Boeing doesn’t build the 777X here, this could be the start of a long, steady decline of the company’s presence here,” said Scott Hamilton, an aviation industry consultant who figures Boeing could be gone by 2030, based on backlogs and production rates.

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Labor unions stage paid protests to hurt holiday retail sales

by Jim Kouri on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

This is article 177 of 180 in the topic Unions

During the busy shopping weekend, that began with Black Friday through the Thanksgiving holiday-weekend on Saturday and Sunday, many Christmas bargain-hunters were subjected to loud, boisterous labor demonstrations in front of department stores such as the Wal-Mart chain and other non-union retailers, according to numerous national and local media stories.

The tactics employed by the protesters include being arrested by police officers and portraying them as brutal cops while creating “martyrs” for the labor movement, according to several law enforcement officials who spoke with Law Enforcement Examiner.

Only a few news media outlets covered the allegations and evidence that union front groups are staging these holiday shopping protests in cities and towns throughout the country. Their goal is to generate biased news coverage and publicity and to disrupt holiday shopping in their quest for a negative PR campaign against retail employers, according to officials from the non-partisan Worker Center Watch.

The organization offers disturbing proof that very few current employees of retailers being targeted are involved in the protests and demonstrations.

They claim that “union members, their worker center activist allies and professional protesters sing songs, carry signs and chant through bullhorns in protests more focused on generating media attention than helping workers.”

“The deceptive Black Friday campaign, designed to look like a worker uprisings, has been planned for weeks, including designating protesters in big media markets for arrest,” Worker Center Watch officials allege.

“Unions, desperate for new dues after decades of declining membership, have embraced non-profit worker centers to do their dirty work for them. Worker centers are labor organizations, they clearly fit the definition,” said Ryan Williams, media director for Worker Center Watch, a coalition of business owners and concerned citizens dedicated to exposing labor unions‘ abuse of the worker center organizational model.

“It’s a way that allows the unions to skirt labor organizing laws by letting the activist groups they sponsor to attack employers for them. Big Labor is spending millions of dollars on a massive charade against job creators at a time when our economy can least afford it,” notes Williams.

“This isn’t the first time unions have used paid protesters and thugs to carry out their ‘brown shirt’ activities against capitalists, conservatives and Tea Party members. They create fake organizations and pay all the expenses for these so-called labor actions,” said a former director of security for a large retail chain, Joseph Waylon.

“The Obama administration and the Democrats know this is happening but they do nothing to stop this fraud because these same labor unions pour millions and millions of dollars into their political coffers,” Waylon added.

A study — conducted for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by Jarol B. Manheim, Professor Emeritus of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University — exposes how an extensive web of foundation cash fuels prominent union front organizations. For example, the Kellogg Foundation channeled over $1.2 million to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Open Society Institute gave the National Domestic Workers Alliance $695,000, and the Rockefeller Foundation gave Restaurant Opportunities Center United $300,000.

The study also examines how many union front groups receive taxpayer-funded support from the Obama administration.

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CAN WE TRUST AN ARMED AND UNIONIZED TSA — ANOTHER FEDERAL POLICE FORCE?

by Stephen Levine on Thursday, November 7th, 2013

This is article 68 of 71 in the topic Travel/Transportation

Do you want armed bozos in a “gun free” target-rich environment?

BZ

The progressive socialist democrats running the unions are not ones to let a crisis go to waste, so there should be absolutely no surprise that the union associated with the TSA officers are urging that they be armed. Of course, this presents its own challenges.

  1. Can you trust a poorly vetted and grossly-out-of-shape civilian police force that has relaxed standards and would be an armed presence in a gun-free zone?
  2. Can you trust TSA personnel, who face daily insults and the scorn of the public, not to overreact and become a threat to the traveling public?
  3. Can you imagine TSA officers spraying innocent civilians in the proximity and not hitting their intended target?
  4. Can you trust a civilian police force, not to use the guns they are officially issued, on their home turf?
  5. Can you trust the unions not to demand more and more money as these officers are trained and armed – with the union eventually demanding they be given federal law enforcement status with equivalent pay, pensions, healthcare, early-retirement, and other perks?
  6. Can you trust the political leadership of the TSA?
  7. Is there any proof that any TSA person thwarted an actual terrorist attack in the history of the TSA?

Even when trained, many of these people will remain TSA bozos and not somehow miraculously turn into trained Israeli Airport Security people!

According to the Los Angeles Times …

Union urges arming TSA officers after LAX shooting  — Airport security experts note the cost and risk of arming TSA officers. The Airport Police chief says more officers in the terminal wouldn’t have necessarily saved lives.

When Congress formed the Transportation Security Administration two months after 9/11, the agency’s mission was clear: Its officers would not carry guns or make arrests. Instead, they would focus on screening passengers for weapons, bombs and other dangerous materials.

But the shooting death of a TSA officer at Los Angeles International Airport — the first fatality in the agency’s history — could change that. On Monday, the union representing 45,000 federal security agents called for the creation of a class of armed TSA officers with law enforcement training and the authority to arrest people.

“The sad truth is that our TSA officers are subject to daily verbal assaults and far too frequent physical attacks,” said Jeffrey David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees. “We feel a larger and more consistent armed presence in screening areas would be a positive step.”

TSA Administrator John Pistole said his agency would review its protocols after Friday’s attack.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder also weighed in Monday, saying that the government should examine the agency’s role in protecting airports.  Part of the investigation will be “a review of the security measures that were in place not only at LAX but, I think, a review of the security arrangements that exist in other airports as well,” he said.

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WHAT IS HAPPENING IN AMERICAN AND WHERE ARE THE AMERICANS?

by Stephen Levine on Sunday, October 13th, 2013

This is article 382 of 469 in the topic Government Corruption

It appears that the majority of Americans are apathetic – caught up in a malaise without any feeling of unity or sense of purpose.

Events beyond their control swirl about. Talking heads and political pundits fill the airwaves with what is wrong with America. With the progressive media dishonestly blaming the GOP and holding President Obama and his cadre of fellow travelers harmless for the damage being done to our nation. The top two subjects being discussed appear to be crime and politics – in reality, and as perceived by most people, one in the same thing.

Daily life goes on, with most Americans wondering, not about the broader economic forecasts, but about losing their jobs and the possible loss of their healthcare insurance coverage.

They are slowly awakening to the fact that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, stood before them an lied to the up-turned faces looking for “hope and change.”

Instead they found that they may not be able to keep their current insurance coverage or their current doctors. They are finding that the Affordable Care Act is not affordable and represents a major increase in their insurance premiums, often for less medical care. Even worse, they are finding that their jobs are being cut-back as the Affordable Care Act redefines a full-time position to be 30 hours.

Should Americans look a little closer at the Washington dung heap, they would see little difference between the political parties as they struggle for perpetual control and the right to pick the taxpayer’s pockets. Not only to enrich themselves and their friends, but to purchase enough votes to achieve permanent political control over the system. Even to the extent of granting citizenship rights to currently illegal aliens; in reality an invasion of a foreign culture that refuses to assimilate. Recreating crapistan here in America as they parasitically suck local and state governments dry – reducing emergency services and social safety nets designed and paid for by the legal citizens of our states and nation.

Even worse, it appears we are caught up in a dystopian world seemingly created by George Orwell. Where equality is only a talking point and some animals are more important than other animals. Where political speech is topsy turvy and up is down, black is white, and evil is good. Where commonsense and morality give way to political correctness, multiculturalism, and moral equivalency. Where terrorists are freedom fighters if they are allied with a favored political cause – in spite of the fact that they are killing innocent men, women, and children in the name of their religion and pursuing their goal of achieving dominant political power.

Crazyiness abounds. How else can you explain that issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens will make the roads safer? Or how the economy will be boosted by the illegal aliens who are taking entry-level positions and making them into careers – depriving teenagers and recent graduates access to this job pool?

How else can you explain pouring more and more money into a union-dominated socialistic education system that continues to pump out decades of functional illiterates who are little more than ideological activists who cannot read, write, do simply arithmetic or even function without a calculator or computer. Disadvantaging the poor even more and insuring a permanent underclass.

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Obama calls Republicans ‘extortionists’ during speech

by Jim Kouri on Saturday, September 21st, 2013

This is article 491 of 699 in the topic Healthcare

President Barack Obama shocked a number of Americans when during a televised speech on Wednesday he accused the House Republicans of being extortionists, according to a number of news organizations.

“You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt ceiling being used to extort a president or a — a governing party,” Obama said to an audience of top business executives who are members of the Business Roundtable association.

The only difference between Obama’s negotiations with Putin and Boehner then would be that the president would never say the things about Russia’s strongman that he has about the weakened speaker of the House. And that’s very telling indeed,” said Fox News Channel’s Chris Stirewalt.

But a former police detective is more blunt: “How dare this president with his almost constant ‘cover-up mode’ accuse his political opponents of a felony? If anyone should be investigated for alleged extortion, it’s President Obama and his Chicago machine that’s invaded the White House,” said Det. Sidney Franes, who also served as a Marine intelligence officer.

In a written statement released on Thursday, the Obama White House delivered a tough message saying the President opposes a GOP bill in the House of Representatives to at least temporarily defund Obama’s prized Obamacare, claiming the GOP bill “advances a narrow ideological agenda that threatens our economy and the interests of the middle class.”

In addition, several Senate Democrats have already claimed they will vote against the Republican remedy to what conservatives allege is a corrupt and misguided healthcare system revamp.

As reported in an Examiner news story, President Obama unilaterally rewrote the law — without congressional approval — to delay the so-called “employer mandate,” which was scheduled to go in effect on Jan. 1, 2014, for at least a year. The employer mandate stipulates that companies with over 50 full-time employees must provide healthcare plans for their workers that comply with Obamacare standards.

If they do not, they will be forced to pay a penalty “tax” for each employee not receiving an Obama-approved healthcare plan. The temporary waiver allows companies to save millions of dollars, according to the Examiner story.

However, Judicial Watch notes that the President did not rewrite the Affordable Care Act so that Americans would be eligible for a delay in the implementation of the “individual mandate,” which requires nearly all Americans to have Obama-approved health insurance by that same date or pay a tax penalty.

“Many Americans are caught in the middle. They are obligated to have Obama-approved health insurance, but their employers are not obligated to provide it, at least for another year. As a result, these Americans will be forced to purchase Obama-approved health insurance on an Obamacare-created health insurance exchange or pay the tax penalty. Either way, they’re out-of-pocket,” stated officials at Judicial Watch.

In it’s press statement, Judicial Watch noted: If you are going to have to purchase Obama-approved health insurance through an Obamacare-created health insurance exchange or pay a tax penalty because your employer, which would have been covered by the employer mandate, is dropping or does not provide health insurance, you may have a claim to challenge President Obama’s unilateral rewriting of the law.

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Bitter Lesson for Big Labor: “Redistribution Marxism” No Panacea for Little People!

by John Lillpop on Monday, September 16th, 2013

This is article 489 of 699 in the topic Healthcare

Barack Obama’s electoral success is due, in no small part, to unwary labor leaders who blindly followed The One’s Marxist promise to “Bless the Little Guy by Soaking the Rich.”

Naïve labor leaders bought into Obama’s Pied Piper fantasy about reducing health care costs by adding 30 million uninsured to the public trough!

Both Obama and Big Labor continue to hallucinate about the existence of “Free lunches,” and the morality and wisdom of stealing from the successful to subsidize the slothful and inept.

Big Labor can be excused, partially, for greedily subscribing to the Marxist notion of wealth redistribution. After all, why not force the rich to pay their “fair share,” even if it requires a tyrannical government to seize THEIR wealth to do the deed?

Indeed, as long as redistribution mania does not cost union coffers and their members more booty, why fret about unlovable millionaires and billionaires?

Along the way, Big Labor learned a vital lesson about Barack Obama and Marxist “fairness.”

To begin with, labor leaders learned that Obama is a congenital liar who will say damn near anything to get elected and to get his way in governance.

Promises made to reach Marxist goals are essentially “inoperative” once The One is in office, and are equally meaningless once a “Legacy” signature bill has been signed into law…as in the train wreck known as the Affordable Care Act.

Secondly, Soak the Rich” policies are terrific—-unless one happens to be “Rich,” as defined by a goofy Marxist government.

Which is the case when it comes to “Cadillac” plans enjoyed by some Union members.

However, an unintended consequence of redistribution has caught up with Obamacare and Big Labor. Thus, the groveling faithful are in open revolt against Obamacare as reported at the reference:

Despite pressure from top labor leaders, the Obama administration said late Friday it cannot extend government subsidies tied to the new health care law to union members with multi-employer health plans.

It appears that despite fiery rhetoric over the summer, the unions were unable to convince the Obama administration that their plans should benefit from the same type of premium support.

Earlier this week, the AFL-CIO passed a resolution at its convention that calls on the Obama administration to change the health overhaul and reiterates their desire to see a government-run single-payer health system.”

Will Obamacare finally teach Big Labor that Progressive solutions are no match for good-old fashioned market forces in a capitalist society?

Or will Big Labor remain manacled to the slavery that inevitably follows when one follows a Progressive (and clueless) Pied Piper?

John W. Lillpop
San Jose, California

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No Obamacare exemptions for Big Labor? We’ll see

by Doug Powers on Saturday, September 14th, 2013

This is article 486 of 699 in the topic Healthcare
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The Obamacare rollout has been an uncomfortable one for Big Labor. Congress passed the law with their blessing, and now they’re finding out what’s in it, and they want out. The White House issued its first response to union concerns. Try not to point and laugh:

The Obama administration on Friday appeared to rule out giving unions a special deal to offer their workers extra ObamaCare subsidies, but left the door open to other changes after a private White House meeting with labor leaders who are concerned over the law.

Earlier in the day, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka had urged the White House to act within a week to address labor unions’ concerns over ObamaCare.

The sit-down with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden came amid concerns from Republicans that Obama might be preparing to offer the unions a special deal to assuage their concerns.

But on Friday night, the White House said the Treasury Department had issued a letter “making clear that it does not see a legal way for individuals in multi-employer group health plans to receive individual market tax credits as well as the favorable tax treatment associated with employer-provided health insurance at the same time.”

I’ll be waiting this one out in the gray area between schadenfreude and skepticism. There’s absolutely no way those who were at the front lines in ramming Obamacare through Congress should be exempted from some of its provisions, but at the same time it’s unlikely the Obama administration and the Democrats won’t desperately search for a way to help ease the self-inflicted pain of some of their greatest election-year allies.

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Backfire: Obamacare fallout continues as 40,000 longshoremen quit AFL-CIO

by Doug Powers on Monday, September 2nd, 2013

This is article 482 of 699 in the topic Healthcare
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Democrats received Big Labor support for Obamacare because of promises that unions would have priority access to lifeboats when the whole thing started to sink. Now, some union heads are coming to the harsh realization that they were duped, and membership is expressing their dissatisfaction:

In what is being reported as a surprise move, the 40,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they have formally ended their association with the AFL-CIO, one of the nation’s largest private sector unions. The Longshoremen citied Obamacare and immigration reform as two important causes of their disaffiliation.

In an August 29 letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, ILWU President Robert McEllrath cited quite a list of grievances as reasons for the disillusion of their affiliation, but prominent among them was the AFL-CIO’s support of Obamare.

“We feel the Federation has done a great disservice to the labor movement and all working people by going along to get along,” McEllrath wrote in the letter to Trumka.

The ILWU President made it clear they are for a single-payer, nationalized healthcare policy and are upset with the AFL-CIO for going along with Obama on the confiscatory tax on their “Cadillac” healthcare plan.

If the ILWU is upset at Obamacare’s negative effect on their “Cadillac” health plans, wait until their dream of single payer is a reality (the wreckage of Obamacare is merely a stepping stone to single payer, according to Harry Reid, who accidentally told the truth recently). This is kind of like trying to halt your arteriosclerosis by funneling hydrogenated oil.

Not so coincidentally, around the same time 40,000 longshoremen–and more importantly, their dues payments–were leaving the AFL-CIO, the head of that union held a press conference saying he’s not really angry or anything but somebody needs to fix the law, pronto! Hard to feel sorry for him:

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