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So Always Look For The Union Scumbags

Well, if it's an election year, then it's time to once again reflect on the state of organized labor as it once again assumes the role of John to the Democratic whores. They wave their money and wring all sorts of empty promises and proclamations of true love, of the sheer virility and irresistibility and skillfulness from the prostitute, but in the end all they get is screwed.

This time around, the unions are lining up behind Senator Barack Obama. And he seems quite willing to take their money and mouth all the right platitudes. But it isn't really fair to single him out for this -- as happens every election cycle, the entire Democratic establishment is bending over and hiking their skirts (once the checks clear).

So, what kind of a bang are the unions getting for their buck this time around? Well, Senator Obama has made it clear that one of his first actions as president will be to rescind the consent decree that has been the government's main tool in rooting out organized crime's tentacles into that organization. One of the key provisions of the decree was requiring that union officials be directly elected by the membership, a reform that the union had literally spent decades fighting. Any takers on how long that will last once the decree is lifted?

Well, if we need any evidence about how unions feel about free and fair elections, we need look no farther than the bill in Congress right now that will abolish the secret ballot for workers deciding whether to unionize. Go look up the obscenely Orwellian named "Employee Free Choice Act," which will give employees the "choice" to avoid the whole icky "secret ballot" thingie and instead "choose" whether or not to join a union by instead signing -- or refusing to sign -- a union card in the presence of union-paid "organizers." Boy, it's a good thing them unions don't have a record of using intimidation and coercion and threats of force to get their way, isn't it?

Finally, a little while ago I took a look at the leading 527 groups who are pumping big bucks into this election. The biggest spender thus far -- by a ratio of about 9 to 2 over the second-place group -- is the Service Employees International Union. They've pumped almost $21 MILLION dollars into the race.

So, where does this union get all of its money? Where else? By shaking down its members, and -- surprise, surprise! -- they apparently don't let such niceties as the law or member preferences get in the way. They recently passed a new requirement for their local chapters: in addition to their dues, they have to pony up $6.00 per member not to the union, but to its political action committee. Locals that don't cough up the dough will have to make up any shortages out of their general funds, plus a 50% penalty.

I'm no lawyer, but it's my understanding that contributions to political action committees are supposed to be entirely voluntary. I seem to recall certain scandals ivnolving large corporations "encouraging" its employees to give to their pet causes. But it seems that if you're a union, you can just order its members to open their wallets and fund the union's pet causes.

Gosh, I feel so warm and fuzzy and trusting. This must be the "hope and change" I keep hearing about.


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Comments (16)

Barack Obama wants to reneg... (Below threshold)
bruce:

Barack Obama wants to renegotiate NAFTA and thus risk a trade war
Barack Obama wants to raise the tax on capital gains
Barack Obama want to raise the tax on dividends
Barack Obama wants to raise the tax on top earners
All this in the face of a recession
All this straight out of Herbert Hoover's playbook

If this comes to pass the first people who get hurt and lose their jobs will be the construction workers, the factory workers ..many retail workers..in short union jobs

I think there's a word for that..

Oh yeah..JUSTICE

Warm and fuzzy is what mold... (Below threshold)
epador:

Warm and fuzzy is what molding vegetables and fruits feel like.

JT,You just dropped ... (Below threshold)
Codekeyguy Author Profile Page:

JT,
You just dropped the gauntlet. Paul Hooson will reply in 5..4..3..

I hope McCain attacks on th... (Below threshold)

I hope McCain attacks on this. Taking away oversite of unions and making union voting an exercise in open intimidation can't sit well with anyone but the politically insane.

That wasn't a gauntlet, cod... (Below threshold)

That wasn't a gauntlet, codekey. It was a shot across the bow. I'm preparing the full broadside now...

J.

You are right, it "was" il... (Below threshold)

You are right, it "was" illegal to coerce employee donations
, is it illegal for a union to coerce? No It Won't Be! When I first started working at the Chicago Board of Trade there was a "forced contribution" scandal involving donations to Republicans. Jay these are donations to Democrats. Illegal Democratic donations clearly will not be illegal in an Obama administration. Vote for Barack and own penny stocks.

Chicago, corrupt unions, Ob... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Chicago, corrupt unions, Obama......the nut doesn't fall far from the tree.

Jay, it's farout extremist ... (Below threshold)

Jay, it's farout extremist antiunion attitudes like this on the part of some, but certainly not all Republicans, that have only hurt their ability to more fairly compete for union endorsements. Since the 1970's the number of Republican candidates who have won labor union endorsements has steadily dropped off as many Republicans have adopted the radical positions of the far right and given up on political moderation.

You also fail to mention that the main opponent of the Employee Free Choice Act is right wing lobbyist, Rick Berman, much of whose support comes from the alcohol and tobacco industry. Some of the tobacco supporters are even convicted racketeers that contribute to Berman, although Berman is highly secretative to news agencies where all his millions of dollars to oppose labor unions and good wages, employee health care or retirement plans comes from.

Berman is also known for his attacks on MADD and opposition to drunk driving laws because selling less alcohol only hurts his alcohol industry backers. If anthing is evil or bad, Berman is a spokesman for it, including his antiunion efforts.

Paul, the reason I "failed"... (Below threshold)

Paul, the reason I "failed" to mention that Berman jerk is that I don't subscribe to the simplistic notion that "just because I don't like some guy, anything he supports must be bad."

I also note that you didn't rebut a single thing I said about unions, just that it was "extremist antiunion." Indeed, your defense seems to bolster my "Democrats as whores" metaphor. Thanks for reinforcing it for me.

J.

Jay, it's farout e... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:
Jay, it's farout extremist antiunion attitudes like this on the part of some, but certainly not all Republicans, that have only hurt their ability to more fairly compete for union endorsements. Since the 1970's the number of Republican candidates who have won labor union endorsements has steadily dropped off as many Republicans have adopted the radical positions of the far right and given up on political moderation.

A few years ago, I drew the assignment, as an employee of a non-profit, of giving the United Way presentation to various businesses in the community. One was a Ford plant.

Before I spoke, I listened to the rest of the employees meeting. In a town that voted overwhelmingly Republican, the union members were instructed, via a letter from their national leadership, to do whatever it took to elect Bill Clinton and were told how much of their union dues was going be devoted to making that possible. It was quite a lot of money.

There was zero choice for those union members as to which candidate their union was going to support.

Over the course of the next few years, the plant did thrive. Oh, not because of improved business, but because the Republican leadership in Ohio sent a lot money their way to develop a training center.

The union members at that plant still got zero choice as to which candidate they preferred to support as a local union.

My father actually was a union man and his brother was a union organizer. The unions of his day, however, were devoted to the betterment of the worker. If it didn't benefit the worker, the union didn't support it. Sometimes that meant the union had to be the one to rein in their own people when they went overboard. When they stopped being willing to do that, unions started to decline in influence.

Jay, in 1972 George Meany w... (Below threshold)

Jay, in 1972 George Meany who was the leader of the AFLCIO encouraged his organization to not endorse any candidate because felt that Democrat George McGovern was unacceptable, which gave a greenlight to many union members to support Richard Nixon, who I worked for that year as a 17 year old youth worker.

The Teamsters Union often threw their support behind Republican candidates. But most labor unions stopped endorsing most Republicans some years ago because so many began to have very poor voting records on issues dealing with working people as more and more Republican candidates began adopting extreme antilabor views as businesses associated with powerful business trade organizations such the Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturerers began to contribute campaign funds to Republican candidates to oppose the minimum wage and other prolabor legislation.

I've never been a union member personally, because I've always represented management in business. But I've seen what a good life the union gave my father. For $40 a month in union dues the labor union paid my father $1600 a month in retirement benefits and gave my mother half of that amount when my father died as a widow's benefit. The union also cut accidents in his workplace, protected workers from wrongful job termination, gave health care benefits to all immediate family members as long as they attended school including college, and many other benefits, all for just $40 a month in union dues. In addition, the union helped out local social service and community agencies by contributions to the United Way and other organizations. Any funds that went to COPE(Committee On Political Education) were very small compared to the other work and benefits of the union.

I was also a lobbyist as well for a while, but unlike tobbaco and alcohol industry lobbyist Rick Berman, I worked towards good projects such as securing student loans for students who had low econmic means. I also did volunteer work for both Jewish and Christian agencies such as thrift businesses run by them by repairing broken donated electronics such as TVs free of charge for them, and often brought hungry people home for dinner to my home and helped them out in various ways.

What I don't like is the stingy little attitudes of some who don't like to do anything good for others or belly ache when working people attempt to get at least a decent living wage. Labor unions at least give the little guy some equal standing to management or to powerful business lobby organizations. Currently there are 66 lobbyists for every one member of Congress, and most are associated with business, not some labor union. Let's be honest here.

Hooson, you remind me of th... (Below threshold)

Hooson, you remind me of the old joke.

A man approaches a woman. "Pardon me, ma'am, would you sleep with me for ten million dollars?"

She's startled. "Um... I suppose so..."

"Well, how about for ten dollars?"

"Of course not! What do you take me for?"

"We've established that. Now we're just negotiating over price."

The gist of my piece was that the Democrats are whoring themselves to the unions, selling out such quaint ideas as principle and integrity.

Your response seems to boil down to "the Republicans could whore themselves out, too."

And it never amazes me to see how many topics you manage to turn into some manner of a personal boast. It seems you're a universal expert, having done everything and been astonishingly successful at it, so we should all defer our judgment to your superior experiences.

Thanks, but I'll pass. Especially when you'd rather spend so much effort bragging about what a successful guy you are and not bother saying a single word about the Employee Free Choice Act except "some guy most people have never heard of is supporting it," and completely ignored the SEIU's open robbery of its members for political funds and didn't offer a single argument for the ending of the Teamsters' consent decree beyond "they might support a Republican if they let it go."

You've convinced me, Hooson. You're no Divine Brown. You're more like Ashley Dupre.

(If you're unfamiliar with your spiritual colleagues, Divine Brown was the street hooker busted with Hugh Grant; Ashley Dupre was the call girl who was servicing Elliot Spitzer.)

You wanna call this a personal attack? Fine with me. You're the one who chose to not discuss the actual topic, but make yourself the subject at hand.

The libertarian in me doesn't care for my use of the prostitution metaphor, but damn if you don't keep making it work.

J.

But I've seen what... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:
But I've seen what a good life the union gave my father. For $40 a month in union dues the labor union paid my father $1600 a month in retirement benefits and gave my mother half of that amount when my father died as a widow's benefit.

Let me get this straight. You are claiming that your father paid $40 a month and the union turned that into $1600 a month.

Forget Obama - vote for the guy who could make those numbers work. :-)

Despite having been the daughter of both an autoworker and steelworker union member, I never heard of the union paying a pension. My Dad's pensions came form the companies he worked for all those years. (Mom did not not outlive him so I have no idea about survivors benefits.)

Now, the union did negotiate with the company for the best deal for that pension, true, but it would be completely inaccurate to say the "union paid" the pension.

The union also cut accidents in his workplace, protected workers from wrongful job termination,

Early union activity did focus on that. As time .... and drug and alcohol use ... increased that became less and less true. Used to be if a person was a screw-up and endangered someone on the job, the union was the one who convinced them it was time to seek work elsewhere. After all, why endanger all workers on the line by permitting an obviously high individual around extremely dangerous equipment?

Later, as unions became more and more PC, those substance impaired workers were protected at the potential expense of other employees.

gave health care benefits to all immediate family members as long as they attended school including college,

Which is, of course, a standard clause in virtually any health insurance. I work with entering college students and have that discussion with a half dozen teenagers nearly every day.

Again, I have never experienced "the union providing" the health insurance. The latest auto workers deal may alter that, however, in the future.

and many other benefits, all for just $40 a month in union dues.

When my Mom died, the union sent a beautiful Bible to my Dad and another one to the family when Dad died. (Dad died 5 years ago.) I can recall some terrific union picnics from when I was a kid although I have no idea who paid for them.

The main thing that I remember the union "doing" for people was helping to get your kid (or the unemployed guy your daughter just married) a job. Nothing wrong with that.

In addition, the union helped out local social service and community agencies by contributions to the United Way and other organizations.

Now, that IS true. Local unions do tend to be great supporters of United Way and local agencies. While companies will sometimes lean more toward the pet projects of their CEO's, my experience with the unions is that they will support the United Way agencies equally.

Any funds that went to COPE(Committee On Political Education) were very small compared to the other work and benefits of the union.

I'll leave the actual numbers ot others to Google. When you talk in hundreds of millions of dollars, I wouldn't call it small.

The real test of whether a union is what it is doing for its workers lately. Given the unending complaints about the economy today, I would guess that that the unions aren't doing so well today.

Hello Folks, Big Picture ti... (Below threshold)
epador:

Hello Folks, Big Picture time.

Short term gain, long term major loss.

Unions have made labor in this country so expensive to support our manufacturing industry has left. All those warm and fuzzy benefits that aren't available to Chinese workers (whose masters, er I mean bosses, Paul Hoosen finds so nice to deal with) are now translating into unemployment checks across the rust belt and beyond.

Jay, Jay, Jay. Thank goodne... (Below threshold)

Jay, Jay, Jay. Thank goodness for you that the Internet allows absolutely anyone to blog regardless of ability. I can't ever recall any serious guest on MEET THE PRESS or other legitimate issue discussion programs ever constantly using "prostitution" analogies to describe everything, but okay.

You know that my support for labor unions is a an issue that I feel strongly about. A previous comment written by you above even suggested that you wrote this outrageous antiunion piece just to lure me into a discussion here with you about labor when you claimed that this was "a shot across the bow" to bring me here. So here I am, ready to defend unions.

The fact of the matter is that few legislators have any 100% rating from COPE. Labor simply chooses to endorse those legislators with the best support ratings. Republican candidates for public office and legislators are always perfectly free to address any union conferences are most welcome to attend and argue their case for union support. And union members are always free to vote their own will. In the 1998 elections for example, nearly 40% of all union members supported some Republican candidate for office.

Unions were actually quite divided during the primary campaign between candidates Clinton, Edwards and Obama, and a few unions that supported Clinton are still demandng some more information from the Obama campaign about issues. John McCain has by comparison had a sort of nasty relationship with labor unions, and really wrote himself out of their support years ago. But a Republican with a better record on labor issues could have easily gained more union support. John McCain has also supported every major free trade bill that labor opposes. But you do know that I personally personally see many benefits to trade with China myself regardless of how labor feels, but I understand their position.

Jay, I never claim to be any "universal expert" on all matters, but you know that I will strongly defend labor unions, even though I've never been a member, mainly because of the experience of watching how the union enriched my father's own life. But Jay, let's continue to respect each other despite some difference we might have on some issues. Sometimes you write pretty good pieces, Jay.

And Epador, you know that as much as 80% of some key industry groups operating in the U.S. are foreign owned. While some U.S. companies claim that they have to ship jobs overseas because of higher American labor costs, many businesses from Japan, Britain, Germany and South Korea operate factories in the U.S. and do perfectly well paying higher American wages. Most Toyotas, Hyundais, many BMWs, some Volvos, etc. are produced in the U.S., paid American wages and do just fine.

Long ago, in the early Henry Ford days of the Industrial Revolution, much of American manufacturing went to mass production of goods, and now few employees are actually needed to do many jobs. The Maremont Muffler plant for example hires very few workers because machines do most of the work, and employees actually ride on trolley cars around the plant because it is so huge in size. This notion that American business needs to go to China to make a profit is only a ruse for greed by some companies, while foreign corporations seem to do just fine paying American wages here. Hyundai could pay lower South Korean wagesto build most of their cars sold in the U.S., but does better building them in the U.S. at higher American wages and benefits, while others claim that they have no choice but move some factory and jobs to China.

And union members ... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:
And union members are always free to vote their own will. In the 1998 elections for example, nearly 40% of all union members supported some Republican candidate for office.

So, if a person belongs to a union, you believe that they SHOULD NOT be given the option of supporting the candidate of their choice with their union dues because - after all - they still have the right to their vote, as Americans, and they should be greatful for that?

How very democratic of you.

Thank goodness the law disagrees with you.

It doesn't really matter, of course, because, based on the statements that you have made, I seriously doubt that you have ever even met a union member.





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