Organized Labor

Jobs Bill Stalls – Legislation Allowing More Corporate Access To Prison Labor Passed

A VLTP Special Report by Bob Sloan, Executive Director

LABOR UNIONS AND GROUPS – PULL THE WOOL FROM OVER YOUR EYES AND GET ACTIVELY INVOLVED NOW – BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!

Over the past two weeks VLTP published the first, second and final segments of an expose reporting on the use of prison labor in Nevada to deny jobs to local unemployed workers in Las Vegas. In researching for these articles, a very disturbing development came to light involving a lack of transparency concerning legislative action(s) taken that impact upon America’s workers – employed and unemployed alike – that must be widely reported.

VLTP would encourage readers to take a few minutes and read the full expose that links ALEC and prison industry advocates together in advancing legislation to expand prison industries nationwide.  It is filled with the legislation, individual names, corporations and links to videos of meetings where this expansion began and how Nevada is simply the latest example of sending American jobs to prison.

That being said, I am very disturbed and need to get breaking news out to DK readers about a development that will impact ALL labor in the U.S. – and in the worst way possible.  Congress has loudly argued over President Obama’s “Jobs Bill” for a couple of years now, stalling any discussion of it in the House.  At the same time Congress very, very quietly passed legislation giving Federal Prison Industries authorities the go ahead to expand their operations with two critical measures.  This was done under More →

Right to Work — As Does Michigan, So Goes Wisconsin

images[5]A disturbing report out of the midwest…

Wisconsin is poised to enact a Right to Work Law modeled after Michigan’s new law. An AP report out of the state says the RTW legislative movement is picking-up steam in the wake of an appeals court ruling upholding the 2011 law that stripped public sector employees of the right to collective bargaining.

National Right to Work Foundation President, Mark Mix, is energized by the ruling and feels the Republican -led legislature will act on a RTW law soon. He is quoted as saying “No Wisconsin public worker should ever be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.”

Although Governor Walker claims RTW is not on his agenda, Michigan heard the same song and dance out of Snyder.

Amy Kerr Hardin from Democracy Tree
democracy tree logo

New Michigan Law in the Works to Destroy Public Education

A posthumous legacy of Michigan’s 96th Legislature — some ugly unfinished business the state can expect to see lead the parade of bills introduced in the new session:

Neophyte Republican party hard-liner, Lisa Posthumus-Lyons rode the coat-tails of her daddy, Dick Posthumus, into the Michigan House in 2010. After his failed gubernatorial race and loss to Jennifer Granholm, Dick worked his backroom corporate affiliations, and the father-daughter team surfed their well-greased skids into power positions within the Snyder Administration. The 32 year old freshman lawmaker, Lisa Posthumus-Lyons, fresh out of dabbling in the real estate business, was appointed Chair of the House Education Committee when the previous occupant, Rep. Paul Scott, was recalled.

Upon election, Snyder named the elder Posthumus as his senior advisor and legislative lobbyist. The appointment of Posthumus, a Michigan farmer with extensive legislative experience (having been the longest serving Senate Majority Leader in Michigan’s history) should have been the first clue that the Snyder administration would be nothing like the one painted in the campaign. More →

Privatizing Government Services in the Era of ALEC and the Great Recession – Part IV – Unions and Collective Bargaining

IV.   UNIONS AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Many ALEC bills target teachers and collective bargaining, and laws that
are similar to those bills have been enacted in the aftermath of the Republican victories in 2010.  For example, in Indiana, where Republicans had a 60-40 House majority and a 37-13 Senate super-majority, the Senate labor committee chair coupled limits on teacher collective bargaining with teacher merit pay and state-funded vouchers for students to attend private schools. 121  In addition, teacher collective bargaining was limited to salaries, benefits, and total number of work days. 122

A. Public Employee Freedom Act

ALEC Summary:  “Excluded from National Labor Relations Act (NLRA),
public employees are subject to state and local laws governing collective
bargaining.  Many of these laws are ‘monopoly bargaining laws,’ which More →

Poor management, not union intransigence, killed Hostess

The company had done almost nothing in the last 10 years to modernize or expand its offerings.

Hostess first entered bankruptcy in 2004, when it was known as Interstate Bakeries. During its five years in Chapter 11, the firm obtained concessions from its unions worth $110 million a year. The unions accepted layoffs that brought the workforce down to about 19,000 from more than 30,000. There were cuts in wages, pension and health benefits. The Teamsters committed to negotiations over changes in antiquated work rules. The givebacks helped reduce Hostess’ labor costs to the point where they were roughly equal  to or even lower than some of its major competitors’.

But the firm emerged from bankruptcy with more debt than when it went in — in with $575 million, out with $774 million, all secured by company assets. That’s pretty much the opposite of what’s supposed to happen in bankruptcy. By the end, there was barely a spare distributor cap in the motor pool that wasn’t mortgaged to the private equity firms and hedge funds holding the notes (and also appointing management).

As management experts such as Peter Drucker have observed, the goal of a successful business must be to find and serve customers. Do that, and the numbers take care of themselves. The Hostess approach was entirely backward — meeting the numbers became Job One, and figuring out how to grow the business became Job None.

…It failed because the people that ran it had no idea what they were doing. Every other excuse is just an attempt by the guilty to blame someone else.

There is a lot to read in this excellent expose in the Los Angeles Times,  We have only excerpted a small amount–and you should be interested in reading about the long history of mismanagement and worker concessions which simply lined the pockets of the owners.  As if people should be rewarded to doing their job so pathetically.  Please click hereto read the entire article. .

‘Workers’ Rights Are Human Rights’

On Up with Chris Hayes, the entire first hour was devoted to the role of unions in the economy, its tenuous relationship with partisan politics and the how the diminishing union participation has hurt the average American worker.

Union member Saladin Muhammad reminds viewers that workers’ rights are in fact, human rights, providing workers with the dignity of honest pay, benefits and safety in the workplace.

To watch a composite video of consecutive segments on Up with Chris Hayes, please click here.

To read the entire article with one segment of the show embedded, please click here

Mich. Court of Appeals smacks down Snyder & Schuette, orders collective bargaining amendment onto ballot

Score one for the good guys

The Michigan Court of Appeals has once again ordered the Republicans on the Board of State Canvassers to halt their efforts to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Michigan voters and directed them to place the Protect Working Families, formerly Protect Our Jobs, ballot initiative on the November ballot. The measure will ensure that collective bargaining rights are protected in our state constitution and prevent the wholesale destruction of those rights by extremist anti-labor majorities like we have in our state legislature today.

To read this important story, please click here

Voter Suppression in Ohio

The ALEC “Trifecta”

Over the past two years we’ve seen a very partisan form of state government in Ohio.  Governor John Kasich promoted and signed legislation that directly attacked organized labor (SB-5, a collective bargaining overhaul) which became the centerpiece of the Ohio Republican Party agenda last year and an issue championed by the GOP Governor.  Kasich has been pursuing a specific agenda along with other highly placed state appointed and elected officials.  The Governor and at least two top Ohio state officials share alumnus status with the developer of that agenda – ALEC.Kasich pushed for privatized education – K-12 through  college – accomplished through cuts to education spending, signed legislation allowing fracking,  and slashed funding for the Ohio Consumer’s Counsel  (OCC) which has interfered with Duke Energy’s attempts to pass along storm damage repairs to their customers.

Kasich appointed former Representative Todd Snitchler (R) to the position of Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) in 2011. One of Snitchler’s first acts was to approve rate increases proposed by Duke Energy and American Electric Power (AEP). Snitchler touted consumers would see smaller energy bills under the plans. Within 60 days of approval, PUCO and Snitchler repealed the approval after schools, residents and businesses saw rate increases of as much as 50% by both Duke and AEP.

More recently a furor has arisen over early voting hours, voter ID fraud and “election reform,” with Kasich signing a reform bill that overturned last year’s bill actually providing election reform.  The net was that it would restrict early voting in Ohio.

Ohio’s current Secretary of State Jon Husted served six terms as a member of the Ohio House and 1 year in the state Senate before being elected as Secretary in 2010. He has been at the center of a maelstrom of controversy over allowing some Republic counties to extend early voting hours while restricting Democratic counties to shorter hours.  Last week he suspended two election board officials who voted to keep weekend early voting – only to reinstate those member this week.

All of the issues mentioned above are parts of an agenda advanced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Nationally they have pursued a suppression of minority voters through voter ID “model legislation”, support for state legislation to allow fracking, unlimited drilling, and opposing renewable energy initiatives.

What most Ohio voters and consumers are unaware of is that Kasich, Husted and Snitchler are all ALEC Alumni:

House Republicans Perpetuate Voter Fraud Myth, Fine With Disenfranchising Voters

“House Republicans criticized the Justice Department for challenging voter ID laws. The critical lawmakers believe that DOJ is acting in a partisan manner and that DOJ’s actions show that the Obama Administration is more concerned with winning in November than protecting against election fraud.”

That’s correct folks, Voter Suppression is just fine with Republicans in Washington.  But, of course it is.  ALEC Alumni Messrs. Boehner and Cantor are in charge.  And what Republican is looking forward to a visit from the “muscle” of the Cabal–a Tea Party challenger in the next primary.

But that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong. Please click here to read the extent to which the radical right will go to win this next Battle of the War for Control of the Government*–disenfranchise those who would stand in their way at the polls.  Prevent the Justice Department from doing it’s job.  What else is a House Republican to do?

*engaging Organized Labor early and get them to spend all of their money fighting for survival in WI, MI, OH, and IN, was the first skirmish of the war.