Big Labor: The Real Hostage Takers

It took an amazing amount of gall, guile, or both for a former Ted Kennedy political staffer to decry supposed Tea Party “terrorist tactics” in seeking to rein in the debt drowning our nation.

“It has become commonplace to call the tea party faction in the House ‘hostage takers,'” William Yeomans wrote. “But they have now become full-blown terrorists.”

Forget, for a moment, the lack of violence–verbal or physical–coming from Tea Partiers, which would constitute terrorism. Forget, also, that grassroots pressure on politicians to control profligate spending (sure to be followed by tax hikes) is neither an act of hostage takers or terrorists.

Instead, consider for now the actions of President Obama and his key backers from Big Labor. As John Mariotti described this week, the “president’s job killers” include a host of minions enacting harmful regulation and:

It should be no surprise to anyone reading it why the US has a jobs problem. It is governed by an anti-business president, and no matter how many nice speeches he makes about jobs for Americans, his minions are behind the scenes doing the dirty work, killing American jobs and companies everyday–and no one seems to be able to stop them.

For its part, Big Labor–the sine qua non of the Obama administration–has held up vital trade deals that would give a boost to domestic manufacturers, small and large. It continues to demand job-killing card check, first by legislation and now by regulation. Big Labor was, as many will remember, the cornerstone of power for Yeomans’ former employer, Kennedy–making his terrorist allegations all the more shocking.

Perhaps most strange of all is that an anti-business agenda, propelled in part by the various and sundry anti-corporate Left–but primarily by organized labor–represents such a small portion of actual working Americans.

Most are familiar with labor’s decline and that it now represents only about 7 percent of private sector workers. What many haven’t recognized is that only 1.3 percent–a rounding error (or economic error)–of private sector workers in Right To Work states are members of a union. Yet it is organized labor’s lobbyists that relentlessly pressure senators from those states to bend to the will of a small special interest.

It is time to recognize that if there is a supposed “hostage taker” or “terrorist” in American politics it is the constituency of Big Labor bosses. And it is time to remember that America does not negotiate with terrorists.

Unions vs. Boeing – Yet Another Obama Regime Assault On The Constitution!

Wis. Police Defy Orders: Is It Anarchy?

An occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol by protesters fighting efforts to strip public workers of union bargaining rights carried on Sunday after police decided not to forcibly remove demonstrators and end a nearly two-week-long sit-in.

The state agency that oversees the Capitol asked the throngs of demonstrators who have camped out inside the building since Feb. 15 to leave by 4 p.m., saying the building was in dire need of a cleaning.

But in the hours before the deadline came and after it passed, it was clear most protesters did not intend to leave voluntarily and police had no immediate intention of forcing them to go.

Late Sunday night, Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said no demonstrators would be arrested as long as they continue to obey the law.

“People here have acted lawfully and responsibly,” Tubbs said. “There’s no reason to consider arrests.”

Tubbs said demonstrators who have occupied all three floors of the Capitol will have to relocate to the ground floor. He added that anyone who leaves the building will not be allowed back in, although police will allow union officials to bring food into the building for the protesters.

Demonstrators began camping out inside the normally immaculate Capitol two weeks ago in an effort to fight legislation proposed by Wisconsin’s new Republican governor, Scott Walker, that would strip most of the state’s public employees of the right to collectively bargain.

Labor leaders and Democratic lawmakers say the bill is intended to undermine the unions and weaken a key base of Democratic Party voters.

Read more here.

Nationwide Union Protests Fail!

Bill Jacobson reports that outside of the big rally in Madison, WI, the Moveon.Org sponsored labor protests across the country fell far short of expectations:

Promoters, such as David Dayen at Firedoglake, were predicting a million-person turnout nationwide. But reports as of 7:00 E.S.T. today make clear that other than in Madison, Wisconsin, the crowds were sparse.

The turnout in Madison was sizable, with estimates ranging over from 50-70,000, which included protesters bused in from other states. (Dayen is trying to pump the crowd estimate to over 100,000.) But elsewhere, the crowds numbered only in the hundreds or low thousands.

In Washington, D.C., only about 500 people showed up (go to link for good photos of crazy signs). (Note, WaPo says 1000.)

In Columbus, OH, where you would expect a big crowd given a similar controversy, only “several thousand” people protested.

Other head counts, based on news reports, include: Boston (1000), Portsmouth, N.H. (few hundred), Augusta, ME (small crowd), New York City (“several thousand”), Chicago (1000), Miami (100), Austin (several hundred), Chicago (1000); Lansing, MI (2000), Nashville (hundreds), Los Angeles (2000), Richmond, VA (300), Denver (1000); Frankfurt, KY (several hundred), Jefferson City, MO (several hundred), Harrisburg, PA (several hundred).

While I don’t have a complete count, based on these numbers from some major cities and labor states, total protesters nationwide (excluding Madison) likely totaled under 100,000 combined.

If only two people and a dog show up at a left wing protest, it gets front page coverage in the media so it’s not surprising that these sparsely attended events would get doting press by the national outlets.

What’s significant, as Jacobson points out, is that few outside of the labor movement participated. There is no wellspring of support for labor on these issues among the general public which should further isolate the protesters and fleebaggers in Wisconsin, Indiana, and anywhere else they try this “run and hide” tactic.

The Truth About Unions

While unions continue to dominate the news, I figured I would give you a few little facts I found from the Heritage Foundation. Take these facts, absorb them and continue to ask yourself …. are unions making a positive impact on our economy? I’ll bet you can already answer that question. But here are some specifics to fill in the blanks.

* Unions function as labor cartels. A labor cartel restricts the number of workers in a company or industry to drive up the remaining workers’ wages, just as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) attempts to cut the supply of oil to raise its price. Companies pass on those higher wages to consumers through higher prices, and often they also earn lower profits. Economic research finds that unions benefit their members but hurt consumers generally, and especially workers who are denied job opportunities.

* Economists consistently find that unions decrease the number of jobs available in the economy. The vast majority of manufacturing jobs lost over the past three decades have been among union members–non-union manufacturing employment has risen. Research also shows that widespread unionization delays recovery from economic downturns.

* Some unions win higher wages for their members, though many do not. But with these higher wages, unions bring less investment, fewer jobs, higher prices, and smaller 401(k) plans for everyone else. On balance, labor cartels harm the economy, and enacting policies designed to force workers into unions will only prolong the recession.

* Studies typically find that unionized companies earn profits between 10 percent and 15 percent lower than those of comparable non-union firms. Unlike the findings with respect to wage effects, the research shows unambiguously that unions directly cause lower profits. Profits drop at companies whose unions win certification elections but remain at normal levels for non-union firms. One recent study found that shareholder returns fall by 10 percent over two years at companies where unions win certification.

* In essence, unions “tax” investments that corporations make, redistributing part of the return from these investments to their members. This makes undertaking a new investment less worthwhile. Companies respond to the union tax in the same way they respond to government taxes on investment–by investing less. By cutting profits, unions also reduce the money that firms have available for new investments, so they also indirectly reduce investment.

* Research shows that unions directly cause firms to reduce their investments. In fact, investment drops sharply after unions organize a company. One study found that unionizing reduces capital investment by 30 percent–the same effect as a 33 percentage point increase in the corporate tax rate.

* Economists have found that unions delay economic recoveries. States with more union members took considerably longer than those with fewer union members to recover from the 1982 and 1991 recessions.

Now imagine if our government – state and federal – were forced to run like a business, without its unique ability to levy and collect taxes …… me thinks our country would have gone Tango Uniform ages ago.

Time to End Public Unions…..

Finally, he gravy train is over for public employee unions. Citizens are sick to death of their strikes, threats of strikes, whining, caterwauling, and incompetence.

It wouldn’t be this bad probably, if government, at any level, worked. But Americans look at the cluster fark that government has become and wonder why we are paying these bozos so much?

Politico:

A new poll from the Washington-based Clarus Group asked:

Do you think government employees should be represented by labor unions that bargain for higher pay, benefits and pensions … or do you think government employees should not be represented by labor unions?

A full 64% of the respondents said “no.”

That includes 42% of Democrats, and an overwhelming majority of Republicans. Only 49% of Democrats think public workers should be in unions at all.

That’s on the fundamental right to organize, before you get to wages and benefits. And that puts Scott Walker in a pretty good political place.

The poll was conducted using 1001 registered voters.

TSA Unions

I suppose we should have seen this coming early last week … that’s when Homeland Security announced that they were discontinuing the program that allowed airports to hire private-sector contractors to handle airport security and get rid of the TSA. The private contractors would have to work under TSA guidelines … but they would be private-sector workers, and that’s the key. Why the move? One reason — to make sure that more government workers don’t disappear into the private sector.

The real reason behind the move to prevent further privatization of airport security became clear at the end of the week when we learned that the Obama Administration was going to grant collective bargaining rights to a new union of TSA workers. Now we don’t really know just which union the Obama crowd was talking to; but you can clearly imagine what the union leaders were telling junta officials.

So … that’s exactly what the Obama administration did. Anything for unions. Unions say “frog” and Obama jumps. Unions say “jump” and Obama says “how high?”

What doe government employee unions have to gain here? Try about 45,000 workers with millions of dollars in potential union dues. Now the battle begins … who will win the campaign of a lifetime to represent these 45,000 workers: the American Federation of Government Employees or the National Treasury Employees Union?

Oh … and if you thought some TSA agents were surly and difficult to deal with before … you ain’t seen nothing yet. Now they’re going to become virtually impossible to fire, and that certainly isn’t going to make things any better.

SEIU adopts protest-by-intimidation

By: Mark Hemingway

Recently, some 500 protesters led by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) gathered on the lawn of Greg Baer, an attorney for Bank of America. They were allegedly upset over his employer’s role in the financial crisis that has put so many Americans out of work.

If you want to hold a protest going after the “banksters” who foolishly took on enormous risk and then got a taxpayer bailout, well, just let me know where to sign up.

But since when did it become okay for a mob of protesters to storm the yard and front porch of somebody’s home? Baer’s frightened 14-year-old son had to barricade himself in the bathroom. That’s not exercising your right to assemble peaceably. It’s intimidation, pure and simple.

Chris Hayes of the leftist magazine The Nation extolled the SEIU protest, comparing it to the angry congressional health care town halls that erupted last summer. Hayes was pleased to see similar outrage over the failures of capitalism, concluding, “It’s about damn time.”

Of course, context matters. When an elected representative schedules an event for the specific purpose of airing constituent grievances, nobody should be surprised if someone shows up angry. As long as there’s no violence, a little heat applied to your representative even can be healthy for democracy. (Tellingly, the only notable violence at a health care town hall occurred when SEIU members beat up Ken Gladney, an African-American Obamacare protester in a wheelchair.)

But showing up at a private citizen’s house with 500 of your closest friends and yelling at his kids with a bullhorn? So much for civil society.

The other disconcerting issue here is the SEIU. Hayes has written tellingly in the past about special interest corruption, but for some reason he failed to ask why SEIU officials why they were going to such extreme measures to attack Bank of America.

Bank of America isn’t an innocent bystander in the financial crisis. But many more financial institutions were in deeper with subprime mortgage fiasco, and many other banks had more pernicious influence on lawmakers and executive branch officials. Goldman Sachs was practically leaving a toothbrush in the West Wing.

And yet Bank of America is mentioned 5,170 times on SEIU’s web site, with most mentions being attacks on the bank and its CEO, Ken Lewis. By comparison, Lehmann Brothers gets 144 mentions on SEIU’s website, Goldman Sachs 688 and AIG 144.

Why the Bank of America obsession? Here’s a clue: In 2008, the union’s total liabilities were $156 million. According to Department of Labor filings, in 2007 the SEIU owed $94,578,779 to … Bank of America.

Eight years ago, the SEIU had only $8 million in outstanding liabilities. Since 2002, the union spent $80 million to purchase a new headquarters in downtown D.C. and another $67 million electing Democrats, including President Obama, in 2008.

There’s also this: SEIU members are being robbed — not by Wall Street but their own union. In 2005, SEIU’s pension plan was only 82 percent properly funded, which, by government standards, officially made it “endangered.” It’s almost certainly has gotten worse since then.

Maybe that’s why SEIU officers have their own fully-funded pension plan separate from the endangered fund for the rank and file. Are SEIU leaders making trouble for the union’s biggest creditor to keep people from noticing it is heading for bankruptcy?

SEIU Now Owns the Cops?

by Mike Flynn

As you know, last week SEIU staged a protest at the home of an attorney for Bank of America. On a quiet Sunday in the Maryland suburbs of DC, SEIU sent 500 protesters onto the front lawn of the home of Greg Baer, a former Treasury official in the Clinton Administration. Mr. Baer wasn’t at home but, unfortunately, his 14 year old son was. The protesters succeeded in terrorizing the boy.

Let me quickly digress to point out that Bank of America is SEIU’s largest creditor. Under the leadership of Andy Stern, SEIU leveraged itself to the hilt, largely to support Democrat campaign efforts, and now owes the bank around $100 million. The loan payments are likely playing havoc with the union’s finances. (Rich that SEIU thinks it has a credible voice on financial reform, given that their own behavior is a set-piece for much of what went wrong.) Coincidence that the bank is the target of a comprehensive and coordinated protest from the union? (Dear Bank of America, Call the loan. Today.)

There is much to say about this protest, but the most fascinating part to me is the role played by the police. It seems the DC police followed/escorted/shadowed the protesters into Maryland. They may or may not have notified the Maryland police, who may or may not have been on the scene while the protesters stormed private property and terrorized a teenage boy. Yesterday, Megyn Kelly of FoxNews interviewed law enforcement officials from DC and Maryland and asked many specific, hard hitting questions.

I’m not going to say the law enforcement officials are lying in this interview. They parse their words expertly. When Ms. Kelly backs them into a corner, they shift the focus to irrelevant parts of the story. But, saying they aren’t lying here is a distinction without a difference.

There are a few points to be made.

First, the DC police official says emphatically that their police officers did not cross into Maryland…except when they did. It seems one of their officers, according to their official, made a wrong turn and didn’t fully understand the DC/Maryland border and may have ‘briefly’ been inside Maryland. A wrong turn and a brief excursion through the Maryland suburbs is hardly worth mentioning if that is all that really happened. No one would notice, nor remark on, an errant 30 second diversion through Maryland streets. This story has the classic feel of a diversion; a pat, simple excuse to cover up any other behavior that comes to light. Any future eyewitness accounts of DC police cars at the scene? Yeah, that was that one cop who didn’t know her jurisdiction’s borders and was ‘lost’.

Second, the Maryland police official says, contrary to other statements made by his department, that they were immediately notified by DC police that the protesters were entering their jurisdiction. According to the official, Maryland police met with DC police at the border to get a situation report and then proceeded to the protest. When they arrived, the official claims, the protesters were already dispersing.

Remember that the official says that the site of the protest is “one or two blocks from the DC border.” Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot…

Fourteen buses start crossing the Maryland border (at which point we’re supposed to believe the Maryland police were immediately notified), they find parking on residential streets, unload their protesters, assemble 500 people on a private lawn, engage in threatening verbal abuse long enough to force a 14 year old boy to lock himself into a bathroom…and the Maryland police get there as they are dispersing? Is their police headquarters in Delaware?

Thankfully, I don’t live in Montgomery County. This is the kind of public safety and police protection for which they pay ridiculously high property taxes? They get a ’situation report’ that 500 protesters are targeting a private citizen’s home and they send 3 police officers? Really? They could only spare 3 officers on a Sunday in Montgomery County?

I hate to say this, and I will no doubt be attacked for it, but stories like this make one feel that the police are not on our side. A few weeks ago, police in Quincy, Illinois deployed a full contingent of riot police to deal with a couple hundred tea party protesters who where singing patriotic songs on public property. In Maryland, 3 police officers police watched as 500 union thugs stormed private property in an act of intimidation and did nothing because, as the police official notes, there weren’t any “no trespassing” signs at the property. (I wonder if he has “no trespassing” signs at his home.)

Sometimes it is the small story that illuminates the overall narrative. Let’s dispense with all the semantics and timelines and legalese. Last week, 500 union thugs descended on a private home and terrorized a teenage boy. They violated someone’s most personal space, their home. And they attacked their most precious gift, their child. The police in two jurisdictions knew about this. They did nothing.