Union violence of little interest to media

Over 500 people “storm” private property, break windows and vandalize other property, wield baseball bats and crowbars, make death threats, and allegedly hold six guards hostage. Fifty law enforcement officers respond. U.S. Marshalls are placed on standby to enforce a related injunction issued by a federal judge.

It happened yesterday at a grain terminal at Port of Longview in southwest Washington State. The perpetrators? Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). The local police chief was quoted as saying, “A lot of the protesters were telling us this is only the start.”

Not surprisingly, the incident didn’t garner much national attention. Imagine how the coverage by the so-called mainstream media would have differed had anything even remotely similar occurred at a gathering of people of a different political persuasion, say those Tea Party SOBs.

Union violence is not rare. The National Institute for Labor Relations (NILR) has collected over 9,000 reports of union violence since 1975 and the actual number is much higher–by as much as a factor of ten. Only a fraction of such offenses result in arrest and conviction.

On Monday, Teamsters Union president James Hoffa proudly declared, “The one thing about working people is we like a good fight.” (Fight, not good, being the operative word.). Echoing Hoffa, ILWU President Bob McEllrath said “It shouldn’t be a crime to fight for good jobs in America.”

The fight crowd has certain federal legal precedent on its side of the ring. According to NILR, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Enmons decision, among other factors, makes prosecution of union violence difficult. According to the Cato Institute, violence “deemed to be in furtherance of “legitimate” union objectives” is exempt from prosecution under federal anti-extortion laws. Offenders can be charged and prosecuted under state and other federal laws, but the scales of “justice” in such instances, just like our federal government’s overall pro-union rather than union-neutral stance, are tipped in favor of organized labor. Until that changes, we’ll get more of the rot such laws and regulations have wrought.

Verizon on strike: is the middle class really in peril?

With no end in sight, the varying group of red-clad picketers at the Verizon location just around the corner from me promises to be a sight I’ll see for awhile – at least until the economic reality of making no money from working begins to rear its ugly head. According to reports like this, the union and company have been far apart in negotiations.

The Communications Workers of America union calls the strike “standing up for middle class jobs.” Their complaint is that an immensely profitable Verizon has “regressive demands” which “would roll back 50 years of bargaining gains.” Too, the union condemns the “Wisconsin-style tactics” employed by the company.

And the union is getting support in its efforts – for example, the Teamsters who represent UPS workers have ordered drivers not to make deliveries to Verizon facilities where they would cross a picket line. (Sounds like an opportunity for FedEx.) The CWA also claims that over 100,000 have signed a petition decrying Verizon’s “corporate greed.”

Yet Verizon states a case that the workers represent a division of the company that’s not profitable and all they are asking is for well-compensated union employees to chip in a little bit on their benefit packages. The company is also accusing the union of misrepresenting the company’s bargaining demands and also several incidents of vandalism and sabotage. (That seems to be par for the Big Labor course, as I’ll explain later.)

In essence, the conflict boils down to this: Verizon is trying to cut costs in a division that’s on its way to obsolescence. No longer are Americans tied to a phone line as more and more households have eschewed a landline phone for cellular service. Nor does Verizon even have the monopoly on landline service as they used to because cable providers and others have made these services available. Unfortunately for the Verizon employees affected by the strike, their business will eventually go the route of the horse and buggy just as that of the telephone operator went away years ago when direct-dial phones became available.

The other irksome item within the union’s argument is playing that old class envy card. Their claim that the “very profitable company has paid its top five executives more than $258 million over the past four years” doesn’t address how these corporate leaders were paid. Most likely much of the compensation came in the form of stock options granted because the company was “very profitable” – would they prefer these executives lost millions of dollars instead? (By the way, that $258 million number works out to $1433.33 per striking employee per year. Would the strikers accept such a measly pay raise on even a $60,000 salary, let alone upwards of $90,000?)

Certainly that sounds like a huge amount of compensation for these executives – after all, who wouldn’t want a gig where they made an average of $12 million per year? But then again, would you like the hard work and long hours these people put in on their way up the corporate ladder? I doubt these positions were handed to them, and they certainly require more thought and skill in a number of areas than the average line worker would be able to exhibit. A failure on a line worker’s part may mean a few hundred customers are inconvenienced until someone can fix the issue. A CEO’s screwup could drive the entire company to bankruptcy and cost thousands of workers their jobs – so let’s get a sense of proportion here.

Read more here.

Verizon union members Committing Crimes?

State police in Uniontown said a 29-hour loss of landline phone service was caused by an act of criminal mischief when someone went into locked underground Verizon vaults and shut off the power.

Trooper Timothy Kirsch said there was no forced entry at the sites on Main Street and on Route 119 in Lemont Furnace, near the Penn State Fayette campus. Police believe whoever shut off the power had keys.

Police are trying to determine if the incident, which began at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, is related to an ongoing strike by Verizon landline workers.

The local state police barracks was without phone and computer service for 21 hours, police said. Calls had to be forwarded to dispatchers who worked out of another barracks several miles away.

All of the Lemont Furnace area — including many local businesses — had no communication, data and cellphone service for about 29 hours, police said.

Read more here.

A big slobbering thank you to the unions

Here is yet another example why our economy is sputtering. Businesses don’t like unions. Unions have destroyed many American businesses. Look at Detroit. It’s a wreck. Unions did to Detroit what that tornado did to Tuscaloosa and what Hugo did to Homestead, Florida. Homestead was rebuilt, and Tuscaloosa will be. This because they know that there is little likelihood that these storms will return with this ferocity – and they will be rebuilt stronger. Businesses – particularly the auto industry – will not be so anxious to rebuild Detroit because these businesses know that the unions are still lurking in the shadows in Michigan ready to strike – ready to throw sand into the gears of any engine of economic recovery. Ready to destroy again.

Businessmen recognize that unions are a destructive force in our economy. And since businesses don’t particularly like unions, businesses aren’t going to be anxious to expand so long as there is a president in the white house who is determined to do all that he can to promote union growth, not only in the government but in the private sector.

And so … in his latest move to weaken the private sector … here comes The Community Organizer and his National Labor Relations Board is at it again. As if the current NLRB complaint about Boeing’s operations in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, isn’t enough .. it has now unveiled new rule changes to make unionizing easier. The proposed changes would speed up the voting process for unionization, giving employers little or no time to state their case.

As it currently stands, labor union elections typically take place anywhere from 45-60 days after a union files a petition. This isn’t good for union organizers. The organizers work behind the scenes for months on end talking to workers and getting their petition put together. While this process is going on the union lawyers are watching the target employer like a hawk … waiting for the employer to do something – to say something – that will allow the union to run screaming to the NLRB alleging some nature of unfair business practices. So here’s the plan —- the Obama administration would cut that 45 to 60 period down to days or even weeks. They say they will do this by “simplifying procedures, deferring litigation and setting shorter deadlines for hearings and filings.” Here, according to the AP, is what the proposed rule changes would do,

* Allow electronic filing of petitions and other documents to speed up processing.

* Set pre-election hearings to begin 7 days after a petition is filed.

* Defer litigation of eligibility issues involving less than 20 percent of the bargaining unit until after the election.

* Eliminate pre-election appeals of rulings by an NLRB regional director.

* Reduce from 7 to 2 days the time for an employer to provide an electronic list of eligible voters.

The NLRB’s only Republican, Brian Hayes, is adamant in his disapproval: “Make no mistake, the principal purpose for this radical manipulation of our election process is to minimize or, rather, to effectively eviscerate an employer’s legitimate opportunity to express its views about collective bargaining.”

The Chamber of Commerce’s chief labor official, Randy Johnson calls this Obama’s biggest gift yet to labor organizations. He says, “It is an attempt to, simply put, bully companies into relinquishing their free speech rights.”

All you have to remember that Barack Obama himself has referred to the private sector – the private sector he wishes to fully unionize – as “the enemy.” Isn’t a natural instinct to try to destroy your enemy? Can you look at Obama’s actions in any other light?

SEIU Plans to Infiltrate Republican Party to Defeat Tea Party

SEIU On California’s Conservatives: ‘If we can’t get them out, we’ll breed them out.’

There is a scene in the movie Braveheart in which King Edward I (Longshanks) laments that there are too many Scotts. His solution is to declare reinstatement of the old practice of primae noctis, which is to allow his nobles to have the right to take the Scots’ newlywed wives to their beds on their wedding night. Upon declaring primae noctis, Longshanks states (in obvious reference to impregnating the Scots’ brides), “if we can’t get them out, we’ll breed them out.”

While there is wide speculation that the practice of primae noctis is, in fact, fictional, it seems the leaders of the California’s SEIU, feeling there are too many conservatives holding public office in California, have adopted their own union version of primae noctis: If we can’t get them out, we’ll breed them out.

California’s SEIU leaders are planning on getting rid of California’s conservative lawmakers by taking over the California Republican Party by recruiting their own GOP candidates.

Read more here.

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

Unions use Images of What???

I’m surprised they don’t include images of dead bodies.

No doubt firefighters perform heroic acts everyday – including that awful day in Oklahoma City when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.

But to use images from that attack to oppose a law that would affect union collective bargaining procedures?


A state senator today blasted a firefighter union television advertisement as “horrific and tasteless” for using images of the Oklahoma City bombing to make a case against his bill.

The advertisement by the International Association of Firefighters began airing today.

It asks residents to oppose Senate Bill 826, which changes how public safety labor unions and cities handle contract disputes.

Several images of firefighters are used in the commercial, including a short clip of the remnants of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building after it was bombed April 19, 1995.

When the image of the bombed Murrah Building is shown in the commercial, a narrator says: “We’re there when you need us. Now we need you. Tell politicians to do what’s right: Oppose SB 826 and support Oklahoma’s firefighters.”

“The AFL-CIO and the IAFF should be ashamed of this horrific and tasteless commercial,” said Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City. “The victims and heroes of April 19th are not political pawns to be exploited whenever the Legislature seeks to reform a union negotiating process.”

Holt is a trustee for the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, and wants the commercial off the air.

To Disrupt and Destroy America

SPEAKER: Steven Lerner. Speaker at the Left Forum 2011 “Towards a Politics of Solidarity” Pace University March 19, 2011

Speaker Bio: Stephen Lerner is the architect of the SEIU’s groundbreaking Justice for Janitors campaign. He led the union’s banking and finance campaign and has partnered with unions and groups in Europe, South American and elsewhere in campaigns to hold financial institutions accountable. As director of the union’s private equity project, he launched a long campaign to expose the over-leveraged feeding frenzy of private equity firms during the boom years that led to the ensuing economic disaster.


It feels to me after a long time of being on defense that something is starting to turn in the world and we just have to decide if we are on defense or offense

Maybe there is a different way to look at some of theses questions it’s hard for me to think about any part of organizing without thinking what just happened with this economic crisis and what it means

I don’t know how to have a discussion about labor and community if we don’t first say what do we need to do at this time in history what is the strategy that gives us some chance of winning because I spent my life time as a union organizer justice for janitors a lot of things

It seems we are at a moment where the world is going to get much much worse or much much better

Unions are almost dead we cannot survive doing what we do but the simple fact of the matter is community organizations are almost dead also and if you think about what we need to do it may give us some direction which is essentially what the folks that are in charge – the big banks and everything – what they want is stability

Every time there is a crisis in the world they say, well, the markets are stable.

What’s changed in America is the economy doing well has nothing to do with the rest of us

They figured out that they don’t need us to be rich they can do very well in a global market without us so what does this have to do with community and labor organizing more.

We need to figure out in a much more through direct action more concrete way how we are really trying to disrupt and create uncertainty for capital for how corporations operate

The thing about a boom and bust economy is it is actually incredibly fragile.

There are actually extraordinary things we could do right now to start to destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement.

For example, 10% of homeowners are underwater right their home they are paying more for it then its worth 10% of those people are in strategic default, meaning they are refusing to pay but they are staying in their home that’s totally spontaneous they figured out it takes a year to kick me out of my home because foreclosure is backed up

If you could double that number you would you could put banks at the edge of insolvency again.

Students have a trillion dollar debt

We have an entire economy that is built on debt and banks so the question would be what would happen if we organized homeowners in mass to do a mortgage strike if we get half a million people to agree it would literally cause a new finical crisis for the banks not for us we would be doing quite well we wouldn’t be paying anything.

Government is being strangled by debt

The four things we could do that could really upset wall street

One is if city and state and other government entities demanded to renegotiate their debt
and you might say why would the banks ever do it – because city and counties could say we won’t do business with you in the future if you won’t renegotiate the debt now

So we could leverage the power we have of government and say two things we won’t do business with you JP Morgan Chase anymore unless you do two things: you reduce the price of our interest and second you rewrite the mortgages for everybody in the communities

We could make them do that

The second thing is there is a whole question in Europe about students’ rates in debt structure. What would happen if students said we are not going to pay. It’s a trillion dollars. Think about republicans screaming about debt a trillion dollars in student debt

There is a third thing we can think about what if public employee unions instead of just being on the defensive put on the collective bargaining table when they negotiate they say we demand as a condition of negotiation that the government renegotiate – it’s crazy that you’re paying too much interest to your buddies the bankers it’s a strike issue – we will strike unless you force the banks to renegotiate/

Then if you add on top of that if we really thought about moving the kind of disruption in Madison but moving that to Wall Street and moving that to other cities around the country

We basically said you stole seventeen trillion dollars – you’ve improvised us and we are going to make it impossible for you to operate

Labor can’t lead this right now so if labor can’t lead but we are a critical part of it we do have money we have millions of members who are furious

But I don’t think this kind of movement can happen unless community groups and other activists take the lead.

If we really believe that we are in a transformative stage of what’s happening in capitalism

Then we need to confront this in a serious way and develop really ability to put a boot in the wheel then we have to think not about labor and community alliances we have to think about how together we are building something that really has the capacity to disrupt how the system operates

We need to think about a whole new way of thinking about this not as a partnership but building something new.

We have to think much more creatively. The key thing… What does the other side fear the most – they fear disruption. They fear uncertainty. Every article about Europe says in they rioted in Greece the markets went down

The folks that control this country care about one thing how the stock market goes what the bond market does how the bonuses goes. We have a very simple strategy:

* How do we bring down the stock market
* How do we bring down their bonuses
* How do we interfere with there ability to be rich

And that means we have to politically isolate them, economically isolate them and disrupt them

It’s not all theory i’ll do a pitch.

So a bunch of us around the country think who would be a really good company to hate we decided that would be JP Morgan Chase and so we are going to roll out over the next couple of months what would hopefully be an exciting campaign about JP Morgan Chase that is really about challenge the power of Wall Street.

And so what we are looking at is the first week in May can we get enough people together starting now to really have an week of action in New York I don’t want to give any details because I don’t know if there are any police agents in the room.

The goal would be that we will roll out of New York the first week of May. We will connect three ideas

* that we are not broke there is plenty of money
* they have the money – we need to get it back
* and that they are using Bloomberg and other people in government as the vehicle to try and destroy us

And so we need to take on those folks at the same time

and that we will start here we are going to look at a week of civil disobedience – direct action all over the city
then roll into the JP Morgan shareholder meeting which they moved out of New York because I guess they were afraid because of Columbus.

There is going to be a ten state mobilization it try and shut down that meeting and then looking at bank shareholder meetings around the country and try and create some moments like Madison except where we are on offense instead of defense

Where we have brave and heroic battles challenging the power of the giant corporations. We hope to inspire a much bigger movement about redistributing wealth and power in the country and that labor can’t do itself that community groups can’t do themselves but maybe we can work something new and different that can be brave enough and daring and nimble enough to do that kind of thing.

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.

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