Lawmakers push for new laws to punish union sabotage
Lawmakers and activists are attempting to rein in union exemptions from extortion laws after several high profile acts of suspected union sabotage in 2012.
Labor groups are immune from prosecution under the Hobbs Act, a 1946 provision that criminalized extortion and robbery using the threat or fear of force. Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) attempted to close that loophole last year with the Freedom from Union Violence Act (FUVA).
The bill never left committee but Lee has pledged to crack down on the sabotage and violence some unions use during labor disputes.
“Union violence and intimidation are serious issues and my legislation is an effort to close the loophole that protects unions from being held accountable for their actions,” Lee said. “Threatening workers and damaging property shouldn’t be defended as ‘legitimate union objectives’ and the law should be clear about that.”
Republicans have made several attempts to bring unions under the Hobbs umbrella over the past 25 years, according to Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
“[The Hobbs exemption] is really an amazing special privilege only granted to unions,” Mix said. “We are trying to clarify the provisions of the act so that picket line violence is treated the same as rioting and other forms of violence, but union influence has killed [the bills] every time.”
Labor allies have prevented FUVA from advancing through either chamber of Congress but Mix said a spate of alleged union violence in 2012 has made the need for reform apparent.
An arsonist damaged a Quaker meetinghouse’s construction site in December because it employed non-union workers. The Philadelphia Police Department suspects that union members are responsible.
“I absolutely think it is a union issue,” Philadelphia Police Lt. George McClay told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Additionally, American Airlines in October experienced a spike in loose airplane seats and delayed flights during contract negotiations with the pilot’s union. The union and the airline have both denied any connection between the incidents and the labor dispute.
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A NONUNION construction site at a planned Quaker meetinghouse in Chestnut Hill allegedly was vandalized late Thursday night, and the builder says union thugs may be responsible for the suspected arson that could cost an estimated $500,000.
“This is pure and simple bullying, and most likely it was the unions,” said Rob Reeves, who owns the nonunion or “open” shop E. Allen Reeves. “This is the usual bad behavior of bullies that have been tolerated in this city forever. The politicians don’t care, the police don’t care, the business community doesn’t care.”
Reeves said men have been standing outside the construction site of the planned $3.5 million Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House, one of whom identified himself as a member of a steel union and asked the site superintendent if he would like to hire steelworkers. When the superintendent declined, the man said that “he’s got to do what he’s got to do,” according to Reeves.
Ed Sweeney, business manager for the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, the union for private-sector steelworkers in Philadelphia, said he had not heard about the suspected arson but knows the site.
“I was up there last week and said, ‘Hello,’ to the guy and asked if he wanted to hire any ironworkers, and he didn’t even talk to me,” Sweeney said.
Police said a full report was not available Friday evening, but a preliminary police report said a crane had been lit on fire and that the damage was roughly $500,000. Police searched the site for explosive devices but found none.
Reeves said that whoever committed the alleged vandalism broke into the fenced-off site, brought an acetylene torch and “knew what they were doing.”
The left, led by the US’ largest Marxist organization, Democratic Socialists of America, is about to start a huge push, starting with organized labor, to grant amnesty and citizenship to more than 12,000,000 illegal immigrants. They hope to make enough noise to allow their long time ally President Obama to claim a public mandate for an illegal immigrant amnesty.
Unions, before they were taken over by DSA in 1995, were traditionally anti-illegal immigration. Why the change?
The reason is simple. Marxist led unions do not care about getting a better deal for their members. They care about achieving socialism. They understand that Latinos, which illegals mostly are, tend to vote overwhelmingly Democrat. The Marxists also have huge influence in the Democrat Party and huge leverage over Democrat policy formation, through their lock-tight control of organized labor.
Therefore, giving illegals citizenship and voting rights could move America way to the left – forever.
Listen here to AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka, a longtime DSA supporter, put on his best fake sincerity “Judas goat” tone, to seduce union members into support their own destruction. This is almost barf bucket material, as this hard bitten union thug invokes patriotism and American values to sell his socialist “snake oil.”
Read more here.
Dennis Van Roekel, President: $389,620
John Stocks, Executive Director: $379,260
Becky Pringle, Secretary-Treasurer: $332,539
Lily Eskelsen, Vice President: $332,390
Andrew Linebaugh, Director: $312,479
Cynthia Swann, Sr. Policy Advisor: $296,833
Donna Healy-Dean, Director: $282,244
Ronald Henderson, Director: $266,700
Sara Campen, Organizational Specialist: $257,716
Barry Melamed, Associate Director: $256,381
Ht Nguyen, State Affiliate Executive Director: $255,646
W McLaurin, Director: $254,636
Michael McPherson, Chief Financial Officer: $251,635
Michael Kahn, Associate Project Director: $250,684
Michael Simpson, Attorney: $249,825
Leona Hiraoka, Director: $245,758
Al-Tony Gilmore, Associate Project Director: $244,670
Nathan Allen, Organizational Specialist: $241,356
John Wilson, Former Executive Director: $240,538
Barby Halstead-Worrell, Senior Director: $235,349
Frances Beard, Associate Director: $231,129
Alice O’Brien, General Counsel: $228,719
Thomas Blanford, Associate Director: $225,320
Karen White, Senior Director: $224,809
Willard Raabe, Senior Director: $223,443
Earl Wiman, Executive Committee: $219,481
Armand Tiberio, Regional Director: $218,396
Douglas Walker, Associate Director: $217,851
Daniel Hand, Director: $217,568
Bill Thompson, Senior Director: $215,719
David Duvall, Regional Director: $214,353
Lisa Nentl-Bloom, Organizational Specialist: $212,857
Kimberly Anderson, Senior Director: $211,263
Elizabeth Daise, Manager: $211,030
Daaiyah Bilal-Threats, Senior Director: $210,260
Maurice Joseph, Deputy General Counsel: $209,525
Kathleen Lyons, Regional Director: $209,159
Bouy Te, Director: $208,658
Robin Butterfield, Senior Prog./Policy Specialist/Analyst: $207,775
Laura Gross, Senior Prog./Policy Specialist/Analyst: $206,696
Segun Eubanks, Director: $206,646
Robert Eagan, Organizational Specialist: $206,612
Janet Dade, Director: $206,314
Candace Lilyquist, Organizational Specialist: $205,880
Kenneth Farrell, Manager: $205,172
Katherine Mattos, Communications Counsel: $203,645
Michael Edwards, Associate Director: $203,455
Stephen Behrer, Senior Prog./Policy Specialist/Analyst: $203,316
James Hristakos, Producer/Director (Broadcast Media): $202,557
Linda Cabral, Associate Director: $202,487
Timothy Dedman, Regional Director: $202,242
Roxanne Dove, Director: $201,654
Corina Cortez, Manager: $200,767
Right to work! More like “Right to lose your place in the middle class”. It is fascinating to see Republicans goose-stepping to the drum beats of the corporate leaders and businessmen who view unions as anathema. The history of prosperity in America is tied very closely to the labor movement. When workers get higher wages, the country prospers and people’s lives are better with benefits like health care and retirement plans. Conversely, when workers are paid low wages, the people suffer at the whim of a few plutocrats, such as those today who instead of investing in America hoard their wealth or move it overseas.
Beginning with the trickle-down economic myth perpetrated by Reagan that low taxes cause prosperity, we have drifted for 30 years into an America that has elevated the wealth of the richest among us and gradually crushed the middle class. American greatness began with progressive taxation of its citizens. We paid more if we made more, but all benefited because spending was enhanced by all economic segments of the population.
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Only days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the head of the nation’s third-largest teachers union is blaming Teach For America for helping “kill and disenfranchise children.”
Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers Union, bashed the national organization and one of its vice presidents, David Rosenberg, in a message that appears on the blog of educational policy analyst Diane Ravitch.
“We in Chicago have been the victims of their experiments on our children since the current secretary of Education ‘ran’ CPS,” Lewis writes, calling Teach For America a group of “education missionaries” who view teaching in poor communities as a “stepping stone to a more lucrative career.”br
Lewis admits she is using the Sandy Hook tragedy to advance the agenda of her union.
“There might have been a time where ‘politicizing’ tragic events, especially mass shootings, was thought to be in poor taste,” Lewis said. “That has changed with the 24/7 news cycle that continues to focus far too much time and energy on the perpetrator of the massacre than that of our precious victims.”
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For all the fury and fistfights outside the Lansing Capitol, what happened in Michigan this week was a simple accommodation to reality. The most famously unionized state, birthplace of the United Auto Workers, royalty of the American working class, became right-to-work.
It’s shocking, except that it was inevitable. Indiana went that way earlier this year. The entire Rust Belt will eventually follow because the heyday of the sovereign private-sector union is gone. Globalization has made splendid isolation impossible.
The nostalgics look back to the immediate postwar years when the UAW was all-powerful, the auto companies were highly profitable and the world was flooded with American cars. In that Golden Age, the UAW won wages, benefits and protections that were the envy of the world.
Today’s angry protesters demand a return to that norm. Except that it was not a norm but a historical anomaly. America, alone among the great industrial powers, emerged unscathed from World War II. Japan was a cinder, Germany rubble and the allies — beginning with Britain and France — an exhausted shell of their former imperial selves.
For a generation, America had the run of the world. Then the others recovered. Soon global competition — from Volkswagen to Samsung — began to overtake American industry that was saddled with protected, inflated, relatively uncompetitive wages, benefits and work rules.
There’s a reason Detroit went bankrupt while the southern auto transplants did not. This is not to exonerate incompetent overpaid management that contributed to the fall. But clearly the wage, benefit and work-rule gap between the unionized North and the right-to-work South was a major factor.
President Obama railed against the Michigan legislation, calling right-to-work “giving you the right to work for less money.” Well, there is a principle at stake here: A free country should allow its workers to choose whether to join a union. Moreover, it is more than slightly ironic that Democrats, the fiercely pro-choice party, reserve free choice for aborting a fetus while denying it for such matters as choosing your child’s school or joining a union.
Principle and hypocrisy aside, however, the president’s statement has some validity. Let’s be honest: Right-to-work laws do weaken unions. And de-unionization can lead to lower wages.
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