Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Break Job-killing Union Monopolies and Influence

Philadelphia PA, site of the last game of the World Series was threatened by a strike that day by the Transport Workers Union of America.  But the union wisely waited...one day...then 5,000 workers struck subway, bus and trolley services.  Typically, government caved, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority gave a 2.5% one year raise, then 3% a year for three years running.  Government officials have everything to lose: THEIR jobs or elections.  They care not if their jurisdictions face bankruptcy as California, New York, Illinois and New Jersey do primarily because of caving into public employees' union bosses.  Where is Ronald Reagan and Calvin Coolidge, who faced down a Boston police strike while governor of Massachusetts who said there was no "right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time"?  That was then when we had leaders and honor and backbone, now is now where the union bosses buy Democrats into their offices with the dues of their workers.  And, yes, the workers get more tax money than ordinary people until the governments go bust.

There were two Northwest Airlines pilots who were doing something more important than landing in Minneapolis, so they continued on over Minneapolis 100 miles when they discovered their stupidity, turned around and landed safely in Minneapolis. The Federal Aviation Administration revoked their licenses. Their union, the Airline Pilots Association, is angry because the FAA didn't follow procedures. If this isn't proof that union leaders care less about anything but supporting their members, attracting more of them and grabbing their dues, I don't know what is. Laws to support unions, union bargaining, unionization should be changed to at least give the "public" from airline passengers to students to companies an equal chance to drop unions and union monopolies. But the Obama administration, elected by union dues spent by union bosses is trying to distort the laws further to make unionization easier and more crippling to our fragile economy.

Union members nationally vote for a Republican about one-third of the time, yet nearly 90% of union bosses support Democrats financially with union dues.  When allowed to opt out of having their dues spend politically, nearly 90% of union members opted out of having that occur, preferring to keep the money to donate themselves as they wished.

President No-Jobs-Obama (NJO)'s Commerce Department launched potential further support for erecting economy- and jobs-killing trade barriers.  It is investigating whether to impose more tariffs, this time on Chinese seamless steel pipes after dutying $2,700,000,000 of other Chinese pipe last month.  The United Steel Workers union is pulling the strings.

General Motor's Saturn brand was born in 1985 as an innovative approach to auto making with the United Auto Workers union bosses and General Motors executives on the same page. Workers were 'technicians' and were paid 80% of UAW with the rest from a sharing of Saturn's profits. Key decisions were shared by an exec and union boss. Vision, passion and collaboration, courtesy of the UAW's GM guy, Donald Ephlin. There were broad dealer market areas and 'no haggle' prices. Even now-green VP Al Gore touted the factory and the concept. But it was not to be. Union bosses feared collaboration would spread, and make them useless, so then-new UAW militant, Stephen Yokich undermined it. And its GM-executive-promoter, CEO, Roger Smith retired in 1989. Saturns became boring, underfunded and 'joined' the GM family in 2003 with its dysfunctional relations with the UAW. When Obama finally killed it, Roger Penske thought he could re-innovate, but no, once again it was not to be. And not to be, are collaborative relations of industry and its union bosses.  Not to be because those union bosses need that conflict they create to keep their easy jobs and cushy lifestyles.   While it is not the union bosses alone who destroy corporations, the company executives have no backbones to face down strike threats, and what they might do to reputation, retirement and profitsharing, but it is the union bosses who start it all.  UNIONS ARE OBSOLETE IN TODAY'S HIGH-TECHNOLOGY, COLLABORATIVE WORLD.  AT 7% OF THE LABOR FORCE, WORKERS ARE SAYING THE SAME THING!

Another high-stakes labor conflict is percolating along.  The Democrats and their owners, the labor unions, have loaded the National Mediation Board with new board member former flight-attendant union leader Linda Puchala.  Will these Democrats allow new rules to make it easier for union bosses to unionize airlines and railroads?  The AFL-CIO wants the dues, non-union Delta Air Lines which merged with failing but unionized Northwest Airlines, does not want a union.  The Railway Labor Act of 1926 does not count non- votes as 'yes' since there's no vote.  This essentially votes no, because a full majority of ALL employees, not just voters' votes, are needed to pass.  A third of the combined work force comes from 95% unionized Northwest and two-thirds from only 15% unionized Delta.  If the union can get out their union members to vote and Delta is hampered, presto all employees are shackled to the AFL-CIO.  In the meantime the National Mediation Board is apparently holding up a vote that Delta might win.  It'll all be moot when Obama takes over the airline industry anyway, then all employees will be Democrats, government employees and union members by law.

September 24 it was announced that union bosses WIN BIG AGAIN from Democrats.  This time the air-traffic controllers won $700,000,000 from the Democratic federal government (taxpayers) Federal Aviation Agency over the next three years.  This the union President Reagan busted.

A tiny article August 26 indicated that the Los Angeles Board of Education voted to adope a resolution that could turn 1/3 of its schools over to private operators. WHAT? Apparently proposals will be accepted from charter-school operators, local communities and the mayor's office to operate 50 new and 200 chronically underperforming public schools. BIG NEWS but not spread around the media, that I saw. I will look more. Is this the start of busting the union monopolies of schools? Doubtful, but worth looking into.

Just some union trivia. Both California and Illinois are virtually bankrupt. Why? In part because they paid back the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) a major funder of the Democratic Party. Disgraced Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich (Illinois) and former California governor Gray Davis reclassified state-reimbursed independent contractor -- not state-employed -- in-home healthcare and childcare workers as state employees thus forcing them to join the monopoly-SEIU and pay dues to union boss Andy Stern. Although there is no Obama healthcare bill yet, a number of versions of the various bills offerred up by Democrats have stealth methods by which unionization of healthcare providers and workers will be forced.

Corruption personified: labor union bosses use the dues of its captive members to spend on electing Democrats who vote to continue unionism and more dues for the union bosses to spend to elect Democrats.

So it's no surprise that President Obama and the Democrats pay off their funders, certainly, as GM's former union employees have discovered, to the detriment of the nation and employees. And it's no surprise that one of the major owners of the Democratic Party, the Service Employees International Union, will get major jobs in the Obama Administration. Craig Becker associate General Counsel at the SEIU was recently appointed to the National Labor Relations Board to increase union bosses' dues-paying members.

Now here's a good one. The government bureaucracy (National Transportation Safety Board) versus the national air-traffic safety union bosses over the August 8th crash of a sightseeing helicopter and a small plane over the Hudson River. The union wants no attribution of cause to fall on its members, no matter the facts, to the extent that the NTSB kicked its representatives off the fact gathering group. Stay tuned. Will the Obama administration or the Obama funders win?

June 30, 2009: To support the United Steelworkers Union, the U. S. International Trade Commission recommended to impose a punitive duty of 55% -- 55% -- on low-cost Chinese-made tires. This would sharply increase prices of tires to U. S. consumers to save some jobs of the 15,000 steelworkers in the tire industry. With Obama if unions oppose consumers, the unions win! Obama needs to make a decision for unions or U. S. consumers mid-September

And it's no surprise that Ron Bloom who got unions 55% ownership in United Airlines in the 1990's (which went bankrupt thereafter) is President Obama's Czar -- or Tsar -- depending on which Americanized Russian spelling is currently politically correct for the Automobile companies. And certainly, Mr. Bloom will cause GM to manufacture "little green Obama-Lemmingmobiles" which not many Americans will want to buy with their own money. But with taxpayers' money (other taxpayer) that's another story.

The Landrum-Griffin Act was passed (1959) to protect workers from union bosses' malfeasance which then was rampant. It helped. From 2001- 2008 the Labor Department's Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) won 929 convictions from 1,000 indictments of fraud of unions. This office is supported by Republicans and slashed by Democrats (40% by Clinton) who are financially supported by labor unions, fraud or not. Labor union membership has shrunk to merely 7.6% of the private labor force from 33% back in the '50's. (Democratic-supported government union membership monopolies are another matter.) And recent polls found that 81% of non-union-member workers want to remain non-union-members. And what about disclosure by union bosses of union-members dues? Bush administration toughened them with ("LM-30" form for disclosure of conflicts of interest.) The "transparent" (yes, it's transparently hugely pro-labor-boss) Obama administration has publicly announced that it won't enforce compliance, with this form thus hiding expenditures on behalf of and to the Democratic Party. The labor-union-bosses' client state. Democrat-Union Party.

Private unions have been on their way out for decades, not so public-employee unions. The public does not understand that for every dollar in wages, pensions, and easy working conditions for public-union memebers a dollar comes out of their pockets. Are they getting their money's worth? (The public, not the union members.) Yes, their earningw are 46% more than those who work for a living (non-governmental) and increased 3.1% last year vs. 1.9% in the private recessioined sector. Unemployement in the government 2.8% vs. over 9%. After killing GM and Chrysler, the entire airline industry, next will be government. Union monopolies are killing America.

In today's The Seattle Times another voice was added to the debate on legislation that would vastly expand the grip of labor on business, or, according to Democrats, would simply give employees free choice (by taking away their right to choose or not choose to unionize in secret ballot). ("Compromise offered on labor bill", The Seattle Times, Sunday, March 22, 2009, page News A5 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2008901897_labor22.html )

In this article three CEOs, two from Washington State, Jim Sinegal and Howard Schultz, join John Mackey of Whole Foods Market, to offer a compromise under the banner of "because of the widespread perception in Democratic-dominated Washington that there is not a level playing field between labor and business" in unioinization. I submit that there is no such perception.That Democrats are continually elected by the union dues of union members as doled out by union bosses. Period. President Obama agreed in his book "The Audacity of Hope," "I owe those unions...When their leaders call, I do my best to call them back right away. I don't mind feeling obligated." The "level playing field" is simply soundbite smokescreen. These three CEOs -- at least two of which are Democrats -- have it wrong. Unfortunately there can be no compromise. Compromise in this issue will only give Democrats a edge into a continuing union demanded un-level playing field which they have succeeded in buying in government, where unions have many stanglehold monopolies, bringing increasingly higher taxes and arguably, lousy education.. California, New York, Illinois anyone? So don't compromise. Democrats do not compromise they win, whether in small steps or large.

Sadly, I wouldn’t doubt that union leaders are cheering for this country to fail…to be forced into some kind of "national bankruptcy" in order to completely discredit the free enterprise system and capitalism in general. Then they – some union and Democrat leaders, perhaps with some trial lawyers thrown in -- could take over the management of the corporations. Far fetched? Think about it.

But there is a better way - Maybe but probably not.

A better choice, perhaps off the wall or out of the box and new. The basic foundation of it is the truth that lasting jobs and wealth can only be created by successful businesses and to be successful, businesses must sell stuff and make profits in doing so. (Unlike popular perception, "profit" is not cash given out to executives and stockholders, but investments made in things like accounts receivable, new plants, training, research and development.) The United States is in competition not only with businesses in its own country, but those all over the world. If this isn't agreed as truths, stop reading. Now, to continue, there is no law against conservatives starting unions. But these unions wouldn’t stand off against their company's management and stockholders, no, they’d join with them and stand off against the brutal competition of other countries along with other companies in the United States. It is clear to me that the USA is in a competition for revenues with much of the rest of the world. The way to win it isn’t to shoot ourselves in the foot by striking, dictating wages, working conditions and methods, but in getting union members together WITH corporate management and coming up with ideas, processes and strategies which would make the business more SUCCESSFUL and then agree that a certain part, perhaps percentage, of the financial success would flow to the employees. Anti-business unions have killed the steel industry, airlines, and, certainly the auto companies. To have had employees contribute instead of demand might have saved them by making them more competitive.

It would be the U.S. against China. The U.S. vs. India. The U.S. as competitor in the game of business. To win brings more and better jobs and riches and an even better way of life. (And arguably, and depending on citizens' behavior, generally a richer nation can bring a better society.) It would be a rivalry to outshine the Superbowl, Rose Bowl and NBA Championships, not to mention the Sweet 16 (sad about the University of Washington, happy about Gonzaga!) Could most of America get their arms and beers around this, the Ultimate Competition? I think so. We have proved ourselves to be winners in business, however we pretty much invented the method of business and society that has won. Now, competition is all over. We are not only in competition for revenues, but employees, whether hourly workers or engineers and executives. In resources. In capital. We as a country need to refocus to compete. Attracting and unleashing the on-the-factory-floor experience and creative ideas or "labor" could begin a new paradigm of competitiveness in the United States. Our society has been able to unleash the creativity of entrepreneurs, next up the creativity of employees. Watch out world. I'll have a beer on that. But the employees, who have an important stake in each company must be at one with the mangers and owners. They fight competitors, not themselves.

Think of sports teams and relate. A business is made up of owners, as are sports teams; of managers hired by the owners, as are sports teams; and employees, which in sports terms are players and support workers. And in business, as in sports, there are the stars and the back-office workers. Both groups are "labor" but some are more important to the success of the business/team than others. Owners of businesses select managers. (Actually typically in huge businesses "owners" are institutions who own the corporate stock as third parties for those who, for example, buy mutual funds. Those buyers are the real owners. Some managers do well, some do not. Ultimately losing or non-performing managers are fired. As are members of "labor" whether quarterbacks or accountants. Typically winning businesses and teams perform better financially than losers. Owners do well or do not, depending on the success or failure of the underlying business or team. Simple.

Remember that there are many more numbers of people in "labor" while fewer "executives", so each "labor" member will receive far less of the "success pay" than each "executive".

But that won't happen. So let's get back to the government union monopoly. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spent $85,000,000 during Obama's campaign and that investment is paying off. For the union bosses, not for taxpayers or union members. Union officials have jobs in the administraion, or, as SEIU CEO, Andy Stern bragged, "SEIU is on the field, it's in the White House, it's in the administration." In getting those jobs for its bosses, the union had to borrow $115,000,000 from Troubled Asset RP recipient Bank of America, courtesy of Barack Obama. But part of the loan was for SEIU to buy its fancy headquarters building in Washington DC. And just how does this help its "rank and file" one might ask? But no one does. (SEIU bosses working directly, as opposed to indirectly when they worked for SEIU, for Obama now are Patrick Gaspard the White House politicl director, Craig Becker, to the National Lavor Relations Board (relations?) and Anna Vurger SEIU's #2 is on Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.) The other major government-monopoly union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, spent $63,000,000. The formerly-corrupt Teamsters spent $13,00,000 while the United Auto Workers scored spending $11,00,000 and getting Chrysler and General Motors.

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