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With 2014 Mid-Term Elections Close – Unions Intensify Efforts

Control of the U.S. Senate is at stake in the upcoming mid-term elections, which is imperative for the President and Big Labor to maintain their majority if there is any hope to achieve Big Labor’s goal of eliminating the secret ballot election and replacing it with the forced unionization method of Card Check. Even at a casual glance, however, the new tactics would cause even the most gullible to take pause and say, “Really?”

In recent weeks, Big Labor’s campaigns of intimidation and misinformation have risen to new heights. This is highlighted by the recent headline “Unions say they’ll get even with Scott Walker,” for passing popular laws restricting collective bargaining agreements and dues collection in Wisconsin (see Collective Bargaining is a Privilege, Not a Right). Such tactics are typical big labor strategy, as chronicled in The Devil at Our Doorstep, which clearly exposes the SEIU’s Death by a Thousand Cuts Corporate Campaign to use intimidation and misinformation to achieve its goals!

Unions accuse corporations of have an unfair advantage, stating that they have more money to spend on election candidates. The truth, however, is that Unions are Outspending Corporations on Campaign Ads Despite Court Ruling.

Once again, Big Labor is relying on the fact that a large percentage of the population that is naïve to their cause, and is therefore easily misled and too busy to investigate the facts. However, based on big labor’s latest tactic it appears the Gasping Dinosaurs may be carrying these assumptions a bit too far. Despite the fact Union Members are Not Happy with Their Leader’s Political Spending — and it has been well documented ( see IRS turns a blind eye to unions’ political expenditures) that approximately 90% of union donations go to democrats while they outspend corporate donors significantly — big labor is now attempting to humiliate (see The New Union Organizing Tool, Embarrassment) those who disagree with their agenda and their politics. An example can be seen with the Koch Brothers, whom Big Labor is attacking by discourage people from doing business with their companies. Believe it or not, a new AFL-CIO Ad Introduces the ‘Koch Sisters’ to Counter the Billionaire Brothers.

Perhaps most unbelievable is how Big Labor not just misuses its members’ dues for its own political agenda but believes it can continue to exploit its own power and its membership’s naiveté. The following e-mail was sent to members of the SEIU and was forwarded to me by one of its disgruntled members:

Would you throw away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you weren’t getting wet?
No, you wouldn’t. But that’s exactly what the Supreme Court did a year ago when they gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), the most important and successful civil rights law ever enacted by the U.S. Congress.The right to vote is at stake. SIGN THE PETITION and tell Congress to restore strength to the Voting Rights Act!In some states, especially Southern ones, it used to be really, really hard for people of color to vote. The Voting Rights Act helped end that, banning racism at the polls and carrying forward the work Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many others to ensure communities of color have a voice in our political process.But in 2013, the Supreme Court — by a 5-4 vote — undid a VRA provision that cleared barriers to voting in areas where minority voters were heavily silenced at the polls.Within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision, several states in the South immediately announced that they would pursue new voter ID laws that were clearly designed to make it harder for African Americans and Latinos to vote. And one year later, 15 states have already enacted rules making it more difficult to vote.Voter discrimination based on race is not a thing of the past. It is a current reality that persists to this day. We need to stop Republicans in states around the country from enacting racist voter ID and voter suppression laws. Passing the Voting Rights Amendment Act now is the best way to do it.

Sign the petition: Tell Congress to stop the attacks on voting rights.

We’re joining with our allies for a petition delivery to Congress next week to urge the House and Senate to take swift action to correct this injustice.

There is no right more fundamental to our democracy than the right to vote. Tell Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act now.
 
The November elections are fast approaching, and vulnerable voters could lose their voice in this democracy if we don’t act now.
 
Thanks for fighting,
SEIU.org
 
As chronicled in Election 2010 and Fraudsters the Reason Blue States Remained Blue?, the real reason Big Labor wants to eliminate Voter Identification laws through restoration of the Voting Rights Act is for union members to more effectively intimidate undocumented workers and others who either don’t qualify, are of another political bent, or are disinterested, into registering to vote and then escorting them to the polls with the directive to vote for the big labor candidate of choice (see Big Labor’s Expense for Election Foot Soldiers, is Finally in the Media Spotlight). This brazen display of misinformation by the SEIU labor bosses leads one to ask the only question that makes sense: “Do they think we are idiots?”

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David A. Bego is the President and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” as well as the just released sequel, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.

Will the Supreme Court Do an “Abood Face?”

The decision in Harris v Quinn could be just the first shoe to drop in the fight against forced union dues.

Last month was not kind to Big Labor. First, the teachers unions in California had some of their favorite work rules knocked out of the state constitution by Judge Rolf Treu in his Vergara decision. Then, on the last day of the month, the Supreme Court agreed with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation in Harris v Quinn and ruled that homecare workers could not be forced to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Vergara upset the teacher union Pooh-Bahs who just can’t believe that educators who hang on to their jobs for 16 months aren’t entitled to them for life, regardless of whether they’re good, mediocre or teachers from hell. The decision is going to be appealed and no one knows –  if the appeal fails – how the subsequent replacement laws will play out. But if Vergara got the unions in a snit, Harris has pushed them into apoplexy.

Regarding Harris, I searched the internet long and hard to find a statement from a union leader that went something like this:

The decision doesn’t harm the union movement in the least. It gives hard working men and women the freedom to choose whether or not to join us. If they do join, they will enjoy the benefits and perks that come with union membership. If they choose not to join, we will not force them to. They are free to make whatever deal that they and their employer agree to. As patriotic Americans, we believe in liberty and that means giving all workers a choice.

Okay, I confess. I really didn’t search long and hard. In fact, I didn’t search at all; it would have been a complete waste of time. Instead, we were treated to union leaders doing what they usually do when they don’t get their way: trot out the usual half-truths, fear-mongering and lies to rally the troops and garner public sympathy.  Chalkbeat reports,

‘This court has built a record of weakening the rights of both voters and working families; no one should be surprised by this decision,’ said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten in a statement.

Weingarten is saying  that one working family has a right to force a member of another working family into a union.

Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, defended the ‘fair share’ practice. ‘Fair share simply makes sure that all educators share the cost of negotiations for benefits that all educators enjoy, regardless of whether they are association members.’

There is nothing fair about forcing a worker to pay dues to an organization that he or she does not want to belong to.

The NEA website goes deeper into the “fair share” philosophy:

All union members who enjoy the benefits, rights, and protections of a contract should, in fairness, and must, according to Illinois state law, contribute to maintaining that contract. Sometimes called ‘agency fee,’ fair share is a percentage of full union dues, based on the actual cost of collective bargaining, contract maintenance, and other services provided to all union members. 

Well yes, all those who benefit from the union contract, should pay dues. But if they don’t want any part of your contract, why are you trying to force them to pay you?

Mind you, Harris was a narrow decision. Justice Samuel Alito’s ruling drew a distinction between the home care workers and ‘full-fledged’ public employees

… who were required to pay union dues under the Court’s Abood v. Detroit Board of Education precedent in 1977. In that sense unions dodged a more sweeping decision that could have jeopardized dues payments from all public workers.

But – and this is what’s scaring the spit out of unionistas – Alito added that Abood (which maintains that it is illegal to withhold forced dues from dissenters beyond the cost of collective bargaining) is “questionable on several grounds.” Collective bargaining issues, he wrote, “are inherently political in the public sector.”

In the private sector, the line is easier to see. Collective bargaining concerns the union’s dealings with the employer; political advocacy and lobbying are directed at the government… But in the public sector, both collective bargaining and political advocacy and lobbying are directed at the government. (Emphasis added.)

Clearly, Alito left the door open for the court to do something of an “Abood face.” The next shoe that drops could lead to the unions’ worst nightmare – making union membership optional nationwide. (At this time 26 states are forced union states, while 24 are right-to-work.)

In fact, that “next shoe” is awaiting a fitting. Friedrichs et al v CTA is on a path to reach SCOTUS within a year or two. This litigation has ten teachers and the Christian Educators Association International – a union alternative – taking on the California Teachers Association with a lawsuit aimed squarely at California’s “agency-shop” law, which forces teachers to pay dues for collective bargaining activities, though – as per Abood – paying for the unions’ political agenda is not mandatory. The plaintiffs’ lawyers are challenging the law, claiming collective bargaining is inherently political and that all union dues should be voluntary.

Terry Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights, a public interest law firm representing Rebecca Friedrichs and her co-plaintiffs, was upbeat after the Harris ruling was announced.

Today’s decision is a good sign of things to come. The Court will soon have before it another union dues case, one that asks it to recognize the First Amendment rights of all employees to decide whether to pay union dues, not just home healthcare workers.

He importantly added,

We’re not attacking collective bargaining. … That’s not at issue. All we’re saying is individual teachers get to decide whether to pay dues to that organization. You can have collective bargaining and you can have a strong union, but you don’t have to have compulsory dues.

If Friedrichs is successful, and the court overturns Abood, workers will have a choice. To paraphrase President Obama, “If you like your union, you can keep your union.” But if you don’t, you can’t be forced to join. Freedom of choice – sounds like the American way to me.

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.

Obamacare Provides Unfair Advantage to Unions

Virtually unnoticed and ignored by the media is the fact that big labor benefited tremendously from the deal struck last week to avoid the “catastrophic” fiscal cliff. The President abandoned his own concept of fairness, which of course is nothing more than a hypocritical one way street, in order to reward his big labor buddies and to ease the pressure they have asserted. As discussed in Promises, Promises: Desperate Unions Grow Weary of Phony Distractions, the President clearly understood the displeasure of big labor with respect to Obamacare, and realized that he desperately needed to throw them a bone, and a big one at that!

In his own inimitable way, the President did so at the expense of  roughly 89% of the workers across this great country who are not members of unions. With this gift,  President Obama’s Ego Continues to Trample American Freedoms as he places the burden of the cost of Obamacare on the everyday working person and on small business. Additionally, it provides big labor with the money to continue to inflict Death by a Thousand Cuts and Corporate Campaign tactics on businesses. This is all part of the plan concocted by big labor and the Obama Administration to force unionize employees, as discussed in The Devil at Our Doorstep, and to continue to control political agendas with excessive political donations and massive ground games. It also provides big labor with an unfair advantage to attract potential members with misleading information during collective bargaining negotiations.

Surprise! Unions Get Their Way on Obamacare… In the deal the President struck with Republicansunions were made exempt from paying what is referred to as a “Transitional Reinsurance Fee,” a $63 tax assessed on nearly every health insurance plan enrollee for the next three years. The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) established programs to provide payments to health insurance issuers that cover higher-risk populations and to more evenly spread the financial risk carried by issuers. These programs, which will be effective in 2014, include the Transitional Reinsurance Program.

The Transitional Reinsurance Program is intended to help stabilize premiums for coverage in the individual market during the first three years of the exchange operation (2014 through 2016) when individuals with higher-cost medical needs gain insurance coverage. This program will impose a fee on health insurance issuers and self-insured group health plans. ACA requires health insurance issuers and third-party administrators (TPA’s) of self-insured group health plans to pay fees to support the reinsurance program. The proposed regulations clarify that, for self-insured group health plans, the plan sponsor is liable for paying the reinsurance fees. In essence, unions and businesses both would have had to pay the fee under the program, but unions have now been given an exemption, providing them with huge cost savings.

The fee is based on the number of members actually enrolled in the medical plan, such membership consisting of employees, their spouses and dependent children covered by the medical plan. As an example, the SEIU, with approximately 2 million members, can expect to save BIG! Assuming that 60% of the membership is enrolled in a union-sponsored health plan, you would have 1.2 million members, plus their eligible family members, estimated at an additional 2.5 covered persons (per member), making the SEIU’s total membership eligible for the reinsurance tax roughly 3 million. Multiply that 3 million, by the $63 per member reinsurance fee, and the initial benefit seen by the SEIU is in the neighborhood of $189 million! Spread that over three years, assuming that the President extends it after next year’s midterm elections, and the total cost savings to the SEIU is $567 million!

It doesn’t seem fair that a President who preaches on the redistribution of wealth to the poor and middle class is, in fact, redistributing $567 million to this labor union — An organization which has historically been shown to utilize that money to force unionize hard-working Americans, and to press its socialistic political agenda at the expense of the middle class the President pretends to support. President Obama, who understands the basic tenant of Control Business, Control the Country, is fully behind the push to provide big labor with ultimate power over employees and businesses, after all it was big labor who enabled him to win a second term.

David A. Bego is the President and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” as well as the just released sequel, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.