Archive for Unions

Out: Do it for the Children—In: RACIST!

If a equals b, and b equals c, what do we know about the value of a compared to the value of c?

As Eric Holder would say, you don’t want to go there, buddy:

In late March, the Chicago Board of Education announced an ambitious plan to implement its “turnaround” model for three low-performing elementary schools in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.

The turnaround process involves the sacking of every teacher and staffer at each of the schools, according to an email from the Chicago Teachers Union obtained by The Daily Caller.

Naturally, the union bosses aren’t happy that the nation’s third-largest school district is employing such sweeping measures to improve some of its worst schools.

The email from the teachers union also suggested that the effort to improve the schools is an effort spearheaded by Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to damage black children and black families.

“This is an attack on Black schools that continues the assault carried out by” Byrd-Bennett “last year, when she closed 50 schools (claiming they were the last closings for at least five years).”

Byrd-Bennett is black.

No way!


What is the insidious plan this Aunt Jemimah has in mind for black children?

One of the three schools facing turnaround plans is Ronald E. McNair Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 14 years. Another school is Dvorak Technology Academy, which has been on academic probation for the past 7 years. The third school is Walter Q. Gresham Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 6 years.

If the Board of Education approves the plan at its board meeting on April 23, the three schools will be managed by the Academy for Urban School Learning (AUSL), a nonprofit organization which already manages 29 public schools in Chicago where over 17,000 students are enrolled.

The turnaround process involves bringing in teachers and staffers who have been specifically trained to work in low-performing schools.

And we can’t have that.

Woody Guthrie once wrote the refrain, “You can’t scare me, I’m stickin’ to the union.” If it read today “stickin’ it to the union”, it would be relevant. The union sure has been sticking it to kids—black kids—for decades.


Stick it to the Union

We’ve already commented on the very satisfying thumping meted out to the UAW at the VW plant in Tennessee. But we still wanted to know what Robert Samuelson had to say.

This nugget caught my eye:

Unions’ eclipse has been stunning. At the end of World War II, roughly a third of private-sector jobs were unionized, especially in large firms. By 2013, the comparable figure was 6.7 percent, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (The rate of unionization for all workers was 11.3 percent, but that figure resulted only from greater unionization — 35.3 percent — among government workers. As late as 1983, the total unionization rate was 20 percent.)

Consider: each private sector new-hire (i.e. worker) is only one-fifth as likely to join a union as a public sector new-hire (i.e. hack). Is it any wonder that so many new jobs are in the public sector? Any wonder that Obama’s policies are so hostile to private job creation? Unions like SEIU are Obama’s purple-shirted shock troops; they’ve got his back and he’s got theirs.


The Last Mastodon

Imagine you’re enjoying a light lunch of lichen and tundra—maybe a side shrub for roughage—and you look up to see that you’re all alone. Any and every of your kind has been hunted, starved, or otherwise disappeared. It’s just you between existence and extinction.

That’s how I’d feel if I were these folks:

Volkswagen workers in Tennessee narrowly voted to reject joining a union, crushing the United Automobile Workers union’s attempt to unionize a foreign-owned car factory for the first time, officials announced late Friday.

The 712-626 vote (53%-47%) against unionization at the German automaker’s three-year-old factory in Chattanooga is a setback for UAW because labor experts had thought Volkswagen gave the union its best shot of setting a precedent to make inroads with transplants such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Nissan.

“It would have been a confidence booster, a relevance factor and message saying that we’re growing and doing things people didn’t think we could,” said Art Wheaton, director of The Worker Institute at Cornell University.

Who’s the mastodon in this scenario? The workers who just want to be left alone to do their jobs without “benefit” of outside representation? The auto company that believes it can deal directly and fairly with its workers without the union mob muscling in for its cut? Or the union itself, which has so overgrazed its habitat that Detroit is a sterile wasteland? In different ways, they are all mastodons.

But so is the reporter who wrote this. A 53-47 victory isn’t all that narrow. If it were, President Obama’s election wins would be so described every time 2008 and 2012 were mentioned. Only later in the story does the reporter mention that 165 workers didn’t bother to vote at all. Which means those who voted to bring in the union amounted to barely 41% of all workers. More landslide than squeaker, I’d say. Those who don’t recognize facts, or try to disguise them, are in danger of extinction themselves.

Unions had their day; still do, of course. But they thrived in conditions different from today’s. Trying to maintain an obsolete model (or species) ignores evolution. Shame on Democrats for their anti-science beliefs.


From Motown to No Town

It’s a simple recipe, really

Anyone can do it:

A couple of weeks ago I attended the premiere of the new movie “Bankrupt: How Cronyism and Corruption Brought Down Detroit.” It is a terrific movie and traces the dual collapse of the American automotive industry and the city of Detroit.

[T]he bankruptcy of the automakers and Detroit largely arose from the same forces: horribly inept and unaccountable management and insatiable demands by labor interests that drove both the automakers and the city into the ground. This manifested itself in rising costs and deterioration in quality (cars in one case and city governance in the other, such as failure to supply basic public services).

Indeed, the parallels between the automakers and Detroit became even closer in the days following the premiere of the film. Detroit’s bondholders are about to be fleeced for the benefit of Detroit’s politically powerful public employees, suffering the same fate as the bondholders in the auto bailouts at the hands of the United Auto Workers (or as he writes it, Detroit’s bondholders are about to be “GM’ed” for the benefit of public employees).

And in another coincidence, it now appears that Michigan’s politicians are considering a taxpayer bailout of Detroit. As reported by Shikia Dalmia at, Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder is considering pouring taxpayer money into Detroit’s bankruptcy in order to bail out public employees.

If a state, a semi-sovereign entity, chooses to reward one set of profligate citizens (Detroiters) with the hard-won earnings of another set (Michiganders), I suppose it is no business of mind (no matter how much I may disapprove). But money is fungible. Any federal money Michigan receives can offset money it chooses to pour into the unfunded liabilities of unrealistic and unaffordable retiree benefits. We all pay for Detroit’s waste and corruption.

We’re about to find out how much:

The city of Detroit plans to file its proposed bankruptcy restructuring plan with the court next week, the city’s top bankruptcy attorney said today.

A draft version of the plan acquired by the Free Press earlier this month revealed the city plans to offer pensioners more than other unsecured creditors — in part because foundations are pledging nearly $400 million to reduce pension cuts and spin off the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The plan also involves a proposal to lease the city’s water and sewerage department to an independent authority in exchange for $47 million per year over 40 years.

Attorneys for the city and for several bond insurers were in court today to deliver updates on a dispute over how the city plans to treat general obligation bonds.

Rhodes plans to conduct a hearing Feb. 19 to hear the objection by insurers that say the city is unfairly treating the bonds as unsecured debt.

Detroit has shown the first spark of life in decades since announcing it’s intention to declare bankruptcy. Now that the running of the reprimitivized city is out of the hands of the irresponsible and corrupt locals, it finally stands a chance. Local leaders are offering assistance; even foreign investors are interested. (See the Peruvian investor who wants to buy the old Packard plant.) I’d even be willing to put my money behind the effort—but only if the pain is shared equally.

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Thank You, Detroit

Seriously, thank you.

You scared Chicago straight:

Gov. Pat Quinn launched Illinois’ epic attempt to bail itself out of a $100 billion public employee pension debt Thursday, signing into law an ambitious financial, legal and political effort to restore the state’s tumbling credit ratings and unstable economy.

Despite the historic nature of the law, which takes effect June 1, the Democratic governor signed the measure behind closed doors, joined by top lawmakers. The quietness of the event symbolized the controversial nature of a package that has split longtime political allegiances and quickly become fodder for the 2014 campaign season.

The private bill signing stood in sharp contrast to the public pep rally that master of ceremonies Quinn held when he put his signature on Illinois’ gay marriage law little more than two weeks earlier, a move that reaffirmed support among progressives.

The We Are One coalition of unions, headed by the state AFL-CIO, called the new law “attempted pension theft and it’s illegal.”

“Leading politicians and their followers chose to violate their oaths of office, trample on the Illinois Constitution, and willfully ignore the plain letter of the law,” the coalition said in a statement. “Once overturned, its purported savings will evaporate and the state’s finances and pension systems will be left in worse shape.”

At issue is a clause in the 1970 state constitution which defines public pensions as an “enforceable contract” with benefits that cannot be diminished or impaired. But supporters of the measure, including House Speaker Michael Madigan, have maintained the law will be upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Bring it on, Jimmy Hoffa.

Hey, the pinkie-ringed union thugs may be proved right. But so what? What’s an “enforceable contract” when there’s no money? The goons knew as well as the politicians that such pension deals weren’t worth the paper they were written on. It was all about the announcement, not the actual collection.


News Weak? News Lame

Your occasional reminder why this rag exists only in the ether:

Anyone in a public-sector job looking forward to retiring in comfort should look carefully at what is going on in Detroit and Springfield, Ill. Sherlock Holmes would call it the case of the missing pension money.

News leaking out this week from the Motor City tells how the enormous gap between the pensions workers earned and the money set aside to pay for them will be closed. By stealing from the workers.

Courts, legislatures, and corporations are all working in concert not to pay the full benefits owed. For decades, political and business leaders failed to set aside the right amount of money each payday to cover the pensions workers earned and, in some cases, covered up the mismanagement of pension fund investments.

This is nothing short of theft, as pensions are simply deferred wages, that is, money that workers could have taken as cash in their regular paychecks had they not opted to set it aside.

No, pensions are not money workers could have taken in cash. If the city doesn’t have the money now, it certainly didn’t have the money then. The writer admits as much in the previous paragraph. All this proves is that unreasonable and fantastical benefits deals for political favor will come back to bite everyone in the ass. Sherlock Holmes would say “No [bleep], Sherlock.” It’s pretty rich to cry that you’re being robbed when you bled the city of Detroit dry for decades.

I’ll take my compensation in the form of a Van Gogh from the municipal art museum, please. Nothing showy, mind you. Whatever you have lying around.

Crikey, even he’s in a bad mood.


Congratulations, Detroit!

Bankruptcy becomes you:

The city of Detroit today officially became the largest municipality in U.S. history to enter Chapter 9 bankruptcy after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes declared it met the specific legal criteria required to receive protection from its creditors.

The landmark ruling ends more than four months of uncertainty over the fate of the case and sets the stage for a fierce clash over how to slash an estimated $18 billion in debt and long-term liabilities that have hampered Detroit from attacking pervasive blight and violent crime.

Rhodes — in a surprise decision this morning — also said he’ll allow pension cuts in Detroit’s bankruptcy. Rhodes emphasized that he won’t necessarily agree to pension cuts in the city’s final reorganization plan unless the entire plan is fair and equitable.

“The court finds that Detroit was and is insolvent,” he said. “The court finds that the city was generally not paying its debts as they became due.”

Major creditors objecting to the bankruptcy included AFSCME, the UAW, Detroit’s two pension funds, the city’s public safety unions, retiree associations and a committee created to officially represent retirees during the bankruptcy.

Rhodes ruled the city is legally insolvent and obtained the necessary legal authorization from Gov. Rick Snyder to enter Chapter 9.

Creditors are expected to appeal the ruling, although experts say that appeals courts are hesitant to overturn bankruptcy rulings based on the facts.

Sharon Levine, an attorney for Michigan Council 25 of AFSCME, the city’s largest employee union, recently called the process a “terrifying use of Chapter 9” during the trial.

Chapter 9 terrifying? What does that make Chapters 1 through 8? It’s how you got here that scares the [bleep] out of me, toots. As the namesake of Obama said recently of his own fortunes, you’ve got nowhere to go from here but up!

From “Obama money” to no money:

And now that you’ve got the finances out of the hands of the local politicians, you might find capitalism beats socialism:

An all-star lineup of business and political leaders pitched entrepreneurship as the key to Detroit’s comeback today at the rollout of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program in the city.

Speaking at a Ford Field news event were famed investor Warren Buffett, Gov. Rick Snyder, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Mayor Dave Bing and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., plus three Michigan congressmen and assorted others.

“The resources are here to have a great, great city,” Buffett told the news conference. He added that Detroit is an underutilized resource, much like the auto industry was a few years ago, and that creates a huge potential for growth.

Peppered with questions at the news conference, Buffett, an adviser to the Goldman Sachs program, agreed that he’s ready to invest his own money in Detroit if he finds companies worth buying here. He urged his listeners to contact his organization Berkshire Hathaway with tips on which companies to buy.

Buy low, sell high. With Detroit at rock bottom prices, and its costs corralled by bankruptcy law, Buffett knows a good deal when he sees one. Not the city itself, to be sure, but the sparks of private enterprise that still glow in the ruins.


Oshkosh B’Gosh!

Now that the dust has settled in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin’s public employees are leaving their unions in droves, which should be no surprise: With passage of Act 10 in 2011, public unions in the Badger State lost many of their reasons for being. The “budget-repair bill” pushed through the Legislature by Republicans and signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker limited bargaining to wages only, and then only up to the cost of living; it also required unions to recertify each year and barred the automatic collection of union dues. Relying on federal financial records, the Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice found union membership has declined by 50% or more at some unions, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 48, which represents Milwaukee city and county workers. It has gone from more than 9,000 members and income exceeding $7 million in 2010 to about 3,500 members and a deep deficit by the end of last year. Walker inherited a budget mess from the administration of former Gov. Jim Doyle. He was facing a sizable deficit and entrenched public sector unions that had big political power bases that they used to protect their members. That often put them at odds with both good government and overburdened taxpayers. It was necessary to ask more of public workers — to have them pay a larger portion of their benefits. In particular, Walker needed to get control of spiraling health care benefits.

Republicans introduced a controversial bill; liberal lawmakers fled the state to avoid votes while Leftists occupied the capitol, spewed vile hatred, and leveled chilling threats. Who is primarily responsible for the incivility in Madison, again? Livid and defeated, Democrats launched a costly do-over election campaign against Walker, indicting him with some of the objections raised in the editorial above. When the dust settled, the people of Wisconsin decisively chose to let Governor Hitler McDivisive retain his job. Walker won by a larger percentage, and with more raw votes, than in his original race. Now, as their membership craters, Wisconsin’s government unions despair. Behold, the wages of choice. Government union workers — the very people who opposed Walker most strenuously — have discovered that their membership isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be: These dues aren’t worth it…I can spend my own money better…buh-bye.

Do you remember how mean and nasty that situation was? Heck, we got into the mix here—some reader kept heaving immense comments trying to bludgeon us with sheer verbiage. We just kept repeating the facts. And this is another one. Wisconsin is fiscally healthier than before, and the state workers couldn’t be happier to be free of unions and the pinkie-ringed thugs who run them—to say nothing of the extortion they call dues.

As I used to ask: what was that all about?


It’s Anti-Union, B*tches [UPDATE: It's Anti-Poor Too!]

[Bleep] we can’t make up.

Unions have come to hate ObamaCare!

We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.

First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.

Yeah, but other than that…

Second, millions of Americans are covered by non-profit health insurance plans like the ones in which most of our members participate.

Under the ACA as interpreted by the Administration, our employees will treated differently and not be eligible for subsidies afforded other citizens. As such, many employees will be relegated to second-class status and shut out of the help the law offers to for-profit insurance plans.

And finally, even though non-profit plans like ours won’t receive the same subsidies as for-profit plans, they’ll be taxed to pay for those subsidies. Taken together, these restrictions will make non-profit plans like ours unsustainable, and will undermine the health-care market of viable alternatives to the big health insurance companies.

Hold on a sec. Let me wipe this tear from my eye. A tear of laughter! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! HOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO!!!!!! HEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!!!!!!!

Sorry… [chortle]… couldn’t be helped [snort]… must remain professional [titter].

Oh, this is just so rich. They’re calling themselves out; I don’t have to. Everybody saw this coming—those who read the bill most of all. What complete boobs. “Boots on the ground”? Ha! Boots up the ass, more like. It couldn’t happen to a better gang of pinkie-ringed union thugs.

See ya in the unemployment line, suckers!

PS: I wonder if even one self-identified liberal will draw the only reasonable conclusion about big-government entitlements from the complete FUBAR-edness of this cluster. Just one. I doubt it.

What’s another million on welfare? Come on in, the water’s fine!

The study, “Health Insurance, Labor Supply, and Employment Lock,” concludes that Americans employed primarily to gain private insurance coverage may leave the workforce when they become eligible for free or heavily subsidized health insurance. The authors, Craig Garthwaite, Tal Gross, and Matthew J. Notowidigdo, write that the Affordable Care Act, which “affects adults not traditionally eligible for public health insurance, may cause large reductions in the labor supply of low-income adults.”

Using CPS data, we estimate that between 840,000 and 1.5 million childless adults in the US currently earn less than 200 percent of the poverty line, have employer-provided insurance, and are not eligible for public health insurance.

Applying our labor supply estimates directly to this population, we predict a decline in employment of between 530,000 and 940,000 in response to this group of individuals being made newly eligible for free or heavily subsidized health insurance. This would represent a decline in the aggregate employment rate of between 0.3 and 0.6 percentage points from this single component of the ACA.

Garthwaite, Gross, and Notowidigdo find “strong evidence that public health insurance affects labor supply decisions” — in particular, they conclude public health-insurance provides a “strong work disincentive” to those who qualify for it.

No kidding…

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Unions Want ObamaCare Scrapped?


Labor unions are breaking with President Obama on ObamaCare.
Months after the president’s reelection, a variety of unions are publicly balking at how the administration plans to implement the landmark law. They warn that unless there are changes, the results could be catastrophic.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) — a 1.3 million-member labor group that twice endorsed Obama for president — is very worried about how the reform law will affect its members’ healthcare plans.

Last month, the president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers released a statement calling “for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.”
UNITE HERE, a prominent hotel workers’ union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are also pushing for changes.

In a new op-ed published in The Hill, UFCW President Joe Hansen homed in on the president’s speech at the 2009 AFL-CIO convention. Obama at the time said union members could keep their insurance under the law, but Hansen writes “that the president’s statement to labor in 2009 is simply not true for millions of workers.”

Republicans have long attacked Obama’s promise that “nothing in this plan will require you to change your coverage or your doctor.” But the fact that unions are now noting it as well is a clear sign that supporters of the law are growing anxious about the law’s implementation.

These guys are suckers. They bought Hope ‘n Change, Yes We Can, Yes We Did.. and Now They’re Screwed.

- Aggie

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ObamaCare Passes, Unions Hardest Hit

Today, for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of the (ha-ha) Affordable Care Act:

Labor unions enthusiastically backed the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul when it was up for debate. Now that the law is rolling out, some are turning sour.

Union leaders say many of the law’s requirements will drive up the costs for their health-care plans and make unionized workers less competitive.

In early talks, the Obama administration dismissed the idea of applying the subsidies to people in union-sponsored plans, according to officials from the trade group, the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, that represents these insurance plans. Contacted for this article, Obama administration officials said the issue is subject to regulations still being written.

“We are going back to the administration to say that this is not acceptable,” said Ken Hall, general secretary-treasurer for the Teamsters, which has 1.6 million members and dependents in health-care plans. Other unions involved in the push include the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and Unite Here, which represents service and other workers.

Anything that makes the pinkie-ringed union thugs (™ Howie Carr) unhappy is okay by me. Just watch your kneecaps, Mr. President.

PS: Don’t you just love the fact that the ACA numbers over 2,400 pages—and they’re still writing regulations?

According to this guy, they’ll be writing for some time to come:

In the actual legislation itself, there are just over 2,400. But the legislation is incomplete with the accompanying regulations, most of which have yet to be published.

Paul Bedard, a journalist with U.S. News, reported in April 2011 that the first set of HHS regulations covered six pages of the actual legislation—but resulted in 429 pages of regulations.

I was curious to see what that would mean for the totality of the health care legislation if I applied a ratio of 71.5:1 to the Affordable Care Act.

The result?

More than 170,000 pages.

I’m sure the unions will get their taste somewhere in there.

PPS: The edition of the U.S. Constitution currently available on Amazon numbers 94 pages. For perspective’s sake.


Low-Information Teachers

The rich are different from you and me: they want us dead.

Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union:

“Do not think for a minute that the wealthy are ever going to allow you to legislate their riches away from them,” Lewis told the audience at the event. “However, we are in a moment where the wealth disparity in this country is very reminiscent of the robber baron ages. The labor leaders of that time, though, were ready to kill. They were. They were just — off with their heads. They were seriously talking about that.”

That’s scary to most people. But the key is, they think nothing about killing us. They think nothing about putting our people in harm’s way. They think nothing about lethal working conditions.

Rush had this yesterday, I believe:

LEWIS: They think nothing about killing us.

AUDIENCE: (murmuring of agreement)

WOMAN: Right.

LEWIS: They think nothing about putting our people in harm’s way. They think nothing about lethal working conditions. Which side are you gonna be on?

WOMAN: Right!

AUDIENCE: (applause)

LEWIS: So are we gonna be on the side of justice, are we gonna be on the side of a living wage for every person, or are we gonna be on the side of people whose entire mentality is based on a lie? Job creators.

AUDIENCE: (laughter)

LEWIS: Really? Then why have we lost so many jobs?

AUDIENCE: (applause)

RUSH: This is what we’re up against. This, years ago, we’d laugh at it. I would sit here and think, boy, nobody’s gonna believe… Not that nobody’s gonna believe it. Everybody’s gonna see this for the insanity that it is, or for the extremism that it is. I was wrong. People eat it up!

He’s got that right. We are so far down the road to perdition, even the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act couldn’t pay for its paving.

The Great Recession ended three and a half years ago; we’ve been in recovery and growing June 2009. Under Obama, this is all there is.

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