Third Party & Independents Archives

Democrat Hypocrisy Once Again

With the introduction of S 1041, the passing of HR 800 and the discovery of a letter signed by sixteen Democrats written to the state of Puebla, Mexico, it is clear that not only does hypocrisy know no partisan boundaries but calls into question the call to change by their presidential nominee.

First, what is HR 800 and S 1041?

These bills are ironically named the Employee Free Choice Act of 2007. The ‘ironically’ will become clear in a minute. These bills purport to “amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes.”

So, that sounds good, right? Yes, much like most bills that are named by those introducing them, they always sound impressive and necessary. But the meat of this bill has little to do with freedom of choice as it does in allowing strong-arm tactics and pressure by union organizers to ‘encourage’ more union participation, something that has been in decline in the US recently.

In the section entitled ‘Streamlining Union Certification’ we see a change in the law that states:

(6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, whenever a petition shall have been filed by an employee or group of employees or any individual or labor organization acting in their behalf alleging that a majority of employees in a unit appropriate for the purposes of collective bargaining wish to be represented by an individual or labor organization for such purposes, the Board shall investigate the petition. If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection (a).

I know, it is a bit of ‘legal-eze’ but let me explain what is going on. Currently, when a union is attempting to form at a business, the organizers pass out cards and attempt to convince the employees to sign them. If 30% of the employees sign the cards, it indicates that the employees either want a union or want to have a vote on whether or not to have a union and an election is called by the NLRB. If 50% of the employees sign the cards, the employer has the option of foregoing the election, if they so desire. The secret ballot ensures that there was no pressure applied to the employees, this protects the company AND the employees from overzealous union organizations that have been known to exist from time to time.

This is not just a Libertarian view either. The AFLCIO, who has been pushing for this bill to be introduced and made law, requires that any DE-certification of a union be done with a secret ballot.

In a jointbrief, the AFL-CIO argued before the NLRB that in decertification petitions (the process by which it is determined a union no longer represents a majority of employees), secret-ballot elections “provide the surest means of avoiding decisions which are the result of group pressures and not individual choices.”

In addition, the NLRB and the Supreme Court have weighed in as well:

both the NLRB and the Supreme Court have long recognized that a Board-conducted secret-ballot election is “the most satisfactory, indeed preferred method” of ascertaining employee support for a union.

In fact, in the landmark 1969 Gissel Packing Co. decision, the Supreme Court affirmed that cards
are “admittedly inferior to the election process.”

Further, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) passed in 2002 re-enforced the right to secret ballot in elections with Senator Harkin – D stating that “one of the most fundamental of all rights that make us uniquely American [is] the right of the secret ballot.” Senator Dodd – D stated that “the sanctity of a private ballot is so fundamental to our system of elections.”

The change in the law proposed by HR 800 and S 1041 simply bypasses the secret ballot phase and automatically certifies a union if enough union cards are turned in. This removes that protection of the employee and the company. Instead, it gives more power to the union. It eliminates an important right to privacy that we must have in a democracy to be a free people. It allows the possibility that a union organizer could coerce enough employees to sign a card while standing in front of them looking on.

It is hardly news to anyone, then, that the people who introduced the bill and the bill cosponsors are mostly Democrats. Bowing to the pressure of the labor unions has been a time honored tradition in the Democratic Party. Included in that list is, of course, the Agent of Change himself, Barak Obama.

But that really comes as no surprise, does it? I mean, Barak talks a good game about changing how we do business in Washington and accepting no money from registered lobbyists, but he doesn’t tell you that he votes in lockstep with his party 97% of the time, much less of a ‘Maverick’ than his opponent’s 90% in very recent years. He also doesn’t tell you that in order to raise the money he did raise, he created ‘ad-hoc’ lobbyists that got special access to his campaign by bringing in as many donors as they could. These people are not registered and we know of very few of them, but they are the ones who have the candidate’s ear.

Now, the argument has been on the left that this step is necessary. I have yet to hear a valid reason why removing the ability to vote in secret is somehow now a Good Thing, but if the unions tell them it is, well then they are pretty much obliged to agree. But even worse is that we now have access to a letter written by George Miller –D who introduced HR 800 into the House of Representatives and signed by 15 of his fellow congressmen. This letter was written to the government of Puebla, Mexico as they were considering making union votes public and not private affairs. It states:

As members of Congress of the United States who are deeply concerned with international labor standards and the role of labor rights in international trade agreements, we are writing to encourage you to use the secret ballot in all union recognition elections.

We understand that the secret ballot is allowed for, but not required, by Mexican labor law. However, we feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose.

We respect Mexico as an important neighbor and trading partner, and we feel that the increased use of the secret ballot in union recognition elections will help bring real democracy to the Meixcan workplace.

Apparently, ‘real democracy’ is important to countries like Mexico for the Democrats, but America can do just fine without it.

Remember, this letter is written on the letterhead of George Miller who introduced HR 800 into the House of Representatives. This was written in 2001 and signed by:

George Miller
Bernard Sanders
Lane Evans
Martin Olav Sabo
Joe Baca
Dennis J. Kucinich
Fortney Pete Stark
James P. McGovern
Marcy Kaptur
William J. Coyne
Bob Filner
Barney Frank
Zoe Lofgren
Calvin M. Dooley
Barbara Lee
Lloyd Doggett

11 of the 16 signees are still in the House of Representatives. Dooley, Sabo, Evans and Coyne are no longer representatives and Sanders is now a senator. And, you guessed it, the remaining 11 ALL signed on as cosponsors to HR 800. Sanders, following suit of course, signed HR 1041, the senate companion bill that is still residing in committee despite having 46 cosponsors.

You see, the union organizers really don’t care about what goes on in Mexico in regards to labor unions. They care about their own power in the United States. This is why it is ok for these congressmen to say to Mexico “you need to use secret ballots to ensure democracy” but then turn around and introduce legislation into the House of Representatives to undermine the principles of democracy when it comes to American citizens.

And it is even clearer that Obama is interested in one thing, getting elected. Change is a strategy, a way to appear different than the others, but when a principled stand is needed, he either goes along with his party or votes ‘present’ when provided the opportunity.

Posted by Rhinehold at September 10, 2008 10:02 PM
Comments
Comment #262604

Rhine,

I do agree with the fact that the votes should be secret in terms of who wants to form a union and who dosen’t, or join one and who dosen’t. But tying Obama as a major factor in this with trying to get elected is far fetched from what I see. My dad’s was in a union, and so far it’s helped get him treatment for a chronic back problem, along with, before he got another trade job, the place he worked at closed and he found another job within a month with their help.

Some unions are bad, some are good. It happens with everything, and double standards are everywhere, especially if you’re looking at Obama and ignoring McCain.

If Obama’s only trying to get elected, McCain must be in prep for worldwide emperor, with the blatant get the women vote with Palin, and the asinine ads on TV (from both parties, but McCain takes the cake on this one).

And to be realistic, having a secret ballot in Mexico means a lot more than one here. Here I can tell you I voted to not have a union, but what realistically can happen more than not? Intimidation? The days of union strong-arming workers is gone, there’s too many outlets for workers to report it. Anyone can post online or send to a reporter or police anonymously that there’s trouble, and it’s 30 year old thinking that you could bully someone to something they won’t want to do and then not expect repercussions on it. Hell, if someone sneezes a slur in public now, it’s all over the net and then on the 5’oclock news.

But for countries like Mexico, which don’t have the outlets or means to investigate such problems
the secret ballot is literally protecting the life of that worker.

Anyways, I’m for protecting the rights of the secret ballot, but the issue at least from my dad, who was in a union for 12 years, is moot in comparison to the idiocy brewing in the country at the moment.

Posted by: Jon at September 11, 2008 12:22 AM
Comment #262609

rhine Baby!!
Passing yourself off as an Independent????
now THAT is funny!!

Posted by: Russ at September 11, 2008 1:39 AM
Comment #262618

Russ -

I’ll vouch for Rhinehold - he’s a libertarian and not a Republican. However strongly I disagree with much of what he says, I won’t call him a Republican.

And remember - friends don’t let friends vote Republican…because if Republicans have their way, you wouldn’t be allowed to vote anything BUT Republican….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at September 11, 2008 3:27 AM
Comment #262629

There are three equal components to a any business.
The three are Capital, Labor, Materials.

No money, no business.
No labor, no business.
No material, no business.

Why are you opposed to labor having a voice in the business of which they are a part?

Posted by: Mike Wrona at September 11, 2008 9:40 AM
Comment #262632

Mike,

From where did you get the uninformed view that I am ‘opposed to labor having a voice’?

Stopping the violation of a deeply needed right to express your vote without fear of public reprisals is not the same thing as saying there should be no unions, can we please stop the demagougery and focus on the issue?

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 11, 2008 9:55 AM
Comment #262638

Rhinehold

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Actually according to this statistical information union participation is on an upward trend. I tried linking to the actual statistics, but for some reason it will not allow that. For anyone interested just click on the database tab and scroll down the unions section.

I believe the purpose of the bill is to streamline the process to determine if there is enough interest in the union to pursue that avenue. Some union officials like our politicians are indeed less than savory characters. However the strong arm tactics of the past are not nearly as prevalent today. I was an active member of the teamsters for 27 years and can say that before government intervention and secret certified mail in ballots by a separate entity nothing seemed to be totally on the up and up. Including deals between management and union officials made behind closed doors. Despite all this we as workers did make gains and had protections, representations and rights that we would never have realized without the union.

I can understand a streamlining of the process to determine initial intent. The process of running board certified elections is timely and costly. The problem as I see it in this initial process is that in the time it takes to organize and hold a board certified election management can move in and use their often less than admirable methods of coercion to sway would be voters.

Posted by: RickIL at September 11, 2008 11:31 AM
Comment #262641

I took a break from hurricane prep to look at this and I’m glad i did. what is wron with this proposal is that it makes it possible for the union to know in advance whom they need to intimidate for a simple passage to tremendous power. The iffy process of going through a secret ballot and finding out what people REALLY think when they don’t have a possible future union official (who may soon hold their job in his hands) breathing down their neck is eliminated.

Unions desperately want to be able to intimidate the workforce into giving them political power and union dues without the protection of a secret ballot. Lloyd Doggett, for one should know better.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at September 11, 2008 12:07 PM
Comment #262643

Once again Big Labor is trying to extort money and power from the American employee. And they have the ‘Party of the People’ helping them. But it comes as no surprise to anyone that the Democrats are beholden to Big Labor. After all they get a large chunk of their campaign war chest from it.
These bills just show how little the Democrats care about the folks they claim they care about having a choice about how they live and work.
And these bills and the letter just show once more the hypocrisy of the Democrat party.


Glenn Contrarian
And remember - friends don’t let friends vote Republican…because if Republicans have their way, you wouldn’t be allowed to vote anything BUT Republican….

That statement backs up what I just said.
Fact is Glenn, friends let friends vote their convictions. Even if it is Democrat or Republican. It’s called Democracy. Something y’all don’t seem to believe in anymore.


Mike Wrona
Why are you opposed to labor having a voice in the business of which they are a part?

Do they have their money in the business? If so then they should have a voice. If not they do it the way those that have their money in it want it or go find another job. They are employees, not the owners.
Not that I see anything wrong with employees having some input. They can and often do see problems and solutions to them that management doesn’t. But final say is up to the folks that have their money in the business.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 11, 2008 12:38 PM
Comment #262645


It should come as no suprise that the Democratic party is trying to help the union bosses implement caucaus voting.

Unions have become a victim of their own success and the success of the financial institutions.

The unions were very successful at getting many of labors concerns passed into law. Non-union workers enjoy the benefits of many of the laws without the necessity of belonging to a union.

The financial institutions were extremely successful at turning many workers into indentured servants, living from paycheck to paycheck, praying that they don’t incur a major expence that could bankrupt their family. This has created a situation which is not conducive to striking for wage increases, benefits or concessions, and the strike is the primary weapon of unions.

Posted by: jlw at September 11, 2008 12:44 PM
Comment #262647


“Do they have their money in the business?”

No they don’t, and those who control the capital and own the businesses do everything that power can buy to insure that is never going to happen.

Posted by: jlw at September 11, 2008 12:58 PM
Comment #262651

I couldn’t disagree more. Anytime I see people talking about protecting workers from a labor union, it comes down to protecting business from higher labor costs! I’ve been involved in several union drives, and the business agent signs very few workers. Most of the workers are signed up by other workers. If more than 50% of the workers sign cards saying they want the union Then all the voting does is give the company another chance to intimidate the employees.

They’re three reasons wages are stagnant or even falling. It all started with Regan, and was helped by Bill Clinton. (1)Allow businesses to move manufacturing over seas, (2)Allow illegal aliens into the country to work for less, and (3) Break up the unions!

Any change that makes it easier to organize is a good change!

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at September 11, 2008 1:07 PM
Comment #262654
If more than 50% of the workers sign cards saying they want the union Then all the voting does is give the company another chance to intimidate the employees.

No it gives the workers a chance to vote their heart, not agree to a union because of peer pressure, union coercion or only being presented a part of the story without being able to think it through.

I’m sorry, but there is NO excuse for taking away a right of an individual to vote in secrecy so that they can vote their heart, imagine if the Republicans tried to do that with governmental elections?

The fact that the democrats that are pushing this now echoed those same concerns when they weren’t in a position of having big labor standing over them tells the whole tale.

Any change that makes it easier to organize is a good change!

Ah, the heart of the matter. Screw individual rights and liberties as long as the outcome is as you desire. The Democrat’s way of governing.

Hey, why not just make unions mandatory! That would be a good ‘Change’, right? The kind of change that Obama is all for?

Yup, that’s what I thought.

BTW, Mike, I was just told that union participation is on the rise, so how is breaking up the unions what is causing the wage stagnation! Using that reasoning, maybe it is increased participation in unions that is causing the wage stagnation? I think you guys should collaborate on your talking points better, I’ll go back to just defending individual rights like the Democratic party USED to do.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 11, 2008 1:21 PM
Comment #262655

“Do they have their money in the business?”

No they don’t, and those who control the capital and own the businesses do everything that power can buy to insure that is never going to happen.

Posted by: jlw at September 11, 2008 12:58 PM

Oh really? Ever hear of employee stock plans? This is where employees can buy stock from the company and earn dividends. And a whole heap of companies, even big publicly trade ones, have an employee stock plan. And guess what? The employees a lot of times can get stock cheaper from the company than they can from Wall Street.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 11, 2008 1:23 PM
Comment #262660

And ownership in those companies gives a much better return than SS which is about the same return as a savings account…

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 11, 2008 1:43 PM
Comment #262662

Rhinehold says

“it gives the workers a chance to vote their heart, not agree to a union because of peer pressure, union coercion or only being presented a part of the story without being able to think it through”

Part of the story??? Are you saying the company can’t tell their side of the story? The company not only pays people to come to their meetings, they can make it compulsorily. Where as with a union meeting not only do employees have to fit the meetings into their busy lives, but they have to worry about company harassment for going to a union meeting.

You also said

“I’m sorry, but there is NO excuse for taking away a right of an individual to vote in secrecy so that they can vote their heart, imagine if the Republicans tried to do that with governmental elections?”

You mean if people signed legally binding papers saying they wanted the Republican to win before the election happened? We have to have this first drive just to have the election.

Then you finished up with a line of B.S. including

“maybe it is increased participation in unions that is causing the wage stagnation?”

You can’t believe this one yourself…. Can you?


Posted by: Mike the Cynic at September 11, 2008 1:51 PM
Comment #262669
Part of the story??? Are you saying the company can’t tell their side of the story? The company not only pays people to come to their meetings, they can make it compulsorily. Where as with a union meeting not only do employees have to fit the meetings into their busy lives, but they have to worry about company harassment for going to a union meeting.

Talk about seeing through one side… Union organizers OR coworkers can hit up an employee out of the blue and put a card in front of them. What is the employee to say at that point? If he signs and says ‘sure, I want to have an election so the issue is brought up and voted on’ and then thinks about it for a week or two before going in and making an informed choice, but chooses against the union, you see that as a bad thing, don’t you?

We have to have this first drive just to have the election.

I think you are missing the result of what the law would do. There would be NO election. All that the union would have to do is get enough people to sign the cards. Once done, union is certified. It bypasses the election completely!

You can’t believe this one yourself…. Can you?

No, just as I don’t believe your simplistic assessment either. I was trying to make a point, which I guess you missed?

I mean, hey, let’s look at the loss of jobs at the same time we raised the minimum wage! Don’t you see a correlation? Of course it is not that simplistic, but that rarely stops partisans from trying to scare, um, I mean inform people of what they think is the reason…

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 11, 2008 2:17 PM
Comment #262677

“I want to have an election so the issue is brought up and voted on’ and then thinks about it for a week or two before going in and making an informed choice, but chooses against the union, you see that as a bad thing, don’t you? “

Of course that’s not a bad thing. Free and fair elections are one of the things that make America strong. But too often workers vote against a union because they can’t afford to lose their job.

“I mean, hey, let’s look at the loss of jobs at the same time we raised the minimum wage! Don’t you see a correlation? Of course it is not that simplistic, but that rarely stops partisans from trying to scare, um, I mean inform people of what they think is the reason…”

McDonalds, Hardees, and Pizza Hut all pay better than the minimum wage. Our minimum wage is a joke. This loss of jobs when we raise minimum wages idea has been used to keep labor low for too long. As for “but that rarely stops partisans from trying to scare, um, I mean inform people” This has always happened on both sides, and I sorry to say it probably will continue.

When it comes to individual rights at the workplace. You have very few. (You can’t be discriminated against because of your race, age, ect. And over-time after 40 hours.) And if you have trouble with these two, you can go to the NLRB, but that will be an uphill fight. Whenever an individual wins a suit it’s news.

I’ve been a poor laborer all my life. For 7years in the 90’s I worked in a toaster factory that treated their employees well. We were competing with workers in the Orient so they couldn’t pay as much as we wanted. But they tried to treat us right. In the 80’s I worked for 9 years in a packing plant that was in dire need of an union. I was the first one hired, and the union drive stared within 2 weeks of the opening of the plant. At first I was against the union; I wanted to see how they were going to run it. In a few months it was obvious how they wanted to run their plant. These people were so hateful, if we had a three day weekend, they would always make us come in on Saturday even if there was no meat to cut. because “ If we give them three days off they’ll get drunk and not come back.” I was the chief steward there for years.

By the way I was making $12.00 an hour then, now a meat packer gets paid $6.00 or $7.00 an hour. There are some problems cheap labor won’t solve, like feeding the laborer’s children.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at September 11, 2008 3:16 PM
Comment #262681

Mike,

Thanks for the ‘lesson’ but I know very well about what unions do, how they operate and the good and bad of them.

But, you are missing that this has nothing to do with being ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ union, neither of which I am. It has to do with one group of powerful people removing the secret ballot from the workers so that they can get more unions in place. Think about it, why do they KNOW that if they remove the secret ballot process, more unions will be certified? And then they require the secret ballot for decertification.

It’s hypocrisy, clear and simple, and even pro union supporters should be standing and screaming about it. But there is less of that because people want the end result in this country without being concerned with what rights they are giving up to get there.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 11, 2008 3:37 PM
Comment #262693

I’m always glad whenever Democrats stand up for our Unions, because Unions are what made this country a good and decent place to live for all hardworking people who weren’t born into wealth. People just like me and my husband.

Without good Union wages we would never have been able to own a home. Or have a pension for our retirement. Or be able to still get affordable health care like we’re fortunate enough to have, when so many other people across this nation don’t.

Republicans and Libertarians hate Unions because both of these parties are invested in protecting the wealthy of this nation, and these types know that whenever workers stand in solidarity together and get a Union to represent our place at the economic table, they aren’t as likely to reap quite as obscene a profit as they’d prefer.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at September 11, 2008 4:23 PM
Comment #262694

Rhinehold said,
“Think about it, why do they KNOW that if they remove the secret ballot process, more unions will be certified? And then they require the secret ballot for decertification.”

Frankly, I’ve never worked for a union or belonged to one. I did have some encounter with a friend wo worked for a grocer that was resistant to unionization. There were many claims made that union people were threatening employees and causing vandalism. Yet it was all rumor. There was no one that anyone could find who actually could prove it. It was always somebody heard somebody did this or that.

I don’t know if the store ever unionized or not. I moved from the area, but as I’ve gotten older, it seemed quite clear that the company was spreading these rumors.

I have no position on this, except to say, I’m not quite sure how a union could intimidate employees, except with physical threats. While I’ve certainly seen that with striking unions and “scabs”, I frankly don’t think a union would win too many votes intimidating anyone. I know employers often use their economic power to intimidate employees. I’ve seen that a lot.

I think the answer to your question lies in there somewhere.

Posted by: googlumpuugus at September 11, 2008 4:50 PM
Comment #262697

I guess I’m so pro-union that it sounds like a good idea to me. For the 2nd half my life groups of very powerful people made up laws that made it hard to organize workers. When Reagan said he’d get the government off your backs, what he really did was to get government off of his political contributors’ backs (corporations). In the last 25 years the thumb of government has gotten tighter on the common man.The long run of deregulation has done serious harm to our country in many ways.

In the packing plant where I worked three of my co-workers, out of well over a hundred, didn’t sign up for the union. But it still took over a year and a strike before they would allow the election.

Yes I have to admit, doing away with secret ballots sounds extreme, but the poor working people have been downtrodden for so long anything positive sounds good to me.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at September 11, 2008 4:51 PM
Comment #262704

“Unions desperately want to be able to intimidate the workforce into giving them political power and union dues without the protection of a secret ballot. Lloyd Doggett, for one should know better.”
Posted by: Lee Jamison at September 11, 2008 12:07 PM

Lee, sure hope you aren’t hit too hard by Ike. I have always believed in collective bargaining and can not understand why an employee would give up their secret ballot on anything so important as their job and livelihood. The potential for abuse is overwhelming. And Lee, you’re right…shame on Doggett.

Thanks to Rinehold for posting this blog.

Posted by: Jim M at September 11, 2008 5:13 PM
Comment #262707

Ron Brown -

Don’t assume I agree with what my fellow Democrats did. I haven’t looked that deeply into the issue, but with the information I have so far, I disagree strongly, just as I disagree with most of my fellow Democrats about nuclear power. There’s no good reason why we shouldn’t have our entire nation powered by nuclear plants.

BUT it’s apparent to me that you missed what I was really referring to concerning Republicans not allowing anyone to vote anything BUT Republican. Remember the great Republican hue and cry about the supposed widespread Democratic voter fraud? Tell you what - check out what’s been going on in Ohio since before the 2004 election, and what just hit the headlines about the Elections commission in Colorado, and what Diebold’s been doing all along, and what happened in the governor races down in Mississippi and Alabama.

And here is a little something by a GOP cyber security expert about what was going on in the 2002 elections.

And THEN there’s the GOP wanting to use foreclosure lists to keep people from voting!

In all of this election fraud, were any Democrats involved? No, because we BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO VOTE.

But Republicans? If the above news stories are any indication, you guys really don’t like fair and free elections.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at September 11, 2008 5:38 PM
Comment #262715

Here is a gist from selected sections of Pat Choate’s “Dangerous Business”: for more than a century Levi-Strauss & Co. and it’s owners have personified the American ideal: doing well for oneself while doing good for others. Today most company’s face the choice of whether to keep work and jobs in the U.S. and risk bankruptcy or to abandon American workers and outsource their jobs to penny-wage nations and prosper. Before the civil war the Strauss family, from Bremen, Germany, emigrated to the U.S. They marketed work clothing from a store in San Francisco and sold directly to gold miners in the camps. The clothing was no different from others until in 1873 they began to use rivets to secure the pockets and fly. On May 20, 1873 they received a patent, no. 139,121. They made three sizes. You chose the closest fit and then jumped into a pond or tub and they would shrink to fit. During WWII Levi’s were labeled an essential commodity by the war department. After the war Levi’s started making jeans and sporting apparel. In 96 they had $7B in sales, 85 facilities in 49 countries and more than 36,000 employees. Other companies wanted to emulate Levi’s. They provided their workers with pensions, aid vacations, stock purchase plans and profit sharing. They pioneered racially integrated facilities long before the 64 civil rights act. In 82 it was the first major corporation to promote AIDS awareness subsequently awarding more than $26M to combat HIV. In 91 developed first multinational to develop comprehensive ethics code for their contractors. In 92 the first Fortune 500 to provide health care benefits to partners of employees. Levi’s saw their stakeholders as employees, suppliers and business partners, communities where they operated, the nation and most importantly, customers. In 81 the CEO’s of DuPont, GE, Ford Motor Co. and the Business Roundtable (representing 200 companies) issued a statement mirroring Levi’s business practices.
In 1970 Milton Friedman had begun parroting that business had only one social responsibility-to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits. He wanted a return to laissez-faire capitalism of the 18th century, bound only by the laws that government imposed and the prevailing ethics.
In 71 Levi’s was converted to a public corporation in order to raise capital for growth. In 81 along came Regan who inaugurated the Friedman Doctrine and greed became fashionable. To bring down inflation he cut jobs to the highest level since the depression. Simultaneously, to encourage imports and further increase unemployment the dollar was allowed to increase in value against other currencies by almost 50%. Many U.S. producers shifted their production overseas. As recently as 1990 U.S. workers produced more than 90% of Levi’s pants shifted their production overseas. As recently as 1990 U.S. workers produced more than 90% of Levi’s pants sold in the U.S. In 82 the Supreme Court struck down state anti-takeover laws as unconstitutional. The court agreed that whoever was willing to pay stockholders the highest price should be allowed to take control of a public corporation. This brought on the era of ‘corporate raiders such as T. Boone Pickens, Carl Icahn, and Ivan Boesky. To protect themselves CEO’s loaded their balance sheets with debt, bought back stock, devised accounting tricks to improve earnings, fired workers, issued ‘golden parachutes’, and reduced long term investment such as R&D. Many banks would not loan money unless the plans were to move their plants and jobs to low-cost foreign operations. This meant that millions of American workers would lose their jobs. In 80 the Strauss-Stern-Haas family put up $1.6B to buy back the company so they could operate, again, as they wished and do so privately. In Aug. 92 H. W. Bush signed NAFTA but the details were kept secret from the public. In Dec 92 Clinton signed off on NAFTA and the details were again kept secret and not made available until Clinton’s inauguration day, Jan 20 1993. In 94 the U.S. negotiated to phase out import quotas on apparel, thus pitting Levi-Strauss and it’s American workers against the penny-wage labor of the developing world. The family eventually saved the company by outsourcing their production. By 04 Levi-Strauss had closed all U.S. plants and relied on low-wage foreign contractors to produce clothing. They gave their fired U.S. workers generous severance packages and even made grants to the affected communities. They still survive today as many other famous companies including Cannon, Burlington, Fruit of the Loom, and Pepermill, have gone bankrupt, been consolidated, or liquidated. Consequently, a major U.S. export to China now is used textile machinery, salvaged from the closure of 328 U.S. factories and thousands of apparel manufacturers since 1997 and sold for bargain-basement prices. The Dept of Labor reported that between 94-04 the U.S. lost more than 816,000 textile and apparel jobs.
One result of this is that companies could just threaten to relocate overseas if employees weren’t compliant about wages, benefits, and working conditions. Just a threat could suppress workers real wages, weaken collective bargaining powers and ability to organize unions, and reduce fringe benefits. Pat sums up by stating that “the best of companies, even those with a fierce loyalty to the U.S. and it’s workers cannot survive if they retain their production in the U.S., no matter how well educated, skilled and productive the workers may be. U.S. and global trade rules are stacked to high against them. The Milton Friedman Doctrine reigns. Corporate profits now dominate all other considerations.”

I question why we are debating the change of a few words in a memo dealing with Unions. Why do we sit still knowing full well that the corpocracy has raided the great wealth this country had produced since WWII. Try to get your mind around $65T of debt. Sit on the fence a little longer and you will be glad to take a $6. /hr job and keep your mouth shut.

Otherwise, we deserve the government we have.

For REAL reform one might consider supporting: www.voidnow.com, www.foavc.org, and www.demreps.com, promoting a 3rd party with built-in citizen oversight for elected officials.

Posted by: roy ellis at September 11, 2008 6:32 PM
Comment #262720

There are far more likely to be reprisals up to and including serious injury and death, from anti-union people than from the Norma Raes of this world. I don’t understand where the anti union people get their nonsense from. I talked a little yesterday to an immigrant lady who works at a McD’s here, and she is paid $10 an hour. Minimum wage is about $8.50, I think.

It doesn’t seem likely that this bill will get anywhere with the current administration, and I don’t know what JMcC would do in the future. BHO’s earliest and most consistent supporters are all very pro-union, but I don’t think he’s going to get beyond 38 electoral votes. The Democrats will have larger majorities in Congress, so this is an issue that will come back, if it doesn’t go anywhere now.

Posted by: ohrealy at September 11, 2008 6:47 PM
Comment #262734

FACT CHECK: Union Activity has been on the rise RECENTLY, not decline.

A bummer of an economy and lack of job security will do that! Thanks to the Republicans for the most part, workers who opposed unions before, now find they have a vested interest in them just as they have a vested interest in keeping their jobs from being exported or their wages depressed by an influx of legal and illegal immigration.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 11, 2008 8:01 PM
Comment #262768

The sad fact is that today’s rule make it very, very difficult to organize. Not very many attempts are successful. These new rules at least give workers a fighting chance to organize if they wish. These rules still make it hard, but at least they are something.

Posted by: Max at September 11, 2008 11:43 PM
Comment #262772

Max, at the expense of decent democracy standards. And as David points out, union activity is rising, yet you say that it is very difficult to organize…

I’m sorry Max, but I don’t care how much you want more unions at any cost, the cost of our individual liberties and basis of our democracy is too much for the outcome.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 11, 2008 11:58 PM
Comment #262773

Glenn Contrarian
What makes ya think I’m a Republican? Because I knock the Democrats? Well guess what? I knock the Republicans too. Reckon that makes me a Democrat by their way of thinking. Fact is I don’t belong to any party. I’m an independent. That way I don’t have to parrot any party line and I’m fee to go after anyone that’s pissing on my boot and trying to tell me it’s only rain. And I get that a whole heap of it from both major parties as well a some fellow conservative independents at times.
I’d like to check out your links but they don’t seem to be working.

Glenn said: In all of this election fraud, were any Democrats involved? No, because we BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY AND THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO VOTE.

Then why are y’all wanting to keep employees from voting on if the go union or not? Aint that part of the right of folks vote? Or do y’all only believe in their right to vote when they’re voting the way y’all want them too?
I hear a lot of hot air coming from Democrats about democracy, but their actions are shouting so loud I can’t hear a word they’re saying.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 11, 2008 11:58 PM
Comment #262780

“And ownership in those companies gives a much better return than SS which is about the same return as a savings account…”

Assumming of course these companies are profitable and the stock market is strong and and and and ….


Rhinehold do you mean individual corporation rights? Libertarians are so pro corporation they cant see the damage these guys have been doing to past 3 decades to individuals. Sometimes you have to cooperate and work with others to make a living. BTW you also have the right to move to the next company should you choose so I dont see how your rights are abused. You have obviously exercised your right to have your representative make laws that destroy unions why cant unions exercise their right to exist.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 12, 2008 12:31 AM
Comment #262784
Libertarians are so pro corporation they cant see the damage these guys have been doing to past 3 decades to individuals.

Let me say this about my views on corporations.

1) They should not be allowed to contribute to any politics. Neither should organizations like the AFLCIO, etc. All donations should be through individual donors.

2) There should be no corporate tax loopholes or givebacks. Of course, I don’t think there should be corporate taxes period, but if there are it should be a single rate with no way around it.

3) There should be stronger anti-trust laws in place. For example, the Sirius/XM merger should have been a no-go.

Now, how am I ‘pro corporation’ again? Do you even know what libertarians really think about such things or do you just assume libertarians are just anarchocapitalists?

Sometimes you have to cooperate and work with others to make a living.

Wow, how profound. And totally irrelevant to the situation we are talking about.

BTW you also have the right to move to the next company should you choose so I dont see how your rights are abused.

You don’t know how your vote being public is a violation of your rights? Read the letter the democrats sent to Mexico, it details it pretty well there.

You have obviously exercised your right to have your representative make laws that destroy unions why cant unions exercise their right to exist.

I have? How exactly have I again?

FYI, my family (father, brother, brother, grandfather, uncle) are all union members. I have been in a union family all of my life. What makes you think you know enough about me to attack me personally on such an issue as this exactly?

The simple fact is preserving the necessary right of secret ballot for employees of a company is not pro-union or anti-union. It is AMERICAN. I find it incredulous that people are so partisan that they can’t look at an attempt to circumvent such a basic and necessary right as being able to vote your heart in private so you aren’t held personally accountable afterwards by your co-workers, union organizers or management and say ‘Hey, that’s not cool!’

No, instead they feel it is more important to personally attack anyone who disagrees with the notion that there should be more unions at all costs, using whatever methods necessary.

BTW, one benefit to having a private ballot is if the union doesn’t pass, the management doesn’t have a list of all of the people who they now know wanted a union and can decide to find a way to get rid of them in the future, even though it is illegal. Good to know you care about the people unions that much.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 12, 2008 12:52 AM
Comment #262790

Oh, and j2t2, a little lesson on part of what Libertarianism is about…

The power to legally use deadly force against another human being is restricted to government. That is the only think that makes government different from a social club, as it were.

We should not be giving that organization more power than it needs to to protect our individual rights.

And, this is important, if they don’t have as much power, private organizations (like the unions AND the corporations) would not have a need or desire to control that power and use any means necessary to obtain it.

It is the attraction to that power that these power-hungry organizations on both sides that cause them to try to buy, cajole and steal it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 12, 2008 1:09 AM
Comment #262791

“What makes you think you know enough about me to attack me personally on such an issue as this exactly?”
I dont, and if you will look at what I said you will see that it was not an attack on you personally.
“Libertarians are so pro corporation they cant see the damage these guys have been doing to past 3 decades to individuals.”

Posted by: j2t2 at September 12, 2008 1:10 AM
Comment #262793
I dont, and if you will look at what I said you will see that it was not an attack on you personally.

I wasn’t complaining about that, I was complaining about this:

You have obviously exercised your right to have your representative make laws that destroy unions why cant unions exercise their right to exist.


Posted by: Rhinehold at September 12, 2008 1:16 AM
Comment #262814

Oh I didnt think that saying you(someone) had voted was a personal attack on you (someone). Anyway I apologize if you (specifically you)think I got to personel , that wasn’t my intent I meant you, in general not you personally. In the future I will attempt to be more precise in my comments.
Gotta go, will respond to the rest later. Good article though.

Posted by: j2t2 at September 12, 2008 11:23 AM
Comment #262817

The idea that Libertarians are “pro corporation” is silly. Libertarians are ani-big brother in whatever form he comes. I’m not a Libertarian because I really do see a place for the conflict between government and the private corporation. Let’s not ascribe characteristics to people who don’t have those characteristics.

The issue is not pro- or anti- union. A union that really is mindful of the international market place in which modern companies compete, and will work to make everybody more competitive in that market place while protecting workers from abuse is, without question, a force for good. The issue is pro- or anti- fair democratic election. There are people who will give in to the union organizer because he intimates something like- “We’ll remember who our friends were once the union is operational…”

It’s a lot like a lawyer saying he wants you to pay him to represent you, and, oh, if you decide not to, well, he knows the judge.

Union certification should ONLY be valid after a fully secret ballot. Period.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at September 12, 2008 11:51 AM
Comment #262835

If the Democrats get away with banning the secret ballot in the work place today, what’s to keep them from banning it in national, state, and local elections tomorrow?
Then they can send in their goons and intimidate every voter into voting Democrat. That way they can make sure they stay in power and trample all over every other right.
I know, those sweet, kind, lovable, cuddly, innocent Democrats would never think of anything like that! And the Pope is Jewish.
And I would put it past the Republicans to send their goons in either.

As an employer I don’t care how many unions my employees join. they can join every union there is for all I care. That’s their right I reckon.
But I’ll never sign a contract with one, I won’t withhold union extortion money for them, and if they go out on strike they can pickup their final paychecks the next day.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 12, 2008 1:42 PM
Comment #262848

>I’m sorry Max, but I don’t care how much you want more unions at any cost, the cost of our individual liberties and basis of our democracy is too much for the outcome.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 11, 2008 11:58 PM>I’m sorry Max, but I don’t care how much you want more unions at any cost, the cost of our individual liberties and basis of our democracy is too much for the outcome.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 11, 2008 11:58 PM

Rhinehold,

I don’t know if Max is desparate for unionization or not, but, you surprise me a little. Aren’t you a free-market man?

Labor is a product, just like wiggits and doomaflatchees. The price of these items to a business is negotiated between a company that needs them and the company who can supply them. All else being fair and equal, both parties come away satisfied.

Labor, on the other hand is costed out by the company that needs it. There is no negotiation, because each individual can only speak for him/herself, and if a paycheck is necessary for survival, individual negotiations don’t go very far. But, because labor is a negotiable product, a collective bargaining can accomplish what individuals cannot. Why would you be against that, it should actually be right up your free-market ally.

Posted by: Marysdude at September 12, 2008 2:42 PM
Comment #262851

Marysdude,

What makes you think I’m against that?

I’m against the government certifying a union without requiring a secret ballot by those employees voting on the union. It is the only to protect the individual workers from intimidation by either side.

And I’m not a free market-er as much as I am an individual liberty-er. This proposed law stomps all over the heart of freedom and liberty.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 12, 2008 3:16 PM
Comment #262855

Wow! We found at least this one little thing in common…darn!

Posted by: Marysdude at September 12, 2008 4:20 PM
Comment #262875

Ron Brown -

Y’know, you bring up ONE thing that the Democrats did wrong (although I’ve only heard YOUR side of the story), and you ASSUME that we’re just as against Democracy as the Republicans certainly are.

The Republicans have shown a PATTERN OF CONDUCT, Ron. Using foreclosure lists to keep Dems from voting. Sending out over a million voter registration cards in Ohio…but with an incorrect return address. ‘Caging’. Willfully violating federal law on the voting slips in Mississippi. I can list MUCH more, if you like.

You point out ONE apparent flaw…and in your view this makes us just as SLIMY as the Republicans?

Sorry, Ron, but what you’re doing is building a straw man. You’re pointing out the splinter in the Dems’ eye and calling it equal to the log in the Republicans’ eye.

Tell you what - if you can point out election fraud by the Democrats of even HALF the scale the Republicans have been pulling since the turn of the century, then we’ll talk. Until you are able to do so, though, if you continue to raise Cain about the Dems while NOT raising an appropriately GREATER Cain about the MUCH greater scale of the Republicans’ election fraud…then you are simply engaging in a miscarriage of justice.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at September 12, 2008 6:54 PM
Comment #262879

Ya all talk about fraud and wrong doing. I googled Obama and earmarks, the site I linked had some really nice info. It seems that BHO got the hospital his wife works at a Million dollar earmark. Now she is VP of community affairs and in 2004 was making just under 122K. in 2005 Her pay amazingly increased to just under 317K because her husband Barry became a U.S. Senator. Now if my math is right that’s 195K a year raise. I don’t begrudge anyone making a few extra bucks but it seems kinda funny that after the hospital gets the Million they have to payout 195,000 a year to Michelle. So where is the money going to BHO’s bank account.

Posted by: KAP at September 12, 2008 7:44 PM
Comment #262887

“the Pope is Jewish.” Well, he does wear a white yarmulke.

Secret ballots are more susceptible to tampering. I would rather have a ballot with my signature on it. The assumption on one side seems to be that the unions are trying to get things for their members that they don’t want, like health care coverage and increased pay, the only issues that I ever heard about.


Posted by: ohrealy at September 12, 2008 10:01 PM
Comment #262893

Glenn Contrarian
Your Right! I do claim that Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans. That’s because they are.
But I don’t expect anyone with partisan blinders on to see it. Y’all (Dem & Rep) have been hoodwinked for so long that ya believe anything that your party does is automatically good and anything the other party does is automatically bad.
All I ask anyone to do is take off the blinders and take a long hard nonpartisan look at their party. After that if they can still stomach the party more power to them.

BTW, Have ya managed to get the links from your comments yesterday to work? I’d like to check them out.

KAP
Shhhh! Ya might get the BHO camp upset with ya. Then you’ll get labeled a racist. Don’t ya know ya aint supposed to speak against their fair haired boy.
Can ya link the site for those of us that would like to check it out for ourselves?

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 12, 2008 11:43 PM
Comment #262915

Ron
The site is www.judicialwatch.org/blog/obama-earmarks

Posted by: KAP at September 13, 2008 11:04 AM
Comment #262916

Ron
The article is intitled WIFE’s EMPLOYER BIG DONOR. It also says that he got General Dynamics 8 MILLION which also is a big donor to his campaign.

Posted by: KAP at September 13, 2008 11:10 AM
Comment #262919

Thanks KAP. I’ll get it checked out.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 13, 2008 11:46 AM
Comment #262923

“Ya all talk about fraud and wrong doing. I googled Obama and earmarks, the site I linked had some really nice info.”

KAP did the website mention that after 4 years as executive director in 2005 Michelle Obama was promoted to VP of Community Affairs. Perhaps that had something to do with the raise, more repsonsiblity more reward. Fraud and wrong doing, seems more like much ado about nothing. I am missing something?

Posted by: j2t2 at September 13, 2008 12:29 PM
Comment #262930

j2t2
Yea and could that have had something to do with Rezko or whatever that crooks name was that was on the hospital board about that same time. $195,000 raise? I could see $200,000 but not $317,000. Your boy ain’t as good as you think.

Posted by: KAP at September 13, 2008 2:32 PM
Comment #264917

The education establishment continually provides entertainment. Today the National Heroes Tour of some of the most honored veterans of the Iraq War was scheduled to appear at Forest Lake High School in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Pete Hegseth, founder of Vets for Freedom, the sponsor of the tour, is an alumnus of that high school.
Apparently in “The Democratic Underground” forums there was an announcement of a press conference by unidentified groups to oppose the appearance.
——————-
Tanyaa
Internet Marketing

Posted by: tanyacatherine at September 29, 2008 6:23 AM
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