I’ll be in Wisconsin for the next 4 days so post volume will be limited. I’ll actually be in the belly of the beast that is Madison, Wisconsin with my aunt and uncle (they were actually in the crowd protesting Walker’s collective bargaining bill). I made sure to pack my Gadsden Shirt just for the off chance we make it to the capitol.
Wish me luck. If I’m not posting again by Monday, send search and rescue.
Because government is inherently dangerous and often mischievous, the Constitution’s framers provided, and congressional rules have multiplied, mechanisms for blocking government action. These mechanisms can, however, also be used to force action. One is being so used in a dispute that has two remarkable facets.
President Obama is sacrificing economic growth and job creation in order to placate organized labor. And as the crisis of the welfare state deepens, he is trying to enlarge the entitlement system and exacerbate the entitlement mentality.
To no one’s great surprise, Judge Maryann Sumi struck down Wisconsin’s reform legislation that limits collective bargaining rights for all state employees save first responders. Her 33-page ruling relied on a technicality rather than the law itself, claiming that the state’s open-meeting law was violated and that all results from that action have to be voided.
Except, according to Republican legislators, that rule didn’t apply. The legislature was in special session, which changes the requirements under the open-meeting law, so they claim that the violation was moot. This is disturbing in another sense, which is that the legislature sets its own rules as an independent branch of government. The judiciary should not intrude on their prerogative to set rules for their own operation, within the confines of the state and federal constitutions.
Sumi’s issuance of a temporary injunction on this basis gave a large hint to today’s decision, so no one should be stunned by her ruling. The case will quickly go to the Supreme Court, which will have to determine whether to allow district courts to dictate legislative rules. However, the legislature can just as easily pass the bill again — but if they want to do that, they should do it quickly before schools let out and teachers have a lot of free time on their hands.
This summer, the huge Boeing assembly plant here will begin producing 787 Dreamliners — up to three a month, priced at $185 million apiece. It will, unless the National Labor Relations Board, controlled by Democrats and encouraged by Barack Obama’s reverberating silence, gets its way.
Last month — 17 months after Boeing announced plans to build here and with the $2 billion plant nearing completion — the NLRB, collaborating with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), charged that Boeing’s decision violated the rights of its unionized workers in Washington state, where some Dreamliners are assembled and still will be even after the plant here is operational. The NLRB has read a 76-year-old statute (the 1935 Wagner Act) perversely, disregarded almost half a century of NLRB and Supreme Court rulings, and patently misrepresented statements by Boeing officials.
South Carolina is one of 22 — so far — right-to-work states, where workers cannot be compelled to join a union. When in September 2009, Boeing’s South Carolina workers — fuselage sections of 787s already are built here — voted to end their representation by IAM, the union did not accuse Boeing of pre-vote misbehavior. Now, however, the NLRB seeks to establish the principle that moving businesses to such states from non-right-to-work states constitutes prima facie evidence of “unfair labor practices,” including intimidation and coercion of labor. This principle would be a powerful incentive for new companies to locate only in right-to-work states.
students on Ohio University’s campus marched to protest S.B. 5.
S.B. 5 was the bill in Ohio that would drastically reduce collective bargaining “rights” for teachers in the state. This group marched directly in front of my room so I got to peer out and view the procession. While they were protesting this bill, I would assume in the hopes of securing higher wages for teachers, they also carried a rather peculiar sign. “FREE EDUCATION” was plastered on dozens of bright pink signs, and this got me wondering.
These protesters were calling for higher wages of teachers in the state of Ohio. They said that educators are the most valuable people in society and that they deserve high pay. But, they also think that education should be free. I don’t get it. Which one do you want? Do you want the teachers to work without compensation or do you want them to earn high salaries?
H.L. Mencken defined puritanism as the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy. The National Labor Relations Board is haunted by the fear that a company somewhere might be creating jobs with a nonunionized work force.
Boeing has run afoul of that fear by investing more than $1 billion in a new plant in the right-to-work state of South Carolina. With only the flimsiest legal justification, the board wants to force Boeing to reverse course and locate the facility with its current operations in Washington State, where its workers are unionized.
The NLRB’s claims are laughable on their face, although Boeing — trying to run a businessin a highly competitive global market — can be forgiven for missing the joke. The board accuses Boeing of “interfering with, restraining, and coercing” its union employees in the exercise of their rights by making a thoroughly understandable business decision.
This is putting not a thumb, but a fist on the scale in favor of the unions. A writer at the liberal The New Republic says it “may be the most radical thing the Obama administration has done.” It’s an attempt to keep companies with the misfortune of operating in union-heavy states in perpetual thrall to organized labor.
A common refrain among recession-weary Americans is that we don’t make anything in this country anymore. However, workers in South Carolina have a chance to make something — Boeing 787 Dreamliners that would be flown around the world — and yet Obama’s labor-cozy appointees to the National Labor Relations Board are intent on scuttling it.
Boeing, a vital U.S. company, wants to build a plant in South Carolina and bring good-paying manufacturing jobs to the state. They’ve already poured billions into the facilities and have hired 1,000 workers. But the NLRB filed a lawsuit last month to force Boeing back to Washington state, where workers would be represented by a union. The NLRB claims Boeing decided to open a non-union plant in South Carolina in retaliation for past strikes in Washington.
An Education Intelligence Agency analysis of Internal Revenue Service filings by the National Education Association and its state affiliates reveal the union amassed more than $1.5 billion in revenue in 2008-09, more than 90 percent of it in the form of dues from public education employees.
EIA created a table, now posted on its web site, that lists the financial figures for NEA and each of its 53 “state” affiliates (50 states plus the directly affiliated Federal Education Association, which represents NEA teachers overseas and on military bases, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, and the Utah School Employees Association). The numbers include each union’s total revenues, dues income and the amount devoted to employee compensation.
The statistics do not include the income of any of the union’s 14,000 locals, whose totals would range from the significant (for example, the $3 million annual revenue of the San Diego Education Association) to the nonexistent, in the case of small affiliates that collect no local dues.
NEA and its affiliates are all tax-exempt organizations. If they were defined as a charity, they would rank no worse than 13th in the nation – well ahead of the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, and the Nature Conservancy. Their one-year income exceeds the entire endowments of all but 43 charitable grant-making foundations, including the Broad Foundation and the Heinz Endowments (and close to the Annenberg Foundation).
“Before Citizens United, federal election law allowed a company like Koch Industries to talk to officers and shareholders about whom to vote for, but not to talk with employees about whom to vote for,” explains Paul M. Secunda, associate professor of law at Marquette University. But according to Secunda, who recently wrote in The Yale Law Journal Online about the effects of Citizens United on political coercion in the workplace, the decision knocked down those regulations. “Now, companies like Koch Industries are free to send out newsletters persuading their employees how to vote. They can even intimidate their employees into voting for their candidates.” Secunda adds, “It’s a very troubling situation.”
Am I the only one that sees the irony in a quote in the defense of unions complaining about intimidation?
If I employ someone and this person works for me for any amount of time, it’s totally within my right to say, “Hey Joe, I think you should vote for so and so because their economic policies will help us expand and maybe you’ll get more pay.” But in the eyes of the Left that’s just deplorable. But you know what’s A okay in the eyes of the Left? Mandatory Union dues that will be funneled in large quantities to Democratic lawmakers. Free speech is free speech. You have the right to donate to campaigns and influence elections just like a group of people known as a corporation does.
Law enforcement agencies ran up more than $3.27 million in pay, overtime, mileage, food and hotels while providing security during weeks of protests at the state Capitol, according to preliminary numbers compiled by the Journal Sentinel.
The total bill is certain to go higher, largely because some municipal police departments and county sheriff’s departments have not completed totaling their bills, some invoices are incomplete and costs for some larger law enforcement agencies, including the State Patrol, were not immediately available.
More than 150 law enforcement agencies in the state, representing towns, villages, cities and university police departments, as well as officers for the Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, the Department of Natural Resources and the Capitol police, submitted invoices on the cost to provide security in and around the Capitol.