Labor's Pains

Monday, December 31, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Countdown

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Revealed: How the FBI Coordinated the Crackdown on Occupy | Common Dreams

Revealed: How the FBI Coordinated the Crackdown on Occupy | Common Dreams:

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It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.Police used teargas to drive back protesters following an attempt by the Occupy supporters to shut down the city of Oakland. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document –reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.
The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations' knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).
As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a "terrorist threat":
"FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country."
"This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI's surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement … These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America."
The documents show stunning range: in Denver, Colorado, that branch of the FBI and a "Bank Fraud Working Group" met in November 2011 – during the Occupy protests – to surveil the group. The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its "domestic terrorism" unit. The Anchorage, Alaska "terrorism task force" was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Michigan "joint terrorism task force" was issuing a "counterterrorism preparedness alert" about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there. Also in Jackson, Michigan, the FBI and the "Bank Security Group" – multiple private banks – met to discuss the reaction to "National Bad Bank Sit-in Day" (the response was violent, as you may recall). The Virginia FBI sent that state's Occupy members' details to the Virginia terrorism fusion center. The Memphis FBI tracked OWS under its "joint terrorism task force" aegis, too. And so on, for over 100 pages.
Jason Leopold, at, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration of Occupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic: if you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the "longterm plans" of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent.
There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people's income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.
Remember that only 10% of the money donated to WikiLeaks can be processed – because of financial sector and DHS-sponsored targeting of PayPal data. With this merger, that crushing of one's personal or business financial freedom can happen to any of us. How messy, criminalizing and prosecuting dissent. How simple, by contrast, just to label an entity a "terrorist organization" and choke off, disrupt or indict its sources of financing.
Why the huge push for counterterrorism "fusion centers", the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about "the terrorists". It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.
originally posted here:

Arkansas Republican Still Likes Slave Ownership!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

In honor of Chris Hedges comments about America as the Pequod: Great Books: MOBY DICK, Part One

It is good to take a look back at the novel. The great American novel Moby Dick. Success and failure. The coming together of races. This book had it all.

Song for the night: Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed

I used to care:  things have changed.

From friend of blog Jerry: as Margulies sees the future

Inside Story Americas - Has capitalism proven its durability?

Secret Docs Reveal FBI's 'Counterterrorism' Monitoring of OWS

As true as it ever was: Will Hunting had it right 14 years ago

Oliver Stone on RT ‘US has become an Orwellian state’

NRA Out of Touch on Gun Control, Says GOP Strategist

thanks to my friend Tom: Are We Approaching the Twilight of the Labor Movement? | Common Dreams

Are We Approaching the Twilight of the Labor Movement? | Common Dreams
By now, most people realize that private sector union membership in the U.S. stands at about 7-percent, which means that 93-percent of all private sector jobs are non-union. Which makes those accusations of unions of being “too big” and “too powerful” even more ridiculous and hysterical than they were when private sector membership was only a meager 10-percent.(Photo: UAW)
Yet, even with these depressingly low membership numbers, if America’s non-union workers rooted for unions to succeed, and, indeed, aspired to join a union themselves, it would mean, at least in theory, that the labor movement was alive and well and had a decent chance of succeeding.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Alas, too many non-union workers not only don’t admire or respect labor unions, they hate them. They fear them. They resent them. It’s as if America’s corporate masters had gathered all the underpaid, under-benefited non-union workers together in the same room, and done some hideous Manchurian Candidate brain-washing number on them, convincing them that they could trust the profit-motive more than they could trust a workers collective.

As a college student, I worked part-time as a breakfast cook. I’m not exaggerating when I say that, back in those days, it was the dream of every cook to get a job in a union manufacturing plant. That was their life’s goal. These guys didn’t dream of being millionaires or lottery winners or entrepreneurs; they dreamed of working in an industrial setting where the wages, benefits, and working conditions were union-scale.

Which is why it’s so disappointing to see the antipathy directed toward unions today. One objection is that unions are “corrupt.” That assertion has always puzzled me. Are people confusing ineptitude, laziness, and lack of imagination with “corruption,” because I’ve never seen any evidence of widespread corruption, certainly not enough to damage labor’s reputation. Are these people locked into some sort of time-warp, where they still imagine seeing newsreel footage of union honchos doing the perp-walk? Those days are over.

Another objection is that workers shouldn’t be forced to join a union or forced to pay dues. That one not only puzzles me, it irritates me. You hire into a union shop because the wages and benefits are roughly 15-percent better than non-union facilities, and yet you balk at having to embrace the very organization that made those wages and benefits possible? Several words come to mind: hypocrite, freeloader, ingrate.

In an odd way, the resentment at being “forced” to join a union (despite its obvious advantages) reminds me of the South’s resistance to desegregation. Southerners wouldn’t accept the fact that the federal government could tell a restaurant owner in Alabama that he no longer had the right to choose whom he could and couldn’t serve. Even though the restaurant was private property, his “Whites Only” signs had to come down. It was a concept people couldn’t absorb. Perhaps that same mind-set applies to union membership.

This classic labor vs. management adversarial relationship has been in place in the U.S. ever since the mid-19th century, and has existed in Europe for even longer. Because everything and everyone—the Congress, the media, the police, the banks, the Church, the city fathers—were arrayed against the unions, it was a constant struggle, and any progress labor made came at a steep price.

But the one enduring resource unions could always count on—the one built-in advantage they had—was the support of working men and women. And that was because workers felt they were all pretty much in the same boat. Moreover, it was this grassroots, across-the-board solidarity that management most feared because they had no way of combating it, other than by giving workers a larger slice of the pie.

And this is what makes the current anti-unionism so disturbing. Despite statistics clearly showing that the middle-class is losing more ground every year, the average worker, for whatever reason, continues to place more faith in the generosity and infallibility of the so-called “free market” than he does in the only lobbying organization working people have ever had. It’s like one of those old cowboy movies, but one where the Indians trust the cavalry more than their own tribe.

If the support of decent, hard-working men and women continues to evaporate, it means we’re sunk. Simple as that. It means Corporationism has not only won the battle, but the war. And who knows? Maybe this thing is already over. Maybe organized labor is walking around zombie-like, unaware that it’s America’s Undead.

Originally Published here:

Friday, December 21, 2012

Song for the night: The Pretenders ~ 2000 Miles

The NRA's America: The future schools of America

"The Guys With the Guns Make the Rules", Says the NRA

NRA's Newtown Statement Absurd & Irresponsible

Michael Steele: NRA Press Conference 'Very Haunting And Very Disturbing'

Working Class in Today's America

A Brief History of the USA - Bowling for Columbine - Michael Moore

The NRA would like to protect schools

Before Boehner's deal went down the tubes: Robert Reich: Obama Has Compromised Too Much on the Fiscal Cliff

Current TV revisits Michael Moore's 'Bowling for Columbine'

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Song for the night: I Miss You - Stevie Nicks (lyrics on screen)

'Sir, I'm going to ask you to turn that off,' says Mitch McConnell security

Soledad Obriend confronts Florida Governor Scott over gun control

Obviously the solution is arming the teachers

Fox and Friends get right to heart of critical news story: Santa Claus

Taylor Ferrera ode to the Westboro Baptist Church: I Wanna Go To Hell!

For the Westboro Baptist church

Boehlert Obama worst socialist ever

Stephanie Miller discusses gun policy with Portland teacher

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Song for the night: Simon & Garfunkel - Bleecker Street



Gun (lobby) Safety

Exposing the Cayman Island Tax Scandal - CODEPINK & The Nation take on C...

The Money behind Michigan's right to work

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Lawrence O'Donnell on Wayne Lapierre front man for NRA

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Untold History: Early US Imperialism, Hitler, Roosevelt, The Spanish Civ...

The Making of "Untold History of the United States"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SU Basketball Head Coach Boeheim speaks out on gun control

Bennett on gun control

NYPD for hire: how uniformed New York cops moonlight for banks | Naomi Wolf | Comment is free |

NYPD for hire: how uniformed New York cops moonlight for banks | Naomi Wolf | Comment is free |

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I was surprised two weeks ago to walk into my local TD Bank, on Greenwich Avenue in the West Village, New York to find that the security officer who was usually standing by, on alert, had been replaced by a uniformed, armed, radio-carrying New York Police Department officer, Officer Battle. I confirmed from him that he was, in fact, an NYPD officer – and was working part-time for TD bank.
Of course, this raised red flags for me. After the violent crackdown onOccupy Wall Street in November of 2011, when that group was having some of its most significant successes in protests and actions that challenged private banks and Wall Street institutions, many wondered what had motivated the unexpected aggression against protesters by local police officers tasked, at least overtly by municipal law, with upholding their first amendment rights.
The NYPD became, at the time, coordinated in its crackdown once Occupy had started to target banks. Was there a relationship behind the scenes of which we were unaware?
Chase bank had made a gift of $4.6m to the Police Foundation – boasting on its website that this "was the largest" in that group's history, and hoping that the money would allow the NYPD to "strengthen security". This police fund, as well as some details of a Rudi Giuliani-initiated program by which police officers had been hired by corporations, created a brief stir online.
But were Chase, TD, Bank of America and others, which had been targeted by activists, actually now employing our police forces directly?
The answer is yes. A nontransparent program called "Paid Detail Unit" has been set up so that private corporations are actually employing NYPD officers, who are in uniform and armed. The difference is that when these "public servants" are on the payroll of the banks, they are no longer serving you and the impartial rule of law in your city – despite what their uniform and badge imply. Neither New York Councilwoman Christine Quinn's press office nor an NYPD's spokesman responded to my queries regarding this program.
I went to a second TD Bank, on Third Avenue in Manhattan. There was NYPD Officer Kearse, also armed and in uniform. I asked him who paid him to watch the bank: he confirmed that the Paid Detail Unit did so. The bank pays fees directly to the NYPD, and the NYPD then pays him, after taking a cut. Kearse works at the bank 6.5 hours per shift, twice a month. That's not much, he said, compared to many NYPD officers "who do lots more".
"What would you do if there were protesters in this bank branch?" I asked.
"I'd remove them," he said.
"What if there were a conflict of interest between what the bank wanted him to do and what the rule of law was for citizens?" I asked.
He did not reply.
I asked a manager at the branch what the role of the NYPD officer was in the bank. She said, "All I know is he is there to watch us." She called a more senior manager to answer the rest of my questions, Patrick O'Toole:
"They are New York City police officers off-duty, paid by the Paid Detail Unit," he said. This is a program "that various corporations are able to use to obtain off-duty police officers for whatever purpose they need them. The bank supplies every branch in New York City with an off-duty police officer."
In the event of a protest, I asked, whom would the officer be working for? The bank, or the city and the citizens of New York? "I wouldn't know," he said, and referred me to TD Bank corporate security. "He's working under us when he's here: we pay Paid Detail and the NYPD writes the checks." shone rare light on the size of this program. According to that report, the city gets a 10% administrative fee, which, in 2011, amounted to $1.18m – meaning that PDU wages netted NYPD officers a total of $11.8m, an amount which had doubled since 2002

Full story:

Canada & US - The Difference

Bill Moyers on America's love with guns

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Song for the night: Christmas Friends

Toles excellent piece

This is from friend of blog Marty one of the first unique ideas I've heard on the fact the country is swimming in guns

A friend of mine just wrote the following....maybe the beginning of an answer? 

 "The solution is simple -- if you own a gun (just like a car) you must purchase insurance on the gun in order to own it. This way an INSURANCE company with "something to lose" would insist on only having "healthy" & responsible people (like drivers) owning a gun. If you have a gun and it goes missing or is stolen -- you are required to contact your insurer and file a police report."

Why Couldn't Unions Defeat Michigan Anti-Union Bill?

Proposed changes to MI concealed handgun law triggers controversy. Michigan is just nuts

Maybe that kid at the daycare could have got a job there if he did nine more hours of training.

The Simpsons - Gun Shop

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Timeline Of Mass Shootings In The US Since Columbine | ThinkProgress

A Timeline Of Mass Shootings In The US Since Columbine | ThinkProgress

On Friday morning, 27 people were reportedly shot and killed at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT. According to sources, 18 of these casualties were children. This is the second mass shooting in the US this week, after a gunman opened fire in an Oregon shopping mall on Tuesday, killing 2. ABC News reports that there have been 31 school shootings in the US since Columbine in 1999, when 13 people were killed.

The rate of people killed by guns in the US is 19.5 times higher than similar high-income countries in the world. In the last 30 years since 1982, America has mourned at least 61 mass murders. Below is a timeline of mass shootings in the US since the Columbine High massacre:

December 11, 2012. On Tuesday, 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts killed 2 people and himself with a stolen rifle in Clackamas Town Center, Oregon. His motive is unknown.

September 27, 2012. Five were shot to death by 36-year-old Andrew Engeldinger at Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, MN. Three others were wounded. Engeldinger went on a rampage after losing his job, ultimately killing himself.

full post:

Song for the night as we had into Christmas season: December - Kenny Loggins

Michigan Anti-Union Law Drafted by ALEC

Michael Moore on the Ed Show last night on Michigan

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Here's a tribute to the job creators of the nineteenth century. What those people needed was another tax cut?

Twins at birth's Rick Snyder's Big Day Off

I wouldn't have elected Bueller's friend either.

Bueller! Bueller!

Should have known something was wrong with the kid when he drove his father's car through glass window.

Fiscal Cliff at Christmas!

Matt Taibbi: After Laundering $800 Million in Drug Money, How Did HSBC Executives Avoid Jail? Matt Taibbi

Another day another mass shooting. Obama Tears Up In Response To Conn. School Shooting

Phoenix Protests Walmart BLACK FRIDAY

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Twinkie Robbed Worker's Pensions to Pay CEO Bonuses

Papantonio: Mainstream Media Fails Again In 2012

Daily Kos: Michigan House passes new version of emergency manager law repealed by voters

Daily Kos: Michigan House passes new version of emergency manager law repealed by voters:

'via Blog this'

LP: There is absolutely no doubt democracy is dying in Michigan and unless the voters of that state turn these people out who can say if they'll allow their citizens to vote again. I love the override so the voters are unable to exercise their will again.

In November, Michigan voters repealed Public Act 4, the state's notoriously antidemocratic emergency manager law. On Wednesday, in the legislature's mad rush to get every horrible thing it can passed during the lame duck session, the House passed a new version of the same damn thing and sent it to the Senate, which is expected to pass it and send it to Gov. Rick Snyder to be signed (back) into law.
The new bill ostensibly includes changes to address problems with the original, like giving local elected officials a tiny bit more input in what happens to their cities and towns. But the real difference may be that Republicans attached an appropriation to this bill so that it won't be subject to referendum.
Michigan Republicans have an ... interesting relationship with ballot measures their state's voters voted on in November. One of the big lines Republicans are trying to sell to explain why they decided to attack unions during the lame duck session is that it's retribution for unions putting a collective bargaining measure on the ballot in November. Republicans just had toweaken unions because unions had the temerity to try to strengthen themselves, or something. Never mind that this is contradicted by the fact that some Republicans in the legislature, and of course a bunch of big donors and far-right think tanks, had been working on their anti-union bill since well before the collective bargaining ballot measure was proposed. Never mind that the timing is obvious: pushing such a divisive law before the election would have had repercussions for Republicans in November, and with the state House gaining Democrats come January, it was now or never. No, we're supposed to believe that a failed ballot measure forced their hand. But at the same time, we're supposed to believe that the successful ballot measure repealing Public Act 4 was also a legitimate reason to pass virtually the same law, with some cosmetic changes and an appropriation.
In other words, to Michigan Republicans, democracy is just something to override, evade, or blame.

Originally posted here:

Michigan State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R) makes an amendment to right to work bill to exclude husband's job

'Right to Work' Law Kill Unions in Michigan

People Are Reading Your Emails. Only...It's The WRONG People: Absurdity...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Song for the night: Right-to-Work Protest in Lansing, Michigan

Michael Moore on The War Room with Jennifer Granholm, 12/12/12, Part 1

Jay Gould - "I Can Hire One Half of the Working Class to Kill the Other ...

The police in Michigan channeling Jay Gould

Michigan Right to work for 1500 less

What is Right to Work?

Bennett: I guess the jobs are coming back to Michigan

At last, a Compassionate Conservative solution to the overseas jobs-outsourcing problem :

Class War in Michigan

Jeff Session grilled by a real reporter Soledad Obrien: Wonders what' up isn't this CNN?

Papantonio: The Union War Has Just Begun Against Rick Snyder

Michigan: I think Sally Field had the right idea

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hostess Maneuver Deprived Pension - Yahoo! Finance

Hostess Maneuver Deprived Pension - Yahoo! Finance:

 "Hostess Brands Inc. said it used wages that were supposed to help fund employee pensions for the company's operations as it sank toward bankruptcy.

It isn't clear how many of the Irving, Texas, company's workers were affected by the move or how much money never wound up in their pension plans as promised.

After the company said in August 2011 that it would stop making pension contributions, the foregone wages weren't put toward the pension. Nor were they restored.

The maker of Twinkies, Ho-Hos and Wonder Bread filed for bankruptcy protection in January and shut down last month following a strike by one of the unions representing Hostess workers. A judge is overseeing the sale of company assets.

Gregory Rayburn, Hostess's chief executive officer, said in an interview it is "terrible" that employee wages earmarked for the pension were steered elsewhere by the company.

"I think it's like a lot of things in this case," he added. "It's not a good situation to have."

Complete story:

'via Blog this'


150,000 hits. Thank you all.

Austerity Italian Style

Obama: Right-To-Work Laws Mean 'Right To Work For Less Money'

Protesters Swarm State Capitol As Michigan Lawmakers Pass Right To Work Law

Very funny Walmart comes to South Park

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bernie Sanders on Media consolidation

Tea Party's Demint Leaves Senate, Cashes In

Song for the night: John Lennon - # 9 Dream

Happy birthday John.

Senator Gretchen Whitmer Furiously Slams Republicans over Right to Work ...

Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity are leading the charge for Snyder's 'right-to-work' bill | Michigan Business | Detroit Free Press |

Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity are leading the charge for Snyder's 'right-to-work' bill | Michigan Business | Detroit Free Press |

Gov. Snyder's right-to-work initiative has the coordinated support of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative non-profit organization that funded Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to strip that state's public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.
AFP was founded by wealthy industrialists Charles and David Koch. Their business interests in Wisconsin include a branch of their pulp and paper giant Georgia-Pacific, a coal subsidiary, timber plants and a pipeline network.
“Michigan passage of right-to-work legislation will be the shot heard around the world for workplace freedom," AFP said in a press release Thursday. "A victory over forced unionization in a union stronghold like Michigan would be an unprecedented win on par with Wisconsin that would pave the way for right to work in states across our nation."
The organization's sister organization, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, has produced a 15-page booklet titled "Unions: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: How forced unionization has harmed workers and Michigan."
AFP also recruited 300 supporters to demonstrate in favor of Gov. Snyder's proposed bill, just as organized unions rallied their members in opposition.
Asked how much AFP has contributed to support the right-to-work bill, spokeswoman Annie Patnaude said, "I need to check with my boss, but so far we have offered our supporters cookies and coffee."
In addition to the brochure, AFP's web site declared Dec. 6 "Workplace Freedom Lobby Day 2," and urged members to show up at the state Capitol in Lansing between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. today.

Great slide show too here:

Thanks to Tom.

Michigan 'Right To Work:' GOP Lawmakers Against Controversial Bill Speak Out

Michigan 'Right To Work:' GOP Lawmakers Against Controversial Bill Speak Out:

'via Blog this'

LP: Anti-union measure threatens to blow Republican party.

WASHINGTON -- Michigan is set to become the 24th state with a so-called right to work law, with Gov. Rick Snyder (R) poised to sign the controversial bill on Tuesday. The bill has been fast-tracked by the Republican-controlled state legislature, with the aim of getting it enacted by the end of the year.
Every Democrat in the Michigan House and Senate voted against the bill on Thursday. Four Republican state senators and six Republican state representatives broke with their party and sided with Democrats, citing the way their party expedited the legislation and the effect it would have on labor relations in the state.
"My district has a lot of support for unions," explained state Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), a Tea Party member and one of the "no" votes. "I had employers even calling me saying they're satisfied with the relationships they have with unions in our area, and they said they didn't want this either. I think that there's room for some very serious reforms with union policy in our state, but I don't think it was necessary to go to this length."
"I've always rejected not being allowed to read bills before we vote on them, regardless of which party is in power," said state Sen. Tory Rocca (R-Sterling Heights). "This is obviously a pretty weighty issue. People weren't allowed to see what the language was going to be ... until it was given to us literally minutes before we started voting. I couldn't bring myself to justify making a change like this."
State Sen. Anthony Forlini (R-Harrison Township) said he's "not a right to work guy," noting the union support in his district. "There are probably other things that we can do, and we have done, over the years," he said.
State Rep. Dale Zorn (R-Ida) said in a statement that without a majority of his constituents asking for the bill to pass, he "could not in good conscience offer a yes vote."
Right to work legislation would ban automatic payroll deductions of union dues. Supporters say workers who don't want to belong to a union shouldn't be forced to pay dues.
Originally posted here:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Song for the Night: Poco - The Dance - Alyssa Milano Pics

I don't really understand the Alyssa Milano connection, but I'm not complaining.

Michigan's Own Scott Walker-Style Showdown Is Coming | Mother Jones

Michigan's Own Scott Walker-Style Showdown Is Coming | Mother Jones:

'via Blog this'

The GOP's crusade against unions is taking center stage in Michigan, a stronghold of organized labor.
On Thursday night, with the blessing of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan's Republican-controlled Legislature passed a trio of so-called "right-to-work" bills targeting unions in the public and private sectors. The bills would ban unions from collecting dues from nonmembers to pay for wage and benefits negotiations that benefit unionized and nonunionized workers. Right-to-work laws have the effect of draining labor unions of money and members, as seen in the 23 states where such laws are on the books. Snyder says he will sign the measures into law when they arrive on his desk, despite saying last year that right-to-work could divide the state. Michigan would become the 24th right-to-work state.
The Michigan House of Representatives voted 58-52 to pass its version of a right-to-work bill for private companies. Soon after, the state Senate passed a private-sector right-to-work law 22-16 and a similar public-sector bill 22-4. Michigan senate Democrats walked out of the chamber before the second vote, while four Senate Republicans—Tory Rocca of Sterling Heights, Tom Casperson of Escanaba, Mike Nofs of Battle Creek, and Mike Green of Mayville—voted against the right-to-work bills.
Only police and firefighters are exempt from the state Senate's public-sector right-to-work laws.
The Republican lawmakers who supported the bills said the measures give workers the freedom to join a union or not. But that's not quite right. Workers are never required to join a union. They can, in states without right-to-work laws, be required to pay some dues to a union for representing them in negotiations with management. That's because nonunion workers in that workplace benefit from a union-negotiated contract just like union members; the union can also be required to represent nonunion workers in a workplace conflict. In right-to-work states, nonunion workers who don't pay dues but benefit from union representation are called "free riders." Free riders drain union treasuries of money, economists have found, while shrinking union membership by 5 to 10 percent. 
Democrats and unions argued the bills are intended to kneecap organized labor. "This bill is not about giving people choice; this bill is about breaking unions," state Rep. Steven Lindberg (D) said, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Before the Michigan Senate voted on the right-to-work bills, Democratic state Sen. Morris Hood III read aloud a statement from the White House opposing the bills. "President Obama has long opposed so-called 'right-to-work' laws and he continues to oppose them now," the statement read. "The President believes our economy is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits, and he opposes attempts to roll back their rights."
This November, labor unions and state Democrats had tried to preempt this turn of events. The labor-backed Proposal 2 would've permanently blocked right-to-work laws in Michigan and guaranteed collective bargaining rights in the state constitution. But only 43 percent of votersbacked the ballot measure on Election Day.
There are echoes of Wisconsin's 2011 battle over workers' rights in Thursday's controversial votes in the state Legislature. Just as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker didn't campaign on curbing workers' rights, Michigan's Snyder had previously told the Free Press that right-to-work wasn't a priority of his. Now Snyder wants right-to-work right away, having stood alongside GOP leaders in pushing the anti-union legislation.
Unions and their supporters packed into the state capitol in downtown Lansing to protest the right-to-work bills as they did last year in Madison, Wisconsin, to stop Walker and the Wisconsin GOP from curbing bargaining rights. In Michigan, though, some supporters and opponents didn't make it inside the capitol after police briefly locked the doors and blocked the crowd outside, which included United Auto Workers president Bob King, from entering. Later, labor officials got a court order from a county circuit judge to reopen the capitol.
And just as Walker's battle with his state's unions unfolded in the state that first organized public workers, the Michigan GOP is battling labor in the birthplace of the United Auto Workers, one of the most powerful unions in history. (Mother Jones union employees, including myself, are members of UAW Local 2103.)
A senior labor official with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) tells Mother Jones that unions are ramping up to persuade Snyder not to sign the right-to-work bills next week. There will be a civil disobedience training in Detroit on Saturday, workplace actions on Monday, and then on Tuesday, when the state House goes back to work, unions hope to bring thousands of protesters to Lansing—all in opposition to Michigan's right-to-work bills. "Rick Snyder is the new Scott Walker," the official says. "We'll make sure the voices of working men and women are heard in Michigan."