Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category

Saying that the Democrats have a candidate crisis this presidential election cycle is understatement. It isn’t just about the Democrats’ candidates, though that’s part of their problem. Part of their problem is that they’ve alienated their traditional base. Specifically, Democrats alienated blue collar workers and industrial unions. It’s more than interesting that Democrats have pushed aside unions like the UAW, Teamsters and United Mine Workers.

In this LTE, Rob Braun wrote “Middle America feels as if no one on the coast is taking their views and opinions seriously. The coastal liberal elites don’t want to hear that they aren’t happy with the moral and social re-engineering they promote. Or, calling Middle America bigots because they adhere to traditional sexual standards. And more importantly, the elites haven’t done a very good job at convincing middle America that their experiment in social and moral re-engineering is the best way of structuring a healthy and functional society.”

That’s certainly a significant part of why Democrats are pushing aside people of faith and rural America. When President Obama demonized people living in “small towns in Pennsylvania”, he criticized these people, saying that it isn’t “surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

That’s an invitation for rural voters to abandon Democrats. That’s what those voters did in 2016. President Trump capitalized on the situation, promising these voters that his policies would revive rural America’s economy. President Trump has delivered on that promise. Remember President Obama mocking then-Candidate Trump about promising to improve the US economy? I remember it because of this:

Longtime Democrat operative Mark Jaede responded to Braun:

It seems that the author thinks the Democratic Party should throw LGBT people and people of color under the bus in order to win votes from socially conservative rural white people.

I disagree. We won’t win by pandering to anti-gay people. We won’t win by dismissing the struggle against racism as “identity politics.” We won’t win by concerning ourselves with how many counties have GOP majorities. We will win by fielding a candidate who can offer Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia, and North Carolina a reason to turn out and vote.

As long as Joe Biden promises to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, as long as Bernie promises to spend $16,300,000,000,000 on his version of AOC’s Green New Deal, as long as the entire Democrat field promises to decriminalize illegal immigration and give illegal immigrants free health care, Democrats will continue losing those states cited by Prof. Jaede, with the possible exception of Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Apparently, AFSCME leadership doesn’t think it needs to represent its members. Apparently, AFSCME leadership thinks it just needs to do whatever the Democrats tell them to do. I’m fairly certain that AFSME’s leadership is misreading the situation badly. Here’s what’s shaping up to be a helluva fight:

This month, 19 Democratic presidential candidates gathered in Las Vegas to court the union vote at a forum hosted by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the country’s largest public-sector union. Some candidates took this opportunity to plug their plans for a government takeover of the nation’s health care system, which AFSCME supports.

But labor unions should be careful what they wish for. Union workers currently have some of the best health benefits around. “Medicare-for-All” would take those benefits away and leave union members with long waits for poor-quality care.

Democrats are treading on slippery turf. If AFSCME leadership sides with the Democrats, especially if their nominee is Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, they’ll lose union rank-and-file members. Unions negotiated for Cadillac plans while not pushing hard for bigger pay raises. This wasn’t accidental.

If the Democrats’ presidential nominee pushes Medicare for All, they’ll lose lots of votes from public employee union members. President Trump doesn’t have to win a majority of the AFSCME or SEIU vote. He simply has to cut into the Democrats’ margin of victory with those voters.

I’ve said for years that the worst thing that could happen to unions, especially public employee unions, aka PEUs, isn’t defeat. It’s political irrelevance. If you think that Democrats court the union vote because of some deep kinship with their union brethren, you haven’t done your homework. Democrats court unions, especially PEUs, out of political necessity. The minute that PEUs stop producing sufficient margins of votes, they’ll get thrown under the bus.

That’s what’s happening now with coal miners, steel workers, construction unions that build infrastructure like natural gas pipelines or other important infrastructure. Notice how progressive elitists treat Trump’s army of coal miners. Remember this?

Democrats care about their extremist agenda far more than they care about unions. That’s why Democrats won’t hesitate in throwing unions under the bus for the opportunity to implement Medicare for All.

In the past, I’ve been pretty disgusted with the (lack of) quality displayed in the St. Cloud Times’ Our View editorials. Unfortunately for its readers, this Our View editorial is the worst Our View editorial I’ve ever read.

As is often the case, the Times’ Editorial Board couldn’t resist preaching from its moral high horse instead of doing its research. The editorial started by saying “St. Cloud, we have a problem. And it’s costing us dearly in respect, dignity and treasure. Our problem is not refugees. It’s not even an image problem, although we most certainly have one of those. If you don’t think so, Google ‘St. Cloud’ and click on the first New York Times article at the top.

Our real problem is that there are too many cowards in our midst. Yes, we said it: Cowards. Cowards who blanch at the idea of Somalis “just walking around” on a public trail. Cowards who cost local businesses thousands of dollars by overreacting to a mismarked security vehicle out of fear of Sharia law — which isn’t coming for us. It just isn’t, and only cowards believe it is.”

It continues:

Corporate America is not, by and large, interested in associating itself with hate of any kind. The cowardly among us keep perpetuating a local brand that makes it less likely we will be in the running for the next tech outpost or national call center. Convention schedulers are also keenly aware that attendees will look for details about our city and find our darkest side. Already this newspaper has been reached out to by travelers who planned to come to St. Cloud and changed their plans after the latest “branding effort.”

The smartest young people, the ones we need to attract to our companies, will be less likely to move here. Doubt it? Ask your kids if they’d Google a city before considering a job offer there. Our own young people, many raised with classmates and teammates and friends in a rainbow of colors, will think harder than they should have to about where they want to make a life.

Electrolux didn’t leave for South Carolina because of hate. It left because of Minnesota’s terrible tax and regulation system. It also left Minnesota for a right-to-work state. Why didn’t the Times mention that?

As for “the next tech outpost or national call center”, those companies don’t consider Minnesota because our taxes, transportation systems and regulations make us totally uncompetitive with the rest of the nation and the rest of the world. This isn’t mentioned by the DFL because their policies have hurt Minnesota. To admit this failure would be admitting that the DFL is a failure.

Listening to the Times is like listening to Dave Kleis and the Chamber of Commerce. In their world, everything’s just fine. In the real world, St. Cloud has been slipping for 10 years. This isn’t entirely St. Cloud’s fault. DFL state government needs to share in the blame by thinking it can tax the daylights out of everyone without consequence. That’s insanity.

This is why the Times isn’t trusted. Their opinions are insanity personified.

The first paragraph of Tim Ryan’s opinion piece sounds reasonable. It’s a statement of why he wants to be president. It’s actually semi-coherent.

It says “Like many Americans, my family and I have spent our entire lives at the epicenter of de-industrialization. We’ve watched as urban and rural communities have been hollowed out — good paying jobs have gone overseas, too many people have died from opioid addiction and our neighborhoods have crumbled from failing infrastructure.”

Unfortunately for Ryan, the next paragraph is pure BS:

We are fed up. I am fed up. And that is why I am running for president. I’m going to lead a revolution for working people in America. This includes all workers: white, black and brown, men and women, gay and straight, urban and rural. In other words, I want to fight for all the Americans left behind by Trump’s elitist economic agenda that puts the well-being of millionaires, billionaires and corporations above that of hardworking Americans.

What the hell is he talking about? Trump’s elitist economic agenda? This is the lie that Democrats will peddle. And yes, lie is exactly the right word. President Trump’s economic policies have brought manufacturing jobs back in large numbers. The small coal-mining communities of southern Ohio and also Pennsylvania are significantly better off today than they were 4 years ago. That’s why Ohio went from being a swing state to being a solid red state in 4 years (2012 to 2016.)

Further, as Larry Kudlow frequently highlights, wages for the lowest wage earners are growing fastest:

The Democrats’ goal is to paint the economy as rigged for “millionaires and billionaires” while giving President Obama the credit for the great economy. The Democrats want it both ways. Imagine that!

The Democrats’ economic message, including Tim Ryan’s, is BS on steroids. Listen to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Tim Ryan. You’d think we were living in Soupline America when we’re actually living in fantastic economic times.

I’m tired of Democrats criticizing this economy. Each month for a year, I’ve read articles predicting a recession is near. That’s BS too. That’s the Democrats’ fear-mongering. Democrats hate prosperity when Republicans are in office.

Ultimately, Ryan has an economic message, which puts him ahead of most Democrat presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton in 2016. Unfortunately for him, his message, like most Democrats’ economic message, is BS, aka fiction.

UPDATE: Tim Ryan complained about jobs being exported. This article addresses that issue:

Robbie Hunter, president of the state Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents more than 400,000 workers, says that dozens of his members plan a major “Blue Collar Revolution” demonstration Saturday morning at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco, which will be attended by 14 of the Democratic presidential contenders and 5,000 delegates and guests.

The effort aims to send a message that the party is in danger of eroding a critical base if it continues to back the Green New Deal resolution being pushed in Washington, D.C. by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her allies. Hunter argues the measure’s goals could endanger thousands of jobs in the Southern California oil industry alone. “All it does is do what the Democratic Party seems to be very good at lately — which is export our jobs, while doing nothing for the end game, which is the environmental,” Hunter said.

Until Democrats push environmental extremists out of their party, they’ll continue losing blue collar voters.

These negotiations (which I wrote about here) produced some of the biggest winners and losers in recent history. Let’s start with the biggest losers.

It’s impossible to imagine a bigger loser than Tim Walz. He lost on his tax increases, including the gas tax, the sick tax and the income tax increases. He and the DFL lost on spending, too. Another major loser was DFL Speaker Melissa Hortman. She was present throughout the negotiations but didn’t seem to be an active participant in those negotiations. I’d give her a ‘Potted Plant Award’ for participation.

Another major loser throughout the negotiations was DFL House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. Friday night on Almanac, his first time on the big stage, DFL Rep. Winkler was used like a whipping post, first by Sen. Roger Chamberlain, then by House Minority leader Kurt Daudt. (More on them later.)

The other major loser in these negotiations was Education Minnesota, the people most famous for owning the DFL:

The biggest winners in this negotiations are Minnesota’s taxpayers. They didn’t get hit with one of the biggest tax increases in Minnesota history. That alone makes them a big winner.

The next biggest winner was Roger Chamberlain. Throughout these negotiations, he fought for the taxpayers, reminding the politicians who they worked for, aka the people. He took Rep. Winkler to the proverbial wood shed multiple times. After Rep. Winkler spurted out that “there are no free lunches”, Sen. Chamberlain reminded Rep. Winkler that the people not represented at the Capitol were “the people who pay the bills”, aka the taxpayers.

It’s hard to see how Kurt Daudt, the former and hopefully future GOP Speaker of the House, could’ve been more effective. He stated emphatically on Almanac that the DFL could raise spending by 7.3% without raising taxes a penny. That statement might’ve done more to finish the talks than anything else.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t praise Senate Majority Leader Gazelka for his job in negotiating this budget. Let’s remember that he won a significant tax cut by getting the 7.05% rate dropped to 6.8%. Rest assured that the DFL didn’t fight to include that policy change in the budget agreement.

Finally, I’d have to apologize if I didn’t include the House DFL legislators. They all voted for the Walz/DFL tax increases, which will hurt them in 2020, then saw Gov. Walz throw them under the proverbial bus in final negotiations. I can’t imagine them being too happy with Gov. Walz and the DFL leadership for that ‘favor’. That makes the DFL, especially the DFL House majority, a major loser in these negotiations.

I had to pinch myself to be certain I’d read this article right. I wasn’t imagining things. Sure enough, it really opened by saying “Two of the largest trade unions in Minnesota are backing the reelection campaign of Republican representative Jason Lewis against a Democratic business executive. The carpenters’ union and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, both of which endorsed Hillary Clinton, will support the first-term congressman in the midterm elections in his rematch against former health care executive Angie Craig. Labor leaders praised Lewis’s record in Congress, highlighting his support for domestic energy development as well as his willingness to buck his political party. Lewis has supported Davis-Bacon, which favors union wage levels in federal projects despite the push in the conservative movement to abolish wage mandates.”

Here’s their explanation:

“In Jason’s time in Congress he has cast repeated votes in support of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage and has led on the issue of changing school curriculum to encourage more people to look at careers in the construction industry,” carpenters’ spokesman Adam Duininck said in a release.

First, if the name Adam Duininck sounds familiar, it’s because he was Mark Dayton’s chair of the Met Council. Then there’s this:

“Jason Lewis has made an effort to get to know our Union, understand our issues, and has taken politically tough stances in support of good paying Union jobs,” George said in a statement. “We don’t always agree on every issue, but we know that when it comes to supporting our jobs, he has stood with us, and that is why we are standing with him.”

Lewis offered this reply:

“I’m working hard to make certain we get Enbridge so we get the Pine Bend refinery in the second district … the oil it needs to grow the economy,” Lewis said in the Oct. 21 debate. “My opponent says, ‘well Sierra Club won’t let me endorse that.'” Lewis pledged to continue advocating for local laborers in Congress. He said he will continue to focus on workforce training and revamping the apprenticeship system, one of the Trump administration’s priorities, “so labor groups are able to thrive with adequately trained laborers.”

“This nation was built on the backs of hardworking Minnesotans like those belonging to these two groups and it is important we support them with our policies in Washington,” he said in a statement. “I am proud to have supported them in my first-term in Congress and look forward to continuing to work on their behalf.”

This is a major victory for Lewis. This can’t help Angie Craig.

John Sununu Sr.’s perspective definitely doesn’t match with the MSM’s. Just watch this interview with Bill O’Reilly and you’ll know what I mean:

I was particularly fascinated when they got to the subjects of Kavanaugh and the “migrant march.” Check out Sununu’s perspective. He said that Kavanaugh will affect the hard-cord Republican voter who was going to vote Republican. Then Sununu said that the migrant march “is going to affect the marginal Republican and the independents. Those are the ones that the surprise data has a majority talking about how they want this march stopped. So those 2 things affect the Republican vote but with 2 different groups of voters.”

I think that’s exactly right. That’s why I think the polling is missing what’s happening. It’s my theory that pollsters have misinterpreted suburban white women in a significant way. Every night, I hear how Democrats are leading with women, which I don’t doubt. That being said, I’m highly skeptical of the theory that suburban white women don’t worry about immigration.

They’re smart enough to know that those illegal immigrants pile tons of extra costs on them by piling tons of additional expenses on school districts and safety net programs.

The other thing that Gov. Sununu said that makes sense is that he disputes the notion that the union worker who’s voted Democrat “all his life except in 2016” will vote Democrat in 2018. Gov. Sununu thinks that Trump’s economy has earned him tons of good will with union workers. I wholeheartedly agree. Here in Minnesota, the DFL doesn’t have much of a chance of winning back the private sector unions anytime soon. That’s why Pete Stauber will handily win in the Eighth District.

Salena Zito is onto something. Again. This week, she opened her article by writing that “Jason Vogel is fired up to vote. He says his passion crystallized two weeks ago when he saw just how chaotic Washington would be if the Democrats seized power in Congress.”

Later in the article, she wrote this about Vogel:

The 40-year-old union steward for the local Teamsters 397 says he became motivated to vote for Kelly when he realized everything important to him is being championed by President Trump and is on Kelly’s ballot: “The Second Amendment, trade, job creation and keeping a good economy going, that comes to a daily fight if the Republicans lose the midterms,” he said. “A lot of my friends feel the same way. We ask ourselves, ‘Why would you vote Democrat?’ Our lives certainly weren’t better under their way of doing business.”

If Republicans focus on nothing else, they should focus on this. Americans’ lives were worse during the Obama administration. More people were on welfare. Economic growth was pathetic. Wages were stagnant. The fossil fuel industry was literally targeted for extinction. Manufacturing wasn’t a priority, either.

Teamster Steward Jason Vogel
What part of that sounds like a prosperity machine. I don’t want to see an America where people ‘get by’. I want to live in an America where everyone flourishes. America won’t flourish under Democratic control of any part of Congress. That’s why I’m predicting Republicans keeping control of both houses of Congress.

This article has to be seen as helpful to Republicans running for the Minnesota House of Representatives.

According to J. Patrick Coolican’s article, “Recent union endorsements provide clues about the direction of both organized labor and the two parties. The carpenters and their 11,000 Minnesota members endorsed 48 DFL candidates and 30 Republican candidates for the Minnesota House, but the GOP can be happy that incumbents in key swing districts got the nod, like Reps. Sandy Layman, Jim Knob­lach, Randy Jessup and Keith Franke.”

I’m represented by Jim Knoblach so this naturally caught my attention. Jim’s running against Dan Wolgamott, the carpetbagger who got into electoral politics (as near as I can tell anyway) in 2014 when he ran for the seat in HD-14A, which is the west side of St. Cloud, Waite Park and St. Augusta. He was defeated by Tama Theis that year. In 2016, Wolgamott ran for the open Senate seat in SD-14 when John Pederson decided not to seek re-election. In 2016, Wolgamott lost to Jerry Relph, who is now my state senator.

This year, Wolgamott moved to the east side of St. Cloud so he could challenge Jim Knoblach for the HD-14B seat. Apparently, the unions smelled a carpetbagger in Wolgamott and rejected him. It’s also clear that they like Jim Knoblach’s history of supporting projects like the Line3 Pipeline Replacement Project and other projects vital to the construction unions.

Just recently the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Republican state Sen. Karin Housley against U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, and Republican Pete Stauber, a retired police officer, in his race for Congress against Joe Radinovich. The Minneapolis Police Federation endorsed Republican Doug Wardlow in his race for attorney general against U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.

It isn’t surprising that police don’t like Keith Ellison, especially considering the fact that he’s supported cop killers. That isn’t the only thing that’s hurting Ellison.

As we look back at Gov. Dayton’s time in office, it’s difficult to identify his signature legislative accomplishment. His first year in office, he shut down state government. It was the longest shutdown of state government in US history. When it ended, Gov. Dayton signed the budget deal he could’ve signed without the shutdown.

In 2013, with DFL majorities in the House and Senate, Gov. Dayton finally passed his massive tax increases. In addition to those tax increases, Gov. Dayton promised that he’d stop property tax increases as a result of the increased LGA payments and “historic investments in education.” I wrote this post in December, 2014 to highlight the major property tax increase that Princeton levied on taxpayers. They originally sought a 33.87% tax increase but ‘settled’ for a 25.16% increase.

In this post, I quoted then-Speaker Paul Thissen. Here’s what he said in a statement:

The House DFL Education Budget invests in what works: fully funding all-day, every day kindergarten and investing $50 million in early learning childhood scholarships. All-day K and early childhood education are proven tools to improve test scores, close the achievement gap, and prepare students for future academic success. The House DFL Education Budget also increases the basic funding formula for K-12 schools by four percent over the biennium, an increase of over $315 million, or $209 per pupil. The school shift payback will be included in the House Taxes bill.

In other words, the Dayton tax increase to buy down property taxes failed terribly.

What’s worse is that, in 2014, the DFL legislature repealed several of the tax increases it passed the final weekend of the session the year before. That led to the Republicans retaking the House majority in the 2014 election. Apparently, Minnesotans didn’t think much of Gov. Dayton’s tax increases.

In 2015, Gov. Dayton met with Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL- Cook, and Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt every day of the final week of session to negotiate a budget. On the Friday of the session, they were no closer to an agreement than they were when they started. Sen. Bakk and Speaker Daudt sat down and promptly negotiated a bipartisan budget deal in less than an hour. When they made the announcement, Gov. Dayton criticized the budget and vetoed the bill.

That led to another cave-in by Gov. Dayton during yet another special session. BTW, special sessions might be Gov. Dayton’s legacy, though I can’t call them an accomplishment.

Aside from these negative legislative ‘accomplishments’, Gov. Dayton ignored the Somali day care fraud scandal and the elder care abuse scandal. That’s the one where people actually died and nobody from the Dayton administration bothered to investigate.

The other thing that Gov. Dayton was famous for was temper tantrums:

Finally, there’s the MNLARS fiasco, which Gov. Dayton created but didn’t fix and the child care unionization legislation. The unionization legislation went nowhere because child care providers defeated the measure 1,014-392. That’s what happens when you’re stubborn and you don’t listen to people. Gov. Dayton earned those epic slap downs.