Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category
This article highlights some questionable activities during the SEIU Healthcare’s organizing drive. If these PCAs can get an investigation into SEIU Healthcare started, look for that investigation to thin out SEIU leadership. Several statements in the article are important for the readers to hear about.
First, Russ Brown, who is helping with the law firm’s investigation, said “We had about three teams of canvassers, we started doing postal mailings, we started doing phone banks and a website. That was based on a list that we believed to be mostly good. We were thinking the list might be off by as much as fifteen to twenty percent. As it turned out the list was mostly bad.”
The next paragraph states “Some addresses led to empty lots where there was no house. Others led to homes where people lived that didn’t match the name provided on the list. The questionable list, however, wasn’t the only thing amiss. The campaign also alleges identity theft, unlawful due deductions, and voter disenfranchisement of those opposed.”
Then there’s this:
“There was just a lot of different weird things going on,” Brown said. “At the places where we would find people we would hear stories about how all of a sudden their dues were being taken out of their Medicaid payments and they specifically told the union they were not interested.”
Then there’s this, too:
“One woman believes very strongly and provided evidence that the union forged her signature on an authorization card,” CWF Executive Director Matt Patterson told InsideSources. “The basic picture this paints, in my view, is that the election was highly suspect, and there was possibly identify theft.”
“She is absolutely certain the union forged her signature in order to take money from her,” Patterson said. “You wonder how many people this happened to that just never noticed or they just didn’t complain about it or whatever. We suspect the number is fairly high because if they did this to one person, it probably wasn’t just one person.”
This isn’t the first time that a public employee union did questionable things. After the DFL legislature passed a forced unionization bill, reports started popping up from in-home child-care providers that the union organizers told them that the cards they were signing weren’t cards asking for a unionization vote. The organizers instead said that they were cards saying they wanted more information on the bill.
When the vote finally happened, AFSCME was defeated, losing 1,014-392.
Does this sound like SEIU Healthcare is on the up-and-up?
“At one point they turned over a list that had nothing but names on it,” Brown said. “There was no other information at all. It was just names. So we cross referenced that list with the [other] list, and we found they didn’t match. And that took place about two weeks before we got the actual supposed real list, which we cross referenced, and it didn’t match that list. It was like the state was making up names and throwing them at us.”
Finally, there’s this:
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota has hit back against the decertification campaign. The union alleged the campaign has coerced members into signing cards to authorize the decertification vote. SEIU organizer Phillip Cryan sent a letter listing 12 members who claimed to have been coerced by the canvassers. Brown notes only two of the names listed were on the membership lists the state provided.
“He sent us a letter stating that our canvassers coerced the PCAs,” Brown said. “So I got these ten cards supposedly signed by people where my canvassers went to their door, which is impossible because if we never had their name or address, we just wouldn’t do that. If we don’t know they’re there, we didn’t know they existed.”
That’d be a nifty trick … if it was possible, which it isn’t. SEIU better hope a full-fledged investigation doesn’t get started. If it’s launched, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota might be in trouble.
In his campaign to become the next chair of the DNC, Rep. Keith Ellison wrote this op-ed, which Time Magazine published. It’s a publication from La-La-Land.
For instance, Rep. Ellison wrote “Take labor protection and environmentalism, two core Democratic values. Republicans claim you can’t both have clean air and grow jobs. This too is a false choice.
Unions and environmental groups recognized this ten years ago when they formed the Blue-Green Alliance to build a clean, fair economy for all. You don’t often think ‘environmentalist’ when you hear ‘steelworker.’ But David Foster, their first Executive Director, left his post with United Steelworkers District 11 in Minnesota to take on the task of bridging the divides he often saw with environmental advocates. In fact, the two current co-chairs are Leo W. Gerard, the International President of the United Steelworkers, and Michael Brune, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club. The Democratic Party needs to follow the lead of folks like David, Leo and Michael by showing where we can find common ground and standing up to attempts to drive us apart.”
While it’s true that union leadership signed off on this coalition, the rank-and-file didn’t. That’s why President Trump won the votes of tons of white working class voters. There are a handful of union leaders, compared with hundreds of thousands of union workers. It isn’t difficult to do the math.
Rep. Ellison didn’t help the Democrats’ cause when he wrote “We are the party that fights to raise the minimum wage, guarantee high-quality education, and provide affordable health care.” Blue collar workers are infinitely more worried about creating high-paying job than they’re worried about raising the minimum wage. The minimum wage simply isn’t a rallying cry.
What we need is a Democratic Party that is willing to listen to everyone and organize conversations that bring people together.
This is coming from the party that’s shouted down dissenting voices like Bill Kristol, Ann Coulter and other conservatives. This is coming from the party whose activists blocked traffic (multiple times) on major Minnesota highways. That’s rich.
It’s who we are. And it’s how we take our country back.
Here’s the truth: It isn’t the Democrats’ country anymore. Their contamination is pretty much restricted to areas of urban blight and college campuses. Finding Democrats in rural areas is as easy as finding capitalists in Vermont and Massachusetts.
Richard Trumka’s misguided hissy fit should be seen for what it is: the actions of a desperate man who’s losing control of the people who pay his exorbitant salary.
When Trumka wrote “publicity stunts and Twitter rants are no substitute for a comprehensive, coherent economic strategy that invests in America and lifts up the voices and the power of working people”, what he’s really saying is that he’s hoping union workers wouldn’t listen to Republicans. He’s also saying he wants union workers to support the party of elitists, aka the Democratic Party, because he’s thankful for being part of the Party’s ‘royalty’.
Mr. Trumka hasn’t been in touch with the unions’ rank-and-file for decades. He’s blindly supported the Democratic Party’s anti-worker agenda, then tried telling workers that the table scraps that Democrats shovel them is like eating like a king.
Mr. Trumka is wrong when he said the “share of income going to the middle class has fallen in almost perfect correlation with the declining percentage of people working in jobs where they enjoy a union.” The share of income going to the middle class started falling when union fat-cats (like Trumka) paid more attention to lining their own pockets than they paid to fighting environmental activists who crushed their blue collar jobs.
Mr. Trumka was nowhere to be found when President Obama, Mrs. Clinton and Secretary Kerry killed the Keystone XL Pipeline project. That’s because he’d been bought off in the name of Democratic Party unity. The next time that Mr. Trumka speaks before the rank-and-file, the dues-paying members should pepper him with questions for why he isn’t representing them.
Let’s remember that Mr. Trumka sold out workers by supporting Obamacare, which essentially killed the unions’ Cadillac care health plans. That hurt blue collar workers immensely. It’s time for private sector unions to ask if people like Mr. Trumka has their best interests at heart.
John Gunyou’s op-ed should get the DFL’s attention. The question is whether the DFL will hear it or whether they’ll pretend it wasn’t written. With delegates to this weekend’s DFL Central Committee meeting set to debate (or table?) Resolution 54, it’s time that the DFL made a decision.
Gunyou lays it out perfectly, saying “Accordingly, the third step to recovery is to begin rebuilding the Democratic base. You’re pretty much starting from scratch, because there no longer is a DFL — only a D. The F’s have been voting Republican for years. And while union and party bosses might remain joined at the hip, you are hanging onto actual L workers by a thread. If you have any doubts about that hard truth, stop preaching to the choir on social media, and read ‘Hillbilly Elegy.'”
Gunyou continues, saying “The urbane Democratic elite abandoned the traditional base of the party, and that has cost you dearly. Perhaps for years to come. To regain viability, the D(FL) needs to re-establish its traditional coalition.”
It’s time the DFL admitted it’s at a crossroads. Environmental activists don’t fit with blue collar workers like miners or pipeline construction workers. For the DFL, it’s pick-or-choose time. Ken Martin worked hard to prevent this moment from arriving but it’s arriving. It’s most likely arriving this weekend.
If the DFL doesn’t defeat Resolution 54 with authority, miners and pipefitters should feel like the DFL left them. To know what that feels like, pipefitters and miners need only look to the Standing Rock Sioux eco-terrorist attacks. That’s what the future of the DFL looks like. Here’s another possibility:
In the fight between home-based PCAs and the SEIU, the Bureau of Mediation Services, aka BMS, “has ordered the suspension of contract talks between the Service Employees International Union representing personal care attendants and state negotiators to avoid interfering with a union decertification campaign underway.”
This is a major victory for the PCAs because it protects against the SEIU negotiating a CBA with the state. The whole purpose of the PCA’s decertification drive is to prevent them from dealing with the SEIU.
The system has been rigged against the PCAs from the start. The Dayton administration has repeatedly refused to turn over an updated list of PCAs to the PCAs seeking decertification. Carol Clifford, a BMS Representation Specialist, wrote “This Order is issued to preserve existing conditions and promote a free and fair environment for the resolution of this question of representation. It shall remain in full force and effect until an investigation and/or hearing has been conducted and the matter is disposed of by a determination issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services.”
“This is significant because if the SEIU and Dayton administration sign a new contract, it’s possible our petition for a new union election would be defeated,” said Kim Crockett, Vice-President at Center of the American Experiment, a supporter of the decertification drive. “Everything we’ve done might be thrown out and we wouldn’t be able to start a new campaign for two years.”
If there is a decertification vote, it won’t be close. The decertify PCAs will win in a landslide. With that, the SEIU will lose out on approximately $4,700,000 worth of dues each year.
The only reason why the SEIU wants the PCAs in their union is to play a larger role in DFL campaigns. This doesn’t have anything to do with making life better for the PCAs or the people they care for. It’s totally about political power.
This article questions why the DFL underperformed the Twin Cities’ media’s expectations. Honestly, I thought things turned out pretty much like I expected them to turn out.
To be fair, I didn’t think Trump would be that competitive against Mrs. Clinton. I knew Mr. Trump would trounce Mrs. Clinton in rural Minnesota. I figured that would help Republicans flip the Senate and hold the House.
The Strib outlines the history when it says just “eight years ago, the DFL helped make comedian Al Franken a U.S. senator, held 87 Minnesota House seats to 47 for Republicans and earned a national reputation as a fertile breeding ground for top Democratic political talent.” What’s missing from the article is the fact that the DFL reflexively tried raising taxes each year since 2007. Furthermore, they passed MNsure in 2013 when there were DFL majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate and a DFL governor. In addition to creating MNsure and raising taxes, the DFL used taxpayer money to build the Senate Office Building, an ornate building that didn’t need to be built.
Beyond that, the DFL pushed forced unionization down in-home child care providers down their throats. They killed the Sandpiper Pipeline through northern Minnesota. After Minnesotans insisted that the legislature fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges, the DFL insisted that we build the Southwest Light Rail, too. When Republicans listened to Minnesotans’ priorities, the DFL derailed the transportation bill. In short, the DFL stopped listening to the people.
Despite high hopes for a crushing victory against Donald Trump that would also deliver wins in congressional and legislative races, the DFL lost seats in the Minnesota House, falling deeper into the minority, while surrendering control of the Senate, which was thought to be a bulwark against GOP legislative influence in St. Paul.
These losses came despite a lopsided advantage in party organization and a reliable cadre of wealthy donors that helped the DFL employ 250 people across two dozen field offices. The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a progressive group that backs DFL candidates, had spent $3.6 million on TV, radio, digital and mail ads as of late October, even before the final two weeks of the race.
All for naught.
“I mean, you know, it’s a bummer,” said Susie Merthan, a spokeswoman for Alliance for a Better Minnesota, which has become a model for progressive campaigns around the country. Now, DFL elected officials, party strategists and operatives are surveying the losses, which were especially acute in outstate Minnesota, but extended to suburbs once thought safely blue.
Here’s a note to Susie Merthan: If the DFL doesn’t change its ways, it should expect to lose lots of elections. People don’t want to be preached to. They don’t want to be told that the intelligentsia knows better. Right now, the DFL is the party that thinks they know what’s best.
Betsy DeVos has the chance of being one of the best secretaries of Education ever. According to this WSJ article, Mrs. DeVos has gone toe-to-toe with the ‘education establishment’ and lived to tell about it. In fact, she didn’t just live to tell about it, she defeated them. In fact, she didn’t just defeat them, she kicked some serious ass.
According to the WSJ article, “Mrs. DeVos is a philanthropist who has devoted years and much of her fortune to promoting school reform, especially charter schools and vouchers. She chairs the American Federation for Children (AFC).”
This year, “AFC was especially successful … as 108 of the 121 candidates it supported won their elections. AFC candidates in Florida won 20 of 21 targeted races. The group’s biggest coup was ousting a scourge of school choice in a Miami-Dade Senate district where Democrats are a majority. The teachers’ union dumped $1 million into the race but still lost.” [Editor’s note: winning 108 of 121 elections is a winning percentage of 89.25%, which certainly qualifies as kicking ass.
It’s especially heartening to see this many school choice advocates getting elected. They’re the future civil rights leaders of the next 15 years. Even more importantly, being seen as school choice advocates will help Republicans in minority communities irrespective of what Randi Weingarten said in this interview:
In Ms. Weingarten’s over-the-top statement, she said “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America. DeVos has no meaningful experience in the classroom or in our schools. The sum total of her involvement has been spending her family’s wealth in an effort to dismantle public education in Michigan. Every American should be concerned that she would impose her reckless and extreme ideology on the nation.”
This is a perfect illustration of the left’s wanting money out of politics … if the money is spent opposing the left’s monopolies. Mrs. DeVos has spent a portion of her wealth trying to increase educational competition in the hopes of forcing the forces of the status quo into providing a better product. The reason why the minority community likes school choice is because public schools have failed their children too often.
Here’s hoping that Mrs. DeVos carries out President-Elect Trump’s school choice agenda when she’s confirmed.
Ed Morrissey’s latest column about the “fake news” phenomena offers 2 points worthy of further exploration. In the final paragraph of Morrissey’s column, he writes “That contempt from elites in media and politics may or may not have produced the electoral results seen two weeks ago, but it certainly explains the shock that has resulted from it. That contempt is also reflected in the push to shut down commentary and pressure Facebook into editing their social media network to allow only those sources deemed acceptable by those in power, politically and culturally.”
Predictably, Democrat elitists are in denial. In this instance, the simplest explanation for why so many blue collar voters chose Trump is because the Democratic Party has abandoned them for years. This administration has sided with environmental activists rather than the miners, pipefitters and heavy equipment operators on major projects every time. The Keystone XL Pipeline is just one example of that. The Dakota Access Pipeline is another.
This is a classic case of ‘what have you done for me lately Syndrome’. If Democrats don’t figure out a way to satisfy both environmental activists and miners, they’ll lose miners and construction workers for a generation. It’s that simple.
In his opening paragraph, Morrissey wrote “Rather than acknowledge the obvious and prosaic answer — that voters in swing states chose change rather than the status quo — analysts have sought a Unified Theory of Donald Trump’s Success. Trump couldn’t possibly have won fair and square, the assumption goes, so all that’s left is to identify whatever went wrong and banish it so this never happens again.”
Other explanations are equally valid. First, Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate who ignored the most animated group of swing voters in this election. Mrs. Clinton didn’t just ignore Michigan and Wisconsin. She ignored voters in rural areas who demanded that they be heard. The other legitimate explanation for her defeat is simple: explosive ACA health insurance premiums caused people to demand a change from the status quo.
The Democratic Party is at a crossroads. They can continue to ignore blue collar workers and drive them into the GOP. If they don’t want that, then they’ll have to show that they aren’t anti-mining. Democrats can pretend that the ACA is a fine piece of legislation. That’s what Chuck Schumer did last Sunday. If that’s their strategy, they should prepare to not be taken seriously.
This morning, Donald Trump picked Gov. Nikki Haley, (R-SC), to be the US Ambassador to the UN. This afternoon, President-Elect Trump picked Betsy DeVos to be his Education Secretary. The Washington Post describes Mrs. DeVos as a “billionaire and conservative activist” who “has quietly helped change the education landscape in many states, spending millions of dollars in a successful push to expand voucher programs that give families taxpayer dollars to pay for private and religious schools.”
Of course, the article wouldn’t be complete without quoting Randi Weingarten. Ms. Weingarten is quoted as saying “Trump’s pick makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America.”
In picking DeVos, President-Elect Trump is telling conservatives that he will push their school choice agenda. This pick, more than any other pick besides Jeff Sessions as Trump’s AG, signals that Trump’s education agenda aligns with Republicans’ education agenda.
After accepting the nomination to be the US ambassador to the US, Mrs. Haley said “When the President believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed,” Haley said, adding that she will “remain as governor until the U.S. Senate acts affirmatively on my nomination.”
DeVos will likely get the most criticism from Democrats because school choice represents an existential threat to the Democrats’ teacher union special interest allies. I’d think that Haley will sail through for confirmation.
Technorati: Donald Trump, Cabinet Secretaries, Nikki Haley, United Nations, Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, School Choice, Republicans, Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers, Democrats
Democrats should follow Robert Reich’s blueprint to revitalize the Democratic Party. One of the parts of the article that’s interesting reading the part when Reich starts talking about insiders. Specifically, he said “the Democratic party apparatus is ingrown and entrenched. Like any old bureaucracy, it only knows how to do what it has done for years. Its state and quadrennial national conventions are opportunities for insiders to meet old friends and for aspiring politicians to make contacts among the rich and powerful. Insiders and the rich aren’t going to happily relinquish their power and perquisites, and hand them to outsiders and the non-rich.”
The Democratic Party has always been the party of party insiders. That’s their identity. It’s their DNA. That being said, Reich has a point in saying “It must harness the energies and idealism of young people across the nation who were drawn to Bernie Sanders’s campaign because of its promise to get big money out of politics; reverse widening inequality; turn the nation’s wildly expensive and baroque healthcare complex into a single-payer system; reverse climate change; end the militarization of our police and the mass incarceration of our people and stop interminable and open-ended warfare.”
If that’s what you think the Democratic Party needs to return to political relevance, then Keith Ellison is the perfect fit for DNC chairman. Part of the Democrats’ problem is that they all sound alike. Here’s what Rep. Tim Ryan, the man who’s opposing Nancy Pelosi, said:
If Donald Trump’s going to defund Planned Parenthood, privatize Medicare, just simply cut taxes for the top 1 percent and throw people off their health care, he’s going to be in a street fight with a kid from the Youngstown area, and that’s how that’s going to work.
Considering the fact that Democrats have presided over the most pathetic economic growth since the Great Depression, it probably isn’t wise to sound like Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.
Back to Reich’s plan. This video is a lengthy pep talk to the troops:
Reich spend most of his time talking about climate change, bragging about the (supposedly) positive accomplishments of the EPA and advocating a Medicare for all health care plan. How will that connect with the pipefitter working on a pipeline infrastructure project? How will those things tell the electrician that you understand them? This won’t connect with voters. At this point, people don’t trust Washington, DC. They think DC doesn’t understand them, probably because Washington, DC hasn’t understood them for years.
What’s especially delicious is listening to Reich saying that Democrats have to do a better job of listening to the people, then saying “particularly sensitive to widening inequality, particularly sensitive to the corruption that widening inequality generates. When you have huge wealth at the top that is being channeled and used in order to gain influence to get even more wealth.” That isn’t in touch with America.
People don’t think in terms of income inequality. People just wish they had a secure job in a growing economy. Income inequality is an abstract concept. A secure job in a vibrant economy is something people can relate to.