Friday, July 29, 2011

Teamsters help UPS workers win in Turkey

Teamsters helped Turkish UPS workers win the right to be represented by the TÜMTİS (Turkish Motorized Transport Workers' Union), 15 months after the dismissal of 163 workers.

All of the workers had registered to join the union or were members of it. The workers formed a picket line and their struggle went on for an incredible 272 days. Backed by massive international support from trade federation allies, they have now won the right to return and compensation.

About 3,000 workers have filed for union recognition and Turkey's Ministry of Labour and Social Security has legally certified the union as the workers' representative. This comes as the culmination of a years-long campaign by UPS workers and their union to improve working conditions at global delivery companies operating in Turkey.

MHS Magazine quotes Kenan Öztürk, general president of TÜMTİS:
This achievement is not only ours. It is the result of the collaboration of many trade unions under the umbrella of the Global Delivery Network of the International Transport Federation (ITF), and especially the Teamsters union in America, which represents hundreds of thousands of UPS workers in the company's home country. The European Transport Federation and its affiliates also played an integral role in this victory.
We will now continue toward negotiating a strong collective agreement for UPS workers and we will continue to apply our organisational efforts at MNG-Fed Ex, DHL and TNT in Turkey.
"Tebrikler" (congratulations) to our UPS brothers and sisters in Turkey!

VIDEO: Teamsters locked out in BC

(BC is British Columbia.) The owners of the Rocky Mountaineer locked out on-board attendants from Teamsters Local 31. Waatch the video to find out what you can do.

VIDEO: 'Workers are at the breaking point'

Sly of WTDY 1670am from Erik of newsWISC on Vimeo.

Thanks to blue cheddar for sharing this terrific (short) video by Erik of newsWISC. It shows popular Madison radio host John "Sly in the Morning" Sylvester of WTDY 1670 AM. (Sly's the guy who told Teamster Local 200 Secretary-Treasurer Tom Millonzi that he wanted the Teamster truck to move Walker's possessions out of the Governors Mansion.)

In the video, Sly walks past protesters at last night's rally against Scott Walker, who was visiting a sweatshop for a 45th anniversary gala. Sly explains about the air conditioning being piped in that night for Walker. Then says they've ruined the event!

blue cheddar helped expose the conditions at the sweatshop, called Opportunities Inc. Read her whole post about last night's protest here. And hear from the mistreatment of workers at Opportunitiies Inc. here.

Koch-linked group makes $150K ad buy in WI recalls

State Sen. Dave Hansen, who just beat back a recall effort (by a mile) spoke to his Teamster brothers and sisters at Joint Council 39 in Wisconsin last night about the upcoming elections.

And there's lots of recall news.

Today One Wisconsin Now reports the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity
...has just purchased over $150,000 in television ad time for Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee in what could be a new wave of spending to try and save the six Republican state Senators who are being recalled for their support of Gov. Scott Walker’s reckless attacks on public education, health care, workers’ rights and the middle class. This is in addition to $380,000 Americans for Prosperity previously spent this year to support Walker’s agenda.
And now the social conservatives have entered the fray, trying to muddy the waters by making the election about cultural issues. Reports Greg Sargent at the Washington Post,
In a development that raises the stakes in the Wiconsin recall fight, a number of religious conservative groups — anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, and pro-intelligent design organizations — have quietly joined the fray in Wisconsin, blanketing the state with flyers and TV ads backing GOP recall targets and aggressively attacking their Dem challengers.
There are tons of ads being aired in Wisconsin for both the Aug. 9 recall of the six Republican state senators and the Aug. 16 recall of the two remaining Democratic state senators. For a handy guide to all of them, click here.

The polls are looking good for the good guys (the Teamster-endorsed candidates, that is), thanks to the hard work of hundreds of volunteers. Yesterday, the umbrella group for the recall effort announced 
We Are Wisconsin made our 1,000,000th attempt to talk to targeted voters in these state senate districts. You read that right —11,539 volunteers and staff have knocked on 363,916 doors and made 688,560 phone calls to reach 1,052,476 contacts.
If you want to help out and make sure we recall 'em all, go to the website.

Help support fairer union elections

The National Labor Relations Board is thinking of doing something nice for organized labor. They want to change the rules for elections to join a union.

The NLRB recently put out a proposal to make union elections a lot fairer. Their plan would save money and time and avoid long, lawyer-driven battles with employers.

This is a good thing. Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa strongly supports the proposal. He makes a good point:
If corporations can join together to hire lobbyists without being challenged by abusive lawsuits, then workers should also have that right.
You can help this effort by sending a letter to the NLRB supporting their proposal, you can send a letter to the NLRB supporting their proposal. It's easy, just click here.

Lesson from today's horrible economic news: No new trade deals!

The news about the economy today was really, really bad. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported,
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in the second quarter of 2011, (that is, from the first quarter to the second quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.4 percent.
We needed GDP of about 2.5 percent to start lowering unemployment. Doesn't look as if that's going to happen any time soon. The peerless Dean Baker explains:
The overall picture in this report is of an economy that is stagnating now that the boost from the stimulus is over. This should not be surprising to economists. There is no source of demand to replace the lost construction resulting from the end of the housing boom, coupled with the plunge in consumption due to the loss of more than $6 trillion in housing bubble wealth.
How to get the economy back on track? Here's an idea: start making things. Here, in America.

Writes Alan Tonelson,
The message to the President and Congress, and Republicans, Democrats, and Tea Partyers alike couldn’t be clearer: America’s damaged economy will never be healed unless recovery programs emphasize slashing the nation’s still-massive and chronic trade deficits.  Greatly narrowing the gap between exports and imports represents the only realistic way to foster growth without artificially boosting anemic domestic demand further – whether through more government spending or more tax cuts. 
In other words, curb imports. And do not -- repeat do NOT -- approve the job-killing Colombia, Panama and South Korea trade deals.

VIDEO: 'Just practicing' picket for strong Teamster contract in GA

Teamster drivers and mechanics of Local 728 in Atlanta, Georgia who work at Republic Services/Allied Waste conduct a “just practicing” picket outside the employer's transfer station. Joined by community supporters from Atlanta Jobs with Justice and the Young Workers Council, these waste workers are fighting for a strong Teamsters contract and for Republic to cease illegal union busting tactics.

VIDEO: Arrest of religious leaders inside Capitol on 07.28

This is what real shared sacrifice looks like.

STUDY: Almost all of us are getting poorer

Some of us are getting poorer faster. And we all know who's getting richer.

A new study by the Pew Research Center shows how much poorer we all got between 2005 and 2009.

During that period, net worth for white households fell 16 percent. It fell 53 percent among black households and 66 percent among Hispanic households.

Concludes Pew:
Plummeting house values were the principal cause of the recent erosion in household wealth among all groups, with Hispanics hit hardest by the meltdown in the housing market.
Of course falling wages can't help either. The blog reports that median wages are falling in nearly every American city:
According to the Census Bureau's annual survey of income and poverty in the United States, of the 52 largest metro areas in the nation, only the city of San Antonio did not see a decline in median household income in 2009. 
 Here are some scary numbers showing one-year declines:
*In Detroit, median household income declined 10% to $48,535.
*In Orlando, median household income dropped almost 10% to $46,856.
*In Cleveland, median household income fell 8.5% to $45,395.
*In Miami, median household income declined 8.2% to $45,946.
*In Indianapolis, median household income dropped 7.1% to $50,140.
Suppose it's occurred to anyone in Congress that fighting over the debt ceiling isn't the best use of their time right now?


07.28 Protest Video: Walker gets temp air-conditioning in visit to WI sweatshop

Police estimate between 300 and 400 people (including Teamsters) showed up to protest Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker in Fort Atkinson yesterday. Walker was honoring a company that exploits disabled people with below-minimum-wage, temporary jobs while paying its CEO nearly $200,000 a year.

We just love the fact that they piped in temporary air conditioning for Scott Walker, when the permatemps have to work in stifling heat.

According to the Shit Scott Walker is Doing To My State Facebook Page,
After Walker's car zoomed around a bunch of corners and he snuck inside though a back door Karoline slapped Opportunities Inc's wall. She was then arrested for and charged with disorderly conduct!
Here's more about the company Walker was honoring, from (emphasis added):

...92 percent of the roughly 450 disabled workers employed by Opportunities Inc. were paid less than $5 an hour and 50 percent made less than $2 an hour. In some cases workers were paid as little as 11 cents an hour based on a piece-work scale...
At the same time, Opportunities Inc. President Barbara LeDuc received $198,795 in total compensation in 2009, according to the company's filing with the Internal Revenue Service. Vice President Sheryl Labonne was paid $140,326.
Opportunities Inc has a budget of $12.2 million but $9.2 million is public funding, according to its 2009 tax filing, the most recent figures available. The firm operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, making it exempt from most state, local and federal taxes.

Opportunities Inc. also has a fast-growing division that hires able-bodied employees, most at the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Read more here.

Today's Teamster News 07.29.11

Firm lauded by Walker profits off needy, critics charge   ...The Fort Atkinson temporary services company praised by Gov. Scott Walker this week has seen its profits swell to $2.8 million annually, while paying its disabled workers less than minimum wage...
SB 5 referendum will be Issue 2 on November ballot  Columbus Disptach   ...Issue 1 is a proposal from the legislature to change the state constitution so that judges don't face mandatory retirement until age 70, up from the current 65...
Reports: Tension growing between Gov. Snyder, Republican legislators   ...state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, pressed Snyder during the meeting about advancing "Right to Life" issues. Snyder ... said his focus will remain on other issues, such as the fiscally conservative budget-cutting agenda ...
Policy research group: Florida made ‘unnecessarily harmful’ budget cuts  Florida Independent   ...the services hardest hit by state cuts have been education and health care...
Gov. Chris Christie released from hospital, says he is a little tired but otherwise fine   ...Gov. Chris Christie was released from a Somerville hospital early this evening after spending the day there because of an asthma attack...
How Shadowy Right-Wing Front Groups Engineered Our National Embrace Of Debt Reduction Over Job Creation  ThinkProgress   ...Since the end of the Bush presidency, shadowy right-wing groups, many of them formed for this very purpose, have primed the public with a sophisticated public relations campaign to shift the national discourse to a focus on debt reduction...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

PHOTOS: Today's arrest of the Group of 10

Faith leaders prepare to be arrested at the Capitol.

Check out Common Cause's Facebook page for 32 more photos of today's arrests. And here are a few tweets from @Bob EdgarCC, president of Common Cause and one of the arrestees:
Today I'll get arrested to show Congress what 'sacrifice' really means.
"Today’s civil disobedience=repenting for the appalling silence of the good people.”
America: we must keep our word to the middle/working class and poor, and to ourselves.
If U're not angry, U're not paying attention. Pay attention, get angry, make a call 4 yr country.

VIDEO: Today's rock 'em, sock 'em Capitol Hill rally

Here's a video of today's rally on Capitol Hill. The heat was sweltering, but that didn't deter hundreds of people from rallying to raise the debt ceiling. Teamsters brought our "Stop the War on Workers" signs, but we also saw lots of green from AFSCME, red from CWA, blue from AFGE and pink from feminists. We saw signs from, Gray Panthers, Rebuild the Dream and one big-ass "Solidarity Wisconsin" sign.

The video starts with the announcement of the arrests and finishes with the crowd singing "This Land Is Your Land."

Tiffany Mellers, an unemployed Army Reservist, gave an especially moving speech:
I thought if I sacrificed for my country, my country would help me. Unfortunately that's not the case. I'm still an unemployed Army Reservist with three mouths to feed. ... I had to leave my small children and husband last year .... to go overseas to fight for our country. I sacrificed my time with my family because I believe the American Dream is worth fighting for. If you work hard and play by the rules you can live with dignity, provide for your family and give your kids a better life.
Lost in the blather over the debt ceiling debate has been the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration. Because extremist politicians want to weaken unions in order to please certain airline CEOs, 4,000 FAA workers have been furloughed and as many as 90,000 construction jobs are threatened as airport projects come to a halt. Ralph Randall, a furloughed FAA worker, gave a fiery speech at the rally:
Some radical politicians are not working for the country ... Politicians are looking out for the super rich, but not for you and me ... Some radical politicians are waging war on American working families.
Say it.

10 arrested inside Capitol as hundreds rally outside

Owly Images

Ten people were arrested inside the Capitol Rotunda around noon today as hundreds rallied to raise the debt ceiling outside on Capitol Hill. Above is a photo of the religious and civil rights leaders preparing to kneel down and pray in an act of civil disobedience. Protesting inside the Rotunda is against the law, apparently.

Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, was among those arrested. He explained why here.
... in the hope of demonstrating the risks being taken at the expense of America’s poor and working poor...we will ...kneel to pray for Congress to do the right thing: fulfill America’s promise to care for those who cannot care for themselves, to offer a hand up and a fair shake to those willing to work to improve themselves and their communities. I believe that Congress has a moral obligation to stand strong against cuts to our most needy and to assure that corporations and billionaires pay their fair share.
Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree accompanied the faith leaders. Here's what we learn from the Portland Press-Herald:
Pingree met in a room off the House floor with the group of religious and civil rights leaders, who were led by Bob Edgar, the president of the advocacy group Common Cause and a Methodist minister and former Democratic member of Congress from Pennsylvania. Pingree was president of Common Cause from 2003 to 2007, before winning her House seat in 2008.

"Thank you for using your voices at such a difficult time," Pingree said. Pingree then walked the group over to the Capitol Rotunda, where the religious leaders sang and then knelt down as they waged their protest, leading to their arrest by Capitol police when they would not leave. Pingree was not involved in the protest, and actually left the Rotunda before the arrest occurred because she was due to speak on the House floor - against the Boehner bill.

Teamster Nation was outside with the crowd when the arrests were announced from the podium. A huge cheer went up, and then everyone sang, "This Land Is Your Land."

@SethEKaye gave us an eyewitness account of the civil disobedience via twitter. Thanks a million, SethEKaye!!
In the Rotunda. Popo just made the press with big video cams leave.
Lots of everyday americans visiting the capitol on tours.
Starting hymnals in a circle of the dome room. Crowd goes silent.
Chanting and singing.

We shall overcome. We shall not be moved.
First warning. Crowd and press told to leave. Room mostly cleared.
One tour group left.
Officer, what warning are they on? "We won't talk about that."
Rabbi brought wheel chair to continue protesting with kneeling Christians. Crowd still clapping.
And still clapping... Good acoustics in here.
The exit signs in this place are totally wrong.
Went to the capital police headquarters and the officers were surprised but helpful. Told me to go behind station.
First arrest rolling into the parkinglot back door.
Bainshed from the parking lot, i saw the police take the rabbi. 4 arrested and inside so far.
Number 5 with the twist tie handcuffs gone into police headquarters.
@BobEdgarCC last pulled from van. All 10 protesters arrested and inside jail.

Truck hauling $1M in cocaine (from guess where) stopped in AL

A semi-tractor trailer hauling nearly $1 million worth of cocaine was stopped in Leeds, Ala., late on Friday night.

Law enforcement officials believe the cocaine originated in Mexico, according to The Birmingham News.

We're wondering if the drug bust reinforces the Transportation Department's idea that opening the border to Mexican trucks is a good idea.

Reports the News:
Deputies discovered a false compartment in the front part of the trailer that held the bundles of cocaine. Christian said the cocaine has a street value of almost $1 million.
Two Texas men were taken into custody and questioned but have refused to cooperate.

Authorities said they believe the cocaine originated in Mexico, but they don't know where it was headed.
"We had hoped to get cooperation from these two suspects and get to the heart of the real players in this cocaine trafficking. This is a significant amount that was headed for the streets somewhere," Sheriff Mike Hale said. "As usual, the mules would rather go to prison than face consequences from a drug cartel."

VIDEO: Rick Scott implodes on CNN

Thanks to Mother Jones for this. Adam Weinstein at MJ weighs in on Gov. Skelator Rick Scott:
Scott's latest crusade is to argue against any rise in the federal debt ceiling—an issue in which he has no official say, and whose basic economic consequences he seems to grasp not one jot. (This week, Scott said Florida would see no effects from a US default; his opponent in last year's gubernatorial race, former state CFO Alex Sink, called his statement "clueless...That's Florida Budgeting 101.") The beleaguered guv took his case to CNN today, and managed to get himself yelled at by two anchors. At one point, Ali Velshi gave up. "Why is this difficult for you to understand, governor?"
Alex Sink agrees that Scott has no idea what he's talking about, according to the Miami Herald's blog:
Alex Sink, the state's former Chief Financial Officer and the 2010 Democratic nominee for governor, took aim at former political opponent Gov. Rick Scott for his comments on Monday that Congress should not raise the federal debt ceiling.
"It's clueless," Sink told the Times/Herald. "Heck yes our credit rating will be impacted. That's Florida budgeting 101.

They gave a Tea Party and only the DC press came

It happened on Tuesday. In Washington, DC, Sen. Jim De-Mint, R-Crazytown, spoke to a Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill at which a handful of people showed up.

From the photos, it looks as if the press outnumbered the Tea Party. 

Exhibit A is this photo of a row of news reporters -- and no one else -- in front of DeMint. 

We won't steal the photo from Slate but we'll link to it. Ya gotta see it here.

Then check out the photo of the exact same event moved by the Associated Press. You can see it here (again, we won't steal copyrighted material). It shows DeMint in front of maybe four people. The caption?
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. addresses a Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday. 

The AP moved a national story about that tiny protest. A long one. Here's an excerpt:
As senior lawmakers searched for a deal that can pass both the Senate and House before Aug. 2 — when the government faces running out of money to pay all its bills — a few dozen tea party members rallied in the sunshine a couple of hundred yards from the Capitol.
But did the Associated Press move a national story about the thousands of people who protested at the offices of their representatives all across America yesterday? Here's the AP's national story on groups that lobby on the issue;
Liberals are also working the battle, trying to rally Democrats to oppose Boehner's effort and to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from budget cuts.
Unions have bought ads in Capitol Hill newspapers and visited lawmakers, arguing that working families would be hurt while the rich and corporations would be protected.
Nope, no mention of the thousands of people who rallied around the country on Tuesday against cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. (Oh, and P.S., you don't have to be liberal to want to save those programs.)  To its credit, the AP ran a local story about a protest in Tennessee:
About 30 people braved hot weather to attend a protest in front of Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s office at Second and Main in downtown Franklin. The protest was organized by the Williamson County Democratic Party and timed to correspond with similar events at congressional offices around the state and the country.
And there was plenty of local coverage of individual protests around the country.

But the national news media is doing the country a disservice by ignoring the anger of so many Americans because their government is toying with cuts to essential program for working people and failing to deal with the jobs crisis.

Today's Teamster News 07.28.11

A baker’s dozen lies in the “Walker was right” viral email  Russ' Filtered News   ...If you have any wingnut relatives, friends or co-workers, you’ve probably received an email containing the Washington Examiner post below. The post asserts that Wisconsin’s Gov.Scott Walker’s attack on teacher’s unions have been proven correct by the wonderful results...
Kasich tours fairgrounds, talks budgets  Columbus Dispatch   ...When asked about local governments’ budgets, Kasich said, "Let me have their budgets…I mean, let me control their budgets. We balanced the budget in Washington while I was there, we've got the budget balanced in Ohio. Change what you're doing, think creatively..."
Ford and Chrysler's 2Q results make it harder to plead poverty at UAW talks  Detroit Free Press   ...Ford and Chrysler posted solid vehicle sales and operating profits again Tuesday, setting the stage for an interesting face-off with the UAW this summer over how to share the wealth in a more stable U.S. auto industry...
Daniels suggests he might support right-to-work bill  Indianapolis Star-Tribune   ...The last time Indiana's legislature held a hearing on the controversial right-to-work issue, Gov. Mitch Daniels not only didn't endorse it but told lawmakers that 2011 was the wrong year to deal with it.  It's looking a lot like his administration sees 2012 -- his final year as governor -- as just the right year...
Small businesses lose big advocate  Sun-Sentinel   ...Florida's 1.9 million small businesses may have thought they had a friend in Tallahassee, but that ended in May, when Gov. Rick Scott abolished the state's Office of the Small Business Advocate. To fill the void, the governor established his own watchdog operation — one that is showing signs of loose dentures...
CEOs in Their Own Words: Don't Plan on Much Hiring   Wall Street Journal   ...Outside of rail and technology companies, almost none of them discussed long-term plans to significantly expand their work force...
House Dems Join Senate In Urging DOJ To Fight Voter ID Laws  Talking Points Memo   ..."Many of these bills only have one true purpose, the disenfranchisement of eligible voters -- especially the elderly, young voters, students, minorities, and low-income voters," they write in the letter...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Need a job? Don't bother. Especially in NJ

Companies are posting "Help Wanted" ads that say they won't hire you if you don't already have a job.

Not just a few companies. A lot of companies.

The Economic Populist posted a story about a study by the National Employment Law Project. NELP found 150 ads over a four-week period in which the employer said applicants had to have a job. According to the study:
A NELP researcher reviewed job postings during that period that appeared on four of the nation’s most prominent online job listing websites:,,, and The online research sought information on both employers and staffing firms that were specifically identified by name (often, job listings are posted anonymously), while also seeking a diverse sample from across the United States.
NELP’s snapshot of jobs postings identified more than 150 ads that included exclusions based on current employment status, including 125 ads that identified specific companies by name. The overwhelming majority of the offending ads required that applicants “must be currently employed.”
If you're out of a job, you'd better hope you're not in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie is the longest serving of all the Governors Gone Wild. His attacks on teachers, savage budget cuts and giveaways to his rich buddies haven't exactly helped the Garden State create jobs.

New Jersey's unemployment rate rose in June to a catastrophic 9.5 percent. And the long-term unemployed really have it bad. Reports the Newark Star-Ledger,
In 2010, the Garden State led the nation with 37 percent of its unemployed workers having been jobless for more than a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
New Jersey actually passed a law recently banning job ads that don't let unemployed workers from applying. Unfortunately that doesn't stop employers from refusing to hire the jobless.

WI RECALL: Is Walker losing it?

Here's a must-read from the Cap Times on the Wisconsin recalls. It starts off strong and then paints a grim picture for Republicans who support Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker's anti-middle-class agenda. Reports the Cap Times:
The recall primary and general election results have shaken the confidence of Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans — so much so that the governor was on right-wing talk radio last week decrying his critics as “almost anarchists.”

Is Walker losing it? Perhaps.

Is he right to be worried? Absolutely.
Read the whole thing here. It'll do your heart good.

And we also like this piece from Jim Worth at the Huffington Post:
Wisconsin is truly the turning point for democracy and its survival.
The battle Wisconsinites are waging, against a subversive government, must also be waged in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida with the same tenacity and synergy that the voters of Wisconsin have marshaled.
No government should be allowed to usurp its citizens' individual freedoms.
The strength shown by 'the people' of Wisconsin must serve as an example of what the authors of the Constitution envisioned; in fact it is exactly what they intended.
Every hard-working American has a role in the battle in the Badger State, and will, also, when the struggle moves to other states.
Together let's work for the outcome in Wisconsin where 'the people' win; a clear and decisive victory for democracy.
You can read the whole post here.

VIDEO: WI Recall wacko calls teachers Nazis, doesn't pay taxes

We've been trying to focus on the Aug. 9 recalls in Wisconsin, but we couldn't resist commenting on a rather  extraordinary Republican who's trying to unseat Jim Holperin, a Democratic (Teamster-endorsed) state senator, on Aug. 16.

Her name is Kim Simac. She is a spouse-swapping "family values" candidate who compares teachers to Nazis. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, she said the fact that her ex-husband married her current husband's ex-wife is "one of those quirky American stories."


Here are some quirky things Dim Kim has said (really):
I've abused animals, I think
If America is to continue, we must stop the indoctrination of thoughts and conduct, so very contrary from those who came before us.
Off with their heads!
Dim Kim actually retracted one of her wackier comments by taking down a blog posting in which she compared public school teachers to Nazis (really). Talking Points Memo recovered the post, which read:
I am done raising my kids but if I was a young parent today I would take my kids out of the public school system today. At what point will we stop talking about the comparisons to what is occurring today and what actually happened by the regime of the Nazi's in the past?... Take the commercial that Glenn Beck showed from British Progressives that explains to little children that if they do not listen to their teachers recommendations on subjects such as carbon emissions, they could have their heads blown off. Add to that Kindergarten Sex Ed classes and I really wonder how it is American parents smile and kiss their children good bye every morning and in good conscience hand their most precious resource over to the hands of such questionable people.
Oh, and there's the tax thing. Should be a fun race to watch.

US law firm helps Germany kill US jobs. Nice.

Jackson Lewis Benedict Arnold Schnitzler and Krupman is a union-busting law firm that pays lawyers six figures to turn workers' five-figure salaries into four figures.

That may be a teensy bit simplistic, but you get the idea.

Jackson Lewis is helping BMW destroy 100 American jobs in Ontario, Calif., for no other reason than it can get away with it. Even after BMW got a low-interest loan of nearly $4 billion from the American-taxpayer-funded Federal Reserve Bank. BMW is basically firing longtime, loyal employees in order to hire workers at poverty wages.

Wrote Michael Hiltzik at the LA Times,
Every working American should be dismayed by — and afraid of — what BMW is doing.
Teamsters Local 495 is fighting like hell to keep those jobs. Says Bob Lennox, Local 495's principal officer,
BMW got bailed out with nearly $4 billion in low-interest American taxpayer loans, and in exchange, they’ve hired union-hostile lawyers to mock America’s plant closing laws. BMW is planning to layoff its longtime, dedicated workforce, and their Jackson Lewis lawyers keep sending us letters saying they refuse to discuss alternatives with us.
Yesterday, hundreds of BMW employees and Teamsters protested outside the offices of law firm Jackson Lewis in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and New York City. Reports the LA Times,
Dozens of Teamsters and BMW employees rallied outside the offices of labor law firm Jackson Lewis on Tuesday and handed out yellow fliers accusing the firm of helping BMW "destroy American jobs" as they tried to draw attention to an issue that has agitated union members in recent months.
The protest drew onlookers at the crowded intersection of 7th and Figueroa in downtown L.A. as a Teamsters truck circled the block and other cars honked their horns in support.
The Teamsters are protesting a BMW decision to lay off 68 employees at BMW's plant in Ontario and replace them with contract workers provided by a third-party logistics company.
"It's just corporate greed," said John Soto, who makes $25 an hour with benefits; he worries he'll lose his Moreno Valley home if he loses his job Aug. 31.
Read more here.

FAA shutdown could cost 4X as many jobs as were created in June

So anti-union he'll force his constituents to lose their jobs. 
You'd think that even extremist politicians in Washington would hesitate to do something that threatens 90,000 jobs in the U.S. Especially when recovery from the Great Recession is so weak that only 18,000 American jobs were created in June. But you'd be wrong. The Republican leadership in Congress is so desperate to please certain airline CEOs that they forced a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.  

According to the IBT,
An estimated 90,000 construction and agency jobs are at risk because of the partial FAA shutdown. Four thousand FAA workers were furloughed over the weekend. Construction workers are losing their jobs in dozens of airports. The FAA has issued more than 60 stop orders. Work on new control towers has stopped at LaGuardia Airport; Las Vegas; Palm Springs, Calif.; Oakland, Calif.; Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Traverse City, Mich.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Gulfport, Miss.
Reports the Associated Press:
"It's frustrating," said Mike MacDonald, regional vice president of an FAA union representing nearly 1,200 engineers, architects, technicians and other workers who have been furloughed. "Why are we being used as pawns in this political game that has nothing to do with us?"
Most of his union's members "are like me - middle-aged with mortgages, kids in college and car loans," said MacDonald, 54, who has also been laid off. "It's scary."
Teamsters President Jim Hoffa says the impasse is "disgraceful."
The Republican leadership is trying to please certain airline CEOs who aim to weaken workers’ rights. It’s disgraceful for elected officials to force Americans out of work, let alone force them out of work in order to take away their democratic rights.
Here's what happened: For several years, Congress hasn't been able to agree on a long-term budget plan for the FAA because the House and the Senate can't agree on a bill. So Congress just votes to extend the previous budget authorization for another few months to keep the agency running.

After the Republicans won control of the House in November, they passed an FAA spending bill that makes it harder for airline workers to form a union.

So then Rep. John Mica, the Florida Republican pictured above, changed the House version of the FAA extension to cut off funding for air service to small communities. He did it so Republican lawmakers could pretend that was the real reason they're forcing the partial FAA shutdown. (At least they're trying to hide their anti-worker agenda now).

Laura Clawson at Daily Kos explains:
Republicans are threatening these rural airports in order to get their way on the real issue: union rights for airline workers.
Here's the IBT on the reason for the shutdown: 

A dispute between the House and Senate over air service for small communities is masking the real reason lawmakers can’t agree on funding the FAA. Republicans want to repeal a commonsense change in the union election rule implemented by the National Mediation Board last year. The rule no longer counts absent voters as “no” votes. As a result, union elections are now just like every other election in a democracy. But because Republican leaders oppose workers’ rights, safety and modernization projects are halted and people are losing their jobs.
Here's how nuts these anti-worker politicians are: Orlando International Airport has plans to rehabilitate a major taxiway. But those plans are on hold now because Mica prefers pleasing anti-union CEOs to keeping his constituents working.

Says Hoffa,
It appears to be too much to ask the Republican leadership to uphold simple fairness in elections, keep people working and modernize our aviation system. They themselves wouldn’t be in office, if the rule they wanted in place applied to their own elections. 

VIDEO: 'Bank activity' needed for voter ID in WI

Watch this video if you have any doubts that new voter ID requirements are aimed at preventing poor people from voting.

In Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker's Wisconsin, citizens will have to produce a state-issued voter ID card to vote starting next year. This video shows what a young man went through at the DMV in order to get his card. He turned his bank book over to the DMV clerk, who questioned whether there was enough bank activity for him to qualify.

Today's Teamster News 07.27.11

Walker may face tough recall battle  Eau Claire Leader-Telegram   ...Considering a recent poll, Walker only has a few months to fend off what could be a serious challenge...
GE moving X-ray business to China  Bloomberg News   ... The headquarters will move from Wisconsin amid a broader plan to invest about $2 billion across China, including opening six “customer innovation’’ and development centers...
Kasich can expect a fight on leasing Turnpike  Columbus Dispatch   ...State Rep. Michael Ashford, D-Toledo, and George Tucker, executive director of the Toledo AFL-CIO, cast Kasich's intention to privatize the turnpike as a bad deal for the state, a job killer and likely to gouge drivers with higher tolls...
Snyder: Michigan budget a 'role model' for Washington lawmakers  Detroit News   ...Snyder's first budget — which he says has ended a longstanding structural budget deficit and put the state on a path to fiscal stability — was balanced through a combination of spending cuts and new revenues, which included axing many tax credits and exemptions and making more public and private pension income taxable...
Ind. commerce chief backs right-to-work law push  Associated Press   ...Indiana lawmakers debated right to work legislation Tuesday that sparked a five-week walkout by House Democrats earlier this year and could set a contentious tone when lawmakers reconvene in January...
In face of lawsuit, Gov. Christie makes copy of calendar public, revealing private dinner with Fox News chief   ...John Cook, the Gawker staff writer who filed the records request with Christie’s office, said the administration’s original claim of executive privilege showed the governor appears to be treating the media executive as an adviser...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

America gets its protest on today

Today's protest at the office of Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J.
Americans are boiling mad that their representatives want to cut programs like Medicare and Social Security -- programs that Americans pay for. Unnoticed by the mainstream media, thousands of people went out to their member of Congress's office today at noon and rallied to save the American Dream. (And we're not even counting Wisconsin.)

Had these been Tea Party protests, the news coverage would have been a teensy bit different. So we rely on the tweetosphere and the blogosphere and the Facebooksphere to tell us what's going on.

Protest at Rep. Robert Hurt's (R-VA) office.
We learn from Facebook that there was a rally at Republican Rep. Charlie Bass's office in Nashua, N.H. -- and that Newt Gingrich, dining al fresco nearby, got caught up in the action. (Check out the photo -- he doesn't look pleased.) We learn from Twitter that there was a rally at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office in California. And Democratic Rep. Howard Berman's office in California. And Republican Rep. Vicki Jo Hartzler's office in Missouri. And on and on and on.

In Fishkill, N.Y., police were summoned when Rep. Nan Hayworth's constituents  -- many of them senior citizens -- tried to meet with her staff. Reports the Poughkeepsie Journal,
Shortly after noon, the privately owned building’s management called Fishkill town police to turn away visitors who did not have appointments with the Republican congressowman’s staff, according to Nat Sillin, Hayworth’s communication’s director.
However, staff did meet with about 50 individuals who did not have appointments inside the office and with more outside the building, he said. About 30 cars were turned away, he said.

But Fishkill resident Sharon Morgese said some constituents, many of them senior citizens, were barred from entering the building and did not meet with the congresswoman’s staff.
"I was furious," she said.
Here's a sampling of tweets from protesters around the country:
30 citizens visited @repjohnklinekline Burnsville office at noon today to implore him to #SaveAmericanDream

More than 20 constituents showed up for a rally outside of Rep. Fitzpatrick's office in Newtown, PA!
Rep. Erik Paulsen #SaveAmericanDream protest today

There's a rally at Rep. Barbara Lee's office in Oakland, Calif.

About 18 ppl rallied outside Rep's office in Newton today to tell #Garrett Don't Default!

@MoveOn 30 people show up to protest at @reptimgriffin's office in AR.

On my way #SaveAmericanDream to Rep. Lujan's office.

About 12 people showed up @RepJasonAltmire! Thank you for taking the time and support!”

Rebuild the Dream -- an offshoot of -- spurred thousands of people to meet earlier this month to talk about restoring the middle class. We learn from the Rebuild the Dream website that
...over 25,000 of you met in nearly 1600 living rooms across America to share your stories and to discuss the next steps toward taking back the American Dream. You held meetings in every single one of the four hundred thirty-five congressional districts in this country. From Missoula, Montana to Midtown Manhattan, from Santa Monica, California...

By comparison, the Tea Party held only 800 meetings on its first organized day in April 2009. And that was with a full on blast of two months of promotion by Fox News. You organized your meetings strictly through e-mails from our partner organizations, word of mouth, and the good will of all the great hosts out there to open up your homes – no national cable news network necessary.
Here's a slide show of some of the protests at congressional offices around the country.
Progressive Maryland organized a protest yesterday at the Social Security offices in Woodlawn. You can see a video here.

Bad week for drunk OH Republicans

Picture this shirtless and drunk
Jarrod Martin (R-Beavercreek) is the second Ohio state representative to face drunken driving charges. Martin was arrested over the weekend when he swerved over the center line while hauling a trailer without a taillight.

The Dayton Daily News reports there were two other adults and two kids in the vehicle. Martin was also charged with child endangerment.
He refused to submit to a field sobriety test and, as a result, will automatically lose his driver’s license for one year. This will leave him with having to find alternative transportation to his ALEC meetings. And possibly an alternative voter ID.

Greene County Republican John Broughton spoke up for Martin, saying he admitted to drinking “a couple beers” earlier in the day but that alcohol was not involved in this incident.

Martin did not want to be seen on video recorded by the cruiser’s dashboard camera because he was shirtless.

Too bad. Video will be released Friday and we can’t wait to see it.

Last week, Ohio state Rep. Bob Mecklenborg (R-Cincinnati) resigned after his drunk driving arrest involving an expired license, a woman who works at a strip club, Viagra and voter ID fraud. He was supposed to go to court today, but his lawyer has asked for a jury trial, which delays his case until late August.

As for Martin, the SB-5 supporter said in a written statement:
I regret the incident regarding an OVI allegation that occurred in Jackson County on Friday, July 22. I take this matter very seriously and I look forward to the opportunity to vindicate myself in court.
In May Martin tweeted:
JarrodBMartin: Setting up an OVI checkpoint with the OSP and Beavercreek Police.

Scott Walker can't go ANYWHERE

Owly Images

He tried to go to Lac du Flambeau this morning, way up north in Wisconsin where the Lac du Flambeau Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians has a reservation. Lac du Flambeau has the the highest percentage of kids who qualify for government-subsidized lunches in Wisconsin. You can guess how popular Walker was there. Actually, a few comments from the "Greet Gov. Scott Walker" Facebook page give you an idea:
It is coming to your reservation ??? EWWWWW....remind him he is an intruder of the worst sort please!! He is Custer in a new form.
Does he think he is going to get a warm reception from the Indians, especially after threatening their way of life by opening the north to basically unregulated mining? What a tool!
Organizers posted that Walker would be at the Wellness Center at 8:30 a.m. and at the Tribal Building at 10 a.m. Protesters were there at 8 a.m., giving him the kind of welcome he's grown used to by now.

WI Recall: Poll shows there's still lots of work to do

Too young to vote for Shelly Moore, who's challenging Subsidy Sheila.
DailyKos just came out with a new poll on the Wisconsin recalls, and it's looking good. But not good enough. There's lots more to be done before Aug. 9. That's when six Teamster-endorsed candidates stand for election against the Republican state senators who support Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker's agenda to destroy the middle class.
Here's Daily Kos's David Nir on the new poll, which
...shows Democrats with a big lead in one race, narrow leads in two races, and trailing by five points or less in three races.
Democratic Rep. Fred Clark has a narrow lead over state Sen. Lex Luther Olsen. Democrats Sandy Pasch and Nancy Nusbaum are slightly behind state Sen. Alberta Not-so-Darling (who's getting a ton of money from Club for Growth) and state Sen. Cowardly Rob Cowles, respectively.

In the other three races, DailyKos reported Jennifer Shilling had a lead over state Sen. Dan Hanky-Kapanke, Jessica King was beating randy Sen. Randy Hopper, and Shelly Moore was behind state Sen. Subsidy Sheila Harsdorf.

It would be great if we could kick all six of them out of office, and then of course send Walker and his family back to Wauwatosa. (We LOVE the idea of the Teamster truck hauling the Walkers and their possessions out of the Governors' Mansion). But as you can see these races are close. And remember, the corporate CEOs and the billionaires will spend millions to prop up their puppets in the Wisconsin Legislature. Walker himself is getting into the act.

Associated Press reports Walker
...on Tuesday he sent an e-mail personally asking Republican donors to back the campaigns and prevent the Democrats from winning a majority in the Senate.

Walker calls the Republican senators “brave” in the email, saying they “stood up to the public employee union bosses and did the right thing.”

More on what the typing Koch monkeys are pooping out

Every day we learn more about corporate America's shadow government, the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Just recently hundreds of leaked documents about ALEC were posted onto a new ALEC Exposed website. Today we find there's another new website that exposes just how far ALEC tentacles reach into Cheddarland. Every state should have one.

ALEC has been in the shadows for a long, long time. It has written untold numbers of state laws privatizing prisons and turnpikes, depriving people of the vote, weakening unions. Now it seems whole armies of people are digging into recently leaked documents about ALEC in order to shine a light on the group's attempt to destroy the middle class.

Nobody does it better than Wonkette, though. The Beltway blog picked up on the story that Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker got a Voter ID law passed and then started to shut down DMVs in Democratic districts. Writes Wonkette: 
Evil corporate lackey Scott Walker recently got a memo on his desk from the fringe conservative Koch-funded  American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that drafts bills for GOP lawmakers who are too stupid or too lazy to pen the enormous quantities of the Kochs’ slobbering hate for the poor into formal legislative proposals. The memo that Walker got sent him some instructions like, “there are too many minority people and students voting in your state,” along with the text of a voter ID bill pooped out by the typing monkeys from the Koch offices.
And, as is often the case with Wonkette, the coments are as funny as the blog posting itself:
Scott Walker: "I am not doing that thing which you just caught me doing."
The next phase is to have all DMV offices located at country clubs` in the Members Only area.
Your move, Rick Scott.

You don't want to be out-evil henchmaned, do you?

Florida prison privatization ALREADY open for bids

Florida just can't privatize its prisons fast enough.

This week the state formally sought plans from private companies to run prisons in an 18-county region in South Florida. Bidders must produce documentation and visit all 30 prisons planned for privatization by August 16. Skelator Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have set January 1, 2012, as the deadline for privatization to go into effect.

The state will only hire one company to run all of the prisons. Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss said about hiring one vendor:
You’ll get a better price. More volume, better price. This is going to be some of the most competitive bidding the country has ever seen for private prisons.
Potential bidders include corporate prison giants Corrections Corporations of America (CCA), based in Nashville, and Geo Group, based locally in Boca Raton. Both companies already operate prisons in Florida and both are members of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a corporate front group that not only promotes privatization, but also policies that give prison companies more business (i.e., locking up more prisoners).

The private vendor that wins the bidding process must offer programs designed to successfully reduce recidivism. Recidivism is good for business, you say? Better yet, locking up immigrants for corporate profit, as CCA discovered with ALEC's help.

Both potential bidders have –surprise—close ties to the governor and legislature, having given millions in political contributions. GEO Group was recently found to have exceeded state contribution limits.

A body of 14 state legislators will ultimately award the final bidder.

It’s all too close for comfort.

VIDEO: New WI recall ad on randy Randy Hopper

The Wisconsin state senator from Fond du Lac is also known as Randy "Bed" Hopper. Watch the video to see why. And if you want to help out in the recall effort, or

Today's Teamster News 07.26.11

Hopper Coached Cass on Scoring State Job   ...(state Sen. Randy) Hopper's coaching of girlfriend Valerie Cass certainly didn't hurt as she was eventually hired by the Walker administration on February 7th...
Ohio's unemployment rate rises for the first time under Gov. John Kasich  Cleveland Plain Dealer   ...The Ohio unemployment rate rose in June for the first time in 22 months, and for the first time under Gov. John Kasich, who has made job development the focus of his administration...
State Workers Rally Outside Governor's Office in Detroit   ...About one thousand state workers from five different unions took to the sidewalk outside Governor Snyder's Detroit office Monday afternoon, hoping to get their point across...
Charters get $55 million for upkeep, other schools get zero  Orlando Sentinel   ...Traditional public schools in Florida will get no money from the state this year for additions or needed repairs to thousands of aging buildings, but charter schools will score big...
Maine Democrats Skeptical of GOP Voter Fraud Allegations  Maine Public Broadcasting Network   ...The development comes amid a people's veto effort to overturn a recently-passed law no longer allowing Maine voters to register on Election Day...
NJ Gov Chris Christie's record on senior citizens: Less aid, not more   ...It’s gotten only harder for people on fixed incomes to stay in their own homes, thanks to cuts Christie made to property tax relief programs for seniors and people with disabilities...
California job market is rebounding, but unevenly  Los Angeles Times   ...Job growth is concentrated in affluent areas such as Silicon Valley and in high-paying fields such as professional services. Blue-collar trades such as construction and trucking continued to shed workers...

Monday, July 25, 2011

7 'Recall Walker' signs within a few blocks of his house

This is just awesome. Our Teamster brothers from Local 200 in Milwaukee went on a little reconnaissance mission in Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker's neighborhood in Wauwatosa. Local President Tom Bennett and Business Representatives Randy Monroe and Steve Nelson counted no less than seven "Recall Walker" signs within a few short blocks of his home.

Walker isn't living there right now. He, his wife Tonette and his kids are now living in the Governor's Mansion in the Village of Maple Bluff.

   Our Local 200 brothers may have gotten the idea to scope out Walker's neighborhood from Sly in the Morning. Local 200's Secretary-Tom Millonzi was on the popular radio program on Friday in Milwaukee. Sly told him how much he liked the Teamster trucks parked on the Capitol Square during the protests in February and March.

Sly also said he'd like to back that truck up in front of the Governor's Mansion and use it to move Walker and his family back to Wauwatosa. Said Sly,
We put Scott back there, we pack all their crap up, we put it in one of those trucks and dump em off in Wauwatosa.
You can listen to the broadcast here. The Teamsters start at 24:10.

And here are the rest of the photos.

Koch-linked money floods WI recall

No surprise here: the Koch-linked Club for Growth is now pouring money into the Wisconsin recalls. One Wisconsin Now tells the Washington Post's Greg Sargent that the corporate front group pumped $1.5 million into the recall races.

Writes Sargent,
Even more tellingly, the Club has poured a surprising $400,000 into the battle to recall state senator Alberta Darling, who was once viewed as safe...the Club sank the money into the race right after a Dem poll found that Darling is getting edged by her Dem recall challenger, Rep. Sandy Pasch.
If true, this is significant. If labor and Dems can knock off Darling, it would be a major coup: She is the co-chair of the legislative committee that passed Scott Walker’s union-busting proposals. Of all the GOP state senators targeted for recall, she’s been in office the longest... 
Remember when the Club for Growth had radio ads telling people to support Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill -- before Walker even filed the bill?

If you want to help out in the recalls, We Are Wisconsin is a good place to start.

Here’s what we union thugs do in Canada

We jump out of planes to make dreams come true for sick children.

Eleven members of the Teamsters Quebec Women’s Caucus recently threw themselves to the heavens at an incredible 200 kilometers per hour (that’s 124 miles an hour).

The brave Teamster women performed the parachute jump as a fundraiser to benefit Children’s Wish Foundation International, an organization that enhances the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses.

The Teamsters raised $7,000 to benefit the Foundation through the sale of raffle tickets. On the ground, 30 Teamsters and friends awaited a smooth landing.

Brigitte Sottile, director of education for Teamsters Canada and president of the Teamsters Quebec Women’s Caucus, spearheaded the jump:
This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help this good cause. It was not only a joy to contribute to this fundraising event, but a point of pride for each of us who made the leap. We pushed our limits to do something good for the kids.
Well done, Teamster women!

VIDEO: ALEC 'billionaires' thank MN lawmakers

UPDATE: We learn the lawmakers in this video don't belong to ALEC. But still, we like the idea of exposing ALEC as the corporate shadow government.

We love this! Activists in Minnesota dressed up as billionaires and staged a rally in the Statehouse to thank ALEC. Then they went around to lawmakers' offices, handed them a fake million dollar bill and thanked them for standing up for billionaires.

One activist said,
I think it's terrific when Walmart, Pfizer and Exxon write legislation for Minnesota. I think those corporations know what they're doing and I think it's important we get legislation written by them.
Sarcasm, sarcasm, the devil's weapon.

96-year-old WI grandmother: 'I'm not Republican anymore'

By Lester Dore
A Wisconsin grandmother asked her daughter to send an e-mail to Melissa Luther, an active protester since Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker attacked the state's middle class. Luther shared the letter with the Monologues of Dissent blog, and we're now sharing some of it with you.
Hello, my name is Katherine. I was born in West Virginia however I have lived in Wisconsin since 1973. That's when my husband Edward retired from serving in the Air Force. Edward passed away 6 years ago and let me tell you! It's not been easy surviving without him but I keep going everyday because I have a family that still needs me. We have 3 beautiful daughters and many grandkids. Edward and I have been Republicans all our lives but I knew him well enough to know that he'd roll over in his grave if he knew what Republicans are these days.
...They are trying to take away my insurance. They want to take my daughters rights away too. She's a teacher and a damn good one. It all just makes me angry. Really angry. Edward proudly served this country and risked his life and this is how they repay us? This is how they repay our family? Why are they doing this? ... I'm hearing about all of the people who are out there working against them and all I know is that they're doing what's right. That's the reason for this letter. I am 96 and I can barely walk anymore. I have lost vision and hearing over the years as well. I would like to help, but I just can't. So what I want is to say thank you. To the people protesting. To the people calling my house. To the young man who knocked on my door to remind me about the election that I voted in last week. You are fighting for me because I can't fight for myself and everyday I pray that God blesses you and keeps you safe and healthy. Keep up the good work and don't stop until they can't do anything more to our state that will hurt us good citizens.
I'm not a Republican anymore and won't be again until they get their act together....
God bless you,

Read the whole thing here. And pass it on.

ME Gov cuts-and-pastes corporate wish lists

Wow. This is pretty wild. Maine Gov. Paul LePage -- the guy who removed a labor history mural from the state's Labor Department -- just rubber stamps corporate requests for giveaways.

The Portland Phoenix reports,
Confidential administration dossiers show Governor Paul LePage crafted significant portions of his regulatory reform agenda by literally copying and pasting passages from the memos his staff received from corporate lobbyists and their clients, turning swaths of it into little more than a set of giveaways to favored companies. The dossiers also reveal the governor's wish list for labor, employment, tax, and banking reform, and his plans for executive action and rules changes in these and other sectors — major changes to longstanding Maine practices that he can achieve without the approval of the legislature.
... Simply put, LePage makes policy by letting corporate interests do it for him, and he often endorses their formulations over even his own. This coziness raises serious questions about both the governor's level of engagement in policy and the limited circle of interests he seeks to represent.
Here are some highlights.
  • two Portland-based law firms wrote at least 28 of the 50 environmental rollbacks LePage submitted to lawmakers in January, some of which are now law.
  • LePage's staff photocopied and submitted a restaurant owner's proposal rolling back Maine's civil rights and wage and tip sharing laws;
  • lobbyists' schemes to repeal the ban on the use of strikebreakers and to eliminate unemployment benefits for strikers made it word-for-word into LePage's reform proposal.
  • The Maine Innkeepers' Association plan to weaken child labor laws was cut-and-pasted into LePage's reform proposal.
Read the whole thing here.

Trouble at FL private prison

Here's a disturbing story from South Florida:

State corrections investigators couldn't get into a prison one night when they tried to conduct a drug sweep. Worse, there was no independent oversight of the private company that runs the prison. So it's unclear what actually happened that night.

The Palm Beach Post describes the incident at South Bay Correctional Institution.
No guard was stationed at the front gate, according to state Department of Corrections reports obtained by The Palm Beach Post. No one answered an alert button that the inspection team pressed twice. And no one responded after the team shined a flashlight at a security camera to try to get the attention of guards who were supposed to be in the privately run prison's control room.
After 20 minutes of waiting and a phone call to their supervisor, the drug interdiction team left without trying to call anyone in the prison, operated by Boca Raton-based GEO Group Inc.
...the corrections department did not officially investigate because it does not oversee the state's six private prisons.
That's handled by the state Department of Management Services, which relied on GEO to investigate its own staff...
Isn't that delightful? And now Florida wants to privatize more prisons, something the Teamsters have been fighting.

No doubt the state's lawmakers have been influenced by the corporate front group ALEC, of which GEO Group is a member. ALEC doesn't just promote prison privatization, it promotes policies to give prison companies more business -- in other words, locking up more prisoners.

(If you haven't been following ALEC, John Nichols at The Nation describes ALEC, the corporate front group that is

...a critical arm of the right-wing network of policy shops that ... has evolved to shape American politics ... ALEC’s model legislation reflects long-term goals: downsizing government, removing regulations on corporations and making it harder to hold the economically and politically powerful to account. Corporate donors retain veto power over the language, which is developed by the secretive task forces.)
And here's a shock: GEO Group violated campaign finance law. Reports the Florida Independent,
The GEO Group Inc., a South Florida-based private prison firm, has scrapped its state-level political action committee after an audit by the Florida Department of State found it was taking in contributions that exceeded state limits.

Today's Teamster News 07.25.11

Republican tactics hurt democracy (opinion)  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   ...There is a trend under way throughout the country and in Wisconsin for the party in power to use its position to pass laws that have as their goal keeping that party in power...
State workers to rally today in Detroit over possible concessions  Detroit News   ...State employees are to rally outside Cadillac Place in Detroit at noon today amid talk of possible layoffs as negotiations begin Tuesday on $145 million in concessions sought by Gov. Rick Snyder's administration...
Right-to-work debate considered  Nashua Telegraph   ...Windham Republican Rep. David Bates is trying to bring together the warring factions for a debate on the right-to-work issue...
Think you have a tough job? Try being Rick Scott's lawyer  St. Petersburg Times   ...As a defendant in at least seven lawsuits since he took office in January, Scott could be the most sued governor in Florida history...
Miller is Tasteless, Says Sacramento Community at State Fair  Teamsters Joint Council 7   ...More than 100 members of Teamster Local Unions 150 and 439 converged on the California State Fair today to provide information to the public about the greedy business practices of DBI Beverage, the distributor of MillerCoors products in Northern California...
Is Indiana really as rosy as Gov. Daniels believes?  (opinion)   ...Median income is falling -- by 15 percent in the last decade. The real unemployment rate, which includes those too discouraged to look for work, stood at 17.4 percent last year...