Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Security worse at private prisons. Sometimes it's terrible.

Florida citizens at a meeting opposing prison closures and privatization last night in Jefferson County.
  Private correctional facilities are a really, really bad idea. They don't save taxpayers' money because corporations need to make a profit.

And they're dangerous. Murderers, rapists and thieves are more likely to escape a private prison than a government-run institution, according to a nationwide study by researchers at the Federal Bureau of Prisons Office of Research and Evaluation.

Just this month, an inmate pleaded guilty to murdering Gary and Linda Haas, an Oklahoma couple on vacation in August 2010. He and two others had escaped from Arizona State Prison, which is run by Management And Training Corporation. Arizona's Department of Corrections issued a scathing assessment of the poor security and undertrained corrections officers. They actually ignored the alarm that sounded when the inmates cut the fence to escape.

Florida lawmakers want to turn nearly half of Florida's prisons over to a corporation -- though violent inmates have escaped from prisons run by GEO Group Inc. and the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the two companies vying to run Florida’s privatized prisons.

Here are just a few of the delightful things that happened in money-making prisons:
In February 2008, a notorious rapist escaped for two days from a civil commitment center in Arcadia, Fla, according to the Tampa Bay Times. GEO Group ran the facility, which treats sex offenders too dangerous to be released. The escapee, Bruce Alan Young, is a former nurse convicted of raping seven female patients while they were sedated, including a 15-year-old girl at Citrus Memorial Hospital.

Two years ago, three dangerous inmates escaped from the Allen Correctional Center, a GEO facility, in Kinder, La. The Town Talk tells us government law enforcement officers brought them in.
CCA mistakenly released nine inmates from the Bay County Jail Annex in Florida in 2007. Six inmates escaped from the CCA-run Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in the summer of 1998. Four were in prison for murder and one was serving time for armed robbery. One of the inmates eluded capture for more than a month.
See why this is a bad idea? You can sign this petition to oppose prison privatization in Florida here.

Today's Teamster News 01.31.12

Indiana right-to-work bill heading for final vote  ABC News   ...An Indiana Senate committee has passed a right-to-work bill, and Governor Mitch Daniels says he is ready to sign the bill once it clears the full senate. The bill is expected to clear the senate on Wednesday...
Senate expected to begin floor debate on South Florida prison privatization plan  Associated Press   ...Debate on the bill (CS/CS/SB 2038) is set for Tuesday and a vote is expected Wednesday...
Bills to change workers' rights high on state Senate's agenda  St. Louis Beacon   ...Greater St. Louis Labor Council president Bob Soutier ...(said) the debate in the Missouri General Assembly over worker-related legislation is part of a national agenda orchestrated by big business...
Second Year In, Republican Governors Moderate Tone  New York Times   ...more laws that aim to curb the power of unions are being pursued in a number of states this year...
Hoeven-Lugar-Vitter, Bipartisan Group of Senators to Introduce Legislation to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline  U.S. Sen. John Hoeven   ...U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), David Vitter (R-La.) and a total of 44 senators today announced that they will introduce legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8...
US economy stumbles  Macrobusiness   ...consumer spending has stalled as consumers return to tucking away this income boost as savings...
Hostess asks judge to slash union obligations  Associated Press   ...The Teamsters union issued a swift rebuke on Thursday, saying Hostess was trying to "bully" its way out of obligations to its employees...

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Muppets respond to Fox News

MSNBC reminds us how Fox went after the Muppets last month:
Eric Bolling of FOX Business' "Follow the Money" took "The Muppets" to task last December as an example of how "liberal media" tries to "brainwash our kids" against big business -- specifically big oil.

Well, at a recent press conference in the United Kingdom to promote the film, frog and pig fought back. Asks Kermit: "If we had problems with oil companies, why would we have spent the entire film driving around in a gas-guzzling Rolls Royce?"
Miss Piggy, though, gets in the real zinger. Watch.

Today's Teamster News 01.30.12

Indiana right-to-work law to get final push this week  Reuters   ...Republicans lawmakers were expected to give a final push this week to legislation that would make Indiana the first right-to-work state in the nation's manufacturing belt, dealing a setback to organized labor in a presidential election year...
Sneaky tactics are used for prisons (opinion)  Florida Times-Union   ...With so much at stake, including the jobs of 3,800 corrections employees and the public safety of 18 million Floridians, the rush to privatize prisons is not only an affront to the process but a danger to our citizens...
Heartbeat of protesters is stifled in the capitol  Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative   ...Republicans in the Assembly Session last night, in the process of passing highly controversial mining legislation, claimed they were seeking “decorum” when they ordered law enforcement to clear the gallery of all visitors...
New Yorkers Face “Downward Mobility”  Bloomberg   ...About one third of New York City residents nearing retirement age won’t be able to quit or will have to rely entirely on Social Security because they have less than $10,000 in savings, according to a study released today...
Meet the judge who is driving Wall Street and the SEC nuts  Washington Post   ...Jed Rakoff is driving regulators nuts by refusing to rubber-stamp the kind of deals that have long defined Securities and Exchange Commission justice — boilerplate settlements in which companies use shareholders' money to pay fines while they neither admit nor deny doing anything wrong...
Port of Longview signs off on ILWU and EGT settlement  The Daily News   ...The pact provides a framework for longshoremen to work inside the $200 million grain terminal and end one of the area's longest, angriest labor disputes in decades...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

This is what we union thugs do when the troops come home

Supporting the troops in St. Louis.

We march in the big Welcome Home the Troops parade.

We learned about this on Joint Council 13's Facebook page. JC13 reported
Teamsters from across Teamsters Joint Council 13 came out to support our brave men and women returning home. It was an honor for the Teamsters to be requested to march with Operation Homefront in the Welcome Home the Troops parade held in downtown St. Louis !
And by the way, union membership climbed 15.3 percent in Missouri last year!

Today's Teamster News 01.29.12

State senate will hold right to work hearing Monday  Post-Tribune   ...On the heels of the Indiana House passing divisive right-to-work legislation, the Indiana Senate will hold a committee hearing Monday with the goal of sending the bill to the governor before the Super Bowl...
Dave Bachman: Prison makeover is too big and too fast  Tallahassee Democrat   ...The one consideration that I feel has not been sufficiently aired is the potential that such widespread changes may have to upset the good order, control and discipline in some institutions, resulting in "unintended consequences..."
Scott Walker Faces Tightening Noose in John Doe Investigation  Veterans News Now   ...a John Doe investigation covering Walker’s tenure as Milwaukee County executive and his successful 2010 run for governor has reached into the inner circles of Scott Walker’s longtime aides and allies. “A criminal complaint has uncovered a ’secret email system’ that was ‘routinely used by selected insiders within the Walker administration’ for county business as well as unofficial purposes such as campaigning...
A Victory for the Public on Foreclosures?  Rolling Stone   ...this deal ... appears to have been effectively negotiated down from a bloocurdling outrage to whatever it is now, which is probably something far less than that: it may still be a serious underpay, but it's not the unreal, criminal giveaway it was originally meant to be...
Trying to Inch the WTO Away from Extreme Financial Deregulation  Eyes on Trade   ...The World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services limits the kinds of financial regulations countries can impose...
Erie Teamsters vote to give leaders strike authorization  Go Erie   ...The union represents about 160 city of Erie workers, including Bureau of Streets employees...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

CertainTeed strike over!

We just saw this on the Boston Teamsters' Facebook page. They've broken Camp CertainTeed, because the strike is over!

We don't know much more than that, so all we can say is ... Solidarity!

IN Teamsters not giving up RTW fight

Though right-to-work-for-less passed the Indiana House last week, it still has to pass the Senate. So our brothers and sisters are still fighting. They're putting intense pressure on senators to vote against the heinous bill.

Here's Bob Warnock III, president of Local 364 in South Bend, in a letter to his members:
The fight to protect Hoosiers wages, health insurance and pensions is not over. We are not giving up.
Senator Joe Zakas is not representing working Hoosiers and continues to side with Daniels, Bosma, Long and big business. He has stated he will vote for “Right to Work for Less” and that he will not change his mind. He will not and is not going to support the citizens in his district and vote against “Right to Work for Less.

LIUNA yesterday at Superbowl Village

Please take the time Saturday, January 28 through February 1 to contact Senator Joe Zakas every day and ask him to change his mind and do what a clear majority of his constituents want - “VOTE AGAINST RIGHT TO WORK FOR LESS.”
Meanwhile, the laborers picketed a Superbowl pregame event yesterday to protest the right-to-work-for-less bill. More people are picketing Superbowl Village today. Reports the Associated Press:
A mix of union members and Occupy protesters from across Indiana marched through Super Bowl Village on Saturday in opposition to the state's proposed right-to-work legislation.
About 75 marchers weaved through packed crowds at the pre-game street fair in downtown Indianapolis in the first of what could be several such protests before the big game Feb. 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The protesters chanted "Occupy the Super Bowl" and carried signs that read "Fight the Lie" and "Workers United Will Prevail."
Saturday was the second straight day of right-to-work protests in the Super Bowl Village. About 40 people picketed the opening of a zip line in the Village. The 800-foot zip line allows participants to clip onto a wire about 100 feet off the ground and glide almost two blocks.
Live in Indiana? Click here to email your senator.

Sotheby's Teamsters take action against Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York last night got Occupied again -- by Teamsters from Local 814, Occupy Wall Street, museumgoers, artists, arts enthusiasts and culture activists.

The groups gathered outside of the multimillion-dollar exhibition of Diego Rivera's legendary murals and disrupted museumgoers' quiet viewing experience.

Organizer Noah Ficher addressed the crowd, giving them an alternative interpretation of Rivera's art:
Work by Rivera.
They're not miracles of art. They're works.
The action was chiefly the effort of Occupy Museums, an Occupy Wall Street working group that fights against the influence of the 1% in the arts. As outspoken supporters of the locked-out Teamsters, Occupy Museums activists fight the "Sotheby's economy" -- a system of elite influence that works to "support" the arts with one hand, then grabs at its profit with the other.

MoMa deals with Sotheby's, which threw 43 art handlers out of work because they demanded a fair standard of living from the mega-rich employer.

The visit followed the action last Friday, when Occupy Museums took to MoMa in collaboration with labor activists from Occupy Sotheby's (who had last been seen getting jostled in the picket line clash during the Nov. 9 auction.

Felix Cardinal, an art handler of 4 years who came to MoMa assembly, said he appreciated Occupy Wall Street's support:
We know that OWS can take action and walk the walk, but now I'm even more impressed by this level of conversation taking place. I'm inspired that people who seriously care about art are doing something to help our cause, that this issue stretches way beyond just Sotheby's.
Rivera's works, which depict scenes of life, labor and inequality in the new industial world, were commissioned in part by corporate mogul and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller. When he saw that they depicted a pro-worker message, Rockefeller wouldn't let the work remain on display in 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Arts activist Ariel Lugo pointed out that the exhibit's success resulted from art handlers' skill:
The art handlers who installed this exhibit had their work cut out for them, because these murals were painted on cement. They were painted on cement because Rivera thought they'd be shown in a public space, not in a museum with corporate-subsidized admission.
Harrison Magee, a member of Occupy Sotheby's, said:
Rivera wouldn't have wanted his paintings here. His works stood for the interests of working people, whose voices are being silenced everywhere.
As Sotheby's enters a new auction season having once again broken sales records in the fall, they have still yet to reach a fair agreement with the Teamsters union. Estimates predict that the lockout has by now cost the company more money than they would have spent over the course of the 3-year contract as proposed by the union. with new parts of the movement now getting involved, OWS is throwing the weight of the 99% back into the fight to end the lockout.

Today's Teamster News 01.28.12

RTW Protestors gather outside Elkhart County senator's home  Fox 28   ...Union protestors took to the streets right in front of State Senator Carlin Yoder's home in Elkhart County Friday...
Rush to Privatization a Danger to Fla.  The Ledger   ...With so much at stake, including the jobs of 3,800 corrections employees and the public safety of 18 million Floridians, the rush to privatize prisons is not only an affront to the process, but a danger to our citizens...
Union membership grows slightly, but share of workforce remains at historic low  Associated Press   ...Union membership grew slightly last year, giving labor leaders hope that a period of steep declines has finally bottomed out...
Anti-Outsourcing Bill Stirs Fears In India, Philippines  Huffington Post   ...A bill that would punish American companies for sending their customer call centers overseas has caused an uproar in India and the Philippines, where politicians and corporations fear lost business due to the U.S. bill's protectionist measures...
Road to Damascus - Syria's Suburbs  RT.com   ...Deserted in the day and dangerous at night, nearly every evening there are reports of clashes and protests in these areas...
How Swedes and Norwegians Broke the Power of the ‘1 Percent’  The Indypendent   ...Under the leadership of the working class, however, both countries built robust and successful economies that nearly eliminated poverty, expanded free university education, abolished slums, provided excellent health care available to all as a matter of right and created a system of full employment... 
Teamsters Press Unionization of Toll Drivers  Journal of Commerce   ...The Teamsters union, as part of its national strategy to organize harbor truck drivers, has taken on Toll Global Forwarding, charging that the company is using national labor law to delay a vote among drivers to join the union...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Shame! FL lawmakers deny citizens their right to be heard

Florida lawmakers just can't wait to turn over half the state's prisons to the private companies that have filled their pockets with campaign cash. On Wednesday, several dozen Teamster correctional officers traveled a long way -- and at their own expense -- to testify against a bill to privatize Florida's prisons. 

Were they allowed to tell the Senate Budget Committee that private prisons are more expensive than government correctional facilities because they add a profit to existing costs? No.

Were they allowed to describe how private companies cut corners, putting profit above public safety? No.

Were they allowed to tell lawmakers that private prisons can't coordinate with with other law enforcement agencies when prisoners escape? No.

After almost two hours of longwinded debate, the committee announced there were only a few minutes left for testimony. Only paid lobbyists were allowed to speak. Then the committee passed the bill.

Cries of "Shame" filled the hearing room (you can hear it on the video above). Teamster attorney Ron Silver, who'd been a lawmaker for 24 years, said he'd never heard anything like it.

Here's something else: three out of four Floridians say they are very concerned that the state Legislature is trying to change state law to give private companies and donors billions of dollars in secret contracts -- with no cost-benefit analysis and no public review.

Think the Senate Budget Committee shut down the public because a backroom deal was made to give a contract to a private company? We do. Think maybe Pink Slip Rick Scott had something to do with it? We do. And here's the reason why: Scott's administration has already emptied hard-core prisoners out of Region IV -- the area set to be privatized. According to the Miami Herald,
Prison guards are incensed that over the past year the Department of Corrections has quietly moved the most troublesome and costly inmates from South Florida prisons to prisons upstate, making the southern prisons more attractive to profit-minded prison vendors. A spokesman for the system, Ann Howard, said 79 inmates in the south are classified as “close management,” out of a total of 10,000.
Something's definitely rotten in the state of Florida.

Today's Teamster News 01.27.12

In rush to pass 'right to work' next week, Indiana Senate panel plans Monday hearing  Indy Star   ...Goal is to have Gov. Mitch Daniels sign it into law before the Super Bowl...
Senate disregards perils of privatization (opinion)  Tampa Bay Times   ...The Republican leaders' arrogant efforts to exempt the Legislature from most of a state law that requires rigorous public vetting of privatization deals would encourage one-sided deals at best and invite corruption at worst. Floridians deserve government in the sunshine...
Scott Walker Staffers Arrested-Reince Priebus Now Involved  Daily Kos   ...Two staffers who worked directly for Gov. Scott Walker while he was county executive were charged Thursday with illegally doing extensive political work while being paid by taxpayers to do county jobs. This is in addition to the three aides of Scott Walker that were arrested on January 5, 2012...
The British economy is now doing worse than it did during the Great Depression  Brad DeLong   ...In less than a year, if current forecasts come true, the Cameron-Osborne Depression will not be the worst depression in Britain since the Great Depression, but the worst depression in Britain… probably ever...
UN Gets 35 Pounds of Cocaine Sent From Mexico  Bloomberg   ...Two forged diplomatic pouches containing a total of 35 pounds (16 kilos) of cocaine were delivered last week to the UN headquarters building in New York,,,
Teamsters Warn Hostess Not To Misuse Bankruptcy Process  IBT   ...The Teamsters Union on Thursday warned Hostess Brands Inc. not to misuse the bankruptcy process in an attempt to bully its way to unnecessary operations changes, saying a consensual resolution with sacrifices by all stakeholders is what is required...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Today's Teamster News 01.26.12

Right-to-work measure clears Indiana House  Associated Press   ...Indiana is poised to become the first right-to-work state in more than a decade after the Republican-controlled House passed legislation on Wednesday banning from collecting mandatory fees from workers...
Private-prisons bill advances in Florida Senate  Miami Herald   ...opposition is building on multiple fronts. Correctional officers and unions say privatization is being rushed and will cause widespread disruption to families, where it is common for two or more members of the same family to hold prison jobs...
Five Democratic State Senators In Missouri Threatened With Sniper Crosshairs On Their Office Doors  Addicting Info   ...Just a few days ago, a Democratic campaign manager in Arkansas arrived home to find his children’s pet cat murdered with the word ‘Liberal’ scrawled across its fur. And now, Missouri lawmakers are also being threatened...
California calls $25-billion mortgage settlement 'inadequate'  Los Angeles Times   ...“Our state has been clear about what any multistate settlement must contain: transparency, relief going to the most distressed homeowners and meaningful enforcement that ensures accountability. At this point, this deal does not suffice for California..."
Bank of America Poses a Grave Threat to U.S. Financial Stability  Public Citizen   ...Petition calling on Federal Reserve and Financial Stability Oversight Committee to break up Bank of America...
Trucking Industry, Teamsters Clash Over Owner-Operator Bill  Journal of Commerce   ...The harbor trucking industry is clashing with the Teamsters union over a bill before the Washington state legislature that would classify owner-operators as employees rather than as independent contractors...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A very, very bleak day in IN

RIP workers rights in Indiana
Anti-worker politicians in Indiana’s House of Representatives cravenly paid back their big money donors today by passing a right-to-work-for less bill.

The bill that attacks working families and puts Indiana’s economy at risk is now headed for the desk of Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Despite saying otherwise in 2006, Daniels is likely to sign the bill into law. By doing so, he has successfully allowed corporate interests to dominate Indiana’s political and economic landscapes and exploit Indiana families.

Almost as disturbing as the legislation itself, however, is the way in which it was implemented.

Prior to the House vote, the state’s Democratic senators stood up for working people by refusing to enter the Statehouse. That is Indiana's version of a filibuster, and it denied Republicans quorum to conduct business.

House Republicans began leveraging $1,000-per-day fines on the heads of Indiana’s Democratic senators, forcing them back into statehouse. Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa condemned the Republican's strong-arm tactics. He said,
Is it any surprise that Indiana House Republicans would threaten their colleagues’ livelihoods to leverage them into a vote? House Speaker Brian Bosma and his cohorts will resort to any underhanded tactic to force through right-to-work for less legislation for their corporate benefactors.
In a press statement, the IBT noted:
A recent poll conducted by Peter Hart Research found that 71 percent of Hoosiers support holding a referendum on right-to-work. Indiana passed right-to-work in 1957, only to see it repealed in 1965 after public outrage with the law shifted control of the state House and Senate to the Democrats. Last year, millions of Ohioans voted to repeal Senate Bill 5, which would have stripped collective bargaining rights from nearly 400,000 public employees.
Hoffa predicted lawmakers who voted for the bill will pay a heavy price.
I have little doubt in my mind that Gov. Daniels and Indiana’s Republican members of the state House and Senate will see a tremendous backlash from their constituents if right-to-work is passed. If there’s one thing that we have seen this past year, it’s that working men and women will rise up to challenge any legislation that threatens the welfare of their families.

Today's Teamster News 01.25.12

Indiana Moves Closer To Right-to-Work Law  Wall Street Journal   ...The leader of the Indiana House Democrats, Rep. Patrick Bauer, conceded Tuesday that his party faces dwindling options to block passage of what would be the nation's first right-to-work law in a decade, meaning the legislation is likely to be adopted eventually...
Four donors jointly gave Walker $1 million in recent weeks  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   ...Gov. Scott Walker received $1 million from just four donors in recent weeks, and most of his money came from out of state as he raced to collect funds to fight an effort to recall him...
Corrections workers oppose prison privatization bills en masse during hearing  Florida Independent   ...Dozens of current and former corrections workers from all over the state showed up at a state Senate rules committee meeting yesterday to voice their opposition to two bills that would allow the state to privatize prisons. Despite the emotional testimony warning of the calamitous effects of prison privatization, the bill eventually moved forward to its final committee stop...
EU ratchets up pressure with Greek default threat  The Telegraph   ...Austria's finance minister Maria Fekter said patience with Athens is exhausted. "Greece has failed its austerity targets by a wide margin...costs haven't come down. This situation has caused great consternation"...
Billionaires at Davos Bemoan Inequalities  Bloomberg   ...Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk wants to talk about income inequality. So does Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien and Indian billionaire Vikas Oberoi. The three are among a contingent of at least 70 billionaires who are joining more than 2,500 business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week...
First Student Monitors Join Teamsters  IBT 
...First Student monitors in Olathe, Kan., have voted overwhelmingly to join Teamsters Local 838 in Kansas City, Mo. The 95 workers are uniting for better wages, benefits, respect and a voice on the job...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How you can help IN working families

Occupy The Statehouse

Teamsters and other unions in Indiana are putting the call out to occupy protestors everywhere to occupy the Indiana Statehouse. Those who can make it are encouraged to be in Indianapolis by 2:30 p.m. central time.
Sign the Petition

Stand with working families in Indiana and let your voice be heard! Sign this petition to let Indiana’s Democrats know you support them and their efforts to stop right-to-work legislation in the Hoosier state.
Sign the petition here.

Send an e-mail or make a phone call

Reach out to political leaders in Indiana who are standing up for the rights of working families! Click here for more information.

RTW battle on airwaves, in Statehouse

Corporate stooge Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and anti-worker lawmakers may have stopped a right-to-work-for-less referendum, but the fight is far from over. In fact, thanks to Teamsters, it’ll be heating up again tonight.

The Teamsters joined with other groups to sponsor an ad that will appear in Hoosier homes tonight and, hopefully, make Daniels eat his own words. The spot features Daniels speaking to a group of Teamsters in 2006 about his support for working people in Indiana and his interest in keeping anti-worker laws out of Indiana:

I’m a supporter of the labor law he have in the state of Indiana. I’m not interested in changing any of them—not the prevailing wage law, certainly not a right to work law.
The ad is expected to draw a lot of attention to the issue—but it isn’t the only card Hoosier workers have up their sleeves. Union members, community leaders and other supporters have threatened to protest at the upcoming Superbowl, according to Jeff Combs, organizing director for Local 135 in Indianapolis.

Shirts with the Bowl’s roman numerals have been made up and are circulating among union members and their families. That, said Combs, is also getting attention.

Said Combs:
We’ve started sending a message that we may protest the Superbowl. It’s working—it’s bringing a lot of attention to the fight. We don’t want to have to protest—we’d like to celebrate the Superbowl with everyone else—but we’re in the fight of our lives right now. We need help here.
Combs encourages Teamsters across the country who can to join their brothers and sisters in Indianapolis. For those unable to travel or take off work, Combs encourages Teamsters to sign petitions and call or e-mail legislators in their own state and in Indiana.

Meanwhile, House Democrats have walked out of the Statehouse again this afternoon.

Stay tuned and stay strong.

Today's Teamster News 01.24.12

Indiana House Dems lose right-to-work referendum vote, possibly resume boycott in labor battle  Associated Press   ...While Indiana House Republicans were bracing for another possible Democratic boycott in the bruising right-to-work battle, Senate Republicans on Monday were cheering the final passage of the measure in their chamber just a few hundred feet away...
Prison privatization bills move forward in Senate  Associated Press   ...Dozens of people spoke against the bills, telling senators privatization would put state employees out of work and will reduce public safety...
Romney’s released tax return reveals 13.9% rate, holdings in foreign ‘tax havens’  Reuters   ...Romney’s tax rate is below that of most wage-earning Americans because most of his income, as outlined in more than 500 pages of tax documents, flows from capital gains on investments...
‘Licking Their Chops’ on K Street and Capitol Hill  Bill Moyers   ...“Former senators could expect to earn somewhere between $800,000 and $1.5 million in annual salary next year at lobby firms, while ex-House members could earn between $300,000 and $600,000, headhunters estimated.”...
Settlement with mortgage lenders inadequate, activists say  Washington Post   ...a significant number of state attorneys general and activist groups fear the pending settlement would allow banks to pay only a fraction of what is warranted and escape legal culpability for a wide range of abuses that have yet to be fully investigated. They also say too lenient a settlement would send a troubling message that the financial giants who helped create the housing bubble won’t be held accountable for their role in the bust...
Teamsters remain on Nichols picket line  Quad City Business Journal   ...The two sides said they have not communicated since Friday, and no plans for coming back to the negotiating table are scheduled...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Teamsters descend on IN Statehouse

Today in Indianapolis.
Teamsters packed the Indiana Statehouse today to fight right-to-work (for less) legislation, along with other union members and their families and friends. The interior halls of the building are full and, despite freezing temperatures, more protestors are coming out to show their support for working families and the Democrats who support them.
House Democrats have walked out of the House chamber this session, effectively denying Republicans quorum to conduct business. However, today they returned at high noon and are expected to debate proposals for a November referendum on right-to-work-for-less. The referendum would allow the state’s voters to decide the fate of the heinous bill.

Protestors inside the State House are chanting, “Whose House? Our House,” as they clap and cheer for House Democrats.
But it isn’t just government buildings where working Hoosiers are letting their voices be heard. Outraged union members, concerned citizens and working families have been circulating and signing petitions, phone calling, emailing and registering people to vote. They even protested in front of House Speaker Brian Bosma's house in Geist.

Today's Teamster News 01.23.12

“Right-to-Work” Divides Indiana Lawmakers as General Assembly Continues  WFPL   ...Bauer is unapologetic about the filibuster. “It is the only tool of the minority against a majority that wants to thrust a crown of thorns upon the working people of this state,”...
Today in Tallahassee: Prison privatization, university gigs, and a presidential breather?  Orlando Sentinel   ...The biggest event of the day in Tallahassee is likely to be the Senate Rules Committee at 1 p. m., which is hearing its bills to privatize prisons in 18 southern Florida counties (SB 2038) and another to delay the production of a “business case” for agencies privatizing services until after it has awarded a contract to a private vendor (SB 2036)...
Mitt Romney's misery, in a word: Bain  Politico   ...He fumbled questions about whether he’d release his tax returns, gave shifting answers on how many jobs he’d helped create and told a crowd earlier this month that he liked being able to fire service providers...
CRS report: Congress can require Keystone oil pipeline approval  The Hill   ...Capitol Hill lawmakers probably have the Constitution at their back if they require a permit for the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline that President Obama rejected days ago, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service...
MPs to discuss sale of Parliament  Independent   ...MPs will tomorrow discuss selling the Palace of Westminster amid concerns over its long-term future...
New York Times Tells Us Only Chinese Near Slave Labor Could Handle Steve Jobs' Demands   naked capitalism   ...Silicon Valley executives say that the cost of US labor is not what is driving their decisions. It is the responsiveness of the supply chain, which among other things means ability to recruit factory labor and engineers quickly (and to get the factory workers to put in Foxconn like hours). Thus the savings is in inventory costs rather than labor per se...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

FL Teamsters to descend on Statehouse to fight prison plan

Sheila Jewett and Leila Kirkland, from Florida State Prison, Nathan Preston from New River C.I., and Nathan's wife Staci. They came to the Statehouse to lobby against privatization.
Florida Teamster correctional officers will descend on Tallahassee this week to urge lawmakers to kill two nasty prison privatization bills. Elected officials will hear plenty from Teamsters, their families and their neighbors at hearings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Some are driving all the way from Miami.

Teamsters are also emailing, calling and sending letters to their local editors. Here's a terrific letter to the Cape Coral Daily Breeze from Clinton Larkins, a correctional officer at Hendry Work Camp in Ft. Myers.
I believe the ethics complaint the Teamsters Union has filed against Gov. Rick Scott is just what we need to expose this tainted bidding process for what it is. Gov. Scott and the State Legislature passed a bill in May to allow prisons in 18 south Florida counties to privatize. Now we find out Geo Group and CCA, the two private companies currently bidding on the operations of the prisons, have donated $1 million to Gov. Scott and state politicians.
Is that the price the governor and the state are willing to put on public safety?
Privatization will not save the state money, will result in the loss of jobs and put our communities at risk.
Prison privatization is not a done deal and now is the time for the state to pull back requests for proposals and remove Geo Group and CCA from the process altogether.
I urge my fellow officers and all Florida residents to contact their legislators and tell them to halt the ill-conceived plan to privatize our prisons. Our government should be by and for the people, not one that is bought and controlled by big corporations.
Clinton Larkins
Fort Myers

IN's weekend warriers fight RTW in churches, schools and in the snow

Weekend protests and a raucous Town Hall meeting are leading up to what is expected to be the biggest rally yet in Indiana on Monday.

Television ads, like the one above, are running both for and against the heinous right tright-to-work-for-less bill.

Today, Indiana congregations joined the fight against right-to-work-for-less. After Sunday services, churches -- in Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and South Bend -- are hosting letter-writing sessions encouraging House Speaker Brain Bosma and other legislators to kill the bill.

Teamsters on Saturday gave Republican lawmakers an earful at a Georgetown town hall meeting at an elementary school. Reported the Courier-Journal,

“Indiana doesn’t need it,” Jeffboat employee Jim Kincaid, a member of Teamsters Local 89, said of the bill. “Any state it goes to it’s destroyed the economy. It’s just union busting.”
“We’ve got to stop the right-to-work stuff,” agreed Georgetown resident Bill Miller, also a member of Local 89. “It’s plain old simple union busting. They can wrap it up however they want.”
And in Fort Wayne, according to the Journal Gazette,
More than 150 people braved frigid weather Saturday to protest attempts to make Indiana a right-to-work state.
Despite a temperature of 20 degrees, the raucous crowd on the Courthouse Green downtown listened to speakers and chanted against moves in the General Assembly to prohibit unions and employers from agreeing to require all employees covered by a union contract to pay union dues.
Teamsters at Local 364 in South Bend got this urgent letter from their principal officer, Bob Warnock:
The battle to protect workers’ rights, wages, pensions and healthcare is continuing  in Indiana.  There is much that can be done from your home in northern Indiana.  This Monday, January 23, we need everyone to again call, write and e-mail your State Senators and Representatives.  We need this done every day, all week long.  Please ask your family, friends and co-workers to help.  Ask them to vote against “Right to Work for Less” and support a Hoosier referendum.
And the AFL-CIO sent this out on Sunday morning:
Sometime over the course of the next 10 days, both the State Senate and the House are expected to vote on final passage of their “right to work” bills – and the vote remains incredibly close.
Your phone calls, emails, meetings and participation have paid off. Against all odds, because of the work you continue to do, we have a good chance of defeating these bills on an up or down vote.
However, we can’t let up now. The other side certainly isn’t.
On Monday, the State Senate could move its RTW bill for a final vote and the House will take up amendments on their version of the bill. We must be at the Statehouse all day and until they finish to remind those lawmakers who they truly work for.
It is critically important that you come to the Statehouse on Monday and every day possible next week. This fight is not over – Gov. Daniels’ secret donors are dumping more money into TV and radio – because they know they are in trouble. And, while we can’t match the corporate fat-cats in money, we can beat them with boots on the ground.
We can win this fight.

Today's Teamster News 01.22.12

Indiana House Democrats could end boycott Monday  Associated Press   ...The Indiana House’s Democratic leader said Friday his boycotting members are willing to return at “high noon” Monday to begin debating a contentious right-to-work bill, although the ongoing dispute over whether a statewide referendum on the issue is constitutional could prevent legislative action...
Our view: Protect the public's money (opinion)  St. Augustine.com   ...While privatization may be a good idea, it is a bad idea when it is cloaked in so much secrecy that it smacks of backroom deals...
Tonette Walker, GOP leaders rally governor's supporters  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   ...For about three hours, a large crowd stood on packed snow and ice to show they were standing with the governor during the first large Republican rally of the recall season...
How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work  New York Times   ...Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products...
Did Mitt Romney really create jobs at Bain Capital?  Christian Science Monitor   ...Bain made $2.5 billion in profits on $1.1 billion invested in 77 separate deals. Of those 77 transactions, 22 percent ended with the firms in bankruptcy after the eighth year of the Bain investment...
Hunts Point produce workers vote for new contract  Crain's New York Business   ...Market employees vote yes by a 95% margin to a contract offering wage, pension and health care gains covering 1,300 people...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

FL Teamsters fight prison closings, privatization

There's some bad stuff happening in Florida. Some Republican lawmakers are trying to frog march a bill through the Legislature to close seven prisons and four work camps in Florida. They're doing it to pave the way for a massive, secret and unaccountable privatization scheme.

Yes, it smells. It's wrong and it's unfair.

The prisons slated for closure are in small rural communities. And as the lady says in the video, closing them is like closing Disneyworld in Orlando.

Since November, the Teamsters represent 20,000 correctional officers at the Florida Department of Corrections. We are fighting hard to keep the prisons open and public. The video above shows a community event organized by our Teamster brother, Sgt. Barry Graham, at the Greater Fellowship Baptist Church in Monticello.

It was the second event in two days. The night before, the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution opposing the closing of the prison. Teamsters and other citizens of the community packed the room to show support.  Lt. Jerry Loggins, a Teamster, spoke in favor of the resolution. The photo shows Loggins last night, being interviewed by Jerry Hume at WTXL TV.

Next week holds plenty more action, as Teamsters correctional officers will head to the Statehouse in Tallahassee to ask lawmakers to vote no on prison closings and privatization.

Today's Teamster News 01.21.12

Senate rejects Democrats' proposed changes to right-to-work  NWI Times   ...Senate Bill 269 is eligible for a final Senate vote as soon as Monday, though the Senate could await House action on right-to-work before voting. House Democrats boycotted a session for a fourth day Friday, but announced they'll return to the House floor Monday for a vote on what they believe is a constitutionally acceptable public referendum on right-to-work...
Fasano to Haridopolos: Don’t fast-track prison privatization  The Florida Independent   ...This week, lawmakers announced that two bills allowing the state to privatize prisons have been fast-tracked by leaders in the state’s GOP-led Legislature...
Lawmakers reach labor deal to clear FAA funding for takeoff  The Hill   ...A Senate Democratic aide said under the compromise reached Friday, the percentage of a company's workforce that would have to be in favor of a vote on unionization would be increased from 35 to 50 percent, and the NMB would have to hold public hearings before making future rule changes in lieu of requiring them to be reviewed by judges...
Unearned, and Taxed Unequally  New York Times   ...“It is unjust and in my opinion morally wrong to make a person with earned income pay considerably more in taxes than persons with unearned income from dividends...”
The Man Who Bought North Dakota  Bloomberg   ...the search for crude is making a quiet comeback in the U.S. Lots of attention has been paid to the surge in natural gas exploration, but more rigs are currently drilling for oil than gas...
Teamsters strike at Nichols Aluminum  Quad City Business Journal  ...Standing with union members outside the company's plant on Iowa 22, Local 371 president Howard Spoon said the biggest sticking point in the negotiations is health insurance...Local 371 represents about 254 Nichols employees...

Friday, January 20, 2012

'Sotheby's: Hang art, not workers' says Occupy Museums in MOMA direct action

It's kind of disgusting, when you think about it, that artwork about suffering workers gets sold by rich, union-busting companies like Sotheby's for millions of dollars -- to rich people.

That's why Occupy Museums disrupted the Museum of Modern Art last month at a Diego Rivera exhibition.

(If you haven't been following, Sotheby's locked out 42 art handlers on Aug. 1 because they wouldn't stand for lower wages, a lousier retirement plan and the gradual dissolution of the union.)

Art in America writes,
The Museum of Modern Art was once again targeted by Occupy Museums, bringing their protest inside the building on a bitterly cold evening. Occupy Museums has staged a number of demonstrations since October; this was a homecoming of sorts, since the first protest took place at MoMA.
Over the two-hour event, protesters ... were joined by representatives of the Arts and Labor Group of Occupy Wall Street, artists' group 16 Beaver and Occupy Sotheby's.

The main thrust of the occupiers' complaints was that two MoMA board members, James Niven and Richard E. Oldenburg, are also involved with Sotheby's (as a vice chairman and consultant, respectively), which has locked out its unionized art handlers over a contract dispute. A representative of OWS Labor Outreach (who gave his name only as "Alex") proclaimed in the Rivera exhibition, "The fact that MoMA will show Diego Rivera while breaking labor is a disgrace." Noah Fischer, the artist who is the main organizer of Occupy Museums, repeatedly asserted that Sotheby's has spent more on locking the workers out than it would have on their wages.
And we love this:
Creative Time curator Nato Thompson, a participant in the protest, pointed out that while The New York Times was slow to cover Occupy Wall Street, it was fascinated with the Egyptian revolution. He saw a similar phenomenon in MoMA's exhibition of Rivera: "Rivera can be abstracted from the present. Would he really want us to passively enjoy his murals? If you really love this show you'll get off your ass and overthrow your boss!"

Teamsters flock to IN Capitol as Senate prepares to take up RTW

Teamsters are answering the call today to once again fill the Statehouse with their voices. The message was simple:
URGENT: RTW will be taken up in the Senate tomorrow morning. Be there starting at 9am! We need your voices now!
There was great news yesterday as a Marion County granted a temporary restraining order forbidding the state from seizing the paychecks of Democrats. Leader of a 2011 walkout House Speaker Brian Bosma and his henchmen Republican representatives had imposed fines of $2,000 a day on the Democrats for blocking their attack on Indiana's working families.

More good news: Republicans who oppose right-to-work-for-less are running the ad you see above. They call themselves "lunchpail Republicans."

National attention is turning to the Superbowl, to be played February 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Associated Press reported,
Facing a legislative vote that would make Indiana a right-to-work state, alarmed union members are thinking about making their case on perhaps the nation's biggest stage - the Super Bowl.
Labor activists are deciding whether to go ahead with protests that could include Teamsters clogging city streets with trucks and electricians staging a slowdown at the convention center site of the NFL village. What's holding them back is a fear the effort could create a backlash from those who think sports and politics don't mix.
"The last thing the city needs is a black eye,'' said Jeff Combs, organizing director for Teamsters Local 135 in Indianapolis, one of the unions discussing strategy. Union locals are awaiting guidance from the Indiana AFL-CIO before deciding what to do.
And if you haven't heard, Monday will be the biggest rally yet. Tens of thousands of working families are expected to demonstrate against RTW4less in Indianapolis. Call your local for details.

Today's Teamster News 01.20.12

Ind. unions see Super Bowl leverage in right-to-work battle but hesitate  Associated Press   ...Facing a legislative vote that would make Indiana a right-to-work state, alarmed union members are thinking about making their case on perhaps the nation’s biggest stage — the Super Bowl...
Correctional Officers Applaud Jefferson County Resolution Against Prison Closure  Local 2011   ...Local correctional officers hailed the Jefferson County Board for passing a resolution tonight asking that the Jefferson Correctional Institution remain open. Closure of the facility – the largest local employer -- would ruin the Jefferson County economy and uproot longtime residents...
Don’t Look Now, but the Deficit Is Shrinking!  Contrary Indicators   ...the deficit so far this fiscal year is running at $321 billion, compared with $369 billion for the first three months of fiscal 2011. That's a decrease of 13 percent...
Inflation Update...Disinflation Continues  Pragmatic Capitalism   energy dipped 1.3 percent after declining 1.6 percent in November. Gasoline fell 2.0 percent, following a 2.4 percent decline in November. Food price inflation firmed to 0.2 percent after rising 0.1 percent the prior month. Within the core, upward pressure was seen in medical care, recreation, and rent. Declines were seen in used cars & trucks, new vehicles, and apparel...
Higher Deficits Seen in Romney’s Tax Plan, and His Rivals’, Too  New York Times   ...When Mitt Romney suggested this week that he pays a lower tax rate than most wealthy Americans do, he refocused attention on his tax proposals — which, like those of his major Republican rivals, would largely cut taxes for the rich while driving down tax collections and widening the nation’s deficit...
Teamsters, Community Groups Rally To Demand Safety at LA Waste Facility  Joint Council 42   ...Teamster members came in force to rally at the American Reclamation solid waste facility near Glendale today to demand that the company provide safer working conditions for its employees...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

IN guv opposes RTW -- oh, in '06

What was that, Mitch? You said, "We cannot afford to have civil wars over issues that might divide us?"  You said "over and over" you're a "supporter of the labor laws we have in Indiana." You said you don't want to change them, "certainly not right to work?"

Mitch, what happened to you since you gave that speech to Indiana Teamsters five years ago?  (Certain turns of phrase come to mind, but this is a family blog...)

Heckuva job, Scotty boy

Nice work.
For the sixth straight month, Wisconsin lost thousands of jobs. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the deets:
Wisconsin lost private-sector jobs for the sixth consecutive month in December, the same period in which the nation added jobs.
According to data released Thursday by the state Department of Workforce Development, the state lost an estimated 3,900 jobs in the private sector in December from November. The United States showed a gain of 212,000 for the month, outstripping expectations of most economists.
Both sets of data are seasonally adjusted to strip out recurring fluctuations due to weather and holidays. Both sets of data are also preliminary and subject to revision.
Anyone willing to bet that he'll create those 200,000 new jobs by the times he leaves office? What? No takers?

IN Democrats revolt as Teamsters shout 'Kill the Bill'

Yesterday at the Indiana Statehouse.
These are wild days in the Indiana Statehouse. House Democrats are boycotting the Legislature to prevent RTW-for-less from passing. Teamsters, steelworkers, ironworkers, professional football workers and you-name-it-workers are filling the Statehouse with booming chants. Teamsters who can't make it to the Capitol are furiously writing letters to the editor, phone banking and emailing their legislators.

Here's what happened yesterday, according to the TribStar:

More than 30 Democratic legislators gathered in the Statehouse Rotunda this morning for what they called a public caucus rather than go into the House chamber as Republican Speaker Brian Bosma has demanded. The Democrats began their meeting surrounded by hundreds of labor union supporters, with more watching from the balconies above.
Bosma had hoped to begin voting Tuesday on proposed amendments to the right-to-work bill, but most Democrats resumed their walkout after questions arose about the constitutionality of the statewide referendum they’re seeking on the proposal.
Democratic leader Patrick Bauer says his members will stay out as long as it takes lawyers to review the proposed referendum.
Today the fight continues. Our brothers and sisters at the AFL-CIO keep us informed via twitter. You can follow them at @INAFLCIO. We just learned this.
Hearing buses coming from NW Ind stuck on I 65 due to bad weather #inlegis #inunion
@greenhouseNYT tells us:
#Labor chants of #Occupy the Super Bowl" as fears grow that IND 'rt-to-wk' battle will affect Super Bowl http://t.co/rEj11cgl #inunion #ows
Sister Cathy Sherwin at the Indiana AFL-CIO has religiously reported what's been going on in the Statehouse. You can follow her on twitter at @cathysherwin. Here's a sample of what she tweeted yesterday:
Chorus of boos for #IN House Speaker Brian Bosma. His anti-democratic tactics trying to push #RTW aren't appreciated at Statehouse. #inunion
Oh, snap.. #Indiana GOP, do you really think ramming #RTW bill thru NOW is good idea? #Occupy Super Bowl being chanted at #INlegis #inunion
And isn't this just charming. Corporate stooge Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

We do like this, though. A barber who's rights are also under attack did it for free!

Today's Teamster News 01.19.12

Indiana Democrats show no sign of ending boycott  Associated Press   ...Most Indiana House Democrats aren’t showing signs of ending their boycott over the right-to-work bill despite threats of $1,000-a-day fines...
Prison privatization moves ahead  tallahassee.com   ..."I'm not here to argue about how I haven't had a pay raise since I started," Reshea Cherry, a six-year officer at Charlotte Correctional Institution, told the Senate Rules Committee. "I'm not here to argue about the rising cost of health insurance, or argue about how my brothers and sisters and myself have been assaulted on numerous occasions because of severe short-staffing...
Keystone XL Pipeline Seen Moving Ahead on Alternative Route  Bloomberg   ...TransCanada Corp.’s $7 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline still will move ahead with an alternate route after President Barack Obama’s decision to deny a permit, investors, public officials and analysts say...
U.S. High-tech Jobs Lost as Technological Lead Shrinks  Trade Reform   ...The United States lost 28 percent of its high-technology manufacturing jobs over the last decade, as the nation’s rapidly shrinking lead in science and technology in the global marketplace was accompanied by a toll on U.S. high-tech jobs, according to a new study released today by the National Science Board (NSB), the policy making body for the National Science Foundation...
Eurocrisis is a Global Crisis  Real News Network   ...People need to build their own political organizations that push for public banking and serious capital controls...
Teamsters Union Reaches Tentative Deal With Hunts Point Market  NY1 News   ...The Hunts Point Produce Trade Association and Teamsters Local 202, which represents about 1,300 members, have agreed on a contract that provides increased wages and health care benefits...

Whoa! NFL Players Assoc. to join anti-RTW rally in IN

This just in: According to WTHR in Indianapolis, NFL players will join a rally against right-to-work-for-less sometime between now and the Super Bowl:
With 18 days until the Super Bowl, the Players Union says it will join peaceful protests in Indianapolis, but it's unclear if that means picket lines outside Lucas Oil Stadium on game day.
"Right now they've got Jay Cutler and Rex Grossman," says Web analyst Brian Howey with Howey Politics Indiana. "Two Indiana quarterbacks that have come to their cause.
We don't know much more than that, but this is just awesome news!  These guys have been so great -- they put out a statement opposing right-to-work, and six Hoosier players sent letters to lawmakers telling them to vote no. The head of the NFLPA, Dee Smith, did a terrific interview with The Nation. Here's the money quote:
If folks in Indiana and that great legislature want to pass a bill that really is something called “Right to Work,” have a constitutional amendment that guarantees every citizen a job, that’s a “right to work.”
There's more:
What this is instead is a right to ensure that ordinary working citizens can’t get together as a team, can’t organize, can’t stand together and can’t fight management on an even playing field. From a sports union, our union, our men and their families understand the power of management and understand how much power management can wield over an individual person. So don’t call it a “right to work.” If you want to have an intelligent discussion about what the bill is, call it what it is. Call it an anti-organizing bill. Fine. If that’s what the people want to do in order to put a bill out there, let’s cast a vote on whether or not ordinary workers can get together and represent themselves, and let’s have a real referendum.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Teamsters rock IN Statehouse

Owly Images

Chants of "Occupy the Superbowl" and "Labor's in the house" are ringing through the Indiana Statehouse now as a large crowd grows inside the building.

House Republicans denied anti-RTW Democrats meeting space, so they caucused in the Rotunda. Workers surrounded the Democrats in a huddle reminiscent of that will happen at Lucas Oil Stadium next month. (See photo above.)

@missionworker tells us the presdient of Interfaith Worker Justice opened the caucus with a prayer. 

Teamsters from all corners of Indiana and beyond headed to the Statehouse early this morning to lobby against the right-to-work-for-less bill that the Republican leadership is trying to move like shit through a goose quickly.

Teamsters from Local 414 boarded a bus at 6:30 a.m. to be there for the 9:00 a.m. session. We suspect Teamsters from Local 364 left even earlier. And we're quite certain Teamsters from Local 135 got there early. (We know we left some of you out. Sorry.)

House Speaker Brian Bosma, who led his own damn walkout in 2001, is threatening to fine Democrats $1,000 a day for walking out of the Legislature. He had tried a bait and switch that didn't work. Bosma promised Democrats they could try to amend the RTW bill to allow for a referendum, then got a legal opinion that such a referendum is unconstitutional. Charming.

Bosma's problem is that some of his Republican members support unions. From @inunion:
Pro-union Republicans push back against union-stripping Indiana governor #inunion #inlegis #1u #p2
Indiana Lunchpail Republicans (David Fagan) argue #RTW4Less is inconsistent with party principles; vows to primary proponents #inunion #inlegis
It will be another rock 'em, sock 'em day in Indianapolis.

If you can't be there today, 'Like' Local 716's "Against the Right to Work Law in Indiana" Facebook page.

And stay strong, brothers and sisters.

Today's Teamster News 01.18.12

Organizers file more than 1 million signatures to recall Walker  Wisconsin State Journal   ...Walker was in New York City on Tuesday, attending a fundraiser hosted by Hank Greenberg, the former CEO of American International Group (Note: yup, that AIG, the bailout queen.)...
House Democrats walk out in right-to-work referendum dispute  NWI Times   ...A dispute over the constitutionality of a right-to-work referendum led House Democrats to walk out Tuesday, denying the Republican-controlled body enough members to take any legislative action...
Private Corrections Institute Opposes Prison Privatization Effort  Sunshine State News   ...“While private prison companies will profit from expanded prison privatization contracts, should the Legislature prevail in its mass prison privatization plan the loser will be Florida’s taxpayers, as public funds will be diverted from the state into the coffers of for-profit prison firms with no discernible benefit to the public"...
World Bank slashes global GDP forecasts, outlook grim  Reuters   ...The World Bank warned developing countries on Wednesday to prepare for the "real" risk that an escalation in the euro area debt crisis could tip the world into a slump on a par with the global downturn in 2008/09...
Romney Admits His Tax Rate Is About 15 Percent, Lower Than Many Middle Class Families  ThinkProgress   ...Citizens for Tax Justice a few months ago estimated that Mitt Romney, due to most of his income coming from investments, pays a tax rate of around 14 percent, a far cry from the 35 percent top income tax rate. Romney then confirmed that the bulk of his income does, indeed, come from investments...
Bed Bath and Beyond recalls radioactive tissue holders after they set off police radiation monitors aboard a delivery truck  Daily Mail   ...The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that scrap metal containing the cobalt-60 could have strayed into a metal load smelted in India and been incorporated into the tissue boxes...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dems double-crossed over RTW in IN

The battle over right-to-work got nasty today in the Indiana Legislature, as lying sack of-- House Speaker Brian Bosma went back on his promise. He had struck a deal with House Democrats: If they ended their boycott of the Legislature, they could propose an amendment to the heinous right-to-work-for-less bill that would put it on the ballot. 

A new poll showed that's what an overwhelming majority -- 71 percent -- of Hoosiers want.

Then the Republicans solicited a legal opinion that said a referendum wouldn't be constitutional.  So the Democrats continued their boycott.

The Associated Press reports,
Indiana’s House Democrats are again blocking divisive right-to-work legislation because of what their leader calls a Republican “trick.”
Democratic House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer said he learned Monday night of a Republican plan to undermine the Democrats’ effort to put right-to-work legislation on the ballot. Democrats boycotted the House again Tuesday in response.
The Indy Star reports Bosma will impose $1,000 fines on each Democrat for every day they don't show up. (Note: This is the way Hoosiers filibuster. Bosma staged his own damn walkout in 2001. And if you think about it, Republicans have been filibustering the U.S. Senate for at least the last four years.)

Our friend House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer said Democrats won't pay the fines,
...arguing that it is against Indiana law to seize money from someone’s paycheck and that fines imposed last year are being challenged in court.
Our friends at the AFL-CIO put out a call: "Come to the Statehouse!"
We can’t let this stand. We can’t allow democracy be steamrolled by the Republican majority in the House.
Come to the Statehouse tomorrow morning for the 9:00 a.m. House session. Please continue to meet and talk to your elected representatives face-to-face about the negative impacts of RTW.
Continue to write and call them and urge them to vote “NO” on this bill, or at least for a public referendum. And, continue to volunteer at local phone banks to help spread the word.
With each passing day, our movement grows stronger and our opposition grows more desperate.  We are winning this debate, and they know it – let’s keep the pressure on!
And special props to our Teamster brothers and sisters in Indiana who are working so hard to defeat this terrible bill.

Woo-hoo! Walker to be recalled!

This just in: Wisconsin activists say they have way more than enough signatures to recall Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker. (We told you so!)

According to Reuters,
The group United Wisconsin, which opposes the collective bargaining changes and other measures Walker pushed into law last year, said it gathered more than 1 million signatures to recall the governor by the January 17 deadline -- roughly double the 540,208 signatures required...

The filing of the petitions will not automatically result in Walker's removal from office. But if the petitions are certified, Walker will be forced to defend his seat in a special election later this year.
"We very clearly believe there is no challenge -- legal or otherwise -- that would prevent these elections from going forward," said Mike Tate, the head of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
So far, a Democrat has not yet emerged to run against Walker, though Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who ran for governor against Walker in 2010 and Secretary of State Doug La Follette have been mentioned as possible candidates.
Walker was in New York today, where he is no doubt siphoning money from big corporations. He's probably telling people about the "big guvmint union bosses" who bankrolled the petition drive. That of course is horseshit.

The signature gatherers were teachers, nurses, firefighters, police officers, snowplow drivers and working families in general. They were standing in the cold and getting abused by Walker supporters in order to fight back against his anti-worker agenda.

Some things to remember about Walker's year in office:
  • More than 27,000 people lost their jobs.
  • 65,000 people lost health care.
  • Workers lost collective bargaining rights.
  • Corporations and rich cronies got $2.3 billion in tax breaks.
  • Public education in Wisconsin was cut more than in any other state.  
Score one for the good guys.

OMG. Walker sings civil rights song

Un-effing-believable. Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker singing along with "Soon, Very Soon," a civil rights anthem during a Martin Luther King Day celebration. (He was booed and hissed.

By the way, if you turn down the sound, Walker looks a lot like Carl Spackler in Caddyshack singing "The Ballad of the Green Berets."

Uppity Wisconsin reminded us that Walker gave a speech last year in which he claimed he wasn't a racist:
No, this is not a lame attempt at an Onionesque article: In a little-noticed speech last year, Walker, who is often criticized for his not-so-thinly veiled racism, tried to play the "I have a black friend!" card at a MLK event.
However, since Walker doesn't have any black friends, he tried to play the "My mom has a black friend!" card. He even had photographic evidence!
Yup, he held up a photo of his mom's African-American friend.

Oh, and also by the way, today's the day more than 540,000 signatures will be delivered to the state to recall Walker. We're not sure how many more yet. Will let you know.

Red-letter day in IN on RTW

Teamsters from Northwest Indiana left for the Statehouse at 5:30 this morning for the crucial battle over right-to-work-for-less today. In fact, Teamsters from all over the state and beyond will be there to support Democrats who want to put the question on the ballot.

As the Associated Press reports from Indianapolis,
Indiana's House of Representatives are set to decide whether voters should make the call on contentious right-to-work legislation.
The House scheduled a vote Tuesday on the referendum proposal along with other amendments to the bill. Supporters of the proposal to ban unions from collecting mandatory representation fees from workers have struggled to push the measure through the House so far because of periodic boycotts by House Democrats.
Teamsters have been phone-banking like crazy, attending forums, sending tons of letters to the editor of local newspapers and contacting their elected officials, according to Bob Warnock III, principal officer of Local 364 in South Bend.

We'll keep you posted on what happens today.