Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Robin Hood tax is back, and the Koch brothers hate it

Teamsters think it's a terrific idea to levy a tiny tax on financial transactions to raise money for public needs and discourage reckless speculation.

Friends-of-labor Sen Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) today filed a bill today that would impose a tax of 0.03 percent on trades of stocks, bonds, futures, options, swaps, credit default swaps and other complex financial instruments.

Here are eight reasons why this is a good idea:
  1. It will raise $40 billion in public money.
  2. The U.S. financial industry is seriously undertaxed and oversubsidized.  Citigroup, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs pay virtually no corporate tax, while the 10 biggest banks get $89 billion in subsidies. 
  3. A small tax would make financial markets more efficient. Explains the peerless Dean Baker: "The modest tax would discourage an enormous amount of short-term trading while having almost no impact on the ability of markets to finance productive investment. The cost of the tax would be born almost entirely by the financial industry, since for most investors the money saved as a result of lower trading volume will offset the higher cost of trades."
  4. It would discourage high-frequency trading, which is dangerous and rips off individual investors
  5. It's already working in two dozen countries, according to the Center for American Progress: " transaction taxes already operate in at least 23 countries around the world—including in international financial centers such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Japan—and that number is about to grow. On January 22, 2013, 11 of the European Union’s 27 member countries, including France, Germany, and Italy, indicated their intention to initiate a financial transaction tax. As the policy nears implementation, other EU countries are certain to get on board. Of the world’s major financial centers, only the United States has no tax on financial trading.
  6. The  Benedict Arnold Koch brothers' phony think tanks hate it. 
  7. So does the swinish Jamie Dimon.
  8. It will weaken the power of great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money   Goldman Sachs and the other too-big-to-fail banks.

Bankster: 'That's why I'm richer than you'

Bailed-out bank CEO Jamie Dimon actually bragged that he's richer than an investor analyst -- to his face.

During an investor conference for JP Morgan Chase earlier this week, Dimon said, "That's why I'm richer than you."

Stay classy, Jamie.

Here's the transcript if you can't watch the video.
Mike Mayo, an analyst at CLSA, asked if JPMorgan Chase wasn’t at a competitive disadvantage compared to banks with more money in reserve. 
Mayo: I think what I hear UBS saying in the presentation is that if I’m an affluent customer I’ll feel a lot better going to UBS if they have 13.5 (percent) capital ratio than another big bank with a 10 percent ratio. Do you agree with that? 
Dimon: You would go to UBS and not JPMorgan? 
Mayo: I didn’t say that. That’s their argument. 
Dimon: That’s why I’m richer than you.

The real reason Jamie Dimon is richer than we are? Because taxpayers bailed him out.  And because we're still bailing him out.

What a swine.

Liz Warren grills Fed chairman on $83B bank subsidy (VIDEO)

Massachusetts Teamsters worked hard for Elizabeth Warren's election to the U.S. Senate because she gets what the big banks are doing.

In the clip, Warren is referring to a recent Bloomberg analysis that showed U.S. taxpayers are giving $83 billion in annual subsidies to too-big-to-fail (and too-big-to-jail) banks:
The banks that are potentially the most dangerous can borrow at lower rates, because creditors perceive them as too big to fail. 
Lately, economists have tried to pin down exactly how much the subsidy lowers big banks’ borrowing costs. In one relatively thorough effort, two researchers ... put the number at about 0.8 percentage point. The discount applies to all their liabilities, including bonds and customer deposits... 
Small as it might sound, 0.8 percentage point makes a big difference. Multiplied by the total liabilities of the 10 largest U.S. banks by assets, it amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of $83 billion a year. To put the figure in perspective, it’s tantamount to the government giving the banks about 3 cents of every tax dollar collected. 
The top five banks -- JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. - - account for $64 billion of the total subsidy, an amount roughly equal to their typical annual profits.  
Outraged yet? If not, consider this:  JPMorgan, Bank of AmericaGoldman Sachs and Citigroup are all linked to the F**k Americans Fix the Debt Campaign. Perhaps we should give Wells Fargo chairman John Stumpf credit for not being a flaming hypocrite like the others.

Oh, and we knew F**k Americans Fix the Debt is full of crap anyway.

Today's Teamster News 02.28.13

Scalia: Renewing Voting Rights Act a ‘perpetuation of racial entitlement’  MSNBC   ...Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia referred to Congress’s renewal of the Voting Rights Act as the “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” during Wednesday’s Supreme Court hearing on the law—a comment that one voting-rights advocate denounced as “shocking"....
Austerity Is Already Here  New York Times   ...Combined with cuts by state and local governments, the drop in government’s contribution to economic growth is the largest in more than 50 years...
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Would Destroy our National Sovereignty  TradeReform   ...U.S. multinational corporations have the goal of imposing on more countries a set of extreme foreign investor privileges and rights and their private enforcement through the notorious “investor-state” system...
Panic in Greek pharmacies as hundreds of medicines run short  The Guardian   ...Greece is facing a serious shortage of medicines amid claims that pharmaceutical multinationals have halted shipments to the country because of the economic crisis and concerns that the drugs will be exported by middlemen because prices are higher in other European countries...
New Quebec tuition hike draws 10,000 back into the streets   ...The ... government is still pretending that indexation will calm students, while over ten thousand are marching in the streets for free education and against the PQ tuition hike...
"Paycheck Protection" Bill Remains Stalled In Mo. Senate  St. Louis Public Radio   ...It was laid aside Wednesday night without a vote, and may sit idle until Democrats and Republicans can reach an agreement...
When the Salvation Army is your probation officer  Tampa Bay Times   ...In an unusual mix of religion and justice, of church and court, the Salvation Army has for decades had a lock on handling misdemeanor probation in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, with the blessing of judges on both sides of the bay...
FAU president agrees to discussion of naming stadium for GEO Group  Palm Beach Post   ...The announcement came Monday after 40 students conducted a two-hour sit-in at Saunders’ office, demanding that the university rescind the agreement...
Budget would allow easier foreign purchase of Wisconsin farmland  WPR News   ...For decades, foreign investors and corporations couldn't purchase more than 640 acres of land in the state. The provision was originally put in place over concern Canada was trying to buy up land in Minnesota and other states. Now, Governor Walker says he wants those restrictions lifted because it conflicts with international trade treaties...
State reverses decision on suspending federal jobless benefits  Indianapolis Star   ...After a torrent of criticism, Gov. Mike Pence’s administration reversed its decision to suspend extended federal unemployment benefits for about 32,000 jobless Hoosiers...
Inspection of Kasich’s private prison shows staff assaults up over 300%  Plunderbund   ...Privatization of the facility under Corrections Corporation of America has lead to serious violations, safety issues for inmates and employees, an increase in drug use and crime in and around the prison and a dramatic increase in calls to local law enforcement...
Teamsters file complaint against Thruway Authority  Albany Times-Union   ...The Teamsters local that represents state Thruway Authority workers has filed an unfair labor complaint alleging its members were improperly threatened with layoffs if they failed to make concessions during contract talks...
Teamsters At Republic Services Unanimously Vote To Authorize Strike  Teamsters Local 728   ...members of Local 728 in Atlanta employed as drivers and mechanics at Republic Services in McDonough voted unanimously to authorize a strike if the company continues to delay negotiations for the workers' first contract...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Support security officers striking today in Minn.

Today in Minneapolis. 
Two thousand SEIU security officers are striking today in Minneapolis over wages, benefits and part-time work. They're picketing in front of the Wells Fargo Center, a giant office building for a megabank bailed out by taxpayers like the security officers. 

Brother Brian Aldes, principal officer of Local 320 in Minneapolis, asks us to support them:
Our brothers and sisters at SEIU Local 26, part of the Change to Win Federation of which the Teamsters are affiliated, consist of 2,000 security officers in the Twin Cities who have contracts with some of the biggest corporations in Minnesota including Target Corp., US Bank, and Wells Fargo. On Friday, Feb 22, Local 26 and its employers found themselves at a contract impasse. The Union had previously authorized a strike on if a stalemate occurred. 
According to Local 26 Security Officer Paul Keith, “The security companies are choosing to have an adversarial relationship with us.” Local 26 has affirmed the impasse is over wages, healthcare benefits, and the status of part time work. 
“It’s beyond frustrating that these companies aren’t serious about negotiating a new contract,” said Fred Anthony II, a security officer who works at EcoLab in downtown St. Paul. “They walk away, saying they aren’t willing to meet again until mid-March. They can’t be serious if they’re only willing to meet once a month. We can’t keep dragging this out. We made it clear we would stay here as late as we needed, but they’ve just walked away.” 
You can support the strikers by signing the petition here.

SEIU tells us the workers have been without a contract since Dec. 31. One of the subcontractors, American Security, reached a tentative agreement with the security officers at 4 a.m. Six other subcontractors have not.  They are G4S, AlliedBarton, Securitas, Viking Security and ABM Security.

Kevin Chavis, a security officer subcontracted by AlliedBarton for Wells Fargo Center, said,
Going on strike is a huge sacrifice – none of us want to do this. But it feels like if we don’t act, there’s not going to be any middle class left. All Minnesotans need fair wages and affordable health care for our families. As a Minnesota company, American Security was able to step up and take care of Minnesotans – the others should follow their lead.

'Sequester' is anti-growth and anti-prosperity (video)

Some call it the Sequester. We call it austerity.

The spending cuts aren't even the worst part of austerity. The destruction of jobs and stifling of business activity -- which will lead to more cuts -- are the worst part of it.

The Europeans tried austerity and it's destroying the Eurozone. Alternet did a nice summary last month:
Most of the recent economic data out of Europe has been exceedingly grim. A record high number of workers across the Eurozone are unemployed. Economies are shrinking. Debts are rising. 
The anecdotes, though, are even worse. Hospitals are asking patients to supply their own syringes due to lack of funds. Trees on public land are being cut down by workers desperate for firewood to warm their homes. An entire generation of young workers is going to experience lower wages for the rest of their lives, due to years of being unemployed while in their 20s. 
At this point, it’s safe to say that Europe’s response to the financial crisis of 2008 and its ensuing recession has failed. Austerity packages that were meant to jumpstart business investment and reduce what were viewed as unsustainable debt loads have instead crippled growth and caused untold amounts of human misery.
Memo to premium-wine enthusiast Paul Ryan: Austerity is the opposite of a pro-growth policy that promote prosperity.

Meet Missouri's greedy billionaires trying to wipe out the middle class

Enemy of workers.
(UPDATES to correct graf 4 with working Senate phone number.)

The family of greedy billionaires behind today's attack on workers in Missouri is just now coming into the light.

The Show-Me-the-Money state's GOP lawmakers are pushing a bill that would make it illegal to honor employees' voluntary request to have their union dues deducted from their paychecks. These extremist politicians have the comfort of knowing there's plenty of campaign money coming to them from Joplin natives David Humphreys, Sarah Humphreys Atkins and Ethelmae Humphreys.

Progress Missouri is exposing the vast contributions to anti-worker causes and candidates by the Humphreys family. They gave millions upon millions in the war on workers, including Missouri politicians, Wisconsin Job-killer Gov. Scott Walker, an anti-worker ballot campaign in Michigan and the Mitt Romney super PAC.

Missourians, you can help fight against today's anti-worker bill, SB 29, by clicking here and sending an email.Or you can call your state senator at 573-751-2000.

Of course every state has a home-grown billionaire who wants to transform it into a feudal serfdom. The Humphreys family are humdingers. Their money comes from TAMKO, makers of building products such as asphalt shingles with the Shadowtone granule blend that adds extra richness and depth. Ethelmae's parents started the company. She is now chairman and son David who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple is CEO.

Listed as a power player in the St. Louis Beacon, David Humphreys says he donates to anti-worker causes to  "support individual liberty and personal responsibility." Because, you know, he's personally responsible for the vast fortune that he inherited.

The Humphreys contribute to dark-money nonprofits, so it's impossible to tell exactly how much they spend. But  Benedict Arnold Charles Koch recognized them for donating "more than a million" to the campaign to destroy the middle class. Progress Missouri outlines some of their contributions.
$510,000 to embattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in January 2012 from David Humphreys and Sarah Atkins.

$250,000 to the anti-union “Protecting Michigan Taxpayers” campaign in October 2012 from Ethelmae Humphreys. The campaign opposed Proposal 2, a ballot proposal that would put collective bargaining protections in the Michigan constitution. 
$25,000 to the recount fund of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, who supported the contentious law stripping public workers of most of their collective bargaining rights.

Undisclosed support from Ethelmae Humphreys for the Michigan-based Mackinac Center, an overtly anti-union organization.
Major recipients of Humphreys Family money in Missouri include:
$850,000 to Brad Lager, failed candidate for Lieutenant Governor
$452,000 to Peter Kinder, incumbent Lieutenant Governor and failed candidate for Governor
$475,000 to the ShowMe Better Courts ballot committee
$450,000 to Ed Martin, failed candidate for Attorney General
$282,000 to Ed Emery, now in the Senate
$195,000 to Tom Schweich, now State Auditor
$180,000 to the House Republican Campaign Committee, the primary fundraising body for House Republicans
$150,000 to Shane Schoeller, failed candidate for Secretary of State
$125,000 to Cole McNary, failed candidate for Treasurer
$90,000 to the Missouri Republican Party
$67,500 to Ron Richard, now a driver of anti-worker attacks in the Senate.
Here are some of the other attacks on workers the Humphreys are aiding and abetting, according to ThinkProgress:
Missouri Republicans this month touched off the latest push for a so-called “right-to-work” law, introducing legislation similar to the union-busting laws signed by Republican governors in Indiana and Michigan last year. The right-to-work proposal, which prohibits unions from requiring workers to join, is just one of multiple bills targeting unions that are making their way through the GOP-controlled state legislature. Others would end Missouri’s prevailing wage law and prohibit unions from using dues for political purposes unless workers gave them permission to.

Missourians: Help needed TODAY to stop the latest attack on workers

(UPDATES to correct graf 4 with new working number to MO Senate, bill number.)

A Missouri House committee has just voted out a bill to make it illegal for an employer to honor an employee’s voluntary request to have their union dues deducted from their paycheck.

It has one purpose and one purpose only – to punish workers and weaken the unions that represent them.

The Senate is expected to vote on it this afternoon.

Missourians, you can help stop this attack on workers by calling 573-751-2000 and urging your senator to vote no on SB 29. Or you can send an email by clicking here.

Sponsor Rick Burlison is (surprise) a member of ALEC, the billionaire-backed dating service for corporations and state lawmakers.

This is just one of the many attacks on workers brought to Missouri by corporations (via ALEC) and billionaires like the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers and Ponzi scheme Amway heir Dick DeVos. Missouri's home-grown loony billionaires, members of the Humphreys family, are a big part of the anti-worker attack machine. 

Today's Teamster News 02.27.13

IT'S OFFICIAL: Cutting Government Spending Is Hurting Our Economy  Business Insider   ...When we cut government spending, we reduce economic growth and we put more people out of work...
Take the Sequester Seriously... if Not Literally  Huffington Post   ...some federal expenditure ... won't be on the chopping block -- things the taxpayers will continue to pay for. Perhaps most outrageously, $10 billion in subsidies to the oil industry -- a substantial part of which flow directly to the Treasuries of foreign countries like Saudi Arabia and Nigeria -- will continue...
Wall St bonuses rise 9% amid job cuts  Financial Times   ...The average cash bonus paid to Wall Street employees has jumped 9 per cent, thanks to rebounding financial industry profits and dramatic job cuts that spread the rewards across a smaller pool...
Teenager spotted walking 10 MILES in the snow to interview for $7-an-hour job is given work on the spot by restaurant owner - who doubled his pay  Daily Mail   ...A teen's luck appears to have changed after a chance encounter with an Indiana restaurant owner during a 10-mile trek through ice and snow for a minimum wage job interview...
Kerry pushes for trans-Atlantic free trade agreement during stop in Germany  Associated Press   ...U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed Tuesday for a free-trade agreement between the United States and Europe...
Arizona Senate chief Andy Biggs says union bills are priority  Associated Press   ...President Andy Biggs, who backs anti-union legislation that would impact police and firefighters, told The Associated Press that he remains optimistic about the effort despite signs that some state Senate Republicans aren't too keen about going to war with the unions that often help bankroll their campaigns...
House votes to shrink political power of teachers  NWI Times   ... Schools would be barred from automatically deducting from paychecks the portion of teacher union dues used for political purposes under legislation approved Monday by the Indiana House...
Taylor teachers' contract clause appears to buck state's right-to-work law  Detroit Free Press   ...A recently ratified teacher contract in the Taylor School District has caught the eye of state legislators because it includes a 10-year union security clause that will guarantee union dues be paid -- just weeks before the state's right-to-work law goes into effect March 27...
Michigan lawmakers revive divisive proposals  The Detroit News   ...Among those is one that would outlaw prevailing wage requirements on public works projects...
Mo. Senate stalls on 'paycheck protection' bill  St. Louis Post-Dispatch   ...Debate has stalled in the Missouri Senate on legislation that Democrats say is part of the state's "war on labor...
Gov. Kasich should put Ohio Turnpike promises to paper, Democrats say"  Plain Dealer   ...Ohio House Democrats are questioning the credibility of promises Gov. John Kasich made with his plan to use Ohio Turnpike tolls to pay for transportation projects...
Pa. lawmakers want to end prevailing wage for transportation projects  Pottstown Mercury   ...Pennsylvania’s prevailing-wage law sets standard wages and benefits for all government-funded construction projects that cost more than $25,000...
Federal panel opens GOP computers in Wisconsin redistricting case  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   ...A federal court gave groups suing the state broad access Monday to three computers used by the Legislature to develop Republican-friendly voting maps...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Everything you need to know about the TPP but were afraid to ask (VIDEO)

The Teamsters' own Mike Dolan explains what's going on with the latest trade deal being negotiated. Watch!

Georgia lawmakers trying to wipe out unions -- again

Last year's rally against extreme anti-worker legislation in Georgia.
(UPDATES to correct graf 3, lobby day on Thursday sted today.)

Radicals in Georgia's Legislature are once again trying to destroy unions and impoverish workers. They've proposed a bill that would require union members to re-join their union every year.

HB 361 not quite as obvious an anti-worker measure as last year's attempt to make it a felony to talk about picketing. But it's bad. Our brothers and sisters in Georgia are working hard to defeat this heinous proposal.

On Thursday, Teamsters and other union members will descend on the Georgia Statehouse to urge lawmakers to vote against the bill. If you can't manage to get to Atlanta, you can contact your representative.

An action alert has been sent to Teamsters and our allies in Georgia. Here's what it says:
Georgia Teamsters need your help! Send a message to your House member, and tell them to stand up for Georgia’s middle class. Our politicians need to be focusing on creating jobs, not playing politics at the expense of workers.
Georgians, click here to tell your representative to vote no on HB 361.

The 9 most insane laws proposed by extremist Republicans

A Missouri Democrat filed a bill last week that would make it a crime to propose No Rights At Work legislation.

Rep. Jeff Roorda wasn't really serious. He was responding to a bill filed by Republican state Rep. Mike Leara that would make it a crime to propose legislation to restrict gun ownership.

The Republican was probably serious given the long list of loony bills the GOP is promoting these days (many with the help of ALEC, the billionaire-backed dating service for state lawmakers and corporations).

The following proposals should make your head spin:
1. Ban paid overtime in the United States: U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wants to get rid of  paid overtime.  Reports DailyKos, In Eric Cantor's February 2013 speech, he said he wanted to propose Federal Law that would end overtime pay for hourly workers. 
2. Give corporations the right to vote Montana Rep. Steve Lavin would give corporations that own property within a city to vote in a municipal election. ThinkProgress reports his bill would allow the president, vice president or designee to cast a ballot. 
3. Eliminate child labor laws: Utah Sen. Mike Lee thinks child labor laws should be illegal. So does former Missouri state Sen. Jane Cunningham, who filed a bill in the last session that would eliminate the prohibition on employment of children under age 14. Maine and Wisconsin's two wackadoodle governors, Paul LePage and Job-killer Scott Walker, have both signed laws that roll back child labor protections.  
4. Force unions to pay for non-union members' benefits. Last year, Michigan and Indiana passed No Rights At Work bills that will weaken unions, increase poverty, lower their citizens' standard of living and kill more people at work.  Republicans tried and failed to pass No Rights At Work in Kentucky and New Hampshire, but they're still at it in Missouri and Maine.
5. Raise taxes on everyone but the rich. Republican governors in Ohio, Louisiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Nebraska are proposing tax hikes on the vast majority of citizens in order to cut taxes for the wealthy few.  
6. Prohibit living wage and minimum wage laws. Florida state Sen. Stephen Precourt filed a bill to overturn local laws in Orlando, Miami Beach and Gainesville that require some employers to pay slightly more than the minimum wage. The bill has passed through committee. 
7. Make it a crime to expose corporate crime. A bill is now moving through the Indiana Legislature that would criminalize the video or audio recording of unethical or illegal behavior on a farm or in a workplace. Similar laws passed already in Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Kansas and Utah. 
8. Sell the national parks. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz proposed selling off 3.2 million acres of public lands. Former Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns admitted on camera he wanted to sell off our national parks because we can't afford them anymore.
9. Make it a crime to make theft a crime: Last year, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill to overturn local laws that make it illegal for employers to steal wages from their employees. It failed in the Senate. 
We fear we've missed a few of the GOP's most outlandish proposals. Sadly, we expect we'll be hearing more.

Today's Teamster News 02.26.13

Eric Cantor will propose Federal Law that Ends Overtime Pay for hourly workers  Democratic Underground   ...Eric Cantor wants to end the Federal law that mandates certain workers get paid overtime for the extra hours they labor. ..
Italian Voters Stage 'Rebellion', Markets Plunge  Business Insider   ...The markets were hoping for the liberal leader Pier Luigi Bersani to win easily, allowing him to form a coalition government with technocrat leader Mario Monti. This would have paved the way for more unpopular austerity and reforms...But the voters had a different idea...
Nary a positive word heard on liquor privatization during PA budget talks    ...The Senate Appropriations Committee met with Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board officials to talk about its 2013-14 line item, but they only talked about keeping the PLCB around...The sight of some two dozen members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 dressed in bright yellow T-shirts may have kept Republicans from publicly pushing Corbett’s plan...
How Much Support Does "Smart Justice" Bill Really Have?  WFSU   ...A Republican-backed proposal to reduce the number of former inmates going back into Florida’s prisons is now taking shape in the form of a bill. But, some unions and even some Republicans may not be on board with the “Smart Justice” idea...
Snyder defends right-to-work, urges GOP to stay unified in surprise appearance  Detroit Free Press   ...In 2014, all state and legislative offices will be on the ballot. Snyder hasn’t publicly declared his intention to seek a second term as governor, but political observers say it’s all but certain he will, especially given public remarks like his 7-minute address before the GOP faithful on Saturday...
Unions shouldn't have to protect 'squatters' who don't want to pay for services (Letter)  Michigan Live   ...A person shouldn’t have to join a union to be employed, but they also shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy benefits they’re not willing to pay for them, from a union they don’t believe in...
Republicans in Missouri Legislature are out to destroy unions (Letter)  St. Louis Post-Dispatch   ...the Republicans are not interested in jobs or workers rights. Their initiative is a scam. They are interested in destroying unions in order to cut off funding to the Democratic Party so Republicans can gain complete control with little opposition...
Montana Bill Would Give Corporations The Right To Vote  ThinkProgress   ...Provision for vote by corporate property owner.... if a firm, partnership, company, or corporation owns real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election...
Christie Fails to Pull Off New Jersey 'Comeback'  Newsmax   ...New Jersey, the 11th most populous state, is still in need of a comeback. It has the fourth highest unemployment rate of any U.S. state, at 9.6 percent, nearly 2 percentage points above the national rate. It was one of three states to report late in 2012 that revenues were lagging expectations...
Scott Walker’s job-free austerity  The Cap Times   ...When Walker assumed the governorship two years ago, Wisconsin was holding its own economically. Job growth was competitive with neighboring states and the nation. No more. Since Walker began implementing his austerity agenda, growth has stalled...
American, US Airways unions still have lots to settle  Fort Worth Star-Telegram   ..."American Airlines mechanics came to us and said, 'We want new representation,' and they have been working very hard since June of last year to make that a reality," Teamsters spokesman Chris Moore said...   
Drivers and Monitors Unite for Better Safety, Working Conditions  IBT   ...School bus drivers and monitors with Durham School Services in Jay, Pace, Navarre and Milton, Fla., have voted overwhelmingly to join Teamsters Local 991 in Mobile, Ala. The 204 workers are seeking improved safety and working conditions...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lincoln only freed some of the slaves

We congratulate Daniel Day-Lewis for his Academy Award as Best Actor in Lincoln.

We have a teensy problem with the screenplay, though. It would have you think that the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery forever. The Lincoln character, for example, says:
Abolishing slavery by Constitutional provision settles the fate for all coming time. 
Well, no.

He also says:
We must cure ourselves of slavery. This amendment is that cure. 
Not quite.

And this:
The fate of human dignity (is) in our hands. 
If only it were so.

Slavery continued in the Deep South well after the Civil War. Douglas A. Blackmon exposed the re-enslavement of Americans two years ago in his book "Slavery By Another Name." According to Publisher's Weekly,
Blackmon gives a groundbreaking and disturbing account of a sordid chapter in American history—the lease (essentially the sale) of convicts to commercial interests between the end of the 19th century and well into the 20th. Usually, the criminal offense was loosely defined vagrancy or even changing employers without permission. The initial sentence was brutal enough; the actual penalty, reserved almost exclusively for black men, was a form of slavery in one of hundreds of forced labor camps operated by state and county governments, large corporations, small time entrepreneurs and provincial farmers. 
There are still millions of slaves in the world. Anti-Slavery International estimates there are 27 million slaves and 200 million people who live in some sort of bondage.

Some are even in the United States. Last year we learned about 40 Mexican guestworkers "employed" by a Wal-Mart supplier, C.J.'s Seafood. They worked as long as 24 hours straight without overtime. They were forced to pay $45 a week to live in vermin-infested trailers with no air conditioning.

There is debt bondage, there's prison labor, there's sex trafficking, there's locking up janitors at night in Target stores.

Sadly, the fate of human dignity was only partially in Old Abe's hands. He did what he could, but there is still much, much more to be done.

The economic slump is a trade conflict disguised as a debt crisis

It's finally dawning on people that the root cause of the financial crisis and the slump that followed wasn't the bursting of the housing bubble. Nor was it reckless and criminal bank behavior.

The root cause of the crisis was job-killing trade deals -- aka globalization.. The housing bubble and bank misbehavior are only symptoms.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard today acknowledged that globalization caused the crisis and the slump that followed in The Telegraph:
...the global trauma of the last five years is a trade conflict masquerading as a debt crisis.
That trauma takes the form of sequestration in the United States, as automatic budget cuts are scheduled for Friday. Bad enough will be flight delays, shuttered Social Security offices, uninspected meat and crowded classrooms. Worse will be the outcome of austerity: the slowdown in commercial activity, the rise in unemployment and the increase in poverty.

That's already happened in Europe, where government budget cuts have lowered the standard of living for working Europeans -- and Europeans who used to work. Spaniards are eating out of dumpsters, Greeks are waging general strikes and Portuguese are marching in the streets.

China is facing its own problems as manufacturing output is slowing while the real estate bubble appears to be bursting.

Writes Evans-Pritchard:
...few wish to face the awful truth that globalisation itself -- in its current deformed structure -- is the root cause of the whole disaster.
Working-class Americans understand they're the victims of globalization. They know they're working harder for less because factories moved overseas where labor is cheap. They understand that powerful global corporations don't pay their fair share of taxes to the government. They get that Asian factories are pumping out too much product that Americans can't afford because their wages are too low.

That government budget cuts will further lower America's standard of living is not well understood by political leaders, CEOs and the news media.

Dave Johnson at the Campaign for America's Future blog had fun at USA Today's expense:
The British government is in the midst of a program of spending cuts designed to reduce the nation’s hefty deficit, but the austerity program has failed to stimulate economic growth.
Writes Johnson:
“But” the austerity has failed to stimulate economic growth? “BUT?” Shouldn’t that read “OF COURSE?” 
Austerity is CONTRACTIONARY! ...  “Contractionary policy is contractionary.” That means that it cuts economic growth. Economics 101: austerity cuts economic growth! I mean, DUH! You cut back on the things that underpin an economy and the economy shrinks. 
Seriously, is there any example, ever, anywhere of austerity causing an economy to grow? (Hint: NO!)

Woo-hoo! Another Teamster organizing victory in MI

Please welcome our 23 new brothers and sisters who deliver soft drinks for  American Bottling Co. in Holland.  Despite a vicious union-busting campaign by the company, they voted to become Teamsters with Local 406 in Grand Rapids on Feb. 15

The drivers fought for union representation because they want respect on the job and fair pay.

American Bottling Co. brought in professional union busters from across the country to conduct bi-weekly captive audience meetings.

Driver Robert Marlink said company managers were relentless in trying to persuade them to vote 'No."
We stayed our course and won the election. This was a lot of work and it took a tremendous amount of courage for us to stand up to American Bottling Co.
Ron Holzgen, secretary-treasurer of Local 406, applauded the organizing effort:
We are proud of these workers for standing strong in the face of employer intimidation. Joint Council 43 Organizer Marian Novak and our own Organizer Jim Chase, did a great job keeping the workers focused on their desire to become Teamsters and ignoring the threats from management.
 Congratulations and welcome to our great union!

Help this Mich. lawmaker repeal No Rights At Work

Michigan Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (above) launched a website last week to support his effort to repeal Michigan's No Rights At Work bill. Check it out at Be sure to sign the petition if you're a Michigan voter.

It's unlikely the law will be repealed this year, as Republicans have a majority in the Michigan Legislature. Plus, overturning unpopular legislation generally takes time and mobilization of public support. It took eight years for Indiana to repeal No Rights At Work in 1965 after the law was enacted in 1957.

Two lawsuits, though, have been filed to overturn the anti-worker law. They're mentioned on Sen. Hopgood's website. One claims the law violates the U.S. Constitution because it supersedes the National Labor Relations Act, which is the law of the land. That one was filed by the AFL-CIO, Michigan Building Trades Council, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union.

The second lawsuit claims it violates the Open Meetings Act, the First Amendment, and the state constitution by barring the doors to the Capitol. It was filed by the ACLU of Michigan, Sen. Rebekah Warren, Bonnie Bucqueroux, an instructor at Michigan State University School of Journalism, Steve Cook and Rick Trainor, Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Brandon Dillon, the Michigan Education Association (MEA), Michigan State AFL-CIO, Michigan Building & Construction Trades Council, and Change to Win.

The Detroit Free Press reported on Sen. Hopgood's effort:
Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood of Taylor launched a website this week in an effort to drive a take-down of the law signed in December by GOP Gov. Rick Snyder. 
Hopgood says the website will inform the public and give "them a voice this time around." It features a countdown until March 27, the day the law is expected to go into effect. Visitors can also sign a petition at 
Hopgood has introduced two bills to repeal the law, which prohibits forcing workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
The website features a petition to support SB95 and SB96. Michiganders, please sign it here. It also features video from the Democratic state senators who opposed the bill when it was rammed through the Legislature in January.

Today's Teamsters News 02.25.13

Gas prices jump, but not as high, survey finds  CNN   ...Over the past two weeks, prices at the pump have jumped 20 cents, adding to a total rise of nearly 54 cents over the past nine weeks, according to the Lundberg Survey. A gallon of self-serve regular costs $3.80 on average nationwide, the survey found. But the speed of the spike has slowed substantially. And now, prices may even start to drop...
Trade protectionism looms next as central banks exhaust QE  The Telegraph   ...The four years of QE have given us a contained depression and prevented the global strategic order from unravelling. That is not a bad outcome, but the time gained has largely been wasted because few wish to face the awful truth that globalisation itself -- in its current deformed structure -- is the root cause of the whole disaster...
Major Banks Aid in Payday Loans Banned by States  New York Times   ...With 15 states banning payday loans, a growing number of the lenders have set up online operations in more hospitable states or far-flung locales like Belize, Malta and the West Indies to more easily evade statewide caps on interest rates...
Kasich cribbed his tax hike from an unpopular ALEC-endorsed initiative  Plunderbund   ...Kasich’s tax hike–in coordination with similar schemes in Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, and basically every GOP-controlled state–is clearly part of a national plug-and-play strategy led by ALEC, based on a failed Missouri idea...
Bloomberg's ban prohibits 2-liter soda with your pizza and some nightclub mixers  New York Post   ...Nanny Bloomberg unleashes his ban on large sodas on March 12 — and there are some nasty surprises lurking for hardworking families. Say goodbye to that 2-liter bottle of Coke with your pizza delivery, pitchers of soft drinks at your kid’s birthday party and some bottle-service mixers at your favorite nightclub...
Ken Hall: Where are 'Friends of Coal Miners'?  Charleston Gazette   ...Where are these so-called friends when it comes to the 22,500 active miners, retirees and their families who depend on Patriot Coal for their health care and pension benefits?...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Meet the Teamsters behind the Oscars

As you watch union actors, musicians and writers win Oscars tonight, don't forget they got plenty of help from Motion Picture Teamsters.

Brother Jake Kucera, a Teamster driver at US Foodservice, doesn't forget. He posted on the Teamsters Facebook page, 
My son and I watch a movie till the end to see if it has the Teamster logo.
The Teamsters Union represents workers in the motion picture industry, including companies that produce feature films, television programs, commercials and live theatrical performances. Teamsters are drivers, wranglers, animal handlers, location managers, mechanics, dispatchers and casting directors. Location managers from Local 399 in Hollywood remind us how important the movie industry is to the local community in this video here.

Brother Matthew Sage worked on The Master, which received three Oscar nominations. He posted on Facebook:
12 years in... proud of my brotherhood! I was on THE MASTER for about 2 weeks. I believe it's up for something this year. I dig working on "period pieces ". All the actors walkin around set in costume, the sets...the craft service!
Brother Mike Davin from Local 249 in Pittsburgh tells us:
...did Dark Knight, worked with some great guys from local 399!!! 
Brother Frank Gagliardo, now retired from Chicago Local 705, worked as an extra since 1992 -- starting with the movie Hoffa (which was nominated for two Oscars). Sister Becca Bernstein from Local 305 works on NBC's Grimm in Portland, Ore. Brother Geo Gordon from Local 407 in Cleveland is looking forward to Captain after working on Fun Size and Alex Cross.

Brother Lance Leis tells us he's been a movie Teamster since he was 19. has been my world ever since..pulled numerous actors rigs...IMDB me...Local 492 (Albuquerque)
We ran Brother Lance through and found he'd appeared as a driver or a transportation captain in about 30 films and television shows, including The Twilight Saga, Breaking Down Part I, Secretariat and The Killer Inside Me.

According to imdb, Brother Ian Bharath appeared as a driver in Safe, Be Kind Rewind, The Messenger and Factory Girl. Brother Donny Burdett got credits as a driver or transportation captain in more than 50 films, including three-time Academy Award winner The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

We'll leave you with this thought from Brother Donald C. Stjohn from Local 399, who worked on too many films to list! 
Unfortunately no Oscars for drivers. We're as disposable as any other below the line worker. Leo Reed has our back though and has done a great job with our collective bargaining and keeping us working. I'm proud to be a Teamster first. I enjoy working in Hollywood and meeting the people who make recorded history. 15 years with approximately 15 to go. Stay strong!

Ind. Rep. files bill to repeal No Rights At Work (video)

Here's a terrific explanation of how No Rights At Work destroys local economies -- by Indiana Rep. Clyde Kersey, D-Terre Haute. He filed a bill to repeal the anti-worker law passed last year.

Hoosiers repealed No Rights At Work in 1965. Hoosiers can do it again.

Today's Teamster News 02.24.13

Why Should Taxpayers Give Big Banks $83 Billion a Year?  Bloomberg   ...the banks occupying the commanding heights of the U.S. financial industry -- with almost $9 trillion in assets, more than half the size of the U.S. economy -- would just about break even in the absence of corporate welfare. ..
40% of Americans Now Make Less Than 1968 Minimum Wage  The Contributor   ...“If the minimum wage had risen in step with productivity growth [since 1968], it would be over $16.50 an hour today. That is higher than the hourly wages earned by 40 percent of men and half of women...”
'Citizen tide' of protests swamps Spain  AFP   ...Spaniards furious at hardship and corruption scandals in the financial crisis massed in cities across the country on Saturday in a "citizens' tide" of protests...
2 Lucas County officials denounce Kasich's budget  Toledo Blade   ...Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez and Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz ... said the governor's proposed budget would represent a tax increase for middle class and working class Ohioans when the expanded sales tax is taken into account, and leaves less money for local schools and local government services...
State's private-sector job creation slowed, census data shows  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   ...Just as troubling ... is that Friday's report also shows that average private-sector wages in the July-September period of last year fell 1.2% from the same quarter in 2011...
Teamsters say strike now likely against school bus company  Mid-Hudson News   ...Teamsters Local 445, the union that represents 165 bus drivers and monitors in the Dutchess BOCES and Rhinebeck and Spackenkill school districts, said on Saturday that negotiations broke down this past week...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Today's Teamster News 02.23.13

Court Scoffs at Light Sentence for CEO's Fraud  Courthouse News Service   ...The seven-day sentence given to a former CEO whose money-laundering scheme cost investors more $18 million was as "unreasonably low," the 6th Circuit ruled...
New Jersey sues Sandy relief fund  USA Today   ...Operators of a Sandy relief group diverted more than $17,000 in donated money to eat out, pay credit card bills and shop online while storm victims received just $1,650 in aid, an ongoing state investigation has found...
Detroit Anti-Eviction Campaign Keeping Families in Their Homes  The Real News   ...In Detroit, Michigan, the city many consider the epicenter of the nation's subprime and foreclosure crisis, banks continue to evict residents from their homes at an alarming pace. But over the past year, a growing grassroots movement has blocked evictions and kept families in their homes...
The American Trucking Industry Had Its Best January Ever  Business Insider   ...The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.9% in January after jumping 2.4% in December. ... Tonnage has surged at least 2.4% every month since November, gaining a total of 9.1% over that period...
Ford announces re-shoring of engine manufacturing jobs  manufacture this   ...Ford announced this week that it would begin manufacturing EcoBoost engines for the North American market in Ohio. Previously workers in Spain built these engines. This move means 450 new manufacturing jobs for Cleveland...
UK loses top AAA credit rating for first time since 1978   BBC News   ...The ratings agency Moody's became the first to cut the UK from its highest rating, to Aa1. Moody's said the government's debt reduction programme faced significant "challenges" ahead. Chancellor George Osborne said the decision was "a stark reminder of the debt problems facing our country"... 
Right to work, prevailing wage debate for nought  The Daily Independent   ...The House Committee on Labor and Industry Thursday heard discussion on bills sponsored by Rep. Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, which would make Kentucky a right-to-work state and repeal the prevailing wage law for public projects ...But at DeCesare’s request, there was no vote on either of the bills...
State Lawmakers Move to Restrict Living Wages, Sick Leave Ordinances  Florida Center for Investigative Reporting   ...This week, a bill that would remove local ordinances requiring companies to pay living wages passed through a committee in the Florida Legislature. The bill is aimed at cracking down on local laws in Orlando, Miami Beach and Gainesville that ask certain employers to pay employees slightly more than the minimum wage...
Bullock jobs bill tabled in legislative committee  Associated Press   ...A Republican-led committee is rejecting Gov. Steve Bullock's plan to increase the mandatory hiring percentage of Montana workers on public-works projects in the state...
Corbett: Challenge on lottery rejection is coming  The Morning Call   ... Corbett likely will file his challenge directly with the state Supreme Court...
Lawmakers make step toward privatization at MARTA  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution   ...Legislation was passed by state representatives that required the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority to privatize major functions — from payroll and cleaning to paratransit services. The reform also requires moving new employees from a pension to a 401(k) retirement plan and capping the heavily indebted agency’s bond debt at 35 percent of sales tax collections...
Aberdeen Man Among UPS Drivers Honored for 25 Accident-Free Years  Matawan-Aberdeen Patch   ...An Aberdeen man is one of 50 United Parcel Service drivers from New Jersey being honored for 25 years or more of accident-free driving...
Some Teamsters get pay raises during state contract negotiations  Gatehouse News Service   ...About 1,500 unionized workers at the Illinois Department of Transportation and other agencies received raises last month, even though their union is still negotiating a new contract with the state...

Friday, February 22, 2013

GEO Group stadium mocked by Colbert, opposed by activists

The furor continues over Florida Atlantic University's deal to name the Owls football stadium after private prison operator GEO Group. The jokes are continuing, as well.

The stadium has been nicknamed "Owlcatraz." It's been suggested that the University of Miami stadium would be a more appropriate venue for a prison company.

You can start the petition asking Florida Atlantic University to drop the GEO Group name from the stadium here.

Tesco, Target treat workers like prisoners

Warehouse workers at the British grocery chain Tesco are forced to wear electronic armbands that monitor how hard they work.

The Irish Independent reports,
Tesco workers are being made to wear electronic armbands that managers can use to grade how hard they are working. 
A former staff member has claimed employees are given marks based on how efficiently they work in a bid to improve productivity and can be called in front of management if they take unscheduled toilet breaks. 
The armbands are worn by warehouse staff and forklift drivers, who use them to scan the stock they collect from supermarket distribution points and send it out for delivery. Tesco said the armbands are used to improve efficiency and save its staff from having to carry around pens and paper to keep track of deliveries. But the device is also being used to keep an eye on employees’ work rates, the ex-staff member said. 
The former employee said the device provided an order to collect from the warehouse and a set amount of time to complete it. If workers met that target, they were awarded a 100 per cent score, but that would rise to 200 per cent if they worked twice as quickly. The score would fall if they did not meet the target. 
If, however, workers did not log a break when they went to the toilet, the score would be “surprisingly lower”, according to the former staff member...
Target turned its stores into prisons through a more low-tech method. It locked its workers inside buildings overnight. The workers complained to OSHA. Josh Eidelson at The Nation reports,
...twenty-five workers allege that they were regularly locked indoors while cleaning Target stores in the Twin Cities. 
“At 11 at night, I would ring the doorbell to get let in, and then from there, we would be locked in the store all night, until 7 am when they opened the store,” said Honorio Hernandez, who cleaned Target stores for three years before leaving a year ago for other work. “I was scared that something would happen, and I wouldn’t be able to get out of the store…. But I never complained about it because I was scared that I would lose my job.” (Hernandez was interviewed in Spanish.) 
Hernandez has worked for all three of the janitorial contractors named in the OSHA complaints: Carlson Building Maintenance, Prestige Maintenance USA and Diversified Maintenance Systems. Currently unemployed, Hernandez is an activist with the Minnesota labor group that organized the complaints, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha.
(Wal-Mart has also been accused of locking workers inside overnight.)

But about those electronic armbands: You can bet they'll show up in U.S. and Canadian warehouses, if they haven't already. Sign a petition to tell Tesco to stop using electronic armbands to monitor employees here.

Good news from AZ: ALEC anti-union bill fails

Here's one victory for working people and a loss for ALEC: A bill to weaken unions by making it illegal to automatically deduct dues failed last night in an Arizona Senate committee.

The Associated Press reports:
Republicans pushing a ban on automatic deductions of union dues from public employees' paychecks are having a rough time getting legislation through the Senate. 
The Senate Committee of the Whole took several votes that saw the anti-union bill fail on Thursday. Two votes saw 17 Republicans and Democrats unite against the measure that would impact police and firefighters unions.
ALEC is the billionaire-backed dating service for corporations and state lawmakers. The dues deduction bill  is straight out of ALEC's playbook. According to ALEC Exposed, ALEC's "Prohibition on Compensation Deductions Act":
...will limit funding for public employee unions by prohibiting public employers from deducting union dues from worker paychecks. Unions will have to collect dues directly from workers, reducing total dues that unions will collect and distracting from other workplace or union member issues by requiring unions to focus energy on the task of collecting dues.
The Arizona Republic reports the bill is dead for this year.

It will be back, though. The greedy billionaires behind ALEC never die, they just fade away until the next legislative session.

Greedy NC billionaire attacks NC jobless

Where the jobless suffer
Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of North Carolinians desperate for work will be consigned to poverty because of cuts to unemployment benefits.

Gov. Pat McCrory, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch brothers Mini-me billionaire Art Pope, signed a bill earlier this week that is unmatched in its cruelty to jobless people. North Carolina now has the nation's fifth highest unemployment -- and the severest cuts to unemployment benefit.

Pope is technically McCrory's budget director, but political observers say he is really running the state. NC Policy Watch asks:
How can McCrory be Pope’s boss when it is Pope who has all the money and power? 
North Carolina is following the pattern set by the  Benedict Arnold Koch brothers, who purchased Job-killer Scott Walker in Wisconsin to launch attacks on working people. Then came  Ponzi scheme Amway heir Dick DeVos, who bought Rick Snyder and forced No Rights At Work through the Legislature. The story is the same in state after state: billionaires buy politicians to promote their gospel of greed and corporate empowerment. 

North Carolina's attack on unemployed workers is exceptionally heartless given that one in four Americans has been fired in the past four years.

The AFL-CIO reports on the savagery of North Carolina's cuts:
Beginning July 1, new claims will be reduced from $535 to $350 as the maximum benefit per week. And while current recipients can get unemployment insurance payments for 26 weeks, that number will be cut to a maximum of somewhere between 12 to 20 weeks, the duration varying depending upon the state's unemployment rate. If the maximum fell below 19 weeks, North Carolina would offer the lowest maximum number of weeks in the country. The bill also rejects extra benefits allowed under federal law, which means that 170,000 residents will lose $780 million in current weekly payments.
The National Employment Law Project condemned the cuts:
Turning the state’s back on federal aid is no badge of honor:  No other state has acted to deny unemployed job-seekers this assistance, and the move by the legislature and governor will deny federal benefits to an estimated 170,000 unemployed North Carolinians who desperately need that help. 
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the governor chose to put his signature to this bill privately, behind closed doors, mirroring the manner in which the legislation was crafted by business groups led by the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and Republican lawmakers. 
These heartless cuts, in the state with the fifth-highest jobless rate in the nation, at 9.2 percent, show a shocking disregard for 400,000 unemployed North Carolinians and their families, many of whom will now go from struggling to barely make ends meet to outright struggling to survive.

Ind. close to criminalizing exposure of corporate crime

This book would be a crime
if SB 373 passes. 
Indiana lawmakers are moving legislation that would make it a crime to expose corporate crime.

The Indiana AFL-CIO gives us the details:
Senate Bill 373, authored by Senator Travis Holdman (R-Markle), would make it illegal for workers, journalists or others to photograph or record video of unsafe, discriminatory or otherwise unethical work place practices.
Our Hoosier brothers and sisters point out that such a law would have prevented child labor laws and food safety regulations. Upton Sinclair's 1905 book "The Jungle" exposed disgusting conditions inside meatpacking plants and led to food inspection. Lewis Hine's photographs of small children in dangerous workplaces resulted in child labor laws and compulsory education.

SB 373 is aimed  at groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, which conduct undercover investigations of animal cruelty in factory farms. TriplePundit tells us, was a HSUS investigation of the Hallmark/Westland slaughterhouse in Northern California, including a video, shot by a worker inside the plant, that captured cruelty and the slaughter of animals too sick to walk, in violation of food safety requirements, and led to the recall of 143 million pounds of beef from school cafeterias in 36 states, as well as the ultimate banning of this meat from the food supply. 
Likewise, an undercover worker in Vermont, shot video that  “showed day-old veal calves too weak to stand being shocked, dragged and skinned alive in the plant,” The disclosure led to the arrest of the worker responsible, the shutdown of the plant pending management changes, and a new regulation banning the use of such “downer” calves.
Meatpacking plants are also extremely dangerous to workers. The rate of injury and illness is higher in slaughterhouses than any other manufacturing plant.

The Indiana proposal is -- of course -- the work of ALEC, the billionaire-backed dating service for corporations. That means the bill has been proposed and passed in state capitols throughout the country. The Green Is the New Red blog wrote last year:
“Ag Gag” bills targeting undercover investigators of factory farms have been introduced in 10 states in the last year. The nearly identical legislation is no coincidence. The bills, and their supporters, have ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Ag Gag laws have been passed in Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Kansas, and Utah.

Emily Brelage, writing in The DePauw, calls them an abuse of power:
The motive behind S.B. 373 remains absolutely clear: suppress the democratic flow of information, protect corporate interest. It’s the same kind of crony capitalism that pervades Washington, where government continues to strong-arm its citizenry at the behest of big business.
The Indiana AFL-CIO asks Hoosiers to call or email their state senator and ask them to vote NO on Senate Bill 373. Click on this link here to connect to your representative.

This is the actual text of the proposed bill:
Indiana Senate Bill 
Agricultural and industrial operations. Makes it unlawful recording of agricultural or industrial operations, a Class A infraction, for a person, with intent to harass, defame, annoy, or harm, to: (1) enter real property that is owned by another person and on which agricultural operations or industrial operations are being conducted; (2) take a photograph of or make a video recording or motion picture of the real property, structures located on the real property, or the agricultural operations or industrial operations being conducted on the real property; and (3) distribute the photograph or recording; without the written consent of the owner of the real property or an authorized representative of the owner. Increases the penalty to a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed knowingly or intentionally and the person has a prior unrelated judgment or conviction.

Today's Teamster News 02.22.13

Koch World reboots  Politico   ...Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ main political outlet, parted ways with its chief operating officer, most of its 100-plus employee field staff and several fundraisers. Generation Opportunity, a Koch-backed youth mobilization effort, recently replaced its president...
Blanche Lincoln, Former Arkansas Senator, Hired By Walmart: Report  Huffington Post   ...Former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) has been hired by Walmart as an outside consultant, according to Politico Influence. The senator, who is billed as a "special policy advisor" with Alston & Bird, is now free to lobby the Senate, having left the upper chamber two years ago...
Previously Owned U.S. Home Sales Climb to 4.92 Million  Bloomberg   ...Improving home sales combined with dwindling inventory spurred the biggest advance in property values since 2005, helping mend household finances. The gain in housing, the industry that was at the center of the financial crisis, may help consumers overcome an increase in the payroll tax and rising gasoline prices that pose a risk to spending...
Millennials reducing debt at fast pace, study says  Los Angeles Times  ...The millennial generation is aggressively whittling down its debt, as young people forgo homes and cars, according to a new study...
Obama to Press Japan's Abe on U.S. Automakers  Bloomberg   ...President Barack Obama won’t back off demands that Japan ease barriers for U.S. automakers before joining negotiations for a regional Pacific trade agreement when he meets today with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe...
Protesters halt eviction of 85-year-old  UPI   ...Some 200 protesters gathered to prevent the eviction of an 85-year-old Spanish woman from her home after she fell behind on rent by one month...
Union contract talks begin after Washtenaw County formally condemns right to work  Ann   ...the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution instructing administrators to promptly begin union contract negotiations ahead of schedule in an effort to avoid the immediate effects of a new right-to-work law in Michigan...
Mo. House Dem proposes ban on anti-union measures  Associated Press   ... A Missouri House Democrat's plan would send colleagues to prison for proposing legislation limiting collective bargaining rights. Representative Jeff Roorda, of Barnhart, introduced the bill Friday in response to a Republican House member's proposal to jail lawmakers for introducing gun control measures...
Labor lawyers try to rip apart mayor's proposal to rein in unions  Anchorage Daily News   ...The proposal takes power from the unions to strike or arbitrate disputes with the city, making the Assembly the final decision-maker. It also sets up " managed competition," in which city employees would bid against private contractors for work. And it limits raises to a five-year-average of the consumer price index...
Pension reporting bill clears Florida House committee  The News Service of Florida   ...A bill that would change the reporting requirements for the financial position of local pensions has drawn together an unlikely pair of allies: the Florida League of Cities and unions, who oppose the measure for their own reasons...
House committee votes to ban 'living wage' local ordinances  Tampa Bay Times   ...Miami-Dade and Broward counties would have their decades-old living wage ordinances repealed and local governments would be banned from enacting similar employment benefits under a bill passed Wednesday by a House committee...
Indiana Teachers: "We're Under Attack" From Lawmakers In Indianapolis   ...Tuesday, the House Education Committee voted 7 to 3 to advance legislation barring schools from deducting union dues from a teacher's paycheck...
Kansas Creating Bill To End Civil Service Protections  Huffington Post   ...The state House Appropriations Committee is completing a draft of legislation that would allow for more jobs in state government to be taken out of the state's civil service system and made "at-will" employees...
Teamsters Drop Lawsuit Against Town of Atherton  Menlo Park-Atherton Patch   ...In a prepared statement Thursday, Local 856 Vice President Peter Finn defended the union’s original intention to prevent the layoffs and outsourcing, but said that the decision to dismiss the lawsuit arose after all of the union workers involved decided to pursue employment elsewhere...