Round Up For This Week From the Washington Examiner

We recently pointed readers to a great article by the Washington Examiner’s Mark Hemingway, and we would be remiss if we did not mention that it was part of a larger series examining Big Labor’s influence in regulation and legislation that is harming taxpayers, the economy, and — in particular — small business.

Here’s a roundup of interesting items from the series:

Stuffing union coffers with taxpayer cash

  • 40,000 private day care owners in Michigan woke up to discover they had become members of a public sector union.
  • The United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees worked with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to conduct a vote-by-mail union election.
  • Only 6,000 responded to the ballot they received in the mail.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Big Labor fills the ranks of Big Government

  • In February, two Democratic senators crossed the partisan aisle to join the GOP minority in blocking former law professor Craig Becker’s appointment by President Obama to the National Labor Relations Board.
  • Becker’s defeat was a stinging blow for organized labor because, besides being a former law professor at Georgetown University and the University of California, Los Angeles, he was the former associate general counsel for the Service Employees International Union and had represented the AFL-CIO as well.
  • On March 3, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis hinted that unions would be “very pleased” with the final outcome of Becker’s nomination. Sure enough, despite the bipartisan opposition in the U.S. Senate, Becker received a recess appointment by Obama to the NLRB on March 27. He will only be able to serve until a new Congress is elected and convenes in January 2011.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Unions buy their way into the White House

  • After spending $400 million to elect President Obama and expand the Democratic majorities controlling Congress, Big Labor unions now find they have nearly unprecedented access to lawmakers at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • According to White House visitor logs, SEIU President Andy Stern was the second most frequent individual visitor to the White House in 2009, with 36 visits.
  • Stern’s right-hand woman, SEIU Treasurer Anna Burger — aka “the Queen of Labor” — was first with 39 forays into the White House to visit with Obama and other senior administration officials.
  • But the SEIU’s influence in the White House extends far beyond frequent visits. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama frequently railed against the pernicious influence of lobbyists, saying, “Lobbyists won’t find a job in my White House.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Look for the union agenda, and get ready

  • Union bosses want taxpayers to foot the cost for bailing out the labor organizations’ many failing pension plans that millions of their members are counting on to “be there” when they retire. Unfortunately, the average union pension plan has only enough money to cover 62 percent of its financial obligations.
  • Pension plans funded below 80 percent are considered “endangered” by the government. Below 65 percent is “critical.” With union membership declining, that puts these funds into a tailspin from which they’ll likely never pull out.
  • But as the economy sours, there’s increasing pressure to bail out workers from failing unions. Last July, for example, the PBGC agreed to take on $6.2 billion in pension liabilities from bankrupt auto parts manufacturer Delphi. And that’s just one company.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Rolling back union transparency and accountability

  • This past September, Denver United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 union voted out its president of 11 years, Ernie Duran. The longtime union operative was ousted in favor of Kim Cordova, an unassuming Safeway bakery clerk.
  • Cordova pulled off her stunning upset in the union election by exposing Duran’s shameless nepotism and possible corruption. As union head, Duran earned $162,368 a year. But Duran had also put his wife, Crisanta Duran, on the union payroll for $133,410 and his son, Ernie Duran III, was paid $134,378.
  • Despite President Obama’s repeated campaign pledges to increase government transparency, he’s rescinded or abandoned a myriad of union transparency requirements that Chao had begun systematically enforcing.
  • Rescinding union transparency requirements raises an important question: Is Obama really on the side of unionized workers, or just the corrupt officials such as Ernie Duran that get rich representing them?

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

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  1. […] See more from Hemingway, who has been all over the Big Labor agenda, here. […]

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