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Employee Free Choice Act: The Truth


Card check: because its important to know who the holdouts are!

Card check: allowing employees to form a union without getting threats from the company, losing their jobs, losing wages, losing benefits, without the employer dictating to them how they can work to ensure their survival... that's what card check guarantees - your right to have a fair and safe working environment and to have a union represent you if you so choose.

And if you do not choose the union? What guarantees a fair and safe environment for the holdouts? Who's to stop intimidation from the union boss or her minions for not signing the damn card?

hey nick, what messed up job are you working? You gotta stop drinking that kool-aid, man.

Thanks for your concern. I have a great job. I get paid well. I do interesting things. I would hate to have a union come in and ruin it.

As far as kool-aid, I don't like either the blue kind or the red kind. I mix my own according to my own liking.

Here's the recipe:
1 part ethics
1 part history
1 part clear logical thought
1 part juniper juice
Mix and pour over crushed ice. Enjoy at the end of an honest days work.


how about the employers harassing and threatening its workers when they want to unionize and the workers and the union unable to do anything to stop it? How about businesses closing their doors and rebuilding 10 miles down the road to avoid any attempts at unionizing? How about employers demanding secret ballots and, using those very same strongarm tactics that they accuse unions of using, try to get their workers to not unionize?

The EFCA allows the worker to choose whether or not they want to unionize without any fear of repercussion from unions or management.

In the old days, you are correct, there may have been "strongarms" who forced people to join the union, but these days, with the labor laws that are in place, unions caught doing that are subject to severe penalties.

In addition, workers will still be allowed to have a secret ballot, only this time, it'll be *their* choice, not the employer's or the union's.

Shouldn't unionizing be the workers' choice?

There are already laws that limit harrassment of workers by either side. This proposal just tips the teeter-totter the way of the union. Like the end of your little propaganda video.

Its no secret that card checks result in unionization far more often than secret ballots. Doesn't that make you wonder why?

As far as choice: Sure it should be the worker's unforced choice whether or not they want to unionize. But, the business owner should also have a choice in the matter.

I know ownership doesn't count for much in your circle of friends. But it does for me. I'd like to own my own business someday. I'd like to run it according to my wishes. I wouldn't hesitate to close the doors and move it should a union try to invade. Its MY fucking business.

No one owes you a job.
No one owes you health care.
No one owes you an education, a vacation, a justification, a divine revelation, or down-on-their-knees fellation.

Teeter-totter? Really? The balance of power between workers and management/owners has been totally on management's side for decades! And as far as "owing" someone health care, it's a basic human right to have access to health care. The only strong unions left are those of government employees- probably because politicians know that the whole thing will fall apart without them. I'm not asking Nick to personally cover the cost, but the US needs to wake up and get its freakin' priorities straight. Most businesses want some form of nationalized health care. Man, enough with the hate.....

Explain to little old me how healthcare is a basic human right. From first principles, please.

And if you are not asking me to pay for it, yippee, but then who ARE you asking? I'm not an economist, but I know there is no such thing as a free lunch.

My hate stems from having to work in the real world, under real deadlines, with union pipe fitters, electricians, machinists, and mechanics. I remember waiting 2 hours for an electrician to come flip a circuit breaker. And he had to ask me which one to flip. I couldn't do it myself or the union boss would chew my ass.

Contrast that with a recent job in China, where every employee was willing to help or to stay late. Is it any wonder more jobs are getting outsourced?

First Principles, as in, the Heritage Foundation talking points on US health care policy?

No, as in how do you define a basic human right and why do you think healthcare is one of them?

Repeating "healthcare is a human right" a million times does not make it so.

Clever rebuttal both times. Do you not have anything useful to say?

Unions ride on the cart built by the business owner.

If people don't like their working conditions, feel free to move on.

Here is a perfect example: In the 90's I worked at the DNT, they wanted me, in a management position to join the union, I would get great raises etc. I did not join and negotiated my own pay raises by hard work and performance.

The DNT's sales people are union and are not commissioned, therefore, they become order takers, there is no incentive to work harder at all.

The arguments in favor of unions are hilarious, why is it the employers responsibility to provide healthcare. Business owner mortgages house to build a company based on an idea or invention - They risk their kids college savings etc. and somehow or another they are responsible for healthcare, give me a break - your union dogma is a freaking joke. You are not entitled to anything other than the fruits of hard work.

UNIONS = Hide and seek for a grand a week.

Faced with declining membership rolls, organized labor is searching for new ways to organize nonunion workplaces. Unions have come up with one new method: they urge employers to voluntarily adopt what are called "neutrality" and "card check" agreements. These organizing methods deny workers the right to vote in a secret ballot election on whether they want to join the union. Just as significant are the methods that unions use to persuade companies to agree to these provisions. Unions clearly regard these organizing methods as crucial to their future success. After he received the AFL-CIO endorsement for President, Vice President Al Gore made it a point to address the union federation and assure it of his support for neutrality and card check agreements.

According to federal labor law, an employer confronted by labor organizers is not permitted to threaten employees that it will move or shut down operations if they vote for union representation. An employer also cannot offer to reward employees with pay increases or bonuses if they do not join a union. In this sense, employers cannot influence worker decisions.

But a so-called neutrality agreement is different. It obligates an employer not only to accept a union's campaign to convince its employees about the merits of unionization but to refrain from offering them arguments against unionization. Currently, the free speech provisions of federal labor law permit an employer to explain to employees why they would be better off not joining a union and to call their attention to bad experiences that other workers have had after forming a union bargaining unit. However, under a neutrality agreement, the employer agrees to remain silent.

A card check agreement is permitted under current federal labor law. Invariably accompanying a neutrality agreement, the card check agreement requires the employer to recognize the union if at least 50 percent of the employees sign cards indicating that they support the union. It is generally understood that a workplace is as good as unionized if the employer has reached neutrality and a card check agreements with a union. By contrast, a union that cannot win a card check campaign at a workplace is probably wasting its time trying to organize it.

Neutrality Agreements

Some neutrality agreements do more than deny the employer the right to campaign against the union. They also extend preferential hiring rights to union members at unorganized facilities, grant union organizers access to employer facilities to hand out literature and meet with workers during company time, secure employer agreement that contract negotiations for the bargaining unit will begin shortly after it is formed, and submit points of contention to binding arbitration if no agreement is reached. Most importantly, many neutrality agreements extend coverage of its provisions to all affiliates of the company adopting the agreement.

Why would any employer voluntarily accept a neutrality and card check agreement? Unions have found ways to persuade them that it is in their narrow self-interest. One major way is "bargaining to organize." Here the union uses the collective bargaining process to obtain the employer's agreement to accept provisions that promote union organizing at the company. Unions argue that they can only win contract concessions among employers if they can achieve a threshhold level of membership density within a particular industry. They even may agree to short-term sacrifices in current contract negotiations in order to build up the union over the long term. This means that unions have to lobby their own members to understand the benefits of industry-wide organizing. In some cases, union members who already work at unionized work sites need to be persuaded to accept less generous benefits to serve what the union argues is their long-term self-interest.

The union must put a good deal of effort into convincing its own members that organizing is vital to their long-term well-being. For instance, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) has produced a video entitled "Market Share: The Key to Security" which explains that "there is a direct connection between size of our market share and the kind of contract we can get during negotiations. When union market share is high, the stores are on a level playing field: their prices are about the same because their labor costs are the same. That means we can negotiate from a position of real strength. When nonunion stores move in with low wages and minimal benefits, our union employers can't compete, so at contract time, they ask us for concessions."

Neutrality agreements generally say that neither side will run a negative campaign against the other. This means that the union won't try to undermine the public image of the company, and in return the company won't attack the union's organizing drive. Some employers reach neutrality agreements in exchange for the union's promise not to strike. The company may also agree to give the union a list of the names and addresses of its employees.

The AFL-CIO publishes a weekly update called "Work in Progress" that gives some indication of how pervasive this sort of organizing has become. The updates, which summarize all organizing victories by AFL-CIO unions across the country, frequently mention that union certification was achieved through card check campaigns rather than through union representation elections supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Neutrality agreements seem to be used most frequently by service sector unions like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), although manufacturing unions like the United Auto Workers and the Steelworkers have also made neutrality a major priority in their collective bargaining negotiations. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has worked hard to use these agreements to maintain its presence in the telecommunications industry. It is leveraging its strength to make sure that new and fast-growing industries like wireless and the internet will not be non-union. This strategy has been successful -- six of the seven major phone service providers have accepted neutrality agreements which cover all areas of their business.

Card Check Agreements

A card check agreement allows a union to bypass the traditional NLRB certification process which establishes the procedures that lead to a secret ballot election for union representation. Unions claim that it's too easy for companies to file objections to the results of an NLRB election which, they say, can keep the union's status on hold for years. Unions prefer card checks because they are faster than NLRB elections; many card check campaigns take no more than a month. The card check campaign takes only as much time as is needed to get half the employees to sign cards which state that the employee wants to be represented by the union.

Unions object to what they perceive as the NLRB's lengthy appeals process and protracted court proceedings. Richard Bensinger, former director of the AFL-CIO's organizing department and a strong proponent of card check and neutrality agreements, has said that "Our position is that the National Labor Relations Act is outdated and virtually useless, and therefore we're choosing that route fewer and fewer times." However, according to San Francisco labor lawyer Patrick Jordan, NLRB guidelines say an election must be held within 42 days from the time that the union requests it, during which time all eligibility disputes must be resolved.

The real reason unions oppose certification elections is that they have found they lose them. When employers are allowed to state their own positions and when workers are allowed to vote in secret, unions lose elections around 50 percent of the time. Even when unions undertake a NLRB-supervised election they must conduct a preliminary card check or petition campaign to call for a secret ballot. The union may get well over 50 percent of the employees to sign cards or a petition asking for an election, but it will often fail to win 50 percent of their votes in a subsequent NLRB certification election. It's no wonder then that the union would much prefer to reduce its organizing activities to a single step that avoids the costs of a full-blown campaign. Unions believe the much higher level of union representation in Canada, where over 30 percent of employees are unionized compared to less than 14 percent in the US, is the result of labor laws there that provide for union recognition based on nothing more than the card check.

Labor unions are excited by this organizing strategy because they think it will increase the number of union workplaces and reduce the number of legal challenges from employers. Unions believe that the more success they have at organizing, the more success they will have at the bargaining table obtaining benefits for their members. Consequently, they are spending more resources on organizing. The most aggressive union locals will spend 40 percent of their budgets on organizing workplaces to increase union membership. This is quite dramatic compared to complacent union locals that may spend no more than 3 percent on organizing activities.

One UAW publication makes the point quite clearly. It says, "We must...understand that the percentage of union density in our industries/sectors has a direct relationship to what we can expect to win in bargaining. . . To meet our challenges, organizing must become a central part of our culture, not merely an afterthought to collective bargaining, servicing and political action."

The literature of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is even more explicit in describing why it's necessary to wrest card check and neutrality agreements from employers: "Under the NLRA, employers can legally bar non-employee organizers from the workplace, give anti-union ‘captive audience' speeches during work time, send anti-union literature to workers' homes, and hold ‘one-on-one' or small group meetings with workers on union issues."

But attorney Patrick Jordan argues that companies are fully within their rights. "There's nothing wrong with an employer holding captive audience meetings, because it's paying wages. And if it chooses to talk to employers about unions rather than engaging in production, then that's its right. Just because the employer does that doesn't create a concomitant right on the part of a union to have access to employees on the company's property."

Union critics say card check agreements are popular with union officials because such agreements allow them to intimidate recalcitrant employees. After all, it's public knowledge when an employee refuses to sign a card. Employers also say card check elections do not truly represent employee opinions, and many are reluctant to allow their employees to be unionized under these conditions. If employers sell out their employees by negotiating the termination of their right to a secret ballot, they may find that they have purchased more employee conflicts for the price of union peace.

The deceptive use of the term "neutrality agreement" is particularly unfortunate. Most people equate neutrality with even-handed fairness. But neutrality assumes that there are countervailing forces. For instance, an employer might be required to stay neutral in the event that two union rivals sought to organize its employees. But in a certification election, the company is the other side; no other group has any incentive to offer employees arguments to oppose unionization. If any employees even attempted to oppose a card check campaign, they would lack the union's financial resources, the company could not give them funding or support, and the employees would have to avoid any appearance of speaking for the employer, lest it be charged with an unfair labor practice.

Employers are already neutral in any unionization campaign in the sense that they cannot use their position to pressure employees into rejecting a union. An employer campaign merely gives employees the opportunity to hear arguments against local union representation that is supported by a highly organized, sophisticated and well-funded national union.

Union supporters say neutrality agreements protect workers who want to organize a union from employer threats and intimidation. But federal labor law already makes these activities illegal. Neutrality agreements only stop employers from explaining why workers are better off remaining non-union. "Unions don't like employers to communicate with their employees. They only want it one way: their way," says Jordan. And regarding card check agreements, "The only issue is whether you've got the signature on the dotted line. The employee really hasn't voted. He has simply been handed a card that got one sales pitch, and they sign a piece of paper. That's not an election."

Card check and neutrality agreements also can stop employers from explaining how employees can be more productive by working in teams instead of according to union work rules. They prevent employers from explaining why a union may make the company less competitive in the global market.

Union Politics in Las Vegas and Minneapolis

Card check and neutrality agreements are particularly prevalent in the hotel and entertainment industries, and nowhere has organized labor had more organizing success than in Las Vegas whose tourism boom has produced a explosion of new hotel construction and hiring. Hotels are favorite union targets because employers facing a unionization campaign can hardly pack up and move. In addition, many hotel building projects are funded in part by city subsidies or are built on city-owned land. Under union pressure, local governments may require hotel owners to accept pro-labor contract provisions.

It is no coincidence that the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HERE) is in the forefront of neutrality and card check organizing. Membership in HERE's Las Vegas local has increased from 18,000 in the late 1980s to over 45,000.

Washington, D.C. labor lawyer Jay Krupin explains that HERE can pressure hotel owners by finding people -- either union members or union sympathizers -- in the community who live near the future site of a hotel and who are willing to file zoning board objections during the period of public comment and review. Facing costly construction delays, owners often will accept a neutrality agreement in return for the withdrawal of the complaint. Krupin says unions have used these tactics to organize in Las Vegas and Boston, and in Washington, DC as recently as October. In addition to these cities, he says neutrality agreements are also widespread in San Francisco and New Haven.

Kirk Adams, the AFL-CIO's current organizing director, does not shrink from this kind of coercion. He has said that "Unions should look aggressively for situations where public money is being used to deny workers the right to organize. Our bargaining and our politics should be connected." The AFL-CIO says that "the unions that have effectively bargained to organize attribute their success to getting the organizing message to members, mobilizing members, building community coalitions, negotiating strategically and adding political action to the tactical mix."

In San Francisco, Mayor Willie Brown has often used his influence to convince business that they should not resist organizing campaigns. For example, when the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) pushed to organize a proposed Bloomingdale's department store by card check, Brown threw the power of his office behind the union. The mayor has a say because the retail center anchored by Bloomingdale's is to be built on city property with partial city financing. Brown has also signed legislation that requires card check and neutrality agreements at hotels and restaurants if their business receives any benefits from the city government -- a step that makes HERE the sole beneficiary of the legislation.

The use of local governments to benefit labor unions bears resemblance to local government involvement in the living wage campaign (see the October issue of Labor Watch). In both instances, labor unions exploit their greatest area of strength: political activism at the local level. Unions realize that they have no certainty of success in any contest with employers where they must resort to prolonged negotiations under the threat of a strike. But the advantage of political activism is that it raises the likelihood of success while cutting the costs required by individual organizing campaigns.

Of course, the pressure of local politics is an old story. City councils have long required that construction projects be built by union labor. But forcing neutrality agreements on employers could lead to the unionizing of companies like Marriott that are primarily non-union. But this hardly bothers pro-union city council members who claim neutrality agreements are necessary to maintain "labor peace" so that the unions agree not to disrupt the employer's operations or attack its reputation.

Minneapolis offers an informative case study. In August 1998 the city council tried to force the developer of a downtown historic redevelopment area to have all businesses on the property covered by a neutrality agreement. The city claimed it had a say in the matter because it was paying $8.5 million for the cleanup and preservation of the historic site. A Marriott Courtyard hotel was ready to drop out of the project, but city councilmembers, who with one exception were labor-backed, persisted in demanding agreement to their terms. Although the developer vowed that the deal wouldn't go through if card check and neutrality agreements were required, the council passed by a vote of 11-2 the development plan requiring them. The project went forward without the agreements only after the city attorney said that the plan probably violated federal labor law because the city's spending was not a direct subsidy. Still, politicians friendly to labor would rather have killed the construction project than let it be nonunion.

Corporate Campaigns

When unions do not use collective bargaining agreements, political pressure tactics, or the threat of strikes to obtain card check and neutrality agreements, they use corporate campaigns. A corporate campaign is a euphemism that masks what is essentially an effort to damage the reputation or public image of a company in order to bring it to the bargaining table or to accept the agreements. In corporate campaigns, unions enlist the support of religious and community groups. They sign petitions and appear at rallies attacking the employer's labor practices and lead boycotts of its products. Corporate campaigns can last for years as the union attempts to wear down the company and convince it that accepting the union is less costly than continued resistance.

Corporate campaigns are almost always used to achieve neutrality agreements. According to Jordan, "unions which engage in a corporate campaign usually don't want to file petitions for elections with the NLRB. They believe they can do better by exerting either political or economic pressure."

Unions use corporate campaigns to attack the employer's financial strength by going to shareholders with accusations of corporate mismanagement. (See August issue of Labor Watch.) They also can attack the employer's health and safety practices or harass it with lawsuits and charges of unfair labor practices. According to The Nation, a corporate campaign's "objective is to hit powerful and highly diversified companies on all fronts by investigating their affiliates, scrutinizing their environmental and investment records, organizing consumer boycotts, submitting shareholder resolutions, complaining to regulatory agencies and doing whatever else it takes to pressure management into a fair settlement."

In 1996, the organizing director of UFCW explained why unions had to attack non-union companies like grocery store chain Food Lion: "When the unionized share of the grocery dollar declines in any geographic area, our ability to produce at the bargaining table is diminished. . .Over the long run, we must either reduce these chains' market share enough so that they will abandon their deep-seated hatred of unions, or we must put them out of business. There is no other option." This is the logic behind a corporate campaign.

A peculiar illustration of a corporate campaign to force acceptance of neutrality agreements occurred last September in New York City. There union members from HERE protested outside Lincoln Center, where the Metropolitan Opera was performing "Pagliacci" and "Cavalleria Rusticana." The demonstrators tried to embarrass the Met's patrons by drawing attention to the discrepency between the wealth of the opera-goers and the wages of the contractor's employees, and in so doing, embarrass the Met into forcing a contractor to accept neutrality and card check agreements.

Or consider the Omni hotel chain's agreement late last year to accept card check neutrality at a proposed site for a hotel in downtown San Francisco. The city Planning Commission had successfully held up the project until the hotel agreed to HERE conditions. The president of the union local, referring to the bitter seven-year long corporate campaign against the San Francisco Marriott, interpreted his victory this way: "We were able to persuade them that it would be in everybody's interest to find a way to avoid a bitter labor dispute that would go on for years."

One of the most famous corporate campaigns is "Justice for Janitors." This was part of a successful effort by SEIU to make Somers Building Maintenance Inc. adopt a neutrality agreement. The campaign involved staging acts of civil disobedience, or "actions," including blocking major streets, in cities across the country.

Coalitions of labor unions and allied groups forced an Omni hotel in New Haven, Connecticut to accept a neutrality agreement after students and professors from nearby Yale University, as well as community, church and civil rights groups, picketed and threatened to boycott it. They also convinced the city to hold hearings on the matter. Sympathetic organizations cancelled events at the hotel, and the governor of Puerto Rico refused to attend a Yale-sponsored conference at the hotel. Omni eventually voluntarily agreed to a neutrality agreement.

Organized labor has also achieved neutrality agreements by taking advantage of the relationship between companies and their suppliers. According to an editorial in The Wall Street Journal, contracts recently negotiated by the United Auto Workers (UAW) with the Big Three automakers included provisions requiring the automakers to pressure their nonunion suppliers to adopt neutrality agreements. The suppliers have strongly resisted union organizing, and Big Three outsourcing to them has been so pressing a UAW concern that it was the main reason why the union initiated a major strike against GM last summer. It is illegal for the automakers to require their suppliers to unionize, but it is not illegal for them to "urge" them to be "neutral" during unionization campaigns.

Unions have managed to arrange for employer neutrality in other ways as well. For example, in 1997, the AFL-CIO and health-care provider Kaiser Permanente struck a deal in which Kaiser would be considered "the provider of choice" of health insurance for its members. In return Kaiser agreed to maintain neutrality in any union organizing drives.

Labor unions face serious challenges to maintain their power and increase their membership. But by leveraging their strengths -- namely, union-controlled city governments, and their skill at conducting comprehensive public relations campaigns against companies -- they are accumulating a growing list of organizing successes across the country. Will this be enough to revive organized labor as a national movement? At least in the cities where the new organizing methods are used, the power of labor unions can't be ignored.

Here a few links to info that explain the concept better than I could.
The First Principles is a flawed starting point for your argument in that blacks were measure 3/5ths human for purposes of the census (being used to determine representation in the House). The First Principles gave the vote to only white men with property. Government should evolve. The constitution should evolve. Our conception of what is morally right should evolve. Saying First Principles a million times does not make them "more perfect."

why is it the employers responsibility to provide healthcare

I think it's something to do with them seizing [1] upon the idea in order to stave off the terrifying prospect of government-run health care and pensions.

[1] helpful: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/08/28/060828fa_fact


Its generally bad form for the parasite to kill its host.

In solidarity,


Thanks for trying. None of your links explain why healthcare is a basic human right.

If I say proper grammar is a human right, does THAT make it so?

Is good skin or thick hair a basic human right?

How about high intelligence?

Toothbrushes, anal plugs, a larger penis, fuel efficient cars, triple lattes, porn?

At least the Professor comes right out and says he wants other people to pay for his health care. He is truthful in his thuggery. You try to cloak it in "basic human rights" respectability, but its really the same thing. Theivery

Don't get me wrong. I like healthcare. It has saved my life at least once. But, I will not ask you to pay for my genetic flaws. If only you would be willing to do the same for me.

I mean Thievery. Damn vodka is making my fingers thick.

Dear Diary & pistoffnick:

Thank you for that informative, although unsourced, essay on why union card check and neutrality is bad.

Let's look at a local story.

Locally, there recently was a clinic that was purchased by a hospital. The clinic employees were offered wages at a considerable loss to what they were making prior to the sale. They were offered unaffordablehealth insurance with a co-pay so large that one month's wages at the highest wage offered wouldn't cover the co-pay. They were told that they might have to work 12-16 hour days 6 days a week with no overtime pay and in addition, if there were a lot of patients, no breaks, even though Minnesota law guarantees a worker a reasonable break period for 8 hours of work (reasonable defined as 20 minutes or more.)

They were stripped of all previously earned vacation and started at 0. Some of the employees had worked in the clinic for over 20 years and they were starting from scratch as brand-new employees.

In fact, some of the employees had to find other employment because they couldn't afford to stay with the clinic with the wages and benefits being offered.

The clinic employees decided to band together and unionize, using the card check method. There was no pressure from the union they wanted to represent them, just an explanation of what the cards meant, a handout of the cards and an understanding that the cards would be picked up after a couple of days.

100% of the clinic employees signed the cards that day.

Why? Because they knew, with the union behind them, they would have more leverage to bring their wages to a living wage. They would be able to negotiate affordable health care, because, let's face it, how absurd is it that we have healthcare workers in this country who can't afford or don't have health insurance?

They would be able to negotiate vacations and overtime pay for working such long hours. They would get meal breaks. In short, they would be treated as the valuable resource they are.

The clinic is now in its first round of contract negotiations and already, things are looking better for these clinic employees.

Now, Dear Diary & pistoffnick, you may say that unions are bad, but I submit to you, that particular hospital employer was and is worse what you think a union is.

Unions form because employers take their workers for granted and/or treat them poorly. If all employers treated their workers fairly, there would be no need for unions.

We know that is not the case. We know that there are employers out there who treat their employees no better than cattle. Here are some examples. Take your time, read through the stories.

Walmart Workers of America

Shameless Restuarants

Smithfield Justice

Change To Win Worker Stories

Make Cintas Safe

Bad Bosses

These stories, and the thousands like them, are why unions are necessary.

Nick, you are lucky in that you have a job that treats you well and meets your basic needs. I wish everyone had jobs that treated them well and met basic needs.

The sad truth is that today workers are expected to do more and more work with less and less money while corporate executive salaries balloon into the millions of dollars.

SMDC is a prime example: they're laying off their worker level staff while their CEO makes 1.2 million dollars a year.

Your logic, nick and dear diary, is illogical.

Unions and the power for workers to choose to unionize without retaliation by the employer to combat corporate greed and abuse is necessary.

That is the heart of the EFCA: guaranteeing workers' rights. That is why I support it. That is why you should support it.

The source on card check is the Capital Research Center:


Tamara, there is simply no argument you can put forth that mitigates the devastaion AFSCME and the DFD union have driven the city of Duluth too. Do you find it fair and reasonable that Duluth should hold the dubious distinction of being the # 1 most unfunded healthcare city in the entire United States, and not per capita either.

Do you also find it reasonable that 167 employees lose their jobs because AFSCME sought a whopping 30% increase over two please do explain to me how and why the taxpayers should pay these benefits when the citizens could never find such benefits in their lives, in other words, why should city workers get more than the average citizen.

For the record, the CEO of SMDC is paid less than one of his peers in the business. The last time I checked the US was still a democracy, based on Capitalism, not a socialist state.

Although, it does appear that you would prefer this be a socialist state. This country is based on the notion that hard work pays off, it is the mediocre that scream for equal treatment in response to those around them that work harder, study harder and longer.

It is very intriguing though how the vast majority of Duluthians are fed up with the union at the trough. But don't take my word for it, go to the most recent DNT poll, in which 75% of those responding were pleased with the judges verdict o not grant a restraining order to AFSCME Council 5.

The days of the union are almost over, there are a few that still have some mojo, but they too will be cut down as they drive their employer to bankruptcy-
See the attached ruling below, and remember this, this set labor precedent, and if Duluth files BK, the labor contracts will be the first thing a judge looks at, and note that in the NWA case, at least the unions made concessions, something AFSCME or DFD have NEVER done.

Northwest used its Chapter 11 protection from creditors to cut costs by $2.5 billion a year, including labor cost savings of $1.4 billion, and reduce debt by $4.2 billion.

Northwest faced severe criticism during its reorganization from workers who made steep sacrifices for the company. In 2005, the airline replaced about 4,400 striking employees represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association with non-union labor and outside vendors.

The airline battled its flight attendants union, ultimately winning court approval to void its labor contract and impose concessions on the employees.

More recently, unions blasted a planned stock bonus that could be worth millions of dollars for Steenland.

"This is a sad day for American workers whose taxes pay for American courts," said Jay Hong, president of Northwest's Association of Flight Attendants.

"Northwest flight attendants and workers across America are getting hit from all sides: increased taxes, decreased health and retirement benefits, increased fatigue and time away from families," Hong said.

And for your information, the source on this is Reuters News Service.

Legal recognition of a union has traditionally been achieved through secret ballot elections, in which each worker decides whether or not to support a union in the privacy of the voting booth -- just like a person votes for the president or a senator. But unions frequently lose secret ballot elections. So they often bring intense pressure on companies to agree to a "card check" system instead of a secret election.

There's no reason to subject the workers to an election.
— President Bruce Raynor,

With card checks, paid union organizers try to persuade workers to sign cards saying that they favor union representation. This persuasion frequently takes the form of harassing visits to workers' homes, deception, and coercion. As soon as more than 50 percent of the workers in a bargaining unit sign a card, the union can be recognized as the representative of 100 percent of the workers.

We don't do elections.
— SEIU Local 32BJ leader Mike Fishman

Card check campaigns generally occur in the context of a neutrality agreement, in which the company agrees to not speak to employees about the risks and downsides of union membership. When asked about neutrality agreements versus secret ballot elections in a 2005 Zogby poll, 59 percent of Americans agreed that "employers should be able to provide employees with information about unions and the potential impact of unionizing on their jobs."

Tamara- Shameless Restaurants- how about the following testimony given to a US House Sub-committee from a Las Vegas Culinary employee at the MGM Grand:

Working under this understanding, the MGM Grand was a very friendly and relaxed place to work. Cast Members became friends, and helped each other out, as did the different departments.

When the MGM decided to change directions and marketing strategy, they also changed their upper management. The management team that had promised that they would only recognize an NLRB secret ballot was replaced, but the Cast Members were told that there would be "no changes" in its stand on an NLRB secret ballot election for unionism.

When the new management announced that they were going to pursue a market in the Detroit area, it was soon followed by the announcement that they were now going to recognize a "card count" by the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226. At that point the nightmares began for the Cast Members.

Many of the Cast Members had come to the MGM to get away from the Culinary Union, while others were there to get away from other unions and there were those that the unions had asked to go there to work. The Culinary Union’s history in the city was not one that showed that it cared about the workers they represented or had the power to do anything for them.

They [the Culinary Union] had an eight-year stretch of not getting any raises for the workers. They were in a three-year strike against a family owned casino and showed no signs of strength to break management down. [They finally say they "won" when they found a sympathetic person towards unionism to buy the casino after the strike had gone on for five and one half years.] They had not gotten a raise in their pension plan for the workers since 1984, which was 42¢ per hour for every hour worked up to 2,000 hours.

The local press in previous years had flirted with the Culinary Union’s ties with organized crime.

All though the leaders of the Culinary Union were decrying that they no longer had ties to organized crime, they did seem to enjoy the reputation of organized crime’s intimidation methods of control. Even while the leaders were denouncing any ties to the Mob, U.S. District Judge Garret E. Brown, Jr. appointed Kurt Muellenberg as a Monitor overseeing Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union [HEREIU]. Mr. Muellenberg found and documented many instances of corruption and Mob affiliations within the HEREIU.

When the monitor ship ended, and the then HEREIU President, the late Edward T. Hanely, was disbarred for life from the union, the newly "elected" HEREIU President, John Wilhelm, proudly proclaimed basically, "See I told you we were squeaky clean with no ties to organized crime." Yet in April, 2002, Judge Brown has once again appointed Mr. Muellenberg as a Monitor to run and reform HEREIU Local 69, in New Jersey under the civil RICO Act [Racketeer and Corrupt Organization].

When the Culinary Union walked through the door they immediately began telling union followers whom they could talk to and whom they could not associate with. The union representatives had soon divided the workers into two groups, union and non-union, which they quickly labeled as ‘anti-union’. This label was quickly followed by ‘welfare recipients’, ‘freeloaders’ and of course ‘liars’, were a few of the many.

When the employees wanted to ask questions about the pros and cons about unionizing they soon found that they could only "hear" about the pros. To find out about the cons, they learned that no one was able to help them. The management had signed a neutrality contract with the union that meant they could not/would not say a word about aspects of unionizing or not unionizing. There was no group that they could turn to seek help. These groups the unions had labeled "Union Busters" and the laws governing them meant basically that only management could hire them. These groups we soon learned cannot advise employees on their own without suffering fines and/or loss of license.

In order for the union to collect a signature on a card, we quickly learned their methods of obtaining them. Cast Members began telling each other what union representatives were telling them. Some of these promises, statements and actions union representative made were:

Have supervisors fired

Loose your job if you were not union or had not signed the card when they [the union] got in

Loose your health benefits if you did not sign the card

Loose your 401k if you did not sign the card

Give them a turkey if they signed a "union yes" card

Signing the card was calling for a vote

"Hound" them in the privacy of the employee dressing room to sign a card, while they were dressing for work

Keep "hounding" them to sign a card once they were told that they did not want to sign the card.

The signing of the card only meant that you would be sent information about the union

Invade the privacy of your home when you did not give them your address and/or telephone number [and keep coming back time after time after being told "NO"]

Count a card that they had signed at another property in the past

Stop the MGM from deporting one by signing the card

They tore the "NO UNION" buttons off our uniforms

If you sign the card we [the union] will help you get your "green card"

One Cast Member told us that union representatives had come to him and stated that if he did not sign the card his wife who worked at another property would be fired.

Another gentleman came to me and apologized for signing the card because union representatives had told him, "We know where you live, we know where your kids go to school and we know where your wife works. If you do not sign the card, ‘accidents’ can happen."

While breaking in the Cast Members’ cafeteria, groups of the union followers would come to our tables chanting different slogans. Since management was never sure when one of us non-union Cast Members would strike back, they had security sanding by to calm the situation. [Remarkably, the non-union group stayed calm and did not start any incidents throughout the entire 2-year campaign asking for their right to vote.]

The Culinary Union also targeted three of us that worked on the casino floor and had union members from other properties come and threaten us on our stations. Subsequently two ladies were detained by MGM security and they admitted to the fact that they had been sent by organizers from the Culinary Union.

Those of us that tried to answer and educate those that were asking questions about the benefits of unionizing vs. staying non-union, had to face daily the hatred from the union representatives and anyone else they could incorporate into their way of "the end justifies the means". For eleven months we had to endure the tactics of the union to obtain signatures on their cards.

With less than one month left in the unions one-year time span to acquire the required number of signatures, the union announced they had achieved the goal. To the shock of many of the Cast Members at the MGM, we did not see how they could have gotten the majority of the bargaining unit to sign a "union yes" card.

So many of the Cast Members could not believe that the Culinary Union had obtained the required signatures, we wanted the vote we had been promised. We all believed that if we were given the right to vote in a secret ballot, we would win. We also were willing to accept the fact that if the union was right and they had the majority, we could accept it. That was the American way that we all had grown up with, one wins or looses by a majority vote.

In order to try to get to the truth of the "numbers" a group of us formed an organization that we called: "Organized Non-Union Cast Members" [O.N.U.C.M.]. We immediately started circulating a petition asking for an NLRB sanctioned election. While circulating this petition, we began to self educate ourselves as to what options and steps we must take to get what we believed was our American right to vote. Through the NLRB we learned that we had little precious time left for any steps left open to us. They showed us a form that we must fill out and even helped us fill it out. We went in search of a lawyer that would be willing to help us. That is when we met Gregory E. Smith, of Smith & Kotchka, who was willing to help us.

When he looked at everything that we had done on our own, he stated that he was impressed. When he looked at the form that the NLRB had us fill out, he informed us that if it had made it to an NLRB hearing it would have done us no good. He also was impressed that by this time, about one month, that we had been getting signatures asking for an NLRB vote, we had approximately 900 out of a 3,000 member bargaining unit. But he pointed out to us that there was no provision in the National Labor Relations Act[s] [NLRA] that permitted the employees a right to call for an NLRB vote. He went on to explain that under the NLRA the employer could call for a vote at anytime and that the union could call for a vote at anytime. But the employees that unionizing would affect their futures had no rights to call for a vote.

In explaining to us that since there was no right for us to call for a vote, the only option left for us was to file for a decertification. This being the case, we could not use our petition asking for a vote, but would have to start a new petition asking for a decertification. In filing for a decertification we would also have to follow the rules and regulations established for decertification. Again, these rules and regulations had nothing to do with simply asking for our right to vote. He said the good news was that we only needed 30% of the bargaining unit to file. The bad news was that we had even less time now to get them.

When we got our 30% in less time than our deadline, we notified our lawyer and we filed for a decertification. We continued to collect signatures on our petition and submitted them on the deadline date. We then learned that we had collected approximately 1,900 signatures out of the 3,000 member bargaining unit.

At the local NLRB hearing for a decertification in Las Vegas, we presented them with our petition and case histories that in some cases the NLRB had ruled that as little as three to four months was enough time to get a contract between the employer and the union. We were at about six or seven months without getting a contract.

The local board’s decision was based on that they did not feel that this amount of time was enough for the two sides to achieve a contract. They granted them a one-year period to work out a contract. Little emphasis, if any, was placed on the fact that over 60% of the employees was asking not to be represented by the Culinary Union and wanted to vote on it.

As an interesting side note, I would like to add that the union was telling their people not to sign our petition asking for an NLRB election. If the union truly had the majority, they would win the election and settle the matter. Why not prove it?

When union dues began to be deducted from the bargaining units Cast Members’ pay checks, many Cast Members came to us asking: "How could they be taking dues from them as they had never signed a authorization card from the union?" As no Cast Member was asked to verify their ‘signature’ on an authorization card, there is still speculation on how the union had a card ‘signed’ by some Cast Members.

When these Cast Members sent in letters of resignation, the Culinary Union immediately let them resign. The union did not make them meet the union’s 15-day window period of their date of signing the card before they could accept their resignations.

In the last Presidential election there are a great many American voters in the state of Florida that firmly believe that their vote did not count on the direction they wanted their country to take. In Las Vegas, Nevada there are approximately 3,000 Americans that were never given their right to vote on the direction that their lives would take.

One more for you Tamara:

Testimony of Mr. Richard Hermanson

September 30, 2004

Committee on Education and the Workforce
Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations

My name is Richard Hermanson. I am employed as a transportation security screener at San Francisco International Airport. It is a privilege to speak before the subcommittee today.

When Covenant Aviation Security hired me in November 2002, I attended a new hire orientation where company officials introduced themselves and gave an overview of company goals as a contractor to the Transportation Security Administration. Midway in the orientation, a union representative from Service Employees International Union Local 790 was also given a turn at the podium. He spoke briefly, explained what a union security clause is, and that we had thirty days to comply with the security clause. To this day I do not know why the company recognized the union, but it did for a time until a charge was filed with the National Labor Relations Board Region 20, and the company and union agreed to no longer enforce the existing collective bargaining agreement.

United Screeners Association Local 1 was then started by a number of my co-workers who, like myself, were extremely displeased with SEIU representation. A representation petition was passed, and once it was signed by 30% of the workforce, we met to discuss filing the petition. SEIU 790 was also passing representation cards at this time. As we discussed filing the petition, we were stuck on one critical issue - a proper filing would exclude SEIU 790 from the ballot. We did what we felt was the right thing - we filed the petition as a "guard" unit, and Region 20 ultimately approved the filing.

Undeterred, SEIU 790 immediately switched gears, telling screeners that an NLRB election was not the only way to achieve union recognition. They said that they could use signature cards for recognition if a majority of the workforce voted "No" and signed a petition for SEIU 790. They said that they could use political pressure to gain recognition. They also said that they could use the San Francisco Airport Labor Peace Card Check Ordinance to force recognition that is meant to be voluntary under the National Labor Relations Act. Although SEIU 790 was initially successful in their attempt to divide the loyalties of the screeners by suggesting that a federally supervised secret-ballot election was merely a prerequisite to their card count demand for recognition, the ultimate resolution of the campaign is still in doubt.

SEIU 790 has been giving away a lot of food during the campaign. Pizza, chocolate, chicken and burritos are among the items given out. Our organizers on more than one occasion observed screeners ask SEIU organizers for a bite to eat, and saw them directed to a representation petition as a prerequisite to receiving the food. On one occasion, an organizer dangling a lunch cooler in front of me to capture my attention approached me. I looked at him and he asked me if I've signed the petition. I was on the clock but I lost my cool anyway. It was an insult to have merchandise used as an enticement for a representation petition.

The SEIU organizers clearly keep a database on who has not signed a card. They wait after work for the unsigned to clock out and pressure them to "make a commitment" and sign cards. This one-on-one targeting is not merely attempts to convey information about the benefits of unionization - they are attempts to get signatures for recognition without the privacy of a secret ballot.

One coworker of mine has relayed that SEIU organizers showed up at his house unannounced, and that he had difficulty getting them to leave after he let them in the house. The organizers finally left after he threatened to call the police. Organizers have been known to call the same person four times late one evening in the hope that they would give in and commit to support SEIU.

Sometimes these tactics work. We've had coworkers tell us that they just signed to get the organizer or coworker off their back, that they were made uncomfortable by the peer pressure to sign a card, that they signed a fake name to get a free lunch cooler, or even that they believed signing was for the meal.

The decision on whether to be represented by a labor organization is to me the most important decision an employee can make in the workplace. This decision should be determined by a secret ballot election. The campaign has a scheduled election date, and the campaign has the privacy of a secret ballot. Employees are not faced with the pressure of fielding the same questions over and over, questions such as "Are you ready to sign the card?" and the myriad of other coercive tactics that I've seen employed over the past year at San Francisco International Airport. My experience over this period suggests to me that card count campaigns carry the risk of a union being granted recognition while it does not carry true majority support, that there is a big difference between a majority of signatures and majority support.

As an officer of United Screeners Association Local 1, I am not interested in our union being extended recognition where privacy is compromised and support is inherently tainted. These concerns led me to advocate for a secret-ballot election at the workplace well before the introduction of H.R. 4343. I am very fortunate to have fellow officers that are also committed to a secret ballot, and it follows that I support the passage of H.R. 4343. I look forward to the day where we will no longer be disadvantaged by filing for a secret-ballot election because a rival, uncertifiable union has an incentive to divide the loyalties of the workers merely for the opportunity to conduct an inherently coercive card-count campaign.

Thank you.

May 5, 2008

Change to Win: AFSCME Lies to Our Members with Pro-Clinton Leaflet
@ 4:29 pm by Chris Good
UPDATED Wed. May 7, 6:27 p.m.: AFSCME spokesman Gregory King told The Hill he has learned that AFSCME's Indiana affiliate disseminated the leaflet.

Change to Win, a coalition of seven unions, accused the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) today of deceiving its Indiana workers with a pro-Hillary Clinton leaflet, while AFSCME spokesmen say the leaflet is news to them.

The two groups are on opposite sides of the Democratic nomination fight, as AFSCME endorsed Clinton in October while Change to Win endorsed Barack Obama Feb. 21. Change to Win's affiliates include the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which has organized door-to-door campaigning and phone banking for Obama in Indiana, and has aired a pro-Obama ad on Indiana television.

Change to Win claims AFSCME disseminated a pro-Clinton leaflet, bearing the message "brought to you by your union" and not containing any AFSCME identification, to Change to Win union members in Indiana.

"It's a shame that the discourse of the Democratic presidential primary campaign has sunk to the point of lying to our union brothers and sisters on the eve of the Indiana primary election," Change to Win Executive Director Greg Tarpinian said today in a statement.

"These deplorable and dishonest tactics undermine our democratic process and the hard work of thousands of Change to Win and other union members and volunteers working tirelessly to help make Sen. Barack Obama the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee. We expect these types of deplorable tactics from the McCain campaign, not AFSCME."

AFSCME denies Change to Win's claim, and its spokesman say they haven't seen or heard of such a leaflet. AFSCME has only disseminated leaflets to its own members in Indiana, they say, and AFSCME always identifies itself on leaflets for its members.

"We haven’t sent any fliers out that fit the description of Change to Win’s charge," AFSCME spokesman Gregory King told The Hill. "You’d think they have more important things to do on the day before a critical primary than spreading false accusations about AFCME."

Ricky Feller, spokesman for AFSCME's PAC–the entity that handles non-member communication–also said he is unaware of such a flier. According to Feller, AFSCME's PAC has not disseminated any leaflets in Indiana.

Alan Netland --> friend of the communists?
After discovering Al Netland, president of the Duluth Central Labor Body, committed fraud by falsifying his time card and patient records (but did not lose his job) in his position as a social worker for St. Louis County I did a google search on his name.

I was dismayed, but not suprised to find he has been a leading source for socialist action and the Peoples Weekly World, a publication that proudly states that "We enjoy a special relationship with the Communist Party USA, founded in 1919, and publish its news and views." Here is one of their sources using quotes from Netland.

Folks like Netland are dangerous, even more so when they receive preferential treatment from the government. Netland stole money from the taxpayers of St. Louis County. He wasn't fired, and the Duluth paper reported that his punishment only included an unpaid suspension (not restitution to the county). He was given a new position working with some of our county's most vulnerable citizens, a position that should make it easy for him to take further advantage of county taxpayers.

2005 | 2006 Executive Board

2006 Salary Breakdown
$ 4,447 Administrative (90%)
$ 0 Contributions (0%)
$ 0 General Overhead (0%)
$ 247 Political (5%)
$ 247 Representational (5%)

$ 4,941 Total Earnings

Hilarious-Glad they are spending so much money representing employees compared to their own salaries.

What You Don't Know About Public Unions:

Contrary to the myths of underpaid government workers frequently pushed by public-sector union bosses, USA Today recently reported that taxpayers are stuck paying overly generous salaries and benefits to government employees -- a large percentage of whom are represented by unions. The paper reported:

Government workers earn higher average wages and get better benefits than people in the private sector, according to bureau statistics. Even white-collar workers -- managers and professionals -- earn more on average than their counterparts in private industry...
The Bureau of Labor Statistics details how superior government benefits are to those in the private sector. Private companies contributed an average of 90 cents to a worker's pension plans for every hour worked in 2005. By comparison, state and local governments contributed $2.48 for every hour an employee worked. --"Pension funds fall short of guarantees," USA Today, Jan 17, 2005

Okay- I'm giving up on this thread and Nick. You win. Every man for himself. Who cares if my mother who lives on her social security and $49 a month pension can't afford the wonderful Part D drug benefit. Who cares that my brother who was a passenger in a car that was broadsided by a drunk had to pay $150,000 out of his own pocket for his health care, though he did nothing but ask a friend for a ride home from work. Who cares that he contracted Hep C while in the hospital from an unscreened blood transfusion and 10 years later developed liver cancer. Who cares that half way through his interferon treatments that his MinCare benefits were cut off by Pawlenty and his gang. Yep, that's life. No sense trying to lift anyone else's boat, just your own. Who cares that I was fired from my last paycheck job because I refused to hand out pro-war literature to customers. I got lucky and am able to get by on my own self-employed talents. But, hey, screw everyone else.

Council 5
2006 Officers & Employees
Name Title Salary Benefits
& Other Total
Eliot Seide Executive Director $ 106,095 $ 9,575 $ 115,670
Julie Bleyhl Political Representative $ 76,877 $ 27,116 $ 103,993
Robert Hilliker Field Representative $ 77,014 $ 24,151 $ 101,165
Stephen Hesse Field Representative $ 74,015 $ 23,282 $ 97,297
Jerry Serfling Field Staff Director $ 87,642 $ 8,325 $ 95,967
Michael Morrell Associate Director $ 86,856 $ 8,886 $ 95,742
Eric Lehto Organizing Director $ 77,052 $ 18,296 $ 95,348
Robert Buckingham Field Representative $ 74,774 $ 19,482 $ 94,256
Mary Theurer Field Staff Director $ 81,612 $ 11,182 $ 92,794
James Niland Political Director $ 78,072 $ 12,710 $ 90,782
Richard Durham Field Representative $ 70,092 $ 18,533 $ 88,625
Stephen Marincel Field Representative $ 77,281 $ 9,349 $ 86,630
Rita During Field Representative $ 77,281 $ 9,344 $ 86,625
John Westmoreland Field Representative $ 66,382 $ 20,143 $ 86,525
Mark Mcafee Political Representative $ 74,358 $ 12,047 $ 86,405
Jill Kielblock Field Representative $ 76,409 $ 9,915 $ 86,324
Joanne Pels Field Staff Director $ 78,528 $ 7,689 $ 86,217
Sidney Helseth Field Representative $ 75,718 $ 10,406 $ 86,124
Matthew Nelson Field Representative $ 77,281 $ 8,815 $ 86,096
Marshall Stenerson Field Representative $ 68,695 $ 15,161 $ 83,856
Charles Martin Field Representative $ 70,092 $ 13,273 $ 83,365
Judy Carlson Field Representative $ 72,924 $ 10,159 $ 83,083
Sandra Curtis Field Representative $ 67,404 $ 14,814 $ 82,218
Christopher Cowen Field Representative $ 71,865 $ 9,815 $ 81,680
Barbara Sasik Field Representative $ 69,986 $ 11,571 $ 81,557
Gladys Mckenzie Field Representative $ 73,830 $ 7,624 $ 81,454
Kurt Errickson Field Representative $ 71,435 $ 9,193 $ 80,628
Jeffrey Dains Field Representative $ 71,435 $ 9,133 $ 80,568
Allen Lehrke Field Representative $ 66,125 $ 14,433 $ 80,558
John Thorson Political Representative $ 72,801 $ 7,272 $ 80,073
Bruce Iverson Field Representative $ 70,092 $ 9,967 $ 80,059
Nola Lynch Field Representative $ 73,045 $ 6,933 $ 79,978
Linda Jackson Field Representative $ 70,092 $ 9,034 $ 79,126
Susan Olson Asst To The Director $ 78,554 $ 250 $ 78,804
Joyce Carlson Field Representative $ 68,695 $ 9,953 $ 78,648
Cynthia Nelson Research Specialist $ 72,924 $ 5,310 $ 78,234
Thomas Burke Field Representative $ 68,695 $ 8,428 $ 77,123
Jeffrey Sabin Lead Organizer $ 55,116 $ 20,846 $ 75,962
Christi Nelson Field Representative $ 65,220 $ 10,726 $ 75,946
Kenneth Loeffler-kemp Field Representative $ 65,552 $ 9,759 $ 75,311
Diane Johnston Business Manager $ 74,347 $ 24 $ 74,371
Sarah Lewerenz Field Representative $ 64,320 $ 9,928 $ 74,248
Laurie Johnson Field Representative $ 59,532 $ 13,225 $ 72,757
Loretta Meinke Field Representative $ 62,676 $ 8,220 $ 70,896
Donald Dinndorf Communications Specialist $ 59,687 $ 8,912 $ 68,599
Jonathan Grebner Field Representative $ 59,363 $ 9,202 $ 68,565
Jennifer Lovaasen Communications Professnl $ 61,032 $ 6,812 $ 67,844
Kathryn Mcginnis Accounting Specialist $ 65,810 $ 111 $ 65,921
Lois Mcewen Support Staff Manager $ 62,760 $ 3,087 $ 65,847
Lisa Altendorfer It Specialist $ 61,293 $ 605 $ 61,898
Pamela Lofquist Political Organizer $ 44,880 $ 16,619 $ 61,499
Jeffrey Fowler Organizer $ 44,574 $ 15,915 $ 60,489
Claudia Schufman Communication Specialist $ 59,836 $ 0 $ 59,836
Laureen Karnick Accounting Specialist $ 58,963 $ 500 $ 59,463
Amanda Prince Organizer $ 41,004 $ 17,366 $ 58,370
Lorita Powell Field Representative $ 43,193 $ 13,349 $ 56,542
Laura Askelin Political Organizer $ 39,270 $ 15,701 $ 54,971
Dixie Englund Field Representative $ 54,409 $ 352 $ 54,761
Carole Gerst Field Representative $ 44,472 $ 9,060 $ 53,532
Scott Grefe Field Representative $ 44,472 $ 8,130 $ 52,602
Leslie Evans Field Representative $ 51,396 $ 339 $ 51,735
Marybeth Juetten Organizer $ 43,713 $ 7,867 $ 51,580
Sally Larson Accounting Specialist $ 50,760 $ 548 $ 51,308
Michelle Stein Support Specialist $ 49,894 $ 78 $ 49,972
Maruine Barcus Membership Specialist $ 48,096 $ 0 $ 48,096
Mary Hamilton Membership Specialist $ 47,894 $ 0 $ 47,894
Cindy Pince Accounting Specialist $ 47,266 $ 13 $ 47,279
Jodi Ochocki Accounting Specialist $ 41,887 $ 100 $ 41,987
Amy Heitman Membership Specialist $ 40,103 $ 0 $ 40,103
Mary Falk Secretary $ 34,048 $ 3,534 $ 37,582
Amy Johnson Support Specialist $ 32,665 $ 644 $ 33,309
Maya Hendricks Support Staff-receptionst $ 32,017 $ 370 $ 32,387
Jim Voytilla Executive Board $ 29,338 $ 0 $ 29,338
Beth Neubert Organizer $ 21,420 $ 7,390 $ 28,810
John Ewaldt Executive Board $ 25,044 $ 605 $ 25,649
Tamera Weller Executive Board $ 21,587 $ 2,084 $ 23,671
Diane Firkus Executive Board $ 21,081 $ 1,225 $ 22,306
Adrienne Kern Organizer $ 3,660 $ 15,653 $ 19,313
Michael Buesing President $ 12,612 $ 5,936 $ 18,548
Clifford Poehler Treasurer $ 13,628 $ 3,600 $ 17,228
Candace Lund Executive Board $ 14,610 $ 605 $ 15,215
Wayne Fleischhaker Executive Board $ 12,130 $ 2,459 $ 14,589
David North Field Representative $ 12,817 $ 1,180 $ 13,997
Dean Steiner Executive Board $ 10,091 $ 2,835 $ 12,926
Patricia Yozamp Temp-part Time $ 12,000 $ 0 $ 12,000
Christina Domeier Support Specialist $ 10,594 $ 0 $ 10,594
Leon Bowman Executive Board $ 5,931 $ 3,194 $ 9,125
Deborah Bloom Vice-president $ 2,400 $ 6,692 $ 9,092
Bryce Wickstrom Executive Board $ 8,275 $ 716 $ 8,991
Patrick Guernsey Executive Board $ 7,734 $ 1,132 $ 8,866
James Jr Ullmer Executive Board $ 8,205 $ 604 $ 8,809
Bart Andersen Executive Board $ 7,705 $ 673 $ 8,378
Karen Foreman Executive Board $ 6,150 $ 1,558 $ 7,708
John Mcgovern Executive Board $ 6,345 $ 1,299 $ 7,644
Roger Janzig Executive Board $ 6,808 $ 757 $ 7,565
Connan Johnson Executive Board $ 3,981 $ 3,125 $ 7,106
Michael Rumppe Executive Board $ 6,453 $ 279 $ 6,732
Molly Malecki Executive Board $ 5,522 $ 988 $ 6,510
John Hillyard Executive Board $ 6,279 $ 84 $ 6,363
Alan Netland Executive Board $ 4,941 $ 1,259 $ 6,200
Robin Madsen Executive Board $ 5,258 $ 697 $ 5,955
Tina Sanz Executive Board $ 5,811 $ 0 $ 5,811
Jeffrey Birttnen Executive Board $ 4,877 $ 768 $ 5,645
Sandra Olene Executive Board $ 4,180 $ 1,167 $ 5,347
Catherine Wagner Executive Board $ 4,754 $ 570 $ 5,324
Phyliss Walker Executive Board $ 4,343 $ 605 $ 4,948
Mike Nelson Executive Board $ 4,703 $ 31 $ 4,734
Tekle Biftu Accounting Specialist $ 4,610 $ 0 $ 4,610
Dennis Blumke Executive Board $ 2,999 $ 1,604 $ 4,603
Jean Diedrich Executive Board $ 3,548 $ 1,000 $ 4,548
Katherine Stevenson Intern $ 4,500 $ 0 $ 4,500
Jane Spaude Executive Board $ 3,480 $ 863 $ 4,343
Paul Bissen Executive Board $ 4,059 $ 150 $ 4,209
Duane Gatzke Executive Board $ 3,401 $ 688 $ 4,089
Tamra Hughes Executive Board $ 3,024 $ 966 $ 3,990
Rhonda Petschen Executive Board $ 3,139 $ 531 $ 3,670
Patricia Gerbozy Pt Phone Bank Support $ 2,464 $ 624 $ 3,088
Rhonda Leyton Accounting Specialist $ 2,615 $ 0 $ 2,615
Cliff Robinson Executive Board $ 2,191 $ 268 $ 2,459
Neelam Jain Accounting Specialist $ 2,388 $ 0 $ 2,388
Jennifer Huppenbecker Executive Board $ 2,076 $ 147 $ 2,223
Monica Shockency Executive Board $ 2,177 $ 0 $ 2,177
Judy Wahlberg Executive Board $ 0 $ 1,970 $ 1,970
Norman Snyder Executive Board $ 1,306 $ 555 $ 1,861
Joe Griffiths Executive Board $ 0 $ 1,824 $ 1,824
Debra Cassidy Accounting Specialist $ 1,504 $ 0 $ 1,504
Janice Balata Executive Board $ 1,405 $ 89 $ 1,494
Kathy Stevens Executive Board $ 0 $ 1,477 $ 1,477
Robert Pinnow Executive Board $ 555 $ 799 $ 1,354
Carmen Brown Executive Board $ 1,139 $ 0 $ 1,139
Michelle Atwell-schoen Executive Board $ 384 $ 134 $ 518
Judy Schultz Executive Board $ 256 $ 0 $ 256

According to a 2004 Zogby International poll, 71% of union members said the government ought to do more to protect union members from corrupt union officials, and that unions should be required to give detailed reporting of union finances to discourage abuse.

The Center for Union Facts has obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act demonstrating distressing abuse of equal-opportunity rights by labor leaders.

Since 2000, labor unions faced 13,815 complaints of discrimination filed with the government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These include:

4,248 complaints of race discrimination
3,386 complaints of age discrimination
1,820 complaints of sex discrimination
1,642 complaints of disability discrimination
297 complaints of religious discrimination

Judge clears way for Vallejo bankruptcy battle

By Jessica A. York
MediaNews staff
Article Launched: 09/05/2008 07:46:02 PM PDT

VALLEJO — A federal judge ruled Friday that Vallejo is eligible for municipal bankruptcy protection, setting the stage for a major battle over possible dissolution of city employee union contracts.
The decision came less than a week after the close of a monthlong court clash between the city and union attorneys.
City insolvency challengers, including three major unions, had argued that the city did not meet the legal requirements for bankruptcy protection. U.S. Chief Judge Michael McManus soundly rejected that contention in a 52-page ruling.
With bankruptcy protec-tion, the city may adjust its debts without immediate reprisal from its creditors. Months of mediated negotiations on the employee contracts, at nearly $79 million projected in 2008-09 — resulted in police and fire employee concessions. A three-month concession plan from city employees, forged in an effort to stave off bankruptcy at least until June 30, was extended when the city filed for bankruptcy May 23.
Hint of a likely Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing came earlier this year after city officials warned that the city had spent more than it was receiving in revenue, and would run out of money before the end of the year — without drastic steps.
The city council unanimously voted May 6 to approve the bankruptcy filing, in anticipation of a nearly $17 million deficit. City officials said that unexpectedly decreased 2007-08 fiscal year revenues and

increased costs pushed the city into bankruptcy.
"Considering the city's falling revenues, its prior years of operating deficits and the program cuts and deferrals those deficits have necessitated, continuing to shoulder the contractual obligations under the existing collective bargaining agreements ... with the unions makes projecting a realistic balanced 2008-09 general fund budget exceedingly difficult and unlikely," McManus wrote in his ruling.
Three of the city's four employee unions, including its police, fire and nonmanagement workers, challenged the city's insolvency. They claimed that the city could accept a short-term union deal of pay raise cutbacks and other concessions, and loan itself money from its other city funds in order to avoid bankruptcy this year. McManus stated that nearly all of the cash and investments identified by the unions' attorneys are restricted by law or grant language and are unavailable.
McManus said he was not swayed by testimony from the unions' key and only witness, Harvey M. Rose Associates principal partner Roger Mialocq. Mialocq "damaged his credibility" when admitting he agreed to assess the city's budget because he felt that the "city's bankruptcy petition would harm his other clients," McManus wrote.
McManus also commended testimony from Assistant City Manager Craig Whittom and Assistant Finance Director Susan Mayer as being "much more helpful and credible" than Mialocq's.
City officials said at the time they were only interested in long-term solutions that would eradicate the pending deficit and begin to rebuild the city's reserves.
On Monday, attorneys will meet in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District in Sacramento to set a schedule on the city's request to reject its existing employee contracts outside of bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy timeline
May 6: Vallejo City Council unanimously approves a Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy filing
May 23: Vallejo attorneys file a bankruptcy petition with U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District, in Sacramento
June 17: Vallejo moves to reject its collective bargaining agreements with city employees
June 27: The International Association of Firefighters, Local 1186, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 2376 and Vallejo Police Officers' Association file objections to the city's bankruptcy petition
July 23: Bankruptcy eligibility hearing begins in Sacramento
Aug. 21: Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael McManus rejects a request to dismiss the bankruptcy filing
Aug. 22: Arguments for and against Vallejo's insolvency conclude
Sept. 3: McManus rules that Vallejo is eligible for bankruptcy protection

Vallejo Salary Increases


07/01/2000 2.00% 2.00% 6.50% 3.60% 6.50%
01/01/2001 2.00% 2.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
06/30/2001 1.50% 1.50% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
07/01/2001 5.00% 5.00% 8.46% 5.00% 8.46%
07/01/2002 0.00% 0.00% 6.38% 0.00% 6.38% Safety Positions in CAMP & EXEMPT 4%
10/01/2002 4.00% 4.00% 0.00% 2.10% 0.00% Safety Positions in CAMP & EXEMPT 0%
07/01/2003 2.10% 2.10% 4.09% 1.60% 4.09% Safety Positions in CAMP & EXEMPT 3%
07/01/2004 -5.00% -10.00% 0.00% -5.00% 0.00% 13 to 26 days furlough leave with no pay
07/01/2005 3.00% 3.00% 5.92% 4.00% 5.92%
07/01/2006 3.00% 3.00% 5.73% 4.00% 5.73%
01/01/2007 0.00% 3.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
07/01/2007 0.00% 0.00% 8.50% 3.10% 8.50% Safety Positions in CAMP 8.5%
Total 17.60% 15.60% 45.58% 18.40% 45.58%
Yr Avg 2.20% 1.95% 5.70% 2.30% 5.70%

Source - budget detail package included with city council agenda for 12/18/2007 meeting
CAMP = Confidential Administrative Managerial Professional
EXEMPT = Senior Managers/Department Heads
IAFF = International Association of Firefighters
IBEW = International Brotherhood Electrical Workers (this is the union that represents most of the nonmanagerial city employees other than public safety
VPOA = Vallejo Police Officers Association
07/01/2000 - based on salary survey plus 10%, but limited to 6.5%. Deferred 2% to 2001, 1.5% to 2002, 1% to 2003
07/01/2001 - salary survey increase plus 2% from 2000
07/01/2002 - salary survey increase plus 1.5% from 2000(scheduled to get 9.38%, but deferred 3% to 07/01/2003
07/01/2003 - salary survey increase plus 1% from 2000 (took 4.09% and deferred 2% to 07/01/2004, 2% to 07/01/2005 and 2% to 07/01/2006) also added an additional 1% on 07/01/2005
07/01/2004 - salary survey increase of 2.5% plus 2% deferred from 07/01/2003 then entire 4.5% deferred to 07/01/2007
07/01/2005 - salary survey increase of 2.92% plus 1% plus 2% deferred from 07/01/2003
07/01/2006 - salary survey increase of 3.73% plus 2% deferred from 07/01/2003
07/01/2007 - salary survey increase plus 4.5% deferred from 07/01/2003. An additional 2.5% is also due based on late salary survey increase plus 4.5% deferred from 07/01/2003. An additional 2.5% is also due based on late reporting cities which would bring 07/01/2007 to 10% for fire and police.
Note that CAMP, EXEMPT and IBEW took a decrease at 07/01/2004 and took no increase at 07/01/2002 and 07/01/2007

Consumer Price Index for San Franciso Metropolitan Area (source US Department of Labor)

06/30/1999 171.8
06/30/2007 216.1

Increase of 25.8% total with a per year increase of 3.2%

Dear Diary,

Aside from the fact that most of your information comes from noted anti-union websites that try to pass themselves off as factual sites, and aside from the fact that you missed the memo about taking a break from the controversial subjects here on PDD, you overlook the key fact in all of your statistics anti-unionist stances:

-if workers were treated fairly and equally
-if workers were given living wages
- if workers were not taken for granted as an unlimited resource
-if workers were not abused by their employers

if all of those things happened, there would be no need for unions. Until the day that happens, there will always be a need for a collective voice for workers.

Now, I'm going to return to talking about beer, which is infinitely more interesting than reading your disinformation.

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