Saturday, March 19, 2011

Michigan Education Association Creates "Job Action" Efforts; School Budgets Only 5% Lower; Union Compares Michigan Powers for Emergency Managers Slavery; W. Bloomfield Teachers got 173% Raise in 11 Years, and 40% Still Don't Show Up For Work; Can We Talk About Unions (my column); Restraining Order on Wisconsin; Joe Biden Shocks; Huffington Writers Bargain for Rights; Brazil Not in Love With Obama

Conservatives protesting......
From Michigan Capitol Confidential: The president of the Michigan Education Association, Iris Salters, said Thursday that a letter she sent out asking members to give the MEA the authority to initiate a “job action” was not calling for a strike. The letter states that on March 11, the MEA board of directors voted unanimously in favor of several actions the MEA would be taking to “ratchet up our efforts” around the “ongoing legislative crisis.”
The letter from Salters goes on to state: “Let me be clear on what this vote means. It authorizes MEA to engage in significant activities — up to and including a work stoppage — that will increase the pressure on our legislators.”
The Michigan Employment Relations Commission is responsible for determining if a strike takes place. If teachers are found to have participated in an illegal strike, state law states they would lose pay for the day and the local union would be fined $5,000.
And more: “The executive budget lowers school district revenue by less than five percent,” Hohman wrote in an e-mail. “At that level, it’s not likely that you’ll see a lot of districts go into state receivership. These bills actually do the opposite of taking over schools — they encourage districts to fix their own problems. School districts spend most of their money on unionized employees. The power to rework union contracts is a powerful incentive for union officials to come to the negotiating table so as to stave off financial emergencies.”
As to the impact of the per-pupil cut, Van Beek has examined the issue in a report on common school funding myths, released in December.
“Michigan taxpayers transfer a greater proportion of their income to public schools than all but two states,
Yet more: During a Tuesday union rally in Lansing against a bill that would give new powers to appointed emergency managers, the president of a state teachers’ union compared the legislation to slavery.
"It's again a way to say to labor, ‘you don't count,’” said Iris Salters, president of the Michigan Education Association.  “It's a way to say to employees: ‘get back.’ I believe it's just like being in the slave days.”
They are full of good information: The total compensation of a West Bloomfield school teacher grew 173 percent over an 11 year period, going from $47,346 to $129,637.
[Wow!  Who among us doesn't wish WE could demand this increase in pay from our fellow taxpayers?]  Meanwhile, insurance payments climbed from $9,309 to $19,304 per year, and retirement contributions jumped from $3,717 to $16,854 per year.
“Whether it’s sustainable or not is up to the district.”
About 40 percent of the West Bloomfield High School teachers didn’t show up for work on Feb. 15 in the midst of bitter contract negotiations.
Here is my latest column for  Can we talk about unionized workers?
Directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes verification that in 2010, union
membership rates among all American workers was 11.9 percent, having fallen from 20% in 1983.
Membership has fallen from 17.7 million to 4.7 million.
Those who work in the private sector number just 7% of unionized workers. Is it any wonder that
public unions are desperately working to keep forced unionization, to keep those hundreds of
millions of dollars in dues which will then be spent to get Democrats elected? That money can be
better used to raise the take-home pay of workers, leaving them free to select whichever politician
to support, if any at all.
The ability to negotiate wages is the least of their concerns, as those with no labor union
to negotiate their salaries are being fairly compensated in order for companies to retain the best
talent. Keeping high dues is far more important to the unions' power. In a new indication of their
desperation, Labor News touts a new seminar in Wisconsin on April 1 and 2 titled "Madison
Troublemakers School". The "school" will "build on the protests, protect what we have--and lay the
foundation to fight for more". It is pointed out:"led by experienced labor activists, our
workshops will explore strategies to fight back and give you the hands-on skills to make it happen."
  I wonder if our "community-organizer-in-chief" will at least make a statement via satellite, or give a lecture on the subject he has learned so well from Saul Alinsky, since he failed to put his own boots on the ground there as he had promised.  He has been taught, after all, that no serious crisis should ever go to waste.  Perhaps President Obama might just lead the country in affirming that 12% of our American workers shall not rule the rest of America, nor threaten governments and individuals who are doing their jobs.  On the other hand, he does pick Ohio State to win its NCAA Tournament Division......
Continue reading on Madison Troublemakers School - Traverse City Conservative |
National Review writes: Is anyone surprised that a local judge has issued a temporary restraining order against . . . well, against Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican party of Wisconsin? Yes, a mighty jurist in Dane County with the Dickensian name of Maryann Sumi has halted publication of the new law restricting collective-bargaining privileges for the state’s public-sector unions until she can rule on its merits.
Welcome to Election 2012, the preview edition.
As I’ve been saying, Wisconsin is a test-case battleground for the special forces and new weapons that each side will bring to bear next year. Okay, make that one side, since the Republicans continue to play by the old rules — you know, contesting and winning elections, passing laws, stuff like that — while the Democrats deploy their fleets of teachers, cops, firemen, and lawyers like Panzer divisions. For the Party of Alinksy — the unholy offspring of ’30s machine-politics gangsters and ’60s Marxist radicals — there is no tactic too thuggish, no argument too ridiculous, and no thing they will not attack, including the very legitimacy of the system that gave them their law degrees.
Right now, Republicans should be worrying less about who their standard-bearer will be next year — my short list is down to two, who will make swell running mates — and start hunting for field commanders with a firm grasp of tactics, a sense of audacity, a healthy respect for their opponents’ capabilities, and an absolute contempt for their ethos.  [The principle here is important, as three groups of attorneys have called it a special session which does not require the same rules to be followed.  During this restraining order, the unions are given even more time to rewrite contracts prior to the law being enacted.  However, the legislature needs to reconvene to take a new vote - and see if the Democrats once again flee the state.]
National Review writes: Vice President Joe Biden has many talents, but a sense of irony doesn’t seem to be one of them. Witness his conference call with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.
In the first minute, he tells thousands of labor activists how much his political career owes to the muscle of the labor movement and how there is a quid pro quo — right before touting the Obama administration as a neutral referee in the labor fights around the country.
Then, the vice president assures his listeners that the administration sees “the absolute positive necessity of collective bargaining” — without mentioning, of course, that federal workers are denied that very same collective bargaining.
Much worse, he says that the people who worked at the Labor Department and the National Labor Relations Board during the Bush administration were “wearing black shirts.
Whatever was the vice president referring to? We’ve asked his office for a clarification, but have received no response in the past four hours. His office owes those people either an explanation or an apology, lest they believe that a sitting vice president of the United States meant to compare the people who worked in the last administration to Benito Mussolini’s paramilitary brutes.  Vice President Biden also called Republicans (or conservatives, at least) “barbarians.
There is a regretful tendency in Washington to dismiss what the vice president says with a shrug and say, “Biden will be Biden.” But Mr. Biden is not some loveable if overeager golden retriever who will overturn the china from time to time or do something worse to the carpet. He’s our vice president, and some decorum should be expected.  [I must add that more than decorum is the law.  Biden vowed to uphold the laws of America, and not to choose among us as to who "wins" his favor.]
Daily Caller writes: A strike called by unpaid Huffington Post contributors received a major boost Wednesday with a call to arms released by the national Newspaper Guild.
The industry association called on contributors not currently on strike to cease contributions and asked members to help by “shining a light on the unprofessional and unethical practices of this company.”
The Newspaper Guild boasts 26,000 members and is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The CWA is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.  [I wish to point out here that I don't believe the unpaid writers for Huffington Post are unionized - and yet they are negotiating for better conditions.  Funny how that can work.]
Politico writes:  [But wait, doesn't all the world by now just love us due to Obama's willingness to decry the power of America?] Brazilians protesting the imminent visit of President Barack Obama  struck the U.S. consulate in Rio de Janeiro with a Molotov cocktail Friday, prompting police to respond with rubber bullets, according to local news accounts.
The crowd was protesting U.S. participation in enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, local reports said. While the demonstration outside the U.S. consulate didn't last long, some reports said protests in other parts of the city lasted longer
Forbes writes:  Police major Fabio Alessandro of the 13th Batallion of Rio’s military police said that the protestors, all left leaning social movements associated with the Socialist Workers Party, PSTU, did not have a permit to protest near the consulate along Avenida Rio Branco and had refused to disperse from the area. They wore the ubiquitous Che Guevera T shirt and carried American flags that said Go Home Obama. What is most ironic about the Brazil protests is that the PSTU is a hard core socialist party in Brazil. While anti-Obama protests in the US consider Obama a socialist, the socialists in Brazil consider him a yankee capitalist, the bane of the Latin American left.
Forbes writes: Another complaint was that Obama wanted Brazilian president from the Workers Party, Dilma Rousseff, to sell Brazil’s newfound oil to the US. One of the world’s largest deep sea oil discoveries was made by Brazilian oil company Petrobras in the so called Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin off the coast of Rio back in November of 2007.
The US is interested in importing oil from Petrobras, and Obama has said as much. But the US has no powers over Petrobras, which is majority owned by the Brazilian government and intent on servicing local oil needs.  [It was the Import-Export Bank during President Bush's Administration which extended a $2 billion loan to Brazil for their deep-water drilling for oil.  The purpose was to encourage Brazil to purchase American goods.  It was declared to "not be a  downpayment to ensure future oil purchases by the United States", although China was given a contract to buy a large percentage of their oil.  I ask how our government could be so short-sighted and stupid as to not have tied into the loan some advantage to us.] 

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