Union bosses investing in Ohio Senate Republicans
By Jason Hart, October 28, 2014, Ohio Watchdog
Labor groups supporting big government and mandatory union dues gave $178,867 to eight Republican incumbents in the Ohio Senate during the most recent campaign finance period. Kevin Bacon, Bill Beagle, Cliff Hite, Shannon Jones, Frank LaRose, Gayle Manning, Scott Oelslager and Bob Peterson each received more than $5,000 in union donations between July 1 and Oct. 15. Kris Jordan is the only incumbent Republican senator seeking re-election Nov. 4 who received no union contributions. Beagle, Manning and Bacon got union money while facing tough Democrat competition, as evidenced by Ohio Republican Party and Republican Senate Campaign Committee spending in their respective races. ORP and RSCC gave Beagle more than $700,000 of in-kind support during the reporting period and more than $600,000 of in-kind support to both Manning and Bacon. RSCC did not respond to a request for comment on increasing Big Labor funding of caucus members. Beagle, Manning, Bacon, LaRose and Oelslager also received union contributions while staving off primary opponents earlier this year. During the pre-general reporting period ending Oct. 15, labor unions donated $39,356 to LaRose, $37,856 to Oelslager, and $36,906 to Manning. All three got money not only from construction unions benefiting from increased infrastructure spending but also from government unions. (read article)

Libertarian gets union cash in Illinois governor’s race
By Kerry Lester, October 28, 2014, Chicago Ledger Inquirer
A Libertarian candidate for Illinois governor is receiving financial help from an unexpected source — one of the unions campaigning against Republican Bruce Rauner because of the Winnetka businessman’s views on organized labor. Chad Grimm is a fiscal conservative who believes in minimal government. But he has received a $30,000 boost from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 even though it endorsed Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. Most of the state’s other labor unions have spent millions of dollars supporting Quinn. They are seeking to defeat Rauner, who made fighting “government union bosses” a focus of his primary campaign. Grimm could siphon conservative votes away from Rauner. Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf says Illinoisans “understand a vote for Grimm is the same as voting for Pat Quinn.” (read article)

Court Declines to Enjoin Unions’ Rat Display; ‘Disruptive Activity’ Ban Only Covered Strikes
By Lawrence E. Dubé, October 28, 2014, Bloomberg
An asbestos abatement contractor could not obtain an injunction to prohibit union agents from stationing an inflatable rat at its job sites despite a union pledge to refrain from “disruptive activity” for the duration of a collective bargaining agreement, a federal district court in New York ruled Oct. 27. Judge Joseph F. Bianco of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York held the Norris-LaGuardia Act prevented him from granting Microtech Contracting Corp. a preliminary injunction against the Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York and a Laborers’ International Union of North America local. Microtech alleged the unions were violating the local’s collective bargaining agreement in a protest over the company’s hiring of an individual, but Bianco said he had no jurisdiction to grant injunctive relief. The court said the Norris-LaGuardia Act prohibited his intervention in the labor dispute, but he also found that the disruption rule cited by Microtech was intended only to prohibit strikes, stoppages, and picketing. (read article)

Big Labor’s Servants
By Bill McMorris, October 28, 2014, Washington Free Beacon
A top labor watchdog is telling voters that Democrats in some of the nation’s most competitive Senate races are servants of labor unions. The National Right to Work Foundation (NRWF) doled out its Union Brass awards on Wednesday to Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mark Warner (Va.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), and Mark Udall (Colo.), as well as Democratic Senate candidates Bruce Braley (Iowa), Rick Weiland (S.D.), and Alison Lundergan Grimes (Ky.). “Independent” Kansas Senate candidate Greg Orman, who has received donations from Democratic mega-donors, also received the award. The awards are meant to inform voters that these nine candidates are guaranteed union votes on issues, such as coercive unionism and forced dues payments for workers, the organization said in a release. “The incumbents among these candidates have been in Big Labor’s corner for their entire careers. And the newcomers are clearly starting out there,” NRTW vice president Greg Mourad said in a statement. The foundation pointed to Pryor, Landrieu, and Braley’s support for national card check legislation as a sign of their devotion to unions. Card check would eliminate secret ballot union elections by allowing labor groups to use signed cards from workers to unionize, a process open to corruption and intimidation, the group said. (read article)

Nevada lieutenant governor race could have national implications
By Haya El Nasser, October 28, 2014, Al Jazeera
Two weeks before the election, early voting began in Nevada. More than 20 political organizers filed in to a room at the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, one of the state’s most powerful labor groups. The union represents more than 55,000 casino and hotel workers, from housekeepers and cocktail waitresses to cooks and doormen — more than half of them Hispanic. The room is a sea of red. Union members taking political leave from their jobs to get people to the polls are wearing bright red T-shirts emblazoned with bold white letters that leave no mistake about their mission: “Las Vegas vote now!” The union’s focus is on Nevada State Senate District 9, which covers parts of Clark County. The union is backing Democratic incumbent Justin Jones, who is in a dead heat with Republican opponent Becky Harris. If Jones loses, Republicans would likely take control of the Senate by reversing the Democrats’ 11-10 majority. While that state Senate race is the focus locally, Nevada’s lieutenant governor’s race, which rarely draws attention beyond state lines, is garnering all the attention on the national stage. (read article)

Union bosses investing in Ohio Senate Republicans
By Jason Hart, October 28, 2014, Ohio Watchdog
Labor groups supporting big government and mandatory union dues gave $178,867 to eight Republican incumbents in the Ohio Senate during the most recent campaign finance period. Kevin Bacon, Bill Beagle, Cliff Hite, Shannon Jones, Frank LaRose, Gayle Manning, Scott Oelslager and Bob Peterson each received more than $5,000 in union donations between July 1 and Oct. 15. Kris Jordan is the only incumbent Republican senator seeking re-election Nov. 4 who received no union contributions. Beagle, Manning and Bacon got union money while facing tough Democrat competition, as evidenced by Ohio Republican Party and Republican Senate Campaign Committee spending in their respective races. ORP and RSCC gave Beagle more than $700,000 of in-kind support during the reporting period and more than $600,000 of in-kind support to both Manning and Bacon. RSCC did not respond to a request for comment on increasing Big Labor funding of caucus members. Beagle, Manning, Bacon, LaRose and Oelslager also received union contributions while staving off primary opponents earlier this year. During the pre-general reporting period ending Oct. 15, labor unions donated $39,356 to LaRose, $37,856 to Oelslager, and $36,906 to Manning. All three got money not only from construction unions benefiting from increased infrastructure spending but also from government unions. (read article)

Wisconsin Labor unions weren’t about to negotiate over Act 10
By David Fladeboe, October 26, 2015, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A recent Journal Sentinel editorial concerning Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-saving Act 10 reforms attempts to take readers to an alternate universe, complete with happily negotiated labor contracts and good governance that didn’t require hard decisions from lawmakers in Madison (“A trip to Scott Walker’s parallel universe where Act 10 never happened,” Our View, Oct. 21). One would indeed need to be in an alternate universe to expect a world free of the dysfunction that has plagued state and federal government. How quickly we can forget: Walker’s labor friendly predecessor Democrat Jim Doyle failed to successfully negotiate new labor contracts with state workers on his way out of office. Instead of working with a governor who was sympathetic to their self-serving, budget-busting concerns, the labor bosses decided to take their chances with a newly elected chief executive and state Legislature. Unfortunately for organized labor, things didn’t go their way in November, and when Scott Walker was elected as Wisconsin’s governor, they got desperate. How desperate, you ask? So desperate, in fact, that in late 2010 during a lame-duck session, the outgoing Democrat majority was so eager to force through lucrative union-friendly contracts that they bailed an outgoing state representative out of jail and rushed another member down to Madison shortly after undergoing surgery in an effort to deliver the booty for their union-boss masters. In fact, it was only principled and prudent leadership by outgoing Democratic Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, a longtime labor supporter himself, that prevented these sweetheart deals from getting rubber-stamped into law. After witnessing firsthand the depths big labor and their allies in Madison were willing to sink to in order to get their way and stick taxpayers with a massive bill, can Walker or any legislator — or conscientious taxpayer for that matter — be blamed for not expecting a good-faith effort from organized labor in future contract negotiations? (read article)

What’s behind boom in Indiana union assets?
By Jeff Swiatek, October 26, 2014, Indy Star
A lot has gone wrong for Indiana labor unions the past 10 years, from foreign outsourcing of unionized jobs to passage of a right-to-work law by the Indiana legislature. You wouldn’t guess it by looking at union bank accounts. Total assets of the state’s 700 or so labor union locals have nearly doubled since 2004, from $182 million to $335 million, according to union financial reports filed with the Department of Labor. The 83 percent jump in assets happened even as membership at the 700 locals slipped 9.8 percent since 2004, to 420,924. (Most of that decline came from 2004 to 2009. Since the recession’s end in 2009, membership has actually risen 5 percent.) What’s created much of the newfound union wealth is an unlikely combination of crude oil from the tar sands of Canada, a massive road-building plan by former two-term Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, and a gusher of construction activity in the city of Indianapolis. (read article)

The Emerging Political Divide Between Public and Private Unions
By Steven Malanga, October 24, 2014, Wall Street Journal
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has earned the ire of government-worker unions by supporting cuts in pension benefits for some city workers and closing failing schools. The head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, has pledged $1 million of union money to unseat Mr. Emanuel, up for re-election in February. Private unions have a different take. Building trade groups like the Construction and General Laborers’ District Council approve of the mayor’s infrastructure spending and have donated heavily to his campaign. The hotel-workers union Unite Here has endorsed him for his work promoting Chicago tourism. “There’s a lot of support I have from working men and women,” Mr. Emanuel told a reporter earlier this year, when the subject of public-union opposition came up. The labor rift in Chicago politics has emerged elsewhere, too. Government workers are increasingly fighting to defend their pay and benefits, including trying to defeat officials running for re-election who have preached fiscal reform. But private unions have embraced some of these same candidates, arguing that when economic growth is sluggish, politicians should focus on creating jobs. The conflict is roiling Democratic primary campaigns and even pushing some labor groups into the arms of Republican candidates. (read article)

Youth shut down anti-union film in Philadelphia
By Matty Starrdust, October 24, 2014, Workers World
At an Oct. 15 public event, members of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission screened the film “Won’t Back Down” before an audience of students and parents. The film is a notorious union-busting propaganda piece aimed at generating support for pro-privatization “parent trigger” laws, which give parents the “power” to charterize underfunded public schools. Led by the Philadelphia Student Union, some two dozen students in attendance successfully shut down the screening, chanting, “Won’t back down! Philly is a union town!” and “Hey, hey, ho ho! The SRC has got to go!” Videos taken at the demonstration show newly appointed SRC member Sylvia Simms shouting back at the students, “You all must go to failing schools!” and “You belong in jail!” (read article)

L.A. County supervisorial race a money battle between labor, business
By Catherine Saillant, Maloy Moore, and Anthony Pesce, October 24, 2014, Los Angeles Times
e pivotal race to replace retiring Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has become a money battle between labor unions and business interests, with fundraising approaching $8.4 million. Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver have directly collected a combined $5.1 million, according to a Times analysis of thousands of contributions. An additional $3.2 million has been raised by independent committees not controlled by the candidates. The Times found that union-affiliated donors contributed $2.1 million to help elect Kuehl, a former state senator endorsed by major county labor groups. That’s nine times the amount of labor-related donations supporting Shriver’s supervisorial bid. Former Santa Monica Councilman Shriver and committees supporting him have taken in about $1 million from individuals and companies associated with the real estate, financial services and construction industries. That’s more than four times the comparable donations received by Kuehl. The fundraising underscores that although both are liberal-leaning Democrats, Kuehl is viewed as more labor-friendly and Shriver more sympathetic toward business, said Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson, who studies elections. (read article)

Unions remain a crucial backer of Gov. Jerry Brown’s campaign
By Chris Megerian, October 23, 2014, Los Angeles Times
e proposal to restrict school districts’ financial reserves seemed to come out of nowhere, slipped into the state budget just days before the spending plan would come up for a vote. At a legislative hearing, Democrats were confused and Republicans were critical. Recession-weary education officials launched an unsuccessful counterattack against the measure, pushed by California’s largest teachers union and inserted by Gov. Jerry Brown. The June episode was a reminder that unions have often found a loyal friend in Brown, who has been allied with the labor movement since his political career began more than four decades ago. The governor has occasionally frustrated union leaders with budget cuts and intransigence at the negotiating table. But he has also delivered on many of their biggest priorities, prompting his Republican opponent, Neel Kashkari, to paint him as a tool of labor benefactors. As Brown seeks a fourth term, unions remain a key element of his political power, providing millions of dollars in donations and deep ranks of campaign foot soldiers. “We agree on a lot of the issues,” said Dean Vogel, president of the California Teachers Assn. “It’s not a big surprise we would be on the same page.” (read article)

I heard it again the other day – this time on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol
By Nick Novak, October 23, 2014, Washington Times
“I want! I want! I want my fifteen dollars!” Yes, there was another organized protest to try and raise the minimum wage. Nearly every single state and most major cities across the country have seen some type of demonstration in the last year about increasing the minimum wage. Most of the time, union-backed groups like worker centers and other “non-partisan” organizations planned the protests. These groups range from Working Washington, based in Seattle, to the Texas Organizing Project, which has offices in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. In the Dairy State, Wisconsin Jobs Now calls Milwaukee its home. These groups all seem to have one thing in common. They are all backed by massive labor unions, most notably the Service Employees International Union — or SEIU. According to a Watchdog.org report, the SEIU funneled nearly $15 million into these “worker centers” in 2013. While each groups claims to be looking out for workers, nothing could be further from the truth. If groups like Working Washington and Wisconsin Jobs Now cared about workers, they would not organize protests urging for a policy that will endanger the jobs of the exact people they claim to be helping. (read article)

Labor Unions Are Supporting Washington State Legal Marijuana Dispensaries that Create “More Workers to Organize”
By Bill Conroy, October 22, 2014, The Narcosphere
What’s going on in the state of Washington and beyond with the movement to legalize marijuana is, only in part, about business, taxes and government oversight — all to be amplified by the billions of dollars annually this new industry promises to throw off. What the movement also represents is an emerging culture, one that promises to create whole new communities of hemp and cannabis farmers and workers all tied to together by thousands of new workplaces and potentially millions of customers — and patients. Organized labor sees this landscape unfolding and is putting its chips on the table, betting unions will be on the right side of the change. With the passage by voters of the state’s Initiative 502 in late 2012, a new legal framework was set up for the sale of recreational marijuana — a process that is still in motion some two years later, with numerous producers, processors and retail storefronts still in the cue awaiting state and local approvals. A 25 percent excise tax is imposed on product sales at each of those three levels, on top of the state’s business-and-occupation tax and local sales taxes. (read article)

L.A. City Council backs union contract for Fresno farmworkers
By Emily Alpert Reyes, October 22, 2014, Los Angeles Times
ndreds of labor activists, farmworkers and their allies marched on Los Angeles City Hall on Wednesday demanding that a Fresno fruit grower recognize a union contract — the latest turn in a long-standing dispute over whether the United Farm Workers should represent the company’s employees. The marchers crowded into a City Council meeting, where lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution that calls on Gerawan Farming to immediately put a union contract in place. The resolution, presented by Councilman Paul Koretz, said that for most workers the contract would have provided roughly $1,480 in added pay over the course of the previous year. “These matters affect all of us as Angelenos,” Koretz said. “These workers may not work within our city limits, but the fruit they pick you buy and eat …. The men and women here with us today have been mistreated.” Wednesday’s L.A. City Council vote has no binding effect on the Fresno grower. But UFW spokesman Marc Grossman said winning support from Los Angeles officials was important and took “a page out of Cesar Chavez’s playbook.” (read article)

Judge won’t stop Minnesota from negotiating with home care workers union
By Randy Furst, October 22, 2014, Minneapolis Star Tribune
The state’s chief federal judge refused Wednesday to stop the state of Minnesota from negotiating a contract with newly unionized home health care workers, saying it was unlikely union opponents will win their case in court. In his 25-page ruling, District Judge Michael Davis denied a request for an expedited injunction sought by the National Right to Work Foundation. The injunction, he said, would delay implementation of a state law that was passed by the Legislature “after full debate” and would constitute “an unwarranted intrusion” by the federal government and judiciary into the state’s affairs. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) won an election on Aug. 26 to represent the state’s 27,000 home health care workers, the largest successful union campaign in Minnesota since passage of the federal Wagner Act in 1935. Some 5,800 workers voted, and 60 percent opted to join the union. Attorneys for the Right to Work Foundation, an anti-union organization headquartered in Virginia, sought the injunction to prevent the state from negotiating a contract with the SEIU. The foundation maintains that the First Amendment rights of home care workers who oppose the union are being violated. A member of the SEIU’s leadership team applauded Davis’ ruling Wednesday. “I am really excited because he ruled in our favor and that means we can go ahead and bargain,” said Darlene Gray, a 25-year-old home health care worker from Apple Valley. The Right to Work Foundation is exploring its options, which include asking the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse Davis’ decision. (read article)

Law Enforcement Unions Endorse Scott Walker
By Connor D. Wolf, October 22, 2014, Daily Caller
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign announced several state law enforcement unions have endorsed his reelection, despite the overwhelming opposition of most labor unions. “The Milwaukee Police Association, Milwaukee Police Supervisors’ Organization, and Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association formally announced their endorsement of Governor Scott Walker’s re-election today. The organizations highlighted the governor’s “strong commitment to public safety in Wisconsin” a press release from the Walker campaign announced. “Our police force and firefighters are critical to the safety of Milwaukee and its citizens,” Gov. Walker said in a statement. “My administration is committed to ensuring these professionals have the resources and information they need to serve and protect our communities. In a second term as Governor, we will continue our commitment to the brave men and women of our public safety community.” (read article)

Labor Secretary Perez talks up unions
By Lydia DePillis, October 21, 2014, Washington Post
For most of President Barack Obama’s tenure, the White House and the nation’s labor movement have been anything but best friends. Unions were disappointed when the administration refused to restructure banks during the financial crisis. They were exasperated by its unwillingness to protect union members’ gold-plated health-care plans in the Affordable Care Act. Labor was angered by Obama’s support for for sweeping free-trade agreements and his delay in deciding whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. But on Monday, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez sounded a much different note. Perez, who has emerged as one of the leading contenders to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., began remarks at the National Press Club with what seemed to be a boilerplate narrative extolling the White House’s contributions to economic progress. (read article)

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