Archive for the ‘Labor Unions’ Category

This is a reprint of one of my old posts from June 3, 2009.  It has more relevance today, thanks to the exposure that the new documentary film “Battle for Brooklyn” is finally bringing to this horrible tale of eminent domain abuse, after all the years that so many in that community toiled to tell it.

=========================================================================

acorn-ratnerAmidst the coverage of ACORN for allegations of voter registration fraud, the Rathke embezzlement scandal, the ACORN-8 civil lawsuit and Justice Department complaint, controversy over Project Vote and alleged misuse of the Obama donors list, and most recently ACORN’s role in the upcoming Census in 2010, there lies a lesser told tale of controversy, conflict and allegation. Correction: it’s a feverishly told tale, at least in New York, but one largely ignored, perhaps because the very checks and balances that are supposed to be in place to expose allegations of impropriety apparently fall by the wayside when the media itself becomes part of the story (allegedly…).

This is a long, complex story that has many twists and turns, and many angles (angles that, quite frankly, I’d consider more important than the one I’m going to cover here). This is a compartmentalized version of a broader story, and will focus primarily on its relevance to ACORN.

On December 10, 2003, one of the most ambitious real estate development projects in the history of Brooklyn was announced, a project that would later unfold into layers of conflict and speculated corruption, and be considered by many to be “the most controversial project ever in New York.”

The Atlantic Yards project, an endeavor of high-profile real estate developer Bruce Ratner and his Forest City Ratner companies, is a 22-acre mixed-use commercial and residential development project that cuts through the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights and Park Slope in Brooklyn, NY.   To understand how deep the personal impacts would be, you need to understand the area and the development plan.

(more…)

Advertisements

In Hastings, Pennsylvania, an old coal mining area, Marcellus Shale is an important component of local commerce.  The  sedimentary rock is in fact a very familiar part of the entire region’s landscape, where you can drive for miles and miles alongside cliff faces that look almost as though someone cut through the mountains with a serrated knife.  Through the slice were all the once thriving coal mining towns that used to scatter the Pennsylvania mountainside.  These alien-looking areas of Pennsylvania, while few of them coal mining spots anymore, are now some of the most promising natural gas resources this side of the country.  With the rising prices of gas, the environmental stronghold over coal, and the recent increase in political hostility toward oil, many are turning to natural gas to fill a void.  In 2008, there were 52 active permits for natural gas drilling in Cambria County alone, as drillers began courting landowners for access.  And in 2011, as towns like Hastings struggle to create jobs in a down economy, some are relying upon natural gas to create those jobs.

Well…not SEIU, apparently.  The union has teamed up with environmentalists in the area to start harassing the natural gas companies.  They’ve scheduled a protest to demand that these evil drillers pay their fair share!  Only – there’s one small problem.  The place that SEIU selected to protest?  Yeah…not actually a Marcellus drilling location.

When union workers and environmental activists picked a Hastings-area site to protest inaction on a Marcellus Shale severance tax, they made one mistake.

Marcellus activity isn’t occurring within miles of it.

Service Employees International Union officials issued an apology Monday, saying they mistakenly set up their protest Thursday – and a makeshift tollbooth asking the industry to pay its fair share – next to a surface well property that has been around for years and isn’t set up for shale drilling.

“There is no Marcellus Shale drilling on that property, and we’ve contacted the property owners and apologized. It was a mistake, and there was no malice intended even when we thought it was a Marcellus well,” said Neil Bhaerman, a SEIU Healthcare spokesman. “It was an honest mistake that we are going to take extra care to ensure never happens again.”

The union, with environmental officials and area parents, set up protests at three western Pennsylvania sites Thursday to urge for the shale drilling industry to pay its fair share.

Bhaerman said local workers from an area nursing home told them about an apparent drilling site near Third Avenue, just outside of Hastings, and the union didn’t do enough homework on it.   Read the full article.

Imagine that.  The union didn’t do their homework.

I seem to recall that when SEIU protested at ESSA Bank & Trust in East Stroudsburg because of their dispute with Pocono Medical Center, they hadn’t done their homework then, either.

Because while they thought they were intimidating the bank president Gary Olson, who also happens to be chairman of the hospital’s board of directors, they weren’t aware of the fact that Olson has zero authority over any labor issues at the medical center.  He himself has said,  “the union members wouldn’t benefit by targeting me. I’m a volunteer director who was elected chair of the board and am not involved in any union negotiations.”   They didn’t exactly do their homework then, either.  And they still continue to harass the same individual.

The union has  been embroiled in a dispute with the hospital over the issue of a prior vote to make union membership voluntary and  the “closed shop” clause in workers’ contracts, a detail the union vehemently opposes.  SEIU wants to continue to force workers to join their union.

“…local workers from an area nursing home told them about an apparent drilling site near Third Avenue.”

Chances are the bad tip mentioned above came from other workers at the nearby Golden LivingCenter-Haida (GLC-Haida), a nursing home on Third Avenue represented by SEIU Healthcare PA, though this hasn’t been confirmed.  The nursing home is part of a well-known chain of facilities in Cambria County, statewide across Pennsylvania, and nationwide.  GLC workers on the eastern side of the state in East Stroudsburg, PA have participating in the actions against Pocono Medical Center.

Funny how all these supposedly random little occurrences all seem to be connected all the time, isn’t it?

by Liberty Chick

If you want to take a pulse on the political vibe in this country, one need only look at Wisconsin.  The state has become the barometer for judging not just the public’s appetite for political battle, but the competitive landscape as well.  The spotlight on anything that has six degrees of separation from a Koch brother has been great drama for Wisconsin’s ongoing soap opera, but audiences in the state and nationwide might get a better show by turning their attention leftward.  Few have examined the strange pattern of money and favor trading that’s been pervading Wisconsin’s beloved circle of progressive politics.

The activity in Wisconsin over the last few months becomes crucially pertinent as the state gears up for the 2012 Wisconsin Senate race.  It’s worth looking at the financial innards  of the Supreme Court race and the protests against Governor Scott Walker in order to assess what the fight for the Wisconsin Senate seat, soon to be vacated by retiring Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, will look like.  What many don’t realize is that this race could have broader implications – not just in national politics, but in specific policy areas, like health care and your personal medical records, for example.  Lots of money, fueled by liberal business interests and an ever-growing progressive movement in Wisconsin, has already been freely flowing.

But is anyone watching? Who are some of these donors?

Let’s start by looking back at the recent Wisconsin protests and the Supreme Court election, and then dissecting some of the money trail.

The hostility stemmed from the union reform bill signed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on March 11th as a stand-alone portion of the overall budget repair bill.

(more…)

by Liberty Chick

On his Wednesday show, Adam Carolla interviewed Andrew Breitbart to discuss Andrew’s new book, Righteous Indignation.  Let me assure you, you’ll LOVE this duo. Andrew’s been a guest on Carolla’s show before, but this was hands down the most entertaining so far.

Click for Audio:  http://www.mrctv.org/embed/101762

Check out some of the comments from Carolla’s regular listeners – not surprisingly, some aren’t exactly Breitbart fans (which makes it that much more enjoyable for me, at least).

Carolla tackled topics with Andrew on just about everything – from Righteous Indignation to Communism, the Left’s Racist meme, the racket of building permits and greenwashing, and unions, just to name a few.  And a whole lotta LA, which, as Andrew illustrates for us, ain’t what is used to be.  The two were on such a rant roll over our waning freedoms, Carolla, who has described himself as having libertarian leanings, almost sounded like another grassroots activist.  Who knows? Sounds like he may just have a bit of Presidential appeal.  Andrew certainly thought so!

“By the way, are you aware that the Republican Party has nobody running for the presidency right now, and if you had put that out there by mistake and people heard that, and that was your spiel, you would have gone up to Donald Trump level, you would have gone up to 17%?”

Oh yeah – Carolla’s also not a big fan of Maxine Waters.  Not. At. All.  Which reminds me, this audio is NSFW.

(more…)

Apparently, the Big Labor-related death threats aren’t limited to Wisconsin.  Or to lawmakers.

This following email is just in from our friends at The Mackinac Center for Public Policy:

<start email>

“The Mackinac Center for Public Policy received numerous death threats and bomb threats in the aftermath of national publicity about a Freedom of Information Act request it sent to three public universities.

The messages were left on the Center’s voice mail Thursday night and early Friday morning, but it is unclear at this point if one or two women were responsible for the threats.

Mackinac Center President Joseph Lehman said the Mackinac Center has contacted law enforcement about the threats.

“We, along with the authorities, are doing everything necessary to protect ourselves,” Lehman said. “No threats will prevent us from showing the public how universities spend tax dollars.”

There were five messages left containing death or bomb threats. Four of them appear to be from the same caller. A fifth message was from a woman who left a death threat and, unlike the previous caller, left her name and indicated she lived in a neighboring state. It was unclear if the second caller was the same as the first caller.

A female voice said:

“Scotty Walker is dead. So are you. We know where you live.” The woman then recited the Mackinac Center’s address and said, “We are coming up to destroy you.”

(more…)

In North Carolina, collective bargaining in the public sector has been banned by the state for over 50 years.  A statute implemented in 1959 declared collective bargaining by state and local government employees “to be against the public policy of the State, illegal, unlawful, void and of no effect.

To unionists, it seemed like a drastic and unfair law, but for years it has protected the individual’s right to choose whether or not to join a union and the right to work without being forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment.  In addition, it has protected the interests of the taxpayers of the state of North Carolina.

But a 2007 decision issued by a United Nations agency against the North Carolina law is back in the spotlight today, as labor unions are gearing up to use the argument in a mass campaign to repeal all currently existing Right to Work laws in response to Wisconsin’s collective bargaining outcome.

In an Emergency Labor Meeting that occurred last week in Cleveland, Ohio, nearly 100 labor leaders and activists met to construct an emergency action plan and strategy for the future to deal with what they say is an “assault on the unions.”  The meeting produced plans to hold a National Day of Action on March 12th and again on April 4th, as well as a “Perspectives” document that will serve as a framework for 15 key objectives.

Within the framework document are two specific objectives that are of special concern to supporters of the worker freedom movement and Right to Work laws. Labor unions and solidarity federations in the US and across the globe intend to use the UN-based International Labor Organization (ILO) decision to put pressure on US government officials and the public to repeal the Right to Work laws that exist in 22 states.

(more…)

You may remember President Obama’s recent call for civil discourse this past January.  Well, it appears that the Left is still very much struggling with the #newtone online.  Unless, of course, you consider a persistent stream of steady death threats against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker a display of etiquette straight from the Emily Post Etipedia of manners.

Here’s but a small sampling from the #caring Tweeters:
(I prefer to view the video with this music as accompaniment…)

Initially, I’d written a summary here of some of the details around Gov. Walker’s proposal, including some of the positive highlights, like granting employees the right to choose whether or not to contribute dues to a labor union.  But then I decided, “nahhhh….why bother?”  Agree or disagree with some, all or none of the Governor’s proposal, everyone has something to contribute to the conversation.  But death threats are NOT an acceptable part of ANY conversation.

I’d thought we’d learned that by now, after documenting the same exact behavior in January.  With all the Big-Brother Twitter monitoring the Soros flunkies are doing out there, you’d think they would have posted and condemned this by now.

So much for that #newtone.

Video h/t Joe Haas and Kim Hedum.

State public employees protested today in Wisconsin against Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to help close an immediate $137 million budget shortfall and a two-year budget at $3.6 billion beginning on July 1st.  Under Walker’s plan, state employees would:

  • Contribute 5.8% toward pension funds
  • Contribute 12.6% to health care premiums
  • See pay increases capped at the rate of inflation; however, larger increases may be voted upon via voluntary referendum
  • No longer have union dues automatically deducted from their paychecks, as they’ll gain the ability to opt out of paying union dues (once current contracts expire)
  • Lose some collective bargaining rights:  State government cannot currently touch any elements of the public sector union contracts in an effort to make budget adjustments; therefore, reducing some elements of collective bargaining such as hours and expanded benefits (those outside of health/pension) will give the state more flexibility in the future to reduce spending without being forced to cut jobs or enforce any furloughs.   Police, fire and various emergency/safety workers would be exempt from this provision.

Apparently, that triggered the Myan Apocalypse.  Or maybe Woodstock.  I can’t really tell the difference.

As you can imagine, Democratic allies flipped out.  Organizing for America and the Democratic National Party got right to work, ginning up the rhetoric beyond what the plan really entails and organizing the protests for this week, including many that closed schools all across the state.

(more…)

UPDATE FROM PATTERICO:

At Big Journalism, Liberty Chick has posted on Think Progress’s whitewashing of convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin from the Chamber of Commerce/HBGary story. She concisely explains the background and echoes my findings regarding Think Progress’s decision to eliminate Kimberlin from the story:

Think Progress, a project of John Podesta’s Center for American Progress Action Fund, has been fiercely pushing a story about leaked emails that suggest the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was aware of espionage work being performed against American citizens by one of its private security firms. . . .

But the reports are noticeably silent on one crucial component of the story.

The primary focus of the Chamber’s investigation was actually none other than the organization known as Velvet Revolution, and one of its co-founders, Brett Kimberlin.

Recognize that name? That’s because we told you all about this convicted domestic terrorist, known as the Speedway Bomber, who in 1981 was finally convicted of a week-long bombing spree in Indianapolis, IN in which eight separate bombs caused extensive property damage, destroyed a police cruiser, and severely maimed a man, eventually leading to that man’s suicide.

I think Liberty Chick also makes some good observations about the tactics of the firm hired by the Chamber. Understand that they not only gathered information on opponents, but they also spoke of planting false documents purportedly by their enemies. We cannot sanction such activity, and it’s important to say so. Liberty Chick says:

In the end, I don’t agree with what HBGary Federal did or how any of the firms involved have handled this. Having been a target of such attacks myself of numerous occasions, I might have actually shared some common ground with folks like Brad Friedman and other leftists on this issue. But the left’s intentional deception makes it so difficult to do so.

To that I would add: their deception and their own use of thuggish stalker and harassment tactics makes it difficult to sympathize.

Let’s all remember how Brett Kimberlin stalked Karl Rove in a Safeway, conned Rove into posing with him by pretending to be Rove’s fan, and then took a picture of Rove’s car . . . complete with license plate. And let’s all remember how Brad Friedman published those photos on his blog.

As I revealed yesterday, Brett Kimberlin has written numerous e-mails to my bosses, complaining about me and calling me a stalker. In his latest, he said:
“I have already reported him to the Bar and to the ethics board and have motions in court addressing his reprehensible conduct. He is very close to getting sued and having a criminal complaint filed against him for harassment and stalking.”

In addition, two secretaries in my office told me that Kimberlin called them ranting about me, calling me a racist, a stalker, and saying he was going to get a restraining order against me. There is more.

Read the rest of this post at Patterico…

Think Progress, a project of John Podesta’s Center for American Progress Action Fund, has been fiercely pushing a story about leaked emails that suggest the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was aware of espionage work being performed against American citizens by one of its private security firms.  The story first launched a few days ago as an exclusive on the progressive blog, when it reported that hacked emails obtained from the pro-WikiLeaks group “Anonymous” reveal that the US Chamber conspired to sabotage opposition progressive activist groups including ThinkProgress, Change to Win, SEIU, BradBlog and StopTheChamber, among others.  By this morning, the story was all over the lefty blogosphere, on sites such as AlterNet, Huffington Post, Raw Story, and in a press release from Kevin Zeese, our fan from IndictBreitbart.org.

But the reports are noticeably silent on one crucial component of the story.

The primary focus of the Chamber’s investigation was actually none other than the organization known as Velvet Revolution, and one of its co-founders, Brett Kimberlin.

Recognize that name?  That’s because we told you all about this convicted domestic terrorist, known as the Speedway Bomber, who in 1981 was finally convicted of a week-long bombing spree in Indianapolis, IN in which eight separate bombs caused extensive property damage, destroyed a police cruiser, and severely maimed a man, eventually leading to that man’s suicide.  In short, a community was terrorized for a week, and a potentially indirectly related murder remains unsolved today.  Indiana certainly remembers Brett Kimberlin.

As it turns out, despite the months of deafening silence on the left in response to questions about the ally they’ve so warmly embraced, some bigger characters apparently had taken notice.

(more…)