Archive for the ‘SEIU’ Category

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?

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[original post 12/12/2010]

The woman known as the “Queen of Labor” is living up to her promise to focus on “building a sustaining progressive infrastructure.”  Anna Burger, former SEIU Secretary-Treasurer, has just joined the board of directors at the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP Action).

CAP Action is a sister organization to the liberal think tank, Center for American Progress.  While the Center for American Progress focuses on developing new policy ideas and on “critiquing the policy that stems from conservative values,”  CAP Action focuses on how to put those policies into action – by organizing liberal grassroots groups, labor unions and other progressive partners as advocates.

John Podesta, Chairman of the Board of Directors for CAP Action, offered the following statement in the organization’s December 9th press release:

“The Center for American Progress Action Fund is pleased to welcome Anna Burger to our Board of Directors. She has been a longtime friend of the Center for American Progress and CAP Action and we’re very happy that she has agreed to help us advance our mission by serving in this new capacity.

Anna Burger has been fighting hard for progressive ideas and policies for nearly 40 years, including the visionary leadership she has provided for the progressive movement over the past decade. We face numerous opportunities and many challenges over the next two years and look forward to Anna’s help in charting our course. As we continue to push for an economy built on a strong middle class that works for all Americans, Anna’s continued leadership and experience could not come at a more important time.”

In addition to her previous post at SEIU, Burger has held many prominent positions that have played significant roles in advancing the progressive movement, including:

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[original post 11/21/2010]

It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year in the lovely Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, when the trees are gorgeous hues of crimson and gold, and the sweet smell of hot apple cider is in the brisk autumn air.  As you walk in and out of little village colonials and saltbox houses donning  fall mums and pumpkins on their porches, you’re hit with that waft of burning fireplace aroma – the sort of scene that gives you that comfy feeling of peace and contentment.

But turn the corner and that picturesque scene is disrupted by a tiny sea of purple t-shirts and angry faces.  Yep, you got it – it’s the SEIU!   And they’re not in the holiday spirit, apparently.

Pocono Medical Center, a mid-sized, not-for-profit community hospital nestled in the Pocono Mountains near East Stroudsburg University, has been in SEIU’s crosshairs for months.  The union has been demanding a closed shop at the hospital, despite the desires of other workers, and has since made it the crux of its contract negotiations. They were out protesting last week, making their demands known.  (Not many from Pocono Medical Center participated in the protest, so they resorted to recruiting some nearby friends to join them).

For those not familiar with what a “closed shop” is in union terms, this means that all of those employees would be required to be a member of the union and to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

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[original post 8/12/2010]

The Democracy Alliance is alive and well, and its Vice-Chair is about to be born again.

Today, the “Queen of Labor”, SEIU Secretary-Treasurer and Chair of the Change to Win labor federation, Anna Burger, announced her retirement.

Anna Burger was defeated by current SEIU President Mary Kay Henry when she ran against Henry for the spot vacated by outgoing President Andy Stern.  Despite that loss, Burger had insisted that she’d be staying on as Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU.  Instead, she will be replaced as the head of Change to Win by United Food and Commercial Workers president, Joe Hansen.  Henry is likely to appoint one of her own insiders as SEIU Secretary-Treasurer, a practice that was already causing tension between Burger and the new guard of SEIU (even though both guards are not all that different from one another).

Burger’s departure marks not just the end of an era for SEIU, but more importantly it’s indicative of a new era for the Progressive movement.

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[original post 7/29/2010]

Thursday morning at 12:01 a.m. local time, Arizona’s well publicized anti-illegal-immigration law will  finally go into effect.  Or at least parts of it will.  U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled today to block several provisions of the law that some consider controversial (even though these mimic federal law).   However, the judge has allowed the remainder of the law to move forward as planned while the case is being litigated.  This includes allowing the state of Arizona to stop rogue state officials from implementing “sanctuary city” policies, and allowing the state to pursue civil lawsuits over sanctuary cities.  In addition, Arizona will still be permitted to implement the portion of the law that makes it a crime to pick up day laborers, an issue that law enforcement and officials say has become a major problem in the state.

While yesterday’s ruling is being praised by opponents of the law, it won’t stop their protests, it will prolong them.  For years.  In fact, hordes of angry protesters are scheduled to descend upon the state first thing Thursday morning.  And the propaganda machine on the left continues to run at full speed, cranking out intentionally misleading statements, disinformation, and outright lies.  We’ve watched the boycotts.  We’ve watched as the protests have erupted into hate events, directed not from the right against illegal immigrants as the left portrays them, but from the left and illegal immigrants against peaceful people on the right (and many in the center!).

Meanwhile, as the left continues their manufactured barrage of anger at Andrew Breitbart for supposedly taking things out of context in the Shirley Sherrod story, they fabricate their own version of context propaganda on video in examples like this one from the SEIU:

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[original post 7/24/2010]

Andy Stern has just gained yet another job.  Earlier this month, Stern also accepted a position on the Board of Directors for SIGA, a producer of anti-viral and biological warfare defense products.

But this job seems to have some policy teeth, with a think-tank title akin to Media Matters or the Center for American Progress, and it comes with perhaps some welcome company as well.

andy-stern-091231

From The San Francisco Chronicle:

Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union, is joining Georgetown University’s public policy school as a research fellow.

Stern, 59, retired in May after building his union into one of the largest in the labor movement and increasing his own influence with President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers.

Stern will coordinate research at Washington-based Georgetown on wage reform, labor policy and retirement security, according to an announcement on the school’s website.

Stern of course maintains his position as an adviser on Obama’s deficit-reduction commission, a post to which Obama appointed him in February of this year.

This announcement comes only weeks after the announcement that Ed Montgomery, who has been serving in the White House as both a member of President Obama’s Task Force on the Auto Industry and as the Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, will leave the Obama administration to take over as Dean of Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute.  As very active leaders in the labor movement, both Mr. Montgomery and Andy Stern certainly know one another, and have shared visits at the White House for such activities as Obama’s White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth.

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[original post 5/24/2010]

If you haven’t read by now all the headlines on this story, you’ll want to start at the beginning and read the first post, SEIU Storms Private Residence, Terrorizes Teenage Son of Bank of America Exec.  Because as each day passes, new facts are popping up.  The story seemed so outrageous at first.  After all, the thought of over 500 screaming and chanting protesters surrounding a Bank of America lawyer’s private residence while the man’s teenage son, home alone, hid frightened inside a bathroom – it’s just so extreme, even by SEIU’s standards.

I knew something was up when the following day, Fortune magazine editor Nina Easton, a neighbor of the targeted residence, published an account of the incident and was almost immediately attacked by what seemed like practically a coordinated dogpile of writers from several specific sources.

In almost mirror fashion to the Town Hall events last August, when both the Huffington Post and Media Matters seemingly tried to cover up and dismiss the violent acts that SEIU committed against Kenneth Gladney, the same players were again out in full force.  As our Larry O’Connor wrote, both outlets behaved less like journalists and more like arms of the SEIU press office, dismissing SEIU’s bad behavior and attacking an innocent party with fabricated conflicts of interest as a method of distraction and intimidation.

payne-podestaBob Borosage, Erica Payne, and John Podesta

 

And now we learn this:  Erica Payne, the guest who was invited to appear Friday on Megyn Kelley’s Fox News show and proceeded to blame the Tea Parties for the behavior of SEIU?  She was co-founder of Democracy Alliance, the very organization that spawned and is a donor to Media Matters.  SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger is also the Vice-Chair of its Board.

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[original post 5/21/2010]

Alinsky Rule #12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Nina Easton just became the left’s latest target.  Why?  So that SEIU can hide from the truth about its financial liabilities to Bank of America (more on that after the jump).

seiu-MOB

Easton, a Washington Editor for Fortune Magazine, wrote a column early morning Wednesday, addressing the outrageous protest organized by SEIU and National People’s Action, where 700 protesters stormed the front lawn of the private residence of Greg Baer, deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America.

As I wrote in my post yesterday, “SEIU Storms Private Residence, Terrorizes Teenage Son of Bank of America Exec,” Easton is actually a neighbor of Baer.  When she was startled by the loud, screaming, bullhorn-rattling protesters, she called Baer’s teenage son to check on him.  Home alone, the frightened teenager had locked himself in the bathroom.  After witnessing the entire incident as it unfolded on her neighbor’s private property, Easton criticized the SEIU and left wing groups in her article for crossing the line this time.

Alinsky’s Rule # 12 states,

“Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)”

In almost coordinated lock-step fashion, the 12th Rule was promptly and firmly applied.  As Larry O’Connor posted on Big Journalism yesterday, a series of several posts soon followed the publication of Nina Easton’s article:

  • Late Wednesday evening, John Vandeventer of SEIU posted “Nina Easton & the Bank Lobbyists: Too Close for Comfort” in response.  Conveniently, Vandeventer distracts readers by recounting the sob stories of foreclosure “victims”, then quickly focuses the attention on Easton and polarizes his target.  He proceeds to play a guilt by association game to tie her husband to Bank of America through Business Roundtable.  You can read my post from yesterday about that here.
  • Then came Arthur Delaney’s piece from the Huffington Post, with the headline: “Nina Easton, Fortune Columnist, Compares Bank Protesters To ‘God Hates Fags’ Group.”  He ends his piece with a link to an open letter to Easton penned by Al Marshall, SEIU Local 1021 shop steward in Oakland, CA.  Marshall begins his letter by mentioning that he flew out to DC for the protest  from CA because “Wall Street caused” his wife to lose her job, and then him and his wife to lose their house.  (I’d like to know how he could possibly afford those plane tickets, in that case).  The whole tenor of the post is undoubtedly less jovial than his prior day’s, when he gleefully bragged about the whole event.
  • And then, the much anticipated and expected Media Matters post: “Attacking SEIU, Nina Easton fails to disclose husband’s ties to Bank of America“.

Of all of the responses, not a single one of the posts actually addresses any of the issues. None will account for the fact that the protesters were on the private property of a private citizen, though Vandeventer tries to rationalize their actions as acceptable because the police supposedly followed the crowd to the location.  Then, he paints the picture that Baer is lurking in the crowd trying to blend in; rather, the man was trying to get to his front door without creating a scene so that he could get to his frightened son inside as quickly as possible.

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[original post 5/20/2010]

By now, you’ve probably seen the mob-scene that developed on the front lawn of the private residence of Greg Baer, deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America.  This was planned for some time by the SEIU as part of a larger national event, their Showdown on K Street, which was shared with National People’s Action and thousands of other activists from MoveOn.org and other left-wing groups.

Prior to the main event on K Street in Washington DC, SEIU and company made a little pit stop.  According to Fortune magazine Washington editor Nina Easton, 14 busloads of riled up protesters unloaded on Baer’s private property and stormed up to his doorstep, while his teenage son was home alone.  Easton is a neighbor of Baer’s and had called to check on her neighbor’s son when she heard and saw all the commotion outside. Easton writes,

“Waving signs denouncing bank “greed,” hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer’s steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer’s teenage son Jack — alone in the house — locked himself in the bathroom. “When are they going to leave?” Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.

Baer, on his way home from a Little League game, parked his car around the corner, called the police, and made a quick calculation to leave his younger son behind while he tried to rescue his increasingly distressed teen. He made his way through a din of barked demands and insults from the activists who proudly “outed” him, and slipped through his front door.

“Excuse me,” Baer told his accusers, “I need to get into the house. I have a child who is alone in there and frightened.”

Imagine what you would have done if your child were inside that house and that mob was on your front lawn as you tried to reach him.

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[original post 5/18/2010]

People on the left are constantly asking Andrew Breitbart who funds his “operation.”  It’s grown to become rather amusing, actually.  For those of us who are bloggers on The Bigs, we know the truth, we see how things operate. We know there’s no giant conservative-leaning lump of cash greasing this machine.  If that were the case, I for one think Andrew would probably be home with his family even more, rather than traveling around, worrying about advertising or other ways of self-funding this little “hobby” of his, as the left often like to refer to it.

But let’s just look for one moment at where some of that line of thinking comes from on the other side.  I’ve written previously about the birth of Media Matters as a spawn of Rob Stein’s Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix road show, from which the Democracy Alliance was born.  It’s through this organization from which much of the organization’s funding had come; in recent years, more has been spread out across other progressive organizations, but the funders often remain the same names in most cases.  For instance, The Tides Foundation gave Media Matters and their Action Network over $175,000 just last year.  In earlier years, groups like Montclair, New Jersey-based (hometown of Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert) Schumann Center for Media & Democracy gave the organization $500,000.

The donors’ list is vast and diverse, and we plan to cover that in detail in the future.  So I’ll focus in on one set of donors to Media Matters, which is the Labor Unions.  More specifically, in light of some recent posts regarding the Kenneth Gladney incident, I thought it appropriate to revisit donations made to Media Matters specifically by the Service Employees International Union.

MMFA-DOLPayee

mmfa-seiu2

When you look at the timeline of events and the media calendar in general leading up to the Gladney incident last August, it’s difficult not to conclude that there was collaboration amongst White House staff, components of Big Labor, and certain liberal media outlets.  However, we know that all will continue to deny it.

Further, just as the flurry of media activity finally starts to wind down a bit around October last year, this is when SEIU makes three separate donations to Media Matters totaling $50,000, under the classification of “Communications”, according to the SEIU LM-2 report. (In reviewing other LM-2s for several previous years, this appears at least to be the first time that SEIU has donated to Media Matters, and there does not seem to have been another donation recorded since these.)

This is the type of funding that I would question in return to Media Matters.  With their membership being so low and their unfunded pension expenses so high, can the SEIU really afford to be randomly donating funds to an organization like Media Matters?  Perhaps SEIU purchased advertising on Media Matters’ website, but then I’d think it would be categorized as such, as others ad expenses in the LM-2 were.  If not advertising, if not random donations,  then what’s the reason for SEIU having donated these funds?  One could logically conclude that Media Matters performed a service in return.  Only they can answer that.

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