UnionMaine

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A Dream of Heaven for Right to Work States

This Post is from CrunchGear.com
Someone who hates Unions must have thought this one up. If the Japanese employees are willing to put up with this, how long before they try it here? RFID technoloyg is growing fast and the need to wear a company badge would take care of reading where you are.

Idss_video_camera

Read the whole post at CrunchGear.com.

After paying $21,000, factory management can simultaneously monitor the activities of up to 30 workers and then analyze and visualize the data collected (fee for a 3-day-analysis). Each worker has to wear a gyro sensor and an acceleration sensor at the ankle and a mini video camera in the shirt pocket.

DSS also …….able to locate the workers, record their activity …..

Follow the link for the rest of the scary post at CrunchGear.com

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July 7th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | EFCA, RIGHT TO WORK, Radio-frequency identification | no comments

Oregon Bill Bans Mandatory Anti-Union Meetings, Moves to the House


I want to be the 1st person through the door the morning after a local Wal-Mart Unionizes. I will wear my Union colors and call the “associates” brother or sister.

It has been estimated that the cost of better wages and benefits for all Wally World employees could cost an extra $1.00 to a $1.50 per $$100.00 purchase.

Wal-Mart could swallow that and never even have to raise prices. Recently the corp. made a Twelve Billion dollar profit in one year.

The Oregon senate believes workers are able to choose to form a Union and bargain for themselves.

The senate also believes employees may be able to think for themselves and should not be forced to attend coercive, mandatory anti-union meetings held by an aggressive and threatening management.

Monday the Oregon Senate passed the Worker Freedom Act. It now goes to the House, where it passed in 2007.

The legislation, if passed will make it illegal for an employer to discipline or fire a worker who refuses to attend a meeting on politics, religion or union organizing during work hours.

Almost all anti-union campaigns are use mandatory meetings where employers or hired Union Busters use scare tactics to intimidate workers. Depending on how you look at the statistics between 25% and 60% of companies involved in a Unionization campaign fire or punish employees who support Unions.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Wal-Mart forced employees to attend meetings where they were told that electing Democrats to the White House and Congress could threaten their jobs.

The Worker Freedom Act was passed 16-14, by the Oregon Senate.

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski has said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

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June 18th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | EFCA, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, Oregon, Ted Kulongoski, Trade union, Union busting, Wal-Mart | no comments

Getting to 60 votes. EFCA NOW

San Diego Labor Council Cesar Chavez EFCA Marc...Image by aflcio2008 via Flickr

We already have a majority in the House of Representatives and we have President Obama’s promise that he will sign the bill. It all comes down to the Senate.

The rumor is that by the end of the month AL Franken the Minnesota Senator, will be seated. This will place us just shy of the 60 votes we need for a “cloture” vote. The cloture vote will stop the filibuster and allow the bill to proceed for a majority vote.

As moderate Republicans it’s liekly that Senator Olympia Snowe or Collins could be that sixtieth vote. In effect, we have the power as Maine voters to decide this fight. Therefore we have a responsibility to our state, and to our country to fight like hell to convince Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins that passing the Employee Free Choice Act is absolutely essential for a more equitable, sustainable society. So here are some of the ways you can get in the fray.

1) Educate yourself and your friends and family. For more materials and information about the Employee Free Choice Act visit the Working Families Toolkit. You can make custom flyers and fact sheets after briefly registering: www.workingfamiliestoolkit.com

2) Call Senator Snowe and Collins and tell them how you feel about the Employee Free Choice Act

Senator Snowe’s Offices
Auburn 207-786-2451
Augusta 207- 622-8292
Bangor 207-945-0432
Biddeford 207-282-4144
Portland 207-282-4144
Presque Isle 207-764-5124

Senator Collin’s Offices
Augusta 207-622-8414
Bangor 207-945-0417
Biddeford 207-283-1101
Lewiston 207-784-6969
Caribou 207-493-7873
Portland 207-780-3575

3) Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Use this link to find your local paper and submit your letter. http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/ltrefca/search-zip?rk=&preview=f

4) Write a letter to our Senators and tell them why you support the Employee free Choice Act. Find their local office address here.

Senator Snowe’s Office Addresses

Senator Collin’s Office Addresses

5) Encourage your friends and family to write and call too!

6) Speak to your Rabbi, Minister, Priest or Pastor about publicly supporting the Employee Free Choice Act by signing a letter in support of it. To obtain the letter contact bniccoli@aflcio.org .

7) If you own a business, or know of a business owner that supports the Employee Free Choice Act encourage them to contact btraslav@employeefreechoice.org to sign on to the small business support letter.

8) Sign up for Maine AFL-CIO Get Active e-mails. You can do so by contacting maineaflciopress@gmail.com with your name, union or organization affiliation and e-mail address. You will receive a weekly update on the campaign and occasional information about other important labor events.

For more EFCA news check the source of this cross post.http://employeefreechoice.typepad.com/me/

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June 17th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Al Franken, EFCA, EFCA compromise, Employee Free Choice Act, afl-cio, e | no comments

The EFCA is Gainiing Support

San Diego Labor Council Cesar Chavez EFCA Marc...Image by aflcio2008 via Flickr

This article below is a cross post from the AFL-CIO. We are not alone, we have the votes. We will pass the EFCA.
I want to be the first person through the door into a Unionized Wal-Mart.

Nationally the Sierra Club has allied with labor to support working families in our fight to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. They have done so because the Sierra Club understands that if we are to rebuild our economy with green jobs, it will only be sustainable if those green jobs are also good jobs.

Sandy Amborn is a Field Organizer for the Maine Sierra Club. She spoke at the Southern Maine Labor Council’s workers’ rights forum that was held in Portland. Sandy explained that “workers are the frontline in protecting the environment.” What’s more, sandy explained how green jobs must also be sustainable, good jobs and that can only be ensured through the Employee Free Choice Act.

The relationship between the environment and workers’ right to organize is particularly important in Maine. This is because Maine through stimulus money, and other sources of investment may be in the vanguard of the clean energy industry. It won’t make a difference though if workers don’t have the ability to democratically negotiate for a fair wage and benefits.

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June 12th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, Labor rights, SEIU, UNIONMAINE, afl-cio | no comments

Zombie Donkey or Where are all the Democrats?



Where are all the Democrats?
I know it is a pony, do you have any idea how hard it is to find a picture of a Zombie Donkey?


Card Check

Penalties for labor law violations

Mandatory Arbitration

When card check seems to be the very basis for America and lets the majority rule, why the ugly push back from the right?

Card check makes a juicy target.

By portraying the card check provision of the EFCA as un-American the anti EFCA forces can pretend to be the underdog, defending the common man. The “defense” of the secret ballot lets Blue dog Democrats and some moderate Dem senators avoid a vote and justify their opposition.

The labor movement knows they can not simply depend on the support of the Congress they elected. We need to pull away the political cover so they will be forced to vote in the open.

Out of the gate, business seized a lead by portraying card check as Anti-American. Labor needs to push back against this, both with logic and with emotion.

Arguing against the “taking away the secret ballot” argument sets up a is not”, “is so” argument that wins for business because most people stop listening to a long and involved debate.

We can’t just yell “we are Americans too!” it isn’t a good sound bite and it has no emotional punch.There has to be a message that everyone supports, Unions and non-unionized. It would be great if it could be done in a 30 second spot, and I think it can be done.

Employers break the law, there is intimidation by employers. There are illegal firings and people’s lives are ruined, but how do you get that into 30 seconds?

We can get enough clips from You Tube alone that show unpopular people speaking against the EFCA. Picture Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, and millionaires on screen with their estimated worth under each while they talk spout venom.

“They have it all, why don’t they want anyone else to have any?”

Support America Support the Employee Free Choice Act.”

Penalties

The strongest arguments on the side of labor are the tens of thousand of cases of illegal intimidation by employers, the firings, the threats to workers and communities.

Anti-EFCA groups try to bypass any discussion of labor intimidation and pretend ongoing and blatant employer intimidation is not happening or only happens in an insignificant number of cases. (NLRB) Charges filed 47 violations by unions vs. 27,000 plus violations by Business.

Union Busters claim that they know there are abuses by employers, but that if labor had the EFCA, then they might do the same. The argument boils down to “we want to be the only people to be able to abuse the law”, yet they have no interest in making those violations costly to business.

The strength of the EFCA is that if any one piece is passed without being crippled it will start to balance the scales of justice. Penalties alone would make the process of Union Busting far more dangerous to employers to go into without the intention of staying legal.

An additional note on penalties.

The main problem with the penalties as they stand is that they are not adjusted to inflation or the size of the work force. Violations should not remain just a cost of doing business. I would drop the fixed amount fines and put in a relative one based on payroll.


Fines could start at 20% of the total payroll per year and increase on repeated violations. This would be the same threat level to a million dollar company as it would be to a billion dollar company. I would also factor in the cost of payroll for any outsourced labor, just to keep companies from dumping employees to minimize a fine. Repeated violations would increase the level of the penalty up to 100% of payroll. This would result in employers becoming far more conscious of the law.

Mandatory Arbitration

Mandatory Arbitration will be Custer’s last stand for Union Busters. They know that even if they are must recognize a Union they can spend years refusing to negotiate while attempting to continue their former tactics and break the new Union.


They want to stop the whole bill but in the end, it is the mandatory arbitration clause of the EFCA that is both the real target of the Union Busters and the most important goal to achieve with passage of the EFCA.

Are Compromises Possible?

Labor knows compromises are possible; any successful contract is all about compromises.

The first so called compromises from the right were all about retaining the long, long, wait until any election is held.

Any argument based on increasing the wait for an election is not a compromise, it is a vote against the EFCA. The Union Busters best weapon has always been a long wait before balloting, allowing for intimidation and pressure tactics by employers and in rare cases, by labor organizers.

The Anti Labor groups says that labor is not interested in any fair solution. How woud they know? The idea of negotiations is what they are fighting against, how could they even imagine participating in a fair discussion?

The compromises offered so far go nowhere far enough to prevent future firings and intimidation of pro-union workers. The second goal of any compromise offered by business at this time has been to keep the lack of significant sanctions for labor law violators. The third goal is to avoid any mandatory arbitration.

Unlike business, Unions have experience at negotions. If there is to be any compromise, We must I both strengthen the enforcement concepts of EFCA, retain mandatory arbitration, and even expand the punishment for violations, both for employers and for labor.

To labor the EFCA has become a highly emotional bill and they are understandably reluctant to talk compromise. Since the Taft Hartley bill in the 1940’s the labor friendly laws passed after the depression have been eroded and weakened by repeated give aways to business interests.


Labor believes strongly that even if the card check proposal part of the bill were erased, some blue dog Democrats and some Republicans with heavy Union membership at home would still try to vote the compromise down because both the Democrats and the Republicans would have be less able to hide their attempts to pay back their corporate supporters.

I believe that many of the fence-sitting Democrats are actually against the EFCA because they are owned by business, but are still afraid of the voters after November 2008. Any compromise that retained any form of secret ballot would take away the cover and expose those who want to vote for business against their constituents.

The instant Union recognition provision of the EFCA where the Union is immediately recognized, gets push back

The right was fast and smart (did Hell just freeze over?). By seizing the secret ballot argument they can make it their own.


Provide card check that triggers a secret election in one day. Keep the secret election but take away the weapon of time from the employer. They need time to scare employees.


Retaining some form of Secret ballot will defuse much of the arguments against the EFCA.

Employers claim they need time not for intimidation and coercion but because they were surprised by the Union’s organizing success and want to put across their views and concerns to employees before a Union becomes permanent.

The “we need time” whine is specious. An employer has a chance to speak to employees every day. They have a chance to raise wages and/or benefits or to let the employees know why they can not. When a Union has a successful organizing drive it is a proof of failure of the business to stay in touch with their work force.

The deck remains massively stacked against Union efforts. Captive audience meetings, firings of pro-union workers, and meaningless sanctions against employers that violate the law has resulted in the need for a law to rebalance the scales.


Employers are not interested in compromise, they have control, why should they bend?

Labor has to win this one. Democrats hid from Dick Cheney, controversy, and daylight, during the last two years of the bush reign, they are no longer the undead, they won, where are they now?



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June 11th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | EFCA, EFCA compromise, Employee Free Choice Act, Labor Movement, Law, SEIU, Secret ballot, Trade union, United States, Work, card check | no comments

EFCA on the move again.

Arlen Specter may be the key to passing the EFCA in the same way he was an intestinal blockage the last time it came across his desk as a Republican.

Arlen Specter, the freshman Democrat has realized he can’t get elected unless the nearly 1,000,000 Union workers in his state see him supporting the EFCA.

Specter is working with Diane Feinstein to create a compromise bill that will still get him elected. Pennsylvania’s Unions have the votes and the will to make or break Arlen Specter and both he and the Democrats know it.

He can’t win the next Pennsylvania Democratic primary without Union votes, and the message has been clear “vote for the EFCA or lose your seat”.

Some “moderate” Democrats like Tom Harkin know they won’t be able to claim they don’t have the votes to pass the EFCA. They can’t hide behind the Republicans any longer. Tom Harkin has been leading an effort to write a compromise so the party’s voters, (including the unions) don’t think they were lied to. No EFCA and they will stay home when Specter and other Democrats need their help in 2010 elections.

The Feinstein compromise replaces the original card-check provision, which allows workers give signed cards to a Union organizer and arranges for them to be counted by the NLRB thus providing the majority sign up and providing the secret election at the same time. This would still prevent companies from terrorizing workers for months or even years to prevent unionization.
EDITOR:
As I understand it employees would be given the cards and they would be mailed to the NLRB, the same as absentee ballots are used in regular elections. The individual could take it home and mail it in,” Feinstein said. The same EFCA rules would apply
If a majority of all employees mailed ballot to the National Labor Relations Board, and voted YES for the Union, the NLRB would recognize the union.
Tom Harkin in CYA mode says, the Feinstein idea will protect the secret ballot, so votes can be cast in private, which kills the complaints about no secret ballot. At least it would kill the complaints if the GOPasaurs were sane.

The GOPasaur, artwork by the DailyKos, irrelevancy courtesy of the Republican party.

The right has always hated the arbitration clause while Unions see some forced answer necessary to prevent companies refusing to ever reach a contract.

Long time labor advocate, Democrat Arlen Specter supports “last best offer” arbitration. Last best offer arbitration forces both sides to negotiate and if no agreement can be reached a (usually) three person panel is put in place consisting of one labor representative, one from management and one neutral party chosen with mutual agreement. The panel has the right to mandate a contract based on the good of the company and the good of the employees. Neither Unions or Management like the idea of giving up any say but Unions feel this may be needed to reach a first contract.

The AFL-CIO has said it is ready to listen to that proposal. Unions have fought for the pure EFCA bill and will be understandably disappointed but they have a long history of negotiations unlike Wal-Mart and know that you never get it all. If these changes mean getting something passed that has not been gutted Unions will probably get behind the compromise.

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May 10th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Arlen Specter, EFCA, EFCA compromise, MSEA-SEIU, card check | no comments

Proud to Support Maine Republicans

Sorry, I have been running behind in posting due to contract negotiations, having a family, and even working.

We don’t always have to contact our legislators to ask for something or to complain. Sometimes we need to let them know they are doing a good job. In the Portland Press Herald for March 12 one of our independent breed of Republican legislators stood up for the Employee Free Choice act.

From the Portland Press Herald March 12, 2009

MAINE VOICES Employee Free Choice Act just what Maine’s economy needs Making it easier to form a union will improve workers’ odds of job security and prosperity. JAMES J. CAMPBELL SR. and PENNI THERIAULT

March 12, 2009
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Rep. James J. Campbell Sr., R-Newfield, serves on the Health and Human Services Committee. Penni Theriault is owner of Lots of Tots Child Care and president of Kids First, MSEA-SEIU.

We write as a state legislator and a small business owner who share Mainers’ deep concerns about the state of our economy. For the rest of the story, go to the Press Herald story. I personally called Rep. Campbell and left him a heartfelt thank you. I don’t know his record on supporting the MSEA in Maine and I didn’t look. He is doing the right thing at the right time. Please contact him and say Thank You Click on the link and send him a Thank You. jscampbell@psouth.net

March 14th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, MSEA, Maine State Employees, SEIU 1989 | no comments

The EFCA Will Bleed Your Rights Away

The other day I told a Republican legislator “Stop right there, I don’t need to listen to you anymore”. It seems every time a Republican starts talking these days they say Democrat and Massive deficit in the same sentence. I told him that after Ronnie, and three terms of Bushwhackers I could stop listening for reality when they used those two words together. In small words and easy cartoon colors I tried to explain:
Clinton=Surplus Republican=Deficit. We know how we got here, we know who did it. Now the the Rs, Wal-Mart and the Chamber of commerce want you to believe they are here to stop the bleeding away of your rights by opposing the Employee Free Choice Act.

The GOP puts a tourniquet on the EFCA nosebleed!


Finally real Americans may get some help. The EFCA could end the rape of the middle class. Maybe workers will get a chance to share in the profits.

Corporations, millionaires and billionaires are screaming “Mine, mine, mine, don’t touch mine!” while spitting hate. Bank of America hosted a conference call for corporate executives to strategize about how to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

If EFCA passes, Employees get to choose if they want a Union and get to form one free of fear from being fired or locked out. Employers would also be subject to penalties for when they violate workers’ right to organize. President Obama said he would sign EFCA into law.

“[EFCA] is the demise of civilization,” Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus said. “This is how a civilization disappears.” During the 2008 elections, Marcus declared that corporate executives “should be shot” if they didn’t do their part to re-elect at-risk Republican senators who could filibuster and prevent EFCA’s passage.

EFCA’s enemies have amassed as much as $200 million according to some estimates. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already spent $10 million on its vicious anti-EFCA campaign.
McDonald’s directed all franchise owners to lobby Congress against EFCA.
Wal-Mart has joined the battle. In August 2008, Federal Election Commission complaints were filed, alleging the company illegally instructed employees to vote Republican and against Barack Obama in order to stop EFCA.

Republicans are mindlessly repeating leader Limbaugh’s talking while corporate special forces infiltrate Congress disguised as bags of money.

The opposition tells you they are fighting the EFCA for you, out of high ideals and support for the worker. ——The check is in the mail.

False front organizations are using names intended to make them sound popular. Names out of a 1950’s “big lie” propaganda manual. The Heritage Foundation, Americans for Job Security, the Employee Freedom Action Committee, and of course the anti-labor Center for Union Facts are all waging a no quarter given attack on the EFCA and the truth.

Union Facts is run by D.C. lobbyist Richard Berman, who once ran a campaign that could be said to be in support of drunk driving. Berman’s anti EFCA ads were on the airwaves during the presidential campaign in an attempt to defeat Obama.

The so-sweetly named Coalition for a Democratic Workplace is a self described “coalition of workers, employers, associations and organizations” opposed to EFCA. If a membership made up of 500 employer and business organizations including the American Beverage Association, National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Meat Institute and Mississippi Manufacturers Association is a group of “Freedom Fighters” I have a summer home for sale on Mt. Washington. The anti-EFCA blitz based on their lack of respect for the public’s thinking ability is supposed to convince us if they keep repeating the lies. After all, you are stupid, if you were smart you would be getting trillions and refusing to say how you spent it. A Mulder said, ” the truth is out there” and “I want to believe” that we are not going to get fooled again. The internet has become a real force and once we have the facts, the lies can not stand.

Lie Number 1:

A majority of workers oppose EFCA.

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace released a “poll” claiming that 73 percent of Obama voters opposed EFCA.

Wrong:
Nearly four in five adults (78 percent) favor legislation that “makes it easier for workers to bargain with their employers for better wages, benefits and working conditions,” according to new opinion research conducted by one of the country’s most respected polling firms, and 73 percent specifically support the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that would give workers the freedom to bargain collectively for a better life.

The survey of 1007 adults conducted by Hart Research Associates from Dec. 4 to 10 and commissioned by the AFL-CIO, shows overwhelming support for the Employee Free Choice Act and its three main provisions. http://www.aflcio.org/mediacenter/prsptm/pr010809a.cfm

Lie #2:

EFCA would abolish workers’ right to a secret ballot in forming a union.

MYTH: The Employee Free Choice Act abolishes the National Labor Relations Board’s “secret ballot” election process.

FACT: The Employee Free Choice Act does not abolish the NLRB election process. That process would still be available under the Employee Free Choice Act. The legislation simply gives workers the choice of forming their union through an election or through majority sign-up. The majority sign-up process has been a widely used path to union representation since 1935, but workers may only use the majority sign-up process currently if their employer agrees. The Employee Free Choice Act puts that choice in the hands of employees rather than their employer.


Lie #3
:

EFCA will expose workers to intimidation by unions.

MYTH: The Employee Free Choice Act will encourage intimidation and harassment by labor unions against workers.

FACT: Coercion and pressure drops when workers form a union through a majority sign-up process. Workers report much less pressure from all sides during majority sign-up campaigns than with NLRB elections. But, harassment by unions is not the problem. Unlike employers, a union organizer can’t fire you, cut your pay, or deny you a promotion. If you’re an employee actively trying to organize your coworkers, you have a one in five chance of getting fired by your employer for simply exercising your rights.

Who is intimidating who?
The House Committee on Education and Labor reported that in 2005, more than 30,000 workers were receiving back pay from employers that had illegally persecuted them for union activity.


Lie # 4:

EFCA is, in the words of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a “job killer.”

MYTH: Union wages and benefits have resulted in the auto-industry collapse and are irrelevant to today’s economy.

FACT: Workers and their unions are not responsible for the auto industry’s troubles. Labor costs amount to only a tenth of the cost of building a car. All ten of the most efficient auto plants in North America are union plants. Setting aside their legacy costs, the Big 3’s wages are on par with the Japanese auto makers. The American auto industry has made some bad business choices but agreeing to provide middle class jobs was not one of them.

Employer opposition to EFCA is partially an honest response to competition. I can hear my Union friends hissing a booing already!

Companies must compete. If only a few have Unions then the companies that can squash the employee and lower their pay to poverty levels has an unfair advantage. By leveling the playing field companies will compete fairly with or without Unions as a non-Union company will be forced to pay good wages to keep a Union out, in the same way the foreign auto makers were forced to pay good wages even when they moved to right to work for less states.


Lie #5

Only a Secret ballot protects workers rights..

MYTH: The National Labor Relations Board’s “secret ballot” election protects workers’ democratic rights.

FACT: Secret ballots alone do not guarantee fair elections. Under an NLRB election, employees have no right to free speech, no protection against intimidation from supervisors, and are regularly forced to attend anti-union meetings. They are also typically forced to attend one-on-one interviews with their managers to reveal their electoral preferences. In contrast, union organizers are not allowed to set foot on the property, the one place where all the “voters” can be found.


The worry started in 2007 and continued in 2008 with national Union membership rising by over 400,000 workers. The first increase in nearly 30 years.

The economy has soured and put hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of union jobs are at risk. Public sector unions, a stronghold of Unionization is being hit by budget cuts, lay offs, and attacks by the right meant to distract from their own failed policies.

The U.S.A. is not a center right country and has moved decisively to the left. The EFCA is gaining support. The shift to the left has opened up new opportunities and acceptance for pro-union legislation. Almost all of the Democratic-majority in Congress is on record supporting the EFCA, and President Barack Obama has probably issued more pro-union statements than Roosevelt. Passage of EFCA is possible, but is not a done deal.

We can win. Some politicians were thinking of bailing on Obama’s pick for Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, because of her support for EFCA but when tens of thousand of calls and emails arrived they had a change of heart.

The AFL-CIO and Change to Win are gearing up for the fight. Members are calling their Congress Critters and sending a clear message of support for the worker not the CEO.

The story made the rounds that the United Auto Workers, once the gold standard of Union jobs gave up its right to strike in support of the government auto bailout, but it is untrue. They did agree to work on problems longer but they kept the right to strike if problems could not be resolved. Did anyone really believe that Unions would destroy the company they work for? They will work to rebuild the American auto industry and rebuild the UAW on the grounds of sharing profit.

MYTH: The National Labor Relations Board’s “secret ballot” election protects workers’ democratic rights.

FACT: Secret ballots alone do not guarantee fair elections. Under an NLRB election, employees have no right to free speech, no protection against intimidation from supervisors, and are regularly forced to attend anti-union meetings. They are also typically forced to attend one-on-one interviews with their managers to reveal their electoral preferences. In contrast, union organizers are not allowed to set foot on the property, the one place where all the “voters” can be found.

MYTH: The Employee Free Choice Act would require public union card signings.

FACT: Under current law, employees already must sign cards or petitions saying they support a union in order to obtain an election. And, when an employer agrees to a majority sign-up process, employees must sign cards to show the union’s majority status. The union authorization card under the Employee Free Choice Act is treated no differently than a petition for election or a card under a majority sign-up agreement under current law. As with petitions for an election, under the Employee Free Choice Act, the NLRB, not the employer, would receive the cards and determine their validity.


MYTH: The Employee Free Choice Act would require a secret ballot election for workers to get rid of a union.

FACT: Under current law, no election is necessary to disband a union. The Employee Free Choice Act would not change this. Under current law, if an employer has evidence, such as cards or a petition, that a majority of workers no longer supports the union, then, without an election, the employer is required by law to withdraw recognition of the union and stop bargaining.

MYTH: Given the economic crisis, now is not the time to enact the Employee Free Choice Act.

FACT: The economy is broken, we need to fix it. The Employee Free Choice Act is needed to address underlying economic problems that helped create the current crisis and to ensure that the recovery is fair and sustainable. Dozens of prominent economists, including three Nobel Prize laureates, recently signed a statement in support of enacting the Employee Free Choice Act, as “a critically important step in rebuilding our economy.”


MYTH: The Employee Free Choice Act requires mandatory arbitration that may force businesses to be uncompetitive.

FACT: No reasonable arbitrator would force conditions onto businesses that would force them out of business and no arbitrator would want a reputation of being unfair as it could end their career.

Even though workers may choose to form a union, employers often stall when it comes time to negotiate a first contract, and current law provides no incentives for the parties to come to an agreement. Under the bill, employers or employees may request mediation from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service if no agreement on a first contract has been reached after 90 days. If an agreement cannot be mediated, the dispute would be referred to binding arbitration. All of the time frames can be extended by mutual agreement. Experience shows that having an arbitration option available brings parties closer together, and, as a result, the parties resolve their negotiations on their own terms and in good faith.


To see your government at work and to get more of the facts quoted in this post go to http://edlabor.house.gov/employee-free-choice-act-myth-vs-fact/index.shtml


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March 11th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU 1989, State lay offs | no comments

Buy a house? Do you want to use Visa or Mastercard?


If you have a Union job you are blamed for the collapse. The talk shows say the only way out is to “break the backs of the Unions”. Depressed yet? It gets worse.

Welcome to 2009. You’re out of work, maybe drinking or taking tranquilizers because you may be furloughed, laid off, or foreclosed on. You most likely know someone who is.


You can’t pay your mortgage and you are shamed to look for help. Asking for help will get you labeled a free loader by the right.

Unspoken during the arguments for and against the stimulus package is the fact that we may already be in worst financial collapse in history.

1929 may go down as the first, not the worst great depression.

Credit markets are frozen. The banks are spending our money on bonuses and shareholders. Wall St. has gotten billions to protect profits and they foam at the mouth when the subject of helping homeowners is brought up. “Let ‘em sink!” They made bad choices! The rant is “Why should I help someone that bought more house than they can afford?”


Instead we should ask, why we should help banks that bought more bad assets than they can afford. The right screams mortgage help to homeowners is socialism while they have their hand in our pockets. We keep them in limos and Mansions while losing our homes and our jobs. We pay their losses and we take the blame.


Bad borrower horror stories have made headlines for months, with examples of no income loans given to undocumented workers, and single mothers. The root causes are not discussed. Wall St. shipped our jobs overseas. Oil is at $35.00 a barrel and gas prices are going up. The combination of job loss, stagnant wages, retirement account losses, is killing the middle class, ad in falling home prices, and stir for a drink called toxic assets.


First the Bush Whitehouse helped corporations declare bankruptcy and make retirement funds disappear. They tried to prop up their Ponzi scheme with Social Security. Constant attacks on Unions has lowered the overall wage scale in the US and made employees afraid to speak up. Where is the middle class? They are still here, but their jobs are in China or India or even down the street. being done on an H1B visa. In Maine, State Employees are displaced by contractors costing more than the employee. Real estate tycoons grow rich while State buildings go empty.


So, you have a family of four and you bought a three bedroom with a mortgage you could afford? Wrong! You made a bad choice because you didn’t pay cash or you didn’t save two years of your income as a cushion. Deadbeat!


How bad is it getting? Huge chunks of this country are up for sale because there are no jobs. The pictures of some PA homes on the right speak for themselves. It only took a couple of minutes to find these examples and there are many more in every state. Two or three years ago, these houses would have been on “Flip this house”.The next time you see a lot of these there will be a bulldozer or a fire truck parked on an empty lot. The banks are still making the choice to foreclose and evict rather than deal. Even at these prices there are no buyers. Do these houses look like the McMansions talk shows claim the bad borrowers bought? In Florida you can buy nice homes because retirement incomes were stolen to pay an bonuses and dividends.


I don’t want to end on that note. Remember we elected a President with a slogan of “Yes we Can!” and Yes we can get through this. Don’t believe the right, most of this country has seen through the theft of tax cuts for the rich and wage cuts for the rest. The stimulus passed. Wait for the hypocrisy to show up. Follow the Republican Governors that are talking about turning down the stimulus money. Watching them grab for all they can get while the Republican members of congress give speeches about how much they did to bring home the package should brighten up some of our days to come.


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February 22nd, 2009 Posted by Tom Maher | EFCA, Great Depression, MSEA, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, UNIONMAINE, msea maine | no comments

Bargaining Update.


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On Friday the Governor will announce his budget plans and we will see what the impact on State employees may be. Remember “the governor proposes” and “the legislature disposes”.

No matter what comes up tomorrow, nothing is final until the legislature weighs in. In 2008 we worked harder than ever and succeeded in electing law makers that are more willing to listen to labor.

The Executive Branch Negotiations teams met on Thursday and will meet with the State team on Friday. We will be presenting some general ideas and reminding the State that even in these times of challenges and economic problems we are part of the process and our members must be respected.

On Friday the negotiations team will be presenting a suggested schedule of meeting dates with the State and we will be discussing how many days both sides feel we may need to arrive at a contract. We will let the State know that we are serious and we will take the time needed to get this done.

On Saturday January 10 the teams will meet with the C.A.T. (Contract Action Team) members to bring them up to date and discuss the issues and proposals that have been collected.

The C.A.T. members will let the team members know what they have heard from their coworkers and make recommendations on priorities.

There will be some interesting discussions over what the best possible contract looks like in this economy.

Every member of every team determined to do the most good for the most members. We have all promised to do whatever is needed and to stay as long as we have to. No matter how tough things get, at least we don’t have John and Sarah.

And here is what is happening in California:

Local 1000 Tells California how to save the state $370 million
State says, ‘No exemptions from furloughs’

The California Local 1000 bargaining team met with the the State negotiators and offered a package of proposals that would save the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said “Our members are suffering just like all Californians. Our proposals are designed to reduce that pain.” The proposals included more than $370 million in savings over two years and include:

1) A voluntary reduced work week program of 5 percent, 10 percent or 20 percent.

2) A golden handshake for state workers willing to take early retirement.

3) Converting two state holidays – Lincoln’s Birthday and Columbus Day – for two additional personal holidays.

The State has taken a position that says no one will be exempt from furloughs, but that certain revenue generating departments would be exempt from layoffs.

California follows a bargaining strategy of a Master table and Unit negotiations that is similar to the last contract negotiations in Maine where we had coalition bargaining and small table talks.

January 9th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | EFCA, Executive Branch Bargaining, MSEA, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, State lay offs, TECHNORATI, Thomas Maher, UNIONMAINE | no comments