Posts tagged Democrats
Commentary: Teachers Union Head Mystified by Increase in Homeschooling
November 19, 2023 // Parents started seeking accountability on their own terms, at home. The surge in homeschooling during the 2020 school year has not dropped off, attracting enthusiasts from diverse racial and income backgrounds. While there are many reasons for the shift, a significant factor is leaders like Weingarten left a vacuum parents had to fill. When they did, parents learned they could do it without the leaders who left them in the lurch. Their kids' education could be flexible and tailored, without the constraint of having to sit at a desk between four walls for seven hours a day. Parents learned they had the power to fix some of the problems the pandemic posed.
Fast-food prices hiked after California ups minimum wage
November 13, 2023 // In that January article, I called this “the iron law of California progressivism: Claim that new laws will help the poor. When the actual effect turns out to be catastrophic for the poor, blame capitalism/markets/billionaires/racism, and expand government control of the business. Rinse, repeat, and promote as a national — even global — model for equity. And if Californians have anything to say about it, AB 257 will be coming to you, no matter where you live in the United States.” Indeed, Biden’s forever-acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su has already expressed her unbridled enthusiasm for California’s policy. That’s no surprise, either: Su was California’s secretary of labor, and is closely tied to the union leadership behind a number of execrable labor policies. Among the most notorious is AB 5, the law that banned independent contracting in key industries, including Uber drivers and trucking companies. When AB 257 emerged from the same fetid philosophical swamp, there was Su, now part of the Biden administration, telling the bill’s supporters, “The Department of Labor stands with you. The Biden-Harris Administration stands with you.”
Commentary: New Biden ‘Joint Employer’ regulation is a boon for unions
November 13, 2023 // In short, joint employment is a possible means for unions to organize major corporations all at once, rather than the piecemeal process of organizing workers at one location at a time. Incidentally, two of the board’s three Democrat majority members are David Prouty, former general counsel of the service employee union UNITE HERE, and Gwynne Wilcox, a former lawyer for the Service Employees International Union. Chairwoman Lauren McFerran served as a staffer of former Sen. Tom Harkin, a longtime union ally.
Legal watchdog: Teachers union appears to not pay taxes on political spending
November 6, 2023 // AFT reported having $203 million in total revenue in 2020. On the Form 990 that is filed with the federal government, the question is asked, "Did the organization engage in direct or indirect political campaign activities on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office? If 'Yes,' complete Schedule C, Part I." For the 2020 calendar year, AFT checked "No." Michael O'Neill, vice president of legal affairs at Landmark Legal Foundation, said that is problematic since the spending wasn't listed with the PAC. "They are saying not one cent of the over $200 million they take in annually is used for indirect or direct political activity," O'Neill said.
Biden-backed wind power company cancels New Jersey projects despite $1B in subsidies
November 1, 2023 // Under the Inflation Reduction Act, renewable developers stand to receive tax credits of up to 30% for qualifying investments that use union labor, and more credits if the project meets additional criteria. White House spokesperson Michael Kikukawa said in a statement that “momentum remains on the side of an expanding US offshore wind industry,” despite the collapse of the Ocean Wind project. “While macroeconomic headwinds are creating challenges for some projects, momentum remains on the side of an expanding U.S. offshore wind industry — creating good-paying union jobs in manufacturing, shipbuilding, and construction; strengthening the power grid; and providing new clean energy resources for American families and businesses,” Kikukawa said.
Opinion: Will Dem Politicians Pay For Their Union Pandering?
October 30, 2023 // Michigan auto worker Terry Bowman summed up the case against compulsory unionism thusly, “it just wasn’t right that I was forced to pay an outside organization my hard-earned money in order to work.” Select Language Will Dem Politicians Pay For Their Union Pandering? .By Norm SingletonOctober 30, 2023 Will Dem Politicians Pay For Their Union Pandering?FR11125 AP Wondering where the Bernie Bros (and Sisters) went after Bernie Sanders lost the 2020 Democratic primary to Joe “I am not a socialist” Biden? Well, many of them, under the leadership of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), which enjoyed a renaissance of sorts, thanks to Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 Presidential campaigns, are trying to drag the American economy back to the days when union leaders like Jimmy Hoffa had the power to shut down large parts of it. Their tool is “salting.” Salting is where a union organizer gets a job for a company posing as just an ordinary worker. But the salt’s true agenda is to infiltrate the company and sow division between workers and management, and also look for possible justification to file complaints for labor violations with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The goal is to turn the majority of the workers against their bosses so they support unionizing. As Caitlyn, an ex-Bernie Sanders volunteer turned union organizer told In These Times, “the end of the Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign morphed into a summer salting project.” According to In These Times, the YDSA may have trained as many as two thousand young left-wing activists on how to salt. So, at a time when socialism has come back into vogue among significant parts of one of America’s major political parties, with Members of Congress referring to themselves as “democratic socialists” and at least one member of the Biden Administration—Federal Trade Commissioner Lina Khan—seeking to use antitrust laws to redefine the relationship between business, workers, consumers, and government, why would the DSA focus on union organizing? The answer can be found online with a look at DSA’s website, which states that, "We want to collectively own the key economic drivers that dominate our lives, such as energy production and transportation.” In other words, they want to achieve the communist goal of ownership of the means of production. The difference is that, this time, control will be in the (nominally) private hands of the Teamsters and their comrades in the DSA. The DSA and the Teamsters will, for at least the next year and four months, be aided and abetted by President Biden’s administration. After that, if they are successful, it will not matter who controls Congress as power over the “…key economic drivers that control our lives” will lie in the hands of the Teamsters, other labor unions, and DSA comrades. As Keith Williams, of the Center for Independent Employees, and Frank Ricci, labor fellow of the Yankee Institute, pointed out in Newsweek, the Teamster-DSA agenda prioritizes seizing and exercising economic and political power to implement a socialist agenda over improving the quality of life of blue-collar workers. This is not in the interest of workers. Those of us who support free markets must aggressively oppose this new (actually renewed) union-socialist alliance. We must do more and should push to repeal federal laws that allow union bosses to run roughshod over the rights of workers by forcing them to join unions or pay union dues. A good first step is passage of the National Right to Work Act, which simply repeals those sections of federal law giving union bosses power to force workers to pay union dues. We must also promote a vision of unions as truly voluntary organizations formed to represent the interests of the workers, not advance a political agenda. This organization would negotiate in good faith with employers recognizing that workers thrive when their companies thrive, and their companies thrive when the economy thrives—and the economy thrives when it is free from government meddling. Unions could also help workers by reviewing the friendly societies, in which workers band together to save money that can be used to care for workers who, for whatever reason, are no longer able to work and provide for their families. These societies prove that in a free society, individuals can and will provide aid to those in need more efficiently and compassionately than a welfare regulatory state. Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but the chains of corporatism and socialism. Michigan and National Democrats Side with Union Bosses Over Workers Michigan made history recently when it became the first state to repeal a Right to Work law since 1965. Right to Work laws, which were authorized by Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, protect workers in Right to Work states from being required to pay union dues or join a union as a condition of employment. Right to Work laws thus restore the fundamental American principle to labor policy that individuals should not be forced to support a private organization against their will. The majority of American workers support Right to Work because they want to choose for themselves whether or not to have a union represent them at the bargaining table. For example, Michigander Mike Williams, a paraprofessional for a vocational training program, resigned his position as a vice president of his union because he realized his coworkers would be better off negating their own contracts with their employer. Michigan auto worker Terry Bowman summed up the case against compulsory unionism thusly, “it just wasn’t right that I was forced to pay an outside organization my hard-earned money in order to work.” Right to Work does more than protect a workers’ right to choose whether or not to join a union or pay union dues. By limiting the ability of union bosses to create divisions between labor and management, as well as to impose counterproductive rules on the workforce reduce company flexibility, Right to Work benefits workers. Of course, union officials and their allies claim Right to Work laws reduce wages. The unions’ case depends on ignoring the cost of living, which is consistently lower in Right to Work states. Therefore, workers in Right to Work states may make a lower nominal wage, but their wages have more buying power than those of workers in states with compulsory unionism. Workers in Right to Work states not only have the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union, they also enjoy a higher standard of living. This is certainly true in Michigan’s case. The average income of Michiganders grew by an inflation-adjusted (commonly referred to as “real” wages) average of 0.6 percent in the nine years before Michigan became a Right to Work state. While real wages rose by 21.9 percent in the nine years after Michigan became a Right to Work state. Michigan workers are not just earning more, there are more of them. Unemployment averaged 8.5 percent in the decade before the passage of Michigan’s Right to Work law. In the nine years following Right to Work’s passage unemployment averaged 6.0 percent. The growth in jobs and incomes may explain that while Michigan’s population declined by 120,401 people in the nine years before the passage of Right to Work law, 130,060 people moved to Michigan in the nine years after Right to Work passed! These new Michiganders may have moved in hopes of getting one of the 155,100 new jobs created in Michigan in the nine years after Michigan became a Right to Work state—as opposed to the nine years before Right to Work came to the Great Lakes when the state lost 379,400 jobs. Moreover, in the approximately seven years after Michigan became a Right to Work state- Michigan added 404,400 jobs. This suggests these statistics would be even more impressive if Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer had not imposed one of, if not the, strictest COVID lockdowns in the nation, So, if the right to work is so beneficial to workers, why did this Michigan Democrat, majority legislator, and Democratic governor want to repeal it? It’s not because the people of Michigan favored repealing the law. Polls show the majority of Michiganders support Right to Work—including 60 percent of union households. Aren’t Democrats the party of workers? While that is the image they try to project, the reality is the Democrats are the party for union bosses. Union bosses have long used the forced dues to fund a political machine that remains one of the Democratic Party’s main sources of money and “volunteers.” Unions are once again in vogue on the left, thanks in part to Bernie Sander’s 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.
Big Labor Is an Economic and Political Dead End
October 26, 2023 // While misguided faux populists like Senator Hawley adopt the policy positions of union leaders who want to force as many workers as possible to fund their self-interested political agenda, other Republicans should stand with workers and co-sponsor the Employee Rights Act. It would protect workers’ right to secret-ballot union elections, the right of freelancers to remain independent (as the vast majority prefer), and allow workers to decide for themselves whether they wish to share personal information with union organizers or support union political spending. Too often, labor issues are inaccurately described as having two sides: “union” and “management.” But this populist moment is the perfect time for Congress to stand up for the oft-forgotten but most important third group: actual workers. The Employee Rights Act would be the perfect start. In the face of President Biden’s advancing radical agenda and some Republicans’ erroneously gravitating towards it, this pro-worker legislation can’t be enacted a moment too soon.
State employees frustrated that raises are tied up in Legislature
October 24, 2023 // The Local 509 bargaining units -- featuring employees at the Department of Children and Families, Department of Transitional Assistance, Department of Developmental Services, Department of Mental Health, and other agencies -- reached a contract deal in April that was ratified in May, for raises that would have been retroactive to January. The pending list of bargaining agreements before the Legislature has risen to 82, and while some are contracts that would take effect in the future, like the State Police Association of Massachusetts, others are historical, like an agreement for faculty and professional staff at the state's 15 community college campuses that deals with raises due back to 2021. The 82 contracts are laid out in Gov. Maura Healey's $2.15 billion budget bill (H 4090) to close the books on fiscal 2023, which ended almost four months ago. The list also includes five agreements with MassDOT employees, 23 with University of Massachusetts personnel, nine with Registry of Deeds workers, 35 with employees of county sheriff's departments, and an agreement with National Association of Government Employees units that cover tens of thousands of employees across the executive branch.
Will Biden Labor Nominee Julie Su Suffocate the Gig Economy?
October 13, 2023 // Su, and other progressives like Federal Trade Commissioner Lina Khan, want to force a 20th century model of a heavily regulated and controlled labor market on the 21st century gig economy. They also want to impose 20th century style trade unionism, replete with mandatory union dues that (coincidentally I am sure) can in part be used to support progressive candidates and causes in the gig workforce. This is one reason why a bipartisan majority of the Senate is right to oppose Su’s nomination, and why President Biden was wrong to nominate her as Labor Secretary, and certainly wrong to defy the will of the Senate by keeping her as acting Secretary for an indefinite period of time. Biden should pick a new nominee. While no one nominated by Biden will support a free-market labor policy, the nominee should at least understand that massive federal regulations on the labor markets and compulsory unionism are relics that do not fit the economy of the future.
Working Families Party kicks off first-ever national convention in Philadelphia
October 11, 2023 // The convention began in Philadelphia Friday night with hundreds of members, who came from Pennsylvania, New York and the party’s 19 state chapters nationwide, in attendance. Local and federal lawmakers joined national party leaders, labor leaders and community organizers at the Downtown Sonesta hotel to celebrate the party’s growth over the past 25 years – and to discuss its future. The progressive Working Families Party, established in New York in 1998, aligns itself with major labor unions and grassroots community organizations. The party’s priorities include fairer treatment of workers, a higher minimum wage, universal paid sick leave and more equitable education, environmental and tax reforms. Despite its progressive leanings, the party has consistently punched above its weight in recent elections. WFP has endorsed and campaigned for President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, and Gov. Josh Shapiro – and recently announced an endorsement of Judge Daniel McCaffery, the Democratic candidate for state Supreme Court, one of this year’s most contested races.