Sunday, November 30, 2008

President Elect Obama: A Man With A Plan For America

As President Elect, Barrack Obama addresses the nation every week. It is clear that one big change in his administration is that he is going to address US and speak to US. "Us" meaning the American people.

The last guy we had in office seemed like he was giving his weekly address to the "Iraqi people" every time he spoke.

He spoke so much about the "Iraqi people" every time you saw him it made you wonder if he even knew the "American people" existed. It was like he forgot about us. Our situation now shows all too well that he did.

This first change is a welcome one - let's think and speak about what the American people need - for a change.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

City of Kingston Layoffs: Quick Point

Times are tough for everyone and there are moves to be made - we all know that. But there are a few parts of the City of Kingston Budget cutting process that need to be explained.

Why is it that the majority of the PERSONEL cuts that are being considered seem to be directed only at the CSEA?
Are you council people really doing the math before you cut peoples jobs from full time to part time? Specifically in relation to what those cuts will really save the individual taxpayers?
I mean, if you were to tell me that it would save me fifty dollars to my personal tax burden if you cut someones ability to feed their family in half, I would not want you to make that cut.

If it saved each taxpayer something like $800 dollars, I guess we would have to consider it.

I highly doubt that the cutting the CSEA employees you have targeted from full time to part time are the life saving ingredients in this whole thing. These are legitimate long time employees here.

Can't we devise smarter ways to use or not use material, vehicles and cut back on commodities before we throw a few employees to the curb to maybe look good?
You aren't going to look good.

Take someones car away, someones gas card,maybe someones jeep over the weekends, CUT DOWN ON A FEW LUNCHES and few BS meetings, turn the lights off, cut your non-union employees down to 37 hours a week, look at management - are you top heavy in that department?

One more thing, if I get it right there is one fairly new employee who in the middle of all of this, who is being changed from part time TO FULL TIME. This is being done in conjunction with few long time employees who are about to be cut half-time.

Word on the street is that the employee who is being upgraded from part time to full time - in this "economic emergency" - is a relative of Jim Noble.

I may have this wrong but I understand that his fuction is basically some sort of nature guide to kids on school trips or related activities.

If this is what you think is right or fair, you are dead wrong. At the very least, if you really needed to cut longtime employees from full time to half - the nature guide job, staying at half time may have saved a long time employee from being hurt.

Are you guys sitting in the big chairs crazy? If so, don't get too comfy

I know some of you drink, but come on.

Union Files Unfair Labor Practice Charges On Behalf Of Nail Polish Workers In Newburgh

Teamsters Local 445 have gone to federal court against Concept Packaging owner Jeffrey Fanning for firing workers for supporting the union.
The factory, which employs 62, mostly women, is the country's second-largest bottler of nail polish.

Local 445 filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board claiming Fanning harassed, threatened and ultimately fired at least 10 workers for signing a petition to join the Teamsters.

Fanning denied the allegations, saying 19 workers were laid off, because business was slow. So it was just a coincidence that the lay-off was exactly at a time when those particular workers asked to be represented by the union. Yea, ok.

Local 445 officer Adrian Huff said, "There were workers who were there four years who were fired, and others with less than six months who remained at work."

Fanning's attorney, Glenn Grindlinger, has been publicly silent.

A union election was scheduled for Nov. 14 but was called off by the NLRB after Local 445 charged Fanning with unfair labor practices. Once again, we have the exact reason why we need the Employee Free Choice Act passed.

The vast majority signed cards for the union and within the month prior to the election they were threatened, some fired, and most had the crap scared out of them by the employer.

Interestingly enough, the Teamsters reported that immediately after the NLRB notified Fanning the election was canceled, the workers were rehired.

"Within two days of Fanning receiving that letter, people were brought back to work," Huff said. "That was very telling."

In addition to harassing workers, Huff said, managers illegally attended union meetings and staged an anti-union rally outside the factory.

....and what a fake and phoney attempt that was by management to make it look like it was the emplyees own rally. Talk about a stupid move!

"We've never before had a case where management so blatantly broke the law," he said. "We've never had a case where management actually came into our union meeting. Usually they stay outside with binoculars."

Local 445 is filing the Unfair Labor Practice Charges on behalf of the employees who claim they were intimidated and harassed, but Huff said now the people are scared.

"They don't want to give affidavits because they're so afraid of losing their jobs"

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has complaints of unsafe conditions at Concept Packaging, where employees describe poor ventilation, noxious fumes, broken toilets and dead rodents.

In August, one worker collapsed, suffering respiratory arrest and partial paralysis of his arm and face, and according to one complaintant,when the employee tried to return to work, he was fired.

Officials at OSHA have confirmed that the office "has two open and ongoing inspections" at the plant.

After collecting the workers' affidavits, Huff said, Local 445 will request an injunction ordering Fanning to pay the fired workers for the time they were unemployed, and to post bilingual notices clearly stating the company's actions were illegal.

If the injunction is granted, the union will immediately reschedule the election.

Too bad that all of this was the result of workers who had nothing trying to better themselves. It shouldn't be like this and soon it won't be!

President Obama and company will pass the Employee Free Choice Act into LAW and make sure of it!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Myths and Lies: The Truth Be Told

A little wisdom and common sense to combat myths, lies and above all - ignorance.

Myth #1: Union wages are responsible for companies relocating to foreign countries.

It’s true that in the past some jobs have been moved from the Northeast to the South in order to take advantage of a non-union environment and a lower standard of living. It’s a fact. Back two decades or more,there were definitely built-in benefits of setting up shop in the South.

Replacing a union worker earning $18.00 per hour in Pennsylvania, with a non-union worker earning $10.00 per hour in Georgia was enough of an inducement for a factory owner to decide to relocate. Moreover, there’s not much a union can do about these wage differentials. People in the North need to make more money to pay the rent and live up here.

But,a company that moves its operation to a foreign country isn’t doing it to avoid paying a union wage; it’s doing it to avoid paying an American wage.

Where being able to pay a non-union forklift driver $10.00 per hour instead $18.00 per hour represents an opportunity to trim costs, the prospect of moving abroad is seen as a shrieking bonanza.

Moving an operation to Asia or Latin America is not a case of union vs. non-union. It’s a case of a decent standard of living trying to compete with the permanent underclass of a fledgling economy. It’s no contest.

And to suggest that it’s somehow organized labor’s fault that businesses are forced to exploit the foreign labor market is to perpetuate a lie.

The United States could go non-union overnight, and you’d still have businesses seeking foreign labor. Why? Because the wage differentials are simply too staggering, too alluring, even compared to work being done in the U.S. for the federal minimum wage.

Myth #2: Union members are sub-standard workers.

Consider the premise for a moment. People can say or think whatever they wish about labor unions (they can accuse them of being anachronistic, out of touch, too powerful, etc.), but they can’t deny that, across the board, union jobs typically offer better wages, benefits and working conditions than non-union jobs. The notion that the best paying, most coveted jobs in a community would attract the least competent workers simply makes no sense.

As a general rule, the highest paying and best-benefited employers will attract the highest caliber of worker—whether we’re talking about accountants, cooks, college teachers or warehousemen. Think about it. Which warehouse is going to attract and maintain the better shipping checkers—the one that is clean, safe and generous, or the hole-in-the-wall outfit that pays lousy wages and offers little or no benefits?

Also, because a union shop offers better pay, benefits and working conditions, it’s going to have many more applicants to choose from, allowing management to pick and choose from the very best candidates, an option the tiny mom-and-pop enterprise won’t have.

Still, this notion that union members somehow aren’t as competent or hard-working as non-union members has seeped into the national consciousness. Part of it may be because a union contract provides workers with dignity on the job.

That doesn’t mean they’re bad workers; it just means they don’t have to grovel or jump to attention when a boss passes by.

Part of it may be that a union contract exposes inferior managers. Working within the confines of a union contract requires the bosses to be consistent and attentive, something which some managers (particularly the lazy or dumb ones) aren’t capable of.

You commonly hear this work performance slur in regard to the school teachers’ union, where incompetent teachers (rather than a myriad of other obvious factors) are blamed for low test scores. This is a myth that is being propagated by school administrators who don’t have the courage or resources to address the root problem. Blaming the teachers is far easier.

If people really, truly believe that union workers are less competent than non-union workers, then they should think twice before calling 9-11 or flying somewhere on a trip. Police, firemen and pilots are heavily unionized occupations.
Myth #3: Union members can’t be fired.
As good as union workers generally are, there are occasions where they, like anyone else, deserve to be fired. And, despite the myth, union members do get fired. Indeed, union members in this country get fired every day, for every manner of violation, from insubordination to poor work performance to insurance fraud to chronic absenteeism (the most common offense).

No contract in the world is going to include language that forbids management from firing a substandard employee.

Again, all one needs to do is consider the premise. What management representative would ever sign a contract that contained “immunity” language of that sort? And what union rep, no matter how bold or arrogant, would dare suggest that such restrictive language be written into it? In truth, no one wants to work with deadbeats . . . not even other deadbeats.

Is it harder to fire a union worker than a non-union worker? Yes. Thank god, yes. Having a modicum of job security is one of the virtues of being a union member. Where a boss in a non-union shop might be able to fire an employee because, say, he didn’t like his “Nader for President” bumper sticker, or because he wanted to give the job to his wife’s nephew, he couldn’t do that in a union shop, because in a facility governed by a union contract you need actual grounds to get rid of someone.

Again, it’s school teachers who are frequently scapegoated here. Administrators complain that it’s inordinately hard to fire an incompetent teacher, even though, per the provisions of the union contract, the school has two full years from a teacher’s date of hire to fire him or her for any reason they like, without having to defend that decision. Two years. Compare that window of opportunity to the standard 60 or 90 day probationary periods found in most businesses.

David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright and writer, was president and chief contract negotiator of the Assn. of Western Pulp and Paper Workers, Local 672 and is an advocate for American workers and author of this article.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Party Is Over : Cry Me A River

Here is an article written by a non-union construction contractors "union" - the AGC - the Associated General Contractors - crying already about what to expect from President Barack Obama when he takes office in 2009. Too bad they are going to have to deal with their employees on an even playing field for once.

Wow, what a shame huh?

This video above is perfect for them, hope they are listening good......

Here's their sniveling article for your enjoyment...

President Elect Obama is going to face some unprecedented challenges as he takes office this January. Our economy is in terrible shape, and we are fighting two wars on two different fronts. I am sure all AGC members understand the difficult task the new administration will be facing and how important it is that the administration stay focused on the critical problems our country is now experiencing.

However, we also see some troubling priorities that appear to be on our President Elect’s “front burner.” These priorities involve sweeping changes to our labor laws that will result in the most comprehensive changes in labor relations since the 1940’s. With the Democratic Party holding solid majorities in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the US Senate, we see the following actions moving soon after the inauguration:

To set the tone….here is a quote from President Elect Obama’s April 2008 speech to the delegates attending the Building Trades National Convention….
“They (Bush Administration) don’t believe in unions. They don’t believe in organizing. They’ve packed the National Labor Relations Board with their corporate buddies. Well, we’ve got news for them….it’s not the Department of Management, it’s the Department of Labor, and we’re going to take it back.”

So what can we expect?

The Employee Free Choice Act

As a Senator, President-Elect Obama was a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act. This law makes union organizing of a workforce easy……I think too easy. It simply requires the union to obtain 50% +1 of your employees in a particular craft to sign cards. There is no election. When this happens your firm has a union. Yes, you do get to negotiate for an agreement after the cards are signed, but if you are unable to reach an agreement with the union within a specified time period, an arbitrator will be called in and the terms of the agreement will be subject to binding arbitration. This initial agreement will be a two-year agreement.

Under the law that has existed since the 1940’s, unions could get cards signed by 30% of your work force and then call for an election which is overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). If 50% +1 of the unit employees voted for the union you are required to enter into negotiations. If you are unable to reach an agreement, the union has the right to strike/picket but does not necessarily end up with an agreement.

The Employee Free Choice Act takes away the secret ballot election that is currently a mandatory part of the election process. In addition, it contains a powerful new tool that will create a very difficult atmosphere for employers facing a union organizing campaign. The union, probably through individual employees, will be able to file a civil suit against an employer for violating an employee’s right to organize during a campaign. The fine is up to $20,000 per violation. I would assume that it will be tempting for the unions to convince the employees to file these suits during the card signing process even if the allegation is a “stretch.”

Unions like nothing better than to have a big fine hanging over an employer’s head during these campaigns. This is not possible under current law. In addition, if an employee is fired during a campaign, and it is found that the firing was a result of the employee’s involvement in the campaign, the employer will owe the employee the employees lost wages times three.

Now, it is a given that the Employee Free Choice Act is going to pass and be signed by the President during 2009. Obviously, AGC and all other major construction and non-construction interests are gearing up for the legislative battle that will surround this Act when it is introduced. Its exact form is not known, but assuming that it passes in a form similar to the above, please understand that AGC staff and legal experts are working on innovative ways to assist contractors.

Project Labor Agreements (PLAs)

In a September 16th, 2008 letter to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers President Elect Obama wrote….
“We need to make sure the government uses project labor agreements to encourage completion of projects on time and on budget. One of the first things George Bush did when he got into office was to ban PLAs. One of the first things I’ll do as President is repeal that ban.”

This returns us to the way it was before President Bush took office. How extensively the PLA will be used in this “Federal” context remains to be seen, but….beware.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

The NLRB in Washington hears and attempts to decide all major labor cases. There are five Board members appointed by the President. Normally three of the appointees will be from the President’s party, and will view labor relations as the President does, and two appointees will be from the other party. During the Bush years, the President did not have a full five-member Board for very long. This caused some of the most controversial cases, including the “Ban the Banner” case, not to be decided since these cases by tradition will only be addressed when five members are serving.

We expect all five to be appointed quickly in the Obama Administration!!!

I have been involved in construction industry labor relations for the past 30 years. There is no question that the next few years will be a real challenge. If the Employee Free Choice Act passes in any form similar to what we have seen in past versions of the legislation, our industry and all other industries face some real difficulties. However, please remember actually implementing something this unfair will be difficult.

HVLR can't wait until it all happens. It's about time the American Worker had fair treatment. Obama 2009

American Workers Rights: It's Always Been A Struggle

American workers have always had to fight for their rights in the workplace.

Even to this day, nothing is ever given to the middle class workers.

With all of the struggles that have taken place in our history, one thing always remains constant: Most give some and some give all but the benefits that are gained always include everyone .......

......and even the ones who give nothing and complain about those that do and how they did it.

Which side are you on?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Read The Actual Text Of The Bill: The Employee Free Choice Act

Employee Free Choice Act (Introduced in House)

HR 1696 IH


1st Session

H. R. 1696To amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes.


April 19, 2005
Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California (for himself, Mr. KING of New York, Ms. PELOSI, Mr. OWENS, Mr. MICHAUD, Mr. CROWLEY, Mr. CLAY, Mr. CARNAHAN, Mr. WU, Ms. KAPTUR, Ms. MCKINNEY, Mr. BISHOP of New York, Mr. WAXMAN, Ms. DELAURO, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Mr. RUPPERSBERGER, Mr. BROWN of Ohio, Mr. WEXLER, Mrs. JONES of Ohio, Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Ms. HOOLEY, Mr. KILDEE, Mr. SHERMAN, Ms. MCCOLLUM of Minnesota, Mr. BACA, Mr. CHANDLER, Mr. WEINER, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mrs. TAUSCHER, Ms. WATERS, Mr. CASE, Mr. NADLER, Mr. COOPER, Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. KIND, Mr. CAPUANO, Ms. SOLIS, Mr. VISCLOSKY, Mr. SIMMONS, Mr. DAVIS of Alabama, Mr. LEVIN, Mr. LYNCH, Mr. OLVER, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Ms. SLAUGHTER, Mr. MCNULTY, Mr. MARKEY, Mr. ACKERMAN, Ms. SCHWARTZ of Pennsylvania, Ms. KILPATRICK of Michigan, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. BERRY, Mr. TIERNEY, Mr. LARSON of Connecticut, Mr. CARDOZA, Mr. LANTOS, Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts, Mr. RAHALL, Mr. ABERCROMBIE, Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California, Mr. CARDIN, Mr. MATHESON, Mr. STUPAK, Mr. ROSS, Mr. HOYER, Mr. STRICKLAND, Mr. KUCINICH, Mr. HOLDEN, Mr. WYNN, Mr. INSLEE, Mr. ALLEN, Ms. VELAZQUEZ, Ms. MATSUI, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. CUMMINGS, Mr. RYAN of Ohio, Mr. CRAMER, Ms. HARMAN, Mr. DINGELL, Mrs. MALONEY, Mrs. MCCARTHY, Mrs. NAPOLITANO, Mr. SCOTT of Virginia, Mr. FORD, Mr. STARK, Mr. FATTAH, Mr. BOUCHER, Mr. MURTHA, Mr. HIGGINS, Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California, Mr. BOSWELL, Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD, Mr. ANDREWS, Mr. MCHUGH, Mr. BOEHLERT, Mrs. DAVIS of California, Mr. MENENDEZ, Mr. MOORE of Kansas, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. OBERSTAR, Mr. SCOTT of Georgia, Mr. DICKS, Mr. HONDA, Ms. ESHOO, Ms. WATSON, Mr. AL GREEN of Texas, Mrs. CHRISTENSEN, Mr. JEFFERSON, Mrs. CAPPS, Mr. MOLLOHAN, Mr. HOLT, Mr. DOYLE, Mr. HINOJOSA, Mr. BECERRA, Ms. LEE, Mr. UDALL of Colorado, Mr. DEFAZIO, Mr. COSTELLO, and Mr. KUHL of New York) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce


To amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Employee Free Choice Act'.


(a) In General- Section 9(c) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 159(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, whenever a petition shall have been filed by an employee or group of employees or any individual or labor organization acting in their behalf alleging that a majority of employees in a unit appropriate for the purposes of collective bargaining wish to be represented by an individual or labor organization for such purposes, the Board shall investigate the petition. If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection (a).

`(7) The Board shall develop guidelines and procedures for the designation by employees of a bargaining representative in the manner described in paragraph (6). Such guidelines and procedures shall include--

`(A) model collective bargaining authorization language that may be used for purposes of making the designations described in paragraph (6); and

`(B) procedures to be used by the Board to establish the authenticity of signed authorizations designating bargaining representatives.'.

(b) Conforming Amendments-

(1) NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD- Section 3(b) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 153(b)) is amended, in the second sentence--

(A) by striking `and to' and inserting `to'; and

(B) by striking `and certify the results thereof,' and inserting `, and to issue certifications as provided for in that section,'.

(2) UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES- Section 8(b) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 158(b)) is amended--

(A) in paragraph (7)(B) by striking `, or' and inserting `or a petition has been filed under section 9(c)(6), or'; and

(B) in paragraph (7)(C) by striking `when such a petition has been filed' and inserting `when such a petition other than a petition under section 9(c)(6) has been filed'.


Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 158) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(h) Whenever collective bargaining is for the purpose of establishing an initial agreement following certification or recognition, the provisions of subsection (d) shall be modified as follows:

`(1) Not later than 10 days after receiving a written request for collective bargaining from an individual or labor organization that has been newly organized or certified as a representative as defined in section 9(a), or within such further period as the parties agree upon, the parties shall meet and commence to bargain collectively and shall make every reasonable effort to conclude and sign a collective bargaining agreement.

`(2) If after the expiration of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which bargaining is commenced, or such additional period as the parties may agree upon, the parties have failed to reach an agreement, either party may notify the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service of the existence of a dispute and request mediation. Whenever such a request is received, it shall be the duty of the Service promptly to put itself in communication with the parties and to use its best efforts, by mediation and conciliation, to bring them to agreement.

`(3) If after the expiration of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the request for mediation is made under paragraph (2), or such additional period as the parties may agree upon, the Service is not able to bring the parties to agreement by conciliation, the Service shall refer the dispute to an arbitration board established in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Service. The arbitration panel shall render a decision settling the dispute and such decision shall be binding upon the parties for a period of 2 years, unless amended during such period by written consent of the parties.'.


(a) Injunctions Against Unfair Labor Practices During Organizing Drives-

(1) IN GENERAL- Section 10(l) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 160(l)) is amended--

(A) in the second sentence, by striking `If, after such' and inserting the following:

`(2) If, after such'; and

(B) by striking the first sentence and inserting the following:

`(1) Whenever it is charged--

`(A) that any employer--

`(i) discharged or otherwise discriminated against an employee in violation of subsection (a)(3) of section 8;

`(ii) threatened to discharge or to otherwise discriminate against an employee in violation of subsection (a)(1) of section 8; or

`(iii) engaged in any other unfair labor practice within the meaning of subsection (a)(1) that significantly interferes with, restrains, or coerces employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 7;

while employees of that employer were seeking representation by a labor organization or during the period after a labor organization was recognized as a representative defined in section 9(a) until the first collective bargaining contract is entered into between the employer and the representative; or

`(B) that any person has engaged in an unfair labor practice within the meaning of subparagraph (A), (B) or (C) of section 8(b)(4), section 8(e), or section 8(b)(7);

the preliminary investigation of such charge shall be made forthwith and given priority over all other cases except cases of like character in the office where it is filed or to which it is referred.'.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 10(m) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 160(m)) is amended by inserting `under circumstances not subject to section 10(l)' after `section 8'.

(b) Remedies for Violations-

(1) BACKPAY- Section 10(c) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 160(c)) is amended by striking `And provided further,' and inserting `Provided further, That if the Board finds that an employer has discriminated against an employee in violation of subsection (a)(3) of section 8 while employees of the employer were seeking representation by a labor organization, or during the period after a labor organization was recognized as a representative defined in subsection (a) of section 9 until the first collective bargaining contract was entered into between the employer and the representative, the Board in such order shall award the employee back pay and, in addition, 2 times that amount as liquidated damages: Provided further,'.

(2) CIVIL PENALTIES- Section 12 of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 162) is amended--

(A) by striking `Any' and inserting `(a) Any'; and

(B) by adding at the end the following:

`(b) Any employer who willfully or repeatedly commits any unfair labor practice within the meaning of subsections (a)(1) or (a)(3) of section 8 while employees of the employer are seeking representation by a labor organization or during the period after a labor organization has been recognized as a representative defined in subsection (a) of section 9 until the first collective bargaining contract is entered into between the employer and the representative shall, in addition to any make-whole remedy ordered, be subject to a civil penalty of not to exceed $20,000 for each violation. In determining the amount of any penalty under this section, the Board shall consider the gravity of the unfair labor practice and the impact of the unfair labor practice on the charging party, on other persons seeking to exercise rights guaranteed by this Act, or on the public interest.'.

AFL-CIO's Richard Trumpka Tells It Like It Is: Something Most People Never Get To See Or Hear

This is a speech made by Richard Trumpka of the AFL-CIO to a group of United Steelworkers. He has many more speeches that we will be sure to show you on the pages of the Hudson Valley Labor Report. Everyone should see them.

Trumpka, like some of our own local labor leaders, speaks bluntly, directly and very effectively about the issues that he covers. Some people have NEVER HEARD ANYONE speak publicly who did not beat around the bush or avoid taking a direct position.

Those poor souls have probably only heard your average politician give a speech.

They are used to listening to a verbal game of "Ring around the Rosie" until the speech is finally over. After that,they are usually left to ponder just what the heck was said. Or what position was the speaker supporting?

The result of "Ring around the Rosie" speeches is fear on the part of the listener to ask that question in order to avoid looking stupid or like they are challenging the speaker.

Most people who hear a speech like this for the first time admire the passion and the directiveness of the delivery. They compare it to what they have heard in the past and quickly realize that there is no comparison. They can understand and digest points that are made in strong, direct terms.

In other words, with no bullshit or backpedaling, the listener can really decide whether they agree or not and it is a refreshing change.

However, some people hear a speech like this from a labor leader and are almost insulted. With the point being driven home so directly and no mistake about what position the speaker is taking, it's almost scary to them. It is shocking. It is so blunt, so strong!

That is usually about the same time that you will hear the comment that labor should change its image.

It's not the image of labor that is scaring them, it's the TRUTH in the words of labor.

And if that is what is really scaring them - that will never change.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Employee Orientation Video

Log on and sign the petition for the Employee Free Choice Act today. This video would be really funny if it wasn't true in so many workplaces in this country.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Jesse James Rides Again

There is a move afoot to balance the City of Kingston budget on the backs of retired Civil Service Employees by taking away their current health plan and giving them a lesser plan. This idea is brought to you by the Common Council and Mayor James Sottile.

Sottile says he supports "discussion" on the proposed elimination of the current plan called the "Empire Plan", which is a plan used throughout the state for retired public work employees. Sottile said that "everything is on the table" when it comes to possible budget cuts. He makes the point that the proposal was raised by Common Council members, not him.

According to the Daily Freeman,Sottile told them via e-mail that "This will be decided by the council and made part of their budget adjustments if they so choose."

The telling part of all of this is that the Mayor also states in the email to the Freeman that "This is for CSEA union only," and "We cannot apply this to the other unions."

So, is it "we" or "they"? Or is it "you"?

Why is it that it CAN be applied to one group and CANNOT be applied to another? What about the contract language that surely must be part of this whole issue? Wanna explain that one?

It appears that the Mayor isn't supporting cutting the budget as much as he is administering some sort of payback to the CSEA.

Before any cuts are presented for any working person, here is what should happen and we have said it before: Let the Mayor and his upper management, non-union cronies step up and offer to CUT FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS off of their salaries and increase their OWN CONTRIBUTION to their own health plans. Let the Common Council members cut their salary and do the same to any health coverage they have that the people are paying for.
Let's see the "support" for that.

After that happens, hit the ground running and make legitimate cuts to everyone and every department - let's not just hit the banks that Jesse James thinks are easy to rob.

Right now, they are all just tapdancing around.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Employee Free Choice Act Will Even Help Walmart Employees

The Employee Free Choice Act will level the playing field between employees that want to organize into unions and the corporate army of scum that companies such as Walmart dispatch to break their will and backs. This type of reaction by a company - any company - JUST PROVES - THAT UNIONS CAN DO ALOT OF GOOD FOR WORKERS.

If Unions couldn't help employees improve their wages and working conditions, companies wouldn't bother spending one red cent trying to stop them from organizing.

American workers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. By the way, in Germany Walmarts ARE UNION. Why then - in America - do they shit on their own people? Answer - .......because they can.

This type of corporate terrorism in America against Americans will soon be history when President Obama and company pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Construction Users Round Table Study Points To Union Labor As More Productive: Better Training Is Key

The Construction Users Round Table, a nationwide group of major businesses and construction users, commissioned a study to answer the age-old question of whether union or non-union workers were more productive and more economical to employ.
It is not surprising to anyone involved in the construction business to find out that the group with a superior emphasis on TRAINING is the obvious choice. While most union workers make a great deal more in wages and benefits than their non union counterparts, the cost of any project involves two very closely related components in regard to labor. Wages AND Hours. A skilled and trained workforce can be paid more and still cost less.

It is a fact that EACH YEAR, the Hudson Valley Building Trades Council affiliates invest millions of dollars training our local residents in apprenticeship programs and journeyman upgrade courses.

Support the local Building Trades affiliates when you see that they have an issue regarding their standards or jobs and are out asking for the publics support.

They are providing countless local people with the opportunity to properly learn a trade and to have the chance to support their families with dignity at the same time.

With your support they can continue to offer that opportunity to countless local residents in the future. Maybe even you or someone in your family.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Benedictine Union Nurses Show Their Badges Of Courage

Photo Times Herald Record

Congratulations to the Benedictine Nurses for having the courage to stand up and be counted! For having the courage to speak out, the courage to demand to be heard and the courage do something about it! They are an inspiration to all workers in the area and deserve the support of all of the unions in the entire Hudson Valley.

Clifton, Budd & DeMaria, the NYC Lawfirm hired by the hospital to stop the nurses from voting for the union, were no match for the will of the nurses.

What a waste of the probably thousands and thousands of dollars spent by the hospital to fight their own employees!

Let's hope that the hospital doesn't ever cry poverty in the future, we will ask to see how exactly how much money they foolishly spent. They could have used that money FOR the employees - not AGAINST them.

The Labor community will be keeping a SHARP EYE on the bargaining that will soon take place.

Now,now - everybody play nice.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Union Endorsements Are A Powerful Tool

Doesn't it seem strange that with the Democratic tsunami that has swept even marginal candidates into office, that there is one local race that is tight as can be? The race for Ulster County Comptroller is the only race not decided yet. Jim Quigley is slightly ahead of Elliot Auerbach with only the absentee ballots left to be counted. Point of order: Jim Quigley is also twice as qualified for the job than Auerbach is.

Given the pro-Democratic climate in this election year, and the opportunity for Auerbach to ride in on Heins coattails, what made it such a tight race for this Ulster Democrat?

Hein, by the way, had the endorsement of all of the local union organizations in the area and won by a 10,000 vote spread.

Auerbach thought he was a smart guy months ago as an IDA member, masquerading as a supporter of prevailing wages for the construction trades right up until the question was voted on. He chose to ignore the facts and figures of the prevailing wage issue at hand and voted - with a big smile - to delete it.

Soon after, Elliot announces that he will be running for Ulster County Comptroller.

During every election year, organized labor is sought out for endorsements, We carry many, many votes across our vast array of local organizations and thousands of voting members. AND WE HAVE LONG MEMORIES.

Jim Quigley got the union endorsements and Elliot Auerbach became the poster boy for people who B.S. and then smile while they vote against the working people.

The race is not over and who knows who the winner will be. The extra time, money, sweat and debt that we helped make neccessary for Auerbach was well worth it. If Auerbach supported working people he would have been what Hein is today. A winner. No doubt about that.

Either way, organized labor has made its point.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Benedictine Nurses Vote To Join Union By A Two To One Margin!

The Nurses at Benedictine Hospital got a double election suprise when their votes were counted today at the National Labor Relations Board offices. Just this past week, management at Benedictine Hospital lost their challenge to hold up the election even further and the Board ruled that the sealed ballots must be opened.

After unsealing the ballots cast on September 18, it was apparent that an overwhelming number of the nurses voted YES and wanted to have the union represent them. A total of 110 nurses voted YES to join the union - with only 56 voting against representation.

The 56 no votes, no doubt, were most likely the victims of the NYC Law Firm hired by the hospital as union busters and to successfully scare them into voting against themselves.

The hospital still was allowed to challenge 23 voters ballots (a bullshit move on their part) - but even that number could not upset the mandate to unionize given by the undisputable majority of employees.

The Labor community of the Hudson Valley needs to keep a careful eye on this situation now and come to the aid of the nurses if they need it.

The next textbook management move would be to stonewall any meaningful negotiations.

Let's hope that hospital management is done being unproductive and that they come to the table and bargain in an amicable manner and in good faith. If not, Hudson Valley Labor Report has already begun compiling the OUTRAGEOUS salaries that some of these upper crust hospital management employees make each year. It will knock your socks off - especially so when these will be the same ones at the bargaining table crying poverty.

I feel like a cat looking at a ball of string.

Happy Days Are Here Again!

FDR - Kennedy - Obama

Landslide Victory For Barack Obama! The People Have Spoken and America Has A Real Leader Again!

The people of the United States have spoken loud and clear. They want a CHANGE from the direction we have been going in for the last eight years.

Finally, we will have a President who cares about the American people FIRST, and all else second. We haven't had that in years.

There is a New Deal coming soon for the forgotten middleclass of America!

Hail To The Chief

The New President Of The United States Of America: Barack Obama

Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States. The masses of this country have spoken out and together we have elected a People's President. And we made a bold statement to the world that there is a new America and that we will be an example to follow. President Obama will be a voice for working people in the United States and beyond. Thank God that we live in a democracy and can control our own destiny.

Working people will soon see that President Obama will not forget them and that we can once again dream that our children will have the opportunity to grow and prosper past our expectations.

There is a positive Change coming.

Obama in 2008.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote Barack Obama President Of The United States

Our country is about to turn in a new direction. A CHANGE that the average American family desperately needs.

With a plan that will INCLUDE the American people and their wellbeing in the very blueprints of that plan.

Something we have not been included in for the last two Presidential terms.

Now is the time to really put America first. To bring back the way of thinking of the country's greatest President, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The time to strike another "New Deal" has come.

Watch the video above.

Vote for Barack Obama on Tuesday November 4, 2008 and save this country

The National Anthem

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You Haven't Done Nothin' - Time For A Change

No Way! Not Another 4 Years Like The Last Eight!!

This is exactly what you will get if John McCain gets in the White House. To just double check yourself, THINK, do you hear any of the hardcore Bush supporters saying how good he was anymore? Absolutely not! They are embarrassed of him.

Of Course, it almost took a NATIONAL DEPRESSION AND COLLAPSE OF THE UNITED STATES for the Bushies to see the light!

Now they are running from him like rats. The only problem now is that they are trumpeting for more of the same with John McCain.

Time to clean house folks.

Obama in 2008.

This Is Why We Need Barack Obama And The Employee Free Choice Act

This is an eye opening look into what really happens when management becomes aware of their employees attempts to join or form a union. When you read or hear that the company has hired an attorney or a law firm - this is what that law firm was hired to do. It has nothing to do with protecting the companys rights etc. It is to forcefully change the employees desire to organize.

In no other circumstance in the workplace, do employers feel that they need to hire an attorney to address their employees needs or desires.

The ULTIMATE LIE is that these attorneys or "labor relations specialists" are somehow hired to educate and protect the workers and to help them make the right decisions.

That is out and out bullcrap and it is happening right here in the Hudson Valley, countless times each year!

Finally though, employees are figuring out that the real purpose of the attorneys, lawfirms, labor specialists, captive meetings and "education" are actually to work to their detriment, not their benefit.

Vote for Barack Obama on Tuesday and the elimination of this anti-worker practice will be just one improvement you will see for the American workers - in addition to many, many others.

Obama in 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Labor Board Rules Against Hospital: Votes Will Be Counted

About 200 nurses at Benedictine Hospital voted on September 18 to decide whether to be represented by the New York State Nurses Association. The hospital responded by challenging the election and having the votes frozen by filing a request to the National Labor Relations Board for a last minute review of the voters.

This is a typical ploy when management wants to prolong or interfere with the employees attempt to organize.

The NLRB ruled against the hospitals request and now the votes will be opened and counted. The hospital hired a team of high-priced NEW YORK CITY ATTORNEYS FOR HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS AN HOUR, to intimidate the nurses during the month prior to the vote. Captive meetings, anti-union postings, threats and intimidation are unfortunately the norm during the critical time period between the day the election day is set and the day of the actual election. As was recently seen in its purist form this past month at the Newburgh Perfume Factory.

The Nurses wanted to organize and band together to bargain as a group to improve their working conditions, wages and staffing rules. Attempting to do that seperately produced NO RESULTS, the hospital would hear none of it and made NO ATTEMPT to address any of the above issues.

The votes can now be counted - even though it is over one month late.

With the Employee Free Choice Act, these nurses would have already been bargaining for one month with the hospital - not stuck in limbo for that month with an employer playing games with their lives.