Alliance for Worker Freedom
Andy Stern Appointed to Debt Panel While Under Criminal Review for Lobbying Activities
In response to President Obama’s appointment of Andy Stern to the bi-partisan debt panel, the Alliance for Worker Freedom sent out the following release:
President Obama’s appointment of Service Employee International Union (SEIU) leader Andy Stern to his bi-partisan Debt Panel should raise a major red flag. Stern has an open investigation file into his potentially illegal lobbying activities with the United States Attorney’s office.
105 days ago, the Alliance for Worker Freedom and Americans for Tax Reform filled a joint request for investigation into Andy Stern for potentially violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) 2 U.S.C. 1601, et seq. Specifically, evidence was compiled that suggests Stern spent more than 20 percent of his time per quarter actively engaged in lobbying and lobbying activities.
The problem, Stern de-registered as a lobbyist in 2007. Failure to file accurate reports or to register under LDA is a violation of the Act, which provides for civil penalties of up to $200,000 and criminal penalties of up to 5 years in prison.
“52 days ago, Stern was on CNN and he promised to contact us and explain his situation and provide evidence that he has not been engaged in illegal lobbying,” says Brian Johnson, executive director of the Alliance for Worker Freedom. “Not only have we never been contacted by Stern, but now, the President is sneaking his friends and political supporters in the back-door with this no-show fluff panel to allow the lobbying to continue."
AWF Will Rate Vote on Reid Jobs Bill Amendment
AWF sent the below legislative alert to all members of the Senate uring them to oppose Sen. Reid's amendment to the Senate Jobs Bill. To express your concern, contact your Senator at 202-224-3121.
AWF Will Rate against a "yes" vote for this bill in our annual Congressional scorecard. A vote for this bill will negatively affect a Senators contention for the Guardian of Worker Freedom Award.
The Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) urges all Senators to vote against invoking cloture on the Senate amendment 3310 to the House amendment to the Senate amendment on H.R. 2847, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE Act)
A vote for cloture is a vote for passage, as such, the Alliance for Worker Freedom will rate tonight’s cloture vote in our annual Congressional scorecard. A vote supporting this bill will negatively affect your contention for the Guardian of Worker Freedom award.
Containing numerous Davis-Bacon provisions, legislation that shows an unfair preference to unionized workers when constructing government contracted projects; the Reid Jobs bill marginalizes the average private sector worker.
- Extends current highway authorizations through December 31, 2010 transferring 19.5 billion from the general fund to the highway trust fund
- All Highway construction trust fund expenditures are required to be Davis-Bacon Act compliant
- Applying Davis-Bacon prevailing wage mandates inflates construction wages nationally by 22 percent
- This union wage compliance added $17 billion to the cost of the last “stimulus” bill
The misnamed Reid “HIRE Act” doesn’t create “new” jobs and the adherence of a Depression-era union wage law forces fewer projects at a higher cost. If market wages were paid without union preference, there could be more construction projects paid at a market wage.
Don’t let Senator Reid pay his employed union buddies a 22 percent higher wage when 14.8 million Americans are out of work!
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De-Facto Card Check Vote Coming Soon
Originally posted at WorkerFreedom.org:
This week, the United States Senate will be considering President Obama’s nomination to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Craig Becker. Mr. Becker has expressed radical views about the relationship between employers, employees and union representation.
Specifically, he shows great disdain for employers’ role in the process of union certification elections, and believes that employers should even be prohibited from exposing criminal conduct by unions during these elections. In fact, it appears Mr. Becker would like to bar employers from most NLRB proceedings saying:
“On these latter issues employers should have no right to be heard in either a representation case or an unfair labor practice case, even though Board rulings might indirectly affect their duty to bargain.”
Just as Mr. Becker views employers as obstacles to increased unionization, he similarly views workers ability to democratically choose union representation as problematic:
“Just as U.S. Citizens cannot opt against having a congressman, workers should not be able to choose against having a union as their monopoly-bargaining agent.”
“If confirmed, it seems likely Mr. Becker will change the union election timetable implementing ‘quickie’ or ‘ambush’ elections overnight,” says AWF executive director Brian Johnson. “Becker will use the NLRB to help unions get more card check certifications by ignoring or dismissing the complaints filed by employers and individual workers, giving the unions a much freer hand to use intimidation and coercion to gather signatures – pressuring employers to accept the signatures over actual employee votes.”
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For the First Time, 52% of All Unions Members Work for the Government
Originally appearing in The Washington Times:
Any Republican effort to cut back the size of government will run straight into a battle with the unions - not the traditional industrial unions that have long formed the backbone of the Democratic Party, but government unions. According to data released last week, for the first time in history, more than 50 percent of union members work for the federal, state or local government.
This unprecedented event raises the question: How can a public that wants smaller government achieve that goal when every dollar that goes into that government is paying to build an interest group intent on growing the government?
Unions once represented more than 35 percent of the American work force in the mid-1950s. By 2008, that had plummeted to 12.4 percent, and last year it ticked downward again to 12.3 percent. But that doesn't quite capture an accurate picture, because there are really two different union movements. In 2009, private-sector unionization fell to 7.2 percent from 7.6 percent in 2008. But the unions' glimmer of hope remains in an ever-expanding public sector and with the drones of government employees that are increasingly joining their ranks.
There were 15.3 million total union members in the United States in 2009, down 770,000 from the 16.1 million in 2008. Private-sector union membership fell 834,000, but public-sector union membership actually grew by 64,000 in 2009 to 7.9 million. This means 52 percent of all union members work for the government. But what does this mean for the future of organized labor, its influence on public policy decisions and its role in state and local economies?
That growing government union membership is at war with the idea of shrinking government or even delivering today's level of government services with the same tax rates in the future. The inflated cost of government unionization, by artificially raising wages and increasing bureaucracy, results in higher taxes and fewer non-unionized government services. In Vallejo, Calif., a city made famous for filling bankruptcy in 2008, total compensation for a police officer was more than $190,000 and a firefighter more than $130,000 per year. More than 70 percent of the city's general fund went toward these exorbitant public safety workers' salaries.
California state law mandates forced union bargaining sessions with public safety unions (similar federal legislation by Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, is pending in the U.S. Senate), which forced the city into bankruptcy. Alternatively, states have the option to raise taxes in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy. Government employees in New York City earned on average $106,743 per year in 2008, forcing taxpayers to fund this inflated union wage with an outrageous top marginal tax rate of 47 percent.
There once was a day when working for the government meant a sacrifice for public service. Government employees didn't face the vagaries of employment in the corporate sector, where jobs come and go, but in return government jobs didn't come with the salaries and perks of the private sector, either.
Not anymore. The government unions want it all - high pay, stability and a growing work force. And they're willing to use their growing political clout to get it. Public-sector unions ferociously lobby each level of government for increased spending and oppose tax reductions.
In Oregon, public employees unions spent almost $4 million supporting ballot initiatives to raise personal income and business taxes by $733 million. The Service Employee International Union (SEIU) spent millions in California campaigning for higher oil, gas and liquor taxes. In Arizona, the Arizona Education Association lobbied successfully against repealing a $250 million-a-year statewide property tax. Even in the conservative state of Alabama, the Alabama Education Association's annual convention endorsed tax increases on businesses, cigarettes and soft drinks - while voting down measures supporting spending restrictions to combat the state's budget shortfall.
Political activism on behalf of public-sector unions appears to be paying off. Unions have been successful in increasing the demand for additional government services and an expanding bureaucracy. There are now more government agencies and subagencies than ever, and the percentage of union members working for the government are at an all-time high.
By campaigning for increased government, supporting increased spending and opposing tax increases, the public-sector unions ensure that their reign of economic terror will continue.
More from Americans for Tax Reform
Leaked SEIU Card Check Cheat Sheet
This post from AWF Executive Director originally appeared on BigGovernment.com:
As if Andy Stern and Anna Burger lobbying without being registered wasn’t enough for the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) to deal with, they are still trying desperately to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Unsuccessfully, I might add.
However, they have developed a new tool of misinformation — “Language Tips on Employee Free Choice.”
Thanks to an anonymous email to the Alliance for Worker Freedom we obtained this “for internal use only – not for distribution” document. However, in order for this document to reflect any bit of truth, just switch the “NO” and “YES” headers and you’ll be all set.
(Click the image for a larger view)
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Ed Morrissey Interview on ATR & AWF Call for SEIU Investigation Today at 3:30pm EST
Today, Ed Morrissey of HotAir.com will interview Alliance for Worker Freedom director Brian M Johnson to discuss their request for a formal investigation of SEIU President Andy Stern for potentially violated the Lobbying Disclosure Act. AWF & ATR have called on the United States Attorney to launch a full investigation.
In their letter, the organizations state:
Specifically, it is important to determine whether those and related activities could constitute unregistered “lobbying” by Mr. Stern in violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), 2 U.S.C. 1601, et seq. In fact, Mr. Stern was a registered lobbyist for SEIU until January of 2007 when he terminated his registration. For the reasons discussed below it appears that Mr. Stern continued to lobby extensively after he terminated his registered status, and in 2009 devoted so much time on lobbying and related activities that he should have re-registered as a lobbyist under LDA.
If convicted, Stern could face a $200,000 penalty and up to five years in prison.
Listen to the Ed Morrissey interview by clicking here at 3:30pm EST today.
More from Americans for Tax Reform
Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) Reiterates Opposition to Employee Free Choice Act
Washington, D.C. — Recently speaking to the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) reaffirmed her opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) commonly referred to as “Card Check”.
Senator Lincoln dismissed rumors that she now supported Senator Specter’s (D-Penn.) version of EFCA saying business and labor groups, not lawmakers, should be the ones to work out a compromise on a union organizing bill.
The Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) applauds her vocal criticism of this flawed legislation.
“Senator Lincoln hit the nail on the head with that statement,” said Brian Johnson, Executive Director of the Alliance for Worker Freedom, “unions and businesses should be able to find consensus on their own, without government intrusion. EFCA is expected to cost 600,000 jobs the first year if passed and will force more and more working Americans into failing union pension plans. Senator Lincoln realizes that only 1 in 160 union workers’ has a pension with the required assets needed to meet future obligations – all Senators know this because we have told them! We are hopeful that more and more members of Senator Lincoln’s party will side with working Americans and not be bought by a special interest group!
Three Labor Nominees That Will Change the Workplace Forever
Today, the Alliance for Worker Freedom sent the following notice to all Senate offices urging them to oppose several nominees to three key labor positions:
Craig Becker: Nominee, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
Responsibilities: The NLRB interprets and administers federal labor laws covering over 90% of businesses and private sector employees.
Responsibilities: Solicitor General, the third ranking post in the Department of Labor, is responsible for overseeing litigation, assisting with policy development.
Responsibilities: Determine workplace safety standards and enforce laws with 2,000 member agency.
AWF URGES ALL SENATORS TO OPPOSE THESE EXTREMIST NOMINEES
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AWF: Specter Revised EFCA Package Still Remains Unacceptable
Shortly after reports of the details surrounding a “revised” version of the controversial Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) began trickling out of Senator Specter’s (D-Penn.) office, Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) Brian Johnson released the following statement:
“To call this a ‘revision’ or a ‘compromise’ is insulting at best. Even without taking away the secret ballot voting, this bill remains the most negative labor reform proposal this Congress has seen. This bill contains a provision known as ‘quickie elections’ that limit the time between when unions say they have enough support and when the vote actually occurs. This is an attempt to quickly rush through the process before the employees can find out the real truth about unions, such as their failing pension plans. Also, a ‘guaranteed access’ clause in this bill will leave business owners powerless against union mobs invading their workplace and will not allow the business owners to communicate with their employees the economic harm that a union could bring. Finally, mandatory binding arbitration is replaced with what they use in baseball, ‘last best offer arbitration.’ Simply put, a mediator will simply pick one offer over the other. We know that statistically this almost always favors the absurd interests and demands of unions over that of reasonable workplace negotiations. The ‘revision’ Sen. Specter has introduced will result in mass unemployment and the closure of hundreds of businesses.”
More from Americans for Tax Reform
Union Approval Continues to Fall
PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup finds organized labor taking a significant image hit in the past year. While 66% of Americans continue to believe unions are beneficial to their own members, a slight majority now say unions hurt the nation's economy. More broadly, fewer than half of Americans -- 48%, an all-time low -- approve of labor unions, down from 59% a year ago.
These results are from the 2009 installment of Gallup's annual Work and Education survey, conducted Aug. 6-9. The 48% of Americans now approving of unions represents the first sub-50% approval since Gallup first asked the question in the 1930s. The previous low was 55%, found in both 1979 and 1981.
Public reaction to labor unions is one of the longest-running trends The Gallup Poll has maintained. Gallup first asked "Do you approve or disapprove of labor unions?" in 1936, a year after Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act establishing the right of most private-sector employees to join unions, to bargain collectively with their employers, and to strike. That first poll found 72% of Americans approving of unions and only 20% disapproving.
While approval of unions has declined since 2008 among most major demographic and political groups, the biggest drop has been among political independents.
Unions Help Own Workers, Hurt Other Workers and the Economy
Organized labor was put in the spotlight last December as Congress considered a major bailout package for the ailing U.S. auto industry. Gallup polling at that time found a substantial segment of Americans blaming the auto unions for the industry's problems, although more blamed auto executives.
Perhaps accordingly, Gallup records significant increases in the August 2009 Work and Education survey compared with August 2006 in sentiment that unions have a negative effect on companies where workers are organized, and on the economy generally.
The percentage saying unions mostly hurt the companies where workers are organized has risen from 39% in 2006 to 46% in the latest poll. As a result, Americans are now evenly divided over whether unions mostly help or mostly hurt these companies, whereas in all previous measures the balance of opinion was positive.
There has been an even larger jump in the percentage saying labor unions mostly hurt the U.S. economy, from 36% in 2006 to 51% today. This is the first time since the question was established in 1997 that more Americans have said unions hurt rather than help the economy. Americans' general concerns about the current state of the economy could certainly be a factor in these more negative views of unions, in addition to specific perceptions about unions.
Most Americans continue to believe unions are beneficial to their members: 66% in the 2009 poll say unions mostly help workers who are members of unions, while only 28% say unions mostly hurt them. However, this is a slightly less positive assessment than Gallup found in the previous measure in 2006, and is the lowest reading since the question was first asked in 1999.
Americans' most negative assessments of unions -- as has typically been the case -- involve their impact on non-union workers. More than 6 in 10 Americans, up from about half in 2006, say unions mostly hurt non-union workers.
Americans living in union households and those in non-union households have sharply different assessments of unions' impact on each of the four dimensions mentioned above. However, the widest gap is in perceptions of unions' impact on the companies where workers are unionized. Of adults living in union households (representing 18% of all U.S. adults), 7 in 10 believe unions help the companies; only 39% of residents living in non-union households agree.
Unions on the Rise or Declining?
If unions are perceived as beneficial to their members and as hurting nonmembers, does this mean Americans would like unions' reach to be expanded or cut back?
The answer in this year's survey is relatively negative: 42% say they want unions to have less influence in the United States, compared with 25% favoring more influence. In August 2008, these figures were about even. However, factoring in the 28% of Americans who want unions to maintain their current influence results in a combined 53% backing the current power of unions -- still the largest opinion segment.
Americans' perceptions of unions' prospects for the future are slightly more negative. With the United States' manufacturing base in conspicuous decline and the auto industry's troubles headline news, 48% of Americans, up from 41% a year ago, predict that labor unions in the country will become weaker.
This year's Gallup update on views toward unions comes in the midst of an economic recession, and in the aftermath of major economic interventions by the U.S. government on behalf of two of the Big Three domestic auto companies.
The update also comes as the Employee Free Choice Act -- a proposal to significantly change collective bargaining laws -- is still under consideration by Congress. If passed as originally proposed, the bill would most likely make it easier for unions to organize. In fact, proponents of EFCA (who feel the current system is stacked against unions) say that's the intent. However, those changes may be going against the tide of public opinion, which currently is at a historically low ebb for unions.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,010 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Aug. 6-9, 2009. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.