Chris Prandoni

What's the Matter With Kansas?


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009, 12:49 PM PERMALINK


Several Kansas State Departments have been caught soliciting information on behalf of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Using taxpayers’ dollars, the Kansas Department on Aging and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services collected names, addresses, and telephone numbers of healthcare workers on behalf SEIU- presumably so SEIU could contact and organize these workers. Although SEIU rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars annually in union dues, they still appealed to Kansas state departments for help gathering information about Kansans.

But it’s hard to fault SEIU, who hasn’t showed up to Congress or a State House hat-in-hand looking for some cash, a tariff, or favorable regulations? Just pass the buck to taxpayers, its en vogue. Although SEIU is a political behemoth, Kansas should know better. It’s exactly this sort of logrolling that digs state government huge fiscal holes; Kansas will face a $1 billion deficit by the end of next year.

To highlight this problem, the Alliance for Worker Freedom sent letters to Kansas’ Governor and appropriate members of the Department on Aging and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services requesting the release of email records and financial documents surrounding the collection of healthcare workers' private information on behalf of the SEIU.

Not to be overlooked is just whose names SEIU was collecting, healthcare workers. Labor’s attempts to unionize healthcare workers have been unsuccessful in the United States. With healthcare costs already skyrocketing, few hospitals could remain open if they accepted bloated union contracts. So, why the push for healthcare workers information now? Because of the Democratic bills making their way through Congress. Government healthcare facilitates unionization; SEIU’s mouth is watering at this prospect. Look at Canada: 78 percent of Canadian nurses are unionized compared with 17 percent of American nurses. More generally, in the United States, 36.8 percent of public sector workers are unionized compared to 7.6 percent of private workers.

The Alliance for Worker Freedom will continue to follow this story and post all responses from Kansas state departments and the Governors office on its website, www.workerfreedom.org.

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How Cap and Tax Will Hurt Missouri


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, September 17th, 2009, 11:24 AM PERMALINK


In our continuing, daily, state by state, look at the financial impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Tax Bill, we will show you the projected losses in Gross State Product, Personal Income, and Non- Farm Jobs in Missouri.

Detailed information on this and other energy taxes can be found in the Americans for Tax Reform Energy Tax Analysis, May 2009.
Missouri:

According to a study by Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and David Kreutzer, Ph.D. at the Heritage Foundation, Missouri will suffer the following losses in 2012 as a result of Cap and Tax:

  • A decline in Gross State Product of -$2,637,130,000
  • Total Personal Income Loss of -$3,545,400,000
  • Non-Farm Job losses of 32,225

An update to the Heritage Foundation’s study further shows an:

  • Increase in Electricity Prices from 2012-2035 of $749.85 per household.
  • Increase in Gas Prices from 2012-2035 of $0.61 per gallon.

Contact your Senators today and tell them to VOTE NO on the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.
Senator Christopher Bond: (202) 224-5721
Senator Claire McCaskill: (202) 224-6154

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How Cap and Tax Will Hurt Mississippi


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Wednesday, September 16th, 2009, 2:08 PM PERMALINK


In our continuing, daily, state by state, look at the financial impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Tax Bill, we will show you the projected losses in Gross State Product, Personal Income, and Non- Farm Jobs in Mississippi.

Detailed information on this and other energy taxes can be found in the Americans for Tax Reform Energy Tax Analysis, May 2009.


Mississippi:

According to a study by Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and David Kreutzer, Ph.D. at the Heritage Foundation, Mississippi will suffer the following losses in 2012 as a result of Cap and Tax:

  • A decline in Gross State Product of -$1,017,590,000
  • Total Personal Income Loss of -$1,473,150,000
  • Non-Farm Job losses of 14,002

An update to the Heritage Foundation’s study further shows an:

  • Increase in Electricity Prices from 2012-2035 of $547.62 per household.
  • Increase in Gas Prices from 2012-2035 of $0.62 per gallon.

Contact your Senators today and tell them to VOTE NO on the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.
Senator Thad Cochran: (202) 224-5054
Senator Roger Wicker: (202) 224-6253
 

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How Cap and Tax Will Hurt Minnesota


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009, 11:31 AM PERMALINK


In our continuing, daily, state by state, look at the financial impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Tax Bill, we will show you the projected losses in Gross State Product, Personal Income, and Non- Farm Jobs in Minnesota.

Detailed information on this and other energy taxes can be found in the Americans for Tax Reform Energy Tax Analysis, May 2009.
Minnesota:

According to a study by Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and David Kreutzer, Ph.D. at the Heritage Foundation, Minnesota will suffer the following losses in 2012 as a result of Cap and Tax:

  • A decline in Gross State Product of -$2,390,180,000
  • Total Personal Income Loss of -$3,813,610,000
  • Non-Farm Job losses of 31,646

An update to the Heritage Foundation’s study further shows an:

  • Increase in Electricity Prices from 2012-2035 of $485.23 per household.
  • Increase in Gas Prices from 2012-2035 of $0.67 per gallon.

Contact your Senators today and tell them to VOTE NO on the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.
Senator Al Franken: (202)-224-5641
Senator Amy Klobuchar: (202) 224-3244

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How Cap and Tax Will Hurt Michigan


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, September 10th, 2009, 2:13 PM PERMALINK


In our continuing, daily, state by state, look at the financial impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Tax Bill, we will show you the projected losses in Gross State Product, Personal Income, and Non- Farm Jobs in Michigan.

Detailed information on this and other energy taxes can be found in the Americans for Tax Reform Energy Tax Analysis, May 2009.

Michigan:

According to a study by Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and David Kreutzer, Ph.D. at the Heritage Foundation, Michigan will suffer the following losses in 2012 as a result of Cap and Tax:

  • A decline in Gross State Product of -$4,389,580,000
  • Total Personal Income Loss of -$5,980,880,000
  • Non-Farm Job losses of 52.156

An update to the Heritage Foundation’s study further shows an:

  • Increase in Electricity Prices from 2012-2035 of $556.25 per household.
  • Increase in Gas Prices from 2012-2035 of $0.66 per gallon.

 Contact your Senators today and tell them to VOTE NO on the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.
Senator Carl Levin: (202) 224-6221
Senator Debbie Stabenow:(202) 224-4822

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AWF Urges Senators to Oppose Smith Nomination to DOL Solicitor General


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 4:54 PM PERMALINK


Dear Senator:

The Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF), an organization established in 2003 to combat anti-worker legislation and promote free and open labor markets, urges you to support Senator Mike Enzi’s (R-WY) call for President Obama’s withdrawal of  Patricia Smith’s nomination for Solicitor at the Labor Department.

During Senate hearings in May, Ms. Smith gave false testimony about the development of New York’s Wage and Hour Watch program, a group Smith presided over. In her testimony, Smith said the Wage and Hour Watch program was developed internally by state officials, when, in fact, the new program received substantial funding from organized labor unions.

Predictably, the Wage and Hour Watch program became a means for unions to organize. Labor’s organizing arms, the New York State Laborers Organizing Fund and the Plumber Local, applied to join the program. Once in, they regularly attended meetings, despite having nothing to do with the programs intended purpose, preventing wage abuse.

The Wage and Hour Watch program was not only a tool for unions to organize but a weapon for them to intimidate employers. After acquiring Wage and Hour Watch licenses, unions could pressure nonunion employers to recognizing collective bargaining agreements or face litigation.

Unions saw an ally in Smith, evidence of which is found in a union newsletter which assured its members that the Wage and Hour Watch program will only investigate “non-union” grocery stores. Unions, after shoveling money into Wage and Labor Watch and then becoming the programs police officers had successfully hijacked Smith’s program. 

Smith also lacked a basic understanding of her program during her hearing before Congress calling it an “education effort” when it is characterized as an enforcement agency. At best, Smith’s testimony shows a unaccepable level of ignorance about the basic function and development of a program she created. At worst, her testimony demonstrates an attempt to mislead the Senate.

In either case, she is unfit to lead a large, complex organization. Smith has shown an inherit bias towards labor through her management of New York’s Hour Wage and Hour Watch program. It is for these reasons that I urge all of you to follow Senator Enzi’s lead and pressure President Obama to withdraw Patricia Smith’s nomination.    

Sincerely,
 
Brian M. Johnson, MPA
Executive Director

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The Ugly, but True, History of Labor Day


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 4:43 PM PERMALINK


The Department of Labor’s (DOL) website, www.dol.gov, describes Labor Day as, “a creation of the labor movement and is [a] dedication to the social and economic achievements of American workers[i].” After reading the DOL’s website for five minutes one might liken union bosses to saints.

In reality, Labor Day’s inception was much less righteous. It was a political move by President Grover Cleveland to pacify angry unions in 1894. The rationale for Labor Day has been rewritten and labors’ iniquities ignored. Morgan Reynolds writes that unions were known for being,

   “Secret societies with secret oaths, and unionists engaged in intimidation, threats, vandalism, and violence, especially against uncooperative workers denounced as subhuman "scabs" and "blacklegs." Private property, freedom of contract, competition, and freedom of movement across occupations (slavery and indentured servitude aside) were celebrated concepts [only in name][ii].”

The Department of Labor must have forgotten all that “stuff.”
 
If Labor Day was not an act of appeasement, and President Cleveland genuinely wanted to acknowledge the labor movements’ “social and economic achievements,” said “achievements” should be easy to find. Unfortunately, such achievements were largely imaginary in 1894. Socially, many labor unions were actively racist and prohibited minority inclusion. Economically, labor unions inflated their wages while running non-union companies out of business and keeping non-union workers from obtaining a job. Historically, these non-union members tended to be African-Americans and Irish and Italian immigrants.
 
A look at unions’ exclusion, persecution, and violence towards African Americans twenty years before and after Labor Day’s official creation tells a story of union abhorrence, not social achievement. 
 
After the Civil War, African-Americans were allowed to occupy jobs that were previously inaccessible to them. Newly freed slaves flooded the labor market, (specifically those north of Virginia) looking for low skilled manufacturing and factory jobs. One of the first places African Americans looked for work was in the railroad industry - a flourishing sector which employed hundreds of thousands of Americans.
 
Native Protestants, (as they labeled themselves), and primarily Northern white males, saw the influx of African American workers as a threat to their livelihood and feared that these new “workers” would ‘steal’ their jobs by offering to work longer hours and for lower wages.
 
In order to maintain the status quo-white domination of the railroad industry- “natives” joined or created labor unions that constitutionally banned African Americans and even Catholics in many places.  By 1880, nearly all railroad unions proscribed African Americans. Railroad employers’ hands were tied: if they did not accept labor’s “native”-only terms, unions would strike, and their businesses would collapse. Employers had to comply with labor unions or find an entirely new labor force.
 
These non-union African Americans and recent immigrants would slowly incorporate into the railroad workforce by offering substantially lower wages and taking menial jobs. This direct disobedience of labor’s exclusionary wishes was not appreciated by unions. The Brotherhood of Railroad Firemen and the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, most notably, launched “white-only” campaigns and led violent attacks against African Americans and European immigrants to combat outside employment[iii].
 
The nationalization of the railroads which occurred during World War I provided a new means to prevent non-whites from working on railroads - anti-African American legislation. Railroad unions quickly appealed to the federal government. The U.S. Railroad Administration, a federal body, responded to union requests by issuing a directive instructing regional managers that African American, ‘firemen, hostlers, switchmen, brakemen, etc.’ should not be employed ‘beyond the practice heretofore existing,’ nor should they be employed on ‘any line or in any service upon any line or in any service where they have not heretofore been employed, or to take the places of white men[iv]” Only after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People protested ruling was this directive rescinded.
 
This would not be the last time the federal government intervened on behalf of unions. The Railroad Administration created new regulations in 1919, one of which said: “Negroes are not to be used as conductors, flagmen, baggagemen, or yard conductors[v].” This was seen as a handout to the Trainmen’s Union.
 
Although most anti-African American legislation has expired, one major piece of legislation from this era, the Davis-Bacon Act, endures. The Davis-Bacon Act looked to prevent African Americans from working on federal construction projects through price controls. Under Davis-Bacon, federal construction contracts could only be given to employers who paid their workers the “prevailing wage” of that region. African American workers often charged less than the government determined “prevailing wage” making them ineligible to receive government contracts.
 
This was the intended effect, to require wages to be so high that it would be illegal for African Americans to obtain federal contracts. Before Davis-Bacon was passed, many legislators openly talked about their desire to prevent African Americans from competing with “white labor.” In 1931, Rep. Clayton Allgood, D-Ala said “Reference has been made to a contractor from Alabama who went to New York with bootleg labor. This is a fact. That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country[vi].”
 
Davis-Bacon is still law. Although Davis-Bacon’s proponents have adopted a non-racist narrative, the result is still the same: union favoritism at the expense of poor minorities. 
 
By effectively demonizing African Americans, unions prevented competition from a powerful minority group. It is fair to say that early unions, in fact, benefited from exclusionary laws as their wages remained inflated well over what the market would provide. The union threat to strike prevented employers from hiring cheaper African-American and European labor.
 
African-Americans and European immigrants were not the only minorities targeted by organized labor, nor were railroad unions the only unions to implement minority-bans. Asians were prohibited from joining the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Catholics of Irish and Italian decent faced discrimination in the northeast. Hispanics in the newly settled West were constantly harassed. Unions during this period were almost entirely comprised of Caucasian male members.
 
As Henry George wrote in 1891, "Those who tell you of trade-unions bent on raising wages by moral suasion alone are like people who tell you of tigers that live on oranges[vii]." I doubt Henry George thought he would be warning people about the Department of Labor.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

[i] http://www.dol.gov/OPA/ABOUTDOL/LABORDAY.HTM
[ii] http://mises.org/story/3553
[iii] http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_05_2_bern.pdf
[iv] http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_05_2_bern.pdf
[v] http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_05_2_bern.pdf
[vi] http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2008/04/23/politics_and_black_americans
[vii] http://mises.org/story/3553

 

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How Cap and Tax Will Hurt Massachusetts


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, 2:48 PM PERMALINK


In our continuing, daily, state by state, look at the financial impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Tax Bill, we will show you the projected losses in Gross State Product, Personal Income, and Non- Farm Jobs in Massachusetts.

Detailed information on this and other energy taxes can be found in the Americans for Tax Reform Energy Tax Analysis, May 2009.
Massachusetts:

According to a study by Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and David Kreutzer, Ph.D. at the Heritage Foundation, Massachusetts will suffer the following losses in 2012 as a result of Cap and Tax:

  • A decline in Gross State Product of -$4,039,000,000
  • Total Personal Income Loss of -$5,613,000,000
  • Non-Farm Job losses of 36,474

An update to the Heritage Foundation’s study further shows an:

  • Increase in Electricity Prices from 2012-2035 of $556.25 per household.
  • Increase in Gas Prices from 2012-2035 of $0.66 per gallon.

Contact your Senators today and tell them to VOTE NO on the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.
Senator John Kerry: (202) 224-2742 

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How Cap and Tax Will Hurt Maryland


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009, 10:14 AM PERMALINK


In our continuing, daily, state by state, look at the financial impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Tax Bill, we will show you the projected losses in Gross State Product, Personal Income, and Non- Farm Jobs in Maryland.

Detailed information on this and other energy taxes can be found in the Americans for Tax Reform Energy Tax Analysis, May 2009.
Maryland:

According to a study by Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and David Kreutzer, Ph.D. at the Heritage Foundation, Maryland will suffer the following losses in 2012 as a result of Cap and Tax:

  • A decline in Gross State Product of -$3,087,000,000
  • Total Personal Income Loss of -$462,300,000
  • Non-Farm Job losses of 31,573

An update to the Heritage Foundation’s study further shows an:

  • Increase in Electricity Prices from 2012-2035 of $820.34 per household.
  • Increase in Gas Prices from 2012-2035 of $0.64 per gallon.

Contact your Senators today and tell them to VOTE NO on the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin: (202) 224-4524
Senator Barbara A. Mikulski: (202) 224-4654

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Not New News: Americans Disenchanted with Organized Labor


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Friday, September 4th, 2009, 4:46 PM PERMALINK


Organized labor’s approval ratings have tanked. Gallup found, for the first time in the polling organization’s history, that a majority of Americans disapprove of unions, 52%. Although labors’ popularity has fallen amongst voters of every political party, Independents are particularly disenchanted with labor- 66% of Independents this time last year approved of Labor compared to 44% this year.

Measuring a slew of different indicators, Gallup shows that anti-labor sentiment is on the rise in every category. This year more Americans think that labor mostly hurts the American economy (51%) and a plurality of Americans would like to see unions have less influence (42%).

These findings should come as no surprise. Americans watched as the United Auto Workers (UAW) bankrupted GM and Chrysler and then refused to enter meaningful negotiations. Unemployment rates are their highest in decades and high unionization rates only inflate this number. Americans have caught on- unions impede economic growth.

Click here to see Gallup's full report.
 

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