The People’s News 7/6/11

Last week Republicans around the state introduced efforts to kick-off so-called Right to Work measures here in the Great Lakes State. We know that these efforts are anything but good for workers or our state, and you can learn here more. 

Tonight in Traverse City, Grand Traverse County Commission and Tea Party activist Jason Gillman will introduce Right-to-Work measures at 7pm (400 Boardman Ave). If you live in the area, we're asking that you attend and stand against these harmful efforts. (More on this below)

On with the rest of the news - 

TC RECORD-EAGLEGill­man brings ‘right-to-work’ to board

A Grand Tra­verse County com­mis­sioner plans to launch his own brand of fire­works at tonight’s county board meet­ing when he seeks sup­port for a con­tentious, union-related issue that other com­mis­sion­ers con­sider a waste of time. Com­mis­sioner Jason Gill­man will ask the board to adopt a res­o­lu­tion to encour­age Gov. Rick Sny­der, state Rep. Wayne Schmidt and state Sen. Howard Walker to sup­port leg­is­la­tion to make Michi­gan a so-called “right-to-work” state.

 

GR PRESSTeach­ers union lead­ers say they’ll become active in recall cam­paigns against state House members

The Michi­gan Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion, the state’s largest teach­ers union, posted on its web­site that it has not endorsed recall efforts against Gov. Rick Sny­der and other law­mak­ers the union called “out of touch” until this point, but the “MEA will now get involved in many of those voter-led initiatives.”

 

DETROIT NEWS OP-ED (BOB KING): Com­men­tary: Gov­ern­ment must do more to sup­port strong schools, manufacturing

One of the most impor­tant roles that gov­ern­ment must play to ensure a strong man­u­fac­tur­ing base is that of help­ing to develop a skilled, flex­i­ble work force by pro­vid­ing an excel­lent pub­lic edu­ca­tion sys­tem that pre­pares and trains the work force of tomor­row. Almost uni­ver­sally, extrem­ist Repub­li­can lead­er­ship is attack­ing and weak­en­ing our pub­lic edu­ca­tion sys­tem by con­stantly enact­ing more and more cuts in fund­ing for our schools, both in K-12 and in our great pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties and com­mu­nity colleges.

 

ESCANABA DAILY PRESS OP-EDBeware of words meant to trick

Who doesn’t want another right? I would like to have the right not to see peo­ple in pajama bot­toms on main street in win­ter or sum­mer. But be beware of spe­cial inter­ests using words like “right to work” to trick us. These laws, now pro­posed in Michi­gan, are really right to free­load laws, RTF… In the short term RTFlaws will erode the strength of Michi­gan unions, low­er­ing Michi­gan wages and per­sonal income. With­out the effec­tive voice of unions work places will become more haz­ardous for all Michiganders.

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We're a diverse coali­tion of stu­dents, seniors, work­ers, fam­i­lies and orga­ni­za­tions fight­ing to pro­tect Michigan’s middle class.
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Comments

  1. Jason Gillman is the biggest support of Right to Work for Less effort, and one of the more active rightwing bloggers. I kicked his butt in a debate on this issue on his blog, so he found an excuse to ban me; jumping on the word “bullshit” as obscene. Let his be his first loss in a losing effort. It will be tough because even though the board think it's a waste of time, all but one Commissioner is a Republican. http://www.co.grand-traverse.mi.us/Assets/Departments/Board+of+Commissioners/Agendas/Board+Book/Agenda.pdf

    The meeting starts at 7 p.m. tonight and is open to the public. The meeting is held in the Governmental Center, 400 Boardman Ave. in Traverse City, MI 49684. It’s not on the agenda, but there is a section called “Commissioner Comments;” plus agendas can be amended by the board. There is also public comment at the beginning and at the end of the meeting, so please be there and express your opposition to this attack on the middle class and the right to freeload (RTF) law.

    • Gillman is a real honey.  I was checking out his blog — http://jasongillman.com — and found this,

      “Born that way” is not a valid argument, unless you want to open the doors to all manner of hideous offenses against humanity. A sexual preference is just that.. a preference. Which means it is controllable and by default a personal choice. And in a lifetime that is full of all manner of choices, it is one that has a lobby for it to attain special rights and privilege.”

      and

      “As for ME? I could care less what they do behind closed doors. But keep it there. And if they bring it out inappropriately, then they will pay the consequence.

      Wow, he's awesome.
      To be fair to Jason, here's the post — http://jasongillman.com/2011/02/13/clarification-and-context/

      Where he's explaining this "Commissioner: Pedophilia linked to Homosexuality - Comments made during official business visit"

      http://record-eagle.com/local/x1470999809/GT-official-likens-gays-to-pedophiles

  2. Mishima says:

    Right-to-Work laws are really the protection of our basic freedoms and right to associate.

  3. John Q. says:

    More nonsense devoid of any historical truth. What right-to-work laws were ever used to protect basic freedom or the right to associate? It was the union movement that put in place the right for workers to be able to organize together for their own benefit. 

    • Mishima says:

      Right to work laws allow people the freedom to join a workplace without paying union dues.  That is freedom, of course.
       
      My wife and I were in jobs in which we had to pay union dues.  Even though we did, we refused to join the union.
       
      In Connecticut, there was a teacher strick at a place of work in Darien, Connecticut.  I crossed the picket line and went to work.  Freedom.
       
      I worked at a college there and passed out right-to-work pamphlets to seniors who were about to become teachers.  I encouraged them to decline membership.
       
      I believe in freedom.

  4. Right to work for less laws are designed to kill unions. Nothing more nothing less.
    People have a right to “join a workplace” without joining a union. They don’t get to enjoy the benefits of a union without paying for it. That’s called freeloading, not freedom.
    Good for you and your wife, and that blows a hole in the freedom claim. I didn’t vote for this Governor or my state Rep and Senator, but I still have to pay my state taxes.
    To vote to join a union, and you can vote to decertify a union.  I believe in freedom and democracy.

    • Mishima says:

      It is not a "right to work for less"; it is simply having the freedom to work and not be obstructed from being able to enter into a contract freely with an employer.  A person who is highly skilled could even ask for higher pay and work for MORE.
       
      Right to Work laws are not designed to kill unions, of course; they do not preclude having one at all.  All they do is allow non-union members to work at a place that has unions; they cannot be excluded.
       
      You wrote: "People have a right to “join a workplace” without joining a union. They don’t get to enjoy the benefits of a union without paying for it."
       
      That is not true.  One cannot be forced to JOIN but one can be forced to PAY.  As I mentioned, my wife and I were in that position: We paid the dues but declined membership, even though we paid the dues.  Or fees that were the equivalent to full membership dues.

  5. John Q. says:

    "It is not a "right to work for less"; it is simply having the freedom to work and not be obstructed from being able to enter into a contract freely with an employer.  A person who is highly skilled could even ask for higher pay and work for MORE."
    Suuuure! We here that all the time from right-to-work advocates. They tell us that right-to-work allows employees to seek higher pay from their employees, usually after complaining about overpaid union employees. But they never provide examples of where that happens because it's something that doesn't happen in the real world. 

  6. Mishima says:

    You are right; I cannot think of examples of where it occurred in union places.  However, I know it actually works in private schools that do not have unions: Teachers in areas of high need can get higher pay.
     
    Unions make supervision very difficult; unions strive to keep out people in order to keep wages higher; unions contribute the most (15 of the top 16) to political campaigns; unions keep unqualified people on the job; unions promote inflation; unions cause higher unemployment; unions have a history of political corruption, crime and racism; and unions agitate to get members. 
     
    My two best jobs – in terms of benefits and salaries – were non union schools.  I am even willing to name these for you.  One was public and one was private.
     
    I still see no real argument or rationale for not having "right-to-work" laws, since places of work can still have unions.

    • Unions make supervision very difficult; unions strive to keep out people in order to keep wages higher; unions contribute the most (15 of the top 16) to political campaigns; unions keep unqualified people on the job; unions promote inflation; unions cause higher unemployment; unions have a history of political corruption, crime and racism; and unions agitate to get members.

      How about we substitute the word "unions" for the following,

      "trial lawyers"

      "muslims"

      "liberals"

      "kenyan presidents"

      "gays"

      "democrats"

      "socialists"

      "blue states"

      "public employees"

      "teachers"

      "global warming freaks"

      "baby killers"

      "welfare queens"

      "immigrants"

      … did I miss any, or did I get all the groups that conservatives hate?

       

      • Mishima says:

        Christine,
         
        It is interesting that you say I am putting things into boxes and using labels, but I have not done this.  You insist on doing it.  I used the term "unions" because that is what we are discussing.  What other term could I use?  Please let me know.

  7. Sorry, it is right to work for less, or better yet, right to freeload. In fact, its $5,900 less in annual salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You already have the freedom to work. RTWL is designed to starve unions of funds and bankrupt them, so they both go out of business and cannot contribute money to political candidates who stand up for workers.

    People have a right to “join a workplace” without joining a union. They don’t get to enjoy the benefits of a union without paying for it. A statement was never truer.

    The claim that you can be fired for not being part of a union is simply a lie; because federal law already protects workers who don't want to join a union to get or keep their jobs, and the law gives workers the right to opt out of a union.  You can opt out of a union, but you can’t opt out of paying dues, any more than I can opt out of paying taxes because the candidates I voted for lost. I enjoy the benefits of those taxes, just like dues paying non-members enjoy the benefits of being in a union. Plus, a Unions in RTWFL states are required by law to defend non-dues-paying members involved in a dispute or charged with a grievance at work, but those employees do not have to contribute dues.

    That’s called freeloading.

    • Mishima says:

      To say RTML are "designed" to starve unions borders on paranoia.  It is tied to freedom to work where one can find suitable employment.
       
      Take this at its personal level: My wife and I simply did not want to join a union for many reasons, yet we really wanted to live and work in a certain place.  We were qualified and the employer wanted us.  Unless we paid union dues, we could not get employment, even though we were wanted and could provide a needed service.  I know that "legally," they could do that, but it is a violation of freedom, an infringement, and restricting.
       
      You wrote: "The claim that you can be fired for not being part of a union is simply a lie."  I have seen it.  Of course, if an employee shows up drunk or does somethink unquestionably outrageous, they will be fired. But otherwise, the hands of the employer are tied, and the unions make it so difficult and cumbersome – especially in the public sector which will continue to supply funds anyway – that employers transfer the employee or whatever to avoid all of the legal and procedural hassles.  I have seen incompetent people stay where they would have seen the pavement in private schools.
       
      "cannot contribute money to political candidates who stand up for workers"
       
      That is another very good reason for RTWL: Unions now are the top 15 of 16 contributers to federal political campaigns.  I believe in what Barry Goldwater said, that unions should be subjected to anti-monopoly laws.  They are now buying politicians, and many people do not want part of their salaries forcibly taken to support people they do not like.
       
      "People have a right to “join a workplace” without joining a union."
       
      But they have to pay the dues (or fees; lets not quibble).  To not pay dues is not "freeloading."  It is "freedom."

      • No, to say right to work for less laws are designed to starve unions is 100 percent correct. Everything anti-union people claim RTWFL laws will allow them to do, they can already do, except not pay dues.

        You and your wife did not have to join a union; union membership is not a requirement for employment. To say otherwise is simply not true. You are required to pay dues because you enjoy the benefits and the union must defend you if you have a grievance or are fired unjustly. I don’t have the choice of opting out of paying taxes, so why do you get something for nothing and can opt out of paying taxes?

        I wrote: "The claim that you can be fired for not being part of a union is simply a lie” because it’s a fact. Please explain to me what you have against democracy and due process.

        Really? So, what are you doing to stop corporations and chambers of commerce from giving huge amounts of funds to candidates, including foreign funds?

        Correct, "People have a right to “join a workplace” without joining a union." Hell yes, they have to pay dues. Again, why should you get something for nothing? Is it OK if I opt out of paying taxes because I didn’t vote for a millage that was on the ballot? Is that freedom?

         

         

  8. Really, you “still see no real argument or rationale for not having "right-to-work" laws, since places of work can still have unions?” So, when the union is required by federal law to defend a union member who was fired unjustly or has a grievance on the job, who pays for it if no one has to pay dues? The honest people who pay? Right to work for less is designed to bankrupt unions, nothing more, and nothing less.

    • Mishima says:

      No, right to work laws are designed for precisely what is stated.  It is not like taxes at all.  Taxes are necessary to actually have a government, and for that governemnt to provide necessary services.  Unions are not needed to have a place of employment.  The place was not set up with unions.  In their beginning, most places did not have unions, either.  Unions came AFTER some level of employment security was provided and capitalists has taken risk to set up a place of work.
       
      Unions contribute absolutely nothing to production (or provision of services) which is the reason for the existence of the workplace.  In fact, unions make the place LESS productive.

      • It's interesting that you seem to see everything as "socialist" vs "capitalist."  It's a very simple way of looking at things.  This is how wedge issues are created … distill issues into very simple, emotionally charged propoganda nuggets, and align each nugget with good or evil. 

         

        • Mishima says:

          I did not reduce the exchanges to socialism vs capitalism at all.  It is about unions.
           
          Please look at my posts.  The only time I used "socialism" is in reference to Bernie Sanders, and it was important in order to encapsulate his views.

      • No, right to work laws are designed to drive down the cost of labor and to bankrupt unions. Everything anti-worker people like you claim RTWFL laws will allow you do, you can already do, except not pay your fair share.

        It is exactly like taxes. If I vote against a library millage, I still get to enjoy that library, and I can’t opt out of paying that tax. Unions are not needed to have a place of employment; there is no requirement to be a member of a union for employment.

        Are you serious?   “Unions came AFTER some level of employment security was provided and capitalists has taken risk to set up a place of work?” Employers never gave anything willingly. Weekends, a 40-hour work week, overtime and many other things workers enjoy are because of unions, not the good will of employers.

        Unions contribute plenty to production, not to mention that they created the middle class. Unions provide professional development and training, increasing productivity. At least you can admit you are anti-union, and you support RTWFL because to want to kill unions.

         

         

        • Mishima says:

          Please do not label me.  I am not "anti-worker," and that should be obvious for two reasons:
           
          1. I advocate RTWLs for more people having the freedom to work where they want without having the burden of union dues.
           
          2. I am a "worker" who receives a salary.
           
          And you are mistaken about union being responsible for those things you choose to claim.  This is for a variety of reasons, and the three main ones are:
           
          1. The very things that the unions claim THEY achieved were starting to happen anyway!  Without unions.
           
          2. Most importantly, think about HOW it was that unions were able to make demands.  Please consider it in an historical context.  It was because the businesses themselves created enough prosperity BEFORE unions were meaningful at all.  Without the base in prosperity, there would not have been people making demands.
           
          3. Look at the Asian Tigers.  Those people were in so-called "sweat shops" for a period of time, a couple of decades, and now we buy their products and they have a high standard of living.  All without unions.  How did THEY get their benefits?
           
          But yes, unions did have some use at a period in our history.  But they are virtually of no more use in our society today, of course.  And they have helped in driving companies overseas, inflating the economy, and making consumers subsidize their high wages.

          • If the shoe fits….

            1. People already have “the freedom to work where they want.” The “burden” of paying union dues gives you better pay, benefits, training and due process. The majority of workers said they want a union, so what gives you the right to trump the majority?

            2. As am I.

            1. Not true. It was unions that gave you weekends, a 40-hour work week, overtime pay and a safe workplace. With unions, those things will go away, which is probably want you want anyway. Plus, the right of due process is invaluable.

            2. Sure, “businesses themselves created prosperity before UNIONS, but none of the workers were paid a decent wage or benefits or shared in the fruits of their labor.

            3. I can’t speak for the East Asian economy, but no country, until now, had a higher standard of living than the U.S. because of unions. The fact that standard of living has fallen can be attributed to the drop in union membership.

            “They are virtually of no more use in our society today?” That is just pure bullshit. You’re blaming unions for companies moving overseas? Why would we want to run a race to the bottom?

  9. Mishima says:

    Communications Guru,
     
    The wages and working conditions were dramatically improving before unions had any influence or power; all one has to do is check a number of variables such as life expectancy, number of working hours, incomes, even caloric intake.  Everything was improving without unions.  It is a fallacy to say everything would be lost without unions; that is why I referred to the Asian Tigers. 
     
    There actually government funding of forced unionism in the public sector, union-only cartels on construction projects.  Strikers can keep jobs despite their refusing to work, and they can trespass on an employer’s private property. The Federal Election Campaign Act has exempted unions from its limits on campaign contributions and expenditures.  And do not forget monopoly bargaining, referred to as “exclusive representation,” that is embedded in most of the country’s labor relations statutes; this enables union officials to act as the exclusive bargaining agents of all employees at a unionized workplace.  Despite this, unions have exemption from anti-monopoly laws; the Clayton Act of 1914 exempts unions from anti-monopoly laws, enabling union officials to forcibly drive out independent or alternative employee bargaining groups.
     
    Finally, according to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, households in RTW states enjoy a better standard of living and more freedom.
    http://www.nilrr.org/files/Poulson%20SOL%20Study.pdf
     
    I am not putting the entire blame on the moves overseas on unions; they simply had a role that needs to be acknowledged.  To simply say that there is a “race to the bottom” unless we keep wages artificially up by unions is to delay the inevitable.  We are living in a global economy, and that is reality.  By making the people subsidize the wages, you will make America lose, and lose big.

  10. Mishima says:

    Communication Guru,
     
    A general statement is in order about unions.  I have worked in many places and noticed a consistent pattern with unions: An adversarial relationship is established between employer or owner and the employees.  It is presented as one of cooperation, but in reality, this is simply not so.
     
    The union advocates will claim that without unions – and you actually stated this in varying degrees – employers and owners of businesses will make people work for incredibly low wages, make them work overtime without pay, take away benefits, let the workplace get dangerous and unsanitary, and bring back child labor.  This will be to make more profits by squeezing labor.
     
    This is unfair and invalid.  Most employers want their employees to be happy and loyal.  They look at the people as human beings, not objects to squeeze for more profits.
     
    I know you can present horror stories of problems, but that is to present isolated cases as commonplace, and it is to tell people that this is what the owners and employers are really like.  Employers are as human as anyone else.  People like you are presenting a picture of inhuman monsters only out to squeeze without regard for other human beings.
     
    It simply ain't so.

  11. When you advocate RTWL, do you understand that states like Pennsylvania and such, charge a "fee" or "tax" for that RTWL?  This is a fact and everyone who works has to pay this "fee" or "tax"!  My daughter and her family lived in Pennsylvania and one of the reasons she returned to MI is because of the RTWL laws and the "fee" that was MANDATORY to be paid to the state.  How does this differ from paying Union dues and not belonging to the union, you are still paying a "fee" to work! Also, contrary to your belief, anyone who works has a "contract" with an employer.  The employer contracts them to work, but reserves the right to let the employee go without notice or reason for doing so. Unless a person has exceptional credentials, and even then, they are not treated even handedly by employers.  They cannot negotiate a raise no matter how hard they work or how exceptional they are as an employee.  If they only have a GED or HS diploma, they get the lowest wages no matter what!  (and, remember this, not everyone can afford to go to college.)

    • Mishima says:

      I would like to see some link or information about fees required.  I now live overseas but have been a resident of a state that has RTW laws – Florida.  I never received any charge or any tax.  It is not "built in" either, because there are no state income taxes.  And I worked in Florida and there was no fee anywhere.

       

      Besides, in the last job that my wife and I had to pay union dues but still REFUSED to join, we have to pay over $1,200  in "fees."  And that was 15 years ago!

       

      As far as "contracts" go, people ARE treated well by almost ALL employers.

       

      But look at it another way.  How about – for ONCE – looking at things from the point of view of the employer or the person who BUILT the business and risked capital?  The employee also has the right to fire his employer: He can leave at the end of his contract – WITHOUT ANY REASON.  You fail to mention THAT. 

       

      No, if a HS or GED employee stays with the job and is loyal, in virtually any case he will slowly move up the ladder, especially if he is willing to work a bit extra and learn new skills.

       

      You are presenting business owners and employers are cold-blooded and ruthless people who will squeeze labor at any opportunity and throw them away like trash when they are no longer needed.  That is a misrepresentation and deceitful.  It is unfair and deceptive.

  12. John Q. says:

    You whine on about the poor misrepresented business owners and yet turn around and tar every union and union member with the label of lazy and corrupt. 

    • Mishima says:

      No, you are presenting business owners with one broad brush stroke: You are presenting a picture of them as ruthless individuals who care nothing for their employees.  That is simply not true.

       

      I did not tar anyone anything, and you know that, of course.  You are resorting to personal attacks because the only way that you can defend unions is to protray the owners of business as evil and cruel.  You can say that an employer can get rid of an employee – even though it VIRTUALLY NEVER HAPPENS WITHOUT GOOD REASON – but you fail to state that it is a two-way street.  I would like to see one of your "workers" sign a contract that says he can never leave the employer until retirement.  You would call that "unfair!"

      • Most businesses that are unionized are corporations that have their own legal personhood under US law, and "business owners" don't really come into play.  These corporations do have Boards of Directors, but these Directors almost always are charged with first and foremost returning a profit to their shareholders.  It's not that the Directors or the management are bad people, it's that they are supposed to deliver a profit.  Rick Snyder delivered a profit when he sold Gateway to a foreign company … this was considered a good thing even though people were put out of work.  Worldcomm stocks kicked butt while their management staff was driving the company into the ground.  When profit is your only guide, you have to have something balancing things out or the upper class will suck the profit out of the economy and nothing will be reinvested at all.

  13. John Q. says:

    "No, you are presenting business owners with one broad brush stroke: You are presenting a picture of them as ruthless individuals who care nothing for their employees.  That is simply not true."
    I never did any such thing but facts don't seem to be a strong point with you. 
    "You are resorting to personal attacks because the only way that you can defend unions is to protray the owners of business as evil and cruel. "
    Personal attacks? You are the one making the false statements. Pointing that out isn't a personal attack. \
    "You can say that an employer can get rid of an employee – even though it VIRTUALLY NEVER HAPPENS WITHOUT GOOD REASON – but you fail to state that it is a two-way street. "
    Thanks for the laugh! That's the funniest thing I've read all day. 
     
     

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