Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts published in February, 2011

My good friend Gene sent me this question from someone he knew that has a big problem with Union Work Rules.  Since this is one of the common “objections” to unions I thought we should share the answer. 

Darin, this is a post from another conversation I’m in, and I was wondering if you would tell me how you would answer this.

In my 41 years of work I worked in a union shop for 3 months. My big proplem with the unions are the restrictions they put on your job. You are only allowed to do one thing and nothing more. In the non union jobs I would do what ever it took to make the company I worked for a success. If it meant sweeping the floor or fixing a plumbing leak I could do it. In a union shop I couldn’t do that. I still believe because I have lived it that the employees success is tied to the the success of the employer. Of course this is just my opinion and I know many people will not feel the same way.

Darin Gilley

Gene, I will consider the fact this gentlemen only worked for three months into consideration by saying if he felt this way and had been there long enough to attend his union meetings and submit contract proposals to change the supposed restrictions things might have been different. Having helped organize Integram and been an officer for 14 years I offer the opinion that local unions and contract language are based on suggestions from the members. At Integram for example, we had only two skilled trade classifications – Maintenance Mechanic and Tool and Die. Maintenance Mechanic performed all aspects of maintenance needed from electric, carpentry, metal-working, pneumatics, etc. This is how the plant was started and we embraced the approach when we organized because that is what the members wanted. continue reading…

On last nights episode of the PBS Newshour there was a segment featuring Mark Shields and David Brooks sharing their opinions and “insight” on the battle in Wisconsin and around the country and the merits of Public Employee Collective Bargaining.  Mark Shields did a pretty good job for a pundit and David Brooks provided his usual superficial and factually weak arguments ( see Dean Baker’s blog “Beat the Press” as he rips David Brooks on a regular basis).

During this exchange a couple of things came to mind.  The first being that I have not yet seen a union official on these types of shows to discuss a situation that is the lifeblood of unionism – Collective Bargaining.  This would be helpful to get some facts and truth into the arena instead of overblown opinions.  Two aspects which are vital to understanding this subject were not presented in this debate or any other due to the pundits involved not being aware of what is actually happening with Public Sector Bargaining.  Let me share these with you.

1) The current proposals in many states to eliminate Collective Bargaining focus on the economics to the exclusion of  the main benefit of unionism.  Strictly speaking, Collective Bargaining is limited to wages, hours, and working conditions.  The current debate has been focused entirely on the Wages (benefits) portion of bargaining, primarily because the phony budget issue in Wisconsin is the cover for this attack on unions.  In fact, Wisconsin workers are underpaid compared to their private sector counterparts.

Yet to be mentioned is the main reason most unions are formed, Working Conditions!  By eliminating bargaining or restricting it to wages the Governor now becomes able to unilaterally implement whatever he wants except wages, in other words has the legal ability to be the dictator boss everyone hates to work for!  The Just Cause standard and Grievance Procedure are the heart of any unions everyday operations.  Almost every facility I have either helped organize or has expressed an interest in being organized the primary issue is not money, but treatment.  Unfortunately, most pundits have never been activley involved in the representation aspects of a union and fail to mention this.

2) Brooks stated that Public Sector union have an advantage over private sector unions because nobody is playing with their own money.  The fact is that Public Sector bargaining is very transparent as all sides know from the public records and official budgets what the financial status of the government entity actually is.  In Private Bargaining there is very little knowledge of the actual finances of a company as they are not required to open their books unless they plead poverty, which they are hesitant to do.  In Public bargaining it would be very easy for a management side negotiater to point out that there is no money or the need for concessions just by pointing to the budget.  In Private Sector bargaining this claim is met with much skepticism unless there is earned trust between the union and management.

Attention Corporate Media, please try to present both sides and have a union representative explain what is really at stake!

And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States. — Democratic Presidential candidate, Barack Obama, in Spartanburg, SC. Nov. 3rd, 2007.

The truth about the Right-to-Work for less issue is the focus of a seminar at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, March 19th at the Machinists District 837 Hall, 212 Utz Lane in Hazelwood and you are invited.  The seminar will expose how RTW for less will harm workers, retirees, labor unions, minorities, women, young workers and the entire community.  The event is sponsored by the Coalition of Labor Union Women.  Speakers will include St. Louis Labor Council President Bob Soutier, Audrey Hollis, Missouri Jobs with Justice Director Lara Granich, State Representative Bert Atkins, my good friend and State Representative Clem Smith, and myself.

My comments will  focus on the similarity between today’s Wall Street Bankers (Banksters) and those supporting Right-to-Work.  Let’s just say they are anxious to achieve short-term gains for themselves at the expense of everyone else’s long term well-being.

Come on down, bring a friend, and I look forward to seeing you.

Sen. Claire McCaskill sent out an email today asking Missourians to vote on spending they don’t want to see cut — because we’re going to have to make “the tough choices,” don’t ya know.

What do you think should be at the top of the “protect list”?

* Corporate Tax Breaks and Subsidies ($116 billion in budget)
* Education ($77.4 billion in budget)
* Foreign Aid ($50.9 billion in budget)
* Funding for the Arts and Sciences ($8.759 billion in budget)
* Homeland Security ($43.2 billion in budget)
* Medicare ($485 billion in budget)
* Military and Defense Programs ($703 billion in budget)
* Social Security ($12.7 billion in budget — note, this does not include the money Americans pay into the Social Security Trust Fund that is used to pay beneficiaries; this only includes the general revenue funds dedicated to certain annual Social Security costs, such as administrative expenses)

Notice what’s missing from McCaskill’s “tough choices”? The Bush-era tax cuts for the rich and the two ongoing and futile wars, which account for $7 trillion in deficits over the next ten years — dwarfing McCaskill’s entire list.

Just two policies dating from the Bush Administration — tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — accounted for over $500 billion of the deficit in 2009 and will account for almost $7 trillion in deficits in 2009 through 2019, including the associated debt-service costs. [6] (The prescription drug benefit enacted in 2003 accounts for further substantial increases in deficits and debt, which we are unable to quantify due to data limitations.) These impacts easily dwarf the stimulus and financial rescues. Furthermore, unlike those temporary costs, these inherited policies (especially the tax cuts and the drug benefit) do not fade away as the economy recovers (see Figure 1).

So the question is not what is your top priority or what is my top priority. The question is, what is McCaskill’s.

This is probably completely unrelated to the election of Scott Walker as Wisconsin’s governor and his ongoing assault on organized labor, but …

The billionaire brothers whose political action committee gave Gov. Scott Walker $43,000 and helped fund a multi-million dollar attack ad campaign against his opponent during the 2010 gubernatorial election have quietly opened a lobbying office in Madison just off the Capitol Square.

The fact that the Koch Company registered its public sector office with the state on January 5, two days after Walker’s inauguration, is pure coincidence.

Maybe it is just a coincidence but this video cartoon sure sounds like a major retailer here in Franklin County, it is almost like JibJab has been here.  Particularly the part about “starting over at 53″.

Scott Walker may have a little Koch problem. From TPM

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s office has confirmed that it fell for a prank call from a liberal blogger who was apparently posing as David Koch. A blogger at buffalobeast.com posted audio of a call he claimed was with Walker earlier on Wednesday. At time of writing, buffalobeast.com appears to be down.

You can listen to the audio at TPM or read a transcript here. If this turns out to be true, the conversation Walker has with the person he thought was billionaire oil tycoon, David Koch, is simply devastating.

Via Ezra Klein:


Welcome to the new Gilded Age. More charts and graphs from Mother Jones.

Recently, after watching an episode of “Donnybrook” in which a guest had claimed that being a “Right-to-Work” state would stop jobs from leaving Missouri in “droves” and attract jobs (despite the fact most of our border states our already RTW for less, so why come here?) I did a little research on the business conditions and specifically the Sales Taxes in these business friendly slices of heaven surrounding us.  The result is my latest letter to the Missourian which hit the stands today.

It was also interesting that at the Senate hearing for SB 1, the proponents for RTW for less were almost entirely from out of state while the opponents were from Missouri.  I hope you enjoy.

Right to Freeload (for a few), Higher Taxes (for All)

As corporate-funded, out-of-state lobbyists and consultants descended on Jefferson City on February 8th for the initial hearing on the Senate Right-to-Work bill (SB 1) they were anxious to distract legislators from the affect of this legislation on most Missourians.  continue reading…

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