Franklin County Democrats

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

Browsing Posts published in December, 2012

The members of the BCTGM union that rejected the last, best, and final offer submitted by Hostess have been blames by many for the company’s closing.  My feeling that this company had been bled dry by executives and managers was the basis for my LTE that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

An apt comparison would be to ask would Jack Dawson sharing a piece of wood in the freezing Atlantic after the Titanic sank keep him alive.

This analogy was based on the history of hedge fund involvement and union concessions,  both of which are signs of a company being bled to death.  Unfortunately, lamestream media spent truckloads of ink blaming the workers without even detailing the contract offer rejected by these workers.  Thankfully, Inside the Hostess Bankery, posted on DailyKos by a third generation Hostess employee dishes out the scoop from someone who lived the life.  An eye-opening account that explains the workers rejection of this…

What was this last/best/final offer? You’d never know by watching the main stream media tell the story. So here you go…
1) 8% hourly pay cut in year 1 with additional cuts totaling 27% over 5 years. Currently, I make $16.12 an hour at TOP rate of pay in the bakery. I would drop to $11.26 in 5 years.
2) They get to keep our $3+ an hour forever.
3) Doubling of weekly insurance premium.
4) Lowering of overall quality of insurance plan.
5) TOTAL withdrawal from ALL pensions. If you don’t have it now then you never will.

Remember how I said I made $48,000 in 2005 and $34,000 last year? I would make $25,000 in 5 years if I took their offer.
It will be hard to replace the job I had, but it will be easy to replace the job they were trying to give me.
That $3+ per hour they steal totaled $50 million last year that they never paid us. They sold $2.5 BILLION in product last year. If they can’t make this profitable without stealing my money then good riddance.

What would you have done?

Wonder if Chrysler could use $300 million a year in van sales?  They would have it if this plant was kept open.. This was taken from the Mraz overpass.  The remaining South (minivan) plant recedes on the left leaving the powerhouse in the center of the frame and the untouched North plant in the background. One fact many are surprised to learn is the powerhouse fed two of four furnaces with methane gas harvested from the landfill in Peerless Park.   

Warning: Messing with Social Security may result in electoralcution

Buzzflash.com is running GOP Resdistricting Project Sealed Control of U.S. House.  If you are wondering how Democratic House candidates received a million more votes than Republicans yet the GOP retained control of the U.S. House here’s your answer.

Missouri gets a special mention..

According to ProPublica, “To fund the work, the Republican State Leadership Committee used its previously dormant nonprofit arm, the State Government Leadership Foundation. Such dark money groups are increasingly popular because they are allowed to keep secret the identity of their donors. Federal tax law permits them to do this as long as they pledge that politics is not their primary focus.

Flush with anonymous donors’ cash, the Foundation paid $166,000 to hire the GOP’s pre-eminent redistricting experts, according to tax documents. The team leader was Tom Hofeller, architect of Republican-friendly maps going back decades.”

PtoPublica reported that Hofeller’s “team was paid with dark money and [since] the redistricting process is so secretive, it is hard to know the full extent of its activities.” Team Hofeller “provided technical assistance to an aide to Rep. Paul Ryan as he drew new districts that favored Republicans. In Missouri, Hofeller was the sole witness called by attorneys representing the Republican legislators who drew the maps there.”

 

I really enjoyed the thought provoking Don’t Cut Social Security, Double It .  To say this argument is contrarian in the current environment is an understatement. 

Almost everyone may recognize some aspect of the dilemma which our nations retirement system finds itself.  The old 3-legged stool of retirement planning, pensions, personal savings, and Social Security has been sawed down to two nubs and a leg as stagnant wages, fewer pensions and declining home values leave Social Security as the primary source of income for many retirees.

Financial experts say it will take a monthly retirement income of about 70 to 80 percent of pre-retirement income levels — as well as $200,000 to $300,000 in personal savings — for the average American to have a secure retirement. Yet most older Americans have saved only a fraction of that. In 2010, 75 percent of Americans nearing retirement age had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts. About half of all Americans are at risk of not having sufficient retirement income, and three-fifths of low-income households are at risk of not having sufficient income to maintain their pre-retirement standards of living at age 65.

I don’t know about you but my stool just became a little compacted.  The author’s solution is the creation of Social Security Plus…

The real problem with Social Security is not, as its critics say, that it is underfunded. Contrary to gloomy predictions, the program is on solid financial footing, with the Congressional Budget Office projecting that Social Security can pay all scheduled benefits out of its own tax revenue stream through at least 2037. The bigger problem is that Social Security’s payouts are so meager — far too low for the program’s new role as America’s de facto national retirement system. It only replaces about 33 to 40 percent of a retiree’s average final wage, which is simply not enough money to live on when it is your primary — perhaps your only — source of retirement income.

The rest of the article covers how the plan would work and additional benefits such as portability.  How to pay for it is also described.  A very interesting read and look at the reality of retirement in America.  Enjoy and please share.

 

I thought we would have a little fun with a music video from Tim Hawkins and his famous song, Things You Don’t Say To Your Wife.  Good advice for those of us lucky enough to have some time off over the holidays and enjoying some extra time around the house.

DailyKos has posted a story on the chance that East Coast Dockworkers will go on strike this Sunday which raises one of the most important points working people should consider because the corporate bosses already have.

And everybody knows that skilled workers shouldn’t get “generous” wages matching their skill levels andget bonuses reflecting their productivity levels, amiright? That kind of pay is reserved for bankers and executives! Except, wait, those guys get bonuses even when they’re not productive, so it’s not the same.

It’s true that there are a lot of skilled workers out there who don’t make the $75,000 plus benefits and royalties that these workers make. But this is another of those moments when, if you stand against the notion that only bankers and executives and a few other privileged workers deserve to make upper-middle-class money, if you stand for the notion that skilled work deserves reward, then you need to be looking at this negotiation and asking not “why are these workers making so much” but “why aren’t other skilled workers doing necessary work making anywhere near this much?”

Once again we get more of what we support.  When working people attack other workers that are making a decent living it brings more attacks on workers, including you, when better wages are achieved.  When people support workers that have achieved a decent standard of living it will be easier for others, including you, to achievce a better wage.

Well, looks like former banker Blaine Luetkemeyer has achieved legislative success.  As we recover from the Great Recession Congressman Luetkemeyer has taken a pause from cutting taxes for the rich, dismantling Social Security and Medicare, reducing unemployment benefits, and slashing food stamps to tackle the tough issues of the day – helping his fellow bankers.

Congressman Luetkemeyer’s bill exempts bankers from liability if a sign notifying customers that there is a fee for using an ATM is not posted, is the sort of vital leadership that constituents of the 9th district have come to expect.  This is almost as important as sending out right-wing talking points disguised as legislative updates or voter surveys.

The first thing this story reminded me of is the story of Mouseland.  We have featured the animated story of Mouseland, made famous by former Canadian Prime Minister Tommy Douglass but it so strongly resembles this case I had to bring it back.  Mouseland is the story of a government of cats that were elected by mice.  Naturally, cats made laws that were good for cats, even if they weren’t so good for mice.  Enjoy the video story of Mouseland and share your thoughts.

 

Alternet has a great piece on neighborhood associations suing banks that have foreclosed on homes and not kept up with property maintenance or neighborhood association fees.  The irony of this situation, particularly for those that might be supporters of Right-to-Work for less is hard to miss. 

A Homeowners Association is a union of homeowners that have established a system of fee collection to maintain the roads, parks, events, and amenities that make their neighborhood a place they want to live and hopefully result in increasing property values. 

A union is an association of employees that have established a system of fee collection to cover the representation, collective bargaining, and functions that will make their workplace a safer and better place to earn a living.

It’s only right these homeowners insist that each neighbor pay their share to maintain the neighborhood, a neighborhood they voluntarily moved to, in order for all to have a higher quality of life and better property values.  A union that was obviously selected by a majority of employees, and workers chose to work for, should insist that those benefiting from representation and collective bargaining pay their share.  Both the neighborhoods and workplace are better when those that benefit from  the services provided join together to pay for them.

A freeloader in a unionized workplace that takes all the benefits of a union without paying for them is avoiding their responsibility and dimininshing the quality of worklife for others.  A neighbor that avoids paying their association fees, while their dog poops in the park and kids swim in the pool, is a cheater and diminishes the quality of the neighborhood.

Wonder if the Koch Brothers would like a freeloader in their neighborhood?

Nation of Change posted Iceland did it right,,,,and everyone else is doing it wrong, an analysis of how Iceland handled their banking crisis compared to how the rest of the world.

Nobel prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz notes:

What Iceland did was right. It would have been wrong to burden future generations with the mistakes of the financial system.

What were the results?

Iceland’s commitment to its program, a decision to push losses on to bondholders instead of taxpayers and the safeguarding of a welfare system that shielded the unemployed from penury helped propel the nation from collapse toward recovery, according to the Washington-based fund.

I keep telling myself that conservatives can learn, just waiting for the evidence.

 

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