Michigan Teachers Union to members: “Pay up or we’ll sue!”

**Posted by Phineas

"Your MEA shop steward"

“Your MEA shop steward”

And if they don’t, is the next step leg-breaking? Faced with members oddly deciding to keep their money after Michigan passed a right-to-work law, the leadership of the Michigan Education Association sent a memo to locals telling them to monitor incoming dues and, if it declines, be prepared to take their own members to court:

Steven Cook, president of the Michigan Education Association, circulated an email to local unions officials and staff instructing them to monitor revenue streams in light of the right-to-work laws, which are set to go into effect on March 27, 2013. The law allows workers to opt out of union membership unless they have an existing contract with their employer.

“We will use any legal means at our disposal to collect the dues owed under signed membership forms from any members who withhold dues prior to terminating their membership in August,” Cook wrote.

The tone of the message shocked labor reform activists.

“The level to which the MEA appears to be willing to go after its own members—the same ones whose interest they claim to represent—is amazing,” said Mike Van Beek, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center. “When it comes to their revenue, we know where their priorities stand.”

Yeah, and I bet they play this old BTO song before hitting up reluctant members:

Except, unlike the guy in the alley, the union doesn’t say “please.”

Sadly, these suits seem to have a solid legal footing in Michigan; the MEA has sued before and won. But, given the recent report on declining union membership even in public unions, it looks like a short-lived victory, at best:

The union membership rate fell from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent of all workers, the lowest level since the 1930s.

Total membership fell by about 400,000 workers to 14.4 million. More than half the loss – about 234,000 – came from government workers including teachers, firefighters and public administrators.

The losses add another blow to a labor movement already stretched thin by fighting efforts in states like Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan to curb bargaining rights and weaken union clout.

(…)

Losses in the public sector are hitting unions particularly hard since that has been one of the few areas where membership was growing over the past two decades. About 51 percent of union members work in government, where until recently, there had been little resistance to union organizing.

That began to change when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a law in 2011 eliminating most union rights for government workers. The state lost about 46,000 union members last year, mostly in the public sector.

Union officials blame losses on the lingering effects of the recession, as well as GOP governors and state lawmakers who have sought to weaken union rights.

Much to the benefit of their states overall, if the results in Wisconsin and Indiana are to be believed.

Meanwhile, like dinosaurs raging at the asteroid about to rock their world, the unions are denying the inevitable: they’re out of date, obsolete. The proof lies in their own “clients'” actions: when given a choice, they prefer to keep their money. They don’t want what the unions are offering. And the more unions resort (revert) to thuggery to keep members and their dues, the more people will make the same choice, when given the power to decide that they should have by right.

(clip art courtesy of Clipart Mojo)

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Peaceful union supporters threaten blood and civil war

**Posted by Phineas

Democracy, union-style.

Forget the rule of law. This is rule by fist:

Jimmy Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said Tuesday he expects Michigan unions and lawmakers to break out into “civil war” after the state legislature passed right-to-work bills that would weaken unions’ power.

“This is just the first round of a battle that’s going to divide this state. We’re going to have a civil war,” Hoffa said on CNN’s “Newsroom.”

The Republican-controlled state House passed two bills that had already been approved by the GOP-dominated state Senate. Gov. Rick Snyder, also a Republican, is poised to sign the bill, which would allow workers at union-represented employers to forgo paying dues.

As thousands of protestors gathered at the state capitol on Tuesday, Hoffa called the legislation a “tremendous mistake” and “a monumental decision to make” by outgoing lawmakers in a lame duck session.

“What they’re doing is basically betraying democracy,” he told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin. “If there’s any question here, let’s put it on the ballot and let the people of Michigan decide what’s good for Michigan.”

Proponents of the legislation say it gives workers more freedom, while opponents say a less robust union presence will negatively affect workers’ rights. Hoffa also argued that those who don’t pay union dues will be considered “free riders,” as they’re getting the same benefits from union representation without the cost.

Hoffa pointed to Michigan’s recovering auto industry, saying the Wolverine State has bounced back from the recession without being a “right to work” state.

“This is basically a step backward,” he argued.

(CNN via Zero Hedge)

And if anyone knows about thuggery and violence, it’s a Hoffa.

What Jimmy Junior is saying here is, in a nutshell, that the duly-elected representatives of the people of Michigan, acting in accordance with their state’s constitution, have no right to amend the state’s labor laws. Even though there is strong evidence that the people have already spoken. Under the Hoffa theory of democracy, the mob has the vote and the veto, and he who has the biggest, most violent mob wins. The only debate that counts is “me” outshouting “you,” which means I win.

So, shut up or I’ll kill you.

Now, you’d think this attack on constitutionalism, the rule of law, and representative democracy would draw the united condemnation of the state’s legislators, who are sworn to uphold the US and Michigan constitutions.

Think again:

“There will be blood,” State Representative Douglas Geiss threatened from the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives today as the body debated legislation that would make Michigan the nation’s 24th right to work state.

“I really wish we had not gone here,” Geiss continued. “It is the leadership in this house that has led us here. The same leadership that tried to throw a bomb right on election day, leading to a member switching parties, and came in at the 11th hour with a gotcha bill. For that, I do not see solace, I do not see peace.”

This isn’t democracy or republicanism: it’s mob rule. It’s extortion — “Nice state you have there. Shame if something happened to it.” It’s intimidation, using the threat of violence to impose their will. Now, where have I seen this before?

We know why they’re doing this, of course. It’s not because the union leadership and their Democratic allies are worried about workers’ wages and working conditions: right to work states have been shown to have slightly higher wages and better job choices. And most if not all states have workplace safety and worker’s compensation laws on the books. It’s not as if right-to-work will mean a return to a dime-a-day and child labor. They would still have the right, as every worker should, to form a union and press for collective bargaining. And they still would have the right to withhold their labor should conditions not be satisfactory.

No, what the union bosses and their politician allies are frightened of is the prospect of losing the millions they collected in forced exactions (dues) from their members, money which is then funneled to pliant politicians in the form of campaign contributions and other political spending, in return for laws benefiting the unions at the expense of the taxpayers and regardless of the economic consequences to the state.

They fear the end of their kickback racket.

Whatever the noble origins and ends of trade unionism, we’re seeing now the true face of the corruption that’s overtaken it. Faced with long-term decline, perhaps irreversible if left to the free market, they can only maintain their power in places where law compels membership and tribute.

Threaten that, and they promise blood.

RELATED: What is it with union goons and their hatred for Black small businessmen? First it was Kenneth Gladney, beaten by an SEIU mob in Missouri a few years ago, and now they’ve wrecked the business of Clint Tarver, who ran a hot dog cart outside the state capitol in Lansing. Shouldn’t be surprised I guess; unions have a long history (PDF) of racism. If you want to help Mr. Tarver rebuild his business, click here.

ALSO: Patterico on the Stalinist effort by the online Left to whitewash the violence in Lansing and blame the victim.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Surprise: Major networks silent regarding union thug attacks on Steven Crowder

Via Dan Gainor:

It’s a sad day for American TV journalism when The Huffington Post is a more honest news outlet than ABC, CBS or NBC. On Tuesday, after Michigan union protests escalated into violence, HuffPo led with several stories, including one headlined: “Fox News Contributor Punched.”

That story was about how Fox News contributor Steven Crowder and others were attacked by union thugs during the protest against the new “right-to-work” law. ABC, CBS and NBC covered the protests but only ABC made mention of police having to deal with protesters. None of them mentioned the attack on Crowder or showed the videos of that attack and the thugs tearing down a tent with people in it, both widely available on the Internet hours before the evening news show broadcast. No network quoted Teamsters head Jimmy Hoffa predicting “civil war” between lawmakers and union members.

NBC anchor Brian Williams referred to it all meekly as “a boisterous day in the state capital.”

[…]

On broadcast news, the best they could all agree on was that the union thugs were some form of “angry.” On CBS “Evening News,” correspondent Elaine Quijano explained, “Union workers from across Michigan and other states voiced their anger at the Michigan capital.”

ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” correspondent Alex Perez did slightly hint at the escalation, but showed nothing at all scary. “The anger boiling over, officers turning to pepper spray to control the crowd, at last 10,000 deep,” he told viewers as one man was shown rubbing his eyes. Anchor Sawyer referred to the law as one that supporters “believe could be an ominous sign for unions and worker paychecks everywhere.”

NBC “Nightly News” mentioned that there were at least police there at the protest, as correspondent Ron Mott admitted protesters operated under the “watchful gaze of police, some in riot gear.”

Let’s play, “What if this had been (the mythical) Tea Party violence?” for five seconds, and imagine how it would be reported by the mainstream journalists at “the big three” – CBS, ABC, NBC. We wouldn’t hear the end of it for days. Shamelessly opportunistic liberal politicos and “moderate” Republicans would line up to appear on the talking head shows to call for “investigations”, managing to somehow work “raaacism” into this, and would then demand “civility” in politics – a new tone that those same people would refuse to observe.

Once again, the double standard for our so-called “unbiased” media shines for all to witness.

Move along here, nothing to see …

BREAKING: In spite of union violence, Michigan becomes 24th Right To Work state

Unfortunately, this happened … with people INSIDE the tent:

As did this sickening assault on conservative comedian Steven Crowder:

Fortunately, it didn’t stop this awesome thing from happening:

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed right-to-work legislation, dealing a devastating and once-unthinkable defeat to organized labor in a state that has been a cradle of the movement for generations.

He put his signatures on the bills Tuesday, hours after the state House passed the measures as the chants of thousands of angry pro-union protesters filled the Capitol.

Snyder says a failed ballot proposal to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the constitution triggered the discussion that led to the passage and signing of right-to-work.

During a news conference, he called the protests “an exercise in democracy.”

Congrats, Michigan! Freedom wins!

BTW, I expect a news conference any minute now from President Barack Obama strongly condemning the disgusting union violence and thuggery and threats that has happened in Michigan as the result of the debate and eventual passage of this important law. After all, he IS the “New Tone” President, you know.

Waiting ……

Update: A reward is being offered for information that will lead to the arrest of the jack a** who assaulted Crowder. Dana Loesch has the details.

#NewTone: Union leader James Hoffa says GOP are “like Pol Pot” on erasing history

Via The Detroit News:

Washington — Teamsters President James Hoffa on Thursday compared the recent Republican Party convention’s downplaying of the Bush administration to Cambodian leader Pol Pot, who infamously wiped from history books anything that happened before he rose to power.

In remarks before the National Press Club, the fiery Detroit-born union leader, in his fourth term running the 1.4-million member organization, also likened the tea party to the anti-Communist John Birch Society.

He said the GOP at its national convention in Tampa, Fla., two weeks ago didn’t talk about “what they really believe in” or highlight former leaders such as President George W. Bush.

“The Republicans are rewriting history,” Hoffa said, saying the party is ignoring Bush’s eight years in office. “There was no recession. There were no wars. Nothing ever happened during those eight years,” he said.

The GOP wants to suggest “history began” with President Barack Obama and ignores all of the problems before 2009.”

“And none of the things that George Bush did during his time — with (financial bailout), Lehman Brothers, and the collapse of Wall Street — that never happened,” Hoffa said “It’s like Pol Pot — basically start (from) the Day One, the new calendars.”

Despot Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. Under his rule, he forced city dwellers to work in the countryside under a program to restart the country’s history at “Year Zero,” according to the New World Encyclopedia. His policies led to the deaths of about 2 million Cambodians.

The insane and hateful rhetoric coming from the far left – especially from Big Labor circles – continues to increase at an alarming rate, especially as we get closer to the election and they get more desperate to keep power where they have it and add to it where they don’t.

Let’s keep in mind how ridiculous and hypocritical this sounds coming from a group of left wing zealots who tried to pin the entire blame for the financial meltdown that started happening in the latter two years of President Bush’s time in the WH on the GOP, when it was the stubborn and defiant resistance of Democrats when it came to oversight reform, as well as their decades-old push to force lenders into approving loans for people who couldn’t afford them (all in the name of “diversity”), that greatly enabled this country’s economic downturn. These are policies that to this day Democrats not only do NOT take responsibility for in terms of their harmful effects on the economy but in fact continue to push even in the face of their obvious failure!

When President Bush took office there was also the little matter of Osama bin Laden and the deadly threat of his Al Qaeda outfit left unfinished courtesy of President Clinton, which had to be dealt with.

I could go on and on but you get the point.

(One of the) big differences between President Bush and President Obama is that Bush didn’t come out of the gate blaming his predecessor for all of his problems. In fact, it wasn’t until his second term that you saw a significant pushback from the Bush administration, including Cheney and others, on acknowledgement that some of the issues they were dealing with were as a direct result of failed Democrat policies of the past that continued to create headaches for the administration – the financial crisis was a glaring example of exactly that type of problem.

President Obama, on the other hand, is STILL blaming the poor economy on Bush.

To get directly to Hoffa’s “blame Bush” point: No one in their right mind would argue that President Obama didn’t “inherit” issues from the Bush administration. But guess what? ALL presidents “inherit” little and big problems from previous administrations, and in fact many presidential candidates campaign on being the one who can “fix” said problems, as Obama did over and over when he ran for the Oval Office. But after a certain point in your presidency you OWN IT and you can’t continue to blame “the other guy” for the messes you’ve created. You also can’t blame them when the policies you push repeatedly FAIL to solve the problems you claimed you could fix!

So no, Mr. Hoffa, this isn’t about the GOP being like Pol Pot and wanting to “erase presidential history” – it’s about you and the big guy in the WH whose strings you control not being able to man up and take the ‘buck stops here mentality” that mature leaders typically do at this point in their respective presidencies. And until he (and you) do so, you will continue to get slammed for your detrimental contributions to the floundering economy as well as your refusal to admit that your big government, pro-statism ideas do not work.

Get used to it. And grow up while you’re at it.

Union leaders: We’ll scrimp on #DNC2012 cash – but will still support #Obama2012

Yeah, that’ll show ’em! Via the AP (with bolded emphasis added by me):

RALEIGH, N.C. Upset by the Democratic Party’s decision to stage its presidential convention in a Southern state long viewed as hostile to organized labor, union leaders are holding a rally where they hope to highlight key issues important to middle-class workers.

Prominent labor leaders created the “Workers Stand for America” rally after what they say was their lack of input into planning for the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C., which is set to begin Sept. 4. They say thousands of union workers will rally to call attention to issues affecting the middle class. The centerpiece of the event is a “Second Bill of Rights” laying out workers’ rights.

Unions have long been a key ally for Democrats, and they gave $8.3 million toward the 2008 convention in Denver that helped President Barack Obama win the White House. Labor officials say that longstanding friendship won’t change – nor will their support for Obama. But many are refusing to contribute money to a convention in a state that bans collective bargaining for teachers and other public workers.

“This year we will not be making major monetary contributions to the convention or the host committee for events or activities around the convention,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka wrote in a letter sent to union leaders last month. “We won’t be buying skyboxes, hosting events other than the labor delegates meeting or bringing a big staff contingent to the convention.”

[…]

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which contributed $1 million for the convention four years ago, is also withholding support this time around. The union’s president, Ed Hill, is making a point of not going to Charlotte.

[…]

For his part, Hill is making clear his boycott of the Charlotte convention should in no way be inferred as a lack of support for Obama’s re-election. He does hope the rally will help refocus the national debate away from whether to renew tax breaks for the wealthy.

“You don’t hear anything at all about what’s happening to the middle class in this country,” Hill said. “It’s being decimated. … We just hope the national debate now starts to take into consideration what’s needed for the working people.”

Because nothing says “change or ELSE” to a politician like protesters who march against that elected official’s perceived lack of “doing enough” to “help” whoever the victim group of the day is … and then turning around and voting to keep them back in office anyway.

So.much.fail.

AstroTurf Alert: Some Michigan Anti-Romney “protesters” were paid to demonstrate

Via BuzzFeed (hat tip to Phineas):

DeWitt, Mich. — The protesters popping up at Mitt Romney’s rallies throughout Michigan Tuesday look like run-of-the-mill grassroots liberals — they wave signs about “the 99 percent,” they chant about the Republican’s greed, and they describe themselves as a loosely organized coalition of “concerned citizens.”

They’re also getting paid, two of the protesters and an Obama campaign official told BuzzFeed.

At the candidate’s afternoon stop outside a bakery in DeWitt, a group of about 15 protesters stood behind a police barricade, a few of them chanting in support of Obama. Asked why he was protesting, a man dressed in a grim reaper costume pointed a reporter to a pair of “designated representatives” standing in the shade.

“I can’t talk, you gotta get one of those people over there to talk to y’all,” he said. “They’re the ones who can talk to reporters.”

Neither of the representatives agreed to give their names, but two protesters said they were getting paid to stand outside of the rally, though their wage is unclear: one said she was getting $7.25 per hour, while another man said they were being paid $17 per hour.

Meanwhile, about 50 feet away, another protest had been organized by local Democrats in conjunction with the Obama campaign. A campaign official told BuzzFeed they had nothing to do with the other group — which he said he believed they had been sent by the labor-backed “Good Jobs Now” — and confirmed that they were being paid.

Oh well. At least they have jobs …

Quote of the Day: Obama on #WIrecall absence

Via Chris Stirewalt at Fox News:

“Well, you know, the truth of the matter is that as President of the United States, I’ve got a lot of responsibilities. I was supportive of Tom and have been supportive of Tom. Obviously, you know, I would have loved to have seen a different result.”

— President Obama in an interview with WBAY, the ABC affiliate in Green Bay, Wis., explaining why he didn’t campaign for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Democratic candidate in last week’s Wisconsin recall election.

Today is a pretty typical day for President Obama: four fundraisers, a visit to a swing state and then a late arrival back at the White House.

The rest of the week looks to be pretty much the same, with a Thursday campaign speech in Ohio and some more fundraising already on the schedule.

The president is always the president, and Obama may be spending his transit time updating his kill list or haggling with his European counterparts about the next round of bailouts. But there never has been a president who, to the public eye, was more consumed so early in the year with his re-election effort.

The blitz of fundraisers and swing-state visits started nine months ago and has continued unabated. This makes his defense of his decision to shun Tom Barrett, the Democratic nominee in the Wisconsin recall vote last week, even more curious.

“I’ve got a lot of responsibilities,” Obama said in answer to a question from a reporter from Green Bay, one of a handful of swing-state journalists granted four-minute, stopwatch-timed interviews with Obama on Monday.

Those responsibilities apparently include dinners with Sarah Jessica Parker and Wall Street tycoons, but not a trip to Waukesha to help out Barrett.

What the President doesn’t want to tell anyone is the truth (not exactly a surprise for this truth-challenged administration): That it’s highly unlikely his appearance in Wisconsin in support of Mayor Barrett would have made much, if any, of a difference. I suspect there was internal polling done by Democrats on the Wisconsin recall election and that what they saw was enough to get them to convince the President not to pay a visit. And even if their internal polling didn’t show anything like that, Obama’s failure to successfully campaign in the MA Senate race that Scott Brown (R) eventually won and the NJ Governor’s race where Corzine (D) ran for re-election and lost were (obvious) indicators enough that when you have a competitive race and a President whose unpopularity is growing with the American public, you shouldn’t get him (or her) involved in heavily campaigning for “your guy” – if at all.

Not only that, but this year is shaping up to be the year of “uphill battles” for not only this President but his also his party. Adding one more failure to his long list of such, especially one so high profile, would not be smart election-year strategy for any Democrat in a competitive race.

Still, the bad side of me would have loved to see him actively campaign for Barrett, both in Wisconsin and outside …. schadenfreude and all that. :D

#WIrecall: The Wisconsin state election graphic that says it all (UPDATED)

Bask in the afterglow, people, BASK (via @ErickaAndersen):

WI recall election results

WI recall election results - graphic slightly modified by ST to intensify the red. : )

The graphic was taken from the Huffington Post Election results page, which you can view here

On the more comedic end of things, watch this CNN interview from last night with a Tom Barrett supporter who was in tears, claiming, “democracy died tonight.”

Comedy.Gold.

Is it ok to gloat a little (ok – a lot) the day after a hard fought victory? For the politicos involved, not so much (btw, one Senate seat is still being determined, and the Democrat is now barely leading in that recall effort), but for pro-freedom, pro-smaller government types who have been under siege – in some cases literally – by left wing union thugs who were bound and determined to stay on that taxpayer-funded gravy train, YOU BETCHA.

Enjoy the day, peeps. Enjoy it.

Update – 11:00 AM: On the not-so-sunny side of things comes this:

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Police Department says it’s evaluating threats made against Gov. Scott Walker through social media.

An email from police department spokeswoman Anne Schwartz says all threats are handled seriously and can be a criminal act. It says people cannot assume anonymity via social media while issuing a threat to another’s safety or life. Schwartz declined to elaborate.

Authorities say the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation is also looking into the threats. […]

Surprise, surprise.

#WIunion fails big in #WIrecall efforts

Walker wins. Kleefisch wins. Comfortably. Three of the four GOP Senate seats have been called for the incumbents, with the last one expected to stay in GOP hands. Most startling statistic from tonight’s victory: over 30% of union households went for Walker, who gave a very gracious victory speech calling for unity.

Quote of the night from LA Governor Jindal: “It’s not gonna be a late night for Wisconsin, it’s gonna be a late night for Chicago.”

Savor this victory, my dear readers, and pray this is a sign of things to come for the Obama administration come November.