Battleground Michigan

Battleground Michigan

Shikha Dalmia of Reason looks at big labor's effort keep Michigan a second rate economic state through a series of referendums on the statewide ballot next month: We've seen Gov. Scott Walker's battle in Wisconsin and the Chicago Teachers Union strike next door. Now in Michigan comes another Midwestern political showdown that will carry enormous implications for the role of unions in American life. [media-credit name=" " align="alignright" width="300"][/media-credit]The Michigan Supreme Court recently approved the placement of a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. If passed by voters, the so-called Protect Our Jobs amendment would give public-employee unions a potent new tool to challenge any laws—past, present or future—that limit their benefits or collective-bargaining powers. It would also bar Michigan from becoming a right-to-work state in which mandatory union dues are not a condition of employment. The budget implications are dire. Michigan public unions began pushing the initiative last year, shortly after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder—facing a $2 billion fiscal hole—capped public spending on public-employee health benefits at 80% of total costs. This spring, national labor unions joined the amendment effort after failing to prevent Indiana from becoming a right-to-work state. Bob King of the United Auto Workers said that Michigan's initiative would "send a message" to other states tempted to follow Indiana's example. The UAW, along with allies in the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters, poured $8 million into gathering 554,000 signatures—some 200,000 more than needed—to put Protect Our Jobs on the Michigan ballot.

Big Labor -- Obama's Shock Troops

Big Labor -- Obama's Shock Troops

Nolan Finley of the Detroit News argues that "Now we know how United Auto Workers President Bob King will repay Barack Obama for holding the union harmless from the Detroit automakers' bankruptcy: He'll provide the ground troops for the president's class war."  SEIU , Van Jones, and MoveOn.org are also involved in this program. Finley continues: The Daily Caller blog says it found evidence that King and the UAW are behind the "99 Percent Spring," which aims to train and deploy 100,000 Americans for "non-violent direct action" in the months leading up to November's presidential election. The Daily Caller says files on the group's website, which have since disappeared, indicate the UAW is providing the organizational support for protests designed to support the president's narrative that America is divided into two camps — the wealthy 1 percent and the struggling 99 percent. "99 Percent Spring" will replace the Democrat's previous grassroots charade, the tainted Occupy movement, with its filthy camps and allegations of violence and rapes that gave it no chance of resonating with mainstream voters. This new movement will perpetuate the myth that Obama bears no responsibility for the economic suffering that has marked his tenure. It will foist the blame instead on wealthy individuals and big corporations, and mask the failure of the president's wealth transfer schemes, oppressive regulations and job-killing tax plans. It's a perfect way for King to pay back Obama for tossing aside established bankruptcy law and moving the UAW to the top of the pecking order when Chrysler and General Motors filed for Chapter 11.

Big Labor -- Obama's Shock Troops

Big Labor -- Obama's Shock Troops

Nolan Finley of the Detroit News argues that "Now we know how United Auto Workers President Bob King will repay Barack Obama for holding the union harmless from the Detroit automakers' bankruptcy: He'll provide the ground troops for the president's class war."  SEIU , Van Jones, and MoveOn.org are also involved in this program. Finley continues: The Daily Caller blog says it found evidence that King and the UAW are behind the "99 Percent Spring," which aims to train and deploy 100,000 Americans for "non-violent direct action" in the months leading up to November's presidential election. The Daily Caller says files on the group's website, which have since disappeared, indicate the UAW is providing the organizational support for protests designed to support the president's narrative that America is divided into two camps — the wealthy 1 percent and the struggling 99 percent. "99 Percent Spring" will replace the Democrat's previous grassroots charade, the tainted Occupy movement, with its filthy camps and allegations of violence and rapes that gave it no chance of resonating with mainstream voters. This new movement will perpetuate the myth that Obama bears no responsibility for the economic suffering that has marked his tenure. It will foist the blame instead on wealthy individuals and big corporations, and mask the failure of the president's wealth transfer schemes, oppressive regulations and job-killing tax plans. It's a perfect way for King to pay back Obama for tossing aside established bankruptcy law and moving the UAW to the top of the pecking order when Chrysler and General Motors filed for Chapter 11.

Heritage to Chrysler: Support Right To Work to Help Michigan

Heritage to Chrysler: Support Right To Work to Help Michigan

From the Heritage Foundation an endorsement of Right To Work Freedoms for Michigan: Did you know that there are no Volkswagen manufacturing plants in the Detroit area? Or Mercedes-Benz? Or Kia? Or Hyundai? Or BMW, for that matter? Apart from having their cars assembled in Michigan, it turns out that those three companies have something else in common: the United Auto Workers union (UAW). It also turns out that every other car manufacturer has something in common, too: not wanting the UAW to do to them what it did to the Big Three. Today, President Obama will address the UAW, and he should receive a rousing welcome. After all, his terms of the auto bailout richly rewarded his union allies at the expense of non-union employees and private investors, giving them, among other prizes, a very large stake of ownership in Chrysler. And together, they stand adamantly opposed to "right-to-work" laws that would empower the nation's unemployed to find economic security with a non-union job. They claim they want to protect "the American auto industry," but this is not about "American cars." The controlling interest of Chrysler is Italy-based Fiat and previously was Germany's Daimler-Benz between 1997 and 2008. This is simply about protecting union fortunes. Chrysler can hire actors in Louisiana to play the part of Detroit workers, and it can produce cinematically brilliant television ads. But wouldn't Detroiters have more pride in a job than a commercial? Chrysler and the UAW must drop its opposition to Michigan's right-to-work legislation if it wants to pretend it cares. Right-to-work legislation protects employees from being fired for not paying union dues. Without that protection, workers are forced to support a union financially even if they'd rather spend their hard earned dollars at home, if the union contract harms them, or if they're opposed to the union's agenda. And if they don't, they lose their jobs. Obviously, when given the freedom of choice, many workers choose not to unionize.

Don't Forget the Lights

Don't Forget the Lights

Will the last person living in Detroit, please turn out the lights. It may be a bad joke, but it is quickly become sad reality. Detroit is dying thanks to the greed, power and corruption of the labor union bosses and the politicians who did their bidding. An Investors Business Daily editorial asks: Who Killed Detroit? Poor Detroit. It hasn't had any good news for decades, and now, despite a $77 billion bailout of the auto industry, its population continues to implode. The No. 1 reason: the United Auto Workers union. Census data released Tuesday show Detroit's population has plunged 25% since 2000 to just 713,777 souls — the same as 100 years ago, before the auto industry's heyday. As recently as the 1970s, Detroit had 1.8 million people. What's happening is no secret: Detroiters are fleeing an economic disaster, the irreversible decline of the Big Three automakers. In his now-famous Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler, rapper Eminem drives up to a theater in a sleek new 200 model and says, "This is the Motor City. And this is what we do." But, sadly, that's no longer the case. Detroit's decline has been shocking. Sure, a lot of the blame goes to a generation of bad management. But the main reason for Detroit's decline is the greed of the industry's main union, the UAW, which priced the Big Three out of the market. As recently as 2008, GM, Ford and Chrysler paid their employees on average more than $73 an hour in total compensation. The 12 foreign transplants, operating in nonunion states mostly in the South and Midwest, averaged about $42 an hour. Guess which manufacturers are healthiest and expanding their market today? In 2008, the Big Three still made 59% of all cars in the U.S. But, according to recent estimates, their market share is now 46% — with foreign companies selling the bulk of all U.S. cars. So Detroit's loss has been the South's and Midwest's gain. Behind this is the gold-plated benefits package once guaranteed to UAW workers. We're not against workers getting what they deserve, but total pay and benefits for a full-time worker for the Big Three until recently averaged about $140,000 a year.

Don't Forget the Lights

Don't Forget the Lights

Will the last person living in Detroit, please turn out the lights. It may be a bad joke, but it is quickly become sad reality. Detroit is dying thanks to the greed, power and corruption of the labor union bosses and the politicians who did their bidding. An Investors Business Daily editorial asks: Who Killed Detroit? Poor Detroit. It hasn't had any good news for decades, and now, despite a $77 billion bailout of the auto industry, its population continues to implode. The No. 1 reason: the United Auto Workers union. Census data released Tuesday show Detroit's population has plunged 25% since 2000 to just 713,777 souls — the same as 100 years ago, before the auto industry's heyday. As recently as the 1970s, Detroit had 1.8 million people. What's happening is no secret: Detroiters are fleeing an economic disaster, the irreversible decline of the Big Three automakers. In his now-famous Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler, rapper Eminem drives up to a theater in a sleek new 200 model and says, "This is the Motor City. And this is what we do." But, sadly, that's no longer the case. Detroit's decline has been shocking. Sure, a lot of the blame goes to a generation of bad management. But the main reason for Detroit's decline is the greed of the industry's main union, the UAW, which priced the Big Three out of the market. As recently as 2008, GM, Ford and Chrysler paid their employees on average more than $73 an hour in total compensation. The 12 foreign transplants, operating in nonunion states mostly in the South and Midwest, averaged about $42 an hour. Guess which manufacturers are healthiest and expanding their market today? In 2008, the Big Three still made 59% of all cars in the U.S. But, according to recent estimates, their market share is now 46% — with foreign companies selling the bulk of all U.S. cars. So Detroit's loss has been the South's and Midwest's gain. Behind this is the gold-plated benefits package once guaranteed to UAW workers. We're not against workers getting what they deserve, but total pay and benefits for a full-time worker for the Big Three until recently averaged about $140,000 a year.

Auto Union-Boss Bailout Not Improving With Age

Auto Union-Boss Bailout Not Improving With Age

White House Again Exhorts Taxpayers to Feel Good About Boondoggle (Source: September 2010 NRTWC Newsletter) Autoworkers union President Bob King and other union bosses are the chief beneficiaries of the GM/Chrysler bailouts. Credit: www.motortrend.com In the summer of 2009, the Obama Administration handed over $49.5 billion in federal taxpayers' money to the Big Labor-controlled, money-hemorrhaging General Motors Corporation (GM). At the time, bankrupt GM was on the verge of being forced into liquidation. Its assets would then have been sold off. The White House publicly pitched this costly taxpayer-funded bailout as a bid to save American jobs. However, President Obama and his Administration actually knew full well that the number of Americans employed by GM would continue to shrink rapidly, even after the massive taxpayer bailout. Taypayer Bailout Hasn't Stopped Disappearance of Union Boss-Controlled Manufacturing Jobs In early 2009, GM had 47 production facilities in the U.S. By the end of this year, it will have just 34. The company's vehicle sales today, when the country's economy is recovering, albeit weakly, remain far below what they were in 2008, when the economy was in a recession. More than 80% of U.S. automotive manufacturing jobs are now in union-free firms, and these firms, not bailed-out GM and Chrysler, surely represent the future of domestic automotive manufacturing employment. Rather than workers, the single greatest beneficiary of the GM bailout was the United Autoworkers (UAW) union hierarchy. Along with sympathetic Obama agents, union officials were effectively left in charge of the company.