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.

Redistribution,  Big Labor style

Redistribution, Big Labor style

[media-credit name=" " align="alignright" width="300"][/media-credit]The Obama administration's Delphi debacle -- when union members were made whole at the expense of non-union workers -- continues to hound the White House.  The Free Beacon looks at the scandal: Fred Arndt and his brother Dave came to General Motors straight out of high school. They spent their entire careers building the engine cooling systems that increase the lifespan of Cadillacs and other vehicles. Dave worked in assembly; Fred, one year younger, qualified for GM University, which propelled him to work as a draftsman and engineer. They worked the line side-by-side. Dave built the parts Fred had designed. The brothers made their way to Delphi, an auto supplier spun off from GM that builds components—seats, instrument panels, steering and suspension systems—for cars. After more than 30 years with the company, the brothers retired in their native Michigan. They watched as Delphi’s growing labor costs dragged it into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005. It would not emerge until 2009 when the government stepped in with $50 billion for GM. And then the Arndt brothers’ paths diverged. Fred, 64, lost his health, dental, and life insurance, along with 70 percent of his pension. Dave lost five percent of his health insurance and some dental coverage… …[Fred]  Arndt is one of the more than 20,000 non-union Delphi employees that have seen their pensions wiped out by the government-directed bankruptcy. While the pension fund covered the retirement packages of executives, the majority of employees are middle class white-collar workers: engineers, accountants, and secretaries.

Obama’s (Un)American Auto Bailout

Obama’s (Un)American Auto Bailout

[media-credit id=7 align="alignright" width="300"][/media-credit]The untiring Michelle Malkin continues to try to educate Americans about the Obama auto bailout scandals and the real impact on the American people: Cue “Fanfare for the Common Man” and rev up the Government Motors engines. Wednesday is Great American Auto Bailout Day at the Democratic National Convention. Party propagandists have prepared a prime-time-ready film touting the “rescue’s” benefits for American workers. UAW President Bob King will sing the savior-in-chief’s praises. Only in a fantasyland where America has 57 states, “JOBS” is a three-letter word and bailouts are “achievements” does Obama’s rescue math add up. “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry,” Obama vows. God help the American worker. But like all of the economic success stories manufactured by the White House, the $85 billion government handout is a big fat farce. While Team Obama lambastes GOP rival Mitt Romney for outsourcing, Government Motors is now planning to invest $1 billion over the next five years — not in America, but in Russia. That’s on top of $7 billion total in China, close to $1 billion in Mexico, and $600 million for a shirt sponsorship deal with Manchester United, the British soccer club. GM is once again flirting with bankruptcy despite massive government purchases propping up its sales figures. GM stock is rock-bottom. Losses continue to be revised in the wrong direction. According to The Detroit News, “The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That’s 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.”

Spring 2012:  Taxpayer-Funded UAW training 100,000 people energize the fizzled Ocuppy Wall Street gang

Spring 2012: Taxpayer-Funded UAW training 100,000 people energize the fizzled Ocuppy Wall Street gang

Using forced worker's dues money, the United Auto Workers  (UAW) is organizing “100,000 Americans will train for direct action,” promises a new website called “The 99% Spring.” But they didn't want anyone to know about their involvement. From the Daily Caller From April 9 to 15, “100,000 Americans will train for ... direct action,” promises a new website called “The 99% Spring.” But while the 43 organizations co-signing a letter on the ragtag-looking site indicate the sort of leaderless resistance characterized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, a series of files The Daily Caller downloaded from the United Auto Workers website indicate that the organized labor powerhouse is behind the effort. The files, downloaded Sunday, include campaign talking points, a fill-in-the-blank press release template for participating organizations and an advance look at the social media campaign the organizers plan for Facebook and Twitter. Also included is a “FYI” letter designed for endorsers to distribute, complete with a blank space at the top of the list of participating groups. Filling in a given organization’s name lends the impression that it, not the UAW, is the campaign’s driving force.