The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rep Darrell Issa ramps up investigation on Union political spending

This goes along with a post that I did a couple of days ago, I knew about the Beck option and I used it, I also mentioned to the rank and file about the Beck option.  I was a Union Committeeman while I was there.  I got elected because I knew the contract backward and forward.  To work in a union shop there are a lot of contract issues that have to be adhered to by both sides.  I started reading the contract(3 thick books that explained the working relations of Ford and the UAW.  Most people didn't bother reading it because it was boring, dry reading and full of lawyerspeak.  I read it because I got tired of getting screwed by the older workers that used "past practices" and distortion to get the good work assignments and days off.  We had one committeeman when I started that wouldn't do anything for you unless you had tits and were willing to blow him in the parking lot.  Since he had the "reverend" handle on his name, a certain block of members always voted for him.  When I started correcting the older workers on their BS and the committeeman at the same time, I got people's attention, especially the younger workers that like me were tired of getting dicked over by the "old timers".  I understood having to "pay my dues" but it got really bad.
     Well I was nominated to run as an alternate committeeman and was elected.  Did 3 years and got elected for full time the following election.  All I can say about the my union experiences was that 5% of the workforce constituted 95% of my workload, they were the slackers, the deadwood that demanded for and felt that they were entitled to get the good wages but not work.  This in my mind and justifiably so made the union look bad to the rank and file that came in day after day and busted their asses on a assembly job.  Anybody that worked an assembly line knows what I talk about.   I started to raise hell about the union supporting all these leftist candidates that if they had their way, my industry would be legislated out of existence.  I had read Al Gore's book " Earth in the balance"    It is full of crap but he stated in his book that he wanted to get rid of the manufacturing industry and the union supported this?  I repeatedly told the leadership that we as a union are being used by the democrats.  They come in talk some platitudes about "worker rights" get their money and immediately suck up and try to work the environmental legislation for their pet groups.  I stated repeatedly " they view us as an ATM to get money, because we HAVE money then suck up to the far left groups.  We need to start vetting these politicians to support the ones that actually support us and our industry not the ones just because they have "D" on the end of their name."  
      That idea was popular with everybody that I mentioned it to.  I made use of the Beck option because I didn't like supporting people that I am diametrically opposed politically.  I also told anybody that complained about the support what they could do.  I figured that once the union realized how many people started using that option that it would get their attention and they would have to address our concerns..  But Ford had to close plants and we got shut down.  I didn't transfer to Kentucky because family is more important than the job.  I now work at a non-union job in the aviation industry.
      Funny how things work out.....

In recent weeks, Rep. Darrell Issa — chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform — has held hearings regarding unions forcing members to contribute to political causes which they do not support.
Today, Issa issued six letters — addressed to the Federal Election Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Alabama Education Association, the National Education Association, the Service Employees International Union, and the United Auto Workers — demanding to know why union members are denied a say in how their dues are spent on political campaigns.
In the letter to UAW, Issa recounts the story of Terry Bowman:
AdvertisementA “proud” UAW Local 898 member testified that he has “heard the stories of hundreds of union workers who are … tired and fed up with the political activities of their union.” Mr. Bowman is also the founder of Union Conservatives, a group that boasts over 1,000 members and exists to “provid[e] liberty to union members who have differing political views than their union leadership.” Indeed, a 2010 survey found that 69 percent of private and public union workers think that union leaders should stop spending union dues on politics, and 66 percent believe that it is unreasonable that such spending can occur without their consent.Per the Supreme Court decision Communications Workers v. Beck, dues-paying non-members — workers who have chosen not to join the union but must pay “agency fees” so that they are not “free riding” on the union’s collective bargaining — in effect pay union dues. However, as PJM reported recently, federal law prohibits the use of agency fees to support political candidates and causes to which the non-member objects. Further, the law requires the portion of their fees spent on the political support to be refunded upon demand.However, workers with Beck rights claim getting this refund is a near-impossible task. In the letter to the NEA, Issa notes the case of teacher Claire WaitesWaites, an eighth grade science teacher and a “member in good standing” of the Alabama Education Association (AEA), testified that she was forced to make contributions to the union’s political action committees (PACs). As a delegate to the National Education Association (NEA) Convention, Ms. Waites explained that in 2004 she was told by local Baldwin County leadership that a contribution to the NEA’s “Children’s Fund” was “nonnegotiable,” and at the 2008 NEA Convention, a contribution was allegedly made in her name with travel money. After Ms. Waites learned about the 2008 contribution to the “Children’s Fund,” and that it was a PAC, she strongly objected to it. She attempted to retrieve the travel funds that had gone to the “Children’s Fund” from AEA leadership, but was informed that was not possible. Ms. Waites also testified that the AEA automatically deducted funds from her paycheck to support AEA’s “A VOTE” PAC without her permission. It was not until she inquired about the deduction that she learned that the “fine print” of the AEA application instructs that she must opt-out, in writing, to stop the deduction.Issa is demanding documents from the NLRB and the FEC, and is requesting written answers to several questions from the UAW, SEIU, NEA, and AEA. He wants to know how the unions notifiy workers of their Beck rights, why the UAW requires that Beck objections be renewed each year, and if the workers have complained about the annual renewals.Additionally, Issa wants to know if unions take steps to help ensure that union workers who exercise their Beck rights do not face ridicule and harassment. Issa also asks if the unions notify workers about how much money is spent on non-representational activities, how the unions determine what expenditures are non-representational and therefore should be excluded from the agency fee, and what activities they consider non-representational.Further, Issa asks if the unions account for differences in non-representational spending in election years versus non-election years.Issa specifically questions union spending on clear left-wing causes — such as the One Nation Working Together rally on October 2, 2010, in Washington, D.C., or spending supporting the Occupy movement — and how those expenditures qualify as representational activity.Issa is also demanding that unions answer whether or not they allow all union workers to object to non-representational activities, or if only agency fee-payers are permitted to object. If the objections are limited, Issa asks if the unions support extending the right to object to all members.He further requested information on Beck complaints from the NLRB and information about an investigation of Waite’s complaints by FEC.Issa also announced the launch of a “crowdsourcing” website — ProtectingOurWorkers.com – to seek more stories of union abuse regarding political campaigns.

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