Unions

By Mark Finkelstein | September 27, 2013 | 8:22 AM EDT

Could Chris Hayes, the eggheady MSNBC host, be a secret admirer of conservative firebrand Ted Cruz?  The question arises in light of Hayes' new "Lean Forward" promo.

In it, Hayes hails those with "the courage to look power in the eye and say 'no.'"  Quick: in the current political context, who comes to mind?  View the video after the jump.

By Tom Blumer | September 13, 2013 | 11:18 PM EDT

A 10:30 p.m. ET search on "Kenosha" at the national web site of the Associated Press returned one result. An unbylined story supposedly deserving of national coverage out of Kenosha, Wisconsin tells us that "Twin water spouts put on a spectacular show over Lake Michigan, near the Wisconsin shore." They were apparently unique because "two water spouts merged into one large one, then split." But a quoted meteorologist says that water spouts "generally occur between August and October," i.e., though they are surely a cool sight to behold, they aren't all that unusual.

Something else very unique happened came out of Kenosha today, but the AP treated it as just a local story. The Kenosha school system's teachers' union, apparently joining the majority of other such unions in the state in the wake of Governor Scott Walker's 2011 reforms, was decertified (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Paul Bremmer | September 12, 2013 | 2:32 PM EDT

President Obama’s signature health care law continues to lose support, but NBC’s Chuck Todd sees no problem with the law itself. On Thursday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, he chalked up the declining support to bad messaging by ObamaCare supporters.

Host Joe Scarborough announced that 57 percent of Americans now oppose most or all of the law, according to a recent CNN poll. In addition, the AFL-CIO, America’s largest labor union and a prominent Obama backer, formally criticized ObamaCare in a resolution approved at its convention on Wednesday. When faced with those facts about the law’s slipping support, Todd replied, “Well, and the White House has done nothing to try to fix the PR on this and the Democratic Party has done nothing to try to fix the PR on this.”

By Tom Blumer | September 11, 2013 | 10:11 PM EDT

A brief report from the AFL-CIO convention today by Sam Hananel at the Associated Press tells us two things about how the group headed by Richard Trumka plans to expand its membership rolls.

The first is that the group wants to add "non-union groups." The second is they wish to enroll "workers who aren't covered by a collective bargaining agreement." Hananel never specifically says that one is in addition to the other, leading the reader to conclude that Hananel believes both targeted groups are one and the same (posted in full because of its brevity after the jump):

By Tom Blumer | September 4, 2013 | 12:50 AM EDT

The AFL-CIO has just lost 40,000 of its most militant members, and it's not news at the Associated Press's national site (there is a regional AP story at the Seattle Times) or at the New York Times. It is getting virtually no other establishment press coverage (results at the link are primarily center-right blogs and similar outlets).

The departing members are those in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. In a three-page letter to AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka, ILWU President Donald McEllrath laid out concerns over picket-line crossings and encroachments by other AFL-CIO affilliates, but also cited Trumka's "overly moderate, compromising policy positions on such important matters as immigration, labor law reform, health care reform, and international labor issues." A few paragraphs from AP's unbylined regional story are after the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | September 3, 2013 | 9:34 AM EDT

In a Thursday morning speech, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka told of how surprised how he was, in the words of Time's Alex Rogers at it Swampland blog, "that employers have reduced workers’ hours below 30-a-week to avoid an employer penalty scheduled to go into effect in 2015."

Here's another "surprise" from Rogers' report, at least for those who think that lawmakers sit alone and draw up 2,000-page pieces of legislation on their own (except when the media relays claims by the left that evil industries write laws which evil Republican congressmen simply rubber-stamp them): Trumka admitted organized labor's direct involvement in in writing Obamacare. In other words, labor created the mess it is now denouncing (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | August 30, 2013 | 10:57 AM EDT

It must be nice to blithely talk about how you would spend somebody else's money without thinking through the consequences.

Kendall Fells, the organizing director of Fast Food Forward in New York, told Yahoo Finance's Bernice Napatch at its Daily Ticker site that "McDonald’s made $5.5 billion in profits and there’s plenty of money to pay the workers who work there and new hires without firing anyone.” As was the case with a Detroit protester's claim that "McDonald’s made like $500 billion last year" noted earlier today, Napatch did not challenge Fells's fallacy. After the jump, we'll come up with a better estimate showing that the company and its franchisees couldn't pay their employees $15 an hour even if they burned through all of their current restaurant operating income in trying.

By Ken Shepherd | August 27, 2013 | 6:37 PM EDT

Hoping to breath some new life and some fresh drama into the minimum wage issue, Time magazine foresees the handful of fast-food strikes going "viral" tomorrow.

"Fast Food Strikes Go Viral: Workers Expected to Protest Low Wages in 35 Cities Thursday" blares the headline to Victor Luckerson's 10-paragraph August 27 post at the magazine's website. Here's how Luckerson opened his piece:

By Andrew Lautz | July 22, 2013 | 5:30 PM EDT

On Monday’s Morning Joe, an all-liberal panel discussed, with co-host Joe Scarborough, the recent feud between the D.C. Council and Walmart, highlighting the standoff between the discount retail giant and city councilors over wages at three future Walmart locations in the nation’s capital.

Co-host Mika Brzezinski bashed Walmart throughout the segment, responding with a long pause and a befuddled look when Scarborough and liberal panelist Brian Shactman defended the world’s largest retailer. Brzezinski petulantly asked Shactman how Walmart’s “doing,” as though the answer alone would morally justify a policy that specifically targeted Walmart because it is a profitable, and politically incorrect, corporation:

By Paul Bremmer | July 19, 2013 | 2:18 PM EDT

PBS led off Thursday’s NewsHour with a story about President Obama’s efforts to defend his healthcare law amid increasing public skepticism. But the taxpayer-funded network managed to avoid mentioning the recent harsh criticism of the law from three prominent labor union leaders, despite a vague reference to “worry from some supporters.”

Anchor Jeffrey Brown, who narrated the package, acknowledged, “Today's speech was part of a broader effort to sell the law that comes amid continuing criticism from Republicans and worry from some supporters about its implementation.”

By Jeffrey Meyer | July 11, 2013 | 11:51 AM EDT

Walmart, the nation’s largest retail employer is in the process of building the very first of its planned six brand-new stores in Washington, D.C., but the liberal city council plans to welcome them into the city with new legislation mandating that the company "pay their employees a 50 percent premium over the city’s minimum wage." Yet in his 27- paragraph story in the July 11 Washington Post, staff writer Mike DeBonis ignored how the legislation exempts large retailers with unionized workers from paying the premium minimum wage.

The Arkansas-based retailer has threatened to halt construction on its planned six stores, citing the fact that the added labor costs inject uncertainty about the profitability of the operations given the new law's mandates. DeBonis noted that the law requires "[r]etailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger would be required to pay employees no less than $12.50 an hour." Curiously, however, DeBonis failed to mention an exemption in the law that shields unionized companies like grocery chain Safeway from the bill.  DeBonis choose to cite union supporters who support the de facto tax on Wal-Mart, without explaining why unions would love a proposed law that would exclude them from its penalty.

By Andrew Lautz | July 8, 2013 | 3:04 PM EDT

Ed Schultz continued his weekly tirade against Republicans Sunday, arguing for a second straight week that the GOP is engaged in an all-out war against minorities.

After accusing conservatives of wanting to “keep a minority down” on last week’s Ed Show, the bombastic MSNBC host was at it again on Sunday, accusing Republicans of “attacking minorities” in their attempt to block President Obama’s appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).