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Trump And Right to Work And Janus v AFSCME

AFT Local 1360

Janus was a Roman god with two faces, each looking in the opposite direction.

“Janus-faced” means two-faced, or deceitful. It aptly describes the Trump administration and the other big-time, union-busting backers of the plaintiff in Janus v AFSCME Council 31.

The case, which is before the U.S. Supreme Court, could, in effect, force all public employee unions into a “right to work” framework. Also, it could “further undermine the rights of workers to choose, in a democratic process based on a majority vote, to support the payment of fees or dues for those represented by a union and protected by the collective bargaining agreement,” according to Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO.

AFSCME has several members in Kentucky.

Federal law requires a union to represent all hourly workers at a unionized job site. Under a state RTW law, workers can enjoy union-won wages and benefits without joining the union and paying dues or paying the union a fair-share fee to represent them.

Janus is part of the whole effort to turn back the clock on workers and unions by undermining our ability to represent our members by shutting off our financial resources,” Londrigan said. “Now with Janus, the focus is primarily on the public-sector, which has been the fastest growing part of the labor movement.”

In the Janus case, Mark Janus, an Illinois state government employee, is suing AFSCME because he doesn’t want to pay the union a fair-share fee. Rabidly anti-union groups like the National Right to Work Committee and the State Policy Network are behind him.

Organizations like the NRTWC and SPN claim they support “worker freedom.” Their real purpose is crushing unions. The SPN admits it’s goal is to “defund and defang” public employee unions.

“Under current law, every union-represented teacher, police officer, caregiver or other public service worker may choose whether or not to join the union — but the union is required to negotiate on behalf of all workers whether they join or not,” explained Roberta Lynch, AFSCME Council 31 executive director, in a Springfield, Ill., State Journal-Register guest column.

Council 31 represents 100,000 active and retired public service workers, including Janus.

She added, “Since all the workers benefit from the union’s gains, it’s only fair that everyone chip in toward the cost. That’s why 40 years ago a unanimous Supreme Court [in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education] approved the kind of cost-sharing arrangements known as fair share.”

Trump’s solicitor general has filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Janus.

Even so, the president says he’s the champion of workers. Yet on the campaign trail, he said he preferred “right to work” states to non-RTW states. He ran on a platform with a plank calling for a national right to work law.

“The Janus v. AFSCME case is an effort by powerful corporate interests to outlaw fair share, encouraging workers to contribute nothing toward the cost of union representation,” Lynch also said. “It actually began as a political scheme by Gov. Bruce Rauner, who shortly after taking office issued an executive order and filed a lawsuit trying to ban fair-share fees.”

After a handful of Kentucky counties passed local RTW laws, Rauner, a Republican, started pushing for local “right to work” zones in Illinois municipalities. Under federal law, only states can pass RTW measures. GOP Gov. Matt Bevin and his Republican-majority legislature made Kentucky a RTW state in January.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, one of the most anti-union lawmakers in Washington, has proposed a national RTW law.

Sen Rand Paul Submits National Right To Work Bill (Again) As A Fundraising Ploy

Paul fund-raises on his ‘right to work’ bill, rates a zero on
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights report card

Image by Stump Source FLIKR CC


AFT Local 1360

Rand Paul is all in for “right to work,” but he knows his national RTW bill is going nowhere.

Kentucky’s tea party-tilting junior senator never figured it would. He knows hogs will fly before the legislation winds up on the desk of President Trump, a fellow RTW fan.

Paul is clued in to the fact that the Democrats can filibuster the measure to death.

But passing the bill wasn’t Paul’s point. Putting his John Hancock on the legislation was.

Paul’s uber-conservative, well-heeled, union-despising donors are as crazy about RTW as he is. Paul proposed the bill to give himself a chance to burnish his anti-union creds with his bankrollers.

Koch Industries is the pseudo-populist Paul’s third largest contributor, according to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. The National Right to Work Committee piled $7,500 into Paul’s campaign coffers.

Charles and David Koch and other kleptocrats have also extended their largess to pro-RTW Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Bluegrass State’s senior senator.

Paul and McConnell realize that GOP-majority state legislatures are where RTW laws get passed. They were on Cloud Ten–the one above Nine–last January when the Republican-run Kentucky General Assembly approved a RTW bill at warp speed; GOP Gov. Matt Bevin lost no time in signing it.

Kentucky unions have filed suit to overturn the bill.

More than just union members understand that RTW laws are among the oldest union-busting tools around. “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work,’” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. cautioned in 1961. “It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.”

Added King: “Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote.”

Also in 1961, King warned that “the labor-hater and labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other mouth [italics mine].”

Last year, every Republican in the House and Senate got an “F” on a congressional report card issued by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, George F. Curry wrote in the Daytona, Fla., Times.

The LCCHR is an umbrella organization with more than 200 member groups. It graded all lawmakers on how they voted on legislation important to the civil and human rights community, explained Curry, editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service and former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine.

Paul rated a zero.

Comey Has Kentucky Dems Doubly Determined To Vote For Clinton


AFT Local 1360

Some in the media think—and the Donald Trump campaign hopes–that the latest email controversy might depress Hillary Clinton’s vote next Tuesday.

Piling on, reactionary radio commentator Hugh Hewitt bloviated on MSNBC that Democratic enthusiasm for Clinton is “hemorrhaging” and that even “hard core Democrats are shaking their heads.”

Supposedly, the poor Clintonites are so shattered, dispirited and ashamed that they’ll stay home next Tuesday.

Baloney. FBI Director James Comey’s “October surprise” is more likely to boost Democratic turnout.

Waving a red flag in front of a bull? Too trite.

Comey’s revelation is like sporting orange at a Big Apple St. Patrick’s Day parade, singing “Rocky Top” at Rupp Arena, or trash talking Springsteen in Jersey. (For non-Kentuckians, Rupp Arena is the University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team’s home court.)   

Fellow Democrats I know are anything but bummed. They’re ballistic and plan to prove it in seven days. I’m with them all the way to the voting booth.

Bernie Sanders was my first choice for president, but I’m Ready for Hillary. I was already in a climb-every-mountain, ford-every-stream mode about voting for her.

Comey has made me willing to crawl through broken glass, too.

I don’t know what motivated Comey, a Republican. If he aimed to boost Trump, I’d bet the farm he blew it.

A lot of Democrats believe he deliberately put his thumb on the scales. They say their suspicions are confirmed with news that Comey failed to mention a reported preliminary FBI probe into Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, and his foreign business dealings, notably with Russia. Supposedly, Comey feared bringing it up might influence the election.

Comey also allegedly refused to add the FBI’s name to U.S. intelligence agency reports that Russia was involved with the WikiLeaks email hacking. He allegedly said—you guessed it—it was too close to the election.

Ya think?  

Comey’s apparent double standard has my Kentucky Democratic buddies doubly determined to put Clinton in the White House. (Me, too.) I emailed some of them—-a lawyer, union members, college students, teachers, health care professionals and others. They replied:   

“I vote my conviction. I vote working families. HRC and the rest of the Democratic candidates.”

“I’ve already voted for Clinton, and I’m proud of my vote. Comey’s behavior is so bizarre that it becomes suspicious for breaking every FBI and DOJ rule with this premature announcement before the facts are gathered.” (This came from a lawyer.)

“I’m excited that the most qualified person ever is our nominee for president! She’s been vilified for years and has come through with her head held high. She’s fought for the weak and underprivileged and is an example to all young women—when you’re in the right, keep fighting, even when it seems the world is against you!!”

“Really, Kellyanne Conway, you think I am too discouraged to vote?  I have voted in every election since I was 18 and voted for Jimmy Carter by absentee from my dorm room in Lexington.  You think anything which includes the words ‘Anthony Weiner’ is going to tempt me into letting a racist a**hole represent me on the world stage?  Kellyanne, you underestimate my resolve.” 

“I can tell you how I feel. I will vote for HRC no matter what.”

“This is an easy call. HRC all the way. I will always take pretty standard cronyism over looming fascism. Every time.”

“We have no choice!  For the future of our democracy, we must defeat Donald Trump and elect HRC.”

Imagine The Republican Outrage If The KGB Had Tried To Subvert The Reagan Campaign

AFT Local 1360

wikileaksPretend it’s 1984.

The cold war has yet to thaw. The Soviets want Ronald Reagan out as president.

Kremlin boss Konstantin Chernenko calls in a bright young KGB intelligence officer named Vladimir Putin.  His mission: run a covert operation to subvert Reagan’s reelection campaign.

The internet era has yet to dawn. Putin sends spies to break into the Republican National Committee and Reagan campaign headquarters. Their job is to ferret out and photograph potentially embarrassing or politically-damaging material.

The secret agents sneak the film to KGB HQ in Moscow. Copies of the documents are released to Western journalists–after KGB forgers doctor some and slip in fakes.

Imagine the Republican–and national–fury if all that really happened. Some super-hawks might have called the espionage an act of war.

Putin, who really was a KGB guy, has graduated to democracy-despising Russian dictator.

Putin hates Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump admires Putin. Czar Vlad clearly wants King Leer to  beat her on Nov. 8.

Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence agencies say evidence is building that Russia is feeding WikiLeaks hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign. Some might be altered and others bogus.

If Russia is leaking to WikiLeaks, you can bet your borscht that Putin is down with it, if he didn’t order it.

Trump is happy to make political hay off the leaked emails. It’s a big part of his “Crooked Hillary” shtick.

The Trump faithful seem fine with Russia helping their guy. Almost half of Trump fans think the old “Evil Empire” is our new ally or friend, a recent poll says.

Anyway, while Trump says he wants to “make America great again,”  Putin has made it plain he wants to make  Russia great again– at the expense of the United States.

Kentucky Vet And UAW Member: Trump ‘Does Not Have A Clue’


AFT Local 1360

todd-dunnGOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump evidently thinks he’s sewn up the vote of guys like Todd Dunn.

Dunn is a white, blue-collar veteran who earned multiple medals while serving in the First Gulf War.

He’s for Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent.

“In the military, we said you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with,” remembered Dunn, 46, from Louisville. “I would not want people like him around me for the simple fact that he is not credible.”

Dunn has been president of United Auto Workers Local 862 for almost six years. He was a 19-year-old Army military police specialist in Kuwait in 1991.

Dunn said Clinton, a former secretary of state and senator, has the temperament and experience to be president. Trump doesn’t, he added.

Trump, a wealthy business owner, has never held public office.

“Trump puts women down; he puts minorities down– he really doesn’t respect people,” said Dunn, who is also president of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council.

Trump claims he values veterans most of all. Dunn doesn’t buy it. “Here is a man who says not paying taxes is smart. Taxes support our country.”

Dunn says the fact that taxes fund the U.S. military and federal programs that aid veterans is evidently lost on Trump.

“I paid my fair share of taxes before I joined the United States Army, went to Desert Storm and nearly died in Desert Storm,” said Dunn. “I came home and continued to pay my fair share of taxes.

“Not paying his taxes might make him smart, but it doesn’t make him a man who stands by our veterans. He may be a patriot in his own mind, but he doesn’t show it in his actions.”

Dunn’s missions in the First Gulf War included guarding a vital supply road and protecting Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, commander of coalition forces that drove dictator Saddam Hussein’s invading Iraqi army out of Kuwait.

Dunn worries about Trump’s penchant for provocative, “off-the-cuff” and “knee-jerk” comments.

Trump, for example, threatened to shoot “out of the water” Iranian sailors if they made rude gestures toward U.S. Navy warships.

Trump, 70, is not a veteran. He used deferments, legally, to avoid the draft and possible combat in Vietnam.

“He doesn’t have a clue, which is obvious,” Dunn said. He doesn’t know the feeling of wondering if this is the last time he will see his family.”

Dunn came home to his loved ones, got married and got a job at Ford in the Falls City. He has two sons, one of whom also works for Ford. (Members of Local 862 work at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant and Louisville Assembly Plant.) 

“Trump,” he said, “sits in an office in his tall, shiny building, knowing he has taken advantage of his country and the people who work for him. Does he have any remorse?”

Dunn’s service in Kuwait is featured in We Don’t Quit!: Stories of UAW Global Solidarity, a 2015 book by Don Stillman. The book tells how the UAW and its members are part of the worldwide struggle for workers’ rights.

Dunn said he had had never witnessed death before he arrived in Kuwait.

“First and foremost, American soldiers like me were there to liberate Kuwait,” he told Stillman.

“We were dealing with atrocities and torture by Saddam’s guys of the Kuwaiti people. I’ll never forget the small children that would climb on our vehicles—they were hungry, and there we were.

“We gave the kids food and liberty. There was a lot of American sacrifice. We lost American soldiers on foreign soil fighting for democracy.”


Donald Trump Is Nothing More Than An Old Kentucky Mule Trader

AFT Local 1360

hypocrisy-thy-name-donald-trump-donald-trump-hypocrisy-china-politics-1457579539You’re at the bargaining table.

The lead management negotiator slides over a piece of paper. “You’re going to love what I’m proposing,” the guy says.

“Honest. It’s so good you don’t even have to check it out. Don’t read it. Just trust me. You know I want to do right by my workers.”

What’s that you say? “That dog won’t hunt?” (Or you might use a two-word phrase that connects an uncastrated male bovine and what he plops in the pasture.)

Well, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is shooting unions the same “trust me” line.

Where to start? How about Trump’s oft-repeated promise to stop outsourcing, which he had no problem with before he ran for president. Oh, yeah, he’s a big-time outsourcer himself. Click hereherehere and here.

Trump says he’d make American firms quit sending jobs and production to cheap labor countries by smacking them with hefty tariffs, or import taxes. He’s proposed a 45 percent tariff  on goods imported from China and a 35 percent tariff on Ford cars and parts made in Mexico and sold stateside.

Here’s the problem: A president can’t impose any federal tax. Only Congress can. (Remember “No taxation without representation” from history class?)

The odds of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan going for an import tax—or any tax hike—aren’t even slim and none. They’re none and none.

If Trump wins, the Republicans will almost certainly hold the House and Senate and, more likely, enhance their majorities in both chambers.

I’d bet the farm Trump realizes a president can’t levy a tax. So he’s free to bloviate about sticking up for American workers by sticking it to outsources with punitive tariffs knowing there’s no way he can do it by himself and no way a GOP Congress would pass them.

But he’s counting on working stiffs, especially those who’ve lost their good union jobs to outsourcing, to trust him and to swallow his sucker bait, hook, line and sinker.

Oh, Donald Trump brand suits andt ties are made in China.  Does anybody think he really wants a tax that would hit hit him hard in the wallet?

Anyway, Trump also says union members love him. Never mind that he’s fighting, tooth and nail, to keep his Las Vegas hotel workers from unionizing. Forget that Trump prefers “right to work” states to non-RTW states.

Boosting the minimum wage? Trump was against it. Now he wants to “let the states decide” whether to raise it. Here, the guy who claims to be a straight shooter is passing the buck, big time.

Trump is a lot like the Kentucky mule trader of old. He’s happy to show his teeth, but not the mule’s.

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