Happy Socialist Union Day

by: the Common Constitutionalist

 

Happy Labor Day all. I trust everyone is enjoying their long weekend. Here in New England Labor Day marks the official end to summer, fall unofficially begins, lasts about a week and a half and I go into hibernation until spring. Every year about this time I wish for global warming.

 

Labor Day for many is about family gatherings, cookouts, parades and fireworks. I enjoy all these but I personally give no acknowledgment to the “holiday” for Labor Day is a celebration of the “workers”. And not just any workers; union workers. Let’s just say I’m not a fan of unions, particularly public-sector unions.

 

But isn’t Labor Day a celebration of all workers? Maybe now, but it didn’t start out that way.

 

Most believe that like Independence Day, Labor Day is uniquely American.

 

It actually came about as a result of an 1872 strike by the Toronto Typographical Union. The strike was a protest of the long hours they had to work. They called it the “Nine Hour Movement” after the demand to decrease hours worked from 12 per day to 9 per day.

 

What those Canadian union strikers may not have realized was that striking was illegal, a criminal offense, thanks to a little-known law passed in 1792.

 

Consequently 24 members of the strike organizing committee were thrown in the slammer and many unionize workers were simply replaced by the employers. The employers brought in nonunion labor from nearby towns.

 

Prime Minister John McDonald was not too pleased by these employers’ actions and push through the “Trade Union Act” legalizing the union’s action.

 

Some accounts are that Peter McGuire, the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners was witness to one of the Canadian Labor Day celebrations.

 

He went back to New York and proposed an American Labor Day; the first on September 5, 1882, yet it didn’t become a holiday until 1894.

 

The holiday was brought about by the great Pullman strike of 1894. Pullman manufactured train cars in the Chicago area. This strike caused railroad shutdowns all over the country. President Grover Cleveland sent troops and marshals to end the strike. The result was 30 strikers dead and 57 wounded.

 

It was this that caused Congress to propose and ratifiy the national holiday not even a week after President Cleveland ended the strike.

 

Oh, and in the “some things never change category”, the Pullman strike was organized by a union boss, Democrat hack and avowed socialist, Eugene Debs.

 

Go Unions!

 

Happy Labor Day.

SEIU Will Kill the Fast Food Industry

by: the Common Constitutionalist

 

If you live in a major city, soon if not already, you will not be able to get fast food.

 

What are the soccer moms to do? Here’s an idea. Go home and make dinner. It shouldn’t be that difficult, judging by what we see on the politically correct McDonald’s commercials. Just dress up like a clown and serve your kids apple slices and milk. And don’t forget to recycle!

 

Anyway, our old communist pals are at it again. The SEIU is whipping up a frenzy among fast food workers with a call to strike. Workers in many cities have already walked off the job.

 

SEIU boss Mary Kay Henry granted an interview with fair and balanced Salon.com. Seated in her posh Washington DC office she told Salon, “see the fast food workers as standing up for all of us. Because the conditions are the same.”

 

Really Mary? The same as what? The same as your condition? Not hardly.

 

In 50 cities across the nation workers will walk or have already walked off the job. The strike against all the major fast food chains is for more pay and a chance to unionize.

 

The arbitrary number they have chosen is $15 an hour. I say arbitrary, because it is based on nothing. Someone just pulled it out of a hat. Why not 20, 50 or $100 an hour?

 

The argument is always the same; a living wage. No one can live on $7.25 an hour, the current minimum wage. I’m sure that’s true, but the average fast food worker doesn’t make minimum wage. The average is at least $9 an hour according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. read more

It’s a Wonder

I was at the grocery store over the weekend and something was conspicuously missing.

There were a grand total of 8 roles of Wonderbread on the shelf, where just weeks ago wonder was afforded a minimum of 10 to 20% of the entire bread aisle.

As I grabbed one, a voice behind me said, “It’s sad, isn’t it.”

One of my sons asked me if he could have the “Wonderbread” printed bag as a keepsake, since he grew up eating it (the bread, not the bag).

By now, most everyone has heard of the plight befallen Hostess Brands. Hostess, the makers of the aforementioned Wonderbread, Ding Dongs, Cupcakes and the venerable and chemically rich Twinkie, is closing up shop for good (it appears).

That means approximately 18,500 jobs lost adding to the already bulging unemployment roles.

Hostess had sent out notification to its employees that stated, “Despite our best efforts, certain events may occur that would require Hostess to sell all or portions of its business and/or its operations and liquidate”.

In January Hostess filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As many companies with unionized employees, Hostess stated pension and medical benefits obligations, the overall weak economy and restrictive work rules.

This is all too typical. Companies for decades have succumb to ever-burdening union rules that choke the life out of them. GM was and is a perfect example.

Under bankruptcy rules, most companies have the right to renegotiate their union contracts, however the union involved in the Hostess restructuring, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco workers and Grain Millers international Union (BCTGM), vowed to strike if the company tried to throw out or restructure the union contracts.

But with the national strike of the BTCGM, the CEO of Hostess, Gregory Rayburn was forced to say, “We deeply regret the necessity of [today’s] decision, but we do not have the financial resources to whether an extended nationwide strike. Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member work force and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”

Countless other businesses will be adversely affected by the closing. Outlet and thrift stores will most likely close as well as hundreds of distribution centers and thousands of independent delivery routes. The employees of all these independent businesses will find themselves out of work.

Of course the Union thugs are blaming Hostess, claiming mismanagement. That claim may be perfectly valid but what isn’t is the Union’s claim that Hostess will take away benefits like union employee pensions.

First, that’s a lie and the union bosses know it. Hostess announced they could no longer afford pension matching. The union employees would still be free to contribute to their own pensions, but Hostess could not match that contribution any longer.

Second, in this wonderful Obama economy, I would be more concerned where my next paycheck will come from then my retirement at this point.

Speaking of union thugs, the chief thug, Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO union and far leftist, through his hat into the ring.

Trumka stated publicly, “What’s happening with Hostess Brands is a microcosm of what’s wrong with America, Bain-style Wall Street vultures make themselves rich by making America poor.” Bain Capital is back? Come on guys, Romney lost, let it go.

I don’t even know how that’s possible unless you’re maybe Bernie Madoff or George Soros. Private Equity firms, like Bain Capital, cannot and do not get rich by making the workers poor.

He continued, “Crony capitalism and consistently poor management drove Hostess into the ground, but its workers are paying the price.”

Trumka is correct about one thing. A Private Equity (PE) firm didn’t take over to try to save Hostess.

What Trumka neglected to mention is that the evil Bain-style PE firm just happened to be the Gephardt Group, founded and owned by none other than that union heartthrob and Democrat hack, Dick Gephardt.

Is Trumka trying to tell us that Dick Gephardt, darling of the unions, is now trying to ruin them? Or is it possible that all these years in the private sector has made little Dick a wee bit smarter about economics.

I feel terrible for those union members who wish they could break from the union and renegotiate with Hostess on their own, but such is the folly of collective bargaining. You constantly put your faith and your livelihood in someone else’s hands.

So let’s bid a fond farewell to an American icon and eat one last Twinkie in remembrance (although, I always preferred the cupcakes).