Archive for the ‘unions’ Category

Labor’s Last Best Weapon: Lying

From the front flap of The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon:

David Webber uses cases such as Safeway’s to shine a light on labor’s most potent remaining weapon: its multitrillion-dollar pension funds. Outmaneuvered at the bargaining table and under constant assault in Washington, state houses, and the courts, worker organizations are beginning to exercise muscle through markets. Shareholder activism has been used to divest from anti-labor companies, gun makers, and tobacco; diversify corporate boards; support Occupy Wall Street; force global warming onto the corporate agenda; create jobs; and challenge outlandish CEO pay. Webber argues that workers have found in labor’s capital a potent strategy against their exploiters. He explains the tactic’s surmountable difficulties even as he cautions that corporate interests are already working to deny labor’s access to this powerful and underused tool.

I can’t speak to the first seven chapters of the book but that last chapter (The Retirement “Crises” and the Future of Labor’s Capital) makes the case that the pension crisis is a fraud perpetrated on the public by “billionaire conservative activists Charles and David Koch and their organization Americans for Prosperity, as well as Enron billionaire John Arnold and his Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) and other allies [who] are determined to reform public pension funds in ways that would destroy labor’s shareholder activism.” (page 213).

To that claptrap of a chapter I can speak.

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S5 Veto Reaction

After the last governor called him a ‘pension pig‘ Patrick Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, laid into Christie after last year’s conditional veto of the PFRS pension transfer bill:

Governor Christie’s decision to conditionally veto Senate Bill 3040 is the final proof, if proof were needed, that he is intent on destroying the pension system before his term is complete.The legislation he vetoed represented the best practices of well-funded and professionally managed police and fire pension systems from throughout the United States. Its primary purpose was to remove the New Jersey Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) from the political interference and blatant mismanagement of the State that has underfunded it for nearly 20 years. It would have placed PFRS into the hands of the employers and employees who fund and benefit from it by focusing primarily on fully funding the system. This would have been accomplished by hiring professionals and money managers who would focus only on PFRS with oversight from a new Board of Trustees who could direct the system outside of the political winds in Trenton.
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Chris Christie would rather play games and use poison pills in a veto than admit he has failed our members and give us a chance to do what he has proved he can’t do.
Thankfully he will no longer be Governor in 8 months and we look forward to moving this common sense proposal when his time in Trenton mercifully comes to an end.

Yet with this year’s conditional veto by a governor who was presumably bought and paid for by the unions the reaction bordered on ecstasy:

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Withdrawal Liability Scam

Many participants in multiemployer plans are justifiably worried about the security of their pensions. In Bethlehem there are protests:

The Bakery and Confectionery Union and Industrial International Pension Fund has sued Just Born, alleging that its efforts to stop new employees from enrolling in the pension is improper and that the company is attempting to wrongly avoid the withdrawal fee.

Union officials fear that if Just Born’s request to withdraw goes through it would prompt other firms to do the same — jeopardizing the pensions of thousands.

“They’re trying to take from those who gave them so much,” McKay said.

But Just Born executives say they’re just trying to ensure the future of the plant in Bethlehem and contend the company wants what’s best for its employees.

Union officials too are justifiably worried about their own future security as well as about maintaining those arbitrary methods of calculating withdrawal liabilities that develop such massive walkaway costs that employers must choose between either remaining in the plan or going bankrupt.

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Russian Roulette with NJ Pensions

A pension actuary for 35 years, Assemblyman Edward Thomson explains the dangers of not having safeguards that protect the state pension system during a hearing on legislation giving police and fire unions full control over their pensions.

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The amendment was not incorporated and today both the Assembly and Senate will pass the bill, against the advice of a few newspapers here.

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NJEA on NJ Budget

New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) president Ed Richardson discusses Governor Phil Murphy’s plans for funding public employee pensions with someone else who admittedly has no clue on the numbers:
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For their information…..

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Don’t Blame Unions. Instead…..

All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters. FDR 8/16/37

From that we move to newly elected New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s budget address where he made clear:
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What changed?

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Why Is Tom Moran Flacking For the Sweeney-Norcross Machine (and another question)

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) wants to know and I have a guess.

Tom Moran works for the largest recipient of legal-ad money in the state and State Senate president Stephen Sweeney is in a position to fend off any attempt to rein in this subsidy for newspapers who play the game. The NJEA is looking to punish Sweeney for not doing enough for their bribe money and Moran is defending Sweeney by attacking this ‘lying union’ and the $1.2 million in compensation their head gets.

But there is another question here.

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