Answers To Objections About Joining A Union

The more members in a Union, the more effective the Union becomes. The power to achieve positive results in collective bargaining or individual disputes is directly linked to density (the percentage of members in the workplace).

Most people who haven’t joined Unions have never been asked. Recent research found that over 70 percent of non-members have never been asked to join a union.

i-am-a-union-member

But there are also those who have been asked and have objections. Here are some great ways to handle those most common objections:

NOTE: The staff of Union Built PC, Inc. have been members of the following Local unions and Labor organizations over the course of many decades. For the sake of this article we will be using IBEW as an example.

  • CWA Local 9503 and 1101
  • USWA Local 3844
  • IBT Local 838
  • UAW Local 889
  • IBEW Local 17
  • UWUA Local 223
  • The Greater Kansas City Labor Council
  • Michigan Labor Press
  • Midwest Labor Press Association

Objection:

“Why should I join the union when I’ll get exactly the same wages and benefits without joining?”

Possible Answers:

  • “Right, you get all that the rest of us get. But we could get so much more if we didn’t have nonmembers. Aren’t you interested in further gains? Well, these can be won only if enough of us want them and are willing to work to get them.”
  • “If every worker felt as you do, we would have no union at all to bargain for us or to represent us in grievances. The longer you remain a nonmember, the more difficult it is for the union to improve your wages and working conditions.”
  • “Here is a card. Won’t you sign it so that you too can help to make possible the improvements we are all entitled to?”
  • “If everyone belonged, the benefits would be greater and the cost would be spread among more people.”
  • “As a nonmember, you are automatically on the side of the employer against the union at the bargaining table – you are agreeing with them that the demands made by the union are not proper, and that you are not entitled to any improvement in wages or working conditions. I’m sure you want to join with us to help make improvements possible rather than be counted as one who is against better wages and working conditions.”
  • “The union needs you. Your involvement and participation will make the union more effective. By not being a member, you miss the sense of belonging, the friendship, the feeling of being fully accepted by your fellow workers.”
  • “Each person has an obligation to share equally the cost of supporting the organization that wins the benefits. It’s just downright unfair to accept benefits that others are paying for. Suppose your next door neighbors paid no taxes on a house and yet sent their children to the public schools and used the roads and other public services. Would this be fair? Of course it wouldn’t. Nor is it fair for a person to realize all the benefits of unionism and not pay a fair share of the cost of gaining these benefits.”
  • “As a nonmember, you have no vote on whether to strike; and you have no voice in contract ratification or in election of representatives.”

Objection:

“I can’t afford to join. I’ve got a family to support and my check just isn’t big enough.”

Or, “The dues are too high.”

Possible Answers:

  • “You can’t afford not to belong. It doesn’t cost to belong to the union. It pays in the form of job security, better wages, and improved benefits.”
  • “Everything of value has a price. What you should do is to compare the value of a thing with the price you have to pay for it. If we do this with the union dues, I’m sure you will agree that union dues are a sound investment.”
  • “Compare the cost with your returns on this investment. Your return each year is far greater than the annual dues. And understand, we’re just talking about wage increases here. We haven’t begun to talk about the advantages of increased job security, seniority, better working conditions, such things as this. These are all extras that you get in return for your dues investment.”
  • “Did you ever stop to think how much less money you’d be making if it were not for the union? I’m sure that neither you nor I could afford to work for this employer at what we would make without a union. If it weren’t for IBEW, our wages would be far less than they are, and we would receive no fringe benefits. You owe it to yourself as well as to us to set aside a small portion of your higher wages to help raise wages even higher in the years ahead.”
  • “You say you have a family to support. You owe it to your family, above all, to be a member of a union that ensures job security, wage increases, and fringe benefits. Your family benefits directly from all of these.”
  • If the nonmember makes a specific reference to an inability to pay bills, mention the counseling service of the union (if this is available) and how union members with financial problems are afforded help.
  • If the nonmember pleads debt problems, mention the availability of the credit union, if you have one, and how a union member can borrow money at lower interest rates than are obtainable from a bank or finance company.

Objection:

“I don’t believe in unions.”

Possible Answers:

  • Point out what unions have done historically. Describe how things were in American industry before unions. Workers were fired at the whim of management or arbitrarily at the age of 40. Describe the extremely low wages, long hours, no fringe benefits, no unemployment compensation, no social security, no workers’ compensation. Stress not only the contract gains but also the efforts of labor to enact better laws and create better communities.
  • “Unions are just associations of people banded together for mutual protection and benefit. Everyone – farmers, merchants, bankers, lawyers, utility companies – everyone joins together today to increase their effectiveness. Why not workers?”
  • “The newspapers do their best to make unions look bad, and this is understandable since employers spend a lot of money on ads. But prove things for yourself – join us, come to our meetings, and then decide whether unions are good or bad.”
  • Try to find out the specific reason behind this objection, and then try to correct the false impression the employee has.

Objection:

“I don’t need a union; the employer is fair. The employer will take care of us without a union. I get along fine with my boss. What has the union gotten for us that we wouldn’t have gotten anyway?”

Possible Answers:

  • “This is a good place to work now, and the union played a big part in making this so. But of course, this is no reason why we shouldn’t try to make it an even better place to work. Your job has been made more pleasant and secure because of the union representation afforded you on the job. Your supervisor has to treat you fairly since the contract requires that he or she do so. The employer is fair because the union is always looking over its shoulder. Even so, almost every employee at one time or another has a grievance or complaint. That’s where the union comes in.”
  • Rely on history, and point out the job security clause in the contract including the final step of arbitration. Explain about conditions of work, including low wages and poor working conditions before IBEW. You might want to call in an older worker to give a firsthand account. Discuss the history of bargaining in the specific bargaining unit. You might contrast the first offers of the employer versus the final settlement and show the difference in terms of cents per hour or dollars per year. Point out that the employer often admits that the union forces them to grant more than they would like to grant. You might want to use a prepared sheet showing union gains over the years. Also point out specific grievances the union has won (use cases that you personally are familiar with).
  • “The employer will treat you well so long as this is the profitable thing for them to do. But you’re like the rest of us. We’re merely numbers on a page. There’s no room for sentiment or humanity in this employer or any other giant firm today. The union provides protection from arbitrary and unfair treatment by the employer.”
  • “You never know when you might need the help of the union. The union has been able to get a clause in the contract that assures employees fair treatment if the need should ever arise. If too many people felt the way you feel, there would be no union and no protection for anyone.”
  • Point out that very frequently personality clashes arise between employees and supervisors. Ask: “What would you do if this should happen to you? What would you be able to do to help yourself if the employer fired or demoted or otherwise mistreated you?”
  • “Individuals may not know their rights under the law and under the contract. In today’s complex world, organizations of all sorts are necessary to achieve any important objectives. This is the reason for the union. The union has to be able to bargain from strength in order to adequately protect employees from arbitrary treatment, to get better wages, longer vacations, more adequate pensions, and so on.”
  • Point to the article in the contract which makes IBEW the sole bargaining agent. This means that the employer as well as the government recognizes that only IBEW is able to speak for all of the employees. The employees can’t by law deal directly with the employer.

Objection:

“I’m only going to be working here a short while (on a temporary or part-time job).”

Possible Answers:

  • “Even if you do leave within a few months, you are receiving all the benefits that all the rest of us pay for while you are here, and we think it only right that you pay your share while you remain on the job.”
  • “While you are with us, we want you to be one of us. We want you to fit in with the group and be an equal. You will enjoy it more and we will enjoy having you.”
    “Whether you stay here six months or thirty years, you’ll get full benefits and full protection while you are employed.”
  • “Who knows, you might decide to stay on, or you might decide to return a year or five years from now. You know that we have a leave of absence and job return policy. You can get a withdrawal card from the union if you do decide to leave.”

Objection:

“My spouse would divorce me.”

Or, “My parents don’t like unions.”

Possible Answers:

  • Find out why the spouse or parent objects. Offer to sit down and talk things over. Offer to go home that very evening with the nonmember to discuss the matter with the relative. (House calls are very successful.)
  • “Your (husband, wife, father, etc.) lets you work and accepts your contribution to the household. They should let you do your part to make your job more pleasant and better paying. You’re the one who is working on the job. You put up with the working conditions. You get the paycheck. You know better than anyone else whether a union is good for you. Let me visit your home and discuss this matter with you and your family this very evening.”

Objection:

“The union doesn’t do anything for you (as in, grievances are not settled satisfactorily).” Or, “I don’t like the people who are running things in the union.”

Possible Answers:

  • Insist upon specifics – the specific grievance the nonmember has in mind. Check out the problem, obtain the facts, and report back to the nonmember. Concede that the union can make mistakes, but point out that many grievances have been won, again being specific.
  • “Officers and stewards do their jobs the best way they know how. If you or someone you know has not been treated fairly, tell us about it so that it can be remedied.”
  • “Your local officers and stewards work for this employer just as you and I do. They need lots of training, experience, and help from you to do the job well. Your signature on this card will give you the right and the opportunity to help in running this union better.” Point out that the members have an obligation to replace those officers and stewards who continue to do their job poorly.
  • “You are the union. You can get involved and run for office to help change the things you don’t like.”
  • Enumerate the contract benefits – choice of hours, vacations, sick benefits. Remind the nonmember that these didn’t come automatically.
  • Discuss the need to use the grievance procedure properly. Frequently some of the complaints we have about grievances occur because the proper procedure was not followed.
  • “Hundreds of grievances are settled satisfactorily. But with 100 percent membership, we could do an even better job of investigating and processing grievances.”

Objection:

“I can’t afford to strike. How can I be sure I won’t be out on strike? I don’t believe in strikes.”

Possible Answers:

  • “It’s up to the members to decide whether to strike. Of course, if you’re not a union member you will have no say whatsoever in the matter.”
  • “When unions are weak, employers force them to strike or else accept low wages or poor working conditions. But if unions are big enough to hurt the employer in a strike, management will offer more and thereby avoid a strike. In short, if workers are unified, a strike is less likely.”
  • “Strikes are very infrequent in this union.”
  • “Do you know about the union’s defense fund? If workers are forced out on strike by an impossible employer position, this fund exists to assist members in meeting their more important bills. We now have millions of dollars in the defense fund so that no one will go without or be badly hurt if we are forced to strike.”
  • “Year after year, less than one-fifth of one percent of all working time is lost by strikes. Now this is only a small fraction of the time lost through layoffs or industrial accidents or other sickness. You read in the newspaper about strikes because, of course, strikes are news. You never read in the newspapers about the hundreds and thousands of negotiations that are settled without the necessity of a strike. What I’m trying to say is that strikes are really very unusual.”

Objection:

“I can handle my own affairs. I can take care of myself. I’ll make my own decisions. I don’t intend to stay on this job forever; I’m looking for a promotion.”

Possible Answers:

  • “This may be true, but the chances are that you might need help somewhere along the way. Besides, all your fellow employees aren’t as fortunate. They need help. They need your help.”
  • “You are working in a large industry and necessarily are a cog in a very large machine. Unless you fit into this machine, you are not a desirable employee, so your future depends in large part on your ability to get along with everyone, including your fellow workers.”

Objection:

“My religion doesn’t permit me to belong to any outside organization.”

Possible Answers (and yes, this can be a sticky one):

  • “I’ve never heard of a faith that bars membership in a union. I would like to discuss this matter with you and with your pastor so that we can clear up any misunderstandings. Unions have always worked closely with churches. Our goals are similar: to help our fellow human beings.”
  • Follow through on this. Contact the pastor or minister. Verify the church’s policy and report back to the nonmember.
  • “Your religion and all other religions teach you to love your neighbor, to be responsible for your brother’s welfare. And that is what the union is designed to do. There is no conflict between the goals of unions and religions.”

Objection:

“My boss doesn’t believe in unions. I’ve seen what happens to union members.”

Possible Answers:

  • “It used to be that many supervisors didn’t like unions, but most of these have either changed their ways or have been transferred.”
  • “At one time, supervisors were virtual dictators with power to hire or fire you on the spot. Now they must live up to the contract and treat people with respect. If a supervisor can’t do this, management will get rid of them.”
  • “The law, the contract, and public policy guarantee you the right to join and engage in union activity.”

Objection:

“I don’t want anything to do with unions. They’re all corrupt.”

Possible Answers:

  • Show the nonmember a copy of IBEW’s constitution and point out how the constitution assures democratic procedures and membership control of the union.
  • Point out that membership in the union gives you a right to choose your own officers and to correct abuses.

Objection:

“I don’t know enough about IBEW or the union movement.”

Possible Answers:

  • “The officers of the local union and I will be glad to sit down with you anytime, any place, and tell you everything you might want to know about IBEW and answer any questions you might have. After you’ve learned some of the history of the union and how it operates, I’m sure you will want to become a member of IBEW.”
  • “What do you need to know about IBEW? IBEW is a large union; it is honestly run; it is efficient; and it is democratic.”

Objection:

“I’m not interested. I just don’t want to join.”

Possible Answers:

  • “You can’t afford not to be interested in the union. What happens in the union and between the union and the employer affects you; it affects all employees. Contract negotiations, grievances, etc., concern everyone in one way or another.”
  • It might be necessary to go into a general explanation of the reasons people join unions.

YOUR TURN

Have you come across these or other objections? We want to know how you handled them! Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to sign up for our monthly #Union Strong email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Microsoft Admits Windows 10 Has A Serious Problem

There’s the thing about Windows 10; you give up control. Control over updates and control over privacy, but Microsoft has finally admitted the latter is a serious problem and is taking action…

In a blog post Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group, said the words millions have been waiting to hear:

“Many of you have asked for more control over your data, a greater understanding of how data is collected, and the benefits this brings for a more personalized experience. Based on your feedback, we are launching two new experiences to help ensure you are in control of your privacy.”

microsoft-10-privacy-settings

Arguably even more important, however, are two changes being made to the Windows 10 Creators Update when it is released in the next few months (and yes, it’s still a stupid name – ‘Windows 10.2’ would be fine!).

1. Overhauled Privacy Settings On Install/Update
Say goodbye to the rubbish ‘Express Settings’ screen on first install, with the Windows 10 Creators Update you’ll get clear but simply worded explanations and toggle switches. Users upgrading to the Creators Update will also be prompted to use after updating.

2. Simplified Diagnostic Data
More detail is needed here before judging the benefits but three collections levels are being cut down to just two: ‘Basic’ and ‘Full’. Basic will have only “data that is vital to the operation of Windows” which Microsoft defines are central to “keep Windows and apps secure, up-to-date, and running properly”.

Again you’ll be prompted to review your choice after installing the Creators Update.

microsoft-10-privacy-settings-2

New Windows 10 ‘Basic’ privacy settings deliver more user control
Image credit: Microsoft

Why So Long? And New Questions On The Horizon

It is said the first step towards admitting you have a problem is admitting you have a problem. But Microsoft has skipped this by both (finally) admitting its problem and coming up with some solutions in a single step. That’s commendable, though we’d prefer to have had an admission much earlier and a “We’re working on it!” message.

On top of this, the Creators Update looks set to raise as many questions as it answers due to something it will add called ‘Dynamic Lock’. This uses your PC’s web camera to monitor when you are sat in front of it so it can be automatically locked when you step away. Users will be able to disable Dynamic Lock, which solves my concerns, but it is likely to start a whole new wave of conspiracy theories.

Furthermore, Microsoft must still address the issue of control over Windows 10 updates. The Creators Update introduces the option to delay the installation of non-security updates for up to 35 days, but only Windows 10 Professional, Education and Enterprise versions qualify.

This means Microsoft recognizes users’ need for control but the company continues to treat mainstream Windows 10 Home users as guinea pigs for the stability of new updates before they are provided to big business. That needs to stop and users of all versions deserve the right to have control over their PCs, should they want it.

Despite all this, it is clear Microsoft is making significant steps in the right direction with Windows 10. It just shouldn’t have taken so many obviously wrong ones in the first place.

YOUR TURN

For the latest in IT News for your home or Union Office Like Union Built PC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.  And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

 

A Sobering Reminder to Unions on the Critical Importance of Supreme Court Appointees

President Trump is looking for a surefire conservative for the Supreme Court. For all the escalating rancor, this round to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia could be the prelude to a more consequential battle. The possibility of a second Supreme Court vacancy in the near future is subtly affecting the strategy of the Republican Trump team in the final stages of selecting a candidate and of Democratic opponents girding for what could be years of political turmoil surrounding the composition of America’s highest court.

Scalia, who died last February, was a rigid conservative on social issues so Trump’s replacement would likely be a wash. But a Trump successor to either of the two eldest justices — liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who will turn 84 in March, or centrist-conservative Anthony Kennedy, turning 81 in July — could truly transform the law in America.

How the Fate of Unions Fell Into The Hands of a Single Man

In Commonwealth v. Hunt, (1842), an American legal case in which the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that the common-law doctrine of criminal conspiracy did not apply to labor unions. Until then, workers’ attempts to establish closed shops had been subject to prosecution. Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw asserted, however, that trade unions were legal and that they had the right to strike or take other steps of peaceful coercion to raise wages and ban nonunion workers.

lemuel-shaw

The case stemmed from a demand by the Boston Journeymen Bootmakers’ Society that an employer fire one of its members who had disobeyed the society’s rules. The employer, fearing a strike, complied, but the dismissed employee complained to the district attorney, who then drew an indictment charging the society with conspiracy. The Boston Municipal Court found the union guilty.

Justice Shaw, hearing the case on appeal, altered the traditional criteria for conspiracy by holding that the mere act of combining for some purpose was not illegal. Only those combinations intended “to accomplish some criminal or unlawful purpose, or to accomplish some purpose, not in itself criminal or unlawful, by criminal or unlawful means” could be prosecuted.

Shaw, in effect, legalized the American labor union movement by this decision.

Let’s hope that the inevitable Democratic show of force on the first nomination serves as a warning to Trump not to put up an uncompromising conservative for a more consequential opening.

YOUR TURN

Prognosticators? What are your thoughts? Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly #UnionStrong email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

12 Moments of Right-Wing Horror and Absurdity in 2016

President-elect Donald Trump had the most perfect New Year’s tweet. And by perfect, we mean perfectly awful. Say what you will, the man has an uncanny ability to compress his entire sick personality into a mere 140 characters. 

“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!” he tweeted.

trump
Photo credit: Jeff Turner / Flickr

It’s a little hard to celebrate the end of 2016, a truly awful year, when in 20 days, this petty, vindictive man with the maturity and impulse control of a five-year-old and the ossified views of a dinosaur will be president. Though you may be cowering under your bed in dread at the idea, we thought we’d take you on a little stroll to recap of some of the horrors and absurdities the right wing visited upon us during the year that was.

1. Donald Trump staged a year-long assault on the truth.

Donald Trump lies all the time. He lies malignantly, and he lies ridiculously. His entire political career is founded on the birther lie, which he still brags about. He ran his campaign on lies about black crime, dangerous immigrants and non-existent jobs, more or less defrauding the American people the same way he defrauded the students of Trump University. In some cases, the lies he told were so demonstrably false that they were almost funny. Almost.

Two examples:

“There is no drought,” Donald Trump told Californians while campaigning in the drought-stricken state last May.

If there is a water problem, he continued, it’s because someone closed the water, so Trump is going to open it.

“If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive,” Trump said.

It’s just so crazy to say this. Arguably, it’s one thing to deny climate change, which is a bit complicated and requires scientists to explain it. But droughts? Not to mention air pollution. Dude, we can see those.

Another bizarre lie in the final days of the campaign was a depiction of how President Obama dealt with a protester at a Clinton campaign rally.

“He was talking to the protester, screaming at him, really screaming at him,” Trump told his insanely gullible crowd in Tampa, Florida.

“By the way, if I spoke the way Obama spoke to that protester, they [the mean old media] would say, he became unhinged! He spent so much time screaming at this protester and frankly, it was a disgrace.”

This was, in fact, the very opposite of what happened. In what was televised for all to see, President Obama urged the slightly rowdy crowd to take it easy on the protester, who was older and appeared to be a veteran.

So this was not just a lie, it was a masterpiece of projection. For Donald Trump is the one who consistently endangered protesters at his rallies by inciting his supporters to rough them up and worse.

2. Trump spokesperson Scottie Nell Hughes confirmed facts don’t matter anymore.

The persistence and outrageousness of Trump’s many lies can be attributed the sobering reality that the Trump era helped usher in the post-truth world we now find ourselves living in. The tweeter-in-chief spreads conspiracy theories, spins minor victories into major coups and occasionally in an unguarded moment spews some accidental truth about how he can’t believe so many people actually believe anything he says.

But still, you’re not supposed to just come out and say that truth and facts don’t matter.

CNN Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes confirmed all of our worst fears after the election when she said, “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts,” on the Diane Rehm Show on WAMU, an NPR affiliate.

She was explaining the truth according to Trump to her fellow aghast panelists when it comes to Trump’s claim that “millions of fraudulent voters” gave Hillary Clinton her 2.8 million popular vote victory.

Here is what Hughes purported to be her logic:

“Mr. Trump’s tweets amongst a certain crowd, a large—a large part of the population, are truth. When he says that millions of people illegally voted, he has some, in his, amongst him and his supporters, and people believe they have facts to back that up. Those that do not like Mr. Trump, they say that those are lies, and there’s no facts to back it up.”

That is seriously scary. We have a president and his minions who now believe truth is what he says it is.

3. Trump surrogates wildly misunderstand Pussygate.

Trump’s videotaped assertions that he could grab women by the genitals because he is famous threw some of his surrogates into disarray, though not all. And a few of them performed some of the more hilarious contortions seen on the campaign trail to deflect attention from the damaging revelations.

One was Newt Gingrich who reinforced his already creepy image by conflating sex and sexual assault in a dustup with Megyn Kelly in October. While she pressed for answers and expressed concerns for women’s safety, Gingrich countered with the accusation that Kelly is “fascinated with sex,” because she kept talking about it.

Funnier still was Betsy McCaughey, the former Lieutenant Governor or New York, whose nutjob takedown of Obamacare invented the concept of death panels. She argued that if you like Beyoncé’s music, you can’t complain about sexual assault. Like other right-wingers, she seemed to think the problem with the leaked video was Trump’s foul language, rather than the whole rapey/consent thing.

Hillary Clinton, a fan of Beyoncé, likes bad words more than Donald Trump, McCaughey argued, before whipping out and performing the lyrics to “Formation.”

“‘I came to slay, bitch. When he f-ed me good I take his ass to Red Lobster.’ That happens to be from Beyoncé, her favorite performer,” McCaughey said of Clinton. “Whom she says she idolizes and would like to imitate. There’s a lot of hypocrisy, in Hillary Clinton expressing such horror at language on the bus.”

McCaughey was triumphant. She really scored there.

Later, after several women accused Trump of sexually assault, McCaughey called their accusations an example of “man-shaming” and suggested the women should not be believed.

“With all due respect, that was the same thing that the folks over at Bill Cosby’s camp said,” CNN Don Lemon pointed out.

“Well, and sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong,” McCaughey countered.

Ummm, yeah. They were right.

4. Ted Cruz’s unconscionable defense of Senate blocking Obama’s Supreme Court appointment.

In October, Ted Cruz, who for some reason had forgotten that everyone including his own party detests him, floated an idea about the Supreme Court. Maybe, if Hillary Clinton were to win the presidency, Senate Republicans really would just take all of their toys and go home and stonewall on any Supreme Court appointment she attempted to make. So there.

“There is long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices,” Cruz lied at a campaign event. “Just recently Justice [Stephen] Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job, that’s a debate that we are going to have.”

Cruz’s threat did not quite pack the punch of fellow tea partier Joe Walsh’s threat to “grab a musket” if the election did not go Trump’s way, but was more in Cruz’s trademark mealy-mouthed and thoroughly dishonest style.

For starters, there is no long history of that, and secondly, Breyer did not say that. The Senate’s inaction on Supreme Court appointees has severely affected the high court’s ability to do its job. Deadlocking on cases involving immigration and unions and other vital issues means the court is literally failing to do its job, which is to decide things.

The Supreme Court is only the best known example of the harm GOP stonewalling has done to the judiciary. Republicans have confirmed only 18 of Obama’s federal court nominees, and created a “judicial emergency,” which is a term for when courts are so back-logged and caseloads are so high that Americans’ access to justice is endangered.

Cruz knows about this judicial emergency and has gleefully propagated it. Unlike his idiotic fellow traveler John McCain, whom Cruz was echoing. Cruz is a lawyer and touts himself as a constitutionalist, but for some reason it’s okay for him to ignore the part of the U.S. Constitution that gives the power of appointing justices to the current president of the United States.

Cut to present and Cruz’s name has sickeningly been floated for a Trump appointment to the Supreme Court, while Cruz accused the Democrats of threatening to be the most obstructionist party in history.

Ha! One hopes.

5. Melania Trump’s barely hidden misogyny revealed itself in an interview with Anderson Cooper.

At first glance, Melania Trump did a good job of seeming like a decent and sane person in her softball interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper in October. She reported that her husband had apologized to her about bragging he sexually assaults women, and that she accepted his apology. But she pointed out, it was not his fault. Billy Bush made him do it. Donald is, she acknowledged, a big kid, barely more mature than their 11-year-old, Barron.

But her mixed messages about her husband’s level of maturity were only part of the problem. On closer inspection, there was quite a bit of misogyny lurking behind her words, and viewing women as the real predators seems pretty firmly ensconced in her worldview. Since boys will of course be endearing if potty-mouthed boys, Melania blamed the manipulative women who are always hitting on her husband, sometimes right in front of her, throwing themselves at him. This was in the context of talking about sexual assault allegations, so the unmistakable conclusion was that she was implying some women are asking for it.

As for Natasha Stoynoff, the People magazine writer who said Trump forcibly kissed her at Mar-a Lago, the most important thing Melania wanted to convey was that she was never friends with Stoynoff and would not recognize her on Fifth Avenue, despite the fact that Stoynoff attended the Trumps’ wedding. (And the most important thing Mr. Trump would have you know is that Stoynoff is not his idea of attractive enough for him to sexually assault. Stoynoff has recently confirmed that knowing Trump would attack her looks did give her pause before going public with her ordeal. How many more?)

6. Rudy ‘9/11’ Giuliani conveniently forgot when 9/11 happened.

In September, self-proclaimed September 11 hero mayor Rudy Giuliani managed to forget when 9/11 happened so that he could make the laughably false statement that there were no terrorist incidents before President Obama took office. Around the same time he made that brain fart, and right after the first debate in which Trump tanked badly, Rudy posted a banner week sucking up Trump’s fumes. Here were some of the lowlights:

  • Immediately following the debate, Giuliani was the first to float the idea that Trump should skip the rest of the debates. Why? Because Trump blew it so badly, and his gnat-like attention span prevents him from actually preparing? No, because it was rigged! Lester Holt was so unfair when he corrected Trump a few times on his lies! (Especially when Holt pointed out to Trump that the police practice he and Giuliani so love, stop-and-frisk, is unconstitutional and racist.)
  • Later in the week, Giuliani joined the fray in criticizing Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs, because that’s just extremely relevant to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and Giuliani has always been an exemplary husband and father. Because he cares so much about women and children, Giuliani helpfully pointed out how “stupid” Hillary is to have stayed with Bill. In the same dizzying spew, Giuliani called Trump a “feminist” for hiring women (even if he fat-shames them and fires them for not being attractive enough). He also claimed Bill Clinton “violated” Monica Lewinsky, and as a former prosecutor, isn’t he supposed to know that’s not the case?
  • By the end of the week, Giuliani decided it was appropriate to make racist, anti-immigrant remarks and insult Mexicans working in the kitchen at the Waldorf Astoria during a black-tie event there, even managing to offend the various business leaders assembled. Red-faced, the head of the Commercial Finance Association, obviously a left-wing organization, was forced to issue a formal apology to attendees.

Diagnosis: The bile has finally eaten all the way through Giuliani’s brain.

7. Britt Hume idiotically whined about how he’s not even allowed to say Hillary Clinton is shrill and needs to smile more.

Hume, Fox News’ so-called reasonable one, gave the following critique after Hillary Clinton’s Democratic convention speech: “She has a habit, when speaking, of breaking into a kind of a sharp, lecturing tone, [it] makes you feel like. She has a great asset, as a public person, which is a radiant smile, but she has a not-so-attractive voice.”

Now, technically, he did not actually use the word “shrill” having somehow gotten the message that that word is not very well-disguised sexism. A few weeks later, Hume and Tucker Carlson were having a little chat about what they can and cannot say about Hillary Clinton. It’s so frustrating being a white male these days. Everybody’s always picking on you, trying to take away the privileges to which you’ve become accustomed.

They were discussing the outrage of Clinton not smiling enough while she was talking to the families of dead soldiers during the “Commander-in-Chief” forum. Carlson said he admires Clinton’s toughness (ha! no), but thinks she undercuts that when she mentions the sexism in the media’s coverage of her. How so? Not sure.

But poor Hume just doesn’t even know what he can say anymore, everything has become so unfair.

“You know at the Democratic convention, I was on after her speech, and it struck me that she did some things effectively in that speech, particularly her critique of Donald Trump,” Hume said. “But she seemed—and she has at other times in the campaign—to be kind of angry and joyless, and yes, unsmiling. I said that on the air, and I really caught it on Twitter from people who said, ‘You’re just a sexist, I can’t believe somebody’s saying that.’ But it raises this question, Tucker, in America today, is it possible for a woman to be shrill, and if so, or joyless, or unsmiling, is it possible for somebody to say that without ending up in jail?”

The dreadful persecution of Hume and other men who wish to call women shrill with impunity continues.

8. Pond scum emerges, says vile scummy things, gets book contract.

If there is a more despicable piece of shower mold than Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos, we do not know it.

In a mediascape that normalized Trump’s demagogic drunk uncle act and legitimized him into the presidency, this other creature from a hateful lagoon was granted a hearing on ABC “Nightline” with Terry Moran.

Yiannopoulos has been banned from Twitter for leading a harassment campaign against the comedian Leslie Jones, something he is apparently proud of.

“I like to think of myself as a virtuous troll,” Yiannopoulos bizarrely self-aggrandized in the interview.

We like to think of him with a stake driven through his tongue, but hey, we like to think lots of things.

Moran thought maybe he could pull some decency out of this cockroach, and asked if Yiannopoulos would tell Jones “she looks like a dude” in person.

“Yeah, probably,” Yiannopoulos replied. ”I probably would.”

“Then you’re an idiot, really,” Moran said.

Moran again tried to reason with the moron. “You’re going to go after somebody’s body to denigrate their ideas? What grade are you in? Seriously. Are you a 13-year-old boy? Because somebody doesn’t have a weight that you think is proper? That’s revolting.”

Revolting is a word Yiannopoulos can relate to.

“I’ll tell you what’s revolting,” Yiannopoulos responded. “What’s revolting is the body positivity movement. What’s revolting is this idea now that you can tell women that they’ll be healthy at any size.”

And now, having discussed this vile piece of bellybutton lint, we need to go take a bath.

9. Trump sons went from comparing refugees to Skittles to just making sh*t up.

It was Donald Trump, Jr. who compared refugees to Skittles, prompting the candymaker to distance itself from the Trump campaign (as Tic Tac later did). But it was son Eric who made up the absurd original lie of his father’s sh*tshow of a campaign in the fall. He swore it was not President Obama’s Kenyan birth or his secret status as a Muslim Manchurian candidate, it was a Christmas story. Who doesn’t love a Christmas story?

During an interview, Eric said Trump entered the political sphere because the Obama/Grinches stole Chistmas. “He sees the tree on the White House lawn has been renamed Holiday tree instead of Christmas tree. I could go on and on for hours. Those are the very things that made my father run, and those are the very things he cares about.”

One teeny tiny leetle problem. It’s not true. As in has no basis in reality. Didn’t happen. Throughout the Obama administration, the White House Christmas Tree has been called the “White House Christmas Tree.” It’s not even the “White House Xmas Tree.”

So this is a made-up story, a myth, a manufactured crisis, and all part of the nonexistent war on Christmas that isn’t being waged anywhere.

Eric also pointed out other pseudo outrages galvanizing his father’s run.

“He opens the paper and some new school district has just eliminated the ability for its students to say the Pledge of Allegiance, or some fire department in some town is ordered by the mayor to no longer fly the American flag on the back of a fire truck,” Eric Trump told the Stream’s James Robinson.

There are just a few things wrong with this statement. Chiefly, Donald Trump doesn’t open a paper. He opens his Twitter feed, Fox News or maybe Breitbart. Sometimes he glances at the National Enquirer, especially if “people are saying” there’s a good conspiracy theory about Ted Cruz’s father or Hillary Clinton’s health on the cover.

The Kool-Aid in the Trump household was clearly very strong.

10. Before Trump surrogate Carl Paladino said horrendously racist and hateful things about the Obamas, he said other horrible racist things.

Back in August, while Trump was attacking the Khan family for having an American war hero son while being Muslim, his pal and upstate New York school board official Carl Paladino went on “Imus in the Morning” to defend his right to do so. He started by making up stuff about Hillary Clinton.

“We’ve got an unindicted felon [he means Clinton] as his opponent and you’re talking about Khan, about [Trump] making a remark about this man? All right, I don’t care if he’s a Gold Star parent. He certainly doesn’t deserve that title, OK, if he’s as anti-American as he’s illustrated in his speeches and in his discussion. I mean, if he’s a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or supporting, you know, the ISIS-type of attitude against America, there’s no reason for Donald Trump to have to honor this man.”

It’s hard to be worse than Trump himself, but apparently manageable for some.

Keeping the level of discourse as high as possible, Paladino went on to insist that Obama is a Muslim and Hillary Clinton is “devious” for hiding her alleged health problems (that have been thorougly debunked).

“But if you’re really looking at what’s been exposed about Hillary and Hillary’s demeanor, I mean, just look at the deviousness. If it is true about her health problems, I mean, how devious can a woman possibly be? And not telling the American people that she’s got some sickness, she’s definitely impaired.”

Diagnosis: Paladino is morally impaired.

11. Bill O’Reilly instructed black people to hate Black Lives Matter.

In December Bill O’Reilly let his white aupremacist flag fly in a rant about opponents of the Electoral College.

But we shouldn’t let that despicable moment obscure another despicable moment back in July, when several police officers in Dallas were gunned down after a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration, which had nothing to do with the shooting.

O’Reilly took the opportunity to insist that everyone must hate and fear Black Lives Matter immediately. He and other Fox Newsians spent a good deal of their post-Dallas airtime whipping up as much hysteria and anger as possible against a group that has a name and a message no sane person can argue with. But sane people do not sit at Fox roundtables, as an episode of “Outnumbered” clearly shows. Meanwhile, colleagues Megyn Kelly and racist ex-cop Mark Fuhrman took it upon themselves to lecture black people to stop exaggerating problems with the police. You got that, Philando Castile, Eric Garner and Alton Sterling?

But O’Reilly is just so sick and tired of black people not listening to him when he tells them what is good for them. Speaking to his guest, NAACP director Hilary Shelton, O’Reilly said, “So, you know what I think? I think that if you really want, if African Americans really want to bring the country together and have good racial relations, they have to distance themselves from Black Lives Matter. Am I wrong?”

Yeah, you’re wrong, Shelton said, explaining that the Black Lives Matter marches are occurring for a very good reason. And lots of people understand that.

But white people ha-a-a-te Black Lives Matter, O’Reilly whined, mistaking the echo chamber in his head for reality once again. “White Americans despise this crew. And if black Americans don’t understand that, we’re just going to grow further apart.”

Shelton carried on saying reasonable things that were in the spirit of bringing people together, among other things pointing out that people of all races join Black Lives Matter marches and believe in the movement and in justice for all Americans.

All on deaf ears. O’Reilly was just too busy breaking the douchebag-o-meter.

12. Fox Newsians said—with straight faces—that asking Trump for his tax return was discrimination against rich people.

No, seriously, Kimberly Guilfoyle really did say this. She and her co-hosts from “The Five” were discussing this terrible miscarriage of justice—the fact that Mitt Romney suggested there might be a bombshell in Donald Trump’s unreleased tax returns, and that now everyone is all over his case to release them. The Donald had up with various reasons not to produce them, including the hilarious statement that the IRS picks on him because he’s such a strong Christian. One suspects the real secret the Donald is hiding is that he is not nearly as wealthy as he makes himself out to be, which is the only revelation in the universe that could bring the shameless reality star the remotest sense of shame.

But Guilfoyle and equally idiotic Eric Bolling just thought it was so mean—so, so rude—to ask the Donald to produce his tax returns. Co-host Dana Perino tried to explain that the office of the presidency is that of a public servant, not the gold-plated throne from which to order decrees that Trump imagines it to be, and pointed out that although taxes are “complicated for [insert the word rich] people,” they would likely be an issue in the general election.

Juan Williams pointed out that Donald’s taxes are “relevant right now.”

Guilfoyle jumped all over that, whining, “What about discrimination, Juan?”

Huh?

“Against rich people,” Guilfoyle said. “And one percenters. Nobody ever asks to see the poor—it’s so rude.”

So rude. Poor people get all the breaks.

YOUR TURN

Do you have something to add to the list? What is your most horrendous Right-Wing moment of 2016? Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page, or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly #UnionStrong email newswletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.

 

 

Additional reporting by Alternet.

2016: Year in Review

Here’s looking back at some of 2016’s biggest #UnionStrong moments. We stand with you Sisters and Brothers!

NATIONAL…

scalias-death-ends-friedrichs-threatScalia’s death ends Friedrichs threat
In a case known as Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, the U.S. Supreme Court was getting ready to impose so-called “right-to-work” status on all public employees in the United States — making dues strictly voluntary and thus weakening unions considerably. But the death of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February resulted in a 4-4 deadlock on the case. The threat to labor could return, however, if a similar case is filed after another anti-union justice is appointed.

unions-count-verizon-strike-as-a-winUnions count Verizon strike as a win
America’s biggest strike in four years took place in April and May as 39,000 members of CWA and IBEW struck Verizon’s East Coast landline operations rather than accept contract concessions at the highly-profitable company. The strike ended after 45 days with a deal brokered by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez on terms the union called a win, including 10.5 percent raises over four years, and protections against outsourcing of call center jobs.

Clinton loses in the electoral college
In the general election, Hillary Clinton had the support of nearly every labor union in the country, and she won nearly 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. But she lost where it mattered: The electoral college, thanks to narrow Trump wins in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

trans-pacific-partnership-dead-at-lastTrans-Pacific Partnership, dead at last
For the first time since NAFTA, a corporate-written trade deal died on the vine. The 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnerhip (TPP) was one of Obama’s top priorities, but broad public hostility to the deal — and the defection of some Republicans over industry concerns — prevented ratification in Congress. Trump’s election sealed its fate.

IN YOUR STATE…

Top legislative win: Minimum wage
With unions prepared to put minimum wage increases on the ballot, the Oregon Legislature stepped up to do the job and put the minimum wage on track to 12.50 to 14.75 by 2022, depending on the region. That amounts to an hourly raise of $3.25 to $5.50 an hour for hundreds of thousands of Oregon workers.

Biggest ballot defeat: Measure 97
Despite $16 million in local and national union money, a proposal to raise taxes on the biggest corporations doing business in Oregon was rejected by voters. As a result, instead of new investment in schools, health care and senior services, the state of Oregon faces a budget shortfall next year, once again.

Biggest union organizing wins:

  • 886 support workers at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center joined AFT.
  • 793 PSU grad students joined AFT/AAUP.
  • 310 hospital technicians at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center joined AFT.
  • 165 workers at Boeing paint contractor Commercial Aircraft Painting Services joined IAM.
  • 80 DirecTV workers joined CWA Local 7906.
  • 61 alcohol and drug treatment workers at Volunteers of America joined AFSCME.

Biggest union organizing losses:

  • 205 workers at a Jeld-Wen door plant in Chiloquin rejected the Machinists union in a 52-137 vote.
  • 179 workers at Portland Specialty Baking rejected the Bakers union in a 38-123 vote.

oregon-bernie-voteOregon Bernie vote: a mandate for bolder action by Democrats?
Hillary Clinton won among Democrats nationwide, but in Oregon, Democrats showed an appetite for a bolder kind of politics — backing a candidate who rejected Wall Street money and called for universal health care, free public college tuition, and a $15-an-hour minimum wage. In Oregon, Bernie Sanders packed arenas and outpolled Clinton by over 70,000 votes, 56 to 44 percent.

Minimum wage and sick leave
Raise the minimum wage to $13.50, and give workers the right paid sick leave? Voters did it, approving union-backed I-1433 by 59-41 percent.

sound-gets-serious-transit-investmentSound gets serious transit investment
Another ballot victory was voter approval for an ambitious 25-year plan to make $54 billion worth of transit improvements in the Puget Sound region, including 62 miles of light rail and new bus and heavy rail service to King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. The project will mean union jobs, less congestion, and a cleaner environment.

Madore is no more, in Clark County
Flamboyantly anti-union Clark County Commissioner David Madore — who once pushed unsuccessfully for a local “right-to-work” ordinance — lost reelection in the August primary. In the general election, union-backed candidate Tanisha Harris lost to John Blom, but local unions were still pleased to see their nemesis go.

berry-boycott-ends-with-union-dealBerry boycott ends with union deal
A three-year union boycott against Sakuma and Driscoll berries ended in September, when Skagit Valley agri-giant Sakuma Berries agreed to allow a union election and recognize and bargain a contract with the farmworkers union.

YOUR TURN

What were some of your biggest #UnionStrong moments of 2016? Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly #UnionStrong email newsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.

9 Reasons Why Trump’s Secretary of Labor Pick Andy Puzder is No Friend of Working People

President-elect Donald Trump selected D-List fast food CEO Andy Puzder to head up the Labor Department. AFL-CIO and other working family advocates condemned the appointment of Puzder, who runs Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

Puzder’s nomination shows Trump is backing away from his promise to represent all working people.

carls-jr

Here are nine reasons why Puzder is not our friend:

1. Puzder made more money last year in one day ($17,192) than one of his full-time minimum wage workers makes in a year ($15,130).

2. Rather than paying managers overtime for time they have worked, Puzder says that paying them more would make them glorified crew members and would take away their “sense of ownership” and “prestige.” He continued: “For most businesses it will be just another added regulatory cost they must look to offset. For their employees, it will be another barrier to the middle class rather than a springboard.”

3. He is a member of the so-called Job Creators Network, “a group of CEOs that promotes a conservative business agenda and has ties to anti-union astroturf operative Richard Berman.” Puzder also co-authored a book called Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It, with a foreword by supply-side economist Arthur Laffer.

4. In reference to the Fight for $15 call to raise the minimum wage, Puzder said: “I think you’ll see a lot of restaurants closing. I don’t think that restaurants can operate profitably if they’re paying a $15 minimum wage. So I think you would see a devastating impact to the country.” Researchers have since found that in Seattle, the first city to increase its minimum wage toward $15 an hour, the wage hikes have helped low-wage workers, and have not led to “significant increases in business failure rates.”

5. He has expressed vehement opposition to a recent National Labor Relations Board decision that would make it harder for corporations to manipulate the system and avoid bargaining with employees over improvements in the workplace by hiring temporary workers or contract workers.

6. Puzder promotes the myth that minimum wage jobs are largely held by young people just entering the market. This myth is used to undercut attempts to raise the minimum wage by falsely suggesting that minimum wage workers are not primary breadwinners and lack experience.

7. He is pushing to replace human workers with machines, because machines are “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”

8. Rather than paying working people a living wage, Puzder wants to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit so that the federal government takes responsibility off of employers for paying poverty-level wages. Judy Conti from the National Employment Law Project said: “It’s a form of corporate welfare. A full-time worker should not need the EITC. For private-sector employers who claim to be conservative to say that the answer is a federal subsidy for low-wage work that costs taxpayers’ money [rather than companies paying more] is pretty shocking and pretty transparently hypocritical.”

9. About the ads his company runs that have been widely criticized as misogynistic, Puzder said: “I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.”

YOUR TURN

Your thoughts? Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly email newsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.

Dividend Paying Stocks Strategies

Guest Post by Donald Conrad fiduciary adviser, Conrad Capital Management

Dividend Paying Stocks are often a great option to traditional income investments. Investors measure dividend value through dividend yield, which is calculated by dividing annual dividends with the current stock price. Although the stock price tends to fluctuate, it might be a good addition to ones current strategy for those willing to hold for long term. In fact, the most popular dividend strategies such as the Dogs of the Dow, DRIPS, Proprietary Dividend Capture Strategy, to name a few, are straightforward and have relatively minimal capital requirements. The typical dividend is offered by mature companies that have graduated from the growth stage and are looking to provide additional investment incentives. Dividends may also lower a stock’s volatility as investors are more likely to hold dividend stocks longer than non-dividend stocks.

dividend-paying-stocks

There are four important dividend dates that investors should be aware of before investing in dividend paying stocks:

Declaration date – The board of directors announces all the important dividend dates, and the amount of the dividend payments.

Ex-Dividend date – An investor must purchase the stocks before the Ex-Dividend date to be eligible for dividend payment.

Date of Record – Two days after the Ex-Dividend date. The settlement of the trade needs to occur either before, or on the date of record, for investors to be eligible for the dividend payment.

Date of payment – The registered investors will be paid.

Dividend Investing Strategies

1)  The Dogs of the Dow is a high dividend yield investment strategy where the investor invests in the top 10 highest yielding Dow Jones stocks out of the 30. This strategy often offers diversification, less downside risk, and beneficial reward potential. The investor’s position is re-balanced after a year and a day to take advantage of more tax-efficient capital gains. To learn more about this and other variations to this strategy, consult your financial advisor.

2)  A Dividend Capture Strategy is when the investor purchases the stock before the ex-dividend date and then sells it ex-dividend, hence capturing the dividend. There may be many ways of doing this; thus it is important to work with your financial advisor to develop a strategy that best fits your needs.

3)  Dividend re-investments are another effective way for investors to take advantage of dividends where stockholders can increase their holdings and accumulate the value of their investment over time. Although investors will still have to pay taxes on reinvested dividends, a reinvestment strategy may be attractive to smaller investors looking to build a larger position in a company through dollar cost averaging. Some corporations also offer specialized dividend reinvestment plans called DRIPs, which are usually free of brokerage and transaction fees. Some corporations may even offer stock at a discount to market price through their DRIP programs. Ask your financial consultant about available dividend reinvestment plans that might be suitable for you and your investment goals.

Choosing a Dividend Investment Plan

While dividend investing can provide an attractive source of income for stockholders, it is important to consider the timing and efficiency of your investments. Be aware that dividends are taxed at different rates than income, and may cause administrative hassle if done incorrectly. Consult your investment advisor to ensure that your dividend investment plan maximizes return and best fits your needs as an investor.

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