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Unions

Et Tu, Hawaii: Hawaii's Striking Utility Workers

Here in Hawaii, we are having our own little microcosm of WI with the HECO strike that started at 3:30 yesterday.  It was bad timing, with the storm that hit and has thousands of residents still without power. But the crux of the matter is quite simple ... HECO (with the director taking home 2.9 million in salary and bonuses in 2009) is trying to negotiate reduced benefits for the workers, with new workers getting an even worse deal.

HECO workers said the two sides disagreed on a management proposal to raise the age of retirement with full benefits to 62 from 60; a proposed reduction in sick leave benefits; and a plan to create a two-tier contract with new hires receiving lower wages and benefits. There also was a dispute over whether negotiated wage increases should begin with ratification of a new contract or expiration of the previous contract last October. Neither company nor union officials would confirm the sticking points in the contract talks.

[source]

Governor Abercrombie (Dem) ordered the workers back on the job ...

I have spoken with leaders of Hawaiian Electric Company and the union. My thought is that they can set aside their respective positions during this emergency situation until the public’s safety is taken care of," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. "The most important thing right now is restoring electric services for residents and ensuring their health and security then resume negotiations.

[source]

Its not fair that all those people are living without power, but it also isn't fair to assume the union planned the walkout to coincide with the power outage. These negotiations have been ongoing, and Friday was drop-dead day for HECO to come back to the table with a better offer.

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The World Is Buzzing

Hate to give tou a harsh fuzz buzz BUT:

Bees Who Work For the Police
www.npr.org

An artist dreams of turning social insects into police intelligent units — to help track illegal plants growing around town. Robert Krulwich is on the case.

And for many Americans thinking about eating their frozen catfoodcicles... They will not be happy about this:

Dear Poor People, Thank You for Going Without Heat So We Can Buy Another Week of War
fdlaction.firedoglake.com

It is important to put budget issues in perspective, so I have a simple request that President Obama, the top members of his administration, and his allies in Congress send a hand written version of this letter to constituents: Dear low-income American, I know times are tough.

But the buzz in Washington is that even the well known evul communist leftiest of the Senate leader, Harry Reid, has  got a problem with Obama outflanking the GOP on their right wing:

According to his spokesman, Reid requested the meeting with Obama — after Obama openly courted House and Senate Republicans at the White House last week.

They apparently discussed the House’s proposed cuts, “and what they mean to real people in their everyday lives,” according to Reid’s office — notable because many of the cuts overlap with Obama’s own budget recommendations, though the GOP’s dig deeper.

“Sen. Reid also reiterated his position on protecting Social Security,” the statement concludes.

Meanwhile, Matt Taiibi wants to give Wall St. a well deserverd pre-lockup buzzcut:

Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?
www.rollingstone.com

over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer.

"Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail," he said. "That's your whole story right there. Hell, you don't even have to write the rest of it. Just write that."

I put down my notebook. "Just that?"

"That's right," he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there."

Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world's wealth — and nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.

The rest of them, all of them, got off. Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom — an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities — has ever been convicted.

You can go over and read the substantial piece, first get a six page coffee ready for the worthy read, but I can answer the titled question for you, "Why isn't Wall Street in Jail?", right now:

Because Wall Street owns the government. Lock, stock and over the barrel with all 3 branches of corporatism.

And, holy moly, Wisonsin is buzzing like the streets of Egypt with the news that the governor is ready to declare war, Natinal Guard and all, on the middle class with a manufactured budget crisis:

But what about defaulting on those sacred contracts, California GOP?

Anyone who watched the Bank disaster/crimes/frauds unfold and saw these big CEOs and their GOP cohorts cry about the sanctity of the contracts guaranteeing vasts sums of (our government) money for their bonuses and salaries for destroying the economy has to be looking on at the GOP making a mockery of "The Sanctity of Contracts" as they ignore the salary requirements in the State workers employee contracts in order to drop their pay to minimum wage. What kind of activism from a judge do you have to have for them to consider the the outside influence of an incompetent state government and not factor in the awesomeness of the "The Sanctity of Contracts"?

Yes, I am simultaneously mocking the jokes that are the right wing's recent "sanctity of the contract"  and endless use of "judicial activism" talking points while spinning the closer to the truth story of using the elites disaster to destroy the little guys wages, across the nation we can witness this tactic being replicated, but below The Maddow Blog explains the excuses of why California courts say it is legal:

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The Case Against Massey Builds

When the story of the mine collapse Tragedy in West Virginia was breaking I was reluctant to start pointing fingers out of the gate and start making ideological and political arguments climbing on the backs of the dead miners even given the initial and legitimate reportage of problems from all sources, blogospheric and media wide. But there comes a point where we have to look at what was behind the disaster that happened. And at this point it is pretty clear that Massey has been negligent with miner's lives when it comes to safety issues in the past:

The Hoi Poloi v Goldman Sachs

Numerian (Feb 15)  Posted by Michael Collins with permission of the author

Ask yourself who knows how much has really been borrowed by various governments around the world?

Greece is turning into a battle royal between the global financial
elites and the average worker in the industrial West. This started out
as a more limited struggle, pitting the finance ministers and central
banks of the European Union against the Greek unions, but the fight has
unexpectedly broadened with news of the surreptitious involvement of
Goldman Sachs in helping Greece avoid borrowing constraints.

The picture painted in the Western financial press makes the unions
the villain in this play. The unions are described as greedy, lazy, too
quick to strike, and insensitive to the burdens they were imposing on
the Greek economy. To cope with union threats and extortion, various
Greek governments had no choice but to borrow excessively, and well
beyond the European Union target range that allowed domestic budget
deficits to be no higher than 3% of GDP. As of last year, Greece’s
budget deficit was 12.7% of GDP.

The sheer level of these deficits – the highest in the European
community – has spooked international investors and the ratings
agencies like Moody’s, which have dropped the Greek sovereign credit
rating and threatened further demotions if nothing is done. This, along
with the prospect of default on their government debt, has thrown
Greece into a crisis and into the hands of the EU commissioners and
finance officials who are contemplating a bailout.

National Nurses Movement Action Diary

 

URGENT ACTION NEEDED - CALL NOW!
Your calls are needed to keep single payer amendments alive in the U.S. House of Representatives. The message is simple:

"Keep the Kucinich Amendment!"
 

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

    DC 202.225.4965 - SF 415.556.4862


  • Representative George Miller:

    DC
    202.225.2095 - Concord 925.602.1880

  • Representative Henry Waxman:

    DC
    202.225.3976 - LA 323.651.1040



  • Read the National Nurses Blog Post

And don't forget to rec up the dKos diary and leave a comment thanking them for all the National Nurses Movement does if you are a member there. 

McCain Thinks American Workers Aren't Good Enough

As we get close to labor day you need to know that while Obama says "Yes you can!" McCain says "No you can't!" to American workers, telling them that they can't do the job.

In McCain's fragile mind the real problem isn't about paying a man or woman fair wages for an honest day's work... McCain thinks the problem is that Americans just aren't good enough - hard working enough - to do these jobs.

I guess McCain thinks that you need to work harder at finding a pill-popping sugar momma beer heiress 2nd wife, like Cindy McCain, to pay your bills for you if you want to be able to succeed like he did?

I know that the work he is talking about is hard as hell. And it is only made worse by companies that hire undocumented immigrants and put the workers through hellish conditions that are often nothing more than modern day slave labor. Those are the very real issues that McCain would rather ignore.

Instead of having these companies hire by honest free market rules McCain and the GOP would rather let these companies continue to exploit fellow human beings and claim that Americans can't or won't do the work.

Originally posted at drinking liberally in new milford:
"McCain Thinks American Workers Aren't Good Enough"

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