When questioned about the fairness of New Jersey’s low income families being financially unable to afford the option of moving their children to better performing schools, Mr. Giordano was cold, dismissive, and completely unsympathetic to their plight.
The action, according to the USTR, was born of an AFL-CIO petition—filed with six Guatemalan workers groups—which makes the same allegation. USTR says it, along with the Departments of Labor and State, analyzed the AFL-CIO claim and decided to pursue it because it “appeared” to be correct.
This is what they demand (emphasis added)
One of the U.S. demands is to add 100 labor inspectors to the government payroll immediately. Mr. Velásquez says that while Guatemala is willing to comply with the increase, the estimated cost, in the millions of dollars, is not in the current budget. Guatemala has said it will add the inspectors next year but that’s not good enough for Uncle Sam.
A second demand is to force all exporters to indemnify their workers against a company failure by buying a bond. Mr. Velásquez says that Guatemala’s constitutional court has said no to this because singling out exporters would be discriminatory. He also notes that U.S. exporters are under no such obligation.
Finally, and perhaps most egregiously, the U.S. wants Guatemala to give labor inspectors the authority to close a plant deemed to be in violation of the labor code. The trouble is, Mr. Velásquez points out, inspectors are not judges and the accused has the right to have the case heard in a court of law. Otherwise, he says, “we would turn our inspectors into emperors.” It is passing strange that the U.S. is trying to undermine Guatemala’s frail democracy in favor of the kinds of practices that occur in dictatorships.
More broadly, the AFL-CIO-inspired demands would raise costs for Guatemalan exporters and even drive them out of business.
“We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war,” Jimmy Hoffa said to a heavily union crowd.
“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,” Hoffa added.
When it comes to accepting the call to action from a necessary interest group, civility is just not so important.
That’s fine. But let’s not have any more hypocrisy from the left jumping on whatever metaphor a Republican uses. I don’t think that James Hoffa meant anything more than a spirited call to action. If he calls Tea Partiers, “sons of bitches,” that’s his right. It’s distasteful and illustrative, but his using any more refined insults wouldn’t disguise what he really thinks. I’m not complaining about his language, but the hypocrisy of the President smilingly accepting that language while still posing as the leader of the civility chorus. Spare us the hypocrisies and let’s carry on with that battle that Hoffa was talking about.
So much for the “new civility.”
During his speech, President Obama also came up with this,
New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday approved a broad rollback of benefits for 750,000 government workers and retirees, the deepest cut in state and local costs in memory, in a major victory for Gov. Chris Christie and a once-unthinkable setback for the state’s powerful public employee unions.
The Assembly passed the bill 46 to 32, as Republicans and a few Democrats defied raucous protests by thousands of people whose chants, vowing electoral revenge, shook the State House. Leaders in the State Senate said their chamber, which had already passed a slightly different version of the bill, would approve the Assembly version on Monday. Mr. Christie, a Republican, was expected to sign the measure into law quickly.
It wasn’t simply “a few” Democrats. As Tom Blumer points out,
Given that the Assembly has 47 Democrats and 33 Republicans, it took more than “a few Democrats” to get the law passed in the Assembly by the 46-32 margin indicated. If all Republicans voted “yes,” 13 Democrats, or over a quarter of the total, also had to support the bill.
Indeed, both the Senate and the Assembly are controlled by Democrats, by 60% and 59%.
The legislation will sharply increase what state and local workers must contribute for their health insurance and pensions, suspend cost-of-living increases to retirees’ pension checks, raise retirement ages and curb the unions’ contract bargaining rights. It will save local and state governments $132 billion over the next 30 years, by the administration’s estimate, and give the troubled benefit systems a sounder financial footing, mostly by shifting costs onto workers.
Workers in the private sector have been doing that forever, and paying for the government workers’, too.
Senate president Steven Sweeney, Democrat, supported the bill.
The fight over benefits reflected both Mr. Christie’s ability to exploit the divisions among Democrats, through his alliances with more conservative Democratic party bosses and legislators, and his success at using the public-sector unions as a foil in his drive to shrink government spending. It has also allowed a nationally known but highly polarizing governor to claim the mantle of bipartisan conciliation, telling audiences that New Jersey is setting an example that other states and the federal government should follow.
The bill applies to all state government workers and
to a much larger number of county, town and school district workers, because most local governments participate in the state-run pension and health care systems.
Stacy and Jazz are amazed that the people of New Jersey may even be understanding the state’s dire fiscal situation.
Who knows, at this rate, maybe Americans will understand the nation’s dire fiscal situation.
Madison – After a wild and raucous night at the State Capitol, the scene inside the building Thursday morning looks just like it was a few weeks ago when protesters camped out overnight.
At 6:30 a.m., there were dozens of people who stayed the night and were camped out in various locations in the building.
Of particular concern to police are a few dozen protesters who spent the night in the antechamber of the Assembly. The Assembly is scheduled to go into session at 11 a.m. Thursday to consider the bill on collective bargaining that the Senate approved last night in mere minutes.
A number of protesters said they had no intention of leaving the area Thursday.
the Democrats told the Republicans that there would be no further negotiations; the Republicans said “Fine” and took the bill to the floor; and the Democrats were left looking stunned, stammering, and standing there with their naughty bits in their hands.
While it might be a bold political move, the changes are modest. We ask government workers to make a 5.8% contribution to their pensions and a 12.6% contribution to their health-insurance premium, both of which are well below what other workers pay for benefits. Our plan calls for Wisconsin state workers to contribute half of what federal employees pay for their health-insurance premiums. (It’s also worth noting that most federal workers don’t have collective bargaining for wages and benefits.)
Governor Walker and the Republicans can talk all they want about the need for limiting union power to elect their bosses who will then turn around and give in to whatever the unions demands no matter how they are creating the destruction of local and the state governments. Their answer is to raise taxes so that non-public workers can pay for those state employees can keep their comfy benefits. Unless those non-public employees get motivated to come out for these elections, the unions will be able to overwhelm turnout.
That is why Governor Walker, as the most prominent spokesman, needs to be out there. Those legislators up for recall need to be out there also. They need to explain that the union solution is to raise everyone’s taxes so that there will be more money for public employee workers. The can point out how, in states that elected Democrats, like neighboring Minnesota and Illinois, the solution for deficits is raising taxes. Tell the voters that the choice is between their paying more so that public employees can get better salaries and better benefits than they do. Tell them, as Governor Walker does in his column, that the voters have the opportunity to make sure that the unions don’t mandate that, in times of layoffs, the better teacher keeps his or her job, not just the one who has been there longer. Put it in terms that they understand. And one more recommendation for Governor Walker, get more examples than your brother. Every time I see him or read him, he’s using his brother as his example. Mix it up a bit.
But the GOP is fighting now to keep their majority. And the union will be able to get their people out there. Notice how they were able to get hundreds of their members out to the state Capitol last night in a short period of time. Imagine what they’ll do with time to prepare for these elections. The fight is on.
I disrespectfully suggest that teachers who seriously liken Governor Christie to Moammar Khadafy and their own protests to the Egyptians facing down the Mubaraks are too ignorant to be charged with teaching our children. But judge for yourselves.