Sunday, December 07, 2008

Walter Reuther would be proud

Pay attention to this development, brought to my attention by the Chi-Town Daily News. A group of factory workers in Chicago are holding a sit-down strike. They are fighting for the full 75 days of pay they say they are due under federal law because their factory closed.

Read that again if you missed it: A sit-down strike. Basically, they are occupying a factory until they get what they want. Sit-downs are a tactic that occasionally worked back in the days when unions were first fighting to get recognized and to get decent wages and working conditions. In 1935, as part of the New Deal, the Wagner Act was passed that set up rules on how unions could organize. The act said that workers could strike, but they could not stage sit down strikes.

Here's my liberarian opposition to the Wagner Act: It has led generations of union members to believe erroneously that unions are a gift bestowed upon them by Uncle Sam, and that in order to protect their union jobs, they need to support politicians with time and money. Indeed, politicians have come to expect and demand money and work from union members. Union members feel compelled by economic necessity to support politicians who take positions contrary to their own on issues of conscience like gun control, abortion and national security. Much like the right-to-work laws hated by unions, the Wagner Act interferes with the right of management and labor to enter into their own freely negotiated contracts.

The hard-to-believe truth is that unions don't need government's help to thrive on behalf of their members. Back in the old days, unions like the United Auto Workers used tough tactics against bosses that used even tougher tactics. The first early successes unions had were not won by government-sanctioned elections, monitored by the federal government. They were won by way of sit-down strikes led by people like Walter Reuther, the former president of the UAW.

Along came President Franklin Roosevelt, who wanted to help organized labor. And he also wanted labor peace during the depression when the idea there might be a revolution wasn't considered all that far-fetched.

And here we are today, with the economy supposedly worse than it's been since the Great Depression. These strikers are making demands of the banks who refuse to loan their employer the money they needed to stay open.

Their complaints against the capitalists are reminiscent of the earliest days of union organizing. Their solution -- the sit down strike -- is right out of the 1930s' playbook. I'm wondering if we are going to see some of that ugliness if the economy starts to get as bad as some of the experts claim it will.

More candidates emerge for local races

Diane Vespa attended Mayor Jim Ardis's re-election kickoff party and came back with a very newsy post about, with the names of two previously unmentioned candidates for 5th District and City Treasurer. Go read her blog to find out who they are. Full disclosure: Her husband John Vespa is an advertiser.

District 150 needs to hire more consultants

Maybe after spending another million dollars or two, one of them will figure why it is that, despite the bad economy, the vast majority of school districts and taxing bodies in the area don't have a problem meeting their payroll.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Plausibility Deniability for Schock in the growing NRCC scandal?

I'm trying to not be incredulous here. I suppose it's possible. It just seems damn reckless to me. But Aaron Schock's campaign manager Steve Shearer tells the State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg that he's never met the man they hired as campaign treasurer. This is the same guy who is considered a central figure into a federal investigation into the finances into the National Republican Congressional Committee:
Steve Shearer, campaign manager for Schock, said the campaign replaced Christopher J. Ward as soon as officials heard of the questions. A Schock staffer, Rachel Honegger, was named the new treasurer, Shearer said.

Shearer said he has never met Ward, but Ward was a long-time comptroller of the NRCC, which helps GOP candidates for the U.S. House nationwide. Ward's association with that group, and the fact that he has been associated with perhaps more than 100 House and Senate campaigns nationwide, indicated he had impeccable credentials, Shearer said.

It's a good breaking news story, and by the time most people read this post, a full version might be up at the SJ-R Website.

The gist of the story is that the Ward fellow never touched Schock's campaign money, just made sure the campaign was in compliance with federal laws. Or so Shearer says now.

Here are my observations:

  • The purpose of the NRCC is to make sure Republicans get elected to Congress, and once they get there, stay there. Making sure they have huge campaign war chests is one way they do that.

  • If there were any financial shenanigans, they were shenanigans designed put money into he hands of Congressional candidates.

  • Aaron Schock is a Congressional candidate.

  • The "central figure" in this alleged attempt to illegally put money into the hands of Congressional candidates was, until recently, employed by Aaron Schock's campaign.

  • Schock outspent and outraised his two primary opponents in the 18th District race, one of whom is a millionaire and one of whom is a professional fundraiser.

You do the math.

And I'll make this observation, too. Shearer is a master of finding the line between what is legal and what is not. He comes very close, and according to come, he crosses it on occasion, then feigns innocence when called on it. This was true of Shearer back when he was running Schock's state house campaign as it is the Congressional campaign. Look at his early attempt to illegally operate out of Peoria County Republican Party offices during the early weeks of the campaign.

The one guy who Shearer hired as campaign treasurer just happens to be the central figure in s financial scandal at the NRCC. And when news hits the paper, Shearer says he never met the guy, and he never touched the money anyway.

I'm just not buying it.

Remember, Nixon never met the Watergate plumbers. He wouldn't know who they were had they met him on the street.

And don't waste your time sending me emails defending Steve Shearer's honor. This is a man who had no problems working for Jerry Weller, the 11th District Republican who is figuratively and literally in bed with Central American genocidal dictators. Being involved in some financial slight of hand would be a step up on the morality scale.

Cross posted to Peoria Pundit.