On Friday, a United States District Court judge sentenced a former union organizer to six months in prison and three years of probation for his participation in an arson against a nonunion concrete plant. The Albany Times Union has the details:
The May 2003 arson was part of an organized effort by two union officials to sabotage companies that were using non-unionized workers at construction sites.
The sentencing of Michael Kwarta, 32, who had served as a labor organizer and sergeant-at-arms for Local 190 of Glenmont, marked the culmination of a meandering federal investigation into the underworld of Albany's politically connected laborers' unions.
The arson triggered a federal grand jury investigation of the union's ties to elected officials, public contracts and organized crime figures, and also whether top union leaders had authorized the firebombing.
Even though just about everybody in the union knew about Kwarta's role in the arson -- when an accomplice "hurled two Molotov cocktails at an operations trailer filled with computer equipment and it caught fire" -- union hierarchy gladly kept him on the payroll for five years until just days before he entered his guilty plea. (Apparently he was just doing his job.)
The most egregious example of organized labor's special privileges and immunities is the 1973 United States v. Enmons decision. In it, the United States Supreme Court held that union violence is exempted from the Hobbs Act, which makes it a federal crime to obstruct interstate commerce by robbery or extortion. As a result, thousands of incidents of violent assaults (directed mostly against workers) by union militants have gone unpunished. Meanwhile, many states also restrict the authority of law enforcement to enforce laws during strikes.
The cover story of the September/October issue of Foundation Action covers efforts by the Foundation to expose an SEIU union political fundraising scheme that coerces workers to support union politics, and to get the Department of Labor and Department of Justice investigate the scheme.
Big Labor apologist Mark Weisbrot had a piece defending the woefully misnamed Employee Free Choice Act in Tuesday's Chicago Sun-Times. Money quote (emphasis mine):
This law would probably change Americans' lives more than any legislation since the New Deal brought us Social Security. The political influence of millions of new union members would also bring us closer to such basic reforms as universal health care. It's all long overdue.
Of course, millions of new forced dues paying union members would only increase union bosses' influence, not the workers' influence -- nearly half of whom do not support Big Labor's political agenda.
Meanwhile, American who agrees with Big Labor's political agenda can already choose to financially (or otherwise) support union-backed candidates and causes. But union bosses, you see, know better than the average worker. The average worker isn't giving enough support to the Far Left politicians prefered by union officials on his own. So union bosses want to use dues money, seized from workers' paychecks, to finance their own political activism.
Worse, an increase in Card Check forced unionism will open the doors for rampant intimidation of workers by union goons -- so much of the increased dues money going to these politics will be from workers who were pressured into union ranks through card check.
Employees should indeed have a free choice -- to determine their own representation and to decide for themselves if they want to join a union or fund its political activism.
Since you already read this blog (after all you're here aren't you) here are some other ways you can keep up with everything the National Right to Work Foundation does to defend employees from the abuses of compulsory unionism:
Email Alerts - Sign up to get exclusive Foundation emails sent right into your inbox. There is a signup box in on the top right corner of every page on this site.
Subscribe to our Newsletter - Read the latest edition of the National Right to Work Foundation’s newsletter, Foundation Action, and sign up for your free subscription today. You'll receive a hard copy in your mailbox every two months.
Watch our Videos - Check out our Youtube.com and Eyeblast.tv channels to get the latest video updates about NRTW, its cases, and how it helps average working Americans fight the evils of compulsory unionism.
Network With Us - Join our Facebook.com group and connect with other National Right to Work supporters from across the country.
These are just a few of the many ways to stay on top of the critical developments in the Right to Work movement. Whether you are at work, at home, or on vacation, all you need is a computer to get started.
Here's our latest press release on the Foundation's efforts to defend the rights of religious objectors to refrain from supporting union activities that offend their deeply-held beliefs:
Cincinnati, Ohio (September 24, 2008) – National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys recently obtained settlements with the National Education Association (NEA) union for two teachers whose consciences would not allow them to pay mandatory dues to support a union involved in activities they consider immoral. Geralyn Buening and Tessy Huwer, both practicing Catholics, objected to the NEA’s positions on abortion and special rights for homosexuals.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act forbids discrimination against religious employees and requires companies and unions to attempt to reasonably accommodate employees’ sincerely-held religious beliefs. The obligation to accommodate includes the payment of compulsory union fees, as no employee should be forced to fund a union that engages in activities that offend their religious convictions.
The Ohio teachers originally filed charges against the NEA teacher union with the Ohio Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging that the union was in violation of their rights as religious objectors. In return for withdrawing the charges, the settlement allows the teachers to redirect their mandatory agency fees to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, rather than pay any funds whatsoever to a union hierarchy steeped in objectionable social activism.
Read the rest of the press release here. For more on the Foundation's efforts to ensure unwilling Ohio teachers aren't forced to fund morally objectionable causes, check out here and here.