Todd Palin is Inadvertantly Bankrolling Union Smears and Efforts to Defeat His Wife

Many of you probably watched Sarah Palin accept the Republican Party's Vice Presidential nomination last night. Ironically, her husband - a member of the United Steelworkers (USW) union - is actually funding efforts to smear and defeat her.

Today, National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix released an open letter (.pdf) to Todd Palin, informing him that he has the right to cut off the forced union dues being used to defeat a McCain-Palin ticket. Here's the key quote:

We understand you are a member of the United Steelworkers of America union. While I'm sure you're excited by your wife's candidacy for high office, you may be discouraged to learn that the union dues you pay are already being used to defeat her.

When USW union bosses endorsed Barack Obama in June, they pledged to support his campaign using funds collected from union members. Steelworker dues will pay for a variety of political activities throughout the electoral season, and a significant portion of those activities will be aimed at defeating the McCain-Palin ticket.

In fact, at the USW's 2008 convention, union officials adopted a resolution "vowing to play a key role in electing Obama," thus pledging workers' dues to the effort to defeat your wife's candidacy. Moreover, a top USW official whose paycheck you help fund is viciously ridiculing your wife's candidacy on the Steelworkers' website, calling Governor Palin's selection "cynical" and claiming that by choosing your wife "McCain has clearly shown he lacks the judgment to be president."

Here is USW Legislative Director Holly Hart's (the top USW official cited in the letter) response to Todd Palin's wife's candidacy:

Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain, on his 72nd birthday, announced a selection that revealed the depths of his cynicism and the shallowness of his judgment - and his disregard for women's intelligence.

After looking into a pool of vice presidential candidates deep with qualification, he plucked out the least experienced person.

While Alaska does not have a Right to Work law which would make payment of union dues strictly voluntary, under the Foundation-won Supreme Court precedent Communications Workers v. Beck, employees can stop paying forced union dues unrelated to collective bargaining, such as union electioneering.

Unfortunately, millions of other workers are unaware of these rights. Workers wanting to know how to exercise their rights may obtain information and free legal aid here.

NEA Bigwig Owes Teachers an Apology

Considering the record electioneering by Big Labor in 2008, it should be no surprise that union bosses were well-represented at this week's convention. NEA President Reg Weaver was one of the many union officials awarded for his union's political expenditures with a prime speaking slot.

Larry Sand, a teacher for 27 years and former NEA member, sent Weaver an e-mail after listening to a gross misrepresentation of reality in Weaver's DNC speech:

In the first paragraph you say, "I am here today on behalf of 3.2 million NEA members to tell you why we support Barack Obama for President of the United States." Wait a minute. It sounds as if all 3.2 million members of the NEA are supporting Obama. Then in the last sentence, you leave no doubt. "That, my friends, is why the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association are organized, energized and mobilized to help elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States of America." This last statement is an outrage.

You have been quoted on more than one occasion that "the NEA is one-third Republican," which means that there are over one million Republican NEA members. It is audacity of the highest order to state unequivocally that these people will be "organized, energized and mobilized" to vote for a Democrat. I have been a classroom teacher for over 27 years and for many of those an NEA member, before resigning from the "Association" several years ago. I would strongly urge you to issue an apology to those Republicans still in the NEA and the American public in general for what really is a ludicrous statement.

If Weaver ever gets around to apologizing, he shouldn't only do so to the million-plus members who are Republicans since as many more are independents. Not to mention the countless Democrats who aren't in lockstep with the radical agenda of Weaver and the NEA's top brass -- many who may not even be supporters of Reg Weaver's presidential pick. And remember, these teachers are forced to finance the NEA's political activism.

As it happens, Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation, has an op-ed on the problems of teacher union monopoly power in today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Also check out this column in the Providence Journal from Gary Beckner, executive director of the Association of American Educators, a nonprofit professional teachers association that is entirely voluntary.

Happy Labor Day! (But It's Not So Happy for the Millions of Victims of Compulsory Unionism)

On behalf of the Foundation, I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. While I hope everyone enjoys their day off, now seems like an appropriate time to flag Foundation President Mark Mix's statement commemorating the occasion. Here's an excerpt:

“Meanwhile, many workers feel they have little choice but to pay for organized labor’s billion-dollar 2008 election campaign, and many workers are unaware of their right to object. That’s why the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is providing free legal aid to thousands of employees nationwide seeking to get their money back. In fact, in October Foundation attorneys will argue their fourteenth case accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court – a case which defends the right of workers to refuse to pay for union activism using their mandatory union dues.

“This Labor Day, we commend those courageous American workers who are standing up to union intimidation, harassment, and even violence as they defend their cherished freedoms of conscience, speech, and association. And we work toward the day when no American is forced to pay tribute to an unwanted union.”

Read the rest of the statement (and download it as an Mp3) here or simply play the YouTube below from the Foundation's YouTube channel:

Video: Don't Back Down

Workers from across the country have received free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation. Now they're speaking out to encourage others to stand up for their rights in this latest Right to Work video:

As always, check back at the Foundation's YouTube channel for more Right to Work video updates. Many of the workers featured in this week's segment have appeared in previous Foundation video interviews describing their stories in greater detail.

Wall Street Journal: Big Labor is Back (And Ready to Assault Workers’ Freedoms)!

Today, the Wall Street Journal editorialized on the fact that Big Labor “has won the intellectual battle for control of the Democratic Party and is reasserting its agenda in a way not seen since the 1970’s.” The WSJ notes Big Labor’s political influence, especially within the Democratic Party, has been steadily increasing over the years.

At the top of Big Labor's agenda is, of course, more compulsory unionism privileges to force workers into dues-paying union ranks:

[R]ewriting federal law to promote union organizing is now near the top of the Democratic agenda. The main vehicle is "card check" legislation, which would eliminate the requirement for secret ballots in union elections. Unable to organize workers when employees can vote in privacy, unions want to expose those votes to peer pressure, and inevitably to public intimidation. This would arguably be the biggest change to federal labor law since the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947. The Democratic House passed card check last year, and Mr. Obama has pledged his support. With a few more Senators, it might pass.

Card check is merely the start. Next on the agenda is a campaign to repeal "right to work" laws in the 22 U.S. states that have them. Right to work laws allow employees to decide for themselves whether to join or financially support a union. Former Michigan Congressman David Bonior told a union event in Denver on Monday that limiting right to work laws is essential both to lifting union membership and promoting more Democratic political victories.

Big Labor Thugs Beat Dissenting Worker Unconscious... Yet Judge Notes an Improvement in Union Bosses' Behavior!

Last week, the New York Times reported that Manhattan Federal District Court Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. ordered a one-year continuation of governmental oversight of the New York City carpenters’ union, citing recent bribery convictions of several local bosses, extensive off-the-books work, and an incident where union militants beat up a worker outside a Catholic school until he was unconscious (because he had the gall to challenge the insiders in a union election).

The union has spent the last 14 years under government supervision after signing a consent decree in a civil racketeering case alleging organized crime figures were favored for high-pay but no-show jobs. Regardless, union officials felt it necessary to argue in court that they do not need supervision. Their thugs all but erased any chance of that when they assaulted a dissident candidate.

Judge Haight agreed with the United States attorney’s argument that supervision would end when the union’s corruption had been eradicated. However, as blogger Warner Todd Huston noted, “The judge did mention that the union had done better since it originally went into government oversight, but that it is way too early to claim that the Mob influence and corruption is excised from the union.”

Indeed, the only reliable way to end this union corruption would be to end compulsory unionism.

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