Unions and Occupiers vs. the Super Bowl

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Editor’s note: To get David Horowitz’s perspective on the OWS movement, see his recent lead feature, Communism Reborn. For the whole story behind Occupy Wall Street and how this movement marks a new phase in the rebirth of the communist Left, read the new broadside by David Horowitz and John Perazzo, Occupy Wall Street: The Communist Movement Reborn. This essential pamphlet exposes the roots, leaders and hidden agendas of the radical movement and its war on capitalism and free societies.

On Wednesday morning, the Indiana state Senate passed right-to-work legislation, making Indiana the first Rust Belt state to take such a turn. The 28-22 vote in the Republican-controlled chamber occurred after two hours of debate in the General Assembly session. The bill was sent to Governor Mitch Daniels, who signed the legislation later that afternoon. The bill prohibits employers from entering into any agreement that would force employees to join a union or require them to pay dues, fees, assessment or any other charges to a labor organization. Indiana becomes the 23rd right-to-work state in the nation and the first to pass right-to-work legislation in ten years. “The only change will be a positive one,” the governor said in a statement released today by his office. “Indiana will improve still further its recently earned reputation as one of America’s best places to do business, and we will see more jobs and opportunity for our young people and for all those looking for a better life.” Could a new epoch reining in the excesses of the failed union era be in the offing?

Union members and their supporters were furious. Approximately 3000 people gathered inside the Statehouse chanted “Shame on you!” and “See you at the Super Bowl!” as the vote was announced. 3000-4000 other protesters gathered outside the building on the Statehouse lawn for a rally that spilled into the streets of Indianapolis. Approximately half the protesters then marched to the Indiana Convention Center, carrying posters with slogans such as “Hands off My Union,” “Stop the War on Workers” and “Ditch Mitch.”

The bill’s passage followed last Wednesday’s 55-44 vote in the Republican-controlled House in favor of the bill, days after an identically worded bill previously passed the Senate. It then moved to the Senate’s Pensions and Labor Committee on Monday, where it passed in a 6-1 vote, despite Democrats being absent from the chamber. Democratic senators, who contended they were protesting, not boycotting, Monday’s hearing, characterized the session as a “mockery.” Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage) contended that Republicans were trying to get the bill passed before the Super Bowl. Other Democrats said they were protesting because Republicans would not allow them to bring up amendments to the bill on Monday.

This is far from the first time Democrats have employed such boycotting tactics. Almost a year ago, House Democrats literally fled the state in order to prevent a quorum from being achieved to allow a vote on the same right-to-work legislation. All but two of 40 Democrats hid out in Illinois, leaving only 58 legislators present to conduct business. 67 House members are the minimum number required by Indiana law. Two Democrats remained behind to make any necessary motions and block Republicans from moving the legislation through in the absence of a quorum. The rest of the House Democrats remained out of the state for five weeks.

They continued using a similar quorum-avoidance tactic for weeks during the bill’s debating sessions, walking out of the chamber to hold private caucuses. The walkouts once again prevented the House from holding a vote. State Rep. Clyde Kersey (D-Terre Haute), one of 35 Democrats who used the maneuver, claimed it was aimed at keeping Republicans from avoiding national media scrutiny, or debating the bill without public or opposition input. “This is all part of the democratic process that we’re going through here,” Kersey contended.

Such contentions are absurd. The democratic process is not served by preventing a vote from occurring, nor is it true that any kind of scrutiny or input was being avoided, unless one considers daily protests staged by union supporters at the Statehouse–including one in which their chants could be heard as Gov. Daniels delivered his State of the State address earlier this month–to be irrelevant.

On January 18th, the issue reached another level when Republicans voted to fine Democratic state representatives $1,000 per day if they continued to boycott sessions to purposefully delay action on the right-to-work legislation. Two days later, Marion County temporarily blocked the fines of those Democrats who challenged the House’s authority to impose them. This marks the second time such a fight occurred. House Democrats are still fighting fines imposed on them for their five week sojourn in Illinois. That case is headed to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Yet after two legislative sessions during which Democrats, in addition to the boycotts, offered amendments aimed at changing the bill, and sought to put it before voters in a referendum, the reality of a substantial Republican majority in the House became impossible to overcome. It was a reality for which Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. Prior to the 2010 election, Democrats held a 52-48 majority in the House, and while they were outnumbered 33-17 in the Senate, that number was high enough to prevent Senate Republicans from achieving the two-thirds vote necessary to maintain a quorum without a single Democrat. The mid-term election was a bloodbath for Democrats. They are now outnumbered 60-40 in the House, and Senate Republicans got their two-thirds majority, holding a 36-14 edge. Thus, the bill’s passage was only a matter of time.

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  • Cindy

    Anybody that thinks a game is more important than thousands of people's livlihoods, is insane! Go unions and take back your state from a handful of dictators! it is morally wrong to let a few people decide the fate of a state! It should be voted on by the people!
    When you do what Mitchell and Walker have done, you are no better than a dictator and the unions should not let them get away with it!

    • PAthena

      Cindy is a would-be dictator, not the elected members of the legislature of Indiana and the elected governor. She does not believe in free elections, but only on imposing her will on others. The "people" she says should vote on legislation have already voted – they have elected the members of the legislature and the governor.

    • kafir

      Hi Cindy! Nice of you to join us. I just left a "if youse wants ta woik, youse gotsta join da union" blue state to a right to work battleground state (where I'm hopeful our votes in November will count for something good).
      I've been in three unions. Each more corrupt than the previous. Look at the behavior of your thugs all around the country.
      I avoid union made goods whenever possible. I don't want my hard earned (non-union) money going into the slush funds for your liberal slugs in congress, or worse yet to Stinky (aka BO) in the White House.

    • davarino

      Which handful of dictators are you talking about Cindy? Elections have consequences.

    • mrbean

      God this woman is stupid. " It should be voted on by the people! " she says. How do you think that Mitchell and Walker got elected you twit. Guess what FDR said Cindy! "… Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the government. All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations … The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for … officials … to bind the employer … The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives . Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics such as strikes and picketing have no place in the functions of any organization of government employees.

    • Spider

      I have news for you Cindy – This is not a war against workers as it is always portrayed because not all workers are union members. I am not a union member and neither are milions of other people working for private business. Unfortunately for us we have to pay for your for exorbident salaries and benifits with our taxes while we ourselves do not have such entitlements salaries. And another thing no person should be forced to join a union to get a job period.

    • fiddler

      I have to tell you Cindy that from what I have witnessed having formerly worked for unions, they are:
      — Expensive
      — Non-competitive
      — Corrupt
      — Often produce poor or even worthless product

      It is not that these people are poorly skilled; it is because they have been indoctrinated into thinking that the "company" is the bad guy and we deserve MORE.
      Cindy, I have seen people literally ASLEEP on the "job", deliberately NOT doing their job so that they can get "better working conditions", and deliberately sabotaging products for customers they don't like.

      Tell me how this helps the economy. Explain how utter disregard for competitiveness and only caring about "what I 'deserve'" helps the company retain its ability to stay in business. The best analogy I can use is "parasite". This doesn't apply most assuredly to all union workers, many are good ethical people. It is the whole notion, however of Unionism which cares only for it own furtherance and to heck with everyone else. They are just another "TRIBE" in the tribalism of the anarchist Left.

    • tagalog

      Why is it morally wrong to "let a few people decide the fate of a state!"

      We live in a republic, where the entire political system, both state and federal, is set up to operate according to the decisions of a few elected people. Usually they act according to the will of the majority, but not always; sometimes they act out of concern for other things. We set things up that way because our Founding Fathers believed that mob rule was the worst kind of tyrranical rule conceivable and that there should be reasoned debate between the popular will and law/policy. And they turned out to be right. In this particular instance, it can hardly be said that the unions represent the public will – they represent certain minority interests.

    • pagegl

      If you're worried about "thousands of peoples livlehoods" you might want to consider fighting the idiocy that is forced union membership. Outrageous union pay and benefits are one of the major reasons so many manufacturing jobs have moved overseas, primarily China.

      The only dictators in this fight are the union leaders. Mitchell and Walker were elected by their respective states; they answer to the electorate.

    • Jobe

      Cindy is hewing to the Marxist technique of projecting her behavior and beliefs onto those who oppose them. It is unionists who forcefully impose their will on the majority with temper tantrum antics such as the occutards have done.

      • tagalog

        She's doing more than that; she's expressly stating that direct democracy is preferable to a republic. On that, she's clearly and demonstrably wrong.

    • 11bravo

      I am afraid the superbowl to many people is WAAAAYY!! more important than a thousand people's livelyhood Cindy-just not to you sweetheart!

      • intrcptr2

        Dude, the game is on Sunday; these two interests are not mutually exclusive, unless you consider that multi-tasking…

    • intrcptr2

      It WAS voted on, Cindy, that's why there are so few Dems in Indianapolis.

      Please, PLEASE, go to your kids high school and borrow a 10th Grade civics book.

  • davarino

    I hope they protest the super bowl. That will be one more nail in their coffin. Plus I think 150,000 football fans can handle a few thousand dope smokers and fat cat union workers.

    Good luck with your little hissy fit

    • joy52

      Yes, I hope they protest at the Super Bowl. Americans don't like things interfering with football. Be interesting to see how the networks, who on a normal day would suck up to unions, OWS, and all things Obama, will deal with this contradiction. The American people are fed up and by having unions and OWS on so public a stage, it will be difficult for the media to cover up the disdain. Should be interesting, but not in the way the Obamaites expect.

  • StephenD

    I'm waiting to see who comes out in support of them. I want them to step up now and let the world see where they stand so when the dust settles, it will be obvious who they stand with. What bothers me is they speak in terms of helping the "workers." My question is what workers should we help; those that want more or those that have to pay for it? There is no such thing as a free lunch. Labor costs go up, prices go up. We all end up paying. You should have a healthful and safe work environment with wages reflective of the talent you have. After that, if you don't like your employer, find another.

    • fiddler

      Stephen, this is where they prey on gullible, emotional, reactionary people who don't take the time to see beneath the surface. They play the "victim" and it works. They start with pushing the victimization, and if that doesn't work, move to scare tactics to influence elections. Finally they move toward intimidation. They saturate the news media with their well-funded rants and it works for them. The people are conned and they prevail. This is why we need conservative activism to challenge their assertions; demanding they respond to fact. Scott Walker exempted the police and fire departments, but that didn't matter; the "fraternity" had to be held intact. So they lie to the public where they can get away with it. They are more aggressive and publically committed to their "cause" and that's why they often prevail. Public awareness is what they want least.

      • joy52

        Which is exactly why they should protest at the Super Bowl. Maybe we should take up a collection for them!

    • chris brunt

      If you don't like your employer, get another? How about start a union so that your employer will have to treat the workers as somewhat equal in power. Apparently that is antithetical to the supporters of these "right to work" people who are almost always in reality corporate and business mouthpieces that are determined to lower their costs so they can make more for the stockholders. The problem is that we as a country when all the states are right to work states or more accurately "impossible to organize a union state, we will have a truly third world country of wealthy corporate elites and the scattered masses hoping to feed their families. And as far as "no free lunch", why aren't you and the rest of corporate apologists demanding that the corporate banking industry pay for their lunch and the vast numbers of companies that avoid paying taxes pay for their free lunch, as well as all those freeloafers making cash on their stock portfolios by doing nothing except racking it in. Why isn't this unearned stock wealth taxed at the same rate as a plumber that actually works for a living? The real free lunch goes to the vast corporate institutions that dominate all discussions and policies of this country. It is an extreme joke upon Americans that somehow it's those unions that are destroying our democracy and freedoms, while the real power is exactly the opposite. What is the reason for the vast outlays of corporate welfare that is euphemistically called the defense budget? The wars are to protect the corportate profits and then funds are directed to the weapons manufacturers that fuel wars all around the planet. If these trillions aren't free lunches… well then it must be the janitor union that wants to make sure there's a medical plan at the job. The Right to Organize should be made easier and the power of workers should have more decisive power within the workplace… Then when a stock obsessed CEO decides to ship jobs overseas the workers can and should have a say in that decision. But, of course that would be a radical change in our blessed religion of phoney "free market capitalism".
      Well, in far more successful, countries like Germany the ability to unionize is strong and the rights of workers are given a real say in corporate policies and their unemployment rates are way down, their manufacturing is still alive and the fat stuffed corporate elites at least have to think twice before they ship their jobs to some slave market in another country. A slave market that we in this country are fast approaching. There's power in the union…that's why the corporate right wing want to crush any possibility of workers working together.

      • fiddler

        "A slave market that we in this country are fast approaching. There's power in the union…that's why the corporate right wing want to crush any possibility of workers working together. "

        You are SOO way off base I don't know where to begin. Unions protect SLOTH, no opinion, I've SEEN it pal! Been there. I have seen people asleep on the job, refusing to do work to get "better working conditions" and sabotaging product for customers (e.g. the military and police) that they didn't like. Where is the HONOR in that? Where is the sense of pride. Oh, don't worry, the UNION will come to my aid! Do you thing paying customers care about your goodies? They care about getting the best product at the lowest price. That's life. Its about competition! Unions are for those who know they CAN'T compete, so they need POWER to protect them. How about YOU creating YOUR own business? YOU be responsible for all the liabilities that you pressure business with. You have backwards logic and it runs against how the real world works.

  • Brujo Blanco

    Unions have become a Government unto themselves. Union dues are their taxes. I understand that unions in some cases have been collecting “dues” from non members on the premise that the non members receive benefits base on the efforts of the unions. I have a family member who was in a union that had an unwritten rule that if you are a member and register as a Republican you will not get any hours. Unions need also to be brought under the rule of law regarding their unlawful use of violence.

    • reader

      Basically, unions = racket, and often violent racket at that. How are teamsters better than mobsters?

  • BLJ

    Let the a-holes make fools out of themselves. Pinhead losers who cannot make it on their own in the world.

    The last time I checked America was a free country (that is until Comrade O became Prez) and if a person doesn't want to join a union they should not have to. The whole objection of Obama & Co is to gain total control over people's lives.

    They can stick it where the sun don't shine.

  • BLJ

    I meant "objective". Objection is a good noun to use when describing the rule of Obama.

  • Spider

    I have some news for you Cindy – This is not a war against workers as it is always portrayed because not all workers are union members. I am not a union member and neither are milions of other people working for private business. Unfortunately for us we have to pay for your for exorbident salaries and benifits with our taxes while we ourselves do not have such entitlements salaries. And another thing no person should be forced to join a union to get a job period.

  • kongMing

    Modern employment has been made much more safe and secure by private industrial associations like SAE and ASME much more so than any union.

    To a lesser degree university research has advanced working conditions, but only to do to the enthusiasts whose collaboration and self sacrifice save many lives and create many jobs. This is in start contrast to the union corruption and malfeasance created only out of their own selfishness.

  • Crossbow87

    Pass Right to Work in Michigan….not only will the Occupy losers try to distrupt the lives of the rest of us, they would probably also have to use Orwellian logic to explain the positive impact. Go Indiana, don't lose your nerve.

  • tagalog

    There's a lot of people who will be at the Superbowl, who will LOVE it if the lefties decide to show up there to demonstrate…

  • Brain

    I gotta say, I've been in a union for six years and am quite happy with it. Although my union is a little different as most members are college educated and the membership has control over most things as with other unions the membership typically has no voice. Sounds like a typical republic where the elected officials don't listen to the voters. The next step after that is to keep pushing for more and more ridiculous demands to justify your job, politicians and union leaders etc. I think the problem with most unions isn't that they want to work together as a whole to get better benefits, I think the problem is the memberships opinions fall on the union leaders deaf ears who then go to negotiate them out of a job.

    • joy52

      Unions were a good thing in the beginning–steel workers, etc., needed help. As we all know, union leadership turned it into a racket enforced by thugs. There was a point in time when they helped; there were warnings along the way that deals being shoved through would damage industry and damage the economy. Unions started out in manufacturing–and where are those jobs now? Now everywhere there is a union, it means sub par performance by overpaid workers. Contracts sacrifice the new hires. Unions need redefining and limits. Yes, safety. Yes, fairness. But limits.

  • tanstaafl

    Go Pats?

  • BLJ

    I say they turn the Giants front four on them.

  • pyeatte

    Right-to-Work is the only system that is not evil. People should never be required to join any union in order to work – period. If you want a union – fine, just don't force it on anyone. The government or corporation should never be involved in the collection of union dues for any union. If the union cannot appeal to enough people to pay their dues perhaps the union should not exist.

    • Dennis X

      Then those who not pay dues should not be allowed to enjoy the fruits of being in that union, ie pay raises etc. I have a friend who lives in texas and she says the jobs there are so good , she has three of them.

      • mrbean

        What is it with you tribalist types? Groups do not have rights. Only individuals have rights. Any employer should not be restricted on who he hires or does not hire based on arequirment that he/she joined any group. The problem with unions is that some incompetent idiot who doesn't perform is overpaid while someone who excels at the same job is underpaid. And – you cannot get rid of the inept very easily.

  • ASG

    I think it is time the adults step in and spank these little children from the OKKKupy movement and the babies in the Union.

  • Isherwood

    I support the union workers who are resisting the corrupt, corporate-owned Republicans who want to make our industrialized country into a banana republic. The 99% will have their day. I hope the plutocrats are quaking in their skyboxes. They STOLE the fruits of economy. It is time for them to PAY UP! And the players union supports the occupiers! PUT THE THIEVES IN PRISON!

    • ASG

      It's called Democracy, a vote was taken, and you lost.

    • FrankWye

      Put the thieves in prison and the thugs in the streets.

    • intrcptr2

      Do you support the union workers who are protesting the corrupt, corporate-owned Democrats?

      Didn't think so….

    • fiddler

      You sir are jaded. Either you have never been part of a union or you are just a reactionary leftist tribalist. Unions exist to get back at the company that hired them. Their focus is not on the customer, or on whether their business remains healthy for its own sake, they just BELIEVE that no matter what they do, the money will keep rolling in and its their DUTY to ensure themselves that they get a larger cut. For Public sector unions, since there is no competition (there SHOULD be!) and the taxpayers HAVE to pay (after all, it's the LAW!!!) then they don't have to work hard to stay in business, just to garner more of the taxpayer's money. As in Wisconsin, the publich funds their own insurance, but the union expects a free ride FOREVER!! They are privilaged, spoiled children whining for more.

  • reader

    It's kettle calling the pot black. Public sector unions are the thieves. They steal or, better yet, extort public money.

  • Carl

    It doesn't make any sense that these people would be up in arms over a bill that creates freedom by allowing people to choose for themselves whether or not they want to be a part of a union rather than being forced to join and pay dues regardless of their own personal wishes. How in the world are so many people backwards that they can't see this bill for what it is? And how are elected officials able to act like two-year-olds and run away from their responsibilities without being "fired" for not fulfilling the duties they were hired to perform. As the author of this article points out, the kind of behavior they are demonstrating is anti-democratic, going against the very nature of democracy. Not only that, it sets a very dangerous precedent that in the end could ultimately serve as the demise of this great country. What is to follow but lawlessness when those in charge refuse to play by the rules.

  • Oleg

    It's good to see that Indiana is the first rust belt state to take action in this direction, organized labor is one of the primary reasons why there is a "Rust Belt" to begin with. Unions had a role to play in terms of hours and working conditions, but that was 100 years ago and there are a plethora of laws and government agencies that regulate such things now, often too many of both. Unions should be stripped of their government enforced monopolies over the workplace, if they are guaranteed forced membership and employess have dues confiscated from their paycheques what incentive is there for the union to work on behalf of their members? Then you have the organized crime aspect, union bosses taking payouts to keep their members in line or to ensure that the work is done properly, or to look the other way when workers are mistreated, or shaking down employers with threats of labor disruption.

  • Oleg

    There was a bribery scandal recently exposed in Quebec with construction companies, any public works project had to hire certain companies to do the work and kick money upstairs to the union bosse, as a result projects in Quebec cost 1/3 more then they do elswhere in Canada. If a private developer didn't do the same he would end up with the worst employees the union could send over to do the work. I'm sure that this is not unique to the Canadian province of Quebec, but it's absolutely laughable to suggest that labor unions are saintly and democratic.

  • Marti

    Unions screwed Ohio by referandum. Hope Indiana doesn't allow the union thugs to do the same .
    All unions need to be disbanded and the people at the top, Andy Stern, Richard Trumpka and the rest of them thrown in prison.

  • 11bravo

    I am living just outside chicago; because of unions it costs more than a million bucks a mile to build a four lane road (and has for the last 10 yrs). The last thing any of these union guys would do is demonstrate in front of a football stadium before the superbowl. They aren't that tough-or stupid!!

  • charlie

    I hope the union boycotts the bowl. Unions are the best bet for the worker, I retired @58 with a great pension, 401K money and full health care and I love it. Wake up people and try to get into a union and make yourself some money and build a good retirement instead of giving it all to your employer.Employers have there unions by belonging to there special interest groups auch as ABC merit shops etc Stop being there slaves they are not the only ones that should have vacation homes,nice care etc. Good luck America and back to my retirement. r

    • fiddler

      Bully for you. That's the sound of entitlement that I hear. You didn' have to battle for market share as the private sector has to. You got a cushy deal at the taxpayer's expense. Unions are inefficient, expensive and often produce POOR product that has to be reworked by newbees. Been there done that. Ashamed of the corruption and entitlement mentality. Unions are NOT inspriring and don't speak well of honoable hight achievers, because they are not. Using FORCE instead of stellar workmanship is not the way to compete in the 21st century.

  • ebonystone

    I worked for many years in a unionized company — rust belt heavy metal bending type of company — and can say that the union was both good and bad for the workers.
    But what I found so interesting was the attitude of my fellow union members towards other unions. E.g. many patronized non-union barbers to save money; when it came to household work many used non-union "handymen" rather that pay for union painters, plumbers, or carpenters. Some even worked such jobs themselves, part-time, I remember one neighbor who was a railroad engineer, and a staunch union man. He was building a retirement home on one of the TVA lakes in Tennessee, and he gloated about how low the labor costs were there: "They're right-to-work down there, heh-heh-heh."

  • Marti

    Workers of the world unite, UNION slogan, MARXIST slogan.
    When are the workers going to wake up and realize their unions and bosses are Marxists!
    Look at your banner with the clenched fist and hammer, you people have never lived it, YET THAT IS, you will soon find out, you are SHEEP, being used and sucked into an abyss of SERFDOM!!!!

  • maria

    The leader of Russian Revolution V. Lenin named Union " The school of Communism".
    Charlie brags that he as Union member has a wonderful benefits. Right, we tax payers paid of or we rubbed as tax payers to benefit him. Why Unions member have more priviliges and benefits than we People who work harder than they in the same country?
    As 14 ammendment of Constitution all laws should be applied equally to all citizens. Unions broke the Constitution. Our Prez. community organizer loves union's organization and bribes them. Democrats plays by "Chicago political school" rules: pay to play. The Unions organize voters, their members plus contributes money to Dem party and party after victory bail out non-competative Unions companies. Unions ruined, for instance, automotive industry.