Monthly Archives: September, 2015

Walker in Reverse: Right-to-Work for Just the Private Sector to Be Introduced in Ohio House


Ohio State Rep. Tom Brinkman has announced that he is planning on introducing a bill that will ban “closed shops” and forbid unions from charging “fair-share fees” to non-union workers at private-sector workplaces.

He has indicated that the bill will not apply to public-sector unions, which would have been similarly restricted by Senate Bill 5, which was signed into law in late spring 2011 and then overwhelmingly rejected by ballot referendum in the fall of that year.

Brinkman has justified the bill with the usual arguments—that it will somehow increase employment and that it will prevent workers from being forced to pay dues to unions whose political agendas they may not support.

In an article on the bill published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jeremy Pelzer notes: “A number of studies have looked at the economic impact of ‘right-to-work’ laws, though it’s hard to find definitive proof of whether such…

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This Would Never Have Happened if William Howard Taft Were Still President!


This item was distributed by Progressive Review in its daily UnderNews newsletter:

September 28, 2015

Obamacare Discriminates Against Heavy People

Economic Hardship-A 2013 report by ConscienHealth, a consultancy, found that 16 percent of employers require wellness program participation, including medical screenings, for access to full health benefits. Of these, 67 percent set goals for weight and/or other health indicators linked to obesity (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, diet). But 59 percent said that their companies didn’t cover any evidence-based treatments for obesity, like fitness training, dietician, or medical weight loss clinics.

Penalizing employees for pounds is perfectly legal. Under provisions in the Affordable Care Act, 2014, employers can charge employees an extra 30 percent of the total cost (employer and employee portions) of individual or family health benefits coverage if they don’t meet specific wellness goals, including body mass index. This is up from 20 percent, which was imposed…

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“Right to Work,” by the Numbers: Part 11: Adult Obesity Rates


Comparing the following two maps does not provide a basis for making the case that “right to work” enhances public health and the quality of life of workers and their families:

US Map 1

Obesity Rates

In the interest of full disclosure and to make it plain that I am not engaging in “fat shaming,” I am a person of “girth.” (How is that for a euphemism?) By that, I mean that if I ever somehow managed to squeeze myself into a sub-compact car or into a “tiny house,” they would either have to cut me out of it or bury me in it.

But, there is no denying that if I were thinner (in my case, actual thinness seems a very remote possibility), I would be healthier now and have better prospects for a longer and healthier life.

Although I am an outlier in this respect, obesity rates have been broadly correlated to low…

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“Right to Work,” by the Numbers: Part 10: Unemployment Rates in August 2015


You cannot make the case that “right to work” increases employment opportunities by comparing these two maps:

US Map 1

Unemployment Rate 8-2015


Previous posts in this series have included:

Part 1: Population Growth and Movement:

Part 2: Immigration:

Part 3: Unemployment Rates, by State:

Part 4: Historic Highs and Lows in Unemployment, by State:

Part 5: Employment in Manufacturing:

Part 6: Loss of Employment in Manufacturing, before and during the Great Recession:

Part 7: Right to Work by the Numbers: GDP by State and GDP per Capita by State:

Part 8: Right to Work by the Numbers: GDP in Urban and Rural Areas:

Part 9: Previously Uninsured Americans Who Now Receive Health Insurance through the Federal Exchanges Established under the Affordable Care Act:

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What a Stronger Department of Labor Means


This is a news release from the Department of Labor:

Halliburton Pays Nearly $18.3 Million in Overtime Owed to More than 1,000 Employees Nationwide after US Labor Department Investigation

Global Oil And Gas Service Provider Failed To Pay Overtime

HOUSTON — In one of the largest recoveries of overtime wages in recent years for the U.S. Department of Labor, oil and gas service provider, Halliburton, has agreed to pay $18,293,557 to 1,016 employees nationwide. The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigated Halliburton as part of an ongoing, multi-year compliance initiative in the oil and gas industry in the Southwest and Northeast.

Investigators found Halliburton incorrectly categorized employees in 28 job positions as exempt from overtime. The company did not pay overtime to these salaried employees—working as field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisors, perforating specialists and reliability tech specialists—when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek…

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Walker Suspends Presidential Campaign: Wrecking Wisconsin Not a Springboard to the White House After All


This from the Washington Post:

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suspended his presidential campaign today, effectively ending a once-promising GOP presidential bid that collapsed over the summer.

“Walker, who tumbled from top-tier status amid tepid debate performances and other missteps, had pulled back from other early-voting states in favor of a heavy focus on Iowa, where he once led the field and has strong roots as a Midwesterner.”

I guess that the plan that he laid out just last week to attack unions nationwide was not enough to rescue his campaign. This is a summary provided by AlterNet:

  • Repeal President Obama’s orders improving pay and conditions for workers, including the millions of additional workers Obama is making eligible for overtime pay and things like paid leave for federal contract workers.
  • Pass a national version of so-called “right to work,” the anti-union law that allows workers to claim the benefits…

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Sweet Mother of Jesus !?!


When I was growing up, the father of one of my friends was just about the least profane man that I knew. When he confronted some circumstance that very much surprised, confounded, or angered him, he would say, “Sweet Mother of Jesus!” Although e used the phrase so selectively and uttered it with such intensity that it carried some of the same weight as the much more profane exclamations that came out of the mouths of the rest of the men in our neighborhood, it wasn’t quite the same.

And yet, in a strange way, I sensed, even if I could not then have articulated it, that when he uttered that phrase he was expressing a profound disappointment with the world that was beyond the emotional reach of most of the other men in our neighborhood.

I cannot remember the last time that I ever uttered that phrase. In fact…

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One Weird Labor Day Message


Cheers to Unions

I am not sure if this image is from The Great Gatsby or The Wolf of Wall Street, but the combination of image and message seems, to me at least, more puzzling, if not disconcerting, than very clearly ironic.

I suppose that it could be worse—if, for instance, the image were of Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, preaching the inherent goodness of greed.

But then the list of worse possibilities would seem almost endless. Imagine a photo of Scott Walker joining a picket line or a video of the Koch brothers singing “Joe Hill.”

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For Labor Day, a Carl Sandburg Poem about Work


Work Gangs

Carl Sandburg, 1878 – 1967

Box cars run by a mile long.
And I wonder what they say to each other
When they stop a mile long on a sidetrack.
Maybe their chatter goes:
I came from Fargo with a load of wheat up to the danger line.
I came from Omaha with a load of shorthorns and they
splintered my boards.
I came from Detroit heavy with a load of flivvers.
I carried apples from the Hood river last year and this year
bunches of bananas from Florida; they look for me with
watermelons from Mississippi next year.

Hammers and shovels of work gangs sleep in shop corners
when the dark stars come on the sky and the night watchmen
walk and look.

Then the hammer heads talk to the handles,
then the scoops of the shovels talk,
how the day’s work nicked and trimmed them,
how they swung and…

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Celebrate the Labor Movement!


This is the Labor Day message sent out by Muskovitz and Lemmerbrock, the law firm which has advised our chapter at Wright State ever since it was formed almost two decades ago:

“Labor Day is a day to celebrate working men and women and their efforts to secure workplace rights and better working conditions, and is a steadfast symbol of the movement’s dedication.

“Labor Day was first celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York City, coordinated by the Central Labor Union. After a couple years of the group celebrating Labor Day in New York, the Central Labor Union urged labor organizations in other cities to likewise celebrate a ‘workingmen’s holiday’ on the first Monday in September. In 1885, several labor organizations in industrial centers across the country celebrated Labor Day.

“Over the next 10 years, as Labor Day celebrations by working men and women continued to expand, states began to slowly but surely recognize Labor Day as a holiday in honor of workers. In 1890, Ohio enacted legislation recognizing the…

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