Koch flacks tout phony poll on ‘right to work’

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Two union-busters are touting their mid-March poll that purports to prove most Kentuckians are pro-“right to work.”

Of the poll’s 600 respondents, “39 percent didn’t even know what a right-to-work law is,” the duo wrote in a recent Lexington Herald-Leader op-ed column. “But when educated on what a right-to-work law means, ‘no one can be required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment,’ 59 percent agree.”

The poll was from Americans for Prosperity Kentucky, the Bluegrass State branch of  Charles and David Koch’s propaganda ministry.

No doubt, when the AFP flacks wrote “poll” they wanted H-L readers to think “independent poll.” They failed to mention that their pollsters were from Echelon Insights, which is – you guessed it – a right-wing Republican firm cozy with the billionaire Koch brothers.

The survey looks like a “push poll.”

A push poll is carefully crafted to sound like an independent poll.… Read more.

Grayson County, Kentucky: The ‘slam-dunk’ that ricocheted off the rim

By BERRY CRAIG

The union-busters must have figured Grayson County for a slam dunk on a “right to work” ordinance.

After all, the county and Leitchfield, its seat, are pretty deeply GOP Red. The judge-executive is a Republican. So are all six county magistrates. Sen. Mitch McConnell carried the county in a blowout last November.

But the other day, a proposed RTW ordinance couldn’t even muster a vote at the fiscal court meeting.

A magistrate subbed for the judge-executive who was ill. When he asked his fellow magistrates to green light a first reading on the ordinance, mum was the word.

“No motion was made, and the Right to Work ordinance died for lack of a motion,” the Grayson County News Gazette reported.

Interestingly, two state leaders of the county RTW crusade were no-shows — the guy from the Bowling Green-based Bluegrass Institute and his road buddy from Florida-based Protect My Check.… Read more.

‘RTW’ clown car seems to be shedding its wheels

By BERRY CRAIG

It looks like the wheels have come off the scab-built “right to work” clown car.

The union-busters predicted 30 counties would pass RTW ordinances by the end of January, according to Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president.

Only a dozen of the Bluegrass State’s 120 counties are in the RTW column. That’s 10 percent. In baseball, 12 for 120 is a couldn’t-hit-water-if-you-were-falling-out-of-a-boat batting average of .100.

It’s been several days since an ordinance passed, though the Grayson County fiscal court is expected to hold a hearing on a RTW ordinance Friday at the courthouse in Leitchfield.

The hearing is scheduled to start at 11 a.m., central daylight time. The courthouse is at 10 Public Square.

Londrigan is sending the county judge/executive, magistrates and the county attorney information about RTW and the lawsuit nine unions filed in federal court in Louisville against the Hardin County RTW ordinance. The court action, initiated in January, could apply to other county RTW measures.… Read more.

Bluegrass Rural and Rand Paul

By BERRY CRAIG

Bluegrass Rural says ratings from a variety of organizations, including business associations, don’t bode well for Rand Paul, Kentucky’s junior senator who is expected to toss his hat in the ring for president tomorrow.

Paul, a first-term Bowling Green Republican, “is getting flunking grades” across the board, according to the Graves County-based, tax exempt advocacy group “whose mission is focused on voter education in rural Kentucky.”

Here are Paul’s scores, as reported by Bluegrass Rural:

Agriculture and Food
2014 American Farm Bureau Federation: 20 percent.

Business
2013-2014 Associated General Contractors of America – Lifetime Scores for Infrastructure: 17 percent.
2013-2014 National Small Business Association: 0 percent.
2013-2014 National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association: 20 percent.
2012 National Electrical Contractors Association: 44 percent.
2011-2012 American Council of Engineering Companies: 44 percent.
2011-2012 National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association: 33 percent.

Law enforcement
2013-2014 National Association of Police Organizations: 45 percent.… Read more.

The guy known as ‘Rand Paul’s favorite union-buster’

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Brent Yessin just reminded me of David Stockman.

Yessin is the Kentucky-born, Florida lawyer who is pushing county “right to work” ordinances in his native state.

Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s budget director, famously ‘fessed up in a 1981 Atlantic Monthly story that Reaganomics was essentially trickle-down economics.

Trickle-down economics caused the Great Depression. Reaganomics caused the country’s deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Supporters of the RTW ordinances vehemently deny their aim is to destroy unions. Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, says a recent Bloomberg News story about Yessin confirms the guy is a union-buster.

“Yessin’s ideas offer conservatives a path forward on anti-union legislation known as ‘right-to-work’ laws,” wrote Josh Eidelson, the story’s author. The article, which is online, is headlined “Rand Paul’s favorite union-buster.”

The Sunshine State attorney has “represented companies in more than 200 conflicts with unions,” Eidelson added.… Read more.

Hoosier union-busters are bigots, to boot

By BERRY CRAIG

“The labor-hater and labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature, spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other mouth,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. aptly observed.

No doubt he would add “LGBTQ-hater” and “LBGTQ-baiter” if he were alive today.

In Indiana, one of our northern neighbors, right-wing, union-busting Republican Gov. Mike Pence evidently is still happy he signed the “right to work” law his equally right-wing, union-busting, GOP-majority legislature passed in 2012.

But he’s not smiling Mike just now.

Pence is taking a ton of heat – and rightly so – for inking that bill critics say paves the way for legal discrimination against anybody who isn’t heterosexual.

Pence’s detractors say that under the legislation, disingenuously named the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” a business owner can claim “religious freedom” to deny service to persons who are lesbian, gay, bi, transgendered or who are questioning their sexuality.… Read more.

Jack Conway educates Christian County fund raiser on right to work

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Hopkinsville,Kentucky is not exactly union territory.

But at a fund-raiser in the Christian County seat, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jack Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general, forthrightly fielded a question about “right to work” from supporter Gail Hardy, a retired Cadiz teacher who still packs a Kentucky Education Association card.

“After his speech, he asked if anyone had any questions,” Hardy said. “I brought up right to work. He expounded on it and said it is not legal for counties to do. He talked about how it lowers salaries and is bad for all workers and for our state.”

The crowd was friendly. But Hardy said she could see “that most of the people there didn’t know much about RTW. It made me think that a lot of folks need an education on unions and what they have done for this country and for families.”

Hardy, a member of KEA’s political action committee, added that she and a friend in Bowling Green talk politics on the phone almost every day.… Read more.

More chicken you-know-what from the union-busters

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Sometimes, news release writers have to try to make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what.

It goes with the job if you’re in PR.

Anyway, a scribe for Florida-based Protect My Check, one of those anti-union groups pushing county “right to work” ordinances in Kentucky, dutifully diced the pecans, grapes and celery and slathered on the mayo in a recent release. But RTW is still chicken you-know-what.

The Boone County fiscal court’s unanimous vote for a county RTW ordinance means that “more than 500,000 Kentuckians are now protected by Right to Work,” the release says.

Counting Boone, 11 of Kentucky’s 120 counties have passed RTW ordinances. That’s about 9 percent.

Five other counties have had first readings on RTW ordinances. Add them in, and you get 13 percent.

Anyway, I guess the author of the release figures “over 500,000 Kentuckians” sounds more impressive than 11 or 16 counties.… Read more.

County judge-executive trio says no to ‘right to work’

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Three county judge-executives have written Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan saying they oppose county “right-to-work” ordinances.

“I see the right-to-work legislation as a means to undermine labor unions and lower wages,” wrote Democrat Robert W. Carter of Greenup County.

“Henderson County rejects all efforts to pass a right-to-work ordinance,” wrote Democrat Donald Hugh McCormick. “The right-to-work ordinance undermines labor unions with the intent to lower the wages of hard working Kentuckians.”

Republican Judge David Johnston of Ohio County wrote, “We have no plans or desires to pass a local ordinance, nor to advocate for a state law on the matter.”

Greenup County is in eastern Kentucky. Henderson and Ohio counties are in western Kentucky.

Eleven counties have approved RTW ordinances. Kentucky has 120 counties.

In December, Attorney Gen. Jack Conway issued an official opinion warning that the county RTW measures are unconstitutional. In January, nine unions challenged the Hardin County ordinance in federal court in Louisville.… Read more.