What Wal-Mart appeal means for women

After losing the women’s vote in November, the White House and congressional Democrats will be watching the Supreme Court closely next spring when it hears an appeal by Wal-Mart in a class-action employment-discrimination case.

The issue at stake is not about gender-discrimination; rather, the focus is whether or not the case can move forward based on the commonality of the class. While two lower courts — most recently the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco — ruled that the case could go forward, the dissenting opinions raised some serious concerns about why it should not.


The Brown Bailout guy has a point

Over the past few months you have not been able to go on the Web without running into the Brown Bailout guy talking about FedEx using airplanes and UPS using trucks without seeming to make much of a point.

While the ads are lighthearted, the issue is serious. If UPS and the Teamsters get the FAA Reauthorization amendments that they are lobbying for, Federal Express will be forced to change its entire business model and may never recover.

The issue is not that complicated. As everyone knows, Federal Express’s core business is taking a package from point A to point B guaranteed next-day delivery. This constitutes about 80 percent of its business, and it relies upon the dependability of strike-free airline hubs to deliver this service to the public at a reasonable cost.


Fixing the union problem

David Brooks had a good column yesterday about why New Jersey can’t afford to invest in a new tunnel connecting his state with New Jersey. Chris Christie, the unlikely rock-star governor, says that the Garden State just can’t afford it, and if you take one look at its balance sheet, you know he is right.

New Jersey, like Illinois, California, New York and many other states that are dominated by the Democratic Party, can’t afford to pay for big projects because they are spending all of their money on their employees, many of whom no longer work for the state.


Obscure agency is tool of union power-grab

Jimmy Hoffa and the boys have changed the rules of airline union elections, and now are rubbing their hands together in anticipation of achieving one of their Holy Grails — the increased prospects of unionizing Delta Airlines in the wake of its merger with Northwest Airlines.

One obstacle standing in their way is today’s Senate vote on S. 30, by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), which would reject the new election rules and restore 75 years of precedent on how union elections are held in the railroad and airline industries.


On cue, Republicans press energy scare button

This just in from the website: Democrats want a new national energy policy!

Well, that isn’t exactly what they said. They said the Democrats and labor unions want a new national energy tax. They also made some baseless claims that the labor unions plan “to change Senate rules” to get what they want in a post-election congressional session.


Turning around the federal battleship

You've heard how rank-and-file government workers are working together, throughout the U.S. and with citizens, to provide better and better public service. Their dedication has been consistently impressive, particularly during some bad years.

I've been chatting recently mostly with federal workers, though the following is true of all large organizations, including private industry.


Boss Trumka issues threat to Dems on public option

In what can aptly be compared to answering the casting call for a union boss thug-like thespian to issue heavy-handed threats to politicians, Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, has fallen into character in his best "Godfather" imitation to date, preparing himself for his future role as the union's president.


Looking the Other Way

For those who expected that the Democrats would transform themselves into the most ethical group of politicians in history, I have got some news for you. Not gonna happen!

Further evidence of this fact came when the Labor Department moved to get rid of a regulation that was aimed at rooting out financial corruption of Big Labor.

The new Labor Department decided that there was no need to keep an eye on the unions, because, let’s face it, there is no corruption there. No, can’t find any corruption in the labor movement. Nothing to see here. Let’s just move on.

A Union Lesson from My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the more interesting people I've known. His story is one of the quintessentially American stories that tells our history.

As a student at Georgetown University, he excelled at baseball and football, eventually turning down the Washington Senators to finish his studies and continue playing football. Some months later, his pelvis was broken during a tackle. So much for the dreams of becoming another Jim Thorpe.

Graduating during the Depression did not exactly put him in a prime job market, Georgetown degree or not. Instead of getting the important, financially rewarding job he sought, he found work as a longshoreman on the docks in Jersey City. He wasn't behind a desk or wearing a tie; he was loading and unloading crate after crate, day after day. The movie "On the Waterfront" was his daily reality.

Secret Ballot

The top legislative priority of House Democrats in the new Congress will be card-check, a bill that, if signed into law, would end the secret ballot for union organizing.

This afternoon, House Democrats, in a secret ballot, decided to toss Rep. John Dingell (Mich.), whose more than 50 years of service to the Congress apparently wasn’t worth anything, from his chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee. His replacement? Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.), a well-known left-wing ideologue.