From the fascist leftist socialist propagandist Michael Hiltsik (whose last name ought to be spelled “sick”):
Wal-Mart store closure follows labor activism
Los Angeles Times 4/23/15
It’s certainly possible that Wal-Mart is temporarily closing five stores, including one in Pico Rivera, Calif., “due to ongoing plumbing issues that will require extensive repairs,” as it claims.
It’s possible that the Pico Rivera closure, which will cost the jobs of more than 500 employees and will last six months to a year, isn’t part of an effort to punish workers who have been at “the center of concerted action by Associates to improve the wages and working conditions of all Walmart Associates around the country,” as the workers asserted in a complaint filed Monday with the National Labor Relations Board.
If so, however, there wouldn’t be so many questions about Wal-Mart’s repair plans. Why hasn’t the giant retailer applied for building permits for the work? Not at Pico Rivera, nor at any of the other four stores — two in Texas and one each in Florida and Oklahoma, according to a Tampa, Fla., TV station. Why, of the list of 50 “plumbing issues” Wal-Mart provided to The Los Angeles Times dating to July 2014 for the Pico Rivera store, were half identified as “non-emergency” problems such as leaky urinals and broken toilet handles?
Why weren’t problems fixed when the store underwent a recent $500,000 refurbishment — during which it didn’t have to be closed — that included the restrooms and the grocery department, according to papers on file with the Pico Rivera building department?
Or, if the plumbing problems were so severe that the building has to be completely closed until Christmas and possibly beyond, why didn’t Wal-Mart say anything about it until April 13? On that day, according to Venanzi Luna, an employee at the Pico Rivera store, managers called workers to a meeting at 1 p.m. to inform them the location would be closed as of 7 p.m.
The other stores were closed with similar suddenness. No advance warning to customers, to the communities or to the employees.
In February, Wal-Mart made a high-profile bid to turn around its reputation for scandalously poor wages and working conditions for many of its 1.4 million U.S. workers. The company said it would raise minimum starting pay to $9 an hour beginning next month and $10 an hour in February 2016.
But its handling of the store closings, which will affect 2,200 workers overall, supports speculation that the February wage initiative was just for show — that Wal-Mart’s solicitude for its immense workforce is barely skin-deep.
Luna, 36, who is a leader in the movement for better pay and conditions for employees, says the Pico Rivera staff members were told that they could apply for positions at other area stores.
There were no guarantees that any jobs would be available. The workers were told that once the Pico Rivera store reopened, they would have to reapply, and that regardless of their job level and pay on the shutdown date, it might be at minimum wage.
“That’s standard for our (human resources) procedures,” Wal-Mart spokesman Brian Nick told me. The workers are entitled to 60 days of severance, he said. But that’s not by Wal-Mart’s choice; it’s mandated by federal and California laws, which say that workers must be given 60 days’ advance notice of a mass layoff or be paid for that period.
The Pico Rivera workers assert in their NLRB complaint that the four other store closings are a smokescreen to conceal that they’re the company’s real target. Pico Rivera has been a hotbed of Wal-Mart employee activism through the nationwide group OUR Walmart (an acronym for Organization United for Respect). “This unprecedented ‘closure’ to fix ‘plumbing’ is part of Walmart’s overall national strategy to punish Associates who stand up and speak out for better working conditions,” they said in the complaint.
The Pico Rivera store was the site of the first OUR Wal-Mart strike in 2012 and remained a center of vocal activism on “issues of scheduling, pay, benefits, part time work, unfair treatment and discrimination throughout the country,” the group notes. They’re asking the NLRB to order Wal-Mart to find jobs for the 2,200 laid-off workers without loss of pay, or to reinstate them at their old stores.
The organization Making Change at Walmart, which is associated with the United Food and Commercial Workers union, observes further that Wal-Mart has been accused of anti-union maneuvers in the past.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled last year that the company had illegally closed a Quebec store in 2005 after the workers had filed to unionize; the company denied the shutdown was related to the union campaign. In 2000, after meat cutters at a Texas supercenter voted to join the UFCW, the company announced it would close meat-cutting operations in 180 stores and switch to prepackaged meats, a move that “shows the extent to which Wal-Mart will go to keep the union out of its stores,” the UFCW said.
Wal-Mart’s Nick says the recent closings were abrupt so that the work could get underway promptly. Yet city records show the company hasn’t even applied for permits.
The five closed stores had the largest number of repair work orders in the company, Nick said. In January, the Pico Rivera store’s deli department was downgraded from an A to B by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health because it had no hot water, says Luna, who had worked at the store for eight years and was earning $14.40 an hour as a deli worker. She says that problem resulted from a malfunctioning water heater — not the plumbing. The downgrade happened, she said, because store managers weren’t on site to get the heater fixed before the county’s deadline.
As for the recent remodeling, much of which the city inspected and approved in December, Nick said, “that’s why the recurring plumbing reports are particularly problematic.”
Hiltzik is a doctrinaire socialist, so you can pardon his “reporting.” I’ve read this ideologue’s garbage and can tell you that it is an absolute disgrace to the Los Angeles Times that they actually allow this turd to publish in the “Business” section of the paper without revealing that every single one of his columns are “op-eds” and express his ranting opinions rather than legitimate reporting.
The left demands the abolition of the free market system that made America the greatest nation in the history of the world and they demand in its place a slave market based on totalitarian government domination over every single business.
Businesses should not be allowed to hire who they want; they should rather be compelled to hire transgender freaks staggering around in high-heels. They should be forcibly compelled to embrace leftist unions who are out to undermine them and “fundamentally transform” businesses into cash-machines for leftist political candidates and causes. And they should be forbidden from being allowed to fire anybody whom the left doesn’t want fired regardless of the reasons.
I mean, just LOOK at the model that we have from the depraved, wicked political left in the form of two very recent examples from the symbiotic relationship between the thug leftist unions and their thug leftist Democrat political class:
DEA Chief Explains Why She Can’t Fire Agents Involved in Sex Parties Paid for by Drug Cartels
April 15, 2015 – 11:06 AM
By Susan Jones
(CNSNews.com) – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart said she is “offended by the behavior” of DEA agents who engaged in prostitution and sex parties while working on the taxpayers’ dime.
But Leonhart told the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday there’s nothing she can do about it except to write memos stating that “these kinds of behaviors require significant discipline.”
If you can’t fire the agents or even recommend that they be fired, “What the hell do you get to do?!” an exasperated Rep. Trey Gowdy asked her.
A March 2015 report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General reviewed 77 sexual misconduct and sexual harassment cases at DEA, and the agents involved were mostly suspended for a few days, not fired.
“We were particularly troubled by multiple allegations involving several DEA special agents participating in ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes while working in an overseas office” (Cartagena, Colombia), the report said.
“The misconduct occurred for several years while these special agents held Top Secret clearances. Many of these agents were alleged to have engaged in this high-risk sexual behavior while at their government-leased quarters, raising the possibility that DEA equipment and information also may have been compromised as a result of the agents’ conduct.”
The report also found that the agents “should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid for with cartel funds.” But 7 of the 10 agents who admitted attending the parties received only suspensions ranging from 2 to 10 days.
The report — and Leonhart’s own testimony on Tuesday — drew scorn, disbelief and anger from both Republicans and Democrats on the committee.
“Under the civil service laws, I can’t intervene in the disciplinary process,” Leonhart testified. But she noted that last year, she “took action…to put the agency on notice that activity like that — and I named it, prostitution; and named four or five other things — required significant discipline.”
“Do you have any idea how absurd that sounds to an ordinary human being?” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) asked Leonhart. He called Leonhart’s legal inability to hold agents accountable “nuts.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy (S.C.) called Leonhart’s testimony “stunning.”
“If an agent stateside were soliciting a prostitute that was provided by a drug conspiracy he was investigating, what punishment would you recommend?” Gowdy asked her.
“I can’t recommend a punishment,” Leonhart said. “I would just hope that would be thoroughly investigated and, uh–”
“So you’re telling me nobody cares what the administrator of the DEA thinks should happen to an agent. You’re powerless to express your opinion. You have no First Amendment right when it comes to who works for your agency.”
“I have expressed my opinion in a number of ways,” Leonhart responded. “Last year I sent email and I sent a memo to every employee in DEA and put them on notice that this conduct was not acceptable.”
She explained that “Under the civil service law, I cannot recommend a penalty, I can’t intervene in the disciplinary process. I can’t even make a recommendation to the deciding officials.”
Leonhart explained that the two DEA “deciding officials” — who are junior to her — consult a penalty guide to mete out discipline. “And the penalty guide for this kind of activity is anything from reprimand to removal.” Leonhart also said she has no say over agents’ security clearance.
Gowdy erupted: “Honestly — what power do you have? You have to work with agents over whom you can’t discipline and have no control; and you have no control over the security clearance. What the hell do you get to do?!”
“What I can do is build on and improve mechanisms to make sure that the outcome is what we believe the outcome should be,” Leonhart responded. “And that is what happened in Cartagena (sex parties over multiple years), and that is what is going to happen moving forward.”
Gowdy then asked the Justice Department Inspector-General Michael Horowitz if the DEA agents knew that the drug cartels were providing the prostitutes.
“What we found, Congressman, from looking in the file is that they should have known,” Horowitz said. He added that the agents were supposed to be investigating the cartels.
“So they were receiving prostitutes from cartels that they were supposed to be investigating. And she can’t fire those agents?” Gowdy asked.
“I think as a matter of Title 5, she can’t directly intervene in firing them. I do think one of the concerns we outlined in the report…is how they adjudicate these cases.
“They under-charge them in some instances. And so at DEA, for example, sexual harassment — if you’re charged with that, there’s only one punishment — removal. But if you’re charged with conduct unbecoming or poor judgement…then you’ve got a range of penalties. And so one of the issues…is how you charge the case.”
Leonhart told Gowdy she doesn’t know if any of the prostitutes involved were underage or part of a human trafficking ring.
“Mr. Chairman,” Gowdy concluded, “I would just find it impossible to explain to any reasonable-minded person how an agent cannot be disciplined for soliciting prostitutes from drug cartels that they were ostensibly investigating. I find that stunning.”
“If somebody murdered somebody, could you fire him?” Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) cut in.
“If someone murdered someone, there would be criminal charges, and that’s how they’d be fired,” Leonhart responded.
Rep. Mulvaney also followed up, noting that if he were to flirt with a coworker in the office, and that behavior was found to constitute sexual harassment, he could be fired under civil service rules. “But I can take an underage hooker from a cartel I’m investigating, and you can’t fire me. Is that what we’re talking about here?” Mulvaney asked Horowitz.
“Actually, Congressman, if you charge the offense (sexual harassment), removal is a possibility. If you charge something less… you don’t charge what actually occurred, that’s when the ability to discipline is limited. And that’s the concern we found, as you know, in our report.”
After the hearing, Chaffetz told the Associated Press it’s time for Leonhart to step down or be fired. “I don’t have confidence in her, nor does the majority of the committee.”
Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., asked Leonhart, “Do you have any idea how absurd all of that sounds to an ordinary human being?” Leonhart repeatedly explained that a maze of civil service system protections for government workers prevents her from firing federal employees.
And in exchange for these jobs for life no matter how incompetent a “worker” is or how corrupt or dishonest or wicked he or she is, the Democrat Party gets to collect MILLIONS to fund the political machine:
IRS workers spent 521,725 hours on union activities; cost taxpayers $23.5m
By Paul Bedard | May 21, 2014 | 2:52 pm
The Treasury Department has revealed to the House Ways and Means Committee that Internal Revenue Service employees spent over 500,000 hours on union activities last year. They estimated the cost to taxpayers at $23.5 million in salary and benefits.
Officials told Secrets that the exact hours IRS members of the National Treasury Employees Union dedicated to labor activities was 521,725 in fiscal 2013, which ran from October 2012 to September 2013. That was slightly less than the 573,319 hours in fiscal 2012, according to the IRS, but the spending was significantly above that year’s total of $16 million.
It was met with outrage from some in Congress who hit the agency for seeking more money, especially in light of the recent scandal involving the targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups.
“Many Americans would be shocked to learn that IRS employees are unionized,” House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany, R-La., told Secrets.
“The IRS has wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and over a half a million employee hours for union activities. It is absurd the IRS has the audacity to habitually come to this committee asking for more money. The IRS should spend less time picking political favorites and provide service to hardworking American taxpayers,” Boustany added.
The agency came under fire last year when it was revealed that they had 201 workers, some earning $100,000 a year or more, dedicated to union activities.
Union work, or “official time,” is allowed under federal law, and the president of the Treasury-IRS union said that it is dedicated to workplace issues.
“Official time is a means of improving the workplace and work processes,” said NTEU National President Colleen M. Kelley. “By statute, official time cannot be used for any purpose not directly related to the representation of bargaining unit employees in matters concerning conditions of employment, such as bargaining contracts or agreements. Official time cannot be used for internal union activities or for any political purpose. Official time is subject to negotiation and is approved by management and is used, for example, when employees/union representatives participate with management in work groups to implement new workplace initiatives designed to enhance service to the public. In large part, the use of official time is a reflection of the size of the bargaining unit workforce in that agency,” she added.
The IRS is a big agency. It has a $12 billion budget and about 73,000 union-covered employees.
In a statement, the IRS said: “Under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, employees representing an exclusive representative (in this case NTEU), are entitled to use official time to represent an agency’s bargaining unit employees. Examples of representational activities would include negotiations, grievance meetings, formal discussions with management, third party appeals, etc.”
In February, the Washington Examiner’s Mark Flatten wrote a four-part series called “Too Big To Manage,” on the practice of official time for federal employees.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not only did that union thug activity not stop, but it increased even as disgusted Republicans in Congress cut their funding to try to stop them from using government service as a political weapon and fund-raising machine of the Democrat Party:
House report: Cash-strapped IRS prioritized bonuses, union activity over helping taxpayers
Published April 22, 2015
While facing budget cuts, the IRS nevertheless prioritized worker bonuses, union activity and the implementation of President Obama’s health care law over assisting taxpayers during tax season, according to a new report released Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee. […]
What is the priority of Obama’s Internal Revenge Service? It sure aint taxpayers; it’s maintaining the status of this political organization as a thug-weapon.
But of course how DARE anyone try to stop it or prevent the metastasizing cancerous spread of more unions. I mean, it’s “anti-worker” to fire such thug-roaches, right?
Democrats can pretend to be shocked and appalled all they want when it comes to the vile outrages of the union “employees” of the DEA, but the fact is that THEY ARE the rat-bastard Nazi cockroach fascists who wrote the laws protecting unionism and who subsequently imposed unionism on the federal government and now want to impose the same despicable and vile union agenda on private businesses.
Businesses should be forced to accept all of the risks and have any rewards from doing business seized from them by taxation. Until the Stalinist left can seize the power to nationalize whatever businesses are left by the power of the State as they seize all of the means of production.
Democrats are imposing more and more costs, more and more regulations, more and more burdens even as they shriek more and more hate for the people who create the businesses that provide jobs.
One day, soon, the left will get exactly what it wants and has been agitating for in the form of a man the Bible calls “the beast.” He will nationalize the entire economy and force everyone to accept a mark without which they can neither buy nor sell nor work.
For all of Hiltzik’s bitchng and whining, if Wal-Mart is actually punishing these fascist union-worshiping low-lifes, God bless them. Because the left is constantly bitter, constantly rabidly angry, constantly hateful, constantly agitating, constantly protesting, constantly disrupting and shouting opponents down and attacking people. And if a business has the … BALLS … to retaliate, well, it’s like a million lawyers lining the muck of the bottom of the ocean floor; it’s a good start. I’m only too happy to hear that somebody is taking these vicious people on and giving them a little dose of their own vile-tasting medicine.
It’s like the Ferguson Model of business on the part of the left: burn those businesses down. Burn your community down. Use the depraved political system to – as Obama put it – “punish your enemies.” Until there are no more enemies left to punish and the State rules over all and owns all. And Wal-Mart is saying, “Fine, then. Let me help you destroy by destroying your damn job that you seem to find so worthless. Good luck collecting your “I’m-a-pathologically-useless-turd” welfare-check until you collapse the system and have nothing but your rabid hate for the people who gave you a job and a chance to make something of yourself and Obama whose demagoguery plays you like the fool and tool that you are.
I again point out that we live in a day when the Democrat Party and the Obama machine are ruthlessly following the Cloward and Piven strategy to implode America and rebuild it on a foundation of socialism out of the chaos of the ensuing complete collapse of our society that they are engineering.