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Elvia Bahena, Hyatt worker fired after testifying about hotel blacklisting practices.
Elvia Bahena
Hyatt hotels continues to ask us to have a strong belief in coincidence. As in, the coincidence that so many of the workers who speak out against Hyatt's bad labor practices coincidentally have work records that coincidentally lead to them getting fired right after speaking out. I mean, it's pretty amazing that Lorena and Martha Reyes worked at the Santa Clara Hyatt for years and years—24 years in Lorena's case—and it was just a couple weeks after they objected to having their heads photoshopped onto bikini-clad bodies that they were coincidentally fired for taking long breaks—long breaks they hadn't been disciplined for prior to the bikini picture incident. Or Morena Hernandez, who was coincidentally suspended by the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood, a hotel she'd worked at for 15 years, for improper room cleaning procedures shortly (but coincidentally!) after she leafleted outside the hotel supporting the Reyes sisters.

This week, Elvia Bahena, who worked at the Indianapolis Hyatt through a contractor, was fired for being a terrible, terrible worker, something that coincidentally Hyatt and the contractor decided to take action on right after she testified in front of the city council about blacklisting in the hotel industry. Actually, the contractor denies that Bahena has been fired. It's just that she's gone from working full-time at the Hyatt for the past six months to being "currently unassigned." In other words, they stopped giving her work, because of problems that were bad enough to be documented, supposedly, but for which Bahena says she had never been disciplined, and which it seems just coincidentally came to a head right after her city council testimony.

Hyatt workers aren't alone, of course. It's a common feature of any attempt by workers to organize for better wages and working conditions that the most vocal activists get fired. Walmart and Walmart contractors do it. The 87 labor law violations found (so far) at Station Casinos during the union drive there include firings. Not long before truck drivers at Toll Group had a union vote, a union supporter was fired for taking an emergency bathroom break. Farm workers who resist sexual demands from their supervisors are often fired, as are their friends and family who speak up for them.

But somehow we're always supposed to believe it's a coincidence, that the fired worker had been screwing up right and left, completely unrelated to being an activist. Yeah, right.

(Continue reading below the fold for safety violations, sick leave, recycle drivers, and more.)

A fair day's wage

State and local legislation

  • Oh, this is fantastic. Last year, the New Jersey legislature effectively cut the pay of state workers by raising their required contributions to health care and pensions. Now, the state Supreme Court has said that judges are exempt from those increased contributions, since it is effectively a pay cut and the state Constitution says sitting judges can't have their pay cut. And judges get to make that call for themselves, unlike janitors and teachers.
  • Pennsylvania's Republican governor and legislators keep wanting to add charter schools, even though the ones they have are insanely corrupt. Most recently, five charter school executives were charged by federal prosecutors with 62 counts including wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering, related to their defrauding three charter schools of $6.5 million in public money.

The war on education

Miscellaneous

  • On Tuesday, it was three years since the last time the minimum wage went up. Jon Soltz explains why a minimum wage increase would be important to veterans, and Bryce Covert looks at why it would be important to women.
  • The 401(k)-style, defined contribution retirement system has America on course for a major problem with elder poverty. Teresa Ghilarducci lays out some hard facts: You need to retire with 20 times your annual income saved, but 75 percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000. That means that "Almost half of middle-class workers, 49 percent, will be poor or near poor in retirement, living on a food budget of about $5 a day."
  • And this drought means that $5 won't go very far starting real soon. What food prices will go up because of the drought?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  don't stay at a Hyatt until they (8+ / 0-)

    lstart complying with law.  What they do is morally and legally wrong.  

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:02:56 AM PDT

    •  Don't support the Wall St. Democrats behind this (0+ / 0-)

      anti-worker, anti-union, anti-society move

      No mention of the Pritzkers owning Hyatt, ehhhh?

      can't point out in an election year that there is absolutely no difference between Obama and the Republicans on issue after issue after issue.

      The only permanent legacy of Obama will be him struggling mightily to pass the permanent extension of the Tax Cut for Billionaires, when he had 60% of the votes in Congress in his Wall St. party

      •  Since Obama is not pushing any permanent... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP, Amber6541

        ...tax increases, it seems very much like you're hallucinating.

        In fact, the only tax change that he's pushing right now is a one year extension of the tax cuts on the first 200k (single)/250k (married) of income.

        It's neither a permanent extension, or one that is for billionaires.

        So please quit spreading lies.

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 01:49:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  go to the Greens. (0+ / 0-)

        I support Obama.  Your false equivalency does the dirty work of the Koch Bros and Romney and helps fuck working people.  Whether thst is you aim or you 're just high on revolutionairy fantasies does not matter.  You serve the reactionary pigs and shall be treated as such.

        I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

        by TomP on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 01:54:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So, no unions involved here? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk

    I might have missed it, but does Hyatt's contractor have union representation there?  I mean, It's California for Christ's sake.

    The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

    by commonsensically on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:06:45 AM PDT

    •  California is not at all enlightened about unions (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreyHawk

      seriously.

      "For what profit a man, if he gain the world, but has to pay taxes on it?" -ontheleftcoast, The Book of Paul

      by MsGrin on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:13:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are any states, really? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreyHawk, MsGrin

        I know that California is very much a union state in public employment.  Sad that the unions haven't pushed more union activity and growth there knowing the enormous number of unionized people within the public sector and their feeling there.

        The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

        by commonsensically on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:33:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Where's your link, evidence for this: (0+ / 0-)
          ... unions haven't pushed more union activity and growth there knowing the enormous number of unionized people within the public sector and their feeling there.
           

          Wrong.

          How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

          by divineorder on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:58:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't need a link (0+ / 0-)

            All I need to know is what another poster said here who is living in California in that unions aren't all that strong here in California.  A whole bunch of us know unions aren't as strong as they should be/could be in California.   It's always a good zinger to ask for a link...but not sure there's a link that shows how California has not had a good push for private sector unions.

            Oh, hell...I'll go look. If I find one, hopefully you'll see what I'm saying.  If I don't find one, I'll admit to not finding one.   Thanks.

            The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

            by commonsensically on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 12:04:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Okay, I'm back (0+ / 0-)

              I've put in every kind of statement in Google to find out about "private sector unionization" and the predominant links are "Public sector" unionization and all about that.

              So, nope...can't find a thing about it.  So, I'm guessing there's also nothing anywhere that someone can put here to disagree with what I've posted and what another poster living in California posted about unions in California.

              But, hey, ya got in that "where's your link" thingy.  Good for you.

              The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

              by commonsensically on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 12:13:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks, but please reread, I (0+ / 0-)

                asked for "link comma evidence."  Your evidence is anecdotal.  That's cool.

                Mine's not  much better, but have been elated to read here at  here at Dkos and elsewhere that SEIU has made big push to organize food service workers in California in the last several years.

                Tell you what though, looks like California has a good mix to me-- ymmv:

                 

                CALIFORNIA STATE UNIONS
                AFGE - American Federation Of Government Employees

                AFM - American Federation of Musicians

                AFSCME - American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

                AFT - American Federation of Teachers

                AFTRA - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

                APWU - American Postal Workers Union

                ATU - Amalgamated Transit Union

                BAC - International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craft Workers

                BBF - International Brotherhood of Boilermakers

                BCTD - Building & Construction Trades Department

                BCTGMI - The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union

                BLE - Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers

                BMWE - Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees

                BRS - Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen

                BSOIW - International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iro

                CJA - The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

                CLA - Christian Labor Association

                CWA - Communication Workers of America

                GCIU - Graphics Communication International Union

                GMP - Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics, & Allied Workers International Union

                HERE - Unite Here

                IAFF - International Association of Fire Fighters

                IAM - International Associations of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

                IATSE - International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees

                IBEW - International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

                IBT - International Brotherhood of Teamsters

                ILWU - International Longshore and Warehouse Union

                IUEC - International Union of Elevator Constructors

                IUOE - International Union of Operating Engineers

                IUPAT - The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Home

                LIUNA - Laborers International Union of North America

                MTTD - MARITIME TRADES DEPT AFL-CIO

                NACU - California Nurses Association

                NALC - National Association of Letter Carriers

                NAPFE - National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees

                NATCA - National Air Traffic Controllers Association

                NFFE - National Federation of Federal Employees

                NPMHU - National Postal Mail Handlers Union

                NTEU - National Treasury Employees Union

                OPCMIA - Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association

                OPEIU - Office and Professional Employees International Union

                PACE - Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical, and Energy Workers

                PPF/UA - Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Union

                RLCA - National Rural Letters Carrier's Association

                RWAW - United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers

                SAG - Screen Actors Guild

                SEIU - Service Employees International Union

                SIUNA - Seafarers International Union of North America

                SMW - Sheet Metal Workers International Association

                SPFPA - International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America

                TCU - Transportation Communications International Union

                TWU - Transit Workers Union

                UAW - United Auto Workers

                UE - United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America

                UFCW - United Food and Commercial Workers

                UFW - United Farm Workers

                UGSOA - United Government Security Officers of America

                USW - United Steel Workers

                UTU - United Transportation Union

                WGAW - WRITERS GUILD WEST IND

                NATIONAL UNIONS

                    AEA - Actors
                    SAG - Actors
                    AFL-CIO - AFL-CIO
                    NATCA - AirTraffic
                    GMP - Alliedworkers
                    IUJAT - Alliedworkers
                    UAW - Auto
                    BCTGMI - Bakery
                    IBU - Boatmen
                    BBF - Boilermakers
                    BAC - Bricklayers
                    BSOIW - Bridge
                    BCTD - BuildingTrades
                    NACU - CaNurses
                    CJA - Carpenters
                    OPCMIA - Cement
                    ICW - Chemical
                    CLA - ChristianLabor
                    CWA - Communications
                    CTW - CTW
                    NEA - Education
                    IBEW - Electricians
                    IUEC - Elevator
                    PACE - Energy
                    UFW - FarmWorkers
                    NFFE - FederalEmp
                    NAPFE - FederalPostal
                    IAFF - Firefighters
                    UFCW - Food
                    FAST - Food
                    AFGE - Government
                    GCIU - Graphics
                    SPGU - Guards
                    UNITE - Hospitality
                    HERE - Hotel
                    COIU - Independent
                    NIW - Industrial
                    LIUNA - Laborers
                    NALC - Lettercarriers
                    BLE - Locomotive
                    ILA - Longshoreman
                    IAM - Machinists
                    NPMHU - Mailhandlers
                    BMWE - Maintenance
                    MTTD - Maritime
                    MMP - MastersMates
                    UMW - Miners
                    AFM - Musicians
                    AGMA - Musicians
                    ANA - Nurses
                    OPEIU - Office
                    IUOE - OperatingEngineers
                    IUPAT - Painters
                    ALPA - Pilots
                    PPF/UA - Plumbers
                    FOP - Police
                    IUPA - Police
                    APWU - Postal
                    UE - Radio
                    BRS - Railroad
                    RWAW - Roofers
                    RLCA - Ruralcarriers
                    SIUNA - Seafarers
                    SPFPA - Security
                    UGSOA - Security
                    SEIU - Service
                    SMW - Sheetmetal
                    AFSCME - StateWorkers
                    USW - Steelworkers
                    PAT - Teachers
                    AFT - Teachers
                    IBT - Teamsters
                    AFTRA - Television
                    IATSE - Theatre
                    TWU - Transit
                    ATU - Transit
                    TCU - Transportation
                    UTU - Transportation
                    TTD - Transportation
                    NTEU - Treasury
                    ULSTD - UnionLabel
                    UWNE - Utility
                    ILWU - Warehouse
                    WGAE - WritersEast
                    WGAW - WritersWest

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                Copyright © 1995-2012 UNIONS.ORG

                How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

                by divineorder on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 01:40:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  A list of California unions? (0+ / 0-)

                  What's that?  C'mon, divineorder.  That's proving nothing and the sad part is I think you know that.

                  That doesn't disprove that the unions in California aren't doing all they can to improve not only the number but the involvement of private unions in the state.

                  C'mon.  

                  The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

                  by commonsensically on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 01:51:16 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It proves that there is a good mix of gov (0+ / 0-)

                    and private industry unions.

                    Your assertion is totally unsupported except for the anecdote.

                    By the way, welcome to Dailykos!

                    How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

                    by divineorder on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 02:12:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  A good mix? (0+ / 0-)

                      Wow, that's a bit limp even if it is linked.

                      The evidence you're seeking really would require a thesis or a book to describe the social expectations, understandings of collective bargaining in the various states.

                      I grew up in California.  I didn't know anyone who was in a union when I grew up.

                      Then I worked for several years in dispute resolution on the East Coast in collective bargaining situations.  I got to know union attorneys through work and socially/academically I got to know staffers at national union headquarters.  I regularly interacted with office-holders in local unions.  My work, itself, included being familiar with contracts created through collective-bargaining and both in school and on my own I began to dig into how the history of dispute resolution and unions came into being.  For a lay-person, I have some level of comprehension about this stuff and an advanced degree.

                      I returned to California, still working for the same organization I had worked for back East.  Now, I had some experience with unions, and I saw that the state I returned to was still pretty darned ignorant about what unions do and how they work and why they exist.  I saw employers mis-use a system designed for employees who had union representation in contexts which did not have that representation, and the organization I worked for let them get away with that shit.  That NEVER would have happened on the other coast where union basics are understood because a LOT more people know someone who is in a union and who understands how they work.  As shameful as this is, the organization got used to disadvantage workers for whom we thought we were there to level the playing field.  I spent months fighting how we were perpetuating injustice and I got nowhere.  Then I had a life-threatening event and retired and lost my foothold to fight that battle.

                      Link or no link, California has substantially less union activity and understanding than some other parts of the country.  And even the governmental or quasi-governmental unions are substantially less powerful than they are in the East where unionization is part of the fabric of the workforce.  No one link anywhere will convey this information.

                      "For what profit a man, if he gain the world, but has to pay taxes on it?" -ontheleftcoast, The Book of Paul

                      by MsGrin on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 07:45:31 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Coincidentally, this has happened for centuries (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, OhioNatureMom, annieli

    as workers have sought fair treatment.

    "For what profit a man, if he gain the world, but has to pay taxes on it?" -ontheleftcoast, The Book of Paul

    by MsGrin on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:12:19 AM PDT

  •  Squeeze play (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, OhioNatureMom

    Keeping wages low increase profits, which increase stock prices for the stockholders benefiting those who already have money to invest and also those at the top of the company who have lots of stock options.  Case in point, Costco's stock price is lower because they have lower profits because they pay a living wage to start.  If they would just pay rock bottom like Wal-Mart, their stock price would be much higher!  Anyway, I do love Costco, but way too much of their stuff comes from overseas, as well…

    •  What are the chances (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreyHawk

      that any of these employees (former employees) could sue their employer for wrongful termination?  Unless the employer goes back and changes their personnel file to show repeated violations and discipline, seems like they would have a case.

      If it's a matter of money, couldn't a fund set up to receive donations?

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:24:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Stuff" coming from overseas (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreyHawk
      but way too much of their stuff comes from overseas, as well…
      (relating to Costco)

      I challenge you to find any retailer in the U.S. that don't carry predominantly "stuff from overseas"...especially textiles and shoes and electronics and home appliances.

      NAFTA did that to us.  Sure, there are those that argue that, but they're arguments are pretty lame.

      A bunch of that could be brought back to the U.S., but the big problem now is that all of those countries "overseas" that are realizing great manufacturing and growth and increased employment from making goods made in the U.S. would most certainly balk at America changing that.  

      It's a tough issue to deal with now....and we let it happen to ourselves.

      The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

      by commonsensically on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:30:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Most baldfacedly hypocritical decision ever? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder
    Oh, this is fantastic. Last year, the New Jersey legislature effectively cut the pay of state workers by raising their required contributions to health care and pensions. Now, the state Supreme Court has said that judges are exempt from those increased contributions, since it is effectively a pay cut and the state Constitution says sitting judges can't have their pay cut. And judges get to make that call for themselves, unlike janitors and teachers.
  •  Why no mention of Pritzker? (4+ / 0-)

    Lost Obama donor Penny Pritzker surfaces on Air Force One  

    Penny Pritzker is a billionaire who raised gobs of money for Barack Obama in 2008, then emerged as a central figure in two recent media stories about rich Democratic donors who are down on the president, in part because they feel unappreciated and stiffed on presidential perks.

    But there she was Tuesday on Air Force One, hitching a ride from San Francisco to Portland with Obama.

    Coincidence? There are few coincidences in politics.
    When asked why Pritzker was on the president’s plane, press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on board that she was in the neighborhood, according to a pool report.

    Pritzker was highly active in the early days of the Obama administration and was reportedly considered as a nominee for commerce secretary but was never named. She did join the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and its successor, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

    However, her tenure in those bodies was stormy because the Hyatt Hotel chain her family owns is often at odds with unions representing maids and other hotel workers. Union leaders served on both boards and there were some heated discussions over the hotel-related issues, a source familiar with the situation told POLITICO.

    Move along...nothing to see here

    Somebody said Party! I got excited. I love Parties! Especially Parties with exclamation marks! Now I'm sad because there's not a Party! h/t AnnetteK ;-)

    by EdMass on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:42:01 AM PDT

    •  quite right... more Wall St. Democrats behind this (0+ / 0-)

      More from the tools DK says we have to re-elect to pass teabagger policies that MUST be passed by the Wall St. Democrats because otherwise teabaggers will pass them!

      Yes, save us from the teabaggers, oh alien overlords!

  •  Excellent digest, thanks! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom

    How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

    by divineorder on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 11:54:47 AM PDT

  •  I'm thinking more and more (0+ / 0-)

    that the labor movement needs to get a little thuggish again like in the old days when it was first getting established.  Nothing too discrediting, but there should be some kind of real social consequences for going after working people.

    "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid." - Muad'Dib

    by Troubadour on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 12:00:32 PM PDT

  •  ZOMG retaliation, whodathunkit /nt (0+ / 0-)

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 12:27:23 PM PDT

  •  Penny Pritzger & Hyatt Hotels (0+ / 0-)

    Lets not forget about  heir Penny Pritzger with a estimated net worth estimated at 1.8B that she received when the Pritzger Patriarch died. Hyatt hotels were and are a huge  wealth driver for that family, of which she is still involved in a operating capacity

    She was Obama's campaign finance chair and involved in his transition team. In addition she is on the committee to create  jobs with the "czar " Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE and  recipient of 180 Billion in bailout money that hid a 38 Billion dollar loss , at least on their financial statements submitted for public investment. The tax returns show the loss to allow GE to carry the loss forward , despite the bail-out, and not pay taxes. There is no need to go into the way GE handles US labor other than they just get rid of it.

    Here are a few other items of interest

    Since the spring of 2008, Pritzker has served as Barack Obama's National Finance Chair.[17] On Wednesday July 2, 2008, Ms. Pritzker and her husband hosted a $28,500 per plate fundraiser for Mr. Obama's campaign in Chicago with Warren Buffett and his wife, and Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. [18]

    She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations[19] and President Barack Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

    Ms. Pritzker has been associated with the Sub-prime mortgage crisis. Ms. Pritzker's late uncle, Jay Pritzker, purchased a 50% stake in Hinsdale, Illinois-based Superior Bank of Chicago in 1989 from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which had taken over the bank when it failed in the late 1980s.[20]
    Penny Pritzker became chairman of the bank in 1991. Under Ms. Pritzker's chairmanship, the bank "embarked on a business strategy of significant growth into subprime home mortgages," according to a 2002 report by the United States Treasury Department.[20] She stepped down from the chairmanship in 1994 but continued to serve on the board of the holding company, Coast to Coast. In the months leading up to the 2001 seizure, she tried to work out a major recapitalization plan to "once again restore Superior's leadership position in subprime lending."[20] In July 2001, FDIC seized the bank after the recapitalization could not be resolved. .[21][22] Subsequently, the Pritzker family reached an agreement with regulators to pay $460 million over 15 years toward the costs of the closure; these funds will go towards reducing the costs of the FDIC's losses and partially reimburse depositors with accounts in excess of FDIC insurance limits.[20][23][24][25]

    More than a thousand Superior Bank depositors are still owed money, and industry experts have criticized Pritzker's handling of the situation.[26] Consumer advocates as well as government investigators have asserted Superior "engaged in unsound financial activities and predatory lending practices."

    There is no doubt that she is talented at what she does. There is also no doubt in my mind that Unions are seen by her and her family as  impediments towards reaching ever greater plateaus of wealth and power.  

    Ya know, there are times when 1.8 Billion out of a fortune of 15 Billion just ain't enough. From Sub-prime lending, union busting to stealing from other family member  are just a few of the outstanding accomplishments  by P. Pritzger who has managed to work herself into the highest reaches of political power. So if you ever wonder why Labor seems to be Laboring under a Democratic president, look no further than the people he is surrounded with.

  •  What's with the Hyatt hating? (0+ / 0-)

    The family behind Hyatt has helped Obama tremendously.  They are our allies.

    Why are we attacking our corporate allies?

    Penny Sue Pritzker (born 1959) is an American business executive, and a member of the Pritzker family of Chicago, one of America's wealthiest business families. She is the founder and current Chair of Classic Residence by Hyatt, or Vi, a chain of luxury senior living communities spread throughout the United States, and the national finance chair of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. In 2011 the Forbes 400 list of "America's wealthiest" showed her as the 263rd richest person in the U.S., estimated net worth of US $1.7 billion.[2] Also in 2011 Forbes listed her as the world's 651st richest person.[2]
    Are we trying to scare away the good corporate citizens who back Obama?  

    Come on.  We can't be trashing our good corporate friend Hyatt like this.  It's unseemly.

    /angry snark

    Now, about all those little donors....

    I voted for Change. Not Three Chiefs of Staff from Wall Street Banks. Not Bernanke, Summers, Geithner, Holder, Simpson, or a Monsanto Lobbyist. Not more Free Trade. Not more Patriot Act. Not defending Wall Street's Savvy Businessmen.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 02:28:27 PM PDT

  •  Pay cuts. (0+ / 0-)
    Last year, the New Jersey legislature effectively cut the pay of state workers by raising their required contributions to health care and pensions. Now, the state Supreme Court has said that judges are exempt from those increased contributions, since it is effectively a pay cut and the state Constitution says sitting judges can't have their pay cut. And judges get to make that call for themselves, unlike janitors and teachers.
    This seems incorrect to me. The judges didn't create the constitution or amend it -- that was done through a democratic process. Therefore, they didn't "decide" that sitting judges were protected from pay cuts - the people did. As a matter of public policy, it seems like a good feature to have in the constitution to prevent legislators from retaliating against judges who disagree with them.

    Unfortunately, the NYT article for some odd reason doesn't link to the decision. However, on the surface, this decision sounds right. It appears the state constitution protects sitting judges from pay cuts while the constitution does not protect other workers. The court can't, and should not, make up law just to reach a convenient "PR friendly" result.

    This does leave the question of if an increase in employee contributions to benefits is a pay cut.

    If there is a precedent for considering such increases in employee contributions as pay cuts, then the judges have little leeway except to find the way they did.

    If this question hadn't been previously adjudicated, it seems as if the court still made the right decision. Consider if they had decided it was not a pay cut, in spite of common sense suggesting otherwise, in order to reach a "PR friendly" result.  In that case, that facet of the decision would be precedent for all cases from that point on - when it applied to other workers including janitors and teachers. Who knows what legislators would do with that.

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