Saturday, December 14, 2013

Chicago's Progressive War on Labor - Watch CTA Assault on ATU Local 308

<p>Michael Russell, 38, stands with Mayor Rahm Emanuel (left), CTA President Forrest Claypool (second from right) and clergy as he talks about his experience as a rail apprentice.</p>

Forrest Claypool and Rahm Emanuel have a real problem with people who actually know how to fix a rail that has come loose due to miscalculated gauges and neglected grading, folks who meet a shift in any kind of weather and start up a bus that has not been overhauled due to cut-backs and pick up angry, cold, wet impatient commuters who can not use cash anymore, nor the efficient and easy to use pass cards, or start up a rail car and maintain a safe level speed, in a sober and serious state of mind and body, while moving thousands of souls to and from stations, and  members of the Chicago community from all neighborhoods who maintain a careful watch over routes with aid of complicated technical gadgets, monitors and headsets.    They have a real problem with these people because they, like many Chicagoans, belong to a union of skilled trades persons with an elected leadership comprised of skilled trades persons.

CTA President Forrest Claypool has not held any tax-funded public job longer than five years by my simple empirical estimation and has managed to have his patrician shanks appointed to comfy chairs by Progressives, or dinosaur Democrats foolish enough to trust Forrest Claypool with or about anything.

If a CTA electrician's tool bag were dumped out on Forrest Claypool's desk, I would Ventra to say that this CTA President would be hard pressed to identify any of the items. "Well," one might say, " Forrest Claypool is far too important a media created Reform Minded Champion of the Working Poor to bother with such minutia. He is a macro-manager of all things micro."

True.  However, one might just suggest that such a puffed-up pinch of an oligarch might fain respect for the people who can and do know the nomeclatures and applications of such items.  He most certainly does not.

Forrest Claypool, appointed to the plum political posting of CTA President by Rahm Emanuel,  has displayed nothing but very public contempt for all CTA workers and the trade union local, Amalgamated Transit Union # 308 and its President, Robert Kelly, from the moment Claypool began collecting huge public pay checks and Robert Kelly has always proven to be the class  cat of the many exchanges - only concerned for the rights and safety of his fellow union members.

Forrest Claypool is a creature of the media and the Illinois Progressive oligarchy that controls city, county and State of Illinois government.  Bob Kelly is a working stiff elected by the rank and file membership to lead Local 308 - most members are proud African American heads of households.  I know the CTA workers who come in to pay tuition wearing their CTA uniforms, whose sons at Leo High School might follow them into the trade of their mothers and fathers.  They are Local 308.

This week, after months of having his head handed to him by the forthright Mr. Kelly, Claypool enlisted Chicago's Progressive pan policy preacher and public person assassin Michael Pfleger to cast a union man in the role of racist power broker.  Mr. Kelly, as I recall, from the March 2013 declaration of released convict employment with CTA, had no part in the initiative for which he is portrayed as some union Simon Legree, nor a place at the public podium with Pfleger, Clapool and Emanuel.  Claypool promised ex-cons jobs with his CTA. The jobs require membership in Local 308.  Did anyone mention this to Local 308 ?  ? ?

Well, Preacher Pfleger does what he wants, where he wants, and to whom he wants.  The facts matter not.  This is an orchestrated campaign of character assassination ( the two Chicago paper editorial boards, Planned Parenthood, the Chicago Urban League, Midnight Basketball, The GDs/Vice Lords/ Four Corner Hustlers and UICC will all have something to say), because Pfleger, unlike Claypool, never draws an uncalculated breath.

Did anyone speak with President Kelly?


Skilled trades set the standards for membership and not merely the payment of dues  Can the applicant pass a test?  Can the applicant provide a valid drivers license with and accurate address, can the applicant pass a drug test?  Has the applicant ever been convicted of a felony?  Progressives hate skilled trades unions and want all labor to come under the aegis of the State government.  Skilled trades unions do not have massive memberships, because membership requires skills and accountability.  Blind kids do make great high beam walkers with the Iron Workers.  A guy who can ot tell 1/8" from 1/32 should not cut anything.    Now, given the litany of crimes perpetrated aboard CTA vehicles by non-members of Local 308 as passengers, does it make any sense to have criminals emeriti add to the mix?

Progressives believe so and demand that everyone of the unevolved people* who work for a living also believe so.

Pfleger, Claypool, Rahm Emanuel and their media creatures will heap scorn and lies about Bob Kelly for a while.  How that will end?  I do not know. . .I can guess.

Know this - this is about a public character assasination of working man, because Forrest Claypool is a trainwreck for CTA, but the Progressive coalitions have too much invested in Forrest Claypool to admit that.  No Republican has ever threatened organized labor as much as the Progressive.

More importantly, this is opening act for a tragedy.  Once again, Progressive Grifters will seek to destroy Labor autonomy and stewardship of apprentice programs in Illinois. If the skilled trades unions of Chicago do not support Local 308 and Bob Kelly in this battle, you can expect Illinois labor to lose the war.

* But the Progressive coalition eventually became a victim of its own success. The economic difficulties of the Depression and the costs of World War Two were followed by the relative comfort and security of the late forties and the 1950s. Political pressures began to shift, and the Progressive concern moved away from wealth and toward other indicia of hardship, such as race, extreme political, social or religious views, indigent criminal defendants, alienage, and eventually gender, affectional preference and disabilities. Although Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights movement were essential steps to fairness, they came at a very high price: the new Progressive concerns tended to divide rather than unite the coalition. Since the 1960s welfare liberals have increasingly played the game of recognizing new groups as disadvantaged, while risking the allegiance of others. At its best, the Democratic coalition has been barely held together by its fear of the political alternative. At its worse, it has been a set of bickering groups struggling for recognition as disadvantaged so that its members can also become the beneficiaries of government largesse. Meanwhile, government entitlement programs such as social security and Medicare began to move up the social scale until their principal beneficiaries became, not the poor and unemployed, but the employed and relatively affluent middle class.
The kind of "boutique" liberalism that has characterized the 1970s and particularly the 1980s has found political unity almost impossible to maintain. Each new group brought into the coalition is marginally less attractive to those already in than the previous group had been. For example, bringing in abortion rights and gays came at a heavy price in terms of loss of support from the Catholic and evangelical working classes - indeed, the political losses were almost certainly greater than the gains.
The result has been disjointed, fragmented governmental policy that has had an extraordinarily difficult time presenting a coherent ideology. Against this background, the classical vision of the market looks pretty good, particularly to those who see themselves as the financial contributors rather than the beneficiaries of this unfocused Progressive largesse.
Today, the legacy of Progressive legal thought is important but no less controversial than it was a half century ago. For more than thirty years Progressivism's critics have railed on its distrust of markets and the naivete of its faith in government. Ronald R. Coase's famous article on "The Problem of Social Cost," published in 1960, was thought to describe a common law system that inevitably produced efficient results. But the last ten years has seen substantial scholarship challenging the robustness of the Coase Theorem and limiting its domain. As a result, our once-firm belief in "deregulation" is gradually giving way to a belief that faith in unregulated markets can be carried too far, and that there are numerous areas where carefully designed government intervention can make things better. The concern for equal treatment to people of every race has perhaps suffered from a period of neglect, but concerns for equal treatment for others continues to carry political momentum. Legal Progressivism continues to produce its greatest successes, when it focuses on bread and butter issues related to wages, employment and economic equality and security. In the final analysis, it seems, escaping the legacy of Progressive legal thought is much more easily said than done.

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