Nov 26, 2008

Anti-union crusader continues to overstay his 15 minutes of fame


Andy Warhol's famous quote about every person being famous for 15 minutes may have to be extended to 20 minutes for rightwing blogger and anti-union activist Chetly Zarko.

The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus is carrying a story about the Howell Education Association (HEA) - that represents the Howell Public School teachers - decision to appeal a Livingston County Circuit Court decision to allow an estimated 5,500 e-mails written by union leaders on school computers to be released to the public. The case came about in May 2007 after Zarko submitted a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) to get ammunition to smear the teacher's union.

He claimed the union conducted a large amount of union business on public time on computers owned by taxpayers, including trying to retain MEA (Michigan Education Association) affiliated MESSA health-insurance and using parent-teacher conferences to recruit parents to their side of a collective-bargaining debate. He received some emails before the school district realized there may be confidential parent-teacher info in the emails and put a stop to giving him anymore.

The district and the union filed for an injunction to stop release of the emails, and Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Stanley Latreille issued an injunction that prevented Howell Public Schools from releasing more e-mails by leaders and members of the teacher’s union until they could be reviewed.

In October 2008 Latreille determined that the e-mails written by union leaders on school computers are public record, but they were not released pending an appeal. That appeal was just filed.

This has been and always will be a fishing expedition by an anti-union crusader to smear a union. With the few emails he managed to get his hands on he made the ridiculous claim that HEA leaders have "conducted a large amount of union business on public time by using public resources for union business, specifically, the email server. But when that attack failed after the district said the union has a “recognized right" to use the server he took another tack and used the emails to cherry-pick a few sentences to claim union leaders were mean to a few members.

All along he claims he has been doing this as a public service, and he has also steadfastly denied any one is paying him for this crusade. But his quote in the article is curious:
"We weren't surprised at all," said researcher Chetly Zarko, who used Michigan's Freedom of Information Act in an attempt to obtain the information.

Perhaps he can explain who "we" are. His claim that he is doing this for the public's right to know is laughable, but his quote that if "we lose this battle, it will be harder for the mainstream press to look into and report on issues" is absolutely ridiculous.

Again, this is simply an attempt to smear the union; nothing more nothing less. As a former reporter, I am a strong supporter of FOIA and sunshine laws, but I'm not sure how a teacher's union equates to the government. None the less, I say give him the emails. This is just keeping the story alive, and if anyone has managed to slog through any of his blogs, they know this ink does nothing but stroke his ample ego.

Zarko has a history with rightwing causes. He was the communications director for the California group headed by Ward Connerly that came to the state to push the racist Michigan Civil Rights Initiative on the November 2006 ballot that did away with affirmative action. His attack on the HEA came after communicating with the anti-gay hate group known as the "LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) and “LOVE” and school board member Wendy Day. In the summer and fall of 2007 he helped push for the so-called "right to work" ballot issue that failed to materialize.

44 comments:

Not Anonymous said...

If there is even one E-mail that does union business on school computers, it is too many. I realize that the union can do no wrong in the liberals eyes, but if it's wrong for them to use school computers to conduct business, then it doesn't matter if there is one E-mail or 1 million E-mails. Many people that are involved in different things, whether it be complaining about something or advocating for something or someone, they tend to use the term "we". It can mean, "we" as a group or it can mean "we" as in the people, parents, citizens. I'm not willing to pick apart words or parse sentences and I certainly wouldn't indict them just because they happen to be Republican, Conservative, liberal Democrat or Socialist. It doesn't matter what the letter is after the name, if something is being done improperly, it needs to be reported, stopped and punished for the activity that has taken place and it doesn't matter if it's the union, the Republicans, the Democrats or some jerk from Howell that just likes to mouth off. Right is right and wrong is wrong regardless of where it comes from.

Communications guru said...

Let me break down that entire rant to a few simple words, enormous troll. It’s not wrong, and the school district has recognized it as an accepted use.

Not Anonymous said...

Paragraph 2: The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus is carrying a story about the Howell Education Association (HEA) - that represents the Howell Public School teachers - decision to appeal a Livingston County Circuit Court decision to allow an estimated 5,500 e-mails written by union leaders on school computers to be released to the public. The case came about in May 2007 after Zarko submitted a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) to get ammunition to smear the teacher's union.

Analysis: A court ruled the E-mails written on school compuers to be released to the public. You characterize it as ammunition gathering in a smear attempt against the unions. However, there is no quote to this effect in your story. I look at it as an attempt to stop the union from using resources they were apparently not supposed to use. Why doesn't the union use their own computers?

Paragraph 3: He claimed the union conducted a large amount of union business on public time on computers owned by taxpayers, including trying to retain MEA (Michigan Education Association) affiliated MESSA health-insurance and using parent-teacher conferences to recruit parents to their side of a collective-bargaining debate. He received some emails before the school district realized there may be confidential parent-teacher info in the emails and put a stop to giving him anymore.

Analysis: Using computers paid for by the taxpayers. The taxpayers do not pay for the union. Only the employees do. Taxpayers do pay for the computers. Using parent/teacher conferences to recruit parents to their side. Parents don't have anything to do with the union, other than the ability to exert pressure on those that do have a say on the unions. Parent/Teacher conferences are supposed to be used to inform parents of their childrens performance at school so that parents may judge the level of teaching as well as the performance of their children. For the union to interfere with that time is beyond their scope. The computers were bought for education purposes and paid for by taxpayers. The unions purpose is to represent teachers in their employment status. Taxpayers do not pay for salesmen to be on school property for the benefit of the teachers. Nor do they pay salesmen to borrow the equipment belonging to the school during business hours. The teachers pay the union for their representation from their pay. Taxpayers do not. Yet, according to this story, the taxpayers are allowing unknowingly the salesmen (union) to use their equipment. They have the right to know how their equipment is being used and for what purposes.

Paragraph 4 & 5:The district and the union filed for an injunction to stop release of the emails, and Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Stanley Latreille issued an injunction that prevented Howell Public Schools from releasing more e-mails by leaders and members of the teacher’s union until they could be reviewed.

In October 2008 Latreille determined that the e-mails written by union leaders on school computers are public record, but they were not released pending an appeal. That appeal was just filed.

Analysis: The judge apparently reviewed the E-mails and decided that they should be made public. The only reason they aren't is because an appeal was filed. You didn't say by whom. I'm left to assume it was the union that filed the appeal.

Paragraph 6:This has been and always will be a fishing expedition by an anti-union crusader to smear a union. With the few emails he managed to get his hands on he made the ridiculous claim that HEA leaders have "conducted a large amount of union business on public time by using public resources for union business, specifically, the email server. But when that attack failed after the district said the union has a “recognized right" to use the server he took another tack and used the emails to cherry-pick a few sentences to claim union leaders were mean to a few members.

Analysis: So if he "cherry picks" a few lines, does that mean there were more that he could have used showing where the writer was mean to parents? Or does it mean that there is only a few lines where a parent was treated in a mean fashion and since it's very little in the scope of the total words used in an E-mail that it really doesn't matter? That would be like me writing a book that has 26 chapters and over 1,000 pages but in the middle of chapter 8 on the fourth page, the third paragraph, I insert a sentence that says you "threatened to blow up your neighbors house". That's 7 words out of possibly 70,000 words in the book. That's 0.0001% of the books total words. So even if it's true it shouldn't be used because it's such a small cherry picked line? It would have been nice if examples of the meanness were used so that we can judge if they were mean. But that wouldn't fit your anger lines. Who cares if he's been paid or not? If he's right and there has been abuse of public property, then I'm happy that someone paid his expenses, helped pay his expenses or even paid his salary to represent their interests. After all, the unions are paid for their actions, their expenses, their salaries (very good salaries I might add). It sounds to me like he's one person that is actually trying to hold the unions to the law.

Not Anonymous said...

I looked up the story you wrote about. The story tells a very story than you tell. You have already tried and convicted one side, where the story gives the facts. For everyone's convenience, I have copied the story so that anyone that might read this blog can actually comment based on the facts and not just on your spin.

Here's the story:

A Livingston County Circuit Court judge has determined that the estimated 5,500 e-mails written by Howell Public Schools union leaders on school computers are public record.


However, whether those e-mails will be released to an Oakland County researcher, who requested the information under the Freedom of Information Act, remains the discretion of Howell Public Schools administrators, Judge Stanley J. Latreille ruled Thursday. Initially, administrators had started releasing the e-mails to the researcher until the Howell Education Association teachers’ union sued to block them.

Lynn Parrish, deputy superintendent of personnel and labor for the school system, said the e-mails will not be released until the time for an appeal ends.

The researcher, Chetly Zarko, requested the 2007 correspondence of former Howell Education Association President Doug Norton, former Vice President Jeff Hughey and Johnson McDowell, vice president of grievances, as well as Michigan Education Association UniServ Director Barbara Cameron.

Zarko, of Zarko Research & Consulting (www.chetlyzarko.com), sought e-mails regarding discussion about election candidates, officials in office or ballot proposals. He says he still plans to review the e-mails and publish his findings, but he also is waiting to hear if the HEA is going to appeal.

“I’m still interested in receiving the material, even though the HEA has succeeded in delaying it,” he said. “It was a matter of principle. I think there will still be interesting results to show people that sometimes the unions aren’t necessarily looking out for the best interest of their people and are using public resources for union business.”

Efforts to reach current HEA President Karen Langer were not successful.

Zarko said he expects to find communications about a small percentage of teachers who wanted to accept an additional 1 percent pay increase on top of what was offered instead of the union-affiliated health benefits, which was a sticking point during negotiations and resulted in HEA protests at school board meetings. This is a matter facing many school districts in Michigan, he said.

Zarko said his concern also was to identify whether teachers were lobbying using school resources, in particular taxpayer-paid computers. He also claimed the teachers used parent-teacher conferences to “illegally lobby” in getting parents to attend a school board meeting and advocated speaking on behalf of the teachers. He also claimed that one e-mail implies the union used school resources to make copies on behalf of union business.

Norton, who has since retired as a Howell teacher, said the union has a “recognized right” to use the district e-mail server for union business. He also denied that the union solicited parents to its side, saying parents had taken it upon themselves to support the teachers.

Union leaders’ use of the computer system is acceptable under district policy, according to the district administration. However, all employees are warned when logging on to the district’s system that e-mail messages are not private.

According to court documents, HEA leaders believed the e-mails were not subject to FOIA because they are internal union communications that deal with collective- bargaining strategy, contract rights and grievances.

Donald Bonato, a school attorney with the Thrun Law Firm, told the HEA he understood the leaders’ concerns, but there appeared to be no published court decisions on the issue, court records stated. Bonato suggested the HEA file a “friendly lawsuit” asking the court to give guidance, court records noted.

As HEA leaders pursued that avenue, the district released e-mails belonging to Hughey. The district said it had permission from Cameron to release the e-mails, but Cameron disputed that claim, according to court documents.

Attorneys for the school district asked Latreille to dismiss the suit, claiming the HEA had no standing “to prevent disclosure” of the e-mails.

Not Anonymous said...

I noticed that in the story there is not one comment, nor reporting that anyone received E-mails with "mean comments" that were cherry picked. It sounds like you're creating more to the story than is actually there just to support your angry position. I think some would tall that "pissy".

Communications guru said...

First, it’s a waste of space to post an entire article because I provided links, anonymous troll. I don’t give a shit what you call it, but you need to follow the whole story before you give an opinion.

As for you long rant, I agree “A court ruled the E-mails written on school computers to be released to the public,” and I never said otherwise. Also, I said they should be released after being reviewed. This was a fishing attempt to smear the union by an anti-union organizer. As you can see from the facebook group he is an administrator for that he is pushing for the union busting right to work for less law. When each charge Zarko made was proved untrue, Zarko just made another. The union does have its own computers, but the teachers have a recognized right to use the school computers.

Paragraph 3. Again, the teacher’s have a recognized right to use the computers. That makes your entire rant moot.

Paragraph 4 & 5: It’s pretty clear who filed the appeal.

Paragraph 6: First, I never, ever said “the writer was mean to parents.” I said to other union members. Apparently, not all union members agree with the decision of union leaders, and that is what Zarko is taking out of context. See, that’s why members vote on contracts, and the majority wins. Not all will agree with the contract, but there is nothing more democratic in the workplace that unions. I have no idea how many emails Zarko received that he was not supposed to receive before it was stopped. People often write private things in emails. Granted, they should have assumed anything written on a public computer will be public record, but they did not know that at the time. I’ll say it again: This was a fishing expedition by an anti-union activist trying to smear the union. If you want to read what he said I suggest you read the six other posts about Zarko.

I care if he’s paid; especially after he has repeatedly said he wasn’t and was acting alone. Once again, there is no “abuse of public property.” As for your remark that the “unions are paid for their actions,” it’s the union members who do that with their union dues. IN fact, the guy Zarko is trying to smear, former HEA president Doug Norton, receives no extra money for doing that job, I believe.

Not Anonymous said...

You believe? That's how you claim facts? Because you "believe". Actually, I'm not at all surprised by your answer. Unfortunately for you, your answers don't match up with the reporting in the paper. All you have is name calling, again. Sad to be you.

Communications guru said...

Yes, I believe. Even if he is compensated it’s a small stipend because Doug Norton is a teacher, not a union official. If you can prove me wrong, anonymous troll, please try. Really, my “answers don't match up with the reporting in the paper?” Care to be specific? I didn’t think so; you would rather stoop to name-calling instead of engaging in debate. That’s why you’re a troll. I debunked your “facts,” and this is your reply? Talk about sad.

Not Anonymous said...

According to the newspaper, Norton retired. Nice try. Please point out where I called you a name. I just can't see it.

Communications guru said...

You called me a liar, but of course you just infer it because you cannot prove something that is untrue. I said former HEA president Doug Norton. What difference does it make if he retired? I notice you refuse to take up the challenge to prove me wrong. I should know better than to feed the anonymous trolls.

Not Anonymous said...

Seems that you're overly sensitive to disagreement. I didn't call you a liar, nor did I infer it. The closest I came was saying your "spin". It's too bad you can't deal with just the issue without getting angry.

Communications guru said...

How is calling out your lies getting angry? Sorry, I will continue to do that, anonymous troll, so if you’re sensitive go elsewhere. The fact is you haven’t spent much time on the “issue.”

Not Anonymous said...

You're funny. You should get on the comedy circuit.

Anonymous said...

It's futile to argue with this guy. He claims he deals with "facts" but says he "proves" something when he "believes" it to be true.

I used to think it was fun to yank his chain, but his anger and viciousness are troubling. Besides, he appears to be a bigot. He claims it is a smear to be referred to as a Muslim. Oh, well, just another example of his disregard for the First Amendment.

Not Anonymous said...

Agreed. He says it's a smear to call someone a muslim, but fails to see that he's bigoted against muslims. He also says he's debunked things. I looked back at what he said he debunked and found that his definition of debunked is to disagree with whomever he's talking to. It's pretty obvious his elevator doesn't reach the top floor.

Republican Michigander said...

"""racist Michigan Civil Rights Initiative on the November 2006 ballot that did away with affirmative action."""

There was nothing racists about MCRI which ended a racist practice of preferential treatment to individuals based on skin color.

Chetly Zarko said...

Just picked this up on my feed reader. Hilarious.

Not Anonymous tries to reason with CG, but its just futile. CG hates me, and has pigeon-holed me.

The number of facts CG has gotten wrong, twisted, exaggerated, or invented in this blog entry are too numerous to answer. He continues to assert things we've gone over in other venues ad nauseum - even though he doesn't have one iota of evidence for most of them. He keeps repeating talking points, then in some cases misquotes them (like the "recognized right" - the school didn't say that, Doug Norton did) to fit his agenda.

By the way, I often use "we" even on my blog in the same way editors often do. My ideas and work often are collective collaborations - in this case, I have to give much credit to my lawyers, which is what I was referring to when I said "we weren't surprised at the appeal."

CG is consumed by a us-v-them dual vision of the world - unions v. anti-union forces. Frankly, if he opened his mind a bit, he'd recognize I have no agenda either way for or against unions. I grew up in a union family - I respect some of the things they've done and recognize some other things result from being human or simply growing too large (like corporations, ironically, which often grow too large for their own productivity), which could be called failings.

Communications guru said...

Yes, the racist Michigan Civil Rights Initiative on the November 2006 ballot that did away with affirmative action.

Communications guru said...

My facts are 100 percent correct, Mr. Zarko. I don’t hate you, Mr. Zarko, I don’t even know you, but I know what you are. Are you denying you are an anti-union organizer? I think your Facebook group speaks for itself.

The school district certainly did say the union has a recognized right to use the computers.

You use “we” the same way editors often do? That’s one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Editors have people working under them. Who is working under you? Better yet; who is paying you?

Chetly Zarko said...

I wish the money you think I am being paid were as real as you think it is.

Where did the school district say the union had a recognized right to *secretly* use its computers? Source please! That phrase has its origin with Doug Norton in May 2007 news interviews - its MEA spin. My best recollection is that then-Superintendent Breiner may have agreed with a directed question that they had a right to use the computers, but disagreed with whether that right entailed some kind of right to privacy in their use.

You more than once imply that the school district agrees with you and the union - while the exact opposite is true. The district has consistently argued in legal briefs that it must release the e-mails and the union is wrong. You falsely assert in this blog entry:

He received some emails before the school district realized there may be confidential parent-teacher info in the emails and put a stop to giving him anymore.

The school always realized that FERPA-student privacy material needed to be redacted, which is why the request took a month before it started to be released (March 30 to May 2nd?) while they reviewed it and I narrowed the request (to much, much fewer than 5500 e-mails, which are being litigated only because MEA's injunction asked to stop the school entirely), and the school never voluntarily chose to "put a stop" to complying with FOIA. Those are 100% wrong facts. Read the court documents - but you try to spin this as everyone against Zarko - really, its everyone, including a Circuit Court judge, agreeing with Zarko.

And finally, ironically, yes, I have people that work for me (usually as subcontractors), as I have worked for others. In this case, the people that work for me are called my lawyers. "We" work as a team.

But even if I were paid, so what - how does that affect the substance of the issues raised? It doesn't - anymore than it would affect Doug Norton, as you point out.

CG, there is only one other blogger in the state less balanced and more rhetorical than you. Bruce Fealk. There are many other decent liberal bloggers - at least reasonable, and somewhat open to thought. Sure, I disagree with them fundamentally on the nature of solutions to societal problems - but we're in the same ballpark rationally.

Communications guru said...

Well, I do know one thing about the money you are getting for this witch-hunt, Mr. Zarko, we will never know how much and from who.

The source of the recognized right is the school district. Like I said when you made the ridiculous claim against the union back in May of 2007, you are the only person making the claim they do not have a recognized right. Not Chuck Breiner or anyone else; just you, and we knew where your bias lies.

If you read correctly I said give you the emails. In fact, this is exactly what I say: "I say give him the emails." The statement you were given emails you were not supposed to get is true.

Are you referring to yourself in the third person? The only thing larger than your ego is your ability to twist facts, Mr. Zarko.

Thanks for the complement about my blog. This is a liberal blog; why does it have to be balanced? What a ridiculous charge. If you want the other side read a rightwing blog. The difference is I use facts to back up my opinions. I'm sure yours is balanced, not. What a bunch of crap.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Mr. Zarko intended to say that your blog wasn't balanced. I think he was saying that you are not balanced. And there is ample reason for him to say that. You go off the deep end in nothing flat, and your logical reasoning is downright mystifying.

He nailed you on your mistakes and you just pretend like he didn't say anything.

I know...respond to me...call me a troll...maybe even drop an f-bomb. That will prove your point.

Chetly Zarko said...

This is splitting hairs to some extent, but I'll disagree with anonymous slightly here - I don't know the blog author well enough to say anything about whether he is personally balanced or not. I was saying that his writings here were unbalanced - to some that may reflect on him personally, but all I can go by and all I am commenting on are his writings.

By way of example, I had a great discussion with a liberal bartender last night, who upon learning that the group I was with were Republicans engaged us in a great discussion. He commented on how he thought Republicans could be more competitive, and that he actually wanted to see a better message from Republicans because the debate itself improves America even as he disagreed with them. To him, the dialogue was more important than the ideas (I think that is partly correct - but would weigh them equally). We discussed a number of specific issues, and while he was definitely liberal there was much agreement despite his fundamental belief in government. In particularly, he drew a circle with his arms and described how the far left and far right (he described them as "peace lovers who blow up animal research buildings and abortion foes who kill doctors") link up at the extremes of the circle.

Anonymous said...

Zarko is a lot nicer than I am, and I respect his approach. It's true, he didn't call McBluster unbalanced...he was only talking about his writing. I took liberties with his reasonable comment so that I could poke fun at McBluster...who often flies off the handle and starts talking in tongues, which is a source of amusement for some of us.

Communications guru said...

We really can’t expect much from an anonymous coward who is afraid to even take ownership of what they write.

Anonymous said...

Strong words, McBluster. Let's see: You make it clear that you will attack someone personally rather than debate their points. When someone does post under a consistent name, e.g. Brett, that still doesn't stop you from accusing him from posting as anonymous. And when people post as anonymous, you call them names if they disagree with you but not if they agree with you.

Gee...I can't think of a reason why people post anonymously.

You are the troll here. If you don't want people to post anonymously, don't let them. It's your blog. But if you stopped us from posting, you wouldn't have any activity here.

You are the coward...and a bully. Try to be a mature human being for a change.

Anonymous said...

He has a history of rightwing causes....even if that's true, does that mean that he forfeits his rights? I don't think so. Or do you think only liberals have a right to use our political and court systems?

You conveniently downplay the fact that Judge Latreille said these emails should be public record and that he held them back to allow the scared union a chance to make its case in court.

It really doesn't matter if you think Zarko's cause is worthy or not. The Freedom of Information Act says that public records should be made available to the public. It doesn't say the public has to first prove it has a "worthy" reason for seeking the information.

Here's an idea: If the teachers' union wants to keep its emails private, then don't use computers paid for by the taxpayers. Kwame learned that the hard way.

Communications guru said...

When have I made it clear I “will attack someone personally rather than debate their points?” I will never write something about somebody I will not say to their face, unlike a coward like you. I have no problem with being called stupid, dumb, a moron or similar names. But you crossed a line when you used the name I am taking about. You did it because you are an anonymous coward who is afraid to look me in the eye and say what you did. That makes you a coward.

Here’s the thing, any body can post under the name Brett, but when you register a screen name, you can’t hide that screen name, and no one else can use it. I have offered to pick a screen name for you, such as Rightwing Coward, or something similar. You don’t even have to list where you are from or where you work like you find out when you clock on my profile.

I can't think of a reason why people post anonymously either, troll. Other than they are cowards, who are afraid to even take ownership of what they write, like you.

How can I be a troll on my own blog? When you click on my name you get my profile. My real name is no secret, and I am in the phone book. I will never hide from a cowardly blowhard like you.

I allow people to post here anonymously because I will not allow a cowardly troll like you to dictate how I run my blog. I really don’t care if I don’t “have any activity here.” I know I have plenty of readership.

You are the coward, but you’re too big a pussy to be a bully.

Communications guru said...

Not only does he have a history of rightwing causes, he has a history of anti-union activity. I’m not asking him to “forfeit his rights.” Where did that come from?

I didn’t “downplay the fact that Judge Latreille said these emails should be public record.” I said give them to Zarko, minus the ones screened for student info. I disagree with you when you call the union scared. I strongly support the union, but any democratic group like unions have a flaw or two.

Again, I said give the emails to Zarko, I am calling his motives into question, not whether he should get them. I agree with your take on the school computers.

Communications guru said...

It’s a lot more than “listening to a speech and then go out and vote secretly for the union.” Stop playing dumb. It’s threats of being fired, the company moving and actually firing the people pushing for the union.

The workers do make good decisions, and the majority of them signed cards saying they want to be organized. The so-called secret ballot is called at the request of the employer to benefit them, not the workers. It gives them more time to call in professional union busters, like Wal-Mart has on staff.

Really, what laws are there to “counter inappropriate practices by management?” Who enforces them? The Bush Administration?

Anonymous said...

Are you really saying you have no knowledge of federal laws that strictly protect the right of workers to organize? Or are you just lying again.

What stops union organizers from giving false promises to workers to get them to sign a card? You are saying that the union gets to state its case but the company can't.

I worked in a company where a union tried to organize workers. They told them all sorts of lies just to get them to sign cards. People on both sides do unsavory things.

The secret ballot is a cornerstone of democracy. Anytime that is threatened, it's time to be afraid of motives.

Let people organize if they want to. It's their legal right. But keep the secret ballot.

As an aside, your response to the reasons why people stay anonymous is to call me a pussy and a coward...again, you inadvertently prove my point.
And you continue to lie about me calling you something despicable. I did no such thing. You are a liar.

Chetly Zarko said...

CG,

Laws against inappropriate actions by management are enforced by trial lawyers, even in the absence of unions. A second check is the market itself - both labor and product markets punish bad business if it gets too bad. Don't need Bush or the feds for that. Individuals can enforce their own rights better anyway.

In fairness to anonymous, and while I personally distaste anonymous authors usually, they serve a cornerstone function of American democracy going back to the anonymous pamphleteers, including none other than Silence Dogood whom we all should know well in hindsight. Indeed, unions relied on anonymous writers for a time, but of course once it becomes entrenched the anonymous writer becomes a liability to its own control. Anonymity is particularly required where the costs of speech are raised - you do create an intimidating environment with your politics of destruction style writing, although I'll admit nothing near the costs during the 1770s which included say, death. The secret ballot is also a cornerstone of American democracy, as well, which is why card check is so-offensive. You'd think that McCarthyism taught the left a thing or two - but when the goal changes from getting a fair deal to getting the most power for your niche bureaucracy, then you actually want McCarthy-like tool, for your group.

Communications guru said...

I am saying the federal laws are insufficient. Under the Employee Free Choice Act, those laws would be strengthened. Now, companies can simply refuse to bargain in good faith and drag their feet until workers must come back to work or take what ever is offered or starve. If the company and union are not able to reach agreement within 90 days, either party may ask the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to step in. If after 30 days of mediation the FMCS cannot resolve the dispute, it gets referred to an arbitrator whose ruling is binding for two years.

The EFCA also protects those workers who are targeted by anti-union employers who fire them for union activities. There are currently no consequences for a company who illegally fires an employee who supports the union. The new law will require the National Labor Relations Board to take legal action to immediately reinstate workers fired for union activity. Companies that punish or fire employees for lawful union activity would have to pay triple damages.

“What stops union organizers from giving false promises to workers to get them to sign a card?” I’m not sure, but they can elect different union leaders if they are not happy with the leadership they are getting. I’ll ask again the question you ignored - you have a habit of ignoring questions you can’t answer - what is more democratic in the workplace than a union? No, I’m saying the EFCA levels the playing field. The employer can still call mandatory meetings to spread the lies about the union.

Sorry, but I’m just a little skeptical about the story of a union at your workplace. You know, you may be right that people on both sides do unsavory things, but here is the difference. A union organizer can’t fire or demote the worker.

Was that you I called a coward and a pussy? Then I guess I stand by it. I’ll say it to your face if you like. Like I said before, I will not write something about someone I would not say to their face. You know where to find me. You certainly did call me something despicable, and you did it numerous times, and I deleted it repeatedly. It was either you or some other anonymous troll, and I’m still waiting for you to tell me how to tell one anonymous troll from another.

Communications guru said...

First, you know the laws against “inappropriate actions by management” have no teeth. After the financial crisis I find it sad someone would actually claim the free market works properly without regulation. There is nothing wrong with workers banding together to better their lot. Workers getting a decent wage benefits everyone.

The Federalist Papers were written anonymously, but they at least used the screen name, "Publius,” so to speak.

That secret ballot argument does not apply. There is nothing more democratic in the workplace than a union. The employer, the dictator so to speak, is the one who calls for the so-called “secret ballot” as a way to get more time to get rid of union sympathizers. The Employee Free Choice simply levels the playing field. This is not about “getting the most power for your niche bureaucracy” it’s about basic fairness and trying to stop the assault on unions and the middle class that has been ongoing since Regan.

“McCarthyism?” Give me a break. That is ridiculous.

Chetly Zarko said...

The "financial crisis" is a not a result of the "unfettered market". The housing and banking markets are very regulated - the regulations simply don't jive with common-sense.

The financial crisis is a failing of both over-and-under-regulation in different ways and different areas. It's complex - both parties are responsible and neither party has a lien on the truth - unless you mean to blame both. For you - or the left - to use the crisis as a means to regulate is abominable, untrue, and dangerous.

If you want to "stop assault on unions" that's fine - propose even-handed ways of doing that. Don't take away the right of a secret ballot. There are a thousand more fair minded ways to accomplish the ends you suggest.

Why is it not McCarthyism - you're very attack style here reeks of that. Smear the person you disagree with (even if it is using the "meta-smear" that I am allegedly "smearing the union", which I'm not) and making it socially impossible for people to associate with anyone who disagrees with you and the union party-line. That's also why secret ballots are important. For you, the ends justify the means - as is explicit in your last argument.

Communications guru said...

The financial crisis is the result of the "unfettered market" and lack of oversight. Yes, I want to stop the assault on unions, but it's also an assault on the middle class and a living wage. The so-called "secret ballot" that is suddenly so sacred to you is a tool management uses to thrown up one more roadblock to organizing. The Employee Free Choice Act just levels the playing field. I see no reason why people have to vote twice.

McCarthyism is accusing someone of being a communist with no proof for political gain. I am doing neither of those things. There is no way you can possibly say you are not an anti-union activist.

And yes, you are trying to smear the union. Please tell me what the significance is of a union member, in the minority, objecting to the union contract? They had a vote and lost.

Chetly Zarko said...

So in your frame of reference, those who were "accurate" in their accusations of Communism during the McCarthy era were not morally culpable of anything - because it was "true".

I am not an "anti-union" activist - I can say it. It's obviously a question not entirely subject to fact - a degree of opinion - so I could never fully satisfy you. I support the right of unions to exist and support many things unions have in practice done - but I do not support "unfettered" union use of public resources.

Communications guru said...

Perhaps you can rephrase that first sentence, Mr. Zarko.

Let me see if I got this straight: you started and are the administrator of a Facebook group dedicated to a passing a right to work for less law and your “hobby” is to file FOIA request to get emails to smear teacher’s unions but you’re not an anti-union activist? Please.

You “do not support "unfettered" union use of public resources.” No one does, and that did not happen in Howell’s case.

Chetly Zarko said...

The union's legal argument though is that has a special right to use public resources without oversight. That is their argument, not mine.

Supporting the end of "preferences" and the rights of all people to be treated individually equal is not "racist", and supporting the rights of union members to choose whether to be part of the union is not "anti-union". "Affirmative action" still exists in Michigan - albeit using non-racially criterion - and unions still exist in Right to Work states, albeit with more choices for members.

Of course, those like you opposing such ideas may choose to use nasty labels rather than real arguments to "smear" their opponents because you lack the the will or firepower to engage in real discussion.

Communications guru said...

No, it has a recognized right, and the only one disputing that is you. Sorry, your actions to end efforts to level the playing field was racist.

Union members do not have to be part of the union, but they have to pay for the benefits they enjoy. Calling you what you are is hardly a smear.

Communications guru said...

No, it has a recognized right, and the only one disputing that is you. Sorry, your actions to end efforts to level the playing field was racist.

Union members do not have to be part of the union, but they have to pay for the benefits they enjoy. Calling you what you are is hardly a smear.

Chetly Zarko said...

You know, what's amazing about you is your willingness or ability to state an opinion and assert it as fact so often and repetitively that you actually believe it. Sometimes you take it to the level of asserting false facts.

Whether MCRI was racist or not in the way you have framed it is purely opinion - and reduces the issue to meaningless drivel. I suppose there are academic ways to define "racist" (actually, like whether one believes in the superiority or inferiority of certain individuals because of the racial group they belong to - but MCRI clearly passes that test) - but your application doesn't have any standard way of determining it - other than you declare it so. The same is true of the "anti-union" charge - its a meaningless label with no standard applied as to what I have done except your declaration of my status as such. You resort to name-calling and when that's pointed out, you declare the names to be "accurate and true" and therefore "not smear." I suppose if someone were to call you a prick, it wouldn't be "smear" because its true? After all, there is some definition of that word that could be described as factual - but it wouldn't add to the discussion in any meaningful way.

As to the "recognized right" - you have simply made that up, or expanded a soundbite from Doug Norton which had no factual basis. There is no legally "recognized right" of unions to use public computers for their private gain without oversight. The union may WANT the right - but that hardly makes it "recognized". Here, I ask the objective reader - does it make sense that there is a "recognized right" of unions to use public resources and retain secrecy and control over those resources?

It's frustrating talking to a talking points box as repetitive as you.

Communications guru said...

You know, what's amazing about you is your misguided belief that your opinion is fact and mine is, based on nothing. As for your claim that I take it to the “level of asserting false facts” I’m still waiting for you to point out any false facts.

I believe the MCRI was racist. You have shown me nothing to change that opinion.

As for the anti-union charge, your actions demonstrate that. You are the founder and administrator of an anti-union face book group that I pushing a measure that only serves to break unions, and you fish for emails to smear teacher’s union. Actions speak louder than words.

Again, the only person disputing the recognized right is you.

I guess it would be frustrating to not be able to support your position with facts, but I wouldn’t know what that.

Chetly Zarko said...

My opinion is opinion - but I acknowledge that.

You "believe the MCRI was racist." "Believe" being the operative word - opinion. I never said it was based on "nothing" - I merely pointed out that it was opinion, not fact as you portray it.

"The MCRI" itself is a collection of words organized into legal structure. Words are mostly objective and most people reading the words of MCRI do not find the words to be - by definition - racist. Indeed, most find the words to be anti-racist - that is, they speak for equality of the races. They end preference and discrimination. Only by interpreting MCRI through the lens of the "expected outcome" - that is, the theory that race preferences correct racism or "level the playing field" as you stated above - can one conclude MCRI might have a negative effect and then elevate that possible negative effect to "fact" and assume the supporters knew and wanted that outcome. Others who support MCRI though disagree with that conclusion or possibility and believe MCRI would have positive effects (even for minorities). Supporters do that honestly and genuinely believing that MCRI will have those positive effects. Professor Carl Cohen, African-American Professor William B. Allen (former US Civil Rights Commissioner), and countless others made strong, honest, academic arguments favoring MCRI. They might be wrong - but their motivation was not racist. You're assertion that MCRI is by definition racist fundamentally questions our and their motivation and genuineness. That is, in my opinion, out of bounds in American civil discourse. I don't question your genuineness - I suspect you believe you are doing what you think is right for America but that you've become blinded to the possibility that others may believe other things are right or better. And yes, I'll admit that some on both sides of the aisle including the right make the same mistake.

"Anti-union" again pre-supposes motivation on my part. Personally, I want stronger unions based on voluntarily choice. I believe Right to Work would help unions in the long-run. I'm open to persuasion on this issue - but no one has tried and your vicious rhetoric just suggests to me that there is no good argument to be made and the best you can do is labels.

Finally, could you point me to the statute or case law that "recognizes" this "recognized right" you assert. And since Howell Public School's attorney's have also disputed the existence of this right and Judge Latreille rejected it, I'm not only person disputing it. That's as factual as it gets, and you misstated it.