Assault on Working Class Will End When Voters Say ‘Enough’!

Updated On: Mar 16, 2012 (05:28:00) 
State Senator Bruce Tutvedt’s article entitled “Stand up for state, not big labor” seems to outline more than just his opinions concerning organized labor.  His comment that “It’s time our elected officials tell Montanans whether they support home state workers or will kowtow to out-of-state labor bosses”, seems to illustrate not only a personal contempt for unionized workers, but it also sends a clear message of what Montanan’s can expect during the upcoming 2013 Montana Legislative session.

It is interesting that phrases like “union bosses”, “forced unionization”, “right to work”, “ambush elections”, and “preserving the integrity of the workplace” are used throughout the article to try to paint some kind of a tarnished picture of what organized labor represents.

Labor organizations are held to a much higher standard of accountability and transparency than any business organization is.  At the local and state levels, union leaders have to be elected by their memberships every 3 years.  Reporting and disclosure reports are filed annually and made available, not only to union members, but are available online for anyone to view.  Both of these union requirements are done under the scrutiny of the US Department of Labor.

Apparently it acceptable to have “management bosses”, who now have access to, and the ability to give, millions of corporate dollars, unaccountable and unreported, to influence campaigns and the legislative process, but it not acceptable for unionized workers to donate voluntary contributions to do the same thing.  Federal law prohibits labor unions from using membership dues money for political contributions to candidates.  Union dollars used for political contributions have to be collected separately and voluntarily from members.  This is a fact that anti-union forces refuse to admit or report in their biased propaganda attacks.

It is pretty clear that this assault on the working middle class is going to continue until informed citizens and voters say “enough”, just like they have in Wisconsin and Ohio.  It was organized labor that built the ladder that enabled workers to climb out of the ranks of the working poor and establish the productive middle class of our great country.  Main street businesses and America’s greatness were made possible by the working class and those who took the chance to start successful businesses that could hire more skilled workers.  This trend has been completely debased as corporate greed now prevails and millions of jobs have been eliminated in America and moved to foreign countries so a few “management bosses” can reap astronomical salaries and benefits while trying to justify such activities by blaming workers as the reason for these selfish corporate decisions.

It is also very apparent what the “big picture” will be following the 2012 elections.  The national Republican agenda is already prepared and ready to be spread to Montana, and we have seen snapshots of what is to come:  Trample unionized workers into the ground;  prohibit collective bargaining for public employees;  attack union pensions;  privatize Social Security;  restructure Medicare and Medicaid;  repeal prevailing wage laws; and make it much more difficult for workers to organize.  In addition to attacking unions, public employees, retirees and the elderly, their sights are now aimed at interfering with women’s rights to make personal medical choices.  Is this what mainstream Montana wants?  Montana voters will decide!!

Organized labor does not have to apologize for representing workers and helping them establish living wages and benefits to secure them at retirement.  Organized labor not only set the bar for the middle class, it raised all workers, blue collar and white collar to a better standard of living.  Shame on those who are trying to roll back the clock a hundred years to the times when big business and big money ruled and made serfs out of the working class.

Montana workers, small business owners, retirees, the elderly and women can be thankful that they at least have two US Senators who have a sincere concern for them.  This year’s elections are crucial to the direction our country and state will follow.  Either the citizens will be taken care of, or corporate America will be.  We already know which party favors the “elite”.

By John T. Forkan, Jr., District #3 Executive Board Member, Montana State AFL-CIO


(Discussing with both Democrats and Republicans, I do know that there are Republicans that are concerned for the working class also. I also believe irregardless of the politician’s party, if they are corrupt they need to go. Shame on both parties that make money off of incarcerating individuals for slave labor, that is worse than serfs.  Shame on us as individuals that have stood by and allowed this to happen. Creating jobs off our fellow man makes us no better.  We all should hang our heads in shame.)

Contracting out services

This is the most common form of prison privatization. Currently, 39 states hire private firms to provide such services as medical and mental health treatment, drug treatment, education, staff training, and vocational training and counseling.

Contracting out prison labor

By putting prisoners to work and paying them competitive wages, many private companies are reducing prison costs for the government by withholding earnings for taxes, room and board, family support, and victim’s compensation. Such employment also gives prisoners the skills and work experience that will prepare them for the job market when they are released.Private business has become increasingly interested in prison labor during the past decade. Prompted by state and federal measures lifting restrictions to private sector use of prison labor, some eleven states contract out the work of an estimated 1,000 convicts. Over twenty firms, ranging from small businesses to multinational corporations, provide jobs for inmates. For instance, Best Western International, Inc, a major hotel chain, employs over thirty Arizona prison workers to operate the hotel’s telephone reservation system. Since the Best Western program began in 1981, inmates have paid $182,000 in taxes, contributed over $187,000 to the state for room and board, and paid at least $112,000 in family support. Similarly, Trans World Airlines, Inc. hires young offenders from the Ventura Center Training School in California to handle over the phone flight reservations. The inmates have paid a total of $13,000 in taxes, $15,000 for room and board, and $11,000 to victims for restitution.In most cases, the state correctional system provides the working facility for the private firm. The firm manages and trains the inmates and releases their earnings to the care of the state. The wage rates, in most instances, are negotiated between the state agency and the private firm.

Construction and lease/purchasing

Many states see private construction as a promising solution to the prison overcrowding crisis. States normally finance construction by cash appropriations (a “pay-as-you-go” approach) or by issuing general obligation bonds. The former puts the whole financial burden of construction on the state’s annual budget. Bonds create problems by requiring voter approval and are restricted by debt limitations. An alternative is private financing through lease contracts or lease purchasing agreements. It does not place the cost on the annual budget and does not require voter approval. Under a lease/purchase agreement, a private firm agrees to build a prison if the state signs a long term lease for the prison. Early payments of rent by the State help the private firm fund the construction. When the government completes the payment obligations, the debt and finance charges, it takes title to the facility, The private firm benefits from tax advantages and cash flow from the lease payments. The state government often benefits from quicker construction because voter approval is not required and debt limit constraints do not apply. Lease/purchasing for state prisons must be approved by the state legislature. Legislation permitting construction by lease/purchase agreements has passed in 14 states.

Are Private Prison Guards Permitted to Strike?

Critics argue that while public guards cannot strike, private guards can strike under the protection of the National Labor Relations Act. However, many contracts can contain provisions denying these private employees the right to strike.In cases where no such provision exists, private guards nevertheless are likely to be discouraged from striking. Correction agencies can threaten to terminate a contract, which would mean the loss of their jobs. In any event, should a strike occur, authorities could call in the National Guard or state police, as they would to quell a severe disruption in a state-run prison.  The public employee unions representing public sector prison workers, such as the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal. Employees (AFSCME), fear that extensive privatization will reduce salary and fringe benefits for prison workers.    



January 24, 2012

Point to Research Showing Private Facilities Are Less Safe


Leslie Miller

(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Florida correctional officers renewed their plea on Tuesday for lawmakers to consider the dangers of privatization. Officers traveled to Tallahassee to testify against a sweeping privatization proposal for Southern Florida that’s being rushed through the legislature.

Former Florida state Sen. Ron Silver, attorney for Teamster Local 2011 in Tampa, Fla., testified against the privatization proposal at a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee.

“This proposal is being rushed through the process with blatant disregard to the public safety and economic hardships on the communities impacted,” Silver said.

“The proposals before the Florida Senate and House are extremely dangerous as they affect the safety of every Florida citizen and tourist,” Silver said. “Every aspect of corrections is being sought to be privatized including, but not limited to, parole and work release. A private-sector employee working for a big, private corporation will be determining who all is walking free in our communities. That is unconscionable, period.”

Ken Wood, acting President of Local 2011, said research shows for-profit prisons are more dangerous than public facilities.

“Private prisons had higher rates of escape and higher rates of inmate assaults on staff,” Wood said. “Correctional officers in private prisons are less well-trained, are paid less and have much higher turnover rates than in public facilities.”

Capt. Michael Riley from Marion Correctional Institute told the Senate committee Monday that the State of Florida is already lowering its training standards to pave the way for privatization. The state proposed that training hours for officers be reduced from 400 hours to 160 hours, he said.

“Why are they lowering the standards?” Riley said at yesterday’s hearing. “In 2005, private prisons overcharged the state $13 million. The majority of those overcharges were for positions that were not manned, but billed. Those are all security positions.

“I supervise 75 officers. When they go in that gate, I’m responsible to see they leave healthy,” Riley said to committee members. “I’ve had to go to three funerals in the past few years for officers who’ve been killed. Please rethink this. If you choose to privatize the facilities, the next time an officer is killed, I implore you to stand next to me at the funeral.”

The plans include closures of the New River Correctional in Raiford, Jefferson Correctional in Monticello, Demilly Correctional Institute in Polk City, Gainesville C.I., Indian River C.I. in Vero Beach, and the women’s prisons Broward C.I. in Fort Lauderdale and Hillsborough C.I. in Riverview near Tampa.

The department also plans to close work camps in Gadsden, Washington and Hendry counties and the Levy forestry camp.

For more information, visit

Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information, go or follow us on Twitter @TeamsterPower.

The Teamsters successfully had Florida back off from privatizing the prisons.   The unions were against this.  It has been proven in many states about the dangers, the higher cost of money the taxpayers have to pay.  Contracting out services, contracting out prison labor.  How can Montana Unions compete with this?  It also states that the Union employees cannot strike.  They have contracts out the ying-yang but only they can seem to squirm their way through it.  With all the new laws being established, I am concerned with the 20 year contract of 90% occupancy of the prisons, Unions will be someone that they target to incarcerate to keep that number up.  Unions won’t be allowed to speak out and represent the people.  

This is no longer about party affiliation.  As I remember from one of the other articles researched, it was the Democrats that started Montana down this road of profiting from incarcerating Montanans. Yes, here it is…from Montana Cowgirl Blog

Teamsters Local 190 Endorses Bullock for Governor

For Immediate Release
February 8, 2012

Teamsters Local 190 Endorses Bullock for Governor

BILLINGS – Citing his record of standing up for workers and his plan to create jobs, Teamsters Local 190 announced their endorsement of Steve Bullock to be Montana’s next governor.

“Steve has a proven record of standing up and fighting for workers and middle-class Montanans and he’s made sure that regular folks have a voice in our government and political process.  He’s been a true champion for Montana workers,” Teamsters 190 Political Director Jim Larson said.  “Out of all of the candidates running for Governor, Steve is best suited to create new, good-paying jobs and move Montana forward.”

In 2006, Bullock led the successful effort to increase the minimum wage, raising wages a dollar an hour for twenty thousand of Montana’s lowest paid workers.

Jim Soumas, a Sysco driver from Billings, said that Bullock’s commitment to a better Montana earned his support.

“As a father of four kids, I know that Steve wants to make sure the next generation of Montanans can get an education and a good paying job and make the choice to raise a family here.  He shares my Montana values and vision for the future – that’s why I support him,” Soumas said.

Teamsters Local 190, an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, serves 1,700 hardworking members in southeastern Montana and northern Wyoming.  Its members include UPS employees, city and county employees, law enforcement employees, school bus drivers, clerical, sugar workers, prosecuting attorneys, warehousemen, truck drivers, lumber distribution employees, sanitary employees, certified nurses’ aides, and construction workers.

Bullock was born and raised in Montana and is a graduate of Helena Public Schools.  He was elected as Montana’s 20th Attorney General in 2008.  As Attorney General Bullock has focused on arresting and prosecuting child sex predators, confronting the invisible epidemic of prescription drug abuse, protecting access to public lands, cracking down on scam artists and introducing monumental changes to the way we deal with repeat DUI offenders who cause carnage on our highways and cost taxpayers millions.


These two articles contradict themselves.  The first article is the dangers on private prisons.  The second one supports a man that has allowed innocent people to be incarcerated for profit. Has made a money racket on “sex predators”, out of 100% sex offenders in Montana only 4% are child molesters.  Of course that is 4% too many, and we need to keep our children safe.  But they have found a hidden haven to rack up the taxpayers dollars, the working mans dollars.  I have to believe that the Teamsters do not or have not realized this before they endorsed corruption and locking up their fellow Montanans for greed.  

Be careful of who you put your trust in, you don’t want to be a lamb led into the slaughter.   Let’s figure out a way that Montana can make money without locking up your neighbor, or your union buddies.  A way that allows the middle class to survive and work their way back up in this economy and at the same time not put the local business out of business.  There is no way for any Union, small business, etc. to compete with prison slavery.  No taxes, no workers compensation and no insurance.  Is the politicians you are supporting really representing  YOUR best interest.  Or is this yet again in their best interest lining their bank accounts?  Think on that! 



  1. Reblogged this on nebraskaenergyobserver and commented:
    As I suspect you all know, I’m not a union fan, especially the public sector unions, there is just to much room for intimidation. That said, the unions have a place. Often lately, the whole mess has been caused by a rancid combination of union leaders (not rank and file) corporate management, the big banks, and government, i.e. corporatism or crony capitalism. While I take nothing for granted from any of the above, this is an interesting article and its author makes a fair aount of sense. i enjoyed it as information from a source that rarely comes to me, and recommend you read it with an open mind. It strikes me as a reasonable measure of common sense, and not just because he linked one of my posts.🙂

    Fighting corruption is something that the Unions can help us with, if they really want to. I hope they do.

  2. Pingback: “Vast left-wing conspiracy” « Conservative Libertarian Outpost

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