Bargaining For Your Life

Government Collective Bargaining 101

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 rejected a contract offer by HECO. Contracts between the IBEW represent 1,200 employees at HECO, Maui Electric Co. and Hawaii Electric Light Co.

The business manager Lance Miyake for the IBEW issued a statement: “As of 3:30 pm today, March 4, 2011, IBEW Local Union 1260 will be on strike against Hawaiian Electric Company, Maui Electric Company and Hawaii Electric Light Company.”

This is just after a big storm struck the island and left thousands without power to begin with. So that’s the perfect time to go on strike!

The move comes as dozens of HECO workers are scrambling to fix power outages around Oahu and fallen power lines in Ewa. About 8,000 customers remain without power, a HECO representative said.Leeward Oahu lawmakers voiced outrage over the walkout.”It is unacceptable for union members to put their pay before the safety of my community. Many people in Ewa Beach are already out of work and for them to walk off in a state of crisis is egregious,” Rep. Kymberly Pine said.The union has said it opposes management’s proposal to require employees to work two more years to get full retirement benefits, pushing back their retirement age to 62 from 60. (KITV)

It has now gone to mediation.

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BEANBAGS Vs. AK-47’s & More

A policy requiring U.S. Border Patrol agents to use nonlethal bean bags as a first line of defense evidently led to the murder of an agent who was gunned down by a heavily armed group of illegal immigrants in Arizona.

The deadly gun battle took place on December 14, but the Department of Homeland Security has kept details from the public under the often-invoked premise that it’s an “ongoing investigation.”

The murdered agent, Brian Terry, and his colleague encountered five illegal border crossers at around 11:15 p.m. in an area known as Peck Canyon, northwest of Nogales. The illegal aliens refused commands to drop their weapons and the two federal agents proceeded to fire beanbags, as per Border Patrol policy to use nonlethal force against migrants.

Turns out the illegal immigrants were heavily armed with sophisticated assault weapons known as AK-47s. They responded to the beanbags with gunfire and agent Terry was mortally shot in the back.

Making matters worse, a separate new reports indicates that the gun used to murder Terry was actually part of a federal experiment that allowed firearms from the U.S. to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels. Instead, federal law enforcement officers have lost track of hundreds of guns which have been used in numerous crimes.

A federal operation that allowed weapons from the U.S. to pass into the hands of suspected gun smugglers so they could be traced to the higher echelons of Mexican drug cartels has lost track of hundreds of firearms, many of which have been linked to crimes, including the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent in December. John Dodson, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who worked on Operation Fast and Furious, said in an interview with the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit research group based in Washington, that he was still haunted by his participation in the investigation.

“With the number of guns we let walk, we’ll never know how many people were killed, raped, robbed,” he said. “There is nothing we can do to round up those guns. They are gone.”(LA Times)

Among them were at least three guns found at the Peck Canyon scene of Terry’s murder. The weapons were traced through their serial numbers to a gun shop in Glendale, Arizona, which led to a Phoenix man (Jaime Avila) that the feds repeatedly allowed to smuggle firearms into Mexico. Known as Operation Fast and Furious, the disastrous project was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

But it gets Better, with Big Sis:

Newly-released documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) reveal that the US Depart of Homeland Security has been working on plans to roll out a new wave of mobile surveillance technologies at train stations, stadiums and streets. These new technologies will track your eye movements, capture and record your facial dimensions for face-recognition processing, bathe you in X-rays to look under your clothes, and even image your naked body using whole-body infrared that were banned from consumer video cameras because they allowed the camera owners to take “nude” of people at the beach.

Most importantly, many of these technologies are designed to be completely hidden, allowing the government to implement “covert inspection of moving subjects.” You could be walking down a hallway at a sports stadium, in other words, never knowing that you’re being bathed in X-rays from the Department of Homeland Security, whose operators are covertly looking under your clothes to see if you’re carrying any weapons.

According to a Forbes.com article one project pursued by DHS using technology from Siemens would “mount backscatter x-ray scanners and video cameras on roving vans, along with other cameras on buildings and utility poles, to monitor groups of pedestrians, assess what they carried, and even track their eye movements.”

Forbes Blog: American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, has sold U.S. and foreign government agencies more than 500 backscatter x-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles to see their contents, Joe Reiss, a vice president of marketing at the company told me in an interview. While the biggest buyer of AS&E’s machines over the last seven years has been the Department of Defense operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Reiss says law enforcement agencies have also deployed the vans to search for vehicle-based bombs in the U.S.

“This product is now the largest selling cargo and vehicle inspection system ever,” says Reiss.

Another project involved developing “a system of long range x-ray scanning to determine what metal objects an individual might have on his or her body at distances up to thirty feet.”

We already know that the U.S. government has purchased 500 vans using covert backscatter technology to covertly scan people on the streets They’re called “Z Backscatter Vans, or ZBVs.”

“This would allow them to take these technologies out of the airport and into other contexts like public streets, special events and ground transit,” says Ginger McCall, an attorney with EPIC. “It’s a clear violation of the fourth amendment that’s very invasive, not necessarily effective, and poses all the same radiation risks as the airport scans.”

It’s not clear to what degree the technologies outlined in the DHS documents have been implemented. Multiple contacts at the DHS public affairs office didn’t respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Then a TSA official responds in a statement that the “TSA has not tested the advanced imaging technology that is currently used at airports in mass transit environments and does not have plans to do so.”

Which mean they have. This government after all, and especially Big Sis.

“When you’re out walking on the street, it’s not acceptable for an officer to come up and search your bag without probable cause or consent.,” EPIC’s  Mcall says. “This is the digital equivalent.”

We are from the Government and we are here to help you!

And we are NOT looking at your naked body! 🙂

We do not suspect you! 🙂

And Muslim Terrorism is not terrorism. The Border is secure even though we admit to having very little “operational” control over it!

But we are fighting the  armed Drug Cartels with bean bags and just watching as known Cartel buyers buy guns to kill us and Mexicans alike.

Rejoice!

We have everything under Control. Trust us. 🙂

But at least you have ObamaCare.

The number of temporary healthcare reform waivers granted by the Obama administration to organizations climbed to more than 1,000, according to new numbers disclosed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

HHS posted 126 new waivers on Friday, bringing the total to 1,040 organizations that have been granted a one-year exemption from a new coverage requirement included in the healthcare reform law enacted almost a year ago.

And…

The pension funds for state and local workers in the United States are understating the amount they will owe workers by $1.5 trillion or more, according to some economists who have studied the issue, meaning that the benefits are much costlier than many governments and taxpayers thought.
Doubts about government pension accounting have been voiced by analysts for years, but with shortfalls in state and local pension plans exacerbated by the recession, the push to refigure pension fund shortfalls has gained political momentum.
The trillion-dollar gap arises from the government method of accounting, which several experts say significantly underestimates the cost of future pension payments.
When the accounting is revised to value future payments more accurately, in the critics’ view, the amount that pensions are underfunded grows to more than $1.9 trillion, according to Munnell’s calculations for 126 large plans.
Those calculations have been published in part in a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research.
But don’t worry, be happy. The Government is here to save you!
Trust Us. 🙂