In Thursday’s installment of head-scratching lines uttered by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the Hardball host proclaimed that it’s “[c]hilling how good” Joe Biden has been as Vice President and informed guest and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka that his very appearances on television causes him to be “in a good mood when you come on this show.”



First Sanders, now Trumka—are there any capitalists left on the left? On the most recent Meet the Press, Bernie Sanders made news when Chuck Todd asked him if he was a capitalist.  "No," shot back Sanders, "I'm a democratic socialist." Mark Halperin was obviously taken enough by the question as to pose it on today's With All Due Respect to Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.

"No, I'm a trade unionist, quite frankly," retorted Trumka.  When Halperin tried to pursue the issue, Trumka laughed it off, calling it  a "silly question." Silly? The biggest union boss in America opposes the economic system that made this country great and which creates the private sector jobs his members fill?  Employers have to bargain with people who reject the very premise upon which their businesses rest? Silly? You're killing us, Richard.  Or should we say "Mr. President," which was the obsequious way in which Halperin and co-host John Heilemann addressed Trumka. But kudos to Halperin for posing and then pursuing the question.



Someone looking at the annual "Union Members" report released this morning by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics would logically conclude that 2014 was a year organized labor would rather forget.

While average nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased by over 2.32 million from 2013 to 2014, union membership only went up by 48,000, or about 2 percent of the nationwide increase. Additionally, the private sector's 41,000-person pickup in union membership was only 1.6 percent of its total 2.55 million increase. Yes, that means that public-sector union membership increased a bit while public-sector employment declined by 226,000. Of course, no such decidedly negative nuggets made their way into Labor Secretary Tom Perez's press release or Tom Raum's Associated Press report, excerpts of which follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):



A brief report from the AFL-CIO convention today by Sam Hananel at the Associated Press tells us two things about how the group headed by Richard Trumka plans to expand its membership rolls.

The first is that the group wants to add "non-union groups." The second is they wish to enroll "workers who aren't covered by a collective bargaining agreement." Hananel never specifically says that one is in addition to the other, leading the reader to conclude that Hananel believes both targeted groups are one and the same (posted in full because of its brevity after the jump):



In the past several months, the left and their media minions have pushed back against claims businesses are trimming worker hours to avoid ObamaCare.

During a recent interview, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said employers are "restructuring their workforce to give workers 29 and a half hours so they don't have to provide them healthcare."



The AFL-CIO has just lost 40,000 of its most militant members, and it's not news at the Associated Press's national site (there is a regional AP story at the Seattle Times) or at the New York Times. It is getting virtually no other establishment press coverage (results at the link are primarily center-right blogs and similar outlets).

The departing members are those in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. In a three-page letter to AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka, ILWU President Donald McEllrath laid out concerns over picket-line crossings and encroachments by other AFL-CIO affilliates, but also cited Trumka's "overly moderate, compromising policy positions on such important matters as immigration, labor law reform, health care reform, and international labor issues." A few paragraphs from AP's unbylined regional story are after the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):



In a Thursday morning speech, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka told of how surprised how he was, in the words of Time's Alex Rogers at it Swampland blog, "that employers have reduced workers’ hours below 30-a-week to avoid an employer penalty scheduled to go into effect in 2015."

Here's another "surprise" from Rogers' report, at least for those who think that lawmakers sit alone and draw up 2,000-page pieces of legislation on their own (except when the media relays claims by the left that evil industries write laws which evil Republican congressmen simply rubber-stamp them): Trumka admitted organized labor's direct involvement in in writing Obamacare. In other words, labor created the mess it is now denouncing (bolds are mine throughout this post):



I guess Byron Tau thought he had to make it look like Big Labor is really, really mad at President Barack Obama and the White House so he could make Obama look like he's a moderate on economic and fiscal issues. Thus his Sunday morning post's headline: "Labor targets Obama over proposed benefit cuts."

Of course, they aren't "cuts" at all, though they are being portrayed as such. All Obama has done, according to information which appears to have been conveniently leaked (perhaps in hopes of killing the idea) to the New York Times ahead of his very late President's Budget, is "propose a new inflation formula that would have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits, though with financial protections for low-income and very old beneficiaries, administration officials said." Despite the weakly descriptive language at the Times, monthly Social Security and other checks would continue to increase under the proposal each year inflation occurs -- just not by as much.



Yesterday, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka may have broken a modern record for chutzpah exhibited by a labor leader Friday in criticizing management's decision at bankrupt snack maker Hostess Brands to liquidate in the wake of irreconcilable issues with its unions. In a Friday afternoon report at Politico, Kevin Cirilli not only let Trumka get away with it; he also lent the labor leader's contentions additional misleading support.

Trumka blamed the company's apparently imminent demise on "Bain-style Wall Street vultures." He wants everyone to believe that it's greedy, eeeevil Republican private-equity types who are on the brink of putting yet another company out of business. The "clever" framing of that quoted phrase appears to indicate that Trumka already knew better. It seems very likely that Cirilli also knew better. Three hours before the initial time stamp of Cirilli's report, Zero Hedge re-exposed the heavy involvement of D-D-D-Democrats in Hostess's management and advisors originally documented way back in july at CNNMoney by David Kaplan (additional paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine throughout this post):



The ABC and NBC morning and evening newscasts on Sunday gave attention to President Obama's attack on the Republican presidential candidates for not scolding a couple of audience members who booed a gay solder asking a question at a recent debate. Monday's "Special Report with Bret Baier" on FNC noted that Obama has his own history of standing by without condemning inappropriate comments at public events.



Sounded to me like Scarborough was the actual target. Perhaps you'll agree.

Here's the easily angered Ed Schultz on his radio show yesterday, lashing out at the so-called "No Labels" organization whose most prominent members include fellow MSNBC pundit and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough (audio here) --



  Leave it to Chris Matthews to shoe-horn in a crass political point against the Tea Party, even in the midst of a heartwarming story like the rescue of the Chilean miners. On Wednesday's Hardball, the MSNBC host, along with his guest Richard Trumka, president of the AFL/CIO, claimed those miners would never have survived if they had followed the "every man for himself" philosophy of the Tea Party crowd.

After Trumka initially recounted his joy at watching the miners being rescued, he quickly veered into his standard rhetoric of the need for more regulation. Matthews then picked up on Trumka's cue to launch into an attack on the Tea Party, as he distorted their limited government view as one of total anarchy that would mean "no more government, no more everything," as seen in the following exchange:

(video below the fold)