An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Friday, July 11, 2008

O'Malley/Brown Tout Anti-Union Climate

The state Department of Business and Economic Development's web site is apparently all about drawing businesses to the great state of Maryland by touting how bad things are for working people who want to organize to improve their standard of living.

In a page headlined by the smiling faces of Governor O'Malley and LG Brown businesses considering relocating to Maryland are offered a "very favorable labor climate." Do Messrs O'Malley and Brown think a favorable labor climate is one in which working people are discouraged from organizing for fair treatment, living wages, and a voice at work?

Union Participation

While not a "right-to-work" (RTW) state, Maryland offers businesses a very favorable labor climate.
  • A quality workforce supplies a great resource, key to achieving corporate goals.
  • The percentage of private sector union membership in Maryland is 7.2 percent, which is lower than the national average of 7.5 percent and lower than most northeast and midwest states.
  • 13.8 percent of the state's private sector manufacturing workers are union members, a lower percentage than two of the RTW states, as well as other states including New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
    (Source: Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.)

An analysis of companies new to Maryland from 1990 to 2001 (excluding firms that were already unionized upon their entry to the state and firms with fewer than 25 workers) reveals that:

  • Only two percent of the over 3,200 companies were petitioned by unions.
  • Half of Maryland's counties experienced no petitions for union elections.
  • Unions won representation rights for only one percent of the total new firms during the period analyzed.
  • Although petitions were filed most frequently in the services and manufacturing industries, unions won representation rights in just four percent of new Maryland manufacturing firms.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Duck for Congress

Call me a skeptic, but I've wondered how Iraq War vet Andrew Duck thinks he can unseat right wing curmudgeon Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in Maryland's 6th Congressional District. In short, this is one of the most conservative parts of our state and Bartlett seems well entrenched.

I had a chance to talk with this energetic, down-to-earth candidate recently and found that Andrew Duck may just be the next Congressman from the 6th District. Duck cites his 20 years service to our nation in the Army, his local roots, and a host of moderate stands on the issues that should appeal to the voters of western Maryland. He points to his strong numbers challenging Bartlett last year, to his ability to convince voters that he'll be the best representative once his message reaches them, and to the strong early pledges of support he's receiving from state and national party leaders. Duck may just be able to win this.

And Maryland, as well as the nation, need Duck to replace Bartlett, one of the most conservative and erratic members whose presence in the House blocks progress.

Reports are coming in that Ex-Cumberland mayor Frank Nethken (R) is entering the race to challenge Bartlett. While Scott Rolle proved with his energetic, charismatic, conservative campaign that a primary challenge to Bartlett is unlikely to succeed, a Republican former elected official attacking the incumbent before the primary could give Duck a boost.

Duck faces a tough fight, but he can really only win it if enough people consider this their fight and support him directly. So, if you've got a few bucks or some time, how 'bout sharing with Andrew Duck at DuckforCongress.org.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Got a Bad Boss?

Have some complaints about your supervisor? Share them with the world:
Work For a Jerk? You’re Not Alone
Overwhelming Response Prompts Bad Boss Contest Sequel
Winner with Worst Boss to Receive Free Vacation Package

(Washington, July 24) - - Building on last year’s runaway success, Working America is launching its second My Bad Boss contest today, www.workingamerica.org/badboss/, asking Americans to vent about the **!#*!@*’s that sign their paychecks.

My Bad Boss 2.0 officially kicks off to the public today, July 24, though there are already stories on the site from Working America members. For the next six weeks anyone can submit their stories online and visitors to the web site can vote on the best – or is that worst – tales from the workplace and reward the most abused workers with what many of them need most - a vacation.

Last year’s contest clearly touched a nerve. During the six-week contest, nearly 50,000 votes were cast and the site had two million page views. More than 5,000 stories were submitted online in the contest.

Working America, the 1.6-million member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, brings together workers who don’t have unions on the job and gives them a powerful voice on the issues that matter to them most. The first Bad Boss contest came about when they began hearing from their members about mistreatment in the workplace.

“We knew there was a problem out there, but we have been really stunned by the extent of it,” said Karen Nussbaum, director of Working America. “While many of the stories are funny – at least to the reader – many are painful, even tragic. They all drive home the point that unless they have a union, working people have virtually no rights on the job.”

Each week the online votes will be tallied and a finalist announced for the contest. Two grand-prize winners will each receive a vacation package and all finalists will get Working America’s sort-of-patented “Bad Boss Survival” kit, complete with earplugs to tune out the yelling, a rear-view mirror to see the boss coming, and other assorted goodies. All entries are anonymous. There will also be:The Bad Boss Quiz
Name that Bad Boss
Commentary from celebrities, including actress Jane Fonda and Robert Sutton, author of “The No Asshole Rule” and radio host Jackie Guerra.

For complete contest details and entries please see http://www.workingamerica.org/badboss/.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Unofficial Obama Video

A new video by an Obama supporter is brilliant. After viewing it I couldn't decide if she’s promoting herself or her product (those t-shirts) and using what she rightly imagines will be hits she’ll get from his supporters, or if she’s a supporter who’s using her image to make being an Obama fan seem cool. If you look at her site, it's hard to decide because she's selling the song and t-shirts, but she also seems to be really promoting the candidate.

Things are getting interesting in public involvement in campaigns. It's amazing what we'll come up with when we get a chance to use our creativity and initiative, rather than just responding to the latest email "action alert" or other cookie cutter request from a candidate or organization.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bartlett Declares

National Journal's House Race Hotline reports that annoying conservative Roscoe Bartlett will run for another term. Challenges from Andrew Duck (D) and a Republican ex-Mayor are expected to the outlier in the Maryland congressional delegation.

No "Vacancy"
"In an attempt to lay retirement rumors to rest," Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R) filed papers last week to seek a 9th term. "A vacancy ... would probably set off a huge scramble" on the GOP side, with Bartlett's son, state Del. Joseph Bartlett (R) "among those in contention." But the elder Bartlett "probably can hold the seat for as long as he wants it." He will have "at least one" GOP primary challenger in ex-Cumberland Mayor Frank Nethken, and '06 nominee/Iraq war vet. Andrew Duck (D) "is expected to try again" in '08 (Kurtz, Roll Call, 6/5).

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Nice touch

CQPolitics.com, commenting on the entry of fmr Sen. Fred Thompson to the presidential race, mentions a good shot the DNC took on him:
Thompson probably will face tough questions about his tenure as a lobbyist and also grapple with accusations that he had a thin legislative resume as a senator. Responding to news that Thompson is preparing an official campaign, the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday released what it called a “backgrounder” on Thompson’s “major legislative accomplishments.” The page was completely blank.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Rockville Mayoral

While most political junkies in Maryland are lining up for next year's the presidential primary election, and many locally are eager to learn about Donna Edwards challenge to Al Wynn in the 4th Congressional District next February, local races are heating up for this fall.

In March, youthful Mayor Larry Giammo surprised political observers by announcing that he wouldn't run for reelection as head of one of the largest cities in both Montgomery County and Maryland. That set off a furious scramble to succeed him.

Today at 12:30 PM at Rockville City Hall Drew Powell will kick of his campaign for Mayor, touting prominent supporters and speaking "about issues facing the city, solutions and his vision for a more citizen-friendly Rockville." Powell has been a key leader in the effort to make Montgomery County government more accountable and transparent, while exposing developer influence and financing of candidates in Montgomery County, as chair of Neighbors for a Better Montgomery.

Other candidates to succeed the mayor, include Silver Spring marketing staff/Rockville City Council member Susan Hoffman.

Words have already started flying...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fake Job Interview (Presidential Ad)

This is kind of funny for a presidential tv ad. Well done. Atypical enough to get some attention.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sarcastic Wednesday

Funny audio about how much we love our jobs.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Straight Talk from the Boss

Check out this funny Hallmark card (hat tip to the Change to Win blog) -- Interview with an honest boss