consultants are sandburs

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Anoka County's Board of Commissioners Republican majority gives single finger "Scott Walker Salute" to the policy underlying the Davis Bacon Act of 1931. Schulte ducks voting.

Union members, ask yourselves
as a ballot box question for 2014 or later,
when Matt Look gets you like this
isn't it time to level the playing field
for the fish?

Gang of four, West, Look, Braastad and Sivarajah did the dastardly deed. Bodley of ABC Newspapers reports online, here. Read it. It is replete with the dissembling of those assaulting organized labor, as if it were somehow a good thing. The money quote from midway through Bodley's report:

According to Look, the prevailing wage would still be in place for construction projects that receive federal or state funding.

And he challenged anyone that maintained that nonunion work is subpar compared with union work, Look said.

“This action evens the playing field for small companies wanting to grow their business,” he said.

The rescinding of the prevailing wage resolution was part of a series of changes to the county’s financial policies and procedures approved by the county board Feb. 12.

"Evens the playing field" is a strange way of saying lowers the bar for workers scraping to get by. A strange way of saying strike at the workers so the boss brings more home to his or her family. A strange way of saying you get what you pay for.

And the award for disingenuity? Look's contention, "... the prevailing wage would still be in place for construction projects that receive federal or state funding." That's only because Matt Look knows enough to not break the laws that his actions show he clearly dislikes, and would change if he could if ever reaching higher office. The simple fact is the Davis Bacon Act is federal law, and the Little Davis Bacon Act is Minnesota law, and Look and his confederates have no choice but to comply, regardless of what they may view as their ideal world - which just might differ from yours, and surely does, from mine.

Read it, and weep. It is being done and postured as if in your interest.

Reader comments on point are welcome.

I have emailed Bill McCarthy at MRLF to see if his organization has prepared any press release on the County Board's move, and if so I have requested that he email a copy.

Perhaps Look may have some non-union non prevailing wage repairs done to his fishing boat and ...

__________________
A few quick googles and links for Davis Bacon Act background, here, here, here, and from those who (I contend) would use the image of the Liberty Bell while wanting to enslave your mind, here and here. All kinds of people can make facile and deluding arguments, (as Bodley has reported). Some will contend this post is one.

There is the Davis Bacon Act poster. A niche market to make a buck.

I was not around at the time, but history's story can differ, e.g., here and here.

What I do know is what I believe in today, in terms of what the County Board just did, what it stands for, and it earns nothing but disdain, from me. As headlined, I put this latest County Board move in a class with Scott Walker, as if ALEC and Taxpayer League minions stood in the wings prompting when those onstage might forget their lines.

Others, including the gang of four, can disagree, and each of us should vote in 2014. Or do we have to wait longer, for Look? When's his seat up?

Last, where was Schulte? When the going gets tough the tough get going? Which way? To safe and calm straddle-land? At least each of the gang of four showed up. Give them that.

_______________UPDATE_______________

Union members. Should Ron Schara mean jack
to how you cast your vote, and do you
believe Kurt Daudt is a friend of yours
and of organized labor?

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Click on that image and read the Kurt Daudt thing. Who taught Kurt Daudt grammar and spelling? The same folks who taught him to drive within the speed limit? Speeding tickets, in five counties, no less. Call him Flash.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
I got a very strange email from Matt Look, or at least it seemed very strange to me in terms of the Truman adage about standing the heat of the kitchen.

Eric,

Are you advocating violance [sic] or property destruction/damage.[sic] When I read...."level the playing field....for the fish", while using one of my photos with a fish caught....does that imply doing damage to my boat? Then I read on in your updates....."Perhaps Look may have some non-union non prevailing wage repairs done to his fishing boat and ..."????
I am going to submit this to our police officers to file.

You see, when you yell fire in a theater....you are responsible/liable. Likewise, if you suggest/encourage people to conduct themselves in behavior that may lead to personal property damage, in my opinion, you are responsible as well.

Well, metaphor is not that complicated. Union members, when you are baited and take the hook and get your vote landed, then "level the playing field" for the union members. That's not complex, given Look's initiating use of the level the playing field terminology, per the reporting, for those taking profit from the labor of others.

METAPHOR. Not anything dark or sinister in metaphor. Sorry if it was taken wrongly, but really ...

Reporting was that Look said he challenged anyone to prove substandard work can result from substandard pay. In response, my suggestion was: then, fellow, have your boat worked on for substandard pay, and take that risk.

Not advocating nothing. Now, saying the email from Look seems extreme as a response.

You decide.

Beyond that I sent Matt a personal viewpoint of his reaction, but that is between him and me unless he decides to somehow for some reason he may have, to publish it.

I think he's overreacting.

Readers, if I am wrong, leave a comment.

One further note - the use of "ballot box" in the initial photo caption suggest no violence of any kind. It suggest union folks might be best served if voting what they think is in their own best fiscal interest. Such as prevailing wage. There is nothing offensive in suggesting ballot box to define the context. Level the playing field, at the ballot box, for union folks, who are wage earners whereas Look seems primarily to see the point of interest being that of those taking profit from the labor of others. His playing field, and mine, in terms of leveling, differ.

Finally, I suggest that advocating union people voting their interests once they see prevailing wages under attack by somebody they may have viewed as "one of us" because he dons fishing gear and catches a big pike, being somehow equated in anyone's mind as "shouting fire in a crowded theater" is an extrapolation few would make. In the absense of self interest being a factor in aiming an extrapolation.

METAPHOR. Not rocket science, not shouting anything but "wake up, wise up" in anybody's theater.

_________FURTHER UPDATE________
In hindsight, I might have written things differently. But "ballot box" are the two key words in the post. The gist of things. And, Look is the one on which I have a vote. The message, however should be: vote out the bunch of them as foes of organized labor. If I could vote on each seat, seats being open at large and county wide, I would be happier. Yet it is not how it is. But the anti-prevailing wage vote clearly is against the best interests of labor, even if it makes only a minor difference because State and federal money is so much a part of any project of any size that gets done. And as soon as that is so, the County and involved contractors are constrained to follow the law. So it arguably is more a symbolic thing than one having large impact.

Yet it is what it is, with organized labor gaining itself the benefit of prevailing wage laws. No contractor is forced to hire union people, but must pay the same whether union or non-union workers are used. It, to use Matt Looks reported words, levels the playing field.

It is the intent of the Republican bloc to express a will to undermine organized labor that offends, not necessarily the reach of the move. And it clearly is inoffensive in the eyes of anyone not being a strong advocate of, or beneficiary of union strength and effectiveness.

I am sorry Matt took offense, over what he challenged. I think he ignored the main thrust of the idea, ignoring the forest to focus on individual trees.

It is Scott Walker, in intent, but with Scott still doing his mischief in Wisconsin, luckily, not here.

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