Son of Senate Bill 89

If you thought a Republican controlled House, Senate and Governor’s office would only bring you one Right To Work bill in their first shot at destroying unions in decades, you are, well, you are all hopped up on goofballs. A week ago Keith Reiger opened the crypt door on SB 89 and in doing so, roused organized labor in Montana from their post election daze. Enter House Bill 168. Billings Representative Bill Mercer is working up his own anti labor bill to work towards crippling Montana’s public employees and their unions. If you read both bills you have to wonder if these guys talk to each other and coordinate strategies, then again, maybe they do and maybe they are.

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What’s the difference between 168 and 89? Mercer isn’t outlawing the collection of union dues by a public employer. However, he does put a whole bunch of odd parameters on the process that will, quite honestly, grow government at every level. For the most part, 168 puts into Montana law the Janus ruling and references an employee’s 1st Amendment right to free speech, a right that an ’employee’ ironically now shares with corporations. Taking Janus one step farther, the bill puts the obligation of dues authorization on the employer rather than continuing with the current standard that membership and dues is between a member and their union. So how does he grow government? Well some poor payroll technician is going to have to get a physically signed document each year to authorize dues for the coming year along with the reading of statement of waiving the above mentioned constitutional right. Perhaps after signing, pledging and crossing their hearts, union members could also dip their thumb in red ink as proof that want to be part of the union. Mercer’s bill also allows union members to withdraw membership at any time, more work for management.

Today, and even after Janus and despite much posturing by anti union politicians like Mercer and Reiger, unions have legally kept the right to set a membership period, set a time frame when members can decide they don’t want to pay and become a freeloader, and continue to own the right to the membership conversation. Unions have continued to view the issue of membership as one where members must assert their desire to get the milk for free, much like that analogy of a gym membership. If you want to get fat, you have to quit the gym membership. Maybe these guys could drum up a bill for that too.

What else does his bill do? It opens the door for litigation at every level of government in Montana. Some poor hourly employee (who gets pay raises and improved benefits because the union bargains it for their members and a public employer is going to give what the union gets to everyone) will have to have a conversation about the union with it’s members every single year. That conversation will surely involve questions like ‘why should I belong to the union’ and depending on the answer, could in turn be the basis of an unfair labor practice filed by the union for interfering with the union’s right to do business. At least lawyers like Mercer will make money off this deal.

Now a little about Mercer. He too belly’s up to that state health insurance trough and even better, makes his living off suing both the state and federal government. Seems a little duplicitous doesn’t it? Then again, what did you expect?

So, do you pick 168 or 89? Or better than having to make a decision and given the true roots of Right To Work, could someone plug these numbers into a Mercer-Reiger-QAnon conspiracy number generator and let us know if all these right to work bills really just give us the longitude and latitude of the next Montana Ku Klux Klan meeting? No hoods or masks required, Swastikas optional.

kkk

TGTJ

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

How Do You Kill The Union?

Go ask Keith Reiger, he’s got a few ideas. Well, he’s been handed a few ideas, because he’s just not smart enough to write this bill on his own. Late Friday afternoon Senate Bill 89 was introduced on first reading. As of yet there is no committee assigned but the rumors are flying and the talk is that this garbage gets a hearing soon. Or mabye it dangles out there a while so those union bosses can wring their hands to the bone.

What does a bill with a short title ‘Revise laws related to the collection of union dues’ actually accomplish? In short it outlaws an employer’s right to automatically deduct funds from an employee’s pay through payroll deduction. In this case, that outlawed deduction is for union dues that the employee pays to be a member of the union. By no means should this be confused with the idea that they are obligated to join the union or be fired. Those days have been gone since the spring of 2018 when the Supreme Court of the United States ran a sharp blade through the fat stomach of public employee unions and ended representation fee with the Janus decision. Ironically, those same unions were granted a short reprieve when Justice Scalia miraculously died in early 2016. The big bosses drew a sigh of relief and bet the farm on Hillary Clinton to win the presidential election. There is no need to explain what happened from there.

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Back to the 67th Montana Legislature. Reiger’s bill does a lot of damage to public employee unions in just three pages. To make a long blog post longer, it allows union members to withdraw membership at any time rather than in the prescribed ‘window’ that unions are currently allowed to set. Ol’ Keith apperently can’t wait until the next SCOTUS case related to public employee unions and may not get his wish anyway given the changes to Congress and POTUS.

Next, he strikes long established law which encourages the practice of arriving at ‘friendly adjustments’ to end labor disputes and no longer acknowledges the idea that labor and management can solve problems for the good of all involved. That’s right folks, you have just traveled back to the 1960s where the Reiger family wants your wages, employment and reproductive rights.

Then comes the big hit for labor organizations in Montana, a prohibition of payroll deduction- more on this in a bit. But wait, there’s more! He allows the employer to voluntarily bargain with the union, if it can survive, and then cut sweet deals with it’s non members in hopes of convincing dues payers to give it up and let the union go because the employer is always benevolent. Get ready Montana unions, the MFPE, AFSCME, Teamsters and the AFL-CIO in particular, if this Hades’ Bident gets thrown there will be blood.

Now back to that dues deduction thing, because that was the short title of the bill before Reiger loaded it up with plenty of sharp points. Back in the ‘old days’ dues were collected at the union hall for trades unions and for public employee unions like teachers, members willingly paid up each month to the local treasurer and funds eventually found their way to the parent union. When the collective bargaining act passed in Montana two things happened to pave the road for unions: join as a member, pay a representation fee or go work somewhere else; and payroll deduction for dues. A captive audience and the employer to act as the dues collector and even better, to write the check to the union. A damn good stroke of business!

On its face, the bill is clearly prejudicial in singling out unions to be outlawed from payroll deduction. There’s a long, long list of deductions public employers will allow for their employees with union dues being just one. There are also plenty of ‘advocate’ organizations that fill their bank accounts with ‘dues’ collected through payroll deduction so they can belly up to the public trough for their members. How about a sample list? The Montana Troopers Association, Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, the Montana Police Protective Association and the Montana Game Wardens Association. No doubt there are more, but everyone wants to ‘Back the Blue’ and Reiger’s bill does not exclude cops or firefighters. All of the above mentioned groups collect fees through payroll deduction and then hire lobbyists to work on pensions and benefits for their members. Very much like a union, but not as ‘dirty’.

One last point that absolutely must be made. Keith is a retired teacher and collects a monthly check from the Teachers Retirement System. No doubt he earned that benefit, but where did it come from? Unions. Unions demanded retirement benefits for their members and have worked hard to improve those retirement benefits so that members could actually enjoy those golden years as comfortably as possible. Keith also has employer paid health insurance, of course his employer is the State of Montana as a sitting legislator. He’s been slurping up that public dollar slop on a monthly basis since 2009. That’s right, he’s been enjoying a union negotiated benefit for state employees for twelve years now. If you’re struggling to find a word for him, the one you’re looking for is ‘hypocrite’.

So how do you kill the union? Sad news Keith, you don’t. You can do everything in your power to break and bankrupt the union now that you have the Governor’s office and hope he’ll sign your batshit crazy bills. But you don’t kill the union because the union is a spirit and a will to make life better for yourself, your family and your community. The union is the pathway to the future of your children and their children to come. The union is the guardian of the downtrodden and the disadvantaged to prevent their exploitation. Senator Reiger, the union was here long before you and will be here long after you find yourself in a hot place shoveling coal into an unexpected furnace when you’re gone.

TGTJ

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

To Mask or Not To Mask

In his first Covid press conference, Governor Greg Gianforte announced that he would soon be lifting the mask mandate, but in the meantime he would continue to wear a mask out of respect for others and encouraged everyone to wear a mask. Wonderful idea and wouldn’t it be great if his own party followed that that suggestion?

On that mask and respect thing, they aren’t and they won’t. In fact, they’ve even gone so far as to shame anyone wearing a mask. To say it’s disturbing to see the young and old white guys like Jeremy Trebas and David Howard picking on a widowed retiree is the current understatement of the session. Classic tough guys who probably experienced too many wedgies in middle school.

So let’s see it GOP (Grumpy Old People), how about that respect and consideration? Can the citizens of Montana count on you to follow the de facto head of your party, Greg Gianforte, or will you breath and cough in his face and then bully him about being weak and afraid too?

TGTJ

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

Something Wicked This Way Comes

It always seems that the first Sunday of January every other year blows a storm in for at least part of the day. Dust and dirt fly, trash rolls down streets, discarded Christmas trees pile up at the end of alleys and from the four cardinal points come some 150 guests who will call Helena home for the next four months. Some first timers come filled with naïve good intentions, then there are the second and third termers who understand the game and their small role, and last but by no means least, senators turned representatives and vice versa who do their damnedest to keep the session on the rails to the bitter end. All well and good in predictable times, but we haven’t felt that sense of comfort in a while.

Despite a global pandemic, despite science, and despite technology that can allow a legislative session to move forward while protecting everyone involved, the Capital doors will open. And yet no one knows the plan, mostly because there really isn’t one. Montana’s new governor has raised his hand and taken his oath in a very small ceremony and then insist that the show must go on. Pay no attention to the fact that former Congressman Gianforte has already been vaccinated. Then again, as the wealthiest man to have ever bought a Montana election, he certainly could have just paid his way to the front of the line.

But the rumor is that he actually has a plan. Gianforte has openly talked about taking front line vaccines and giving every legislator a dose in the arm so they are safe to go on about their business and getting those 3000 bill drafts out for a hearing. But think about this. Much mockery has already been made of senators and representatives on the national scene who have made so much noise about the hoax that is the virus, or bullied citizens living in fear, or think that frontline workers who are too exhausted to go on just aren’t dedicated enough. But now it’s Montana’s turn as the likes of Derek Skees and Theresa Manzella pull up a sleeve to expose their ghoulish, translucent skin for a shot, despite their fear of a microchip hidden in the thick serum.

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In case your stomach hasn’t turned yet, you should also know that all 150 legislators, even the ones whose greatest dream is to see government fail and fade away, get to step in line for free government health care. Yes, FREE! By simply being elected each legislator can now sign up for health insurance through the State of Montana at the cost to taxpayers of $1054 per month for the duration of their term in office and maybe more if unions bargain a higher amount down the road. Almost forgot, they also have front of the line privileges at the state employee health clinic down street. Smells a lot like socialism doesn’t it?

So what will richest man in the governor’s office do? Will he commander 150 doses to prop up the herd on the third floor? Or will he save every valuable drop for workers who patiently wait for the next covid case to come through the hospital door, who teach in a classroom, the paraprofessional tasked with restraining an autistic student, the 67 year old lunch lady who provides the most nutritious meal some students see in a day, the police officers assigned to patrol a freedom rally or at risk citizens of Montana who don’t have the luxury of never worrying about how much their next paycheck will be? Safest bet? Catch the mass legislative inoculation in the rotunda, but never mind that legislative staff because so many Montanans will gladly take their jobs when they finally tip over.

TGTJ

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

Weddings, Funerals and Primaries

You know what they say about weddings and funerals?  Of course you do, unless you dropped out of the sky, they bring out the worst in people.  Lost invitations, no invitation, slighted guests, left out of the will and uncle John got drunk then told everyone off again.  It never fails and the insult will live on to the next dysfunctional family gathering. But what does this have to do with a primary that took place four months ago?

Well, head on over to Flint Creek Range and check out the race in Senate District 39. In a normal election, this would be a race between a D and an R. Then again 2020 has been no where near ‘normal’. Instead, the tri-county voters will be participants of what has now become a three way race between an unknown republican candidate, Suzzann Nordwick, voter picked primary winner Mark Sweeney and sore loser primary second choice Gordie Pierson. You read that right, Pierson lost fair and square. Rather than accept his 300 vote defeat, Ol’ Gordie has filed as a write in candidate and produced signs to prove it!

So why all the hurt feelings? It’s not like politics aren’t dirty and over the last decade, even dirtier. Historically, an empty legislative seat is assumed to go to the more senior legislator who would qualify for that seat. In this case, Gene Vuckovich has cleaned out his desk in seat number 39. Pierson assumed he was next in line for the Montana Senate, but in doing so failed to properly assess the lack of decorum and courtesy of Mark Sweeney. Gordo has a point here and this is not Sweeney’s first time at pulling a fast one. In fact, this would be his third time in challenging another democrat in a primary. His previous slippery backstabs took place in PSC races in 2012 and 2016. Ultimately, both PSC races ended in a republican victory and you know what that looks like today. Sweeney looks a little like Maryland Matt or Jersey Gianforte in his effort to get elected only to run for a different office in the next cycle. Ok, so we’ve established the fact that Sweeney is a self centered jerk. Now back to the big guy.

Pierson would be a far better Senator than Sweeney given his good nature and ability to get along with people. By no means the brightest bulb in the pack, but willing to listen, take a little guidance and ask questions. On the downside, Gordie is lazy and always has been. Even with the prospect of a challenger in the primary he failed to hit his turbo switch and kick up the pace. Pre Covid, Sweeney was buying coffee and doughnuts for the old folks who vote in the three counties of the district. Gordie spent his time stomping his foot and crying no fair. Fast forward to June 3rd and it all should have been history as the voters have spoken. And yet, here we are watching what will be a very close race between the two. So? Remember, this is a three way race and Sweeney has the magic touch of being the guy who hands an office to the other party. In this case, Pierson will be his accomplice.

District 39 has long been a Democratic stronghold and should remain so given the history of the area. But Dumb and Dumber are putting that at great risk and at a time when the Governor’s office is up for grabs. One of the two should do the noble thing and bow out. That one is Pierson and he should pull his campaign down and endorse Sweeney no matter how rotten of a taste it leaves in his mouth. So come on Gordie, pull up your great big boy pants, pack up the barbecue and head off to better things for now: believe it or not, this is bigger than you.

TGTJ

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

With Friends like this…

Who needs enemies?  But wait, what friends are we talking about?  Why your own friends within the Democratic Party.  Specifically, two Daves: Dave Hunter and Dave Wanzenried.  Scratching your chin through your mask trying to figure it out?  Let’s break it down.

The Wanzenried story is easy.  This Dave’s history goes way, way back to the mid 80’s when he was the Commissioner of Labor for the state of Montana and was a long time legislator serving in both chambers.  In one sense you could call him a career politiciandsc09426 with his terms in the House running from 1990 to 2004 and then the Senate from 2007 to 2015.  Add to that several runs for higher office to include Governor and US Senate, you might even go so far as to say that he has served well as a placeholder while the real candidate prepared their announcement. But wait, there’s more!  He was also the author of the now defunct blog ‘Logicosity’.

So what’s the beef with Wanz?  Well, during the most recent primary he threw his weight behind the second place pony, Kim Dudik in the Attorney General race on the D side of the ballot.  Great, so did a lot of other boomers.  But in this Dave’s case, he went so far as to file a complaint that alleged that the winning candidate, Raph Graybill, was not qualified, by law, to be on the ballot.  OK, so a primary can be almost as important as the general election so Dave was just doing his work in trying to take Graybill out, except that he bet on the wrong horse and his horse dung complaint has now been scooped up by the MTGOP in their effort to put far right wing whacko Austin Knudson in the corner office at the DOJ.  Great work Dave, this is on you and Kim.

Now this other Dave, Dave Hunter, is not quite so simple or transparent.  Hunter has been snorkeling around Montana politics for quite some time, albeit with limited success hunterand certainly none in the last couple decades.  Like the other Dave, he’s fed face down in the public trough with stints in state government to include Deputy Director of Montana’s tax agency. Among the old school democrats who like to remind us often of their glory days when they were running the show, he continues to insert himself in party politics as well as attempting to influence new comers on the scene with his political prowess.  Still asking what this is about?

Once again, go back to the primary when the GOP filed a complaint against the now Democratic Governor candidate Mike Cooney for using state resources and facilities to campaign. In his response to the complaint, Cooney readily admits to ‘attending’ a meeting from his office in the state capital- not allowed.  Now the behind the scenes details.  The meeting Cooney attended was with other democrats hosted by the party and included team members from both the Cooney and Williams  campaigns.  This Dave was reportedly there too. The unsubstantiated rumor is that he grabbed a screenshot of Cooney in his official office and started spreading it around with the threat of a complaint from the Williams campaign.  Tick away a little time and suddenly it’s in the hands of the Montana Republican Party.  You could call this an approach to solving problems with a greasy bipartisan approach.  As a result of Hunter’s alleged work, Cooney is now labeled by the GOP as more of a criminal than Greg ‘The Body Slammer’ Gianforte.  That worked out well, thank you Dave.

Of course this is nothing new during a primary, but the slop over into the general is where the problems really come to fruition.  If Montana ends up with a Gianforte Governor and a Knudson AG we can thank these guys and their friends as team members to the victors.  With enemies like these, who needs friends like the Dave’s?

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TGTJ

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

To Arms! To Arms!

Sunday April 19, 2020 marked two events.  One, a giant middle finger to science and caution as some 400 angry citizens massed together at the Montana Capitol grounds despite a world pandemic that has rational people looking sideways at their own mother with the slightest cough.  Yep, despite positive outcomes from social distancing and careful measures there could be no stopping the pursuit of liberty and the recovery of personal rights.  If this all sounds like something you’ve heard before, it is.  April 19, 2020 also marked the 25 year anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing in which a homegrown militia member and domestic terrorist, Timothy McVeigh, killed 168 of his fellow Americans in the name of liberty and his God given rights.  If you believe last Sunday’s event taking place on the same day as the tragedy is a coincidence then perhaps you are interested in buying a trunk load of elusive toilet paper.

You can follow the ‘Montana Liberty Rally’ and what appear to be its ‘organizers’ on a public Facebook page.  It’s an odd mixture of IMG_1581cconspiracy, anti-vaxers, angry white men, Tomi Lahren wannabes and now, militia groups.  If you grab a beer and start scrolling you’ll find the phrase ‘civil disobedience’ popping up fairly often, almost as often as ‘liberty’ and ‘my rights’.  Take for example this screen shot that appears to show some frustration with the inability to use public campgrounds.   After all, it’s been an odd spring in Montana and who doesn’t want to get out of the house after being asked to stay home for a month?  Conrad has a point, just not a very good one.  And it’s highly unlikely that this was the same agenda behind the civil rights movement that helped coin the phrase ‘civil disobedience’.  Now, maybe IMG_1604search Conrad’s name on that same page and you’ll find a post that should strike you as troubling.  This time he has a plan and subtly mentioned in that plan is a call to be joined by armed militia.  Well wait, is there another kind?  OK, so maybe not so subtle since he’s asking for the ‘intelligence’ to be shared among the home guard.  Clearly the ask is to gather as many people as possible at a legally closed public campground.  The location, much like the fabled Senior Keg, will be revealed once everyone has been vetted.  The word will be passed and hopefully Johnny Law will be none the wiser of the big gathering.  However, if the top secret public Facebook posting does lead to the discovery of the location, responding officers should be well prepared to be met by an armed citizenry prepared to defend their right to gather and to protect their campfires.  Sounds like another Malheur Refuge standoff in the making, or worse.  And be sure to take in the irony of the use of a pre-reservation Apache photograph.

One such militia group did appear at the march to honorIMG_1583 McVeigh, err aaahh, honor liberty and personal freedom.  The Yellowstone Militia assembled in full mismatched camouflage, Crocodile Dundee knives, assault weapons and grade school issue walkie talkies.  In all, three militia men and one militia woman, better than none. If you’re looking for adventure, the answer to a mid life crisis or your arrested development, the Yellowstone Militia wants you!!  Not to worry, there appears to be no screening, no grooming standards, no dress code, no physical fitness requirements and judging a book by it’s cover, no aptitude testing.

All attempts at humor and sarcasm aside, this should make the hair stand up on the back of your neck and leave you more than a little concerned for the safety of law enforcement officers in Montana, as well as citizens.  This is not a renewal of a cycle any of us should be glad see appearing.  This is a quickly developing side effect of the ‘Open My State Up’ crowd that will play out badly if left unchecked. Today this unstable minority carries signs, flags, guns, knives and anger.  History repeats itself. Tomorrow they’ll be carrying all of that and a virus.

TGTJ

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

Who’s Your Mate, Mate?

Earlier this week Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Fox announced that he’d found a running mate- Jon Knokey.  And while not the first to announce his sidekick pick, Fox is certainly the first legitimate candidate to tap a shoulder.  A one hit wonder out of Bozeman, Knokey accomplished a few things in the 2017 legislative session before bowing out of politics due to family and work commitments.  Now keep in mind that being the Lieutenant Governor is a full time political job so Knokey’s step back into private life was short lived.  But to his credit, Fox has made a smart move in trying to separate himself from his main advisory in this race, Greg ‘The Self Funder’ Gianforte.  Dr. Al stands no real chance of coming out of this primary, but should not go unappreciated for calling a body slammer a body slammer.

Meanwhile over in the strange corner that has become the Democratic primary sits Cooney, Schreiner and Williams.  If you listen carefully in Miller’s you can hear a little gossip about who’s courting who and why.  Both Cooney and Williams have reached out to several folks with some good street cred, yet no takers.  Cooney doesn’t appear to be taking the selection process too seriously thus far. As for Williams, who wants to be part of campaign that looks like an attempt to create a Clinton/Bush looking dynasty here in Montana?  And at this point, Schreiner is looking for an exit door that he may be slippingBatman-and-Robin through very, very soon.  Word has it that Williams asked Casey to join her.  Word also has it that Cooney is being encouraged by a lot of folks who know something about all of this to break bread with Schreiner and get him on board.  And that has yet to happen either.  A Cooney-Schreiner ticket picks up a lot of support and more importantly, a lot of money.  But, those kinds of things only happen when the question gets asked.

But back to that Republican side one more time.  Gainforte is taking a page from his own playbook from his failed run for Governor in 2016 when he tried to bridge the gender gap by picking a woman for his running mate.  He’s been in touch with his first choice and she’s agreed to pray for guidance before deciding.  A divine message is expected soon. maxresdefault

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

TGTJ

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

How do you know when the temperature in Helena will drop below zero?  When it’s a regular legislative session or the wild idea of a test tube ‘mini’ session.

DrF_0[1]Montana’s 66th and 1/2 legislative session convened this week with little to no fan fair. The wee session is intended to provide training for current legislators and hold scheduled committee meetings at the same time.  According to the Montana Legislature’s website the purpose is to bring legislators together to ‘cross pollinate’ which, quite honestly, sounds a little creepy.  Meanwhile, the Montana tax payer wants to know what this is costing them and what the end result will be.  Of course there’s plenty of speculation about that end result, or rather, lack thereof.  The dinky session will produce no policy, no fiscal obligations and generate no revenue to the state.  In fact, by the time they announce their tiny Sine Die, the most significant change will be to a more depleted state savings account.

So why this infinitesimal gathering?  Most speculation points to the idea that there is motivation to move to an annual session rather than the current, constitutionally mandated, biannual session.  Which of course then leads to even greater speculation of does the Montana constitution actually mean what it says?  But as it looks today, one party is for and the other against.  It shouldn’t take much work to figure out which is which.  The Republican party see’s it as an opportunity to continue to meddle in state government and the running of the state. Of course, in the not so distant future they may hold the governor’s office so the point could be moot.  Democrats oppose the idea because, well, it’s not their idea.  Regardless of where you sink your boot politically you can look to see the even year session as a spring board into what has become a constant churn of campaigning for office.

But really, who actually gave birth to this notion?  After all, most states currently have an annual session and in some it’s a constant churn so it’s really not cutting edge stuff.  All maxresdefault[3]fingers point to none other than Fred ‘Dr. Deregulation’ Thomas.  Yes, the same Fred Thomas who made sure that Montanans pay plenty for their electricity and assured that little old ladies in Butte who relied on their Montana Power Company stock and pensions can enjoy a delicious bowl of Alpo given their reduced incomes.  Thomas is also responsible, in part, for Montana’s term limits for legislators which some applaud and others despise.  Of course one of the arguments in favor of an annual session is that legislators can get to know each other and form relationships, you know, like they used to before ol’ Fred’s term limits.

So beware Montana, if it comes out of Fred Thomas’s little idea incubator it’s going to cost you in the end.  Then again, if you’re married to the likes of some of those legislators you might think this is a great idea to get them out of the house for a few months every year.

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

TGTJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could create more involvement from all legislators. But the truth is that there is the legislative body as a whole and then there are the legislators who make the ‘rules’ and then an even smaller group who make the deals to end the session.

Poof!

A few weeks ago IBEW 206 announced it had organized the Montana Democratic Party staffers who decided a little stability in their work place just might be a good thing. And, as they should have, party principles agreed to a voluntary recognition lest the union654dc8499a0076d854715010e2b3224d--american-history-feminism bank vault doors close and the heat gets turned off at party headquarters. For the casual observer all is well. After all, the electricians represent D party staff in other states and in one case, even the Executive Director.

But wait, there’s more! What the casual observer doesn’t know is that party leaders hired Helena attorney Mike Meloy to represent ‘management’ in bargaining with the newborn staff union. It’s important to know that almost every staff member holds some variation of title that contains the word ‘director’. But what do they direct? Party management has decided they direct people and has quietly proposed that two thirds of the union members really can’t be union members. And yes, that’s the same Mike Meloy who’s made plenty of money working for labor unions.  So much for that love fest the casual observer thought they saw. It does bring to mind the old adage ‘with friends like this, who needs enemies?’

And in more recent news the party has announced the hiring of its’ new Executive Director, long time labor staffer Sandi Luckey.  Luckey has traveled the circuit through several unions for some time and most recently made a mysterious exit from the Montana Nurses Association.  More to come on that later.  So this should all be easily fixed.  Or maybe not, the latest cookie cutter ED has never been on the wrong said of the table and much remains to be seen.

Meanwhile over at the Montana Republican Party headquarters there has been some Open_battle_between_striking_teamsters_armed_with_pipes_and_the_police_in_the_streets_of_Minneapolis_06-1934_-_NARA_-_541925-700x553scrambling so as not to be out done. Executive Director Spenser Merwin has contacted the International Association of Police Unions and the Fraternal Order of Police to represent its staff. According to Merwin, both organizations have agreed to meet with staff and he’s pleased given their support and endorsement of Donald Trump in his 2020 re-election bid. The following day Merwin terminated all staff for union activity.

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

TGTJ