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The curse of the union

April 12, 2002 | Page 4

WHY WOULD workers at the Mt. Sinai-St. Francis Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Miami, Fla., vote in favor of union representation? Could it be the long hours and low wages? Lack of good benefits?

Not at all, according to the nursing home's management. It's because the union used voodoo to scare Haitian workers into voting in favor of unionizing.

In late February, workers voted 49-37 to unionize, citing low wages, unaffordable health insurance and poor treatment from management. But nursing home lawyers recently told the National Labor Relations Board that the election should be overturned because the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) placed "voodoo symbols," like lines of pennies and half-empty waters cups, around the nursing home to "intimidate employees" into joining a union.

Since the election, the nursing home has intensified anti-union harassment. According to an SEIU spokesperson, workers' benefits have been frozen and management has circulated an anti-union petition.

One pro-union nursing assistant at the facility was fired after she recently refused to collect soup bowls, one by one, from residents and bring them to the kitchen.

--Associated Press, March 21, 2002

No more free lunch for senators

PITY THE state senators from Washington. They're about to lose their private lunchroom and special French chefs.

Next year, the Washington legislature is moving temporarily while the Capitol undergoes a $100 million renovation. As a result, the senators will be forced to find other dining arrangements--which is leaving some of them irate.

"THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE," fumed state Sen. Don Benton in a letter signed by 36 of his fellow 49 state senators. "We, as members of the Senate, have come to look forward to the quality food prepared by Jean-Pierre and Kerri, as well as the quiet camradery of our fellow senators in a private setting."

The senators recently honored their private chefs, Jean-Pierre and Kerri Simon, with a standing ovation--at the same time as they wrote a budget that cut $685 million in state services and laid off hundreds of state employees.

--The Olympian, March 21, 2002

Heard it through the grapevine

"NOBODY'S OFFERED us Palm Pilots. We'll take those, too."
--New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan, on computers sent to her offices by presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.)

"IF OUR job is to seize a densely packed refugee camp or take over the Nablus casbah, and if this job is given to an [Israeli] officer to carry out without casualties on both sides, he must before all else analyze and bring together the lessons of past battles, even--shocking though this might appear--to analyze how the German army operated in the Warsaw ghetto."
--Israeli officer quoted in the daily newspaper Ma'ariv, on why his fellow officers need to study the tactics adopted by the Nazis during the Second World War

"WE LOOK at this as something to heighten the hearts of Enron employees who are losing their jobs."
--Playboy spokeswoman Elizabeth Norris, on the upcoming "Women of Enron" photo spread.

"[TRADE ADJUSTMENT Assistance] is treated like a teenage girl in the backseat of a car. You promise her anything to get what you want. And then when you get it, you leave her."
--Deputy Labor Secretary D. Cameron Findlay, on the Bush administration's "commitment" to a program that helps workers who are laid off because of trade wars

"THAT'S A real nice place on the ticket for a woman. They like that kind of work."
--Republican National Committeeman Chuck Yob, on why women make good secretaries of state

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