Open thread Feb. 9, 2014
Well, my west of Boston town has had about 75 inches of snow in the last couple weeks. Any one have stories?? I believe Kenneth Thomas has moved to Boston a week or so before the storms, and “what a welcome!” pops into mind for someone from the St. Louis area.
My own version of “snow.” Having been switched involuntarily from Medicare and Medicaid to a narrow network plan — and having been a few times in the ER and overnight in the hospital — I got 8 “out-of-network” bills, so far. How can I chose my ER physicians/ No huge total: only about $800 altogether. I’ve got no money but tons of credit.
Luckily I got good professional advice and found I can opt out of the network and back into what I had before.
I had to call the Client Enrollment Broker. 877-912-8880 No questions; no hassles — out 1st of next month. Don’t forget to call Medicare to re-enroll in the drug plan.
I’ve just been reading America’s Bitter Pill by Brill (who also wrote a book on the Teamsters — so I know he’s okay ;-]). Seems the whole mess was put together — very imaginatively I must credit — out of deals with every interest group to give up X amount with the promise to get as much or more back from the extra business. Don’t be at the table and they would be the meal — hanging over them.
Laws and sausages. What this process shows is that beyond the ability to manipulate the powers-that-shouldn’t-be — as long as they don’t suffer too much — the majoritarian mechanism (to use Tom Geoghegan’s phrase) is broken beyond immediate repair.
FIRST STEP TO MAJORITARIAN REPAIR (cut-and-paste):
The ultimate – federally prosecutable — sweetheart labor contract may be no contract at all.
No one would doubt the criminality of a mob union boss and/or an employer threatening to fire workers for speaking out against a mobbed-up sweetheart contract – in order to obtain for themselves the pay and benefit moneys that might otherwise have gone to employees through fair bargaining practices. A for certain RICO or Hobbs Act target.
Why shouldn’t the exact same extortionate activity be viewed in the exact same extortionate light when union busting “consultants” and ownership threaten to strip away workers’ economic livelihoods should they dare to participate in a federally approved path to establish federally approved union bargaining rights?
US Attorneys — Criminal Resource Manual 2403
In current (virtually universal) practice this economically — and by extension politically — ruinous extortion is “punished” only under administrative law laid down by the National Labor Relations Board — and employers found guilty pay only a (usually small) compensation for lost wages (not a penalty).
Alternate route: if any state independently outlaws this form of labor market extortion with a penalty of at least one year in prison, federal prosecution can automatically step in.
HOPEFULLY IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE
Wow, it sounds worse than ’78. Have they called in the national guard? They did back then. They had national guard trucks with plows up front clearing the streets.
Yes, National Guard is being used. The travel bans and such helped prevent the car pile ups and stalls. I shoveled about four feet off the porch roofs.