he non-profit Jim Bunning Foundation, which collects the money the former pitcher gets from autographing baseball memorabilia, has taken in more than $504,000, Senate and tax records show.I know the non-profit and charitable world from the periphery. I cannot imagine the balls it takes to pay yourself the biggest chunk of your foundation's pie.
Of that, Bunning has earned $180,000 in salary for working a reported hour a week.
By contrast, the foundation has given $136,435, or about one-fourth of its income, to churches and charitable groups around Northern Kentucky. The largest sums went to local Catholic churches Bunning has attended.
As of January 1, 2009, ***** will no longer be providing employer based health insurance.Here's the kicker - the guy's wife is expecting a child in January, just a few weeks after the plan goes "Poof!"
Morgan Johnson, president of the United Auto Workers local representing General Motors workers in Shreveport, said Friday that Sen. David Vitter's role in blocking an auto bailout indicates "he's chosen to play Russian roulette" with Louisiana jobs and the national economy.Seriously. If we want to keep Republicans out of whorehouses, all that needs to happen is to get the ladies of the night to organize! (Although we'd probably have even more Spitzers.... Leave your own comic contributions in the comments section!)
"I don't know what Sen. Vitter has against GM or the United Auto Workers or the entire domestic auto industry; whatever it is, whatever he thinks we've done, it's time for him to forgive us, just like Sen. Vitter has asked the citizens of Louisiana to forgive him, " said Johnson, president of Local 2166. Otherwise, Johnson said of Vitter, it would appear, "He'd rather pay a prostitute than pay auto workers."
NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Jim Bunning was the toast of Detroit when he threw a no-hitter for the Tigers in 1958.Not that I advocate connecting commerce with personal politics, but when you're a Senator, the rules are a bit different. Serves him right.
Now, after opposing a federal bailout for the auto industry, the Republican senator from Kentucky can't even get a gig signing autographs at a suburban [Detroit] sports-card show.
Bunning was to appear Sunday at the Gibraltar Trade Center in Taylor. Fans would have paid $35 for Bunning to sign a baseball and $55 to sign a bat.
But Bunning was kicked off the schedule after he helped derail an auto-industry loan package in the Senate Thursday night.
It is impossible to quantify how many affluent parents have trimmed allowances in recent months — or how many of their offspring, in turn, have sought either formal employment or odd jobs. But interviews with dozens of teenagers, parents, educators and employers suggest that many youngsters from well-to-do families seem to have found a new work ethic as the economic crisis that has pummeled their family stock portfolios and jeopardized their parents’ jobs has also led to less spending money for Saturday night movies or binges at Abercrombie & Fitch.Cry me a f'in river.
Wrap up some personal hygiene products for the person who never bathes or who breathes down your neck lasciviously even though this person knows you're taken. A bottle of deodorant and some shampoo speaks volumes for this person. Make sure to wrap it in clear cellophane.There's plenty more where that came from.
"(Polinsky) needs to stop grandstanding and should start working on behalf of the union members, who are deserving of the pay raise that was offered by the School Committee," he said. "It seems she doesn't want to tell them about that."After chatting with a couple of teachers, they say this is patently untrue. All the information from school committee negotiating table was disseminated to the rank and file.
First let it be clear that what I say here, I speak for myself, not the North Adams School Committee. And the school district does not have a part in this negotiation. It is a city negotiation with all employee unions.My big question is what would the cost of increasing the city's share of the premium be? Would it be a net gain or break even proposition for the city. That knowledge would settle the question for a lot of people.
Here are some things I know and/or have been told about the GIC issue.
· The unions have attached to the GIC implementation proposal an increase in the city’s share of the health premium coverage from 70% to 85%. As I understand it, much of the $1.5 million dollar cost savings advertised for the unions is due to this I do not believe the city would share in this advertised $1.5 million cost savings if its share would increase to 85%. I do not think you’ll see the city negotiate unless the share stays at 70/30 – especially with the impending 5-10% cut in state aid to local cities and towns next year.
· I am told (by others outside the city), but have not verified, that out-of-pocket expenses with the GIC (prescription, emergency care co-pays, etc) are considerably higher than Blue Cross Blue Shield.
· I attended the 2008 Mass Association of School Committees Conference in Hyannis last month, including an insurance workshop, presented by a highly respected superintendent of schools from the eastern part of the state who has been able to control his school employee insurance premiums to nearly no increase in the past three years (mostly through wellness initiatives). It was said in that workshop that the GIC does not have a wellness plan built into the health insurance offering. 80% of increased insurance premiums are due to insurance claims (per this presenter). It is his belief that the GIC will be a “huge white elephant” for the participating municipalities in the commonwealth 5 to 10 years down the road, with rapidly escalating costs (and he has relayed that opinion to Tim Murray, Lt. Gov).
· Boston Benefits Partners, the North Adams unions’ consultants, are directly associated with the GIC, both in consultants previously employed by the GIC and in doing consulting work for the GIC currently (this information you can get online). This does not mean their information is incorrect, but does question their motivation. I don’t know how all the insurance premium comparative costs shake out. But it would be wise for any negotiations or further discussion of the GIC to use a different consulting resource.
The first point (premium share) is likely the primary issue from the city’s standpoint. The third point (the forecasted “white elephant”) should be of most concern to all parties considering the GIC. Personally, I would rather see the focus be on a well thought-out wellness plan that encourages prolonged good health and results in greatly reducing claims – which would translate in most importantly improving the health of the individuals but also in keeping health costs much more under control. Given the health cost burden on everyone today, I would think the city and the unions efforts would be better served working together on this very important issue.
Good stuff you won't get anywhere else.Around 1949 or so Toyota had a very bitter strike which almost resulted
in bankrupting the company. At that time the senior family member who
was running the company resigned and a younger generation of the Toyoda
family moved up to lead the company. I believe they got some loans from
Japanese banks and perhaps some assistance from the government. At that
time Toyota was one of the country's largest companies and a major
employer. The bitter strike itself was an embarrassment and no one
wanted the company to fail. At this time I believe they only sold cars
in Japan and were not a major player in car production although they had
built cars for many years. This event triggered development of "The
Toyota Way" which later evolved into the "Toyota Production System."
Perhaps the guiding principle within Toyota's business system is
respect: which is demanded between all employees and with their customers.
For many years Toyota found productive jobs for employees to old to work
at the rapid pace of the production line but too young to receive a
pension. I do not know if they still do this today, but these employees
were often assigned to maintain the grounds around the plants or used as
messengers between facilities. While Toyota was just a Japanese company
they were very profitable as the government had restrictions against
importing large volumes of cars from outside companies. As the
automotive industry became a global industry Toyota expanded. However
their first attempts were not very successful. However they focused on
their "system" to develop better, more competitive vehicle and to reduce
their manufacturing costs. That focus, started about the mid-1970s or
so, is still going strong. Today Toyota is not only world-wide in their
production facilities, they are either the number one or number two in
world sales, and is probably the most profitable of all of the
automobile companies due to the efficiencies they have developed in in
all aspects of the business. They have developed ways to lower design
costs and time. Their vehicles are more easily customized for the
requirements of overseas markets. They are They can more readily match
their production flow with their sales flow so they don't produce lots
of excess cars when sales slow. And they usually don't have to discount
their vehicles to keep their cars moving off the dealer's lot. As a
result of "The Toyota Way" they have been profitable for many years. I
assume they have money in the bank and banking relationships within
Japan that are a big help if they should need some cash.
The story of General Motors is much different. At one time General
Motors generated enough cash that they could self-finance the tooling
costs of new models. Of course these costs were much less than today's
costs. Since about the early 1980s it is my understanding that GM has
had to borrow these costs each year, which in turn increases the cost of
doing business. Additionally, GMs plants are not as efficient as
Toyota's. However, this is not all due to their labor contract. The
vehicles that GM designs and the production methods used (all based on
management decisions) are not as efficient as Toyota's processes. GM has
more employees per car because of the way the cars are designed. Why?
Here we must depart from fact to speculation. I believe that GM's high
costs are mainly due to the reward system within management, especially
the product development and engineering staffs. The best way to attract
the attention of senior management is to find a unique solution to a
problem. The system has to work but the promotions go to people who do
something new and different. Several years ago Jack Smith, then the
Chairman and CEO made much of finding out that there were more than
thirty different radiator caps used on current GM models. He was
appalled. Why did this happen? I believe it happened because no engineer
was ever promoted for using last year's radiator cap or one from an
existing model with similar requirements. And radiator caps are only the
tip of the iceberg, In the early 90s, GM tried to establish a new brand
of vehicles: Geo. The vehicle wasn't that bad but the marketing plan
just didn't work. Toyota seems to use more "on the shelf" parts in their
new products than GM uses. This allows them to reduce their product
development time and costs.
Much as been made of the high union contractual costs. GM has loudly
claimed the UAW health care costs amounted to $1500 per vehicle. However
they don't often remind anyone that they also have had and additional
cost averaging close to $3000 per vehicle as sales rebates to get people
to buy their vehicles for about three or four years. Why? Well, it's all
about cash flow. GM has financially overextended itself for many years.
Because of the way finances are reported, it's hard to see. But my
feeling is that the GMs automotive business has been in trouble for many
years. But the troubles were hidden as the company divested itself of
many parts they considered either non-automotive or not profitable. The
usual pattern seems to be first to starve the the orphan to be by not
upgrading facilities or not developing competitive new products. Then
they would sell the division or plant or unit and the sale price would
end up in the profit column. There is a long list of such divestitures
dating back to the end of WWII. For at least the past 10 to 15 years, GM
seems to be wholly dependent on current cash flow generated by selling
cars to dealers. If they don't ship to dealers, the cash flow stops and
GM has a very limited time before they run out of operating cash. This
is the problem they have today. This is why they have been promoting
discounts almost continuously for the past several years. They don't
have anything left to sell to raise cash and if their dealers can't sell
car's because people can't get financing or can't afford a new car, the
dealers stop ordering cars and GM has no cash flowing in to run the
company. The situation has very little to do with the union costs.
Keeping your workforce healthy is almost a necessary step in maintaining
a well trained and highly skilled workforce. I'm relatively sure the
Jobs Bank originated as a management suggestion to settle a labor
contract dispute. Most of the union people I know considered the Jobs
Bank as a very slight improvement over loosing your job but not anything
that anyone really looked forward to. What it seems to do is remove the
Jobs Bank people from a plant's payroll so that management looks like
its running a more efficient company. I know there have been discussions
about taking it out of the contract but with a growing number of plants
closing, there seems to be little chance it will go away unless the UAW
Leadership agrees to give it up as a concession during the current talks.
The real question remains -- Is GM capable of surviving or would a
government loan only extend their life? I have never been one to believe
that downsizing is the best road to success. If I had my druthers, I
would suggest splitting the company into two or three companies. It
might be hard to do, but it would rid GM of a lot of its historic
problems and give each part a better chance of long term survival
without putting anywhere from five to ten million people out of work. I
heard on one news report that someone in Washington felt that the
government should force GM and Chrysler to merge. Bad, bad, idea. GM's
biggest problem is its management. And it's 2nd problem is its size.
The piece was written in answer to the question, "Why is Toyota making money and GM isn't?" It did not speak to how I feel about the auto industry's request for loans to help them through some very difficult times. There is no doubt that the leadership of the American automobile industry has not made many of the changes that they should have made over the years. However, I believe they may have gotten the message that a new set of priorities are required. I am sure there is much residual anger against the companies due to many past problems within the industry. At one time the industry had a rust problem which was fixed only when the industry leaders understood the problems effect on sales. The same with the oil leak problem which used to make oil puddles on every garage floor. However, my view is the main problem is the focus of the industry, and most segments of our country's industries, on making money. And the more money you can make, the greater the company's prestige and the higher the executives salaries. The companies need to broaden their view and realize the first purpose of business in not to make money -- but to stay in business.Las Vegas should have such analysts!
Those who oppose the loans often seem to want to punish the executives for their past behavior. What they seem to forget is the impacts of the companies failure without the loans: thousands or even millions of workers all over the country will loose their jobs; hundreds of suppliers will probably be forced into bankruptcy; as the supplier network weakens, foreign-owned assembly plants could be faced with problems; the massive unemployment will endanger local merchants in areas across the country as people loose their jobs; and the executives will all retire and be in the best financial position of all those affected by the failures.
There is a good chance that failure of any of the big three will push a severe recession into a full blown depression. Our last depression lasted over ten years and was only ended by the increased production needs and spending of WWII. There is no doubt that these companies need to change their approach to doing business. The more quickly they can get back on their feet, the better it will be for everyone in the country. Thus, I not only favor making the loans, I also favor leaving the current leadership in place as they are best prepared to make the necessary changes. The use of a "car czar" who would set goals, measure progress, but not run the companies sounds like a potential benefit. There are other alternatives that may prove more helpful. But, the immediate need is to assure that the companies do not fail while those alternatives are being examined.
House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi said state aid to local cities and towns will be cut by up to 10 percent next year, a major drop-off that will likely cause layoffs and major cutbacks in municipalities across Massachusetts.The HUGE irony here is that it is the unions of North Adams that want to join the GIC, but it is the city administration that is preventing this. Most cities in the state would love to be in this position, but not North Adams. Why?
To lighten the blow, DiMasi is planning to propose legislation to eliminate a major union-backed provision that prevents municipalities from joining the state health insurance program without union approval.
Under current law, cities and town officials must earn the backing of 70 percent of local union members before they can join the state’s Group Insurance Commission. DiMasi argues that the provision has prevented municipalities from joining the state system, whose larger size provides more cost savings through bargaining power with insurance companies.
Collectively, cities and towns could save between $436 million and $64 million in fiscal year 2013, according to an estimate by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. But so far, only 17 municipalities and 19 school districts have joined out of the nearly 500 cities and towns and regional school districts that are eligible.
Five unions in North Adams will file intimidation charges against the mayor after he allegedly ousted from City Hall a union representative looking for figures on the city's health insurance plan, said Cindy Polinsky, the Massachusetts Teachers Association representative.This has prompted me to write the following open letter that is being sent to City Hall as well as others:
... The mayor told the North Adams Transcript on Tuesday that his door is open to any union employee who wants to "see the real figures." The city uses Blue Cross-Blue Shield.
"Their union leaders have told them a lot of things - a lot of things are not true," he told the Transcript.
Those statements prompted Bryant Elementary School teacher Eileen Gloster to go to City Hall on Wednesday with Polinsky, where the mayor told Polinsky to leave and threatened to call police, she said. "His way of interacting with people is disturbing," Gloster said.
To the Honorable John Barrett, III;Something is amiss here. I don't know what it is, but before the legal disputes start costing the taxpayers of this city serious money, I sincerely hope that the mayor puts this to rest by explaining, in detail, exactly what the city pays for and gets in its current health insurance policy.
This letter is express my concern as a resident and taxpayer of North Adams that the recent antagonistic developments involving the North Adams Teachers Association and yourself have now simmered beyond the boiling point. While I am still willing to keep an open mind about the facts of the matter, the recent confrontation between you and a teacher and her union representative has left me with the impression that, at the least, your conduct was less than gracious and, at the worst, a possible violation of the National Labor Relations Act. This incident only stokes the fire that the rumors of your blocking the switch of the municipal employees health insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield to the GIC, may be motivated by factors other than what is best for the residents of North Adams.
I am not a conspiracy theorist. I have never given much credence to those who have willy-nilly accused you of everything from the kidnapping of the Lindberg Baby having the city pay for your personal automobile.
However, in this instance, I have met both Eileen Gloster and Cindy Polinsky. They both seem to be very reasonable and mature people who would not in any way cause a ruckus at City Hall. Hence your ejection of Polinsky from the building along with the threat of calling the police, combined with your subsequent short explanation to the Boston Globe that these two women's story "left out a lot of parts", creates gaping holes in any sort of logical explanation of the incident.
I am left wondering why you simply will not publicly release the financial information regarding the current city Blue Cross Blue Shield policy. A simple copy of the bill(s) will do.
Your constituents would surely be open to explanations why a possibly more expensive Blue Cross policy is a better "value" to employees and the city than a potentially cheaper plan through the GIC, but without the actual figures to begin a fact based comparison, this ongoing drama leaves a doubt-filled cloud over city hall.
131 Marion Ave
North Adams, MA