Organized labor has its own fiefdom in Massachusetts politics, spreading from the State House, throughout different state agencies and even into the state university system.
Here are but a few examples:
Karen G. Courtney - Ms. Courtney is listed as a "Faculty/Internship Coordinator" at the University of Massachusetts' McCormack School of Policy Studies. Courtney also sits on UMass Boston's Labor Resource Center Advisory Board, along with a veritable "who's who" of union officials. The LRC as it is known, is a union-run section of UMass Boston and has a core mission of promoting union policies, regardless of whether the policies are good for Massachusetts.
But, perhaps most interesting about Courtney is her side business, K Courtney and Associates, where she oversees the union-run Foundation for Fair Contracting, and made $142,000 in 2009, paid for by union officials. The Foundation's main goal is to harass nonunion contractors for alleged violations of state's prevailing wage law. But one has to wonder how come the Foundation never reports union contractors for noncompliance with the state's prevailing wage law?
Rich Marlin - Marlin is the Legislative Director for the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, the umbrella group for the state's construction trade unions. Marlin also has a gig at UMass Boston as an Adjunct Lecturer. Do you think his lectures are fair and balanced?
Laura Marlin - Laura Marlin is the wife of Rich Marlin, Legislative Director of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council and Adjunct Lecturer at UMass Boston. After working for the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, she was named Commissioner of the state's Division of Occupational Safety by Governor Deval Patrick. She inexplicably left her job in the fall of 2010.
Prior to her stint at DOS, Marlin worked for the Attorney General's Office and was assigned to the team of state and federal prosecutors investigating potential criminal charges stemming from the collapse of the I-90 Connector Tunnel. No unions were ever implicated in the tunnel collapse, but the entire job was built with union labor.
Laura Marlin now serves as a Program Director for state auditor Suzanne Bump. It's our guess the state auditor will never write a damaging report about organized labor.
George Noel - Noel is the Director of Massachusetts Department of Labor, and former IBEW Local 1505 Business Manager and Vice President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. He is perhaps most famous for ginning up a crowd of union activists a few months back by stating, "Make no mistake about it. We are at war."
David Wallace - Wallace is the Director of Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Training.
Wallace is a former senior business manager for four carpenters' labor unions on the North Shore, former director of the New England Carpenter Labor Management program and political director for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.
In his position, Wallace has enormous power to levy penalties and fines against contractors for alleged violations of the state's apprentice training laws.
Thomas Kochan - Kochan is allegedly a "Neutral" on the Advisory Council at the Massachusetts Division of Labor Relations.
Kochan, a professor of management at MIT's Sloan School of Management has a long history of supporting organized labor and regularly expresses his support for unions writing on the Huffington Post. Last year, he took a very public position insisting that the Catholic Church use only union labor on their building projects, despite that just 15 percent of the Massachusetts construction workforce is unionized.
Governor Deval Patrick's track record of providing monopolies to organized labor:
UMass Boston union-only Project Labor Agreement - Governor Patrick has decided to discriminate against a majority of the state's hardworking construction workers simply becasue they are not union members by making the $750 million renovation of UMass Boston a union-only project.
When asked why this is fair, Patrick's only defense is "it's only one PLA."
Patrick's failed casino legislation - Governor Deval Patrick attempted to deny non-union construction workers - the majority of construction workers in Massachusetts - an equal opportunity to bid and work on the building of gaming resorts. The Governor's bill made contracts with labor organizations a criteria for developers to receive a state casino permit.
"whether the applicant has a contract with organized labor and has the support of organized labor for its applications;"
"whether the applicant is including in its application contracts with labor organizations and a provision assuring labor harmony during all phases of such construction, renovation, or reconstruction of the resort casino."
When asked about the union-only policy on radio station WTKK, Patrick flatly denied it and said his bill only required prevailing wages be paid. The bill never contained a prevailing wage mandate.
On July, 2009 Patrick again attempted to shut non-union employees out of work, this time by attempting to amend an outside section of the budget related to construction of a bio-processing facility for the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and requiring a union-only PLA on the project.
The Patrick-Murray Administration's $125,000-per-year director of labor, George E. Noel, signed an April 14, 2009, letter endorsing Project Labor Agreements. While PLAs have been repeatedly shown to waste taxpayer dollars to benefit labor unions, Noel ignores those facts. Instead, his answer is befitting a union boss, which he was previously, as the $75,000-per-year business manager for IBEW Local 1505.
On Tuesday, April 14, 2009, Governor Deval Patrick reaffirmed his position that special interests trumps the interests of Massachusetts taxpayers and the state's working men and women when he urged the state's biotechnology leaders to use union labor on biotech construction projects.
Entering the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council's annual meeting yesterday as the keynote speaker surprisingly flanked by a dozen union bosses, who overwhelmingly supported the Governor in his campaign, Patrick told leaders of the BioTech industry, "I ask you as a partner, a friend and as your governor, give unions a fair shake."
Organized labor, and in particular Local 103 of the IBEW, has been chaffing for months because the biotech industry, which receives grants and other taxpayer-funded assistance through the state's landmark $1 billion Life Sciences initiative, has not provided the unions with a monopoly on the industry expansion. Instead, biotech officials estimate that union contractors receive about 54 percent of the construction jobs.
Patrick stacked the new Sheet Metal Licensing Board with pro-union appointees. The Sheet Metal Board is comprised of seven-members with representatives from the state's public safety and professional licensing offices and five appointees made by Governor Patrick to include two wage-earning sheet-metal workers, two sheet-metal business owners with at least 10 years experience and a lay person to represent the public.
Patrick appointed two union officials to the wage-earning worker slots, Michael J. LaFleur, business manager for Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 63, and James Wool, business manager of Sheet Metal Works Union Local 17.
Patrick filled the sheet-metal business owner slots with Jeffrey S Chase, president of Cox Engineering Co., and Kevin R. Gill, president of McCusker-Gill Inc., both union contractors and filled the lay person slot has been filled by Francis C. Boudrow, business manager for an insulators and asbestos workers union.
Definition: alter or debase, often for profit; to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance