99% Spring: An Anatomy of Destruction

The establishment left’s weeklong protest training, deemed the 99% Spring or Shareholder Spring, is an effort to train 100,000 activists in civil disobedience to achieve “social and economic justice” from the 1%. The goal of these left-wing activists is to attain their idea of justice through destruction of America’s social fabric by perpetuating social and economic class warfare.

The protesters’ target will be “the shareholder meetings of over forty corporations, including but not limited to Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Exxon Mobil, and Chevron.” In order to destroy America’s “unjust” economy, they seek to tarnish the reputations of the very corporations that create jobs Americans need and desperately want.

According to the 99% Spring website, its mission is to stop “the deliberate manipulation of our democracy and our economy by a tiny minority in the 1%, by those who amass ever more wealth and power at our expense.” This is an ironic stated aim; Big Labor sponsors of the 99% Spring such as the United Auto Workers (UAW), AFL-CIO, and Service Employee International Union are creating the very same problems they claim to be solving.

Big Labor contributions to President Obama’s 2008 campaign totaled over $400 million. Yet, UAW President Bob King stoked the class warfare rhetoric in The Detroit News, “You only get what you are willing to accept,” in anticipation of the 99% Spring last week. He goes on, “We have a choice to make: a government that can be bought by the highest bidder or a democracy that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Unions have made their choice and theirs is to continue acting as prominent contributors to the problems King describes in his editorial. How can King or any union boss decry special interest political influence? Organized labor’s existence is predicated on government granting unions special privileges and exemptions, primarily through the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and under the Supreme Court’s 1973 Enmons decision.

The NLRA and forced-unionism laws in 27 states, labor organizations have the power to compel workers, as a condition of employment, to fund unions.

The Emmons case gives unions the extraordinary power to use violence to further “legitimate” union objectives related to organizing– elevating unions above federal racketeering and extortion laws. The controversial decision determined the striking union workers, belonging to International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, firing high-powered rifles at and destroying company property legal.

Since 1975, the National Institute for Labor Relations Research has collected over 8,799 accounts of union violence. Only 1,963 arrests and 258 convictions have been made, meaning just 3 percent union violence is punished.

Despite their rhetoric, Big Labor’s actions stand in stark opposition to the alleged goals of the 99% Spring.

One protest theme pushed heavily by Big Labor, specifically King and his UAW, is the coinciding “Shareholder Spring.” The movement’s mission is to attack corporate power, correcting the one-percenters’ manipulation of our democracy and economy.

Attacking corporate boardrooms is increasingly used as a political strategy for Big Labor not only to advance the union’s agenda, but force the company to advance it as well. Unions gain power over corporations through two primary methods. First, labor unions continually lobby government and exert their political influence to encourage politicians and bureaucrats to regulate corporate grassroots lobbying, executive pay, financial transparency, and separating dual roles of CEO and chairman. In addition, Big Labor pension funds file proxy shareholder proposals to the same effect. The Manhattan Institute Fall 2011 Proxy Monitor Report found unions filed 30 percent of proxy resolutions to Fortune 150 companies from 2008-2011.  In that same time span Big Labor sponsored 45 percent of proxies targeting corporate political spending, 24% of proxies related to social issues, and 48 percent of proposals effecting executive compensation (Manhattan Institute 2012 proxy monitor for current resolutions).

Second, unions manufacture public ill will toward businesses by protesting and engaging in “corporate campaigns,” using public smear tactics to tarnish corporations’ reputations (Examples of corporate campaigns click here, here and here).

How are union leaders able to plead for an American government that cannot be bought by the highest bidder when Big Labor outspends corporate America every election cycle? When Big Labor is currently putting on a nationwide political grassroots protest, costing millions, to influence the upcoming election? But if corporations perform these activities, they are manipulating our democracy and economy against our will.

If organizers of the 99% Spring were truly concerned about “social and economic justice,” they wouldn’t be taking marching orders from the large, moneyed interests that actually hold a disproportionate amount of political power and influence in the United States—Big Labor. One needs only to dig a little below the surface to discover an anatomy of destruction being inflicted upon this great nation by union bosses who show little regard for creating jobs their members need and want.