UFCW Local 1776’s Double Standard on Lobbying Disclosure

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UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell Young IV spent 8% of his time on lobbying and political activities, but is not listed as a lobbyist.ufcw-local-1776-lobby-money

It seems the president of UFCW Local 1776, Wendell Young IV, has been lobbying but failing to register his lobbying activities:

According to U.S. Department of Labor records examined by Media Trackers, Young reported 8 percent of his time as being spent on “political activities and lobbying”…
When confronted by a Pennsylvania Independent reporter, Young replied, “Clearly I do lobby, but it’s not my primary function as president of the union.”
Young was paid $23,421 (8 percent of his $292,765 salary) for political activity and lobbying in 2013. Registration is required by the commonwealth if payment for lobbying exceeds $2,500 per quarter.

This comes despite Young’s dubious claims that “We shouldn’t be held to a different standard than everyone else.” Unfortunately, it took until now for someone to investigate this fact. Despite the fact that lobbying may not be Young’s “primary function,” he makes no bones about the fact that he does, in fact, lobby.

This is not the first time the UFCW Local 1776 has pushed the boundaries of the law to promote policy positions:

Recently, some absurd ads vilifying the prospect of selling wine in grocery stores have blanketed the state. (They claim, “It only takes a little bit of greed to kill a child.”) Those ads were paid for by the UFCW, which funded a similarly over-the-top $1 million ad campaign last year.

The UFCW crossed that legal line by calling its ads—and even payments to lobbying firms—representational activities. Liquor store clerks who’ve jumped through every hoop to prevent their money from being spent on politics are still being forced to fund union political activity.

The UFCW’s actions here are far from transparent and accountable. This willingness to avoid transparency in the matter of money into politics is also entirely hypocritical, as the UFCW Local 1776 actually took part in a “Rally against big money in politics” (emphasis added):

UFCW Local 1776 Representative Eric Thomas took part in a rally of representatives from a variety of groups and PA State Representative Mark Cohen.  The groups gathered to push back on the power of big money in elections.
Thomas said, “The time has come to change the culture here in Pennsylvania and Washington DC.  Citizens United is an assault to our country’s democracy.  Distorting the idea of freedom, Citizens United only works to serve big business and promote corporatist agenda, not your average citizen.”

With apologies to Eric Thomas, the time has come to change the culture in UFCW Local 1776. Disregarding the law is an assault to our country’s democracy. Distorting the idea of freedom, UFCW Local 1776 ignores both the law and the wishes of their membership to push their own agenda, not the best interests of the state.

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UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell Young IV spent 8% of his time on lobbying and political activities, but is not listed as a lobbyist. It seems the president of UFCW Local 1776, Wendell Young IV, has been lobbying but failing to register his lobbying activities: According to U.S. Department of Labor records examined by Media […]

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UFCW Local 23 Sues Grocer for Offering Employees Higher Pay

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ufcw-sues-giving-raisesUnited Food and Commercial Workers UFCW Local 23 is filing a lawsuit against Giant Eagle grocery to defend seniority practices

Ironic, coming from the union advocating for a $10.10 minimum wage… Defending this industrial-era practice is stopping a local UFCW union from letting their members earn more money:

Why did UFCW Local 23 oppose higher pay for its members? Because it upended their seniority system, allowing junior employees to make more those with more seniority. Local 23 wanted uniform pay scales—even if that meant cutting some of their members’ wages.

This kind of thinking is very much in line with the kinds of jobs that were prevalent in the days when unions were being started. In those days, there was a real concern that there would be employers that would show favoritism as a method to separate employees from their union. There were many jobs that were interchangeable, such as production lines or industrial positions.

Nowadays, the labor market has changed significantly. While automation has significantly reduced low-level industrial jobs, customer service as a service is becoming a commodity. Manufacturing jobs are disappearing as service jobs increase. This means less people are on production lines and more people are dealing with customers directly in a personal way.

Additionally, there has been a significant shift in attitudes towards long-term jobs. During the industrial era, it used to be more common for one person to stay with a single company for many years. Now millennials, the youngest generation in the job market, are more likely to hop from one job to the next. This undercuts another key benefit of seniority, that employees staying with the company longer get paid more. In an economy where there’s been a lot of turnover and many people have lost their jobs and found new ones, longevity is less and less of a motivating factor in payment.

This shift creates a different motivation for service-based companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. A company known for good customer service can set itself apart from their competitors even if they offer a more expensive product because of the experience customers have buying their product. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration, poor customer service is the biggest reason why people discontinue business with a company.

The fact of the matter is that people respond to rewards. Without added incentive for people to invest more effort into their work, why would they put any more energy into it than what’s required? The concept of seniority only works if there are no additional benefits for additional work. And in today’s consumer service-based economy, that is no longer the case.

Seniority is outdated. What today’s worker needs is a system that rewards extra energy and effort, and rewards doing a good job. These days, seniority only protects those who don’t care to invest more in their own work. The only people who benefit under seniority system are workers who may not care about their work as much, but stay at their jobs longer.

Today’s worker also needs a union that provides benefits for what they need, not just taking their money and spending it on their own needs. And it’s not just UFCW Local 23. The UFCW International has its own share of corruption, mismanagement and scandals that they should be focusing on rather than trying to make sure their workers don’t get paid more.

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United Food and Commercial Workers UFCW Local 23 is filing a lawsuit against Giant Eagle grocery to defend seniority practices Ironic, coming from the union advocating for a $10.10 minimum wage… Defending this industrial-era practice is stopping a local UFCW union from letting their members earn more money: Why did UFCW Local 23 oppose higher […]

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Destroying Entry Level Jobs and Teen Opportunity – via NetRightDaily

Union Mismanagement 1 Comment

 

Today’s article brought to you by Americans for Limited Government’s NetRightDaily blog. By By Rick Manning. Originally published Dec. 4, 2013.Minimum-Wage-McDonalds-UFCW

Fast food restaurants will get the joy of having labor unions stage protests demanding an increase in their worker’s wages and more than doubling the overall federal minimum wage this week.

Everyone wants to make more money, so what could go wrong?

Perhaps it would be wise to ask the United Food and Commercial Worker Union (UFCW) members in the Washington, D.C. area.  These union members have priced themselves out of jobs as the consuming public is being trained to scan their own food items, cutting out the middle man.  The union workers are so concerned about their dwindling numbers that they are threatening to strike on December 20th with a major complaint being that the implementation of self-scanning technology is eliminating their jobs.

Now the same Big Labor economic geniuses whose demands for ever increasing benefits and wages threaten the grocery clerks very existence are being equally helpful to entry level fast food workers.  Workers who perform low skill functions for a minimum wage or just slightly higher.

At a time when Amazon has built a drone to deliver packages, and hopes to have them operational with full Federal Aeronautics Administration approval within four to five years, it takes little imagination in our current culture to see a fast food restaurant operating with very few personnel.

You punch your order in at a display screen, or in drive thru, Siri’s younger, more advanced sister, takes your order showing you the results on the screen.  You put your credit card or cash into the ATM like payment system and drive to the pick-up window where you get your food that comes out when sensors tell the machine you are in place to receive it.  The food gets cooked by a series of machines that put the right patty on the grill, drop just the right amount of fries and automatically puts the appropriate soft drink cup under the right beverage.  A lid is attached and your meal is delivered to you when you drive up.

The restaurant has next to perfect food cost controls, and a labor force that doesn’t sleep in on Saturday or shut the restaurant fifteen minutes early because it is slow and they are bored.

Automakers build cars using very exact automation, is it so unreasonable to believe that a burger could be made similarly?

Yet, protestors are going to blithely march around fast food restaurants demanding wages that virtually guarantee mechanized product delivery, a result that has disastrous consequences.

Fast food restaurants are gateway jobs, and are not intended for the vast majority of people to be anything but that – entry level.  This is a great thing.

Teens learn that they have to get to work on time both from getting pinged by their bosses, and by having to stay late due to the tardiness of a coworker.  Teens learn about this FICA fellow who takes a bunch of their paycheck without their ever seeing a dime, and wonder how their $183.75 check for five, five hour days dwindled down to a mere $135.  And most importantly, teens learn that money to go to the movies, pay car insurance and put gasoline in the car has to be earned by trading time, energy and effort in a value creating way.

Read the rest of the article here.

Minimum-Wage-McDonalds-UFCW

  Today’s article brought to you by Americans for Limited Government’s NetRightDaily blog. By By Rick Manning. Originally published Dec. 4, 2013. Fast food restaurants will get the joy of having labor unions stage protests demanding an increase in their worker’s wages and more than doubling the overall federal minimum wage this week. Everyone wants to make […]

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NLRB Rules UFCW Our Walmart Black Friday $50 Specials Legal

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National Labor Relations Board rules United Food and Commercial Workers Union Worker Center Our Walmart $50 gift cards to 2012 Black Friday protesters legal

ufcw-black-friday-special

Last year, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) worker center, Our Walmart, organized strikes against Walmarts during arguably the biggest sale day of the year- Black Friday. As we wrote before, the illegal picketing case Walmart had charged was being held in abeyance, on the condition that the UFCW did not continue their protests. However some charges remained, and the NLRB has authorized complaints against Walmart unless further negotiation settles things.

The NLRB has also advised that some challenged actions by Our Walmart were legal, in particular, where the UFCW paid off employees to protest with $50 gift cards:

The National Labor Relations Board concluded in a recent advice memorandum that the United Food & Commercial Workers union didn’t violate federal labor law when it offered $50 gift cards to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. workers who agreed to go on strike on Black Friday 2012.

So the best Black Friday Special at Walmart may be employee-only: walk off the job and hold a sign, get a $50 gift card for free. Ironically, this is a special that prospective Walmart customers should hope isn’t taken advantage of. If a high number of Walmart employees walk off the job, that could spell disaster in stores across the country. Black Friday is commonly recognized as one of the most competitive days for shoppers, and tensions are already high. Add in significantly longer lines, and it could spell panic and hysteria.

However, this Black Friday Special may be the best way for the UFCW to get Walmart associates to walk off the job. It seems that if they’re depending on organizational strength and current interest, they may not get far:

Wilson’s organization sent observers to labor union meetings designed to plan and promote the Black Friday walkouts in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Raleigh. Although touted by union leaders as crucial to the strike’s success, according to Wilson nearly no one attended the events. Only two union activists – not Walmart employees – showed up to the Chicago meeting on November 12. Just four managed to make it to Pittsburgh’s strike planning committee this Wednesday. And an expected meeting in Raleigh earlier this month was cancelled, apparently due to a complete lack of interest.

The article goes on to explain that last year’s protests give no strong indication that this year’s protests will be any better, as turnout for the protests was comparatively miniscule.

“The idea that there’s this mass uprising of Walmart employees trying to unionize the stores when they can’t get more than 500 of them to actually turn out is ridiculous – just an absolute joke,” he concluded.

Even the NLRB had to admit that in one of the cases they heard, not a single Walmart associate identified themselves at one protest, where they later claimed their rights had been violated. According to the advice memo, their rights were not violated because no single protester identified themselves as associates, and none of the managers could identify someone employed at Walmart:

None of the 50 demonstrators identified him or herself as a Wal-Mart Associate, and there is no evidence that managers recognized any member of the group as a Wal- Mart Associate when they were demonstrating on private property and were asked to leave.

Perhaps the best course of action would be for Our Walmart to spend the $50 on outside protesters. That strategy has certainly been proven to work for the UFCW in the past.

The good news is that this Black Friday Special- while ruled legal- may not cause as many headaches for customers as the UFCW would like. And this is one special that shoppers will be all too happy to miss out on.

ufcw-black-friday-special

National Labor Relations Board rules United Food and Commercial Workers Union Worker Center Our Walmart $50 gift cards to 2012 Black Friday protesters legal Last year, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) worker center, Our Walmart, organized strikes against Walmarts during arguably the biggest sale day of the year- Black Friday. As we […]

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More UFCW Strikes at Giant and Safeway Over Obamacare

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United Food & Commercial Workers UFCW Local 400 members authorized strikes against Safeway and Giant over Obamacare, could push customers to nonunion stores

The UFCW has authorized strikes against two major unionized grocery stores prominently located in the mid-atlantic region surrounding Washington, D.C. – Giant and Safeway:

Members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 voted overwhelmingly this afternoon to authorize a strike against Safeway, joining their fellow members working at Giant who also voted this morning to authorize a strike against their employer. At both stores, UFCW Local 400 members are fired up about management’s refusal to offer a fair contract.

And the issue at the heart of the strikes should seem pretty familiar to those who have been following our recent coverage of UFCW:

“The big issue at the table has been health care and today, our union brothers and sisters refused to go backward and authorized our local union leadership to call a strike,” said Vivian Sigouin, a Bargaining Advisory Committee member who works at Safeway #1431.

That’s right – UFCW members are worried that they may end up on the Obamacare exchange systems and lose their current health care plans that they’ve bargained for through their union. The irony that Obamacare was pushed for- and celebrated by- the UFCW should not be lost. We’ve already discussed at length about how the UFCW’s support of Obamacare has backfired, and now the union is trying to take it out on employers.

What makes this potential strike fascinating is the area and locality. As mentioned, the vote merely authorizes a strike – whether the strike happens remains to be seen. Strike authorizations are a step in the direction towards an actual picket line, intended to signal to employers that agreements are in danger of dissolution. The actual strike may or may not happen, but the potential strike could actually create more dangers for the unions than their employers.

Over the last few years, the UFCW, in conjunction with their worker center front group, Our Walmart, have been targeting the non-union Walmart. They objected to Walmart’s expansion into the Washington, D.C. area and encouraged the D.C. City Council to pass prohibitive regulations. Despite their best attempts, their efforts failed. Now, even as they threaten to strike the most prevalent union-run grocery stores in the D.C. area, Walmart is opening hiring centers for their two new locations.

The implication is clear – unionized stores like Giant and Safeway face strikes, picket lines and loss of customers. The non-union, enemy of the UFCW evaded their tactics, is creating jobs, and stands to profit from UFCW’s protests. The UFCW is demonstrating what Walmart’s future could look like under union rule, and it isn’t a pretty picture.

Not only that, but the underlying conflict is over policy passed with the help of the union, and later objected to by the same union. Now, not only will the UFCW strikes potentially endanger seasonal profits for Giant and Safeway, but they may also be putting that business right into the hands of their biggest competition. With an example like this, what sane company would join the UFCW?

United Food & Commercial Workers UFCW Local 400 members authorized strikes against Safeway and Giant over Obamacare, could push customers to nonunion stores The UFCW has authorized strikes against two major unionized grocery stores prominently located in the mid-atlantic region surrounding Washington, D.C. – Giant and Safeway: Members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) […]

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White House Attempts to Buy Off UFCW Support of Obamacare

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After United Food and Commercial Workers Union sent a letter criticizing Obamacare, Obama wants to ‘fix’ the bill for the UFCW- for half a trillion dollars.

obamacare-train-wreck-ufcw

We’ve previously gone over the “trouble in paradise” for the Affordable Care Act, where previous Obamacare supporters like the UFCW are now pulling their support now that they can see what was in the bill. A piece by Avik Roy in Forbes explains why the sudden criticism of the bill might be self-serving:

Obamacare affects multi-employer health plans, also known as Taft-Hartley plans. These plans consist of employer-sponsored health insurance that is arranged between a labor union in a particular industry, such as restaurants, and small employers in that sector. Approximately 20 million workers in the United States are covered under such arrangements, including 800,000 of the 1.3 million members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union….

Unsurprisingly, the focus of the UFCW’s criticism is really just on the places where it affects their own bottom line. Since employed union members would not qualify for the subsidies, This would pose quite a strange situation for the UFCW, who may find themselves with strange bedfellows in criticizing the policy.

In fact, the union’s position on Obamacare has already created issues for the UFCW’s new partners- the AFL-CIO. The UFCW recently left their old partners, Change to Win, and rejoined the AFL-CIO after eight years of being apart. Now, the AFL-CIO is losing members due to their position on Obamacare. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, or ILWU, just pulled out 40,000 members, citing Obamacare as their chief complaint:

McEllrath expressed disappointment in Trumka for “going along to get along” and in the failure for the AFL-CIO to secure a government run single-payer healthcare system for its members.That’s right, Obamacare just isn’t liberal enough. McEllrath also ripped Trumka for his support of Obama’s 40 percent Cadillac healthcare plan tax.

That’s why it’s not surprising that the Obama administration is working to stop the bleeding. From the previously cited article:

Now, according to Rachana Dixit of InsideHealthPolicy, the administration is “working on regulations to address the issue” that people covered under Taft-Hartley plans aren’t eligible for subsidies. But it’s not an “issue” in the sense of being a glitch or a mistake; union leaders are seeking special treatment, and additional taxpayer subsidies, that other participants in employer-sponsored coverage don’t get.

Since the UFCW were such large supporters of Obama, it’s not surprising that the administration wants to do everything they can to get the union back on board. The piece goes on to explain that it’s not just the Administration, Members of congress are also on board. Nancy Pelosi is quoted as telling unions she wants to “resolve their concerns” – about as close as she may get to a mea culpa.

But there’s a very concerning element in all of this- what will this actually cost? Ultimately, to “fix” the law to support the unions, that will require subsidies. And these subsidies are going to end up costing the taxpayers even more:

If, suddenly, the 20 million people on Taft-Hartley plans were eligible for subsidies, Obamacare’s costs would skyrocket. If half of those Taft-Hartley enrollees gained $5,000 per year in tax credits along with their tax-free health benefits, we’re talking $50 billion a year in additional insurance subsidies for those individuals. That’s more than half a trillion dollars over ten years, accounting for health inflation.

So for Obamacare to be acceptable to the UFCW, it’ll take over half a trillion dollars- and that’s before more elements of the program kick in. The UFCW had previously been ecstatic about Obamacare:

The UFCW used its vast resources to push health care reform through Congress. Yet a majority of the Americans disapproved of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The UFCW lauded the achievement “among the ranking highest in our national experience.” They may have been right with regard to the impact the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have on the American experience. For example, it would add trillions of dollars in new government spending.

It seems the UFCW were even more right than we gave them credit for being at the time. Except the experience seems to have impacted the UFCW more negatively than they’d predicted. And now, to “fix” the problem, they’re going to add up to half a trillion more dollars to the Obamacare. Ultimately, it’ll be the taxpayers- union and non-union alike- that will be stuck with the bill.

obamacare-train-wreck-ufcw

After United Food and Commercial Workers Union sent a letter criticizing Obamacare, Obama wants to ‘fix’ the bill for the UFCW- for half a trillion dollars. We’ve previously gone over the “trouble in paradise” for the Affordable Care Act, where previous Obamacare supporters like the UFCW are now pulling their support now that they can […]

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As UFCW Attempts DC Walmart Shutdown, Canadian Local Bolts

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United Food and Commercial Workers groups push DC’s Mayor Gray to sign a bill effectively banning Walmart, while stores in Canada decertify the UFCW.Canadas newly UFCW-free Walmart in Weyburn

As we’ve detailed before, the UFCW has long had Walmart in their sights. From threatening to shut down stores on the busiest day of the year to launching visceral verbal attacks, the UFCW will stop at nothing to stop the giant. Even when it includes passing prohibitive legislation preventing the company from creating jobs in an economically devastated area.

In a previous article, we detailed the ridiculous demands of RespectDC, the UFCW-backed group working to stop Walmart from expanding into DC. The group demanded Walmart pay “living wages” ($12.50/hour) and called Walmart’s wages “slave wages” ($12.49/hour, average in the area). They also claimed Walmart would hurt the community, despite evidence and studies to the contrary.

But despite the lack of evidence on their side, RespectDC managed to get legislation passed in the DC City Council that would create such high demands for Walmart that they would not be able to stay afloat. The Nation describes the situation now facing the Mayor:

Four weeks after the Washington, DC, City Council passed a bill to hike some retail workers’ wages, DC Mayor Vince Gray has not yet indicated whether he will let it become law. The measure, the Large Retailer Accountability Act, has drawn fierce opposition from Walmart..
The LRAA would require “large retailers”—defined by the square footage of their stores and the revenue of their parent companies—to pay employees at least $12.50 per hour in combined wages and benefits. In a Washington Post op-ed published the day before the council vote, Walmart Regional General Manager Alex Barron warned that the law “would clearly inject unforeseen costs into the equation that would create an uneven playing field and challenge the fiscal health of our planned D.C. stores.”

Meanwhile, RespectDC and their allies are still very actively monitoring the situation. They’re using their funds to pour more and more effort into pressuring the Mayor. They’re pulling every stop they can to manufacture support for the bill. According to one email sent out by their ally, RespectDC is canvassing neighborhoods to generate support:

The canvass in Ward 7 led by Respect DC has been extremely successful: 9 out of 10 people whom canvassers talk with support the bill and sign the petition. Many call the mayor on the spot. Please join a canvass. Respect DC will train you and provide you with a partner to go door to door and talk with people at Metro stations, grocery stores, and community events.

Finally, Respect DC and Faith Strategies are working with Councilmembers Vincent Orange and Phil Mendelson to plan a big event to demonstrate to the mayor how much DC residents and workers need this bill.

In the United States, Walmart is consistently non-union. This is why the company presents such a large target. If the UFCW were able to get a foothold into the company in the U.S., they could use that to try and pressure more of the company to unionize. That would be a very effective way to gain a lot of new members for the union, even as they slowly lose chapters from other companies.

Meanwhile in Canada, there are Walmart associates that are already unionized by the UFCW. And the UFCW should be taking notice of what’s happening there – one store in Weyburn just voted to decertify the union! And this wasn’t even a close vote either – the decertification was decided with a vote of 51-5. The story should sound familiar at this point:

A series of unfair labour applications were brought to the Court of Appeals by the UFCW.
The matters they addressed recently were: unlawful communications to employees, failure to bargain collectively, failure to provide employee information, failure to abide by closed shop obligations and failure to bargain collectively.
The UFCW alleged that Wal-Mart had unfair communications to employees from the period following certification on Dec. 4, 2008 until the date of their allegation, Nov. 8, 2010.
The Labour Board reviewed those communications and found that they were “responsive to significant developments affecting in the workplace that were factual.” The Court of Appeal found those findings to be reasonable and dismissed the union’s appeal for the unfair communications.

Unfortunately, for some employers, this sounds all too familiar. The UFCW comes up with trumped-up complaints, sneaks in the door. They then under-serve their members, and make a big stink when asked to leave.

For all of the rhetoric by the UFCW about the minimum wage and supporting jobs, none of that ever seems to apply in practice. They want to stop jobs from coming to an economically disadvantaged area and create impossible standards so nobody can get paid.

The UFCW is like a dog chasing its tail – the union is entirely unsure of what to do with Walmart if it were to catch it. If the Canadian defection shows anything, the UFCW is far better at chasing future potential members than keeping current members happy.

Canadas newly UFCW-free Walmart in Weyburn

United Food and Commercial Workers groups push DC’s Mayor Gray to sign a bill effectively banning Walmart, while stores in Canada decertify the UFCW. As we’ve detailed before, the UFCW has long had Walmart in their sights. From threatening to shut down stores on the busiest day of the year to launching visceral verbal attacks, […]

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