Wisconsin Defeat is Huge

This election was a severe blow to the Unions. Earlier they tried to rig the Wisconsin Supreme Court, they lost the election and they lost the case before the Supreme Court that could have over-turned the law.

Now they have lost the recall. Why this is important is two fold. First, the Republicans in other states are much more likely to understand the diminished power of the Unions and be willing to pass legislation such as Right-to Work that they never would have dreamed of doing until now.  Second, and more importantly, the BIG win is reapportionment.

If for any reason the reapportionment legislation that was just passed had gone wrong in the Courts, then it would come back to the legislature for changes.  Had the Union’s won control of the Senate, then the Democrats would be able to have forced better districts for the Democrats to run in for 2010 and the entire decade to follow.

This means that Republicans will now probably control both the House and the Senate in Wisconsin for the next decade.

Make no mistake about it, this defeat of the Unions was huge and the Unions know it.

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Labor acts as I predicted it would

 

Big Labor is now doing exactly what I predicted it would do in an earlier post.  It is seeking revenge on specific Democrats for their failure to support and pass the Employee Free Choice Act a/k/a EFCA.

Here is a quote published today in a labor publication regarding the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting in Florida:

“The labor movement is pissed off, in so many words, at the Obama administration…”

“The council members also didn’t spare the Senate. The federation’s formal backing of its Arkansas affiliate’s endorsement of Democratic Lieut. Gov. Bill Halter in his planned May 18 primary showdown against Sen. Blanche Lincoln sends that message. So does a pledge of substantial money from AFSCME, CWA, SEIU, the Steelworkers and the Teamsters to Halter’s campaign.”

http://www.workdayminnesota.org/index.php?news_6_4388

First it was Senator Bennett in Colorado and now it is Senator Lincoln in Arkansas.  The Unions have a hit list and they intend to carry out their political executions in public of all Democrats in Congress who failed to follow the mantra of EFCA.  The unions feel that these people betrayed them and they are not going to rest until they send every elected Democrat a message not to ever get on the wrong side of them again.

From a union standpoint, who can blame them?  The Democrats blew the biggest opportunity they have had in probably 30 years to reverse the decline of organized labor and the labor unions are not going to let the Democrats forget it anytime soon.  Trumka was played like a fiddle as he bowed to the White House demands that legislatively healthcare must go first through Congress. 

Unbelievably, Obama still won’t let healthcare go.  While the County wallows in 17% in real unemployment, instead of concentrating on fixing the economy, Obama still can’t let healthcare and a new trillion dollar deficit program go.

Meanwhile, Labor now sees a 40% tax on their own healthcare benefits in the healthcare program Obama wants to pass.  Further, the backroom deals to exempt labor until 2015 probably won’t survive the public’s light on these “backroom” deals Obama cut to try and get it passed.

So the next question is if Obama will be on this same list to be defeated when it is his turn to run?  Certainly, he is the primary person to be blamed for the failure of EFCA to pass as he placed it at the very bottom of his legislative agenda and given it nothing but lip service.  I seriously doubt if Hillary Clinton would have made the same mistake as Obama did.  She learned many years ago that major reform of healthcare is a bottomless pit politically.  Whereas, Clinton would have known that passage of EFCA would have brought tons more money to the Democrats in power. 

Therefore, one has to ask Big Labor, what exactly did you guys buy for $400 MILLION in campaign contributions?  I really think they need to ask for a refund!  Clearly there must be a buyer’s remorse.

Big Labor Agenda is DEAD – For NOW

Unions spent $400 Million dollars to get a large majority of Democrat Representatives in the House, a super majority of 60 Senators in the Senate and President Obama elected to office.   Last January the Unions were literally on top of the world.  They paid a high price for their success and they surely expected to be rewarded.  Make no mistake about it.  These people were all bought and paid for by the Unions and the Unions expected to cash in their chips. 

Last January I was predicting that House Bill # 1 that would come out of the House would be the Employee free Choice act or “EFCA.”  This was without question the big prize that the Unions all wanted.  It would take the 7% of the private sector workforce that was unionized and expand it to 14% in short order.  And it made a lot of sense if you were a Democrat to pass such legislation because if the Unions could raise and spend $400 MILLION dollars with 7% of the private workforce, they could raise and spend $800 MILLION dollars with 14% of the private sector.

It is old news that Scott Brown pulled off a miracle for non-union employers when he won the Kennedy seat in the Senate.  A seat that had been Democratic since the mid 1950’s when John Kennedy held that same seat.  A miracle even more so when you look at the registered voters and see 1.5 million Democrats registered to 500,000 Republicans.

With this one victory, Big Labor has seen its agenda to pass EFCA, to change the Railway Labor Act so it would be easier to organize Fed Ex and a whole host of other changes just disappear.  Moreover, with the up-coming fall elections, it looks like even more House and Senate seats will change to Republican.

The big news what is now going on inside labor.  It is simply the fall-out of the Unions with those Democratic politicians who blew the best chance Big Labor ever had to see real changes in the law that would help Big Labor from becoming extinct — just like the dinosaurs. 

What happened can only be described as the worst political blunder this writer has ever seen in his lifetime.  With $400 MILLION dollars spent, with the promise of raising another $800 MILLION dollars in the next election cycle, how in the world could the Democrats so blow this for the Unions?

I expected House Bill # 1 to be passed and sent over to the Senate.  I expected that once Al Franken was seated in the Senate that Harry Reid would stop Senate business, bring EFCA directly to the Senate floor, that 60 Democrat Senators would vote down the filibuster, and that about 5 of those same Senators would then vote against the bill so they could say to the folks back home, “I voted against EFCA.”

This is what the Unions expected in January of last year and rightfully so based upon what they had done for the Democrats.   What happened?  Politics inside the Democratic party destroyed the Union’s agenda. 

The first thing that happened was Nancy Pelosi played politics by refusing to vote EFCA out of the House until the Senate acted first.  The next thing that happened is that Arlen Specter, who when you look op the word “opportunist” you will see his picture, decided to play politics by demanding changes in the bill.  Yet, on the campaign trail Specter told the union faithful that they would be happy with his vote on EFCA.  Then the final stake that was driven into the heart of Big Labor’s legislative agenda was that President Obama promised them an EFCA vote, “After health care was passed” and they bought it hook, line and sinker.

As a result of these items, when Scott Brown was elected, there was no bill before the Senate on EFCA, so Reid could not bring up the House bill (thank you Nancy Pelosi) and there was no consensus on a bill in the Senate because of Specter (thank you Arlen Specter) and there was no leadership in the Senate to get this passed after Al Franken was elected (thank you Harry Reid).

The Union’s having seen the “pearly gates” only to have the whole image wiped out on one Tuesday night in February in an election most people thought a dead Democrat could win are without question upset.  And rightfully so because if I were a Union member, the FIRST thing I would want from these Democrat Keystone Cops would be my money back!  Since that cannot happen, the Democrats are now facing a mean and nasty Big Labor that is turning on the Democrats.  And from their standpoint, rightfully so because when they needed key support, it was either not there at all or at best it was weak and ineffective.

The first fall-out is in Colorado where the Teamster and UFCW Unions have endorsed in the primary not sitting Democratic Senator Bennett but his opponent.  Senator Bennett played politics with EFCA, refused to take any stand on it, and is now paying a price.  Using this as a standard, I would think the Union’s hit list would be quite long.   Senator Nelson of Nebraska certainly comes to my mind.  Senator Feinstein has also got to be on this same hit list.

I would think next on the list ought to be Senator Specter.  After all, if it were not for him playing politics with this issue, Harry Reid might have brought EFCA out for a vote.  Next on the list has got to be Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas who in the land of Wal-Mart last year in the fall decided to publically oppose EFCA.  Since she is way down in the polls and unlikely to win in November, the Unions are quite likely to refuse to endorse her and either not spend any money in the state or maybe even actively oppose her just to send a message to Senator Mary Landrieu of La. that she had better not use Lincoln as a model of behavior.  Call this one the shot over the bow to Landrieu, so to speak.

What will the Union’s get out of this blood letting you may ask?  A lot more than you might otherwise think.  First of all, what they will have are far more hard core Union supporters.  Then they also achieve the “Don’t mess with us” message that people like Harry Reid can’t deliver.  Reid does not care as much for the Union agenda as he does his Democratic majority.  Thus, the only effective choice the Union’s have is to take out every Senator who opposed them and make sure those in office vote the way labor wants.

There is going to be a sea change as a result of this.  Short term it will help the Republicans.  But long term, it will make the Union’s stronger because the Democratic voice they will have in the Senate, when it comes to union issues, will all sing the same song and they WILL sing in key.

Omnibus Bill is Ominous

The Omnibus Bill (H.R.1105) is over 1100 pages long and calls for $410 billion in spending.  Worth noting is that under this bill, the Labor Department’s budget will grow by 4%, OSHA’s budget will grow by 5.6%, MSHA’s (Mine Safety and Health Administration) budget will grow by 4.6%, EEOC will receive an additional $15 million, and the National Labor Relations Board will receive $6 million more dollars than last year. 

So where does all this funding come from?  You, the tax payers, with a disproportionate amount aimed at employers.  Where does this funding go?  To hiring more agency workers who will oversee, investigate, scrutinize, rule against, and create additional restraints on companies.  In fact, here is just last week’s list of job openings in the Department of Labor. 

Closing 

Job Title 

Agency

Location

Salary 

4/16/2009

Paralegal Specialist

Labor, Office of the Solicitor

US-PA-Philadelphia Metro Area

60,072.00+

4/17/2009

Equal Opportunity Specialist

Labor, Office of Assistant Secretary Admin & Mgmt

US-DC-Washington DC Metro Area

86,927.00+

4/20/2009

Research Assistant (Office Automation)

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-DC-Washington

26,487.00+

4/22/2009

Budget Analyst

Recovery Jobs – Labor

US-DC-Washington DC Metro Area

73,100.00+

4/22/2009

SAFETY AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH SPECIALIST

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-OH-Toledo

30,772.00+

4/22/2009

Support Services Specialist

Recovery Jobs – Labor

US-DC-Washington DC Metro Area

60,989.00+

4/23/2009

Investigator

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-FL-Jacksonville

38,117.00+

4/23/2009

Investigator

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-AL-Birmingham

38,117.00+

4/23/2009

Investigator (Pension)

Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration

US-CA-Pasadena

75,125.00+

4/23/2009

IT Specialist (Data Management)

Labor, Office of Assistant Secretary Admin & Mgmt

US-DC-Washington DC Metro Area

86,927.00+

4/23/2009

Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-GA-Smyrna

48,545.00+

4/23/2009

Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-GA-Smyrna

48,545.00+

4/23/2009

Secretary (OA)

Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration

US-IL-Chicago Metro Area

33,639.00+

4/23/2009

Supervisory Workers’ Compensation Claims Examiner

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-FL-Jacksonville

80,402.00+

4/23/2009

Trial Attorney (Labor)

Labor, Office of the Solicitor

US-CA-San Francisco

79,781.00+

4/24/2009

Economic Assistant

Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

US-SD-Brookings

14.74+ /hr

4/24/2009

Economic Assistant

Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

US-WI-Milwaukee Metro Area

15.24+ /hr

4/24/2009

Employee Benefits Law Specialist (Health)

Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration

US-DC-Washington DC Metro Area

50,408.00+

4/24/2009

Program Assistant (OA)

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-AL-Mobile

34,300.00+

4/24/2009

Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-MS-Jackson

46,625.00+

4/24/2009

Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-OH-Toledo

46,625.00+

4/27/2009

Accountant

Labor, Employment and Training Administration

US-PA-Philadelphia Metro Area

85,621.00+

4/27/2009

Administrative Officer

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-CA-San Francisco

112,108.00+

4/27/2009

Economic Assistant

Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

US-TX-San Antonio

14.74+ /hr

4/27/2009

Mining Engineer

Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration

US-KY-Pikeville

56,411.00+

4/27/2009

Unemployment Insurance Program Specialist

Labor, Employment and Training Administration

US-PA-Philadelphia Metro Area

72,002.00+

4/27/2009

Workers’ Compensation Claims Examiner

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-CO-Denver [Includes Lakewood]

60,459.00+

4/27/2009

Workforce Development Specialist

Labor, Employment and Training Administration

US-PA-Philadelphia Metro Area

72,002.00+

4/27/2009

Workforce Program Specialist

Labor, Employment and Training Administration

US-PA-Philadelphia Metro Area

49,651.00+

4/28/2009

Human Resources Specialist (Compensation)

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Dallas

40,156.00+

4/28/2009

Management Analyst

Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration

US-CO-Denver [Includes Lakewood]

49,970.00+

4/28/2009

Program Analyst

Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration

US-CO-Denver [Includes Lakewood]

49,970.00+

4/28/2009

Safety Engineer GS-0803-5/7/9/11

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-MS-Jackson

30,772.00+

4/28/2009

Unemployment Insurance Program Specialist

Recovery Jobs – Labor

US-DC-Washington DC Metro Area

73,100.00+

4/28/2009

Wage and Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Dallas

71,230.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Austin

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-CO-Denver

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-El Paso

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-CO-Grand Junction

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Midland

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-NM-Albuquerque

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Amarillo

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-LA-Baton Rouge

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Texarkana

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-LA-Shreveport

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-MT-Great Falls

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Arlington

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Corpus Christi

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-San Antonio

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-OK-Oklahoma City

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-SD-Sioux Falls

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-UT-St. George

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-OK-Lawton

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-OK-Tulsa

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-College Station

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Houston

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Laredo

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Lubbock

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Tyler

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Wage & Hour Compliance Specialist

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-TX-Wichita Falls

38,117.00+

4/28/2009

Workers’ Compensation Claims Examiner

Labor, Employment Standards Administration

US-PA-Philadelphia Metro Area

49,651.00+

4/29/2009

Information Technology Specialist (APPSW)

Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

US-DC-Washington DC Metro Area

86,927.00+

4/29/2009

Lead Immigration Program Analyst

Labor, Employment and Training Administration

US-GA-Atlanta

83,714.00+

4/29/2009

Legal Assistant (Office Automation)

Labor, Office of the Solicitor

US-MA-Boston

37,349.00+

4/29/2009

Supv’y Information Technology Specialist (SysAnalysis)

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-DC-Washington

102,721.00+

4/30/2009

Legal Assistant (Office Automation)

Labor, Office of the Solicitor

US-MA-Boston

37,349.00+

5/1/2009

Mathematical Statistician

Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

US-DC-Washington DC Metro Area

86,927.00+

5/1/2009

Office Automation Clerk/Assistant

Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

US-DC-Washington DC Metro Area

24,277.00+

5/6/2009

Financial Operations Technician

Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration

US-CO-Denver [Includes Lakewood]

32,980.00+

5/15/2009

Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-TX-El Paso

38,117.00+

5/15/2009

Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration

US-TX-Lubbock

38,117.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Auditor

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-NY-New York City

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Auditor

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-CA-San Francisco County

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Auditor

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-GA-Atlanta

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Auditor

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-IL-Chicago Metro Area

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Auditor

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-TX-Dallas

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Auditor

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-PA-Philadelphia Metro Area

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Auditor

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-DC-Washington DC Metro Area

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Program Analyst

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-NY-New York City

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Program Analyst

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-CA-San Francisco County

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Program Analyst

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-GA-Atlanta

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Program Analyst

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-IL-Chicago Metro Area

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Program Analyst

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-TX-Dallas

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Program Analyst

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-PA-Philadelphia Metro Area

98,924.00+

8/7/2009

Supervisory Program Analyst

Labor, Office of the Inspector General

US-DC-Washington DC Metro Area

98,924.00+

Obviously the DOL is beefing up its Wage and Hour and OSHA investigation units and there’s only one reason for that – so make sure you’re following every FLSA law and all the new OSHA Regs by the letter because chances are good that the feds will come knocking on your door.

Fair Pay and Paycheck Fairness Acts Passed the House

Although both of these Acts sound like they cover the same purpose – make sure that everyone is paid fairly, they actually serve two distinct purposes.  Nonetheless, both coasted through the House of Representatives last week without even a debate.  The Paycheck Fairness Act passed mostly along party lines by a vote of 256-163 and the Fair Pay Act passed 247 -171.  The Senate will vote on this bill within the next several weeks, although a date certain has not yet been determined.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, who opposed both bills, The Fair Pay Act conflicts with current laws that govern the statute of limitations regarding discriminatory actions by employers against employees.

According to House Republican Leader John Boehner:  Today’s effort by the Democratic Majority is not about workplace discrimination; it’s the first step in an effort to begin g the special-interest allies who helped give the Democratic Party control of Washington.  These bills do not reflect the priorities of the American people; they reflect the narrow interests of te powerful trial lawyer industry that last year used its ill-gotten war chest to help the current majority tighten its grip on power.

Following that thought, the Wall Street Journal editorial board agrees that the bills amount to an earmark for trial lawyers.  The editorial board weighed in on the Fair Pay Act statute of limitations issue by publishing:

[The Supreme Court’s] ruling put to rest Ms. Letbetter’screative theory that decisions made decades ago by a former boss affected her pay all the way to retirement, so that each paycheck was a new discriminatory act and thus fell within the statute of limitations.  Yet, that is exactly the theory Congress would now revive with the Ledbetter bill.  There would no longer be time limits on such discrimination claims.  They could be brought long after evidence had disappeared or witnesses had died – as was the case with Ms. Ledbetter’s former boss.  For the tort bar, this is pure golf.  it would create a new legal business in digging up ancient workplace grievances.

The Paycheck Fairness Act quietly scooted along until it was passed because it doesn’t create as much of an administrative nightmare as the Fair Pay Act.  Nonetheless, it bars employers from penalizing workers who share salary information (which is already prohibited by the National Labor Relations Act), and requires some employers to disclose to the EEOC their wage rates for general job classifications.  It also prohibits companies from lowering any employee’s salary in order to pay others fairly.  This is so ill-defined that there will be tremendous amounts of litigation in the next few years as the courts wrestle with what exactly that means.

More analysis and coverage of these Act will occur in the coming weeks as the Senate looks at these bills and once they begin being followed.  In the meantime, just remember that they are out there and once passed by the Senate and signed by Obama, companies will be forced to change the way they keep records, at a minimum.