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.

Labor’s Special Privileges

Thank you to the National Right to Work Foundation for gathering the Top Ten Special Privileges of Big Labor.  Here are a few of the highlights for you:

1.  The 1973 decision in United States v. Enmons held that union violence is exempted from the Hobbs Act, which makes it a federal crime to obstruct interstate commerce by robbery or extortion.

2.  The 1914 Clayton Act exempts unions from anti-monopoly laws, enabling union officials to forcibly drive out independent or alternative employee bargaining groups.

3.  The Federal Election Campaign Act exempts unions from its limits on campaign contributions and expenditures, as well as some of its reporting requirements.

4.  The Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932 (and state anti-injunction acts) give union activists immunity from injunctions against trespass on an employer’s property.

5.  Unionized employees in the private sector have the right to strike without losing their jobs.  In some cases, it is illegal for employers to hire replacement workers even to avert bankruptcy.

6.  Union groups receive upwards of $160 million annually in direct federal grants.

7.  Under project-labor agreements, governments (at all levels) award contracts for construction on major projects like highways, airports, and stadiums exclusively to unionized firms.  Such practices effectively lock-out qualified contractors and employees who refuse to submit to exclusive union bargaining, forced union dues, and wasteful union work rules.  Over $800 million in federal stimulus money that is earmarked for construction projects will likely be distributed only to those projects using project-labor agreements; meaning only to unionized construction companies.

UPS Workers Cry Union Intimidation

Here is just one situation that sheds light on the intimidation and harassment that employees endure during card check organization drives – the same card check drives that are a part of the Employee Free Choice Act.

National Right to Work Foundation attorneys filed unfair labor practice charges against Teamsters Local 776 for initiating a coercive organizing drive to unionize a UPS Freight facility. 

Here’s the legalese of the situation.  Initially, the workers rejected the union through a secret ballot election.  After the union was rejected by the employees, the Teamsters again tried to organize them through a “card check” organizing drive.  The Teamsters claimed they had a majority of the employees sign a card and presented those cards to management and demanded that UPS recognize the union as the bargaining representatives for the employees.  The employees immediately tried to decertify the union through an election, but the Board ruled that only one election could take place per year.

Under the Dana/Metadyne decision, employees have the right todemand a secret ballot election immediately following unionization via card check organizing as a way to counteract the employee intimidation and harassment at the hands of aggressive union operatives that frequently occurs during card check campaigns.  But, the NLRB said that only one secret ballot election could take place in any given bargaining unit during a 12-month period.  Therefore, these UPS workers were denied the opportunity to vote out the union.

This lawsuit has major implications across a wide range of labor laws, and I will keep everyone on top of the decisions as they are released.  Thank you NRTW for this update.

Misc. Mondays: VA Barely Holding onto Anti-Union Status

An interesting article was printed in the Washington Post titled, “Unions Making Presence Felt in Va.”  Of course Virginia is a Right to Work State with just 4.1% unionization rate, but that may all change in the near future.  Unions have infiltrated Virginia politics are it’s only a matter of time until they come collecting on their money.

  • $50,000 from SEIU to Fairfax County Supervisor Sharon Bulova who was elected last month
  • Significant resources to the hotly-contested campaign for governor
  • $200,000 from the Laborers’ Political League Education Fund to the Virginia Democratic Party
  • $100,000 from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union to the Virginia Democratic Party
  • $205,000 from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to the Virginia Democratic Party

Republicans and business leaders are worried that such activity is an effort to repeal Virginia’s “right to work” laws where employees cannot be compelled to join their company’s union.  Ironically, Democrats could face a backlash is they collect too much money said K. Clayton Roberts, executive director of the Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education.  “If a candidate appears to be bought and paid for by organized labor, that is a red flag for business.”  Bought and paid for by organized labor – sounds like our current President!

Misc. Mondays: SC Tries to Remain Anti-Union

South Carolina has one of the least-unionized workforces in the nation.  At 3.9% (or 70,000 workers), union membership in S.C. decreased in 2008 despite an overall increase in membership across the United States.  Of course being a right to work state is the main reason that union membership is so low and companies are increasingly looking to move their headquarters and manufacturing facilities to that state.  Unfortunately, those 3.9% of workers are causing a little economic strife at the Port of Charleston where, solely because of the Teamsters, Maersk Line will no longer be docking in South Carolina after its contractual obligations run out in 2010. 

Heeding this serious warning, S.C. Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Greenville, introduced a law that would amend the state constitution to guarantee the right to vote by secret ballot.  Several dozen S.C. lawmakers have already signed onto the effort.  If the secret ballot measure passes in Columbia, S.C., the citizens would vote on the matter in the 2010 election – but probably not in enough time to keep Maersk Line docking on its shores.

Tuesdays are EFCA Update Days

We’ll start off today’s EFCAUpdate with a video where Stern, President of the SEIU, says that his union has saved millions of dollars to unelectDemocrats who did not live up with their promise to vote in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act.

 

When will EFCA be introduced is anyone’s guess, although most agree it will be sometime in 2009.  Obama and Biden think it will be on hold until the fall, and it looks like Obama’s pro-labor executive orderswere an overt act to pacify the unions for several months.  In fact, Biden believes it will be done “This year.  This year we hope.  Our expectation is this year, this calendar year.”  Thank you for your clarity, VP Biden.  House Majority Leader Hoyer (D-MD) says House action won’t start until Spring or Summer.  Senate Majority Reid (D-NV) said that that Senate won’t see it until the Summer.  Here’s a video of Biden discussing EFCA.

 

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplaceconducted a straight forward, two-question survey to determine support levels for EFCA.  The Ohio Employers Law Blog did a great recap of the results indicating that most people do not want EFCA.  Click here to see those results.

Obamatapped New Hampshire Republican Senator Gregg to head the Department of Commerce, which meant his Senate seat needed filled.  We’ve all learned about filling a Senate seat: Blago, anyone?  So, it became a foregone conclusion that Gregg’s seat would be filled by a Democrat, since New Hampshire’s Governor is a Democrat.  Filling Gregg’s seat with a Democrat would put the Dems at the supermajority number of 60 Senators where filibustering legislation (the Republican Senators’ defense to EFCA last time) would be impossible.  Not so fast!  Gregg made sure that his seat would be filled with a Republican before accepting the position with the Dept. of Commerce.  So now, Bonnie Newman – someone who has never held elected office and does not have any official positions on any major issues, i.e. Employee Free Choice Act – will fill Gregg’s seat and presumably vote against EFCA.  Remember, though, even with 59 Republican Senators, EFCA will likely pass since Arlen Spector (R-PA) voted in favor of it last time.

I laughed when I read that the AFL-CIO’s new video (narrated by the executive VP of the union) was intended to “cut through the deceptive campaign and give the facts about the Employee Free Choice Act.”  The video has a cameo spot, too, from the executive director of the union-fronted organization American Rights at Work to “cut through the spin” of corporate America.  This video is supposedly being featured at union meetings and around the country – why are they showing union members how “the system for forming unions is broken.”  Seems like members of unions, who already went through the system be become unionized, wouldn’t necessarily think that the system was broken.  Here’s the video:

 

On the anniversary of the last EFCAattempt, unions symbolically held a rally in Washington D.C. and supposedly brought with them 1.5 million signatures of people who supported the Employee Free Choice Act.  Also present was Rep. George Miller (D-CA) who co-sponsored the last bill and said: “decisions aboutthe workplace belong to the worker.”  Excuse me?  What aboutthe owner?  What aboutthe person who lives, breathes, and sleeps the business; the person who mortgaged his house to start the company; the person who risks to lose everything when the market dried up, a catastrophic injury occurs, malicious Internet press abouthis company surfaces?  Since when should the workers be the ones to make the decisions about someone else’s company, Representative Miller?

Interestingly, 1 million signatures would represent 1/16 of the current total unionized workforce in America.  Conversely, EFCA threatens the right to a secret ballot for 105 million Americans – well beyond the 69 million who voted in the last presidential election.  If the unions could only drum up enough interest from 1 out of every 16 of their own members to sign a petition, I hardly think that EFCA is something that the public at large is interested in seeing passed in Congress.  And I wonder how many of those signatures are from people who do not belong to unions.  No one has (or likely will ever) challenge the purported number of signatures to make sure they are legitimate.  In all, this is just a bunch of propaganda, an advertisement that will not be scrutinized, by 6% of the unionized workforce wanting us to believe that they represent the 105 million people currently working in America.

The AFL-CIO uses some “real life examples” of why employees need unions.  One of them is Theresa Gares who says, “Once [her company] found out we were trying to organize a union, they started having meetings.  They’re trying to talk people out of it, discourage them.  This is what we’re fighting for: We’re fighting for fairness in the workplace, a voice in the workplace, things that we deserve.”  Are you kidding me?  Ms. Gares is the union’s marquee spokesperson and all she has to say is the company “started having meetings.”  And this is the intimidation that unions claim is happening and why employees need EFCA?

LaborPains.org is always good for an entry here each week, and this week doesn’t let us down, either when highlighting who is against EFCA.  Some of the more notable names include: 

  • George McGovern, former senator from South Dakota and the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate
  • Rev. Al Sharton, American Baptist minister, political and civil rights/social justice activist, and radio talk show host
  • Richard Epstein, professor of Law at the University of Chicago who says, “There is simply no legitimate government interest in promoting unionization that justifies a clandestine organizing campaign which denies all speech rights to the union’ adversaries.”
  • Ariella Bernstein, former deputy director of public affairs at FMCS and a field examiner and supervisor at the NLRB who says, “I am a Democrat who has worked at both the National Labor Relations Board and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, two agencies that figure prominently in this legislation [Employee Free Choice Act].”

Fox Rothschild’s Employment blog out of Philadelphia set the record straight about the elimination of secret ballots when it said: “The reality is that once Unions are given the option of having the NLRB certify a union immediately upon presentation of at least a majority of union authorization cards signed by a specific unit of employees versus waiting some 40 days, whereby employees become educated during this period, and then having a secret ballot election, Unions ar going to avoid, at all cost, the election route.  I mean, why do you think the Unions’ have placed so much money, time, and effort in seeing that the EFCA passes?  is it because the EFCAcalls for mandatory injunctions?  I think not.  How about the mandatory contract arbitration?  Yeah, could be, but without a certification, there can be no representative or contract for that matter.  So, there is no “misinformation” being spread – just realty, which is that once a “card-check” certification is in place, the secret ballot election may die.”

This former “rank and file” employee enlightens people as to what it’s like to work a union job when he says: “As a young man I was forced to join a union when I was working in a job I dearly loved.  Even with the secret ballot in place, the intimidation by the union and the sycophantsworking with them was tremendous.  Almost immediately upon the union being voted in, the productivity of our work dropped precipitously.  People I had known for years cut the pace of their work activities by 25 to 33%.  I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed to slow down – that I worked too hard and too fast.  After a year of this, I resigned my position without a job.  I was ashamed of what was happening to a company I loved.  The owners of this very large business in my home town gave up as well just a few years later and sold the business.”  He went on to discuss the difference of productivity in right to work states, “I once met a gentleman here in Jacksonville that owned a unionized plan in the north and a non-unionized plant in the south and in his words the difference in productivity was start.  He eventually moved all the work to the south and closed the other plant.”

Misc. Mondays: Iowa’s Right to Work Law Challenged

Iowa is one of the few non-Southern states to be a Right to Work State, but that status is being challenged by current politicians in Iowa.  The bill as proposed would require workers to either join a union or pay “fair share fee” (which is akin to union dues).  The political director for the SEIU in Iowa said why union bosses want to repeal Iowa’s Right to Work status:  “Unions want to be able to charge nonunion workers “reasonable” fees to help cover costs of union representation, such as when workers file grievances.”  The then said “the money would also be used to organizee more workers, such as nurses.”  And later said, “It certainly isn’t for union halls or more union staff or higher wages for union staff.  It’s because we have a lot of workers in the state that need to be organized.”  I agree with National Right to Work’s perpective on her quotes:  “Union bosses want more money so they can organize more workers to get more money.”  It’s plain and simple.  Unions are businesses that rely solely on dues paying members.  The more members they have, the more money they make, and the more influence they have on workplaces and society.