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.

Advertisements

Follow Up Fridays: Solis’ Nomination as DOL Secretary

I had no idea that when I first posted about Obama’s pick for Secretary of Labor that I would still be writing about her nomination process.  But last week two things happened which lead me to believe that either she will not be confirmed as the Secretary or we’ll be hearing a lot more about her in the near future.

First, Solis’ husband paid $6400 worth of outstanding tax liens placed on the company he owns.  LawMemo Blog’s expert, Ross Runkel, a 30-year employment law professor thought that this, alone was enough for Solis to withdraw her nomination, or conversely, Obama’s people “will drop Solis and move on to someone else.  The short-term and long-term costs of hanging onto Solis are simply too high.” 

But just hours before the Senate confirmation vote, the other shoe fell on Solis with The Weekly Standard‘s article “The Nominee who Lobbied Herself.”  Solis, who co-sponsored EFCA in 2007 was the treasurer of the union fronted American Rights at Work who had been lobbying Congress to pass EFCA.  In other words, “she is the official legally charged with the fiduciary duty of approving and signing off on all spending by the organization.  And to make matters worse, she did not reveal to her colleagues in the House of Representatives that membership on her financial disclosure forms, which may constitute a separate ethical violation.”  Members of the House of Representatives are not allowed to lobby or advise on lobbying on behalf of a private organization – even if the work is done for free.

“Now [Obama] has a nominee for Labor Secretary who apparently broke House ethics rules by lobbying for legislation that she sponsored, but who did not admit that she failed to reveal that fact on her financial disclosure forms until after her nomination became an issue.”  The Weekly Standard.

Like some of Obama’s other appointees, i.e. Tom Daschle’s $140,000 in back taxes and interest, Tom Geithner’s $42,000 in taxes and interest, and the lien placed on Nancy Killefer’s home for not paying unemployment taxes for her domestic help, Solis forgot to mention her affiliation with American Rights at Work in disclosure forms filed with the House of Representatives from 2004-2007.  In typical fashion, a White House spokesman chalked up the omission as an “unintentional oversight.”

But guess who’s still supporting Solis!  John Sweeney, AFL-CIO President urged the committee to move ahead with a vote as soon as possible to confirm Solis’ nomination and Andy Stern, President of SEIU said, “We urge [the] U.S. Senate to move swiftly in a bipartisan manner so Representative Solis can bring her work to improve lives for millions of workers in America.” 

For now, though, the vote is on hold until her ethical violations are fully explored and a decision whether to continue her nomination process is made – assuming she won’t withdraw her name in the interim.

Tuesdays are EFCA Update Days

ALF-CIO alleges that bailout recipients AIG and Bank of America were involved in a conference call for lobbyists and corporations to discuss raising funds to defeat EFCA.  From that, the union is alleging that bailout money was used to plot against Employee Free Choice.

American Rights at Work launched the below television commercial called “The Secret Big Business Doesn’t Want You to Know.”

 

The SEIU’s plan to shorten recover from this down economy is a shortened workweek and less productivity from employees.  Accordingly, an employer who currently offers no paid vacation can offer 3 weeks of paid vacation, approximately a 6%  reduction in work time.  Employers can cut the standard work week from40 hours to 36 hours, a 10% reduction in work hours.  These policies would “bring the US in line with the rest of the world.”  Newsflash to the SEIU – we’re America, not the rest of the world.  The rest of the world looks to us for leadership, protection, and guidance.  Diluting our productivity and companies is not the right solution for a viable, stable economy.

Human Rights Watch, the union-described watchdogs of human rights and the freedom of association, claims that the US is deficient in protecting the freedom to form unions.  Oddly, the HRW’s findings is comprised of the typical union slang: “unfair election procedures that are badly slanted toward employers; the lack of serious penalties for corporate misconduct, including firing workers; and the ability of companies to ignore workers’ choice to bargain collectively.”

Last week a lot of discussion dealt with Obama’s interview with the Washington Post and whether Obama really meant that he is tabling EFCA for some time.  The short answer is he is not tabling EFCA.  The Washington Postonly quoted 28 of the 611 words Obama gave on the matter

In March 2008 MIT Sloan School of Management released the results of a comprehensive study about unionization.  The study’s results concluded that few bargaining units make it from initial petition to a first contract; unfair labor practice charges reduce the chances of getting a contract; unfair labor practice charges reduce the changes of getting to an election; and even after a majority votes for a union, many units fail to get a contract.  What text of the results is slanted with the typical pro-union rhetoric about “the need for EFCA to level the playing field.”  What is not reported, though, is that under the current state of the law, only after an initial petition are companies allowed to openly campaign against unions.  For example, a union will promise an employee a 3% wage increase  if the employee signs an authorization card.  With enough cards signed, a petition is filed.  After the petition is filed, the employee hears that although the union promised him a 3% wage increase, the union does not have the power to do increase wages, and wages for all employees are subject to bargaining and could go up, stay the same, or go down.  In other words, many of the promises given to employees to sign cards are later exposed as not true and employees then decide not to vote for the union.  So, I am not surprised with the small number of bargaining units that make it from the initial petition to a first contract, and the removal of educating the employees about the lack of truth behind all of the union’s promises will be prohibited if EFCA passes.

Watch (well, really listen while watching SEIU photographs) Obama discuss his support for easing the ability to unionize and how business that oppose this notion “won’t get to far” with him.

 

I want to clear up a misunderstanding that was published in a mostly unbiased article in the Boston Globe about the Employee Free Choice Act.  The article says that the National Labor Relations Act lacks any real penalties to punish violators for wrongly terminating union supporters during organizing campaigns beyond making companies rehire those employees and pay them back wages.  This is not true.  With egregious enough violations of labor laws, the National Labor Relations Board has the ability to not hold an election and to order both sides to immediately begin negotiating a contract.  Unfortunately, the Globe’s article recited union propaganda about the weaknesses of the NLRA.

I couldn’t say it any better than this editorial from the Las Vegas Review Journal:  “But in this economic climate, with each week producing a new empty parking lot with plywood on the windows, do the geniuses in Washington really mean to create a situation where business owners already struggling to stay afloat can without warning be handed their “last straw” — a stack of cards adorned with the message, “You’re now a union shop; here are our demands”?

The State of Michigan should support EFCA.  With the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, Michigan would be just as attractive of state as a southern, right to work state would be to house a company.  In 2007, 19.5% of Michigan workers belonged to unions.  Conversely, the following are statistics in unionization for southern states: Alabama = 9.5%; Mississippi = 6.7%; Florida = 5.9%; Texas = 4.7%; Georgia = 4.4%; South Carolina = 4.1%.

Another editorial that took the words right out of my mouth: “If businesses are hurt, so are their workers; When businesses fail, workers lose their jobs.  And when workers aren’t treated well, businesses do not thrive.  The interests of workers and business owners are not in conflict – they coincide.  But it is in the interest of union bosses to foment conflict – it leads to more unions being formed and greater revenue for their coffers;  When workers are forced to declare their allegiance to a union in the open, they are far more subject to intimidation and coercion than when they make this decision in private.  It is no coincidence that, when private-ballot elections are used, fewer workers vote in favor of union than when they are asked to publicly sign a card; Many heavily unionized industries in the Midwest have been declining for decades.  Businesses in Florida and other Southern states, where unions have not been as strong, have been thriving during this time.”

Because unions are not democratic, they’re socialistic, a poll of 1000 likely voters with a subsample of 400 union households, results show that most people oppose EFCA

  • Three out of four voters (74%) oppose the “The Employee Free Choice Act.” Union households also strongly oppose the Employee Free Choice Act, 74% oppose to only 20% support.
  • When given a more detailed description of the Employee Free Choice Act, nearly 9 out of 10 voters, 86%, feel the process should remain private and only 8% feel it should be public information. Again, even union workers feel strongly that the process should be kept private, as 88% said private and only 8% said public.
  • Four out of five voters, or 82%, favor having a federally supervised election as a means to “protect the individual rights of workers.” The voters clearly see this as a basic right, especially given that only 11% of voters feel the card check would be the best way to protect the individual rights of workers. Support increases to 85% among union households.
  • The majority (52% to 26%) of American voters believe that the Employee Free Choice Act is not good for job creation. Even among union households, the plurality (48%) believes that the Employee Free Choice Act will cost America jobs.
  • In the current economic climate, 52% of voters are particularly opposed to any measure that would risk jobs or job growth.
  • Further exemplifying the electorates’ distaste for the Employee Free Choice Act, 71% agreed that this legislation would be “unwise” and “risky.” In today’s economic climate, the electorate has little confidence in the federal government’s ability to make such major business decisions.
  • The National Right to Work Act was introduced last week in an effort to remove compulsory unionism.  In other words, every state in America would be like the south – right to work states where employees have the choice to join a union or not.  Here is a video of Senator DeMint (R-SC):

     

    When speaking about a potential Card Check Compromise, Sen. DeMint said, Democrats could, “go out with a secret ballot and be magnanimous and withdraw it.  Then some Republicans may breathe a sigh of relief and vote for arbitration,” which “could actually be worse in the way it slows decision making” because arbitration rulings (in Michigan) take on average 15 months to be rendered.

    In another South Carolina entry today, an entrepreneur/legislator, State Rep. Eric M. Bedingfield wrote, “I recently introduced a constitutional amendment that guarantees the right of workers to a secret ballot in union-organizing election (H3305).

    Lew Ebert, the President and CEO of North Carolina Chamber reminds us that “Congress replaced the card check system with secret-ballot elections in 1947 after workers were coerced, intimidated, and in many instances beaten up and forced to join labor organization against their will.  Yet, 60 years later, we find Congress poised to deliver back to unions the same substandard system that exploited workers and proved grossly ineffective.”  Thank you to the Carolinas for helping us fight the battle against forced unionization!

    Another entreprenuer speaks about the damaging effects of EFCA.  “Small businesses already are near the breaking point as they try to cope with the crippling credit crunch, skyrocketing healthcare costs, and paralyzing recession.  Meanwhile, organized labor is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in political campaigns.”

    Here’s another entrepreneur’s viewpoint of how EFCA will kill small businesses:  “In fiscal year 2005, more than 20 percent of elections conducted by the NLRB involved bargaining units of 10 employees or fewer, while a full 70 percent involved bargaining units of 50 employees or fewer.”  He recently asked a business owner with 24 employees what he would do if overnight he was told he became unionized, and the response was “shut down shortly thereafter.”  This is a typical response.  Unfortunately, the NLRB has the right and power to force a company to re-open, rehire all employees, pay them back wages, and continue operating as a unionized company for as long as the NLRB feels is appropriate.  Companies cannot simply shut down and start another company as a non-union company.

    Thanks to LaborPains.org for this information:  American Rights at Work opined that “from 2000 to 2007, income for the median working-age household actually dropped $2,000 after inflation.”  According to LaborPains.org, “This is nothing new.  There are these events called recessions – ever heard of them.  Besides this period, there was also medial income stagnation from 53-54, 57-58, 70-71, 73-77, 79-85, and 89-93.  Notice that many of these years are the “good old days” of unions. . . The study finishes off with the usual: everyone wants to join a union but can’t because of intimidation according to (union-funded) research.  Nothing new to read here.”  Thanks for the detail, and for the sarcasm LaborPain.org!

    The AFL-CIO headlines: “Union Membership Grows in 2008. When People Can Join Unions, They Do.”  In fact, membership grew for the second straight year in a row.  So, I ask, why do unions need EFCA?  If unions win 60% of their elections, and their membership has grown the last two years, why is Obama, Democrat Congressmen, and Labor Unions all crying that our country needs to ease the ability for employees to unionize?

    I’ll end today’s EFCA Update on a sour note.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the increase in unionized workers in 2007 and 2008 “demonstrates that workers see unions, and higher job standards, benefits, and protections they provide, as a key solution in this struggling economy.”  I don’t see that.  The economy (other than home sales) wasn’t necessarily struggling in 2007 and there weren’t the mass layoffs in 2007 or 2008 that there are now.  The Bureau continues, “The uptick further points to the strengths of unionized workplaces – where labor and management work together as a team, they are able to tackle challenges and better withstand an economic downturn.”  Really?  Ever heard of the Big Three?  What about Boeing’s strike that resulted in 10,000 employees being laid off?  Or the 22,000 UAW represented employees that Caterpillar is laying off?  The list continues, but my point has been made.  My last bones to pick with the Bureau is its claim that “25 percent [of employers] even fire pro-union workers organizing campaigns.”  Where does that stat come from?  Oh wait, it’s not the BLS reporting that, it’s fancy writing from the labor-fronted American Rights at Work to sound like it’s the government reporting that!

    Tuesdays are EFCA Update Days

     

    A lot of the discussion throughout the country last week was whether the Employee Free Choice Act would be passed in Obama’s first 100 days and in what form will it pass.

    Will EFCA Pass in Obama’s First 100 Days?

    An editor of the International Socialist Review opines that Democrats are moving toward delaying the introduction of EFCA.

    Congressional leaders have indicated that passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is not their first priority.

    Business leaders took great comfort when Obama told The Washington Post last week that he was wary of pressing for the union measure ahead of broader economic needs.

    Despite Obama’s comment about putting EFCA on the backburner, a variety of administration and labor sources all indicated that there is no reason to believe that the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress aren’t proceeding along the expected track.

    Harry Reid said he would like the Senate to take up EFCA this summer.

    Rep. George Miller, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives labor committee told Reuters in an interview as the 111th Congress got underway that “there are things that may be more urgent because of circumstances beyond our control.  That doesn’t diminish the urgency I feel or the supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act feel…I am quite comfortable that EFCA is going to receive timely treatment.

    Will EFCA be Modified to Ensure it Passes?

    CNN Money reminds us that EFCA is about power, but a former AFL-CIO organizing director and former president and vice chairman of Bethlehem Steel and general counsel for the Labor Department during the Nixon and Ford administrations may have reached a compromise on what the legislation should look like.

    A former Governor of Virginia and one of the state’s most powerful Democrats finds the secret ballot part of EFCA troubling.

    T.A. Frank, a liberal author, believes that increasing the financial and other penalties against companies for violating labor laws during union elections would remove the need for EFCA.

    Because many believe that EFCA would easily pass the House but falls a vote or two shy of certain passage in the Senate, a compromise, like retaining secret ballots but speeding up various time limits or altering other provisions in ways that would still aid unionization drives, is likely.

    Other Articles Regarding EFCA

    Is card check certification Obama’s Hiliary Care?  In other words, President Clinton was seen to overreach in his first two years by pursuing initiatives such as Hilary Care, nationalized health care, and the voters severely punished the Democrats in the 1994 midterm elections by handing control of the Senate and House of Representatives to the Republicans for the first time since 1954.

    Despite currently supporting EFCA, in 2007, the Obama nominee for Labor Secretary, Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA), protested that a secret ballot should be used by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to pick its new chairman.   Likewise, in 1998, the AFL-CIO, UAW, and others told the NLRB that secret ballots were essential when workers decide whether to decertify a union saying, “Other mean of decision-making are not comparable to the privacy and indepedence of the voting booth,” and that secret ballots provide the best way to avoid “the result of group pressures and not individual decision.”

    Mike Eastman, executive director of labor policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington says that EFCA has a better chance of being defeated rather than passed, since so many businesses are lobbying against it.  Although refreshing to hear, Mr. Eastman is in the extreme minority of people with this belief.

    The U.S. Chamber is switching its strategy in fighting EFCA from highlighting how the bill eliminates secret ballots to focusing on the binding arbitration aspect of the bill.

    The Montana Chamber of Commerce reminds us that the bill is ironically called the Employee Free Choice Act but is far from being pro-worker.

    Remember the group Save Our Secret Ballot – the group of states that are trying to change their constitutions as a way  around EFCA?  That group is “fairly confident” that state constitutional amendments “would hold up” under federal court challenges says former South Dakota Attorney General Mark Meierhenry.

    The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, a federation of 500 business groups, are actively campaigning against EFCA.

    National Right to Work Foundation launced an online petition to Obama advising him that his election did not give him a mandate to impose draconian policies that will dramatically increase the power and money of the Big Labor Bosses and would like everyone who is against EFCA to sign a petition.  The petition can be found here.

    This brief letter to the editor succinctly reminds us how the current NLRA achieves its purpose of unionizing workforces, since unions win 60% of elections with secret ballots.

    Small business owners typically think they won’t have to contend with union organizers in the workplace because it’s not worth the union’s time to mount a month-or year-long campaign to represent a handful of office workers.  Wrong!

    This small business owner from Raleigh, North Carolina is deeply concerned about EFCA’s ramifications.

    This is one of those articles that anger me.  The Employee Free Choice Act would not have saved Circuit City.  Circuit City did not put profits over people – it went bankrupt because it didn’t have any profits.  And the spirit of the collective bargaining process does not bind workers and management together as partners.  It pits them against each other and creates an “us v. them” mentality.

    Chris Fisher, Executive Director of Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan reminds us of the dangers associated with union pension and health-care funds because they are oftentimes underfunded.

    Jerry Warlow couldn’t have said it any better.  “The union’s push for this bill is not driven by unfairness of a traditional secret ballot or widespread injustices.  It is because union ranks are shrinking dramatically.  The United Auto Workers at its peak had 1.5 million members.  Today it has just more than 450,000.  What is really important to today’s unions?  Union dues.”  After being around unions for years and negotiating many contracts against many different unions, Mr. Warlow hit the nail on the head.

    Appropriate for Super Bowl week:  Isn’t EFCA just a “hail mary” for unions to get back into the game?

    Misc. Mondays: Solis Not a Done Deal Yet

    Beginning today, Mondays are dedicated to miscellaneous topics/updates that do not necessarily warrant a full day to themselves, but nonetheless are newsworthy.

    Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) has not yet been approved by the Senate, and the Senate could not identify exactly when they will vote on whether to approve her as the next Secretary of the Department of Labor.  Even if the committee approves Solis, her nomination could be blocked by a Republican filibuster because the Republicans are rightfully angry that she refuses to discuss her position on many of the controversial legislation that will likely be voted on in the near future, including the Employee Free Choice Act.  At her confirmation hearing before the House of Representatives, she said she was not qualified to answer questions about those issues.  According to Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, it’s time she becomes qualified and gives answers to those questions.

    Misc. Mondays: AFL-CIO’s To Do List for Obama

    Beginning today, Mondays are dedicated to miscellaneous topics/updates that do not necessarily warrant a full day to themselves, but nonetheless are newsworthy.

    The AFL-CIO sent a 16-page “to do list” to the new Obama Administration.  Here are the highlights of the list:

    1. Appoint a U.S. Trade Representative with “demonstrated commitment to addressing the destabilizing influences in trade policy and who is committed to ensuring trade policies provide broadly shared benefits for working people.”

    2. Send the Federal Aviation Administration back to the bargaining table to negotiate a new union contract with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

    3. Pass an economic stimulus bill and send dollars to homeowners facing foreclosure and to aid states, auto workers, and manufacturers.

    4. Obama should use the “bully pulpit” of the presidency to campaign for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.

    5. Restore project labor agreements for federally funded construction.

    6. Provide bargaining rights for Justice Department workers.

    7. Suspend bargaining on all new trade and investment pacts, and review all past pacts as Obama promised during the election campaign.

    8. Have the U.S. take the federations’ extensively documented trade case against China – which has the largest trade surplus with the U.S. – to the World Trade Organization.

    9. Identify and nominate federal judges “who have a demonstrated commitment to equal rights,” including understanding the courts’ role in protecting those rights, including workers’ rights.

    10. Appoint pro-worker members and chair of the NLRB and restore the Labor Department, its Wage and Hour Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Mine Safety and Health and Safety Administration to their “historic roles” as “advocating for and protecting the interests of workers.”

    11. Formalize the Clinton-era ban on wage-and-hour investigators sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.  It would also require ICE to get a high-level OK before raiding work sites during union organizing drives.

    For more detail on this list, click here.

    Today Ends EFCA Update Week

    I hope you have enjoyed catching up on all things EFCA this week.  So many people ask me what’s going on with EFCA, what are the unions saying about EFCA, do I think EFCA will pass, etc. that I think a week dedicated to EFCA is informative for everyone.  Hopefully those of you who still thought EFCA wasn’t a big deal, now realize it’s huge but just not getting much mainstream media coverage.  And for you who have always been watching it brew and approach our country, it’s time to prepare for it now.  Educate those around you.  Educate your employees.  And continue to educate yourself about the impact that the Obama Administration will have on the labor laws of this country.

     

    Here is the anti-unions’ Center for Union Facts’ “Resolutions for Union Officials” which covered a full-page ad in the New York Times. 

     

    This article from the Las Vegas Business Press reminds us that small businesses are most susceptible to unionization.  Although this article is long, it is worth the read.

     

    The SEIU claims EFCA will create wealth and prosperity in our country.  Much of the thought is that between 1940s and 1970s was one of the most prosperous times in our country’s history and when unionization was at its height.  Unions want to revert back to those times without looking at where we are now in large measure because of those times:  the UAW purchased the retirement health insurance (in simplified terms) because the Big Three couldn’t afford it anymore; the Big Three need bailed out just to stay in business a few more months (except for Ford who “mortaged” everything it owned, including its logo to creditors); the steel industry is a fraction of what it used to be; the rubber workers no longer make most of the tires in this country; the list goes on and it’s mostly because of the 1940s-1970s.

     

    This Pennsylvania newspaper article chastises Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA) for being the only Republican in support of EFCA, especially because he is from a heavily industrial state.

     

    EFCA will be a “firestorm” in the Senate because depending on who you speak to on any given day, Republicans either have exactly the number needed or are 1 vote shy of being able to filibuster EFCA.

     

    This is another article about the devastating effects EFCA will have on small businesses.  The author opines that EFCA will force many entrepreneurs to decide whether they can afford to grow, add jobs, or even stay in business.

     

    Former Rep. David Bonior, a member of Obama’s economic transition team, named EFCA as a way Obama can help get the economy back on track.

     

     

     

    No one, including Mitt Romney, believes that the answer to EFCA is for a company to move its operations outside the United States, even though that’s what many companies are threatening to do if EFCA passes.  Which raises 2 points.  1) the Patriot Employer Act isn’t enough to keep companies in a union-heavy America; and 2) Unions would rather see a company leave/close than not be able to organize it without regard that the person they tried to organize (and promised job security, better wages, etc.) is now unemployed.

     

    The New York Times, which openly supports EFCA, published a piece claiming that EFCA is under attack and lays out all the ways that EFCA is being fought.  This is one article I didn’t mind reading from the otherwise liberal newspaper.

     

    This spin is making me dizzy!  The SEIU reminds the public not to use the term “card check” when referring to EFCA, but to repeatedly say the “Employee Free Choice Act” because “it reinforces the idea that workers, not corporations, should be the ones who decide how to form a union.”  Am I missing something?  I don’t see where “card check” says that corporations should decide how to form a union.

     

    You may remember my post about the group “Save Our Secret Ballots” who is trying to create a state constitutional amendment to block EFCA from being law in a handful of states.  Although I’m not sure how this group intends to get around the preemption doctrine, I am following it and will update you on its progress.  Right now, the SEIU has published the names of its board members and major supporters.

     

    The AFL-CIO ignores the fact that our country’s economic situation is a result of structured investment vehicles and collateral debt.  Instead, according to the AFL-CIO, the underlying problem for our economy is “the corporate search for cheap labor.”  I try to be fair on this blog, with the required degree of slant necessary, but sometimes things bug me (like when the SEIU tells its followers not to say “card check,” and that a return to heavy unionization like in the 1940s-1970s will bring prosperity to this country) and this is one of those articles.

     

     

    Let me know what you thought about EFCA Update Week and if you’d like to see it become a regular even every few weeks here.