Labor Relations INK July 2016

In this issue:

Scraping The Bottom Of The Barrel Organizing Tool In Your Employees’ Pockets Stockholders Not Eager To Partner With Unions SEIU Watch, Alt-Labor, Scoreboard, Insight and more…

The bottom of each story contains a link to the individual post on our site.

View the web-based version of this newsletter (including links and graphics) by visiting:

http://lrionline.com/labor-relations-ink-january-2016

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Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson NLRB Sets its Sights on Unionized Companies

Over the last 8 years we’ve witnessed a constant barrage of pro-union decisions from the NLRB. Revamped election rules shrunk election periods by nearly one-third. Countless other decisions intend to tilt the election playing field in their favor. In spite of this union membership remains at its all-time low, as unions continue to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. They are organizing new members at a tepid pace that is just barely keeping up with

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Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson

NLRB Sets its Sights on Unionized Companies

Over the last 8 years we’ve witnessed a constant barrage of pro-union decisions from the NLRB. Revamped election rules shrunk election periods by nearly one-third. Countless other decisions intend to tilt the election playing field in their favor. In spite of this union membership remains at its all-time low, as unions continue to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. They are organizing new members at a tepid pace that is just barely keeping up with lost members. This may explain why the NLRB has recently turned its attention to unionized employers.

In May the General Counsel issued Memorandum GC 16-03 which essentially takes away the right of an employer to “withdraw recognition” from a union that loses majority status. As you probably know, an employer is only allowed to bargain with a union that has proven it

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Union Bailout Update

In another effort to facilitate the ease of union organizing, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) returned to the Sturgis standard in the recently decided Miller & Anderson, Inc. case. This now allows contracted employees to be grouped with the employer’s owned employees for the purposes of an appropriate bargaining unit. Here is a piece of sound advice from the National Law Review:

employers utilizing temporary employees supplied by another should carefully review the agreement under which such temporary employees are supplied and, most importantly, the terms and conditions under which such temporary employees are employed, managed, and controlled.

As you already know from the email we sent you at the time, a Federal District Court in Texas issued a nationwide injunction against the Persuader Rule. If you missed our first post, you can read more details here.

New advice from the NLRB Associate General Counsel to

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Scraping The Bottom Of The Barrel

iww1Leave it to the small but ever aggressive IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) to look for bread crumbs in odd places. In an attempt to organize prisoners who are employed by private contractors, the IWW organized prison labor strikes in five states, demanding the right to form a union. To further their objective, the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee has called for a nationwide prison strike on September 9th.

It will be interesting to see how unionized security guards feel about their inmates also organizing, and how labor solidarity plays out in this context could be quite a spectacle.

Organizing Tool In Your Employee’s Pockets

nlrb-app-phoneAlthough historically unions have always remained behind the curve in modernizing their organizing processes – probably as a legacy of unionism promoting laziness and resistance to change – some of them have caught on to the value of new technology and social media tools to extend their reach.

App technology now allows unions and members to sign petitions, access video and images, read press releases, connect to social media accounts, report workplace violations, and keep abreast of union news. With the NLRB’s focus on broadening employee rights through the use of technology, and with a smartphone in almost every pocket, unions are finding more ways to have direct communication with members and potential members without having to meet face to face. The NLRB has stated it has plans to upgrade its own

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SEIU Watch

Earlier this month was the deadline to submit signatures for statewide ballot initiatives to be voted on in the November election. One initiative that Washington State voters should expect to see is Initiative 1501. Proponents of the bill say that it is a “measure to protect senior citizens from financial crimes.” However, the Freedom Foundation says differently:

It’s the latest step in an ongoing fight over the same issue, and that being whether the state has to disclose to the Freedom Foundation the list of SEIU 775-represented individual providers, or IPs.

SEIU 775 represents individual providers, or people who get paid through Medicaid to care for those with disabilities or the elderly. The Freedom Foundation has been trying to get a list of those IPs so they could make sure the caretakers knew that they do not have to pay the union dues automatically deducted from their check if

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Stockholders Not Eager To Partner With Union

A recent Forbes article looked at Wall Street’s disinterest in General Motors. In spite of the company’s consistently large dividends and improving financials, GM’s stock is still failing to catch up with the rest of its competitors and the overall market in general. This begs the question – “Why are investors staying away from GM’s stock?”

Panos Mourdoukoutas, Forbes Contributor, lists three possible reasons:

Reason one: “The state of the global economy and the prospect for higher interest rates down the road – could hurt cyclical sectors like the automobile industry.”

Reason two: “Pent down demand – the pushing of future sales forward – which has created a market saturation in the automobile market.”

uawReason three (and the most fundamental, in his opinion and ours): “Investors are reluctant to partner with United Auto Workers (UAW).” UAW is a primary stakeholder in GM.

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Fight For $15

Fight-for-15In New Jersey, the state Senate approved legislation that would gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The legislation is now in the hands of Governor Chris Christie, who many believe will veto it.

In line with Christie is Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine. When asked by Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters, what his opinion of the movement in Cleveland is, DeWine stated that “cities cannot legally set their own minimum wage.” Fight for $15 activists aren’t letting that deter them, concluding that the Attorney General’s opinion is “only an opinion.”

 

Baltimore and Minneapolis are also moving forward with increased minimum wage initiatives.

Alt-Labor

Seattle_3

Seattle is one of the most progressive cities in the country. They were the first to implement a $15 wage. They led the state of Washington in recreational Marijuana reform. Seattle has been successful at these kinds of efforts because they are able to rally various groups together around such issues.

They’re doing it again, except this time they’re focused on organizing the city’s for-hire drivers (Uber, Lyft). It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. If the coalition of groups brought together says anything – from big labor unions to environmentalists, immigrant organizations, faith leaders and more – it’s sure to be a scene to watch.

Click here for a deeper dive.

Unions On The Campaign Trail

One of the biggest bits off the campaign trail this month was the announcement of both parties’ running mates.

Gov. Mike Pence

Gov. Mike Pence

Clinton went with Tim Kaine and Trump with Mike Pence. While Pence’s stance on labor issues are pretty much what you’d expect – tough on unions, pro Trans-Pacific Partnership, right-to-work supporter – Kaine’s relationship with labor is a bit more interesting. In fact, it’s pretty similar to Pence. He’s long defended his home state of Virginia’s right-to-work laws and, in the past, he’s also stood up for looser banking regulations and the TPP.

Senator Tim Kaine

Senator Tim Kaine

The AFL-CIO will no doubt

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