Labor Relations INK April 2015

In this issue:

How To Drive Business Away Dire Straits Teamster Monkey Business at the Zoo Full Of Sound And Fury… SEIU Watch, Sticky Fingers, Scoreboard, Insight and more…

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

Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson

Let me start by answering the question that I know is on your mind: did Darth Vader actually build C-3PO?

If you’re like me (thankfully you’re probably not) you’ve been binge-watching the new digital re-masters of the canonical Star Wars films. The last time I saw the “prequels” was in the theater, so watching them all at once with my daughter has been really fun. I’ve caught some things I didn’t notice before. Like the fact that my second-favorite paranoid android (sorry, but Marvin is first place and has a much cooler song) was (mostly) built by the

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Ambush Elections: Use the Force?

ambush-election-chart-april-2015

Let me start by answering the question that I know is on your mind: did Darth Vader actually build C-3PO?

If you’re like me (thankfully you’re probably not) you’ve been binge-watching the new digital re-masters of the canonical Star Wars films. The last time I saw the “prequels” was in the theater, so watching them all at once with my daughter has been really fun. I’ve caught some things I didn’t notice before. Like the fact that my second-favorite paranoid android (sorry, but Marvin is first place and has a much cooler song) was (mostly) built by the Dark Lord when he was a child.

There’s other stuff I noticed too. Like how much I hate Jar Jar Binks. And what a bad-ass Yoda is with a light saber. Seriously, is there anything more fun than watching a muppet and Mr. Darkside go at it?

I’m guessing there’s

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Union Bailout Update

ambushAs we knew would happen, Congress’ effort to nullify the Ambush Election rule was vetoed by the President. In preparation for the rule going into effect, the NLRB rolled out training for staff at (no surprise) the New York offices of SEIU local 32BJ. Business groups, spearheaded by the Chamber of Commerce, haven’t given up the fight yet, and have filed yet another motion to invalidate the rule. However, the rule is in effect, and will remain so unless a serious court challenge or additional legislative action intervenes. On April 6, NLRB General Counsel Richard F. Griffin, Jr. released a lengthy Guidance Memorandum on the application of the rule.

In another move being touted as the NLRB declaring “war on right-to-work,” the board signaled that it intends to force non-members in Right-To-Work states to pay for

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How to Drive Business Away

After 18 months of uncertainty, members approved a contract negotiated by International Longshoremen Association officials and the Steamship Trade Association of Baltimore. The agreement is intended to supplement ILA’s upcoming coastwise master contract which addresses automation, outsourcing of work, and health care, among other items. Approval of the contract comes as a relief to customers as well as officials and employers who have dealt with continued strife since the three day strike in October 2013. That relief, however, may not last long.

Last November, Wilbert Rowell was named Trustee of Local 333 when accusations arose that leaders of the chapter had been stacking union rolls in order to win local elections. Upon Rowell’s appointment, he purged the rolls of about 500 recently appointed members.

86 of those employees whose membership was taken away from them, in addition to former Local 333 president Riker McKenzie and former recording secretary

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Dire Straits

Source: http://www.pbgc.gov/

Source: http://www.pbgc.gov/

Teamsters Central States Pension Fund has been in trouble for a long time and it doesn’t look like they’ll be getting out of it anytime soon. Currently serving roughly 410,000 participants, the fund is not making as much as it’s paying out. If the situation continues as is, the fund’s trustees believe it will become insolvent within a decade. In order to stay afloat, Central States is looking to cut the amount it pays out to retirees – you know, the people who paid into it for 30 years and have planned their retirement around it.

This was made possible by a federal law passed last year that allows struggling multi-employer pension funds to cut benefits for retirees younger than 75 by as much as 60 percent. There are currently about 1,400

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Teamster Monkey Business at the Zoo

barrel-of-monkeys-3monkeys1Most people probably remember the 2007 Christmas tragedy that occurred at the San Francisco Zoo when Tatiana, a female Siberian tiger, got out of her enclosure and mauled three teenage boys, killing one of them. After this occurred, one of the criticisms the zoo faced was that there was no efficient way to notify authorities of safety or medical emergencies. They did have panic buttons, but at the time they were not working properly.

Executive Director Tanya Peterson said that in response to these concerns and in collaboration with the Teamsters union, which represents about 100 of the zoo’s employees, the zoo bought the “best radio system it could.”

Last month, the Teamsters union accused people in positions of authority at the zoo of eavesdropping on employee conversations. They cite one example where an employee walked in during the occurrence of

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Full of Sound and Fury

april15strikeAs usual, Big Labor is trying to make the most of what turned out to be mostly a non-event: the much ballyhooed April 15 strike connected with the Fight for 15 movement. Even with NBC rallying to their side and doing their best to inflate the effort, the smoke cleared quickly. In fact, one prominent union, the UFCW, is even backing away from the movement.

This may be because it is becoming more widely known that the Fight for 15 movement, along with similar efforts promoted by worker centers and supposedly “grassroots efforts,” are actually thinly veiled union PR stunts. It is also possibly because the unions are distorting “fast food data” to attempt to paint a picture that just doesn’t exist. For instance, Fight for 15 claims that 4 out of 5 fast food employees were injured by

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Only in a Union

photo-idUnions bellowed like an injured walrus when laws were proposed requiring a photo ID to vote in local, state and federal elections. “How dare you attempt to suppress the vote!” they declared (meaning: leave our illegal voters alone).

However, when a worker in Michigan requested to leave the IBEW as a result of right-to-work law implementation in that state, he was told he would have to drive 82 miles from where he worked to the local office and present a photo ID.

Repel or Attract?

Gallup recently confirmed a message Phil Wilson has been trying to hammer into the employer community for a while now: unengaged managers create unengaged employees. Something new Gallop brings to the table is how much it’s costing us.

“By Gallup’s estimates, the ‘not engaged’ group costs the U.S. $77 billion to $96 billion annually through their impact on those they manage. And when we factor in the impact of the ‘actively disengaged’ group, those figures jump to $319 billion to $398 billion annually.”

lob-boxshot-cropIn addition, Gallop found that half the employees they surveyed had left a job “due to a disengaged manager.” On the flip side, as you might imagine, “great managers inspire greatness.”

Phil’s just published book Left of Boom: Putting Proactive Engagement to Work goes in depth into what managers can and should be doing in order to engage

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Social Media Spotlight

expletiveIt’s just not going away anytime soon. The NLRB has determined that as long as an employee rant can be even tenuously connected to protected concerted activity, your employees can pretty much curse, swear and malign you to their hearts content in social media venues – even sprinkling their invective with all the F-bombs they can muster.

Prior to any disciplinary action, careful scrutinize both the context and the content of the rant – and even then tread lightly!  The NLRB seems to see PCA like Ghost Busters see ghosts!