Labor Relations Ink May 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 3.47.45 PMIn this issue:

Labor Leaders Cash In on Workers’ Dues The Good Life… Grasping At Straws? Is Militancy In Health Care Good For You? 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

Surprising New Data on Ambush Elections

This may come as a shock, but the question I get asked most these days isn’t about where I get my haircut (it doesn’t take long – although getting that “trees running away from the forest” look just right isn’t as easy as it looks). It’s not even about whether I think Rey is the daughter of Han Solo and Leia in The Force Awakens.

Nope. The question I get asked about most is about what unions are

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Surprising New Data on Ambush Elections

This may come as a shock, but the question I get asked most these days isn’t about where I get my haircut (it doesn’t take long – although getting that “trees running away from the forest” look just right isn’t as easy as it looks). It’s not even about whether I think Rey is the daughter of Han Solo and Leia in The Force Awakens.

Nope. The question I get asked about most is about what unions are doing in the month since the ambush election rule went into effect. Seriously, that is what my life has come to. But since you asked…

I’ve said for a while that I don’t think the new ambush rule is going to significantly change organizing trends over the long term. Overall people just aren’t buying what unions are selling, and the ambush rule does nothing to change that. I did expect

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Union Bailout Update

The Ambush Rule is having the impact intended (by the unions and their NLRB supporters). According to a random sampling of 42 elections filed since the rule went into effect, the new average time between the date of filing and the election is 23.5 days, which is a 14.5-day decrease to the average prior to the rule. Additional results of the survey include:

A high of 35 days from filing to election. A low of 10 days from filing to election. 3 cases with 13 days or less. 7 cases with 19 days or less.

It’s too early to gage the impact on the winning percentages, but once we have enough data to make an assessment we’ll let you know. Although Congress made noise that they were going to attempt to nullify the rule, they ended up tabling the maneuver, perhaps realizing they couldn’t get past a presidential

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Labor Leaders Cash In On Workers’ Dues

stacks of moneyUnion financial reports are in for 2014 and the data isn’t the least bit surprising – union leaders continue to pocket huge amounts of their members’ dues money.

Excluding pro sports unions, 497 union officers and employees were paid more than $250,000 in 2014 with 19 union bosses raking in more than $500,000. While a few of these unions represent high wage industries like the Independent Pilot Association and the Directors Guild of America, the majority are representatives of some of the lowest paid positions in America’s workforce. We’re talking about teachers, blue-collar workers, and government employees – people who pay dues because they believe the union will be a lobbyist for their value, not a parasite that simply extracts from it.

Click here for more a more detailed summary of the data.

Only In A Union

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 1199J tried recently to pull a fast one over on the employees of one of their bargaining units, the employer of those members, and the NLRB…and failed.

When AFSCME 1199J received notice that a decertification petition had been filed against them, they attempted to invalidate the petition by claiming that the filer owed $666.30 in unpaid dues and initiation fees. During the time leading up to the election, the union slandered this employee to his coworkers and tried to get management to discharge the employee for his lack of payment. When the employer challenged the union’s discharge request, the union withdrew it but did not inform members of the bargaining unit that the whole thing had been a hoax.

The union won the decertification election 15-13, but their celebration didn’t last long. Soon after, the NLRB determined the union’s

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Whistlin’ Dixie

After losing the election to organize Volkswagen employees at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant last year, the UAW set up an office just down the road to begin its efforts anew. Their hope has been that once they gather enough signatures, they will be approved as the bargaining representative through card check rather than another secret-ballot election. Currently, they claim to have signatures from about 55 percent of the employees.

ACEThe American Council of Employees, the other union looking to organize VW Chattanooga, believes those numbers to be unsubstantiated and urges all parties involved not to make any decision on labor representation without a secret ballot election.

Just south in Alabama the Auto Workers are having far less success. In fact, 80 percent of the employees at Renosol Seating, an extension of Lear Corp., recently signed a petition urging UAW to “leave this

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The Good Life…

Life must be good for officials and staff of the California Nurses Association, since they just laid out about $65 million for the most coveted office space in San Francisco!

Life isn’t so good if you’re a Boilermaker in Pittsburgh. The FBI is investigating the potential diversion of over $1 million in unauthorized expenditures over the last three years. The excesses of this union had been documented in 2012 by a Kansas City Star expose, indicating that over half of the 125 employees of the international headquarters pulled down over $100,000 per year, and the union spent over $500,000 on maintenance and fees of its two planes that year. Apparently the Pittsburgh local thought they should be emulating the example set at the head office.

And if you want to succeed as a Teamster in Boston, it appears you had

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Grasping At Straws?

Union proponents see signs of the “rebirth of labor” in the tea leaves of whatever cup they seem to be drinking. In two recent examples, a history professor and a founder of a freelancers “union” have both seen hope in recent events.

It shouldn’t be surprising that an associate professor of history/Director of the Labor Education and Research Center at University of Oregon would read the tea leaves in this light. What would you expect from a left-coast academic, other than noble-sounding rhetoric such as the “Rebirth of Progressivism?” It’s a bit more interesting to see the founder of an organization designed to sell products and services to freelancers take the same plunge. Admittedly, by description the younger generation are more likely to be freelancers, and are also more likely to hold positive attitudes about unions. However, reading of one media outlet staff’s union organizing drive as a trend

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Is Militancy In Health Care Good For You?

CNA Nurses

Last month the National Nurses United called for strikes at eight California hospitals along with the University of Chicago Medical Center. This decision followed a slew of fights between management and the union. Management claimed the union was demanding more money on top of the yearly raises already offered by the hospital. The union claimed the hold-up was entirely due to staffing issues. Two days before the strike was set to take place, the union called it off claiming that it found victory in negotiations.

According to Ken Jacobs, chair of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California at Berkeley, this sort of controversy is not abnormal for NNU. “National Nurses United is a more militant union in general, in terms of how they’ve decided to carry out their work,” he said.

SEIU Watch

Dave Regan

Dave Regan

Looks like Dave Regan may have to tone down his sliminess for a while…unless he wants to go to prison. Here’s the breakdown. You all may remember back in 2014 when Regan proposed a ballot initiative called “Live Better Together.” The initiative would have capped the salaries of hospital executives and used that extra money to reduce patients’ hospital bills. Regan and SEIU-UHW staffers traversed California and gathered enough signatures to put the initiative on the ballot. They even proposed the bill to Washington. Just before the deadline to hand in the signatures, Regan scrapped them; choosing instead to put his own organizing deal together with hospital execs. Californians were furious – so much so that in August state legislatures passed their own bill, Senate Bill 1253, in response.

This bill makes it a

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