Labor Relations Ink December 2014

Screen Shot 2014 12 18 at 2.40.39 PM Labor Relations Ink December 2014

In this issue:

Japanese Firm Blinks UAW Strife in the South Union Pensions on the Ropes SEIU Has Dirty Hands in Ferguson Teamsters Beat, Sticky Fingers, Insight and more…

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

Note from the editor:  

Due to INK releasing a week early for the holidays, we don’t have all of the data in for a complete Scoreboard.  We will release a separate email with the December Scoreboard when the data is available. Have a very Merry Christmas!

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Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson

My favorite new movie (at least until this one comes out) is Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s action-packed, has great special effects, and is a thrill

Continue reading Labor Relations Ink December 2014

Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson

My favorite new movie (at least until this one comes out) is Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s action-packed, has great special effects, and is a thrill ride. It somehow hits that right blend of irreverent, nerdy and cool (and features a killer 70’s pop soundtrack,  spotify playlist here). It has everything I like in a movie. Then again, I basically quit growing up when I was about 13.

There is a great scene in the movie where the hero Peter Quill is about to be taken out by his sometimes mentor/sometimes enemy Yondu (this is obviously a “sometimes enemy” phase of the relationship). The ravager Yondu says, “it’s time to teach this boy a lesson.” One of Youndu’s henchmen then yells out, “yeah, Captain’s gonna teach stuff.”

I imagine this is what the last few weeks have been like at the National Labor Relations Board.

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Union Bailout Update

mcferran Union Bailout Update

Lauren McFerran

As you know by now, the news of the month is the Ambush Election rule.  We held a webinar to explain all of the ins and outs of the rule yesterday, and you can listen to the recording of that webinar here. The webinar also covered the NLRB’s “Purple Communications” decision, which reversed the “Register Guard” precedent and provides access to employer email systems for union organizing activities.

As of December 16th, Lauren McFerran will replace Nancy Schiffer on the NLRB, retaining the 3-2 pro-union control of the Board. McFerran had served as the labor counsel to Senators Harkin and the late Ted Kennedy.

A Board ALJ took a shot at another policy type when she ruled that “an unlawful work rule that prohibits employees

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Japanese Firm Blinks

blink Japanese Firm BlinksIn an update to our earlier story about the IBEW using an environmental law to arm-twist a Japanese manufacturer, it appears that the company caved to IBEW demands. In the announced deal, there were no mentions at all of any moves taken by the company to fulfill any environmentally related shortfalls. Instead, the deal provides “card check” organizing for the IBEW. Once the IBEW got what it wanted, any threats related to the California Environmental Quality Act were dropped completely, irritating some environmentalists.

UAW Strife In The South

The Auto Workers’ attempt to organize German-owned facilities in the South has proved mostly futile, but the union is not backing down. In fact, they are pushing so hard that even pro-union employees at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama are getting tired of the campaign. However, with Daimler AG’s plan to bring a new line of automobiles to the Vance plant, it doesn’t look like any employees – for or against the union – will be getting a break anytime soon. This, even though UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel has admitted that the union would lose an election if one was held right now.

Back in Chattanooga, the UAW has encountered new opposition in its attempt to organize the Volkswagen plant. The American Council of Employees expect to have signed up “at least 15 percent, and perhaps as many as 30 percent, of the workforce as members by

Continue reading UAW Strife In The South

Union Pensions On The Ropes

We have mentioned time and again the critical condition of union pension plans, particularly multi-employer pension plans like the Teamsters Central States fund. This Crain’s article highlights the problems in Chicago alone, and notes that Central States could go belly-up within ten years.

The problem extends beyond the plans themselves. It is likely that with the collapse of Central States or a variety of other troubled funds, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency which “guarantees” such funds, could itself go belly up.

The PBGC’s annual report says its multi-employer program has a $42.4 billion deficit, up almost 500% from its $8.3 billion deficit just last year. The shoe will drop, and unfortunately, both pensioners and taxpayers will likely take a huge hit.

 Union Pensions On The Ropes

Unintended Consequences

hazlitt Unintended ConsequencesThose familiar with Henry Hazlitt’s classic “Economics in One Lesson” will not be surprised by the latest development in insurance policies for franchisors. Changes to the legal climate have made it easier to sue franchisers and for tort lawyers to bring class action suits. In response, the insurance industry will now write policies protecting franchisors against such damages. Will such policies morph to include the costs associated with running counter-organizing campaigns on behalf of franchisees? Perhaps so if the NLRB General Counsel gets his way.

SEIU Has Dirty Hands in Ferguson

ferguson SEIU Has Dirty Hands in FergusonThe eruption of violence following the Michael Brown decision in Missouri and the Eric Garner decision in New York were blamed by the media on “outside agitators,” people who descended on the scene to generate unrest, and publicity. But just who were these hoodlums?

According to Bill O’Reilly, the SEIU was front and center in the escapade.

Knowing that the connections would be made sooner or later, SEIU is attempting to jump on the bandwagon calling for “racial justice” in relation to the two incidents. Not surprisingly, many of the “Black Lives Matter” protestors have also been actively protesting for the Fight for $15 movement, another protest project spearheaded by SEIU behind the scenes.

Perhaps SEIU should be responsible to pay the bills for all of the property destroyed in the SEIU-fomented unrest and violence.

 

The Tao of Unionism

tao The Tao of UnionismJoseph Burhoe, former Teamster member, and John Perry, former head of local Teamster chapter, were convicted last month for charges of racketeering, conspiracy, conspiracy to extort business, and extortion.

The two, along with two other defendants, were accused of threatening fellow members to ensure Perry was elected as chapter head, intimidating business owners to earn union jobs, and threatening to “shut down” any “event that hired nonunion workers.” Victims included nonprofit organizations.

Another fine example of the Tao of Unionism.

Graphic Depicts Union Decline

In a story related to the union sympathies of a home care worker, this chart of recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statics depicts the 10-year decline of unions in 5 states.  We thought it was worth sharing in case you missed it.  Go to the original link to view the interactive chart pictured here.

Screen Shot 2014 12 16 at 3.22.38 PM Graphic Depicts Union Decline