Labor Relations INK – August 2016

In this issue:

Joint Employer Status Between A Rock And A Hard Place Do As I Say, Not As I Do Another Merger To Save A Union SEIU Watch, Insight, Sticky Fingers, Scoreboard and more…

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

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Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson

Blacklisting and The Offer You Can’t Refuse don-vitoDon Vito Corleone famously suggested the way you get a guy to do what you want is to, “make him an offer he can’t refuse.” This week the Department of Labor finally issued its rules for enforcing the “blacklisting” regulation. And unions are ready to use the new regulation to take a page out of the Corleone playbook.

The Obama administration is heading into the home stretch

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Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson

Blacklisting and The Offer You Can’t Refuse

don-vitoDon Vito Corleone famously suggested the way you get a guy to do what you want is to, “make him an offer he can’t refuse.” This week the Department of Labor finally issued its rules for enforcing the “blacklisting” regulation. And unions are ready to use the new regulation to take a page out of the Corleone playbook.

The Obama administration is heading into the home stretch and pushing to get as many labor rulings and regulations out the door as possible. If your company is a government contractor, the blacklisting rule is probably the most significant one of the year.

Originally proposed by Executive Order in 2014, the rule gives the DOL the power to discourage and even bar a federal agency from

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Union Bailout Update

Decertification activities are one of the most tricky business maneuvers to pull off properly. The employees risk the wrath of the union, while the employer risks the wrath of the NLRB, and can’t initiate or provide aid other than to answer questions the employees may ask about the logistics and timing of the process. A turn of phrase can make or break the effort. Case in point: a recent decertification petition was overturned this month due to a simple slip up by a couple of supervisors. The pair asked the employees how many signatures they had acquired on their petition, and upon hearing the answer, told the employees to “go out and get more signatures” instead of just providing the facts about what percentage of employees must sign the petition to make it valid.

Purchasing a business with unionized employees just became a bit more complex, as the NLRB

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Joint Employer Status

We reported earlier on Microsoft’s attempt to fight off a joint employer investigation. In July the NLRB denied Microsoft’s petition to revoke the board’s petition. The tenuous vehicle used to attempt to force the joint employer connection in the Microsoft case was a corporate social responsibility policy. The board struck again in Miller Anderson, Inc.

In a related offshoot to the joint employer question, Subway decided to partner with the DOL in a move to improve FLSA compliance among Subway franchisees. Although the agreement does not address joint employer, it remains to be seen how such an alliance may impact the joint employer status under scrutiny of the NLRB.

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

afscmeIn a vivid example of one of the risks associated with union membership, employees of the State of Illinois may face a choice between complying with an AFSCME-called strike, with the potential loss of up to $8000 per month in wages and benefits, or be fined $5000 by the union for crossing the picket line. In an uncharacteristic move, the States website instructs workers how to opt out of the union and acquire fair share payer status, thereby being allowed to work without fear of union retaliation.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

What makes people believe in unions? “Unions protect the rights of working Americans,” is a typical response. But what about when they don’t?

mseaEarlier this month, the NLRB ruled that one union violated federal labor law in the “actions it took against its own employees” who are, in fact, members of another union. The Michigan State Employees Association (MSEA) is being held accountable for “illegal firings and discipline and refusals to turn over information” to the Central Office Staff Association (COSA). COSA is the union that represents MSEA employees.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) has been on the front lines of the Fight for $15 movement, spending members’ dues money on the Fight for $15 movement since the beginning. However, in recent contract negotiations with Kroger, UFCW agreed to set starting

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Another Merger To Save A Union

no-gmpThe Glass Molders, Pottery, Plastics, & Allied Workers International Union (GMP), a union with a history reaching back 175 years, has found that a merger with the United Steelworkers (USW) “will give the GMP the strength, resources and ability to continue to serve its membership throughout this century and hopefully well beyond.”

Last year, union leadership stated that without a merger, diminishing membership numbers “would require an immediate and dramatic dues increase,” and even then, “any downturn in our major industries or another recession could easily devastate” the union.

The GMP was already an amalgam of unions formed by various mergers over the years, with a current membership of only about 25,000 members, while the USW currently boasts a membership of about 850,000.

National Employee Freedom Week

National-Employee

Last week (Sun., Aug 14 through Sat., Aug 20) was touted as National Employee Freedom Week. The project was spearheaded by the Nevada Policy Research Institute and the Association of American Educators, and is described as a “national effort to inform union employees about the freedoms they have to opt out of union membership.” About 100 national and state organizations participated in the effort.

SEIU Watch

Mary Kay Henry

Mary Kay Henry

Mary Kay Henry, SEIU International President, has been busy. Earlier this month, she placed local 73 under a trusteeship and removed two principal leaders from office. Then just last week at the National Fight for $15 convention she was protested against for her refusal to allow SEIU organizers to join SEIU’s staff union. Not only that, but many SEIU employees don’t even make $15 an hour. Click here to see a video of the protest.

Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, vetoes two SEIU-sponsored bills this month. The first bill, Senate Bill 2536, would have instituted a required yearly training for child care providers who fall under the Child Care Assistance Program. The second would have done the same except with the focus being on home health care providers and

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Alt Labor

BlackLivesMatterUnions really began embracing their alt-labor organizing approach back in 2012. Groups like Our Walmart and Fight for $15 are the most well-known today. While they continue to claim to be a grassroots effort, began out of the sheer desire of working people to demand more, they weren’t. Unions provided the organization and funding. Now they are moving out of the workplace and into the community (e.g. Black Lives Matter) protesting things like police brutality, racial injustice, and the cyclical cycles of poverty. And now that the veil has been removed, unions are less concerned with covering up their association.

Take the Future Fighters for example. This group

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