Labor Relations INK November 2014

In this issue:

West Coast Gridlock Changes In Labor Law To Come? IBEW Steps In It, Big Time For What It’s Worth SEIU Watch, Social Media Spotlight, Scoreboard, Insight 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

FullSizeRender 587x1024 Labor Relations INK November 2014A little over a year ago we took a spring break trip down to Austin, TX. I know, I know, touring the LBJ Presidential Library is a questionable spring break activity (it was straight out of “Nerds Gone Wild”). But while on the trip I bought one of those little garden gnomes dressed up like a Michigan fan. I thought it would bring some good luck to the team.

We got the “good luck” gnome home just in

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Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson

FullSizeRender 587x1024 Labor Relations InsightA little over a year ago we took a spring break trip down to Austin, TX. I know, I know, touring the LBJ Presidential Library is a questionable spring break activity (it was straight out of “Nerds Gone Wild”). But while on the trip I bought one of those little garden gnomes dressed up like a Michigan fan. I thought it would bring some good luck to the team.

We got the “good luck” gnome home just in time for the NCAA basketball tournament. He promptly delivered an epic last-second victory over a scrappy Tennessee squad in the Sweet Sixteen. I had visions of an NCAA basketball championship followed up by a berth in the first college football tournament.

Unfortunately that was the pinnacle of the little gnome’s good luck run. My

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Union Bailout Update – Nov 2014

NLRBphoto Union Bailout Update Nov 2014What would you think of a body of bureaucrats that ignored three circuit courts, more than a dozen federal district courts, and the California Supreme Court, to promote their own edict? As much as we’ve come to expect belligerence from the Democratic contingent of the National Labor Relations Board, this really does seem extreme. But the board’s recent Murphy Oil USA decision upheld their controversial D.R. Horton finding from nearly 3 years ago, limiting the use by employers of individual arbitration agreements. The ruling is certain to wind its way into a federal appeals court again.

The board also indicated it is willing to consider making it even harder than it already is to decertify a union. Under current board precedent established in Truserve Corp., a petition to decertify

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West Coast Gridlock

The backup at West Coast ports is on the brink of gridlock as some truck drivers wait as long as seven hours for single containers of cargo. The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents the docking companies along the West Coast, blames the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for slowing down production in order to gain leverage in their continuing contract negotiations.

ILWU denied these claims in a November 10 press release stating rather that the delays are due to companies refusing to “pay a living wage, record retail import volumes and larger vessels discharging enormous amounts of cargo.

A recent National Retail Federation report estimated that a total work stoppage “could cost the economy as much as  $2 billion a day.”

Just in time for the holidays.

ports West Coast Gridlock

Alt-Labor – Nov 2014

It’s no secret that most of these worker centers pushing for a $15 minimum wage are actually extensions of unions – most notably the Service Employees who disbursed a total of $1,862,370 to Fast Food Workers Committee during the 2013 fiscal year. However, the fact that they are fighting for such a large increase proves in itself that Fight for $15 is “not about a better wage for workers, but political gain for the unions and their friends.”

A Congressional Budget Office report found that “minimum wage increase would cost 500,000 jobs across the United States.” More than 500 economists, including four Nobel Laureates even wrote a letter to Congress detailing the detrimental effects this kind of increase would have on the economy.

But even with the countless studies proving that this is a bad idea, the movement is not slowing down. Bloomberg Law just announced SEIU’s plan

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Changes In Labor Law To Come?

ACE Changes In Labor Law To Come?The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga provides an interesting case study as competing interests attempt to figure out how to get what they want. The UAW continues to attempt to organize employees at the plant, despite its “commitment” otherwise after their election defeat earlier this year. The anti-UAW employees, in order to combat the continuing UAW activity, organized into a group called the American Council of Employees (ACE). Mike Burton, interim secretary of the group, believes they’ll be the exclusive representatives of VW plant employees within a few months.

Management of the Volkswagen plant has been under pressure by its German parent company to adopt a works council type structure similar to that used in Germany, even though such an arrangement is not lawful under the National Labor Relations Act

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IBEW Steps In It, Big Time

A Japanese firm was set to build a $60 million 400,000 square-foot facility in Palmdale, CA, which would then employ up to 300 people in well-paying jobs to build rail cars for LA county’s metro system. One would think all unions would be thrilled about the prospect – unionized workers would most likely be employed to construct the facility, and in labor-friendly California, those 300 would probably be an easy target for unionization as well.

“We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” said Palmdale Economic Development Director Dave Walter. “So many people and organizations played huge roles in making this a reality.”

CEQA IBEW Steps In It, Big Time

Not so fast, said the IBEW. They demanded that the firm agree to card check, or the union would use California’s infamous

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For What It’s Worth

uber 217x300 For What Its WorthThe Teamster-Uber fight has been plastered across the media with Local 922’s claims that Uber and Lyft’s success has created an unlevel playing field for DC taxis. However, in spite of all their protests, traffic jams, and pressure on political officials, IBT failed to convince the Washington D.C. City Council of this. Last month, the council approved a bill establishing a framework for UberX to operate legally in the city. On the West Coast, other Teamsters locals are taking a different tact – choosing instead to side with these ride-sharing drivers in hopes of organizing them later on.

On November 7th, the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) voted to merge with the United Steelworkers (USW). The Telecommunications Workers will remain intact as a USW local, but the move gives TWU members access

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SEIU Watch – Nov 2014

SEIU may represent the largest majority of healthcare workers, but recent activities prove that fact has less to do with the union’s faithful representation of their members and more to do with the backroom deals it makes with employers. At least that has been the case since they signed a corrupt deal with California health care corporations a few months ago in return for the companies’ support in organizing 60,000 health care workers.

As a stipulation of that deal, SEIU “agreed to prohibit its members from participating in ‘communications that degrade or attack a signatory hospital or health system or the hospital industry as a whole includ[ing] communications raising concerns about hospital pricing and executive compensation in healthcare.’”

premreddy 300x235 SEIU Watch Nov 2014

Dr. Prem Reddy

Proposition 45 in California has

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Social Media Spotlight – Nov 2014

3202396970 7b79a0beb21 150x150 Social Media Spotlight Nov 2014The grey area between what you say on Facebook and whether or not your employer can hold you accountable for it is starting to become a bit more clear after a couple of the NLRB’s recent decisions.

NLRB members Philip A. Miscimarra, Harry I. Johnson, and Nancy J. Schiffer upheld an administrative law judge’s decision that Richmond District Neighborhood Center lawfully withdrew two employment offers after the Ian Callaghan and Kenya Moore discussed plans for insubordination and disruptive workplace conduct on their Facebook pages. Board members said Callaghan and Moore’s discussion was outside the protection of the NLRA.

In another case, the Board upheld an employer’s social media policy requiring an employee to include some version of the following statement when voicing opinions that may reflect badly

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