BREAKING NEWS: Micro-Units Hit Retail

This week, the NLRB applied the controversial Specialty Healthcare decision to the retail industry, allowing a UFCW local to carve out a unit of cosmetics and fragrance employees in a large national retail chain store.

The snowball has officially been tipped over the edge. Keep an eye out for it!

Avalanche BREAKING NEWS: Micro Units Hit Retail

Labor Relations Ink July 2014

Screen Shot 2014 07 24 at 11.42.00 AM Labor Relations Ink July 2014

In this issue:

Harris vs. Quinn Setback Hollow Pension Plans Keep Your Eye On The Ball Teamster-Affiliated Taxi Drivers Fear The Future SEIU Watch, Sticky Fingers, Only In a Union, Scoreboard and more…

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

hula girl 226x300 Labor Relations Ink July 2014Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson

Unfortunately, at the time of the submission deadline for this issue, Phil was on a beach in Hawaii trying to keep the sand out of his ukulele. Thus no pithy insight from Phil included in this issue of INK. However, I’m sure the couple of weeks in the sun will contribute to

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Union Bailout Update

“The legal advisory department of the NLRB is on track to issue a ruling that could have devastating consequences for the nation’s 770,000 franchisees, the mom-and-pop owners of neighborhood restaurants, hotels, print centers, realtors and flower shops that directly employ 8.5 million workers.

Thus another bogus decision by the NLRB on the issue of  “joint employer” status could devastate the franchise industry. As usual, Big Labor effort (and money) is behind it. Fortunately, the courts have so far defended the line between franchisor and franchisee. Keep a sharp eye peeled for this one.

vitter 300x204 Union Bailout Update

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)

The NLRB has condoned sexual harassment – as long as it occurs on a picket line! Another example of the double standard that exists for unions and their minions. Laws

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Harris vs. Quinn Setback

Harris vs. Quinn took a bite out of one of Big Labor’s easiest recent pipelines of cash. Prior to the ruling, 12 states had allowed unions to “bloodsuck” on those providing home health care to recipients of Medicaid funding (3 subsequently repealed the law), collecting “dues” while providing nothing of substance in exchange.

The ruling was a shot across the bow. Big Labor feared that the court might have applied the ruling to all government employees (in this case, it was determined that the “members” in question weren’t “employees”). The court did not, but left the door open for future rulings that could potentially put an end to mandatory dues, though that seems unlikely.

Further investigation into the system set up by SEIU in Michigan indicates a huge likelihood of fraud (no surprise).

Although the ruling impacted only public sector “employees,” many of the unions involved in

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Whistlin’ Dixie

111229 uaw vw hmed 0738p 300x225 Whistlin DixieOn June 27, approximately 400 students, activists, ministers, and workers rallied in front of Nissan’s Canton plant to demand an election, or should I say, another election for UAW representation. It seemed the perfect time to garner support as the Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Conference was being held only 25 miles away. The event brought together legendary civil and labor rights activists to declare, “Labor rights are civil rights.”

The comparison is bogus, and “labor rights” doesn’t mean guaranteed union representation. It means any employee of a company has the right to bring the discussion of union representation into their workplace; and all employees have the right to vote for or against such representation – which is exactly what happened at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant when the employees elected NOT to have

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Teamster Beat July 2014

035 james hoffa 300x300 Teamster Beat July 2014Teamsters members were not granted the right to vote in officer elections until 1989 when the union was forced to make changes to avoid a racketeering trial. But now, as Hoffa’s popularity dwindles and the 2015-2016 election approaches, IBT leadership is asking for an end to the consent order. They say they no longer need government oversight because, well, the union is reformed.

The U.S. Attorney and Teamsters for a Democratic Union disagree. Both have submitted letters opposing the change. If the consent order is lifted, “current leaders will be free to change nomination requirements to make it impossible for opposition candidates to get on the ballot.” A feat that has proved hard enough as it is.

The former Teamsters Local 783 president, Jerry T. Vincent Jr., was indicted by

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Hollow Pension Plans

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) conducts a legally required study every year to project the range of outcomes for plans. What they discovered this year is that some plans are now in their death throes and cannot recover.  More than a million people risk losing their federally insured pensions in just a few years.

projections report 2013 3 1024x798 Hollow Pension Plans

Those with pensions in multi-employer plans, those whose benefit plan is maintained under one or more collective bargaining agreement, are at the highest risk – anyone invested in Teamsters’ Central States plan, for example. In the past multi-employer plans were so healthy that Congress never had to allot many resources to them or provide as much protection. Now, with the decline in newly unionized companies to invest in the pool, the checks and balances aren’t

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Keep Your Eye On The Ball

roc protest 300x231 Keep Your Eye On The BallIt pays to keep pace with developing trends in union strategy. In the never ending Big Labor shell game of “shuffle the entities,” you never know when one or more of them could evolve or combine to create a new threat. This article highlights six “non-union” groups that are working either independently or in conjunction with unions toward similar goals. The six groups are:

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance Working America, launched by the AFL-CIO The National Domestic Workers Alliance The National Guestworkers Alliance Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)

Many of these groups are of course fronts for or funded by organized labor. Joe Kefauver of the National Restaurant Association and the Convenience Store Association warned at a recent U.S. Chamber of

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Only In a Union

Unions are the champion of the little guy, the disenfranchised, those who need a leg-up or protection from corporate capitalists. Of course they would support the United Negro College Fund.

Not so fast! When the UNCF accepted a $25 million grant from Koch Industries and the Charles Koch Foundation, AFSCME President Lee Saunders informed UNCF that after 10 years of supporting the Fund, they were cutting off further assistance. In his letter to UNCF PresidentMichael Lomax, Saunders bemoaned, “We are doing this as a result of actions you have taken as president of the UNCF that are not only deeply hostile to the rights and dignity of public employees, but also a profound betrayal of the ideals of the civil rights movement.”

Big Labor benevolence on display.

Teamster-Affiliated Taxi Drivers Fear The Future

taxi caravan 300x170 Teamster Affiliated Taxi Drivers Fear The Future

A taxi caravan along Constitution Avenue. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

App-based ride sharing services such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar are causing quite the stir among unionized taxi drivers in and around Washington, D.C. Last month, members of the Teamster-affiliated D.C. Taxi Operators Association gridlocked downtown D.C. in protest of these digitally dispatched ride-sharing services, which they claim have an unfair advantage over regular cabs. Organizers of the protest plan to deliver a petition to city officials requesting that they implement a “cease and desist” order on these entrepreneurial enterprises.

A labor lawyer has taken a different angle to attack Uber, filing what he is calling a “class action” lawsuit in which he is attempting to

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