Labor Relations INK March 2015

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In this issue:

Right-to-Work Rolls On Alt-Labor Who Knew? Own Worst Enemy SEIU Watch, Sticky Fingers, 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

These days calling an NLRB case scary is kind of like calling Kevin Durant injured: it’s just understood. But occasionally you see a case that stands out in what seems like an ocean of pro-union decisions. That’s what the Grand Canyon Education decision felt like to me the first time I heard about it.

Grand Canyon Education is a recent NLRB decision that found an unfair labor practice when an HR manager questioned an employee about how she felt about her supervisor. The first articles I read about the decision had me quite concerned.

Continue reading Labor Relations INK March 2015

Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson

These days calling an NLRB case scary is kind of like calling Kevin Durant injured: it’s just understood. But occasionally you see a case that stands out in what seems like an ocean of pro-union decisions. That’s what the Grand Canyon Education decision felt like to me the first time I heard about it.

Grand Canyon Education is a recent NLRB decision that found an unfair labor practice when an HR manager questioned an employee about how she felt about her supervisor. The first articles I read about the decision had me quite concerned.

Questioning employees about whether they support a union is illegal. If you are facing union organizing activity even asking people about their complaints is often over the line. But just asking about how you feel about your supervisor? Calling that unlawful activity is outrageous.

How about some good news? As sometimes happens

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Union Bailout Update

For only the second time in history, both houses of Congress used the Congressional Review Act to approve a disapproval resolution for a federal regulation, this time the Ambush Election rule promulgated by the NLRB. The House passed the measure by a 232-186 vote, but the Senate’s 53-46 tally is 14 votes short of the ability to override the sure-to-come veto. Interestingly, the first time this strategy was used in 2001 was to bury a another labor rule, from the outgoing Clinton administration.

The NLRB meanwhile began training regional office employees March 16 to manage affairs under the new rule, and is also holding educational meetings for labor law practitioners March 23 through April 13.

The Supreme Court handed the DOL and NLRB (and other federal agencies) a huge victory in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, potentially opening the floodgates to speedy rule changes or additions. Prior

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Right-to-Work Rolls On

chi-states-with-righttowork-laws-map-20150313Wisconsin became the 25th state to enact a Right-to-Work law, following the 2012 moves by Michigan and Indiana. The AFL-CIO and a couple of unions immediately filed suit, calling the law unconstitutional. The noise from Big Labor is likely to fall on deaf ears, as the court upheld those in Michigan and Indiana from similar assaults.

In Kentucky, where statewide efforts to secure Right-to-Work have failed, 10 counties have enacted Right-to-Work legislation with 6 more pending, taking perhaps the most unique approach to protecting the state’s workforce from forced union dues. Missouri and Illinois seem headed for a fight. The Missouri Senate is debating a bill approved by the House while the Governor has stated he doesn’t intend to sign. Illinois is now almost surrounded by Right-to-Work states, but R-t-W advocates face a huge uphill battle

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Alt-Labor

LaundryWorkersCenter

New York City-based Laundry Workers Center United brands itself as a humble worker center “geared toward improving the living and working conditions” of the low-wage immigrant workforce, but as we have seen time and again, these worker centers are usually a part of Big Labor strategy. LWC proved just that during their Occupy-inspired attack on Hot and Crusty bakery back in 2012 and appear to be at it again.

LWC090514LWC currently has their sights set on the Liberato, a restaurant in the Bronx. According to a company lawsuit filed against LWC, the Center’s effort to sway employee opinion in their direction began last spring when organizers allegedly engaged in “conspiracy” and “threatening conduct” and attempted to coerce management by “stalking and harassing the patrons, management and employees of Liberato, defaming the Plaintiffs and

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Who Knew?

An analysis of data from the National Labor Relations Board and the Census Bureau shows that less than ten percent of currently unionized employees ever voted for their unions! As Richard Berman argues in one of his latest articles, this is a solid argument for the Employee Rights Act that would require an automatic vote to recertify a union after half of voters in the initial election had transitioned out of their jobs and guarantee employee secret ballots on unionization.

Whistlin' Dixie

Tennessee’s Senate Commerce Committee approved an incentive grant of $165.8 million to Volkswagen that is supposed to “give Southeast Tennessee a big foothold in the automotive industry.” While that may be true, the problem, according to Sen. Bo Watson, is “VW is a magnet for organized labor, intentionally.”

Frank Patta

Frank Patta

Watson is referring to the newly-leaked news that though VW claimed to be a neutral party during the entirety of the UAW/VW campaign in Chattanooga, that in fact was not the case. We started catching on when VW agreed to let UAW represent their employees even though they lost the election. Since then, it has come to light that Frank Patta, general secretary of Volkswagen’s European and World Group Works Council, and his brother Sebastian, head of Human Relations at the Chattanooga plant, have

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Teamster Beat

Silicon Valley’s tech industry is known for keeping Big Labor at arms length – that is until last month when Teamsters Local 853 won the election for 158 employees at Compass Transportation. Compass Transportation provides shuttle bus drivers for Yahoo, Apple, Genentech, eBay, Zynga and Stanford University.

Rome Aloise

Rome Aloise

Joint Council 7 President and Local 853 Secretary-Treasurer, Rome Aloise, said he believes this is the beginning of a domino effect in the Valley wherein they will find success in organizing the rest of the tech industry’s service workers. This marks the first organizing success in the Silicon Valley since the 1990s.

Teamster leaders and members from 12 states attended the March 4 press conference over fast track trade promotion authority on Capital Hill. Together, they presented a letter signed by Jim Hoffa urging Congress to

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Own Worst Enemy

The Portland Terminal 6 dispute with the ILWU is another typical example of a union focusing on a money-grab for it’s employees even if it damages the overall economy of a region, and eventually creates unemployment for the same employees they say they are “protecting.” Although half of U.S. cargo comes through West Coast ports, shipping routes are being altered to avoid the contentious port. With the expansion of the Panama Canal scheduled for completion next year, West Coast port workers, railroad employees and truckers may find many of the jobs moving to the East Coast as shipping managers continue to revise trade routes.

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SEIU Watch

We all know that money makes the decisions in politics – and the Service Employees have a lot of money (dues money that is).

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CA Attorney General Kamala Harris

After trying to purchase California’s 6 Daughters of Charity Hospitals for over a year, Prime Healthcare Services has finally thrown in the towel. SEIU-UHW did everything possible to prevent Prime Healthcare from purchasing the hospitals when Prime became the only organization they couldn’t exploit in order to pass a 2014 bill that would have worked in SEIU-UHW’s favor. One of the union’s last moves against the purchase was to recruit the help of all the politicians whose campaigns it funded. Attorney General Kamala Harris was one such politician. Though Harris did approve Prime’s purchase of the hospitals, her approval had a few conditions attached to it – Continue reading SEIU Watch