In this issue:
Growing Support for Unions Another One Bites The Dust Desperate Ploy Clear As Mud SEIU Watch, Sticky Fingers, Scoreboard, Insight and more…
The bottom of each story contains a link to the individual post on our site.
Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson
Lately my family’s been watching – okay, binge-watching – the BBC series Sherlock. These brilliant retellings of the classic Conan Doyle tales are set in modern-day England. Every one grabs me, even though I already know the basic plot. Benedict Cumberbatch was born to play the socially inept but brilliant “consulting detective” Holmes. Martin Freeman, who plays Holmes’ friend and sidekick John Watson, is every bit as good as Cumberbatch. They are a much more entertaining duo here than when they played Bilbo and Smaug.
Watching Holmes make incredible deductions from evidence nobody else even sees never gets old. His detective skills are second to
Continue reading Labor Relations INK – August 2015
By now the news is widespread – A&P Supermarkets, also known as Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co, is filing bankruptcy for the second time in their 156 years of business. The majority of media outlets are spewing competition and debt as the sole cause of the collapse of a company that at one point had 14,000 stores. That’s not the whole story.
Following the trajectory of Detroit’s auto industry and Pittsburgh’s steel companies, unions had a role to play in their demise. The increased expense associated with collective bargaining contracts and legacy costs makes it difficult, often impossible, for the company to make ends meet. Of A&P’s remaining 30,000 workers, 15,000 will be lucky to keep their jobs.
As we are awaiting a ruling on the joint employer issue, the NLRB is determined to hide behind a veil of generalities rather than provide any useful guidelines as to just what has created the “joint employer” status in the McDonalds case. On Aug. 14th, the board affirmed the decision of an Administrative Law Judge to deny a motion by McDonalds for a bill of particulars. The decisions in the McDonalds and Browning Ferris cases will impact all businesses, not just franchisors. In case you missed our breaking new post of moments ago, the Browning Ferris decision just came down from the NLRB.
The NLRB continually bends over backwards to extend the benefit of the doubt to employees who misbehave on the job. In this latest incident, although the employee apparently lied about an injury, because the interview process with the employee did not include union representation, his dismissal
Continue reading Union Bailout Update
From the NLRB Press release:
In a 3-2 decision involving Browning-Ferris Industries of California, the National Labor Relations Board refined its standard for determining joint-employer status. The revised standard is designed “to better effectuate the purposes of the Act in the current economic landscape.” With more than 2.87 million of the nation’s workers employed through temporary agencies in August 2014, the Board held that its previous joint employer standard has failed to keep pace with changes in the workplace and economic circumstances.
In the decision, the Board applies long-established principles to find that two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce if (1) they are both employers within the meaning of the common law; and (2) they share or codetermine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment. In evaluating whether an employer possesses sufficient control over employees to qualify as a joint employer, the
Continue reading BREAKING: NLRB Issues Browning Ferris Joint Employer Decision
According to a recent Gallup poll, support for labor unions is at its highest point in the last 7 years, and up 10 points from its all-time low in 2009 of 48% approval.
It also seems folks would like unions to have a bit more influence, although barely over a third of the population falls into this category.
Here’s how Gallup interprets the results:
With the economy continuing to do better than it did during the recession and the 2008 government bailout of two of the Big Three American auto companies — for which unions’ image may have suffered — fading further into history, Americans’ views of unions are largely restored to what they were six years ago. The
Continue reading Growing Support for Unions
Momentum has increased a degree or two over the last month. The Service Employees took the “fight” global, – shelling out some serious change to bring foreign legislators and union leaders to Brazil to protest McDonalds. San Antonio proposed to raise the minimum wage for city employees to $13. The University of California stated their intention to raise the minimum to $15 for all employees and contract workers. And last but not least, New York City passed a minimum of $15 for fast food workers. Let’s take a moment to point something out here – “fast food workers” – not all minimum wage workers (to include those in retail, custodial, clerical and landscaping industries). Nope, just fast food workers.
The interesting thing is that even those that support an increase in the minimum wage are having to make concessions
Continue reading Fight for 15
The Michigan Education Association, desperate not to lose union dues as a result of Michigan’s recent implementation of right-to-work, found a way to stymie teachers attempting to opt out of paying dues.
First, the union has set up a tight window as to when teachers must notify the union of the desire to opt out, although there is no such restriction in the legislation. It is a very narrow window.
Then, the union quietly changed the address to which the request to opt out was to be mailed to be “officially received.” The notice of this change was at the very bottom of a members-only page of their website. Thus, many teachers who dutifully mailed their letters to the “wrong” address found themselves still owning dues for another year. The union response: “pay up or we’ll report you to credit agencies for non-payment!”
Continue reading Desperate Ploy
Not only has the Michigan Education Association been shady with their handling of right-to-work opt out procedures, they have been less than transparent on their financial disclosures to the federal government.
MEA Executive Director Gretchen Dziadosz
The LM-2 form that unions must file has multiple sections with various categories to report all receipts and expenditures. One such category is “All Other Receipts.” This is for income that was received in quantities less than $5,000 and don’t fit into any other category on the form. Most unions report less than one percent of their income on this line – most unions except the MEA.
On their 2014 report, MEA categorized $30 million, 30% of their income, under “All Other Receipts.” In order for this to make sense legally, the union would have had to receive,
Continue reading Clear As Mud
Perhaps SEIU should pay more careful attention to whom they send to organize more highly educated workforces.
SEIU is supposedly “helping” Professors at Webster and Washington University, who have been trying to organize for quite some time. The problem, according to one adjunct professor, is:
“SEIU practices the lowest forms of union behavior….They do not understand the relative independence of thought and self-direction that most adjuncts at Wash. U. (and Webster) bring to their jobs at a university. They certainly do not understand, or care to understand or appreciate, the mostly collaborative and collegial environment that we want and work to create and maintain…It is in the nature and function of the SEIU to create discord between adjuncts and unrepresented faculty and staff, and even between adjuncts who wish to join the SEIU as members and those who do not.”
Continue reading SEIU Watch
Labor is pretty out of control in Australia right now. Over the past few months, the depth of union corruption in Canberra has become beyond apparent. Unions have utilized extortion, blackmail and improper use of power to rob the ACT, its citizens and Australian taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The ACT is Canberra, Australia’s labor governing body (similar to our DOL) and much of the blame for all of this corruption is falling on them. For many, it has more to do with incompetence than guilt.
Expect some changes to be made. Many Australians are pushing for an Independent Commission Against Corruption division. Additionally, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a warning to all corporate executives involved with unions. The message? We’re watching you.
In other news, transportation strikes remain prevalent across the globe. Earlier this
Continue reading Labor Around The World