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Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson Three Things Congress Can Do to Fix Labor Law Today

It’s been another month and we remain not one step closer to a Republican majority National Labor Relations Board. I suppose you could say the Administration took a quarter-step when it announced this week its “intention to nominate” Marvin Kaplan to the Board. That’s a quarter-step in the right direction, but a better step would be officially nominating both Kaplan and Bill Emmanuel, so that the Senate can start the process of getting them confirmed.

Due to the congressional calendar (and the likelihood Democrats will be playing the four-corners offense the next two years) it’s all but certain that the we won’t have a Republican majority before the August recess. And there is no guarantee that Phil Miscimarra will continue on as

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Mafia/Union Ties Still Strong

FBI agents and NYPD cops arrested 19 members and associates of the Lucchese crime family in a May 31st sweep. Crimes charged included wire fraud, racketeering, drug trafficking and murder committed over a 17-year period.

How does this tie into unions? According to the article,

Labor racketeering was a big part of this crime web. And it was the elder Steven Crea who made it happen. During January 1991-October 1998, brothers Giuseppe and Fred Scalamandre, owners of several Long Island construction companies, paid Lucchese crime family boss Alphonse D’Arco and underboss Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso about $40,000 a year to avoid making scheduled union benefit contributions, as specified in collective bargaining agreements. The Lucchese organization then paid off bosses and agents of Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local

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SEIU Watch

SEIU Local 221, the largest public-sector union in the country, lost another 400 members this month. The group of city librarians, planners, forensic investigators, and others decided to leave the Service Employees and create their own union. Nicole Hobson, president of the newly formed Association of Chula Vista Employees said:

“This decision was kind of a long time coming…Lack of services, high dues, they have high employee turnaround, they give us inexperienced representatives.”

According to Hobson, the employees who left the Local were giving SEIU $230,000 in dues per year.

“For as much as we were paying, we should have been getting VIP services,” she said.

In other news, Cathy Glasson, president of SEIU Local 199 is running for governor of Iowa. Check out her campaign site

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It’s All Academic

Vanderbilt’s recent vote to unionize non-tenure track faculty is up in the air – despite the fact that the majority of lecturers and adjunct professors voted no. Apparently, a significant number of the ballots are being challenged, and the NLRB now needs to hold a hearing to determine which ballots are credible.

A little further north, Graduate Students United withdrew its request for a mail-in ballot to organize graduate students at the University of Chicago. It will instead be pursuing an in-person election in the fall. The union claims they were forced to make this decision after an NLRB hearing went on for 10 days due to “stalling and obstructionist tactics by the University.” The University counters that the points it raised were obviously substantive or else

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Union Wrestling Match

The Teamsters have been picketing Chicago’s Navy Pier tourist attraction. A new security contractor has allegedly made plans to replace the Teamster security personnel, who now make $24 an hour, with personnel provided by SEIU Local 1 at a wage rate of $13 per hour. Seems ironic, since SEIU is leading the national Fight for $15 charge.

Pensions On The Ropes

The New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund submitted a proposal earlier in the year to cut benefits to active and retired Teamsters, but withdrew it in April when it became evident the Treasury Department would reject it. It has now submitted a revised proposal that would cut benefits by slightly lesser amounts than originally proposed – by 18% for active members and 29% for retirees.

In Michigan, state legislators are planning to funnel new teachers into 401(k)-type plans instead of the costlier pensions as a solution for underfunding concerns.

Fight For $15

Senator Pelosi

Lead organizer for the “Fight for $15” movement was caught needing to put a foot in his mouth. After spouting that he doesn’t get paid for attending protests, it came out that he does. In fact, in 2016, he was paid more than $146,000 by the Service Employees Union. Hmm.

Despite revelations like the one above, the movement itself is still making headway across the country. State lawmakers in Illinois approved a plan to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years.

Massachusetts, on the other hand, hasn’t committed to a $15 minimum wage just yet, but if you were to ask Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, we may as well all start planning on it now. He

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Labor Around The World

President Macron

The election of President Emmanuel Macron in early May upended France’s political system. The sensation continued last week as his party, Republic on the Move!, (which didn’t exist 14 months ago) won the majority in Parliament. This parliamentary victory for Macron is huge, granting him the insurance he needs to push through legislation without much friction. However, there are still French unions to deal with, and while they lost much of their sway in parliament in the last election, Macron knows how important it is to still handle them with care. Click here for a deeper dive.

Australia’s Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is one of the largest unions in the country. And it is about to be under investigation by

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Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson Can We Confirm a Board Already?

This is getting pretty frustrating.

Believe me, I understand that the labor relations tail is never going to wag the dog of any new administration. And to be fair, it took President Obama more than a year to get his first two NLRB seats filled (with the controversial recess appointments of Craig Becker and Mark Pearce). But still.

As far as labor law goes we are currently in the 9th year of the Obama Board. When Obama came into office there was no urgency to fill Board seats because the Board only had two members, one Republican and one Democrat, so effectively everything was on hold. But today we have a Democrat majority Board, with a Democrat General Counsel, that continue to issue decisions and push big labor’s agenda.

The latest projections suggest a full, Republican majority Board in place

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Union Bailout Update

Alex Acosta

At the end of April, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Alex Acosta as Labor Secretary. Acosta replaced initial nominee Andrew Puzder, who withdrew his name from consideration amidst controversy surrounding the hiring of a housekeeper not authorized to work in the U.S., and mishandling the taxes related to her employment.

The Trump administration forwarded the names of two attorneys for background checks, in preparation for appointment to fill the vacant slots on the National Labor Relations Board. Marvin Kaplan is an attorney for the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, an independent federal agency that hears cases involving alleged workplace safety violations and adjudicates disputes between the Labor Department and employers. He previously served as the Republican workforce

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