Union Life Raft Losing Air

The upcoming reapportionment, based on the 2010 census, is a study in contrasts.

States that will gain seats include Texas (four seats), Florida (two seats), Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington (one seat each). States losing seats are New York and Ohio (two seats each) and Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania at one seat apiece.

Now, do a quick comparison. The states gaining seats have an average state personal tax rate of 2.8% – those losing seats 6.05%. Per capita government spending is lower in the states gaining seats ($4008) vs. the losers ($5117). And, in 8 of the 10 loser states, workers can be forced to join a union as a condition of their employment, whereas 7 of the 8 winning states are Right-To-Work states.

Americans intuitively know what’s best for

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More Money Madness?

Law officials are still trying to unravel how much Big Labor was involved in money shenanigans during the recent election cycle. The Manhattan DA’s office has opened a probe into the Transport Workers Union Local 100, attempting to ascertain whether the union local’s new boss, John Samuelsen, mishandled some of the $400,000 pot of political money.

The probe started when documents were allegedly handed over by an employee recently fired by Samuelsen. “This is all political nonsense,” Samuelsen said. “Everything I’ve done was done responsibly and within the boundaries of the union’s constitution.” That may be true. Unfortunately for Samuelson, being within the boundaries of the union’s constitution isn’t quite the same thing as being legal.

A Change Of Uniform

Fidel Garza used to wear the logo of American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO Local Union 2063. He’ll soon wear the uniform of the New Mexico prison system. It seems he couldn’t distinguish between his personal credit cards and those of his union.

Garza will serve four months in prison and three years of supervised probation, and is required to pay $77,400 in restitution to the union local, and $10,000 to Fidelity Deposit Company of Maryland.

SEIU Watch

When two SEIU members attempted to support a rival union (UNITE HERE), SEIU retaliated by attempting to include contract language during the latest round of talks with their employer to reduce their pay and advancement opportunities. The NLRB lodged an unfair labor practice against the Rochester Regional Joint Board of Workers United (an SEIU affiliate).

In its ongoing battle with the NUHW, a judge denied the SEIU’s request to squelch the activities of the NUHW by increasing the amount of the bond the NUHW was required to post after the April $1.57 million jury verdict. “The court is convinced that the true reasons motivating plaintiffs’ counsel and plaintiffs have to do with vengeance and retribution and not with maintaining the integrity of the Bar of the State of California,” the judge stated in court documents.

SEIU lost

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Campus Heat

In a 2 to 1 NLRB decision, the board agreed to reconsider allowing graduate students to unionize, paving the way for the board to issues a full-hearing decision soon. Private universities would then have to contend with the potential of grad students organizing under such stalwart unions as the United Auto Workers, much like their public university cousins do now. Prof. Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell, believes that urban universities would be the most ripe for organizing, because they have more “students of color and students with a personal or family background in labor.”

Almost under the radar, the SEIU is running a full court press to organize on private university campuses (see this recent example at Colgate). They are also extending their reach beyond their usual constituents (cafeteria and janitorial

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Social Media Savvy

This week, we had an interesting conversation with the HR director of a large company that recently defeated a union organizing drive. When we asked her about the use of social media and technology in the counter-organizing campaign, she laughed and described how her efforts were trounced by the union. Their internal email systems were constantly taken over by those working on behalf of the union, text messages and voice mails were left on employees cell phones at two o’clock in the morning, and web sites and social media pages in support of the union effort flourished. She had to adopt a strategy of simply conceding the social media/technology effort to the union, and apologizing to the employees for the unauthorized messaging they were receiving through supposedly protected, internal channels.

In just the last week we have run two related stories:

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EFCA Update

The Administration is using another federal agency to bring pressure on health care organizations. The goal is to subject these heavily regulated organizations to further legal scrutiny, which can in turn be used by Big Labor in organizing and/or corporate campaigns. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is trying to use hospitals’ status as a TRICARE network provider (TRICARE is the Defense Department’s healthcare program for uniformed service members and their families) to qualify them as “subcontractors” who would fall under the OFCCP jurisdiction.

In yet a further “tilt” to unions, the administration posted a list of 111 companies or groups that received waivers from having to participate in the Obama healthcare scheme, and 13 of those entities were unions or union-related. The administration attempted to keep the news quiet, and buried the list 6 clicks

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Union Against Proposed Watchdog

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) is the nation’s largest municipally owned utility. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represents thousands of their employees. Consumer groups and members of the city council have been attempting since 2008 to put in place a “watchdog” to hold the utility more accountable to the public it serves. The debate has reared up again as the council is attempting to put a ballot measure on a March ballot to institute the watchdog. According to the Los Angeles Times, the debate comes two weeks after two DWP employees were arrested on suspicion of defrauding the utility by making at least $3 million in inflated purchases from “dummy” companies. And it comes six months after two television news stations aired video that appeared to show DWP workers

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Stop The "Paycheck Fairness Act!"

The Senate is set to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act next week. This is another instance of governmental meddling in business affairs. It authorizes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Department of Labor (DOL) to gather wage information from all employers. Among the reasons to oppose the bill,

1) more governmental interference in business 2) having to reveal more competitive data to the government (payscales, etc) 3) cost of having to comply with prying agencies wanting data 4) unions eventual use of the law in corporate campaigns and organizing drives

Make no mistake, Big Labor will find a way to use this law as additional leverage against American businesses. Write your senator TODAY to oppose the act.