INK: January 07, 2011

inkquill22 Labor Relations INK

In this issue:

Union Bailout Update Storm Center Over Wisconsin Unions, Crime, and the Mob Labor Relations Insight, Social Media Spotlight, Sticky Fingers and more…

Labor Relations Insight by Phillip Wilson

EFCA, we hardly knew ye.

With this issue of INK we finally officially lay the Employee Free Choice Act to rest. While the writing’s been on the wall for a while unions continued to threaten action on the bill during the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress. With the swearing in of the 112th Congress this week, I think even the strongest EFCA supporters must now admit it is officially dead.

If you’ve been reading INK recently you know that EFCA

Continue reading INK: January 07, 2011

EFCA, we hardly knew ye

EFCA, we hardly knew ye.

With this issue of INK we finally officially lay the Employee Free Choice Act to rest. While the writing’s been on the wall for a while unions continued to threaten action on the bill during the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress. With the swearing in of the 112th Congress this week, I think even the strongest EFCA supporters must now admit it is officially dead.

If you’ve been reading INK recently you know that EFCA hasn’t really been the issue for a while. The action has been – and will continue to be – at the agency level. For example, three days before Christmas the NLRB put a big lump of coal in nearly every private employer’s stocking.

On December 22nd the NLRB filed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will require every employer covered by

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Corporate Campaign Before the Doors Open

The Teamsters didn’t even wait until VWR International could open the doors of its new 500,000 square foot distribution center in Visalia, CA, before they brought pressure to bear in the form of a lawsuit. The Teamsters levied charges that the company has not complied with environmental specifications, despite the fact that Visalia’s Assistant City Manager Mike Olmos claims the facility has fulfilled all the necessary obligations. It would appear the Teamsters are already angling to snag the 150 new employees as union members.

Another Union-Created Bailout?

In the last two years, 15 municipalities have sought bankruptcy protection. Their financial woes were partly fueled by pay and benefit packages, particularly pension benefits, of their unionized employees. Although bankrupt municipalities in Michigan may not seem to be a problem for a rancher in Oklahoma, if the federal government steps in to create another tax-funded bailout, the connection becomes direct.

California has already come begging to Congress, and thankfully the 111th cohort said “no.” There currently exists no provision for states to declare bankruptcy, and this may force Congress’ hand to drain taxpayer pockets for more “bailouts” unless some mechanism can be found to offer states a way out.

Same Song, Second Verse

The United Autoworkers plans to take another run at the U.S. assembly plants of foreign automakers, beginning this month. UAW President Bob King was good enough to warn the CEOs of the automakers by letter, explaining that he wanted to organize their plants and “cooperate to improve performance.” Supposedly he could point to the debacle of the U.S. automaker bailouts as an example of “improved performance…?” King has not revealed who the first target will be, or how the CEOs responded.

King released a document intended to be the roadmap for the organizing drive, titled “UAW Principles for Fair Union Elections.” The document outlines 11 ideals designed to give the union leverage in an organizing campaign. King hopes to persuade the automakers to abide by the “principles,” but if they don’t, he’s announced he’s willing to tap into the $800 million UAW strike reserves

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SEIU Interest In Higher Ed

The Service Employees interest in institutions of higher learning has nothing to do with education, and everything to do with finding sources for dues extraction. Its latest target appears to be cafeteria workers in university campuses. Much like their Justice for Janitors initiative designed to place all cleaning personnel in a particular city under a global contract, they hope to group all of the employees at various cafeterias in a city into a single bargaining unit.

While the SEIU attempts to find its footing after the abrupt departure of Andy Stern for greener pastures, SEIU still finds itself with a reputation in need of repair. The Tea Party Nation recently named SEIU in a list of the 5 top liberal hate groups of 2010. According the TPN report, “SEIU is a group that has not been shy

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Unions, Crime, and The Mob

Paula Dorsey worked at the Milwaukee Public Library, and managed to run up a gambling debt of over $200,000. How so on her salary? She was also the president of District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and embezzled over $180,000 of dues-payer’s money to feed her addiction. After the bank called to inquire about unusual transactions, she turned herself in, and was sentenced to just 3 years probation.

Should you believe that unions and organized crime are no longer joined at the hip, two more former members of the International Longshoremen’s Association in New Jersey have recently been indicted for crimes tied directly to the Genovese crime family. Albert Cernadas Sr., a former vice president of the ILA and president of ILA Local 1235 in Newark, pleaded guilty five years

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Social Media Spotlight

We mentioned in our Social Media Strategy Call a couple of weeks ago that companies should set up social media “listening” tools, and spend some time researching the kinds of sites and sources that might provide ammunition for organizing drives and/or corporate campaign tactics. We pointed out a recent site that tracks subsidies provided to businesses, and mentioned how information provided by that sight could be used in this fashion. This story highlights how the information has already been used against one such company (IKEA).

In a Canadian court case, after an 18-month tussle, a settlement was reached between Walmart and the UFCW over trademark infringement on a UFCW-managed web site. The only visible impact on the web property was the elimination of a mark that looked similar to the Walmart logo – the rest

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ASA Pitches In With Unite Here

The American Sociological Association pulled their 5000 conference attendees from two Chicago hotels that were scheduled to receive the guests in August during the annual affair. The announcement came one day before a planned Unite Here one-day strike. According to Sally Hillsman, the association’s executive officer, “our members have been concerned that we meet in hotels where workers are treated properly in terms of wages and other working conditions.

Unite Here manages a web site designed to steer guests away from hotels that either are not unionized, or are experiencing contract disputes. Perhaps a better use for the site would be for businesses owners to find non-unionized hotels upon which to bestow their patronage!

Storm Center Over Wisconsin

Between November and December 2010, four University of Wisconsin campuses filed for union representation election with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. The American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin spearheaded a card signing campaign across the campuses of UW-La Crosse, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Stout. Faculty at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Superior elected AFT-Wisconsin to represent them in the spring of 2010.