Wisconsin Battle Resuscitates Big Labor

In the wake of protests over budget cutting measures in Madison and around the country, Big Labor is enjoying a surge of energy, unity and public approval not seen in generations.

A number of polls taken over the past two weeks indicate growing support for public unions and “collective bargaining rights” over budget cutting measures and the governors who attempt to enact them. Clearly the unions are winning the PR war, branding themselves as the voice and last hope of the “average working American.” Unprecedented media attention of the last month has catapulted the usual union talking points out of the local newsletter and onto the front page of the New York Times — as unions go so goes the middle class —

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Union Bailout Update

With all eyes riveted on the public-sector union debates in Wisconsin and other states, the NLRB in Washington is still toiling away to provide every possible advantage to Big Labor.

We mentioned in our last issue of INK the prospect of “micro-unions,” or the ability of unions to carve out pre-determined smaller groups of employees, similar to what occurs in the healthcare industry already. In a National Review Online article, former NLRB member Peter Kirsanow outlined what the Specialty Healthcare decision (still being considered by the board) could mean to employers. In his view, the change could:

• Make it much easier for unions to organize a workplace…The new standard would permit a union to cherry-pick only those employees it believes support the union • Increase the probability that a workplace will have multiple bargaining units

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Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson

What Wisconsin Means to Private Sector Employers

I’ve been on the road speaking a lot lately. The first question I get asked after a speech now is, “what do you think about what’s happening in Wisconsin?”

As it turns out I am writing this month’s Insight while flying home from Milwaukee. Earlier in the day the Wisconsin Senate voted to strictly limit collective bargaining rights for public employees. Thus I am perfectly positioned to give you a report based on conditions on the ground at the epicenter of the labor movement’s “re-awakening.”

Here is the report: it is still winter in Wisconsin (6 inches of snow fell in about 40 minutes this morning) and the beer is as good as ever (if you ever get the chance, try the Ballistic IPA from Ale Asylum in Madison – it is

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UAW / General Motors contract

What are work rules? They are agreements negotiated in the contract between management and the union covering how the employees are to be classified, how many breaks they get, how much time off they get, who can do which jobs, how discipline is to be enforced, etc. The goal of the rules is not to enhance productivity or production quality. It is to provide opportunities for featherbedding, increase numbers of (overpaid) jobs for union workers, and minimize how much they have to actually work. This is important because it’s at least in theory possible that the industry could be making money even at current wages, if they could be provided with the flexibility to increase

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“Selfish” Strike Strands Thousands Without Power

A tentative agreement may end the four day strike that left businesses and residents of Ewa Beach scrambling to make due without power last Friday after Hawaiian Electric workers walked off the job in the wake of a major windstorm.

State Rep. Kimberly Pine (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) said IBEW Local 1260 workers should be “ashamed of themselves” for their actions. “I find this completely unacceptable and selfish to walk off during a crisis in my community,” Pine said. “There is a time and a place to negotiate salary, and now is not the time. They have an obligation to help people first.”

Details were not released of the tentative agreement reached Monday by a federal mediator between HECO and IBEW local

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Enough is Enough

The Hyatt Regency Indianapolis has taken the unusual step of petitioning for an NLRB union election to end years of harassment by UNITEHERE. (Read the full story here) Hyatt management says their 140 employees are fed up with phone calls, picket lines and, worst of all, harassing home visits from union organizers. Employees want an election to prove the majority are not interested in union representation. They are also concerned with how the UNITEHERE boycott and claims of “labor unrest” continue to impact hotel business and ultimately their jobs. Hyatt also went on the offensive against UNITEHERE in California, requesting two NLRB elections under similar circumstances.

The Case for Reform of the Railway Labor Act

Cutting edge insights into the RLA as it effects transportation workers in today’s economy, co-written by LRI vice-president Russ Brown. Read the full transcript here.

With Congress having rejected changing the law to favor unionization, the Obama administration is now pursuing unionization through regulation, which will benefit no one other than the administration’s union allies. Circumventing the people’s elected representatives is unacceptable. Congress needs to hold National Mediation Board accountable for any attempt to do so. In addition, Congress should reform the Railway Labor Act to make the election process more responsive to workers.

The choice of whether to join a union or not should belong to the workers, not union organizers or government bureaucrats.


Michigan Ends Union Dues Grab (but allows another)

In a surprise move, the Michigan Department of Social Services announced Tuesday it would no longer be withholding “union dues” from the checks of 16,500 home child care providers. In 2006, these providers were forced into “Child Care Providers Together Michigan”, a joint venture between the UAW and AFSCME. Since that time, the CCPTM has done next to nothing for their new “members” except to collect over $3.7 million in dues from them.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of three providers by Mackinac Center for Public Policy has drawn intense scrutiny to the scam over the past year. Last fall the Department of Social Services admitted the providers were in fact not state employees, (they are hired and fired by the parents of the children they care for) thus validating the Center’s contention that the state had made the unprecedented move of requiring union membership from

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The Tyranny of Noodles

This entertaining video lends insight into the average middle class working Americans who took over the state house in Madison, Wisconsin.

As it turns out, anyone who works for someone else is living in tyranny and oppression! Who knew!

Wisconsin Labor Protests and International Socialism

INK: February 25, 2011

inkquill22 Labor Relations INK

In this issue:

Union Bailout Update New, Useful Websites Say Goodbye To More NJ Teamsters Scoreboard, Social Media Spotlight, Only In A Union and more…

Union Bailout Update

The fur is beginning to fly as new administrations, both in D.C. and in many of the states, begin to tie union issues to budget problems, and work to unravel the choke hold that Big Labor has had on legislative and regulatory processes the last few years. The NLRB backed down when 4 state Attorneys General rebuffed the NLRB General Counsel’s threat to sue. In a letter back to the Attorneys General, the acting GC said, “As you have unanimously

Continue reading INK: February 25, 2011