Reefer Madness

File this in the “what the …?” category. Forty of the Teamsters newest members belong to the fledgling business of marijuana growers.

Although marijuana dispensaries have been allowed to operate for medical purposes in California, federal law technically still prohibits the cultivation of the plant. If the government decided to crack down, there are concerns as to how Teamsters would protect the rights of members whose work constitutes a federal crime. Beyond that, there is a chance that the workers would be classified as farm workers, and as such would fall outside the jurisdiction of the NLRB.

Leave it to the Teamsters to not be deterred by a few legal technicalities. No word yet on using this success as a springboard to organize workers at Taco Bell and Doritos, but we’ll keep you posted.

Michigan Restaurant Chain Under Fire

The AFL-CIO, several Detroit community groups, and UAW president Bob King have joined in calling for a boycott of 11 restaurants in southeast Michigan.

The chain came under fire when the Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC-Michigan) filed a $125,000 lawsuit, charging the business with illegally firing several employees for attempting to organize with ROC. The restaurant settled the NLRB claim by paying one worker $30 in back wages and posting a list of behaviors management would not engage in.

Restaurant owner Joe Vicari denied all of the charges against the business.

Harley-Davidson Employees Read the Tea Leaves

It is finally starting to dawn on manufacturing-sector union members that if they attempt to strangle a business with financial burdens it cannot bear, it is in the company’s interest to pull up roots and move to a state with a more business-friendly climate. Harley-Davidson employees in Wisconsin were the latest to capitulate and accept the company’s last best offer, which created a two-tier workforce, and at one facility called for the elimination of 25% of jobs.

In exchange for the concessions, the jobs will stay in Wisconsin. Harley CEO Keith Wandell sent a letter to the company’s 1,400 Wisconsin union employees warning them that they will have just one chance to ratify the concessions in wages and benefits. The employees include members in two unions, the Steelworkers and the Machinists. The contract has no guarantees, but the company

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SEIU Bank Action

SEIU is turning up the heat on the banking industry, using as their latest tool provisions in the newly minted financial regulation bill. The bill included tough new whistleblower protections for bank employees, but most are unaware of them.

The SEIU is working to change that, goading their membership to take SEIU-created flyers with them when they go to the bank. SEIU wants these foot soldiers to walk into their bank and hand these flyers to the tellers and other bank employees. The flyer informs the employees of their rights under the new law, and starts out, “YOU Can Stop the Next Global Financial Meltdown.”

One Healthcare Facility Falls, Another Stands Firm

Research Medical Center in Kansas City, MO, just became the largest unionized hospital in the state. This brings the total added to the ranks of nurses unionized by National Nurses United (NNU) this year to 4500. These new “recruits” hail from Missouri, Texas, Nevada and Illinois.

NNU was formed last year by the merger of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association.

In Pennsylvania, after a two-year organizing campaign that included coercive tactics and a neutrality agreement, NNU finally pulled the plug on the campaign begun by the CNA. The organizers lost a consent election in July 2009, but filed a series of objections, and eventually talked Hahnemann University Hospital management into disregarding the results and holding another election.

Having had enough, a nurse stepped forward in January 2010 with the help of

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Child Care Scammers Given Pause

We’ve reported on the various state agencies that have teamed up with unions to attempt to railroad home healthcare workers into unions. The Michigan Supreme Court has thrown a temporary wrench into the effort in that state.

A lower court had dismissed a lawsuit challenging the practice. The state supreme court, however, wants the lower court to explain its dismissal.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is suing on behalf of three women who say the union is illegal because child-care providers are not public employees.

Be Careful Who You Are In Bed With

Georgia autoworkers experienced the closure of two large plants between 2006 and 2008 (Ford and GM respectively). In the shadow of the shuttering of these two UAW strongholds, Kia announced the opening of a new plant in the state. The plant is now churning out Kia Sorentos, and not a single former UAW member is working the line.

It is estimated that the Kia plant will provide 3000 nonunion jobs, and another 2600 or so are forecast for suppliers. The key to Kia setting up shop in Georgia was not the pool of talent (they used none of the out-of-work former UAW members from the Ford and GM plants), but Georgia’s status as a right-to-work state. Retired Ford employee J.C. Phillips commented, “They probably wouldn’t have built here if it wasn’t for right to work.”

EFCA Update

It doesn’t seem to matter which way political winds blow – Big Labor continues to find plenty of ways to spend its energy and its members’ dues. They are pouring money into campaigns around the country, and this “funding frenzy” will continue through the November elections. The AFL-CIO just sent 2.5 million pieces of campaign mail targeting Republicans in about 50 congressional and gubernatorial races. Big Labor will continue to demand an aggressive labor agenda. Their push for lame duck session action will probably be determined by the magnitude of their November losses.

Pushback is coming from all quarters. South Dakota is the latest to take up state action to protect the secret ballot for unionization votes. In South Carolina, where a similar measure is

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Hilarious "Daily Show" Video

We hope you enjoy this video about the UFCW as much as we did. This, of course, is a very common tactic for the union, as we’ve reported before here and here.

The most ironic thing about this story is that anyone is surprised at UFCW hypocrisy. “It comes down to greed.” Indeed.

If Motts Is A "Victory", I'd Hate To See What A Defeat Looks Like

Recently workers at Mott’s applesauce plant in Williamson NY declared victory over the parent company Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. To hear unions tell the story you’d think workers at Motts won a great contract after a hard-fought battle with a corporate giant. Of course unions always pretend they win after a strike (after all, who would want to continue to pay dues to a “loser” union?) But what really happened?

Motts was asking for union concessions that would lower workers pay by around $3,000 per year across the board and lower other benefits of the job due to the poor economy. These workers were making $21 per hour in a community where the average wage was $14 per hour. Workers were out on strike for 114 days. If you figure all they lost was 8 hours pay per day

Continue reading If Motts Is A “Victory”, I’d Hate To See What A Defeat Looks Like