Phoenix or Effigy?

king Phoenix or Effigy?Bob King has a rough road in front of him. King is the likely heir to the United Auto Workers throne. Although lauded as an effective organizer and strategist, the UAW suffered enormously through the demise of the auto industry, and has a huge hole to climb out of.

The UAW has shrunk from a high of 1.5 million members to its current historic low of about 470,000. The union shared in the blame for the demise of the auto industry, but came out of the debacle owning 17.5% of GM and 67.7% of Chrysler through its pension trust fund.

King’s strategy appears to focus on community interest and savvy media promotion. Whether that will be enough to overcome the inertia of the languishing American auto industry, and a good amount

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Balancing Act

Research indicates that being flexible around working hours helps create greater levels of employee commitment. Good managers are aware of this and are sensitive to employees’ personal needs and work/life balance. They try to accommodate employees when they have emergencies or special needs by allowing them to leave work early, or arrange flexible work schedules. These practices can be a powerful motivator for employees.

Here are some specific actions you can take now to increase engagement by helping your employees achieve a greater balance between their work and personal lives:

1. Allow one of your best performers to take time off as a reward for an outstanding job in completing an important project. Consider giving them an afternoon off, an extended lunch hour, or a bonus day of vacation if company policy allows. Talk to the employee about what would be most meaningful to him/her.

2. At an upcoming team

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Machinists Shown the Door in Pittsburgh

nlrb Machinists Shown the Door in PittsburghDespite the fact that it is very difficult to decertify a union, the employees of Pittsburgh Precision Turned Products booted the local 623 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE).

Kathleen Lobodinsky led the effort, and had to overcome blocking charges filed by the union attorney. When the National Right To Work Legal Defense Fund helped Lobodinsky compile evidence to dispute the union’s charges, the union tucked its tail and withdrew their allegations. Upon securing signatures from at least 30% of the employees, an election was held and the union was declared decertified.

“Instead of defending their presence in the workplace, union bosses often resort to frivolous legal schemes to stop employees from voting out an unwanted union,” said Patrick Semmens, Legal Information Director

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Public Lever For Private Organizing

The Change to Win labor federation recently charged CVS Caremark Corporation of not offering the lowest possible drug prices to Kansas public employees. This looks like a typical ploy out of the Big Labor corporate campaign playbook.

According to CVS spokeswoman Carolyn Castel, Change to Win has ”recklessly and deliberately distorted” information about the company. She said the union is angry that CVS won’t agree to card check recognition in organizing campaigns, but instead continues to insist on secret ballot elections to protect the privacy of employees.

The 3-year contract to provide the pharmacy services expires in December, and as the Kansas legislature seeks bids for contract renewal, Change to Win is interjecting its accusations into the process.

SEIU Watch

seiu1 SEIU WatchAndy Stern and the SEIU continue to be the lightening rod for undemocratic tactics within Big Labor itself. At a recent speech to the AFL-CIO, UNITE-HERE President John Wilhelm highlighted Stern’s divisive role in the labor movement, and bemoaned that Stern has Obama’s ear as a “spokesperson” for Big Labor.

When you look at the pattern of SEIU activity it becomes very clear that we cannot let SEIU define or speak for the labor movement. First we see a disturbing pattern of corruption…

Second, SEIU has managed to create a myth around its organizing program that does a disservice to the labor movement. The reality is that SEIU has utterly failed to organize in the private sector…

Politically, under Andy Stern, SEIU has become a willing participant with Democrats who engage in

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12 Union Myths Exposed

In our fourth installment of The Cato Journal’s January 2010 “Are unions good for America?” issue, we cover the fourth myth.

Here is The Homeland Stupidity web site’s synopsis of this myth, and a link to each of the 12 Cato articles.

Myth Number Four: Prevailing wage laws are good for competition, improve safety and quality, and help train new workers.

Fact: Prevailing wage laws stifle competition, have no effect on job safety and quality, and do nothing to help train new workers. The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, signed into law by President Herbert Hoover, mandates that on federal construction projects, workers be paid the so-called “prevailing wage” for similar local workers. In practice, the wage is set far higher than the actual prevailing wage, closely mirroring union pay scales. This virtually locks out nonunion construction workers from federal contracts.

George C. Leef, director of the Pope Center for

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Overflow Crowd at Organizing Boot Camp

hoffa Overflow Crowd at Organizing Boot CampOver 600 Teamster members gathered in Covina, California for the largest yet in a series of organizing boot camps. Union General President Jim Hoffa was on hand to greet the crowd. “You’re here, you’re enthusiastic and you want to be a part of something,” Hoffa said. “This boot camp is standing room only on a Saturday morning. You have the commitment it takes to organize and a vision for growing the Teamsters Union.”

Director of Organizing Jeff Farmer commented, “while other unions are retrenching, we are aggressively organizing. In these tough economic times, Teamsters are fighting back – and winning! The best defense is a good offense.” For 2009, nearly 1200 Teamsters attended the 22 boot camps, which included organizers from 170 Teamster locals, surpassing Hoffa’s goal of 1000 new organizers last year.

Union Fat Cats

We recently mentioned the amazing growth of union staff salaries. Labor insiders are beginning to hop on the same bandwagon, highlighting the top echelon of the pay scale for scrutiny.

When Labor Notes took a look at data filed under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), they found that between the years of 2000 and 2008, the number of union staff earning more than $100,000 and those earning more than $150,000 a year both tripled!

howMuchIsTooMuch 300 Union Fat Cats

Labor Notes bemoaned the payment of excessive salaries at the expense of funding organizing efforts at a time when union densities have been plummeting. According to their calculations, placing a salary cap of $150,000 on total compensation (many officers double their salaries or better with reimbursable expenses, car allowances, etc.) would provide

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EFCA Update

health care EFCA UpdateA healthcare bill has passed. That is probably the most significant statement to make about the Employee Free Choice Act and labor law change this week. Although Big Labor had a dog in the healthcare fight, the energy consumed diminished progress on Labor’s more pressing objectives. “The attempt to get a health care bill sort of sucked all the oxygen out of the room,” asserts David Zonderman, a labor history professor at North Carolina State University. “I don’t think anyone would disagree — whether you’re in favor of or against [health care reform] — that it has taken up a phenomenal amount of legislative time.”

Now that the healthcare bridge has been crossed, Big Labor is hopeful and business interests are nervous about what may happen next on

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Senator Harkin: Becker Will Get Recess Appointment

FireDog Lake is reporting that, according to Senator Tom Harkin, Craig Becker will receive a recess appointment during the Easter Congressional recess. Not a complete shock, especially given the outcome of the healthcare debate. I imagine things will start hopping over at the NLRB once Chairman Liebman has Mr. Becker on her squad. Can you say “rulemaking?”