Use The Big Stick!

Bemoaning the fact that there were only 5 strikes last year of 1000 workers or more (and 3 of those were public union strikes), labor editorialist Joe Burns is calling on unions to man-up, and invoke one of its most powerful weapons.

Harkening back to the nostalgic 1970s, when there were over 200 major strikes per year, Burns calls on Big Labor to look beyond the current emphasis of corporate campaigns and political machinations,

We’ve done 20 years of corporate campaigns. Absent strikes that stop business as usual, they will never hit employers hard enough to fundamentally alter the relationship between workers and bosses. Unionism must be based on power and in particular the power to force a different distribution of wealth in society.

Unionists need a new approach. Labor law reform is stalled, public employees are under attack, and, while unions must organize or die, an organizing

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Big Labor Fights To Protect Bad Nurses

The California Nurses Association (now folded into the United American Nurses super-union) continually promotes mandated nurse/patient ratios based almost solely on the argument that it is in the best interests of the patient. Unfortunately, it is quite obvious that patient care is far from the list of foremost concerns of the nurses union, or any other union for that matter. The Chamber of Commerce neatly sums up the latest travesty perpetrated upon the California public by Big Labor:

ProPublica and the L.A. Times have published the results of a joint investigation into the failed oversight of California’s health professionals, finding underfunding, omitted criminal background checks, failure to monitor those placed on probation and even failure to act against nurses whose egregious misconduct had already been thoroughly documented and sanctioned by other government agencies, including loss

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Inconvenient History

Historian and author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., recently released an editorial on the history of the labor movement. Occasionally, it helps to go back to root issues, so as not to become trapped in fallacious arguments founded on false pretext. We thought it beneficial to quote from the article at length, but I encourage you to read the entire piece.

The standard tale that practically every student hears over the course of his education is that before the emergence of labor unions, American workers were terribly exploited and their wages were consistently falling. The improvement in labor’s condition was due entirely or at least in large part to labor unionism and favorable federal legislation. In the absence of these, it is widely assumed, people would still be working 80-hour weeks and children would still be

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IAM Organizers Get Nasty

Delta employees have apparently been harassed at their homes, incurring a voice message to the employees from CEO Richard Anderson directing them to call the cops for help if they feel threatened. Some employees have charged that organizers for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have frightened their children and spouses, and even blocked driveways, not allowing residents to leave their homes.

“Conduct like this is harassment. It’s wrong,” Anderson said. “This is not how we treat people at Delta.” IAM officials deny the charge (of course).

When Northwest Airlines was acquired by Delta in a 2008 merger, IAM organizers were energized to attempt to bring the Delta ground workers and flight attendants into the union fold. Similar employees had been unionized at Northwest, but not at Delta. IAM organizers were just handed

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SEIU Watch

Mary Kay Henry

SEIU officially has a new head, Mary Kay Henry. One of Big Labor’s own media voices perhaps painted the picture least tainted by PR “bloat.”

For her part, Mary Kay Henry has been rapidly accumulating plaudits that are similarly disconnected from reality, although widely disseminated by media outlets ranging from Politico to The New York Times to our very own In These Times. For example, it was actually suggested earlier this week, in the Times, that Henry is “someone fresh and new,” when in fact she is a quintessential product of the SEIU managerial class recruited and installed by Stern or his predecessor, John Sweeney, over the last 30 years.

As to her qualifications to represent “working people?” Again, quoting from Working In These Times:

Unlike Stern and Burger—but like a majority of

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Big Win for Big Labor

The National Mediation Board, which oversees union elections in the rail and airline industries, just made it vastly easier for unions to organize those businesses. Rules were changed, so that instead of a majority of all voters needed to vote a union in, all that is now required is a majority of those who vote.

12 Union Myths Exposed

In our seventh installment of The Cato Journal’s January 2010 “Are unions good for America?” issue, we cover the seventh 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 Seven: Teachers’ unions work to increase the quality of children’s education.

Fact: Teachers’ unions work to increase their membership rolls and their political power, at the expense of your children’s education. While collective bargaining has done little to increase the salaries of union public school teachers over nonunion public school teachers, these unions perform a different service for their members: preventing them from having to educate children. Andrew J. Coulson, director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, explains that teachers’ unions strongly oppose government reforms which would improve the quality of K-12 education, such as charter schools, vouchers, and property

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EFCA Update

In the latest policy paper from the American Enterprise Institute, the calculators have been pulled out, and the potential damage to the US economy created by the implementation of the Employee Free Choice Act has been tallied. To quote the paper:

If the EFCA returns unionization rates to 1970s levels, it could reduce economy- wide employment and gross domestic product by close to 4 percent. This translates to about 4.5 million jobs lost and over $500 billion in lost output and income. Job loss resulting from EFCA will tend to fall disproportionately on workers with relatively low levels of education and skills. Ironically, these are the very workers the proposed legislation is intended to help.

Even though the original bill will most likely not see the light of day as

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Positive Employee Relations: Is Authentic Leadership Universal?

All positive employee relations environments require strong, authentic leaders. But is authentic leadership universal? Does it apply across different industries or even different cultures?

Let’s say you’re a functional corporate director with a six-figure income and responsibility for a few million dollars of company business. Part of the people you oversee are hourly employees with high-school education working in one of the business units you oversee. How do you — who they might consider a “stuffed shirt” from corporate — effectively communicate with and coach them?

We run into this situation all the time with our clients. I believe that being “authentic” is the master key to relating, communicating and coaching in the workplace, no matter the environment. Here are 3 tips I give on authentic leadership:

1. It starts with a mirror. While nobody I know

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SEIU President Henry Faces First Test

Interesting article on the first real test of new SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. She definitely has a lot of fence-mending to do in the wake of her predecessor.