12 Union Myths Expose

In our third installment of The Cato Journal’s January 2010 “Are unions good for America?” issue, we cover the third 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 Three: Project labor agreements reduce project costs and delays and are good for construction workers as a whole.

Fact: Project labor agreements increase costs and only help union workers. PLAs are agreements between construction project owners and unions that contractors on the project must use union labor, even if they otherwise would not. David G. Tuerck, economics professor and chair at Suffolk University, cites numerous examples of how nonunion workers were harmed when they worked under PLAs, “first by forcing them to pay twice for benefits already offered their workers and second by forcing pay cuts on their workers.” Then, unions use veiled threats

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Health Industry In For Rough Ride

health care Health Industry In For Rough RideAlthough the latest data indicates that union membership in the private sector has been shrinking, the trends for health care are moving in the opposite direction. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed that 693,000 health care workers were union members in 2000 (about 12.9%). In 2009 the number rose to 962,000 (13.6%).

Early indications for 2010 seem to indicate the trend will continue. “Unions very much want to gain inroads in expanding sectors of the labor force, and they know that if they can organize nurses and other health care workers, they will have a future,” said Gary Chaison, PhD, professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. “Second, nurses and other health care workers feel a

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EFCA Update

Our friends at LaborPains.org reframed the fight over the Employee Free Choice Act quite well: EFCA is now a proxy label for an ongoing fight between the interests of Big Labor and U.S. businesses. It is highly unlikely that the original EFCA will ever see the light of day as an intact piece of legislation, or that it will ever even move forward as such. That hasn’t stopped Big Labor leadership or their political puppets (like VP Biden) from pushing it, nor the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from fighting against it. Both sides now seem to use “EFCA” as shorthand for aggressive labor law change, whether legislative or regulatory.

Some still suggest that U.S. business leadership is quite in the dark about the dangers posed by even incremental changes to labor law. As James V. Meath put it,

“In short, they [the unions] don’t need

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Open Government?

dol Open Government?Yesterday I got an interesting email from the Department of Labor. The DOL is soliciting ideas for “Open Government.”

“Open government” ranks right up there with “jumbo shrimp” or “civil war” in the oxymoron department. I’d love to see an estimate of the carbon footprint of the Freedom of Information Act. I know we send in thousands of FOIA requests each year to try to get supposedly “public” documents from our government.

The email from DOL says its goal is to increase, “transparency, collaboration, and participation within DOL as part of the White House Open Government Initiative.” They invited me to share my ideas online. As opposed to just sharing them on the DOL website, I thought I’d share them with our readers. There’s a heck of a lot more people reading this newsletter

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Free Choice Act Hypocrisy

Henry Nicholas, President of AFSCME Local 1199C in Philadelphia, is a “staunch supporter” of card-check… unless it applies to him. Nicholas declined to recognize a unit of his own office staff based on union cards and instead is making them seek an NLRB election. While we agree that a secret ballot election is the best way to settle these things, the Philadelphia Inquirer notes:

Ironically, their employer, longtime labor leader Henry Nicholas, declined to recognize the bargaining unit when he was presented with signed petition cards from a majority of the workers.

Nicholas is a staunch supporter of a proposed federal law known as “card check,” which would allow unions to organize workplaces without a separate election if a majority of workers sign cards requesting representation.

Henry, if you really don’t want your office organized you ought to consider bringing in some professional union avoidance

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American Airlines Strike?

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants who represent 18,000 flight attendants are seeking to be released from mediation as a possible stepping stone to a strike. Five days of negotiations were not enough to come to an agreement between company and union, with both accusing the other to be at fault. This could be a crushing move by in already bad economy. Stay tuned, we will keep you updated.

Union Organizing: An Insider’s View

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is offering a course Principles & Practices of Organizing in Communities & Organizations for students. According to the professor offering the class, the course has filled up “astonishingly fast” and may expand into a larger, more intensive program for organizing.

Breaking News: Becker Still in Play

According to the AP, Hilda Solis telegraphed to union leaders today that Craig Becker may get recess appointed to the NLRB during the Easter recess.

Stern Criticized by San Francisco Dems

San Francisco’s elected Democratic officials are coming out against the SEIU’s takeover of the UHW.  As you may recall the SEIU local headed by Sal Rosselli with over 150,000 members challenged Andy Sterns leadership, causing a civil war within the SEIU.  Rosselli has started a new union the NUHW which has moved to decertify the SEIU in favor of the NUHW.  The elected officials in a letter to the SEIU are asking for a democratic election without intimidation, harassment and coercion.  Good luck.

Corporate Campaign School?

The Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Research is offering a one-week course for students who are interested in anti-corporate campaign research. Any company concerned about a potential anti-corporate campaign activity should study what is being taught that week.