Whistlin’ Dixie (Organizing in the South)

berke Whistlin Dixie (Organizing in the South)

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke

The big story in the south is dying down as the UAW announced Monday morning it was withdrawing its objection to the recent election results at the Chattanooga VW plant. Perhaps the move by Gov. Haslam and Senator Corker to ask the NLRB to revoke the UAW subpoenas compelling them to testify in the unions challenge led the union to believe their case would collapse.

The VW victory in Chattanooga has been tempered by a recently revealed deal that the city’s mayor cut with another union, the SEIU, signing a memorandum of understanding that makes the union “the authorized representative of all general government employees” of the City of Chattanooga. Mayor Berke is

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PR Spin

Big Labor’s go-to PR firm, BerlinRosen, has had some pretty successful days over the past year creating big media events for the Service Employees and their organizing drive on fast-food restaurants; and additionally for the Food and Commercial Workers in their attack on Wal-Marts across the country. It appears, however, that their inspiring efforts to make the country believe all these protesting union members are in fact low-wage employees begging for a better life is backfiring.

Recent data from the Labor Department revealed that BerlinRosen received $6 million dollars in income from labor unions in the last two years alone; “fast food workers” have been caught protesting for the SEIU; and the press is getting nearly identical sob stories at rallies that are supposed to be independent of each other, shredding any credibility for the PR stunts.

Collection Agency Boom in Michigan?

The right to work law recently passed in Michigan has finally given the staff of the teachers unions legitimate work to do – as collection agents!

When the right to work law went into effect in Michigan, so did a complimentary state law prohibiting school districts from collecting dues on behalf of the union. One year in, the Michigan Education Association reports that around 8000 members have yet to complete paperwork allowing the money to be automatically deducted from their paychecks by the union. The MEA established a new policy to attempt to go after the laggards. Once someone falls 90 days behind and three attempts have been made to contact them, a collection agency will be turned loose to try to collect.

Other unions may find themselves in the same boat as existing contracts expire and more employers find themselves free from dues collection responsibilities.

SEIU Watch – April 2014

MarkKirk 300x281 SEIU Watch April 2014

Sen. Mark Kirk

The SEIU gets accused of being corrupt fairly often – and rightfully so. So why is it such a big deal this time? Perhaps because the man pointing the finger, Sen. Mark Kirk, is a supporter of Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner; and it’s no secret that Rauner would like to yank the state of Illinois out of the hands of the unions.

This presents a big problem for SEIU, especially after spending the last 14 years in bed with Gov. Pat Quinn, Rauner’s rival in the upcoming election. Since 2000, Gov. Quinn has accepted more than $4 million from the union. Thus far that $4 million has helped flush an additional 150,000 union members into the SEIU camp.

Word Play at Subaru

subaru 300x115 Word Play at Subaru

You may remember last month when the Carpenters Local 201 tried to “shame” Subaru of Wichita for not using union labor during a remodel. The union posted a sign just outside of the dealership that stated in bold red letters: “Shame on Subaru of Wichita” with the phrase “labor dispute” dusted on the corners. It was a most inspiring bullying tactic that quickly opened the door for Subaru to become a model for turning bad PR into good PR with their quick crafting of an almost identical sign that countered: “For Having Unbeatable Prices.”

Upset at the company’s keen reaction, Local 201 relocated their sign to make it stand apart from Subaru’s new marketing strategy. Not to worry though! A simple grammatical change, and a prepositional phrase was born.

Nice job, Subaru.

Target Takes a Stand

Target has been getting a lot of attention recently due to a leaked company video. The video discusses the effect unionization might have on their work environment and further attempts to persuade employees to “keep Target union free.” No surprise here, but a lot of people are upset about this.

Union supporters believe that since it is illegal for them to hold captive audience meetings within an institution they are trying to organize, the company leaders should be withheld the same opportunity. The problem is that to do so would violate both the First Amendment and NLRA. That hasn’t stopped Oregon or Wisconsin from passing laws that ban captive audience meetings on the subject of unionization within the workplace. Five other states have proposed similar legislation.

When employers do not hold mandatory meetings during an organizing drive, the union wins the election 73% of the time. However, when

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SEIU in Cahoots with OSHA

On the Record with Greta Van Susteren recently interviewed Professional Janitorial Service’s CEO, Brent Southwell, to get his take on SEIU organizers tagging along during OSHA’s last few on site inspections. PJS in Houston, Texas is a private, non-unionized company. Watch the interview here.

E-mail Sharing

There’s one thing we all have in common; and that is dealing with unwanted e-mails. It seems to have become acceptable to many organizations to market to private e-mail accounts without the owner realizing they signed up to be on that mailing list. Oftentimes, they didn’t. They signed up with another group who shared their information with someone else.

This is the current agreement between Together Baton Rouge and the Service Employees International Union. When you sign up with TBR, you unknowingly sign up to receive correspondence from SEIU.

Pay attention to the local organizations you give your information to as this tactic is surely being utilized by more unions than SEIU.

NLRB Holds Open Meeting

The National Labor Relations Board will hold a public hearing on April 10 and 11, 2014 over the proposed procedural amendments for filing and processing representative-case petitions. The meeting will begin at 9:00am eastern on both days and will be streamed live at http://www.nlrb.gov/openmeeting.

Click here for an outline of the key issues up for discussion.

Interesting Interview on Labor’s Decline

Check out this really interesting interview with activist Staughton Lynd. His critique of today’s labor movement and the reasons for its historical decline are spot-on. While you’ll undoubtedly disagree with his ultimate solution (socialism of course) there is a lot to chew on in this interview. The one thing that jumped out to me is his argument that the dues-checkoff is a big part of the decline of unions. Very worthwhile read.

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