Steelworkers Strike Oil Industry

The current Steelworkers strike, which has extended to 12 refineries, 2 chemical plants, and 1 co-generation facility across 6 states, is the union’s largest since 1980. The strike, which is supposedly focused primarily on safety concerns, began when two weeks of contract negotiations between the union and Shell fell through. Taking place against the backdrop of a record drop in oil prices, industry leaders are caught between cutting back on spending and providing sufficient safety standards for their employees.

The support in Houston, Texas has sparked some debate over whether or not this will give Big Labor more of a foothold in a state that has historically showed little interest in union representation. Steve Roppolo, an employment attorney with Fisher & Phillips, believes “It’s not like they can’t make headway…but there are significant cultural and other barriers, including Texans’ independent streak that leads many to be wary of

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Unions Funding Illegal Political Activities?

catalist-logoA watchdog group has accused the SEIU, the AFL-CIO and its member unions, and other unions and progressive groups of providing millions in funding for a data company that has violated election law. The company, Catalist, has been charged with providing Democrat campaigns with “excessive, source-prohibited, and unreported in-kind contributions,” exchanging campaign and Democratic Party data “with soft money groups making independent expenditures” and is “established, financed, maintained and/or controlled” by the Democratic Party. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a conservative nonprofit, alleges in their complaint filed with the FEC that Catalist LLC, the Democratic National Committee and more than 300 Democrat campaigns have broken federal election law.

Below is a list of the unions who have provided funding for Catalists alleged illegal operations:

AFL-CIO:  $3,110,629 NEA:  $2,965,542 SEIU:  $1,954,600 UFCW:  $1,083,500 Change to Win:  $840,000 AFSGME:  $438,750 Teamsters:

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Whistlin’ Dixie

111229_uaw-vw_hmed_0738pWhen the UAW lost an election at the Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen plant by a slim margin last year, they almost immediately set up an office practically next door and again started gathering signatures of VW employees that wanted UAW representation. Meanwhile, Volkswagen established a new policy called Community Organization Engagement, which “allows any union that can prove it represents at least 15% of the carmaker’s workers the ability to meet with management on a regular basis and represent workers.”

This is very similar to EFCA’s “card check” proposal. “Card check” would have completely removed the secret ballot election; instead, only requiring that a majority of the workforce sign cards of interest to establish a union as the sole collective bargaining representative of that group of employees.

UAW currently claims to have signatures from 40% of VW’s workforce, allowing them to meet once

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SEIU Watch

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SEIU United Healthcare West’s attempt to prevent Prime Healthcare from purchasing the six Daughters of Charity Hospitals in California is finally coming to a close.

It all began when Prime Healthcare refused to sign Regan’s sweetheart unionization deal with California Hospital Association. This is the one where CHA executives agreed to give SEIU-UHW every possible advantage in organizing their 60,000 workers in exchange for some political favors on the union’s end.

PrimeHealth_HQ_MonicaLam_CaliforniaWatchSince the refusal, Regan’s SEIU has been doing everything possible to stop Prime Healthcare’s purchase of the Daughter of Charity Hospitals. Originally, the union was just playing interference – typical SEIU moves such slandering the company’s reputation and the like. Most recently however, they moved on to attempting to convince California’s Attorney General to allow Blue Wolf Capital Partners to

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Social Media Spotlight

SpotlightEven as employer social media policies are under scrutiny, and as the clash between Section 7 rights and employee confidentiality deepens, new apps make it easier for employees to take their gripes online for the world to view. One new app called “getthememo” allows users to post anonymous reviews of and complaints about their employers.

In this article by Bloomberg BNA, employment and labor law attorney Howard S. Lavin addresses the following questions:

What communications are protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act? How has social media affected the NLRB’s view of “protected concerted activities”? What types of social media activities are generally protected by the NLRA that employers have gotten into trouble with? What types of social media activities are mistakenly assumed to be protected by the NLRA? How has the landscape changed (or

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Sticky Fingers

prisonersCurrent charges or sentences of embezzling union officials:

Maria Del Cupolo – OP&CMIA:  $65,000 Danae, Evelyn, John J., and John S. Romero – UISWA:  $900,000 Amanda Kay Nault – AFSCME:  $3,454 Pamela Nessen – APWU:  $58,598 Edward Feld – RWDSU:  $19,000 Choi Hawks – NALC:  $10,744 Sharon Ratcliff – CWA:  $75,000

http://www.nlpc.org/union-corruption-update

The NLRB Ambush Election Picture that’s worth a thousand words

The NLRB Ambush Election Picture that’s worth a thousand words:

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Unions support ambush elections because they know the less time an employee has to get educated about unions the better their chances of winning. We both already knew that. But this data blew me away.

Our crack team at LRI RightNow ran the numbers, and they even surprised me. This chart shows the actual win rates of unions in elections since 2004. These are sorted by the number of days from petition to election (yes, even under the old rules the NLRB sometimes conducts elections quickly). If you compare the short elections to those ran under the normal target range (36-42 days) you see that the union win rate jumps almost 30%. No wonder unions have pushed so hard for the ambush election rule.

Stay tuned over the next

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NLRB Ambush Election Rule Weakens Worker Privacy | WorkplaceChoice.org

The part of the upcoming ambush election rule very few people are talking about. We have a case right now where organizers are offering a bounty to anyone that turns over personal email addresses to them. It’s a problem that will only get worse: http://workplacechoice.org/2015/02/19/nlrb-ambush-election-rule-weakens-worker-privacy/

The Bizarre Idea That Union Membership Reduced Inequality – Forbes

While unions are taking a victory lap about the Walmart wage increase announcement, here is a great article that explains the real reason wages rise (note the US has the lowest unemployment rate of industrialized countries): http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/02/19/the-bizarre-idea-that-union-membership-reduced-inequality/

Judge approves end to U.S. decree overseeing Teamsters

Good thorough story from the Detroit News (including obligatory Jimmy Hoffa reference): http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/2015/02/17/judge-approves-end-us-decree-overseeing-teamsters/23585351/