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Can the NLRB Order Bad Faith Bargainers To Pay A Union’s Negotiating Costs?


Good summary of a recent DC Circuit Court opinion approving a significant new remedy for alleged bad faith bargaining.


Union Job Protection

Big Labor should at some point give up touting their ability to “protect jobs” (unless, of course, we are talking about the jobs of union officials and staff), or forever lose credibility with the American workforce.

Take, for instance, the 1,100 Teamster-represented employees of Associated Warehouse, Inc. The company filed a bankruptcy petition on Sept. 9th proposing to sell all of its assets to C&S Wholesale Grocers. The last time C&S inherited 1,000 Teamster members in 2011, they fired all those workers and transferred the business to non-union sites. The same is likely to happen to the 1,100 AWI warehouse workers if the sale goes through.

In Atlantic City, members of UNITE HERE Local 54 are at risk of losing their jobs at the Taj Mahal Casino because of the union and company failing to come to terms on a contract. So far in 2014, four of Atlantic City’s

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Big Hissy Fit

cwa-logoAfter four months of fruitless negotiations with the Communication Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, FairPoint Communications Inc. has declared an impasse to which the unions responded with a “red meat” rally in Portland, Maine.

“We’ve been at the bargaining table since April. When the unions say they want FairPoint to come back, what they really mean is that they want FairPoint to abandon its final positions on issues that are critical to the future of the company. This we won’t do,” FairPoint spokeswoman, Angelynne Amores Beaudry said.

The positions she is referring to are financial ones. In 2007, FairPoint purchased Verizon’s northern New England landline business – a decision that inevitably led to a declaration of bankruptcy in 2011. Since then, the company continues to struggle to regain the financial security they had prior to their Verizon

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SEIU Watch

Service workers at St. Charles Medical Center-Bend in Oregon gave SEIU Local 49 the boot last week, nearly two years after voting in the union and after some 40 bargaining sessions failed to reach an initial contract.

The decertification vote came just days after St. Charles-Bend nurses represented by the Oregon Nurses Association overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract, suggesting that either the SEIU was the main cause of the failed negotiations, or that the Oregon Nurses Association just plays a better bargaining game. That said, our money is on the first reason.

Naturally, the hospital and the union are giving very different descriptions of what happened and who is at fault for the short-lived unionization, but despite the SEIU’s insistence that the decertification was only successful because St. Charles-Bend hired law firms and consultants to

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Camel’s Nose Is In The Tent

The 40,000 employees of the Transportation Safety Administration won limited bargaining rights last week. According to TSA administrator, John Pistole, only   “non-security” issues such as work shifts, transfers, vacation time and awards can be addressed by bargaining, and issues such as deployment of security personnel, job qualifications, testing or discipline are off the table. Work slowdowns are supposedly barred, but that hasn’t stopped other unions from violating similar restrictions.

Senator Jim DeMint disagreed that allowing bargaining on such issues does not pose a threat to security. “If who shows up for work, when they show up and what assignments they get is not a security issue, then nothing is a security issue,” DeMint said.

Now that the camel has his nose in the tent, we’ll see how long before the entire beast has forced his

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Health Care Battles Continue to Rage

In Florida, Jackson Health System announced furloughs for 11,000 workers, while in the midst of negotiations with SEIU. The union lamented the move as a cheap shot, stating, “We believe this is an illegal action and cannot be implemented. It is merely a bargaining maneuver that he [Chief Executive Carlos Migoya] probably thinks will cause the employee unions to meet his demands for concessions.” Speaking of the protracted negotiations, Migoya said the measure was necessary to adhere to the balanced budget demanded by the public hospitals board and the County Commissioner.  “In the absence of an agreement on concessions, we have an obligation to control short-term costs by other means,” Migoya.

At another public hospital across the country in Washington State, Olympic Medical center secured an injunction preventing SEIU 1199NW from striking. According to Chief Executive

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Teamsters Watch

Teamsters in New York apparently staged another work slow down during a snow storm, once again coinciding with stalled contract negotiations. Town Supervisor John Coyne was forced to declare a state of emergency to force the employees to get to work clearing roads.


In Chicago, an attorney contemplated suing the Teamsters when he was forced to pay $1200 to use “approved” contractors to move his office into a new location, rather than the moving contractor he had secured for $500. The building lease contained a clause forcing tenants to submit any requests to use contractors to the building management, effectively creating a “secondary boycott.” In essence, the building is colluding with the union to keep non-union labor (ie. less expensive) out of the building.

In another display of Teamster President Jimmy

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UAW & GM Maintain 2-Tier Pay System

The United Auto Workers inked a new contract with GM, which will soon be mirrored at Ford and Chrysler. The contract retains the 2-tier pay system, bumping up those on the lower tier with a $2-$3 pay increase, and provides a “signing bonus” in lieu of cost-of-living adjustments. GM and the UAW have declined to comment on details until local labor leaders have had time to thoroughly review the contract.

Chrysler and Ford are currently operating on contract extensions, so look for similar contracts to surface soon.

Union Shell Games

In addition to Bob King’s “grievance gambit” discussed in the next post/article, other unions are looking for ways to hide the fact that they are not able to achieve for their members at the bargaining table what they originally promised they would. In this recent SEIU example, it appears the union staged a “fake fight” with a hospital, so it could appear that SEIU Healthcare Michigan president Marge Faville swooped in and solved the situation, taking attention away from the “bad deal” that the SEIU got for hospital employees.

The SEIU then pressed employees to ratify the deal – without letting them actually see it!


Employee Free Choice Act: Is Interest Arbitration a Good Thing?

The Employee Free Choice Act’s mandatory arbitration provision has received way too little attention in the arguments over EFCA. This week Thomas Kochan posted a spirited defense of interest arbitration on the Center for “American Progress” blog in his attempt to add some context. While I disagree with much of what he says, it certainly gets the discussion focused on the “how would this whole arbitration thing work” question. He identifies 6 points of a solid arbitration system, and recommends that they be used as the framework for interest arbitration under the Free Choice Act (which is a backhanded way of pointing out one of the many glaring weaknesses of EFCA: that it provides exactly no guidance on how this arbitration system might work… but I digress).

Kochan’s main argument is that the experience of using arbitration in the public sector and in Canada proves that it will

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