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UAW Rolls On

It’s no secret that the Auto Workers have been having a rough go of it recently, but let’s not forget, they are the UAW and they are hell-bent on increasing their membership numbers – which is why they withdrew their appeal of the February VW election. Stay with me here.

During the campaign, it was suggested that if the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant organized, they would lose VW’s new crossover to Mexico. Now that the Auto Workers have withdrawn the appeal and the election has been certified, if Chattanooga doesn’t get the crossover, Tennessee politicians will take the hit. Additionally, UAW could gain from a false perception that their main concern truly is for the well-being of the employees.

It’s a pretty smart play. Now they can sit back and wait for the perfect opportunity to strike again, which they will do according to UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams who pointed

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Teamsters Beat

teamstersThe Teamsters are not shy about bringing their game into corporate boardrooms, even across oceans. On May 8th, the union presented a shareholder resolution at Republic Services’ annual shareholder meeting, while the following week Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa lead a group to Birmingham, England to corner the National Express Group PLC Board of Directors about “the company’s poor worker rights record at its North American subsidiaries.” Unions are convinced that the “right to form a union” falls in the realm of a “human right,” and continue to use such rhetoric to pressure companies to stop communicating to their employees management’s viewpoint on union representation. In England, the Teamsters were joined by the British union Unite, the International Transport Federation and British National Express workers to turn up the heat on National Express.

Other recent Teamster activity

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Another Union Risks Jobs for Pension Plan Bailout

Like their union brothers and sisters at Hostess, UNITE HERE Local 54 in Atlantic City is apparently willing to risk their members’ livelihood to force another critically under-funded union pension plan onto the back of a struggling employer.

The union is asking groups to cancel conventions booked at the Tropicana Casino and Resort because the casino’s new owners, who bailed out the failing enterprise last year, intend to stop payment into the union’s National Pension Fund. “There are lots of good choices in Atlantic City,” Local 54 president Bob McDevitt said. “Right now, Tropicana is not one of them. They are not good corporate citizens, and we are addressing that with their customers.”

The casino declared an impasse in contract talks

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SEIU Watch: Teachers Unions! Look Out!

SEIU announced it would be sponsoring a nationwide webcast on “the dangers of for profit colleges” on February 2. “Good for Wall Street, Bad for Students” will concentrate specifically on the Art Institutes, Argosy University, Brown Mackie College and South University — all of which are owned by Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corporation.

According to the union’s press release, the purpose of the webcast will be to “expose” questionable recruiting practices at EMC schools that allegedly “target” low income students, using scholarships to lure their victims into otherwise inaccessible private school educations, only to then get them hooked on learning and convinced that the most attractive path out of poverty is a college degree (and not just a $9/hr SEIU union janitor job), while tricking them into applying for student loans, all so private school 1% fat cat Wall Street types can buy more Super Bowl tickets and further enslave

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Chicago Battle Looming

A little over a year ago we held a seminar in the Inland Empire region in southern California, to discuss the Warehouse Workers for Justice expanding organizing tactics in that area. It was only a matter of time before the WWJ expanded their focus to other transportation hubs, and it is now Chicago’s turn to see the pressure ratcheted up.

On mid-October, the group formed an organizing committee in Chicago and begun to turn up the heat on the local warehouses. Their typical tactics include lawsuits, media releases, public pressure and in-plant action, and with the growing sophistication of the use of social media, along with the swell of Occupy Wall Street activity spilling over, it is likely that this new focused effort will be more energetic than its southern California predecessor.

Because many of

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Crybaby, Cry

Unite Here doesn’t like to play by the rules, apparently because they don’t think they can win by them. When offered the chance to hold an NLRB sanctioned election for the employees of the Hyatt Santa Clara, they refused and instead set up a picket calling for a boycott of the hotel, noisily interrupting the business and its customers.

According to a statement, from the Santa Clara Hyatt, it has “proposed through the National Labor Relations Board that our associates hold such an election, but UniteHere rejected the offer,” alleging their “associates have been subjected to constant and aggressive UniteHere organizing tactics for several years, including unwelcome home visits by union leadership.”

As is typical, none of those participating in the protest were associates of the hotel, but union lackeys coordinated by Unite Here.

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Union Admits to Running Sham On-Line Campaign

What makes this next story news is not that a union is using front organizations and paid on-line help, it’s that one of them has actually admitted to it. The Ontario Power Workers’ Union has suspended a marketing campaign that paid marketing professionals to post to social media websites their growing “concerns” for solar and wind energy. The campaign also employed bloggers to create websites with eco-syllabic names like “Environauts” to promote “pragmatic” discussions about alternative energy sources. The bloggers and commenters do not identify themselves as being paid by the Power Workers’ Union and there is some suggestion that the union wrote or approved all scripts for the campaign.

“You shouldn’t hide behind front groups to advance an unpopular opinion,” said Greenpeace energy campaigner Keith Stewart. (and he should know) “When

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SEIU Watch: Campaign Manual Promotes Breaking the Law

A seventy page official “Corporate Campaign Manual” has surfaced as court discovery in the Federal RICO suit filed by Sodexo against SEIU. Most of the manual is old news but the section titled “Pressuring the Employer” does lay out a plausible frame for racketeering activity.

“Outside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians and others who the employer depends on for funds. Legal and regulatory pressure can threaten the employer with costly action by government agencies and the courts. Community action and the use of the news media can damage an employer’s public image and ties with the community and its organizations.”

The document then goes

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Unions Coordinate Global Attack on Walmart

With stores in 14 countries and U.S. sales flat, Walmart is depending more and more on overseas operations for growth. And the company has successfully negotiated labor agreements for decades in cultures where unions are still widely supported and relevant. But even the world’s largest retailer wasn’t prepared when South African labor leaders demanded Walmart stop opposing unionism back in the U.S. as a prerequisite to the purchase of a major South African retail chain. (The government did approve the purchase but only after protracted debate and without the full-throated endorsement of the nation’s powerful union leaders.) “You can’t say you violate the right to freedom of association because the culture in that country supports it,” said Mduduzi Mbongwe, who represents the South Africa Commercial, Catering and Allied

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Lessons in the Exploitation of Children

Meanwhile, the ILRF has also launched a highly sophisticated coordinated corporate campaign, Raise the Bar, Hershey, that brings together international labor activists, environmental groups, teachers unions, Kennedys and chocolate loving school kids to demand the candy manufacturer sign on to third party oversight of its cocoa supply chain in West Africa. The company already requires all its suppliers meet strict international labor standards.

Why target Hershey? Well, according to the ILRF’s website, because Hershey is big, Hershey sources from regions with a history of labor violations (as must all other major cocoa buyers) and Hershey won’t buy in to dubious third party “Fair Trade” certification. We will add the Bakery & Confectionery Union made deep concessions last fall to keep the new Hershey plant in Hershey

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