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Philly Building Trades Council Head Under Investigation

Johnny Doc Dougherty – Image: BigTrial.net

“Johnny Doc” Dougherty has been a key subject in a year-long FBI wire-tapping investigation. Additional wiretap targets Marita Crawford, political director for Mr. Dougherty’s Local 98 of the Electricians union, and City Councilman Bobby Henon. Prosecutors were looking at possible crimes ranging from embezzlement of union funds, tax evasion, extortion by an unnamed public official, mail and wire fraud, and the use of “economic fear” to pressure contractors. Considering the complexity of the investigation, it could be months, if at all, that charges come from the investigation.

Right To Work

On Feb 6th, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed a Right-to-Work bill into law, making Missouri the 28th state to adopt the measure and leaving Illinois now surrounded by right-to-work states. According to Jim Schultz, the former director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, over 1,100 businesses have black-listed Illinois because it is not a Right-to-Work state. Big Labor has vowed to block the measure by seeking a public referendum. The AFL-CIO teamed up with the NAACP to file the petition paperwork and begin the signature gathering process.

New Hampshire was not so lucky, as a Right-to-Work measure in that state failed to pass by a margin of 200-177 in the state house. The Republican-controlled body then voted to ban

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Verizon Strike Ends

cwa-logoAfter six weeks of striking, nearly 40,000 Verizon employees returned to work earlier this month. Verizon and the unions involved in the strike, Communication Workers (CWA) and Electrical Workers (IBEW), reached a tentative deal that includes a 10.5% raise in worker wages over the next four years, 1,400 added call center jobs, and an increase in pensions. In exchange, the unions agreed Verizon could make changes to its healthcare plans to reduce costs.

Now that Verizon has its workforce back, it intends to focus primarily on boosting their wireless business to keep ground with competitors (details on that here).

Unions And Modernization Don’t Mix

Nearly 40,000 workers from Massachusetts to Virginia entered their sixth week in the strike against Verizon yesterday, making this the largest work stoppage since 2011. The workers are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communication Workers of America. Workers are being paid from a union fund while on strike.

Unlike most strikes, the main area of contention here is not about workers getting raises, it’s about keeping Verizon from changing their business model. “Over 99 percent of the striking workforce work on the wireline side of its business.” It’s called Fios and it offers subscribers Internet, voice and video service.

There’s another side to Verizon’s business – wireless. Think 4G. This part of the business requires less linemen and service providers. It’s also “where the future growth is,” according to Jan Dawson, an independent technology analyst for Jackdaw Research. Verizon as a company is

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Only in a Union

photo-idUnions bellowed like an injured walrus when laws were proposed requiring a photo ID to vote in local, state and federal elections. “How dare you attempt to suppress the vote!” they declared (meaning: leave our illegal voters alone).

However, when a worker in Michigan requested to leave the IBEW as a result of right-to-work law implementation in that state, he was told he would have to drive 82 miles from where he worked to the local office and present a photo ID.

Japanese Firm Blinks

blinkIn an update to our earlier story about the IBEW using an environmental law to arm-twist a Japanese manufacturer, it appears that the company caved to IBEW demands. In the announced deal, there were no mentions at all of any moves taken by the company to fulfill any environmentally related shortfalls. Instead, the deal provides “card check” organizing for the IBEW. Once the IBEW got what it wanted, any threats related to the California Environmental Quality Act were dropped completely, irritating some environmentalists.

IBEW Steps In It, Big Time

A Japanese firm was set to build a $60 million 400,000 square-foot facility in Palmdale, CA, which would then employ up to 300 people in well-paying jobs to build rail cars for LA county’s metro system. One would think all unions would be thrilled about the prospect – unionized workers would most likely be employed to construct the facility, and in labor-friendly California, those 300 would probably be an easy target for unionization as well.

“We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” said Palmdale Economic Development Director Dave Walter. “So many people and organizations played huge roles in making this a reality.”


Not so fast, said the IBEW. They demanded that the firm agree to card check, or the union would use California’s infamous California Environmental Quality

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Labor Relations Ink September 2014

In this issue:

Strategy Rising Want My Cake and Eat It Too It Pays to Fight Back Union Dues Hard At Work Teamster Beat, Sticky Fingers, Scoreboard, Insight and more…

The bottom of each story contains a link to the individual post on our site.

View the web-based version of this newsletter (including links and graphics) by visiting:


Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson

Should union organizing be a civil right?

Representatives Keith Ellison and John Lewis (not that John Lewis, but still) think it’s an idea whose time has come.

Ellison and Lewis recently proposed the Employee Empowerment Act. The idea is that union organizing should be treated as a civil right, like the right to be free from discrimination based on race, sex, or religion. The proposed legislation simply allows any employee alleging an unfair labor practice against an employer to bring a discrimination claim

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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

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The Union Redistribution Program

As much as Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO and Mary Kay Henry of SEIU decry the Citizens United decision, unions continue to flood money one-sidedly into the political sphere. Big Labor spent $433 million on state and federal political causes in 2012, and this year’s AFL-CIO shopping list includes $300 million to attempt to purchase the governors’ offices of Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and tens of millions more they will direct at U.S. House and Senate races.

"Johnny Doc" - credit: David Maialetti / Philly.com Staff Photographer

“Johnny Doc” – credit: David Maialetti / Philly.com Staff Photographer

Drilling down just a little, Philadelphia provides a microcosm perspective of Big Labor purchasing power. A single union local in the

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