In yet another victory for workers and job creators, a federal district court has struck down the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ambush election rule. The ruling is the latest in a series of cases where the courts have overturned the NLRB. This time U.S. District Judge James Boasberg threw out the NLRB’s rule because the board rushed through the rule without the requisite three member quorum.
The Hill reports:
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg struck the regulation down, saying the labor board only had two members when it voted on the final rule in December 2011. Boasberg said the agency needed at least three members to have a quorum for action on the rule.
“According to Woody Allen, 80 percent of life is just showing up. When it comes to satisfying a quorum requirement, though, showing up is even more important than that. Indeed, it is the only thing that matters — even when the quorum is constituted electronically. In this case, because no quorum ever existed for the pivotal vote in question, the Court must hold that the challenged rule is invalid,” Boasberg wrote.
[click to continue…]
One of the left’s favorite mantras is that government regulations and special interest groups provide the only ways that workers can get ahead. This notion was on display at a congressional briefing held on February 13 by the labor advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC).
At ROC’s briefing, “Gender Equality in the Restaurant Industry,” speakers equated the tipped minimum wage — the base a restaurant must pay its workers before the employee receives cash tips — with gender discrimination, as 66 percent of tipped workers are women.
What is ROC’s angle? First, to further its political agenda by helping Rep. Donna Edwards, the keynote speaker at the briefing, push her bill. The tortuously named Working for Adequate Gains for Employment in Services (WAGES) Act (H.R. 631) would raise the national minimum wage for tipped workers from $2.13 an hour to $5.50 an hour within two years. The second is to help ROC push discrimination claims against restaurants it is trying to target.
The law already stipulates that if tips do not equal the federal minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference. Therefore, it is illegal for waitresses to earn less than $7.25 an hour, despite the grim picture Edwards and ROC attempt to portray.
This argument relies heavily on the myth that there is no upward mobility in the industry and tips never increase. The speakers continually attempted to drive home the point that “tipped workers [read women, who are more likely to work for tips] haven’t received a raise in 20 years.”
This “found” discrimination will no doubt be used by ROC against the restaurants it is trying to target. According to Crain’s New York a ROC attack “often includes noisy and prolonged protests outside the eatery. Settling is often the less expensive option for restaurateurs mindful of their brand’s image and the cost of a long court fight.”
[click to continue…]
No matter what the outcome of today’s recall election, nothing substantive will change in Wisconsin. Even if organized labor were to sweep all six recall elections of Republican state senators, the unions would still not have the votes in the Assembly to pass any legislation. They will not be able to restore the government union’s lavish benefits, which were brought down to Earth this spring. And even if they were somehow able to muster legislation through both the Senate and the Republican-controlled Assembly, they still will not have enough votes to overturn a veto by Governor Scott Walker.
According to the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a Wisconsin think tank, Big Labor and its allies have funneled over $14 million into the recall effort.
The Washington Post reports that much of the money (on both sides) comes from groups outside of Wisconsin.
Outside groups — led by national unions on the Democratic side and limited government groups such as the Wisconsin Club for Growth on the Republican side — have shoveled more than $25 million into the recall effort, with both sides spending about the same amount. The candidates, meanwhile, have raised more than $5 million.
The staggering dollar amounts being showered on the eight recall campaigns — which after a July 19 election and Tuesday’s six contests will conclude with two elections on Aug. 16 — are shattering state records. In 2010, when the 99-member assembly and half the 33-member state Senate was up for election, outside organizations spent $3.75 million in Wisconsin — 15 percent of this year’s total.
[click to continue…]
When it comes down to outdated business model of the Post Office vs. taxpayers and postal workers, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sides with taxpayers and postal workers.
Yesterday, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced it would stop paying the employer share of its employees’ retirement fund. ABC news reported about “sheer chaos on the work floor,” according to 32-year postal veteran Clarice Torrence. The action is yet another sign that the USPS is in continued financial strain.
Today, Issa, who is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, introduced the Postal Reform Act (PRA), which seeks to reform the USPS and prevent a potential taxpayer bailout.
In a statement, Issa called the legislation the “most fundamental reform of the postal service that has been proposed since USPS was first created from the old Post Office Department.”
“The Postal Service lost $8.5 billion last year. It is going to lose, at least, $8.3 billion this year. And it is projected to lose $8.5 billion the year after that,” Issa said. “Congress can’t keep kicking the can down the road on out of control labor costs and excess infrastructure of USPS and needs to implement reforms that aren’t a multi-billion dollar taxpayer funded bailout.”
Among other thing the legislation would do is create a temporary agency called the Postal Service Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority. PRA gives the Authority the ability to restructure many parts of the USPS and could recommend cost savings measures to bring it back to solvency.
Unlike many other government agencies that once created last in perpetuity, the PRA puts an explicit sunset provision on the Authority. Once the USPS meets several benchmarks the Authority will be disbanded.
[click to continue…]
Today the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proposed a new regulation that would speed up the union election process from 45-60 days to about 10-21 days. So called “quickie elections” will result in workers not being given all the information they need to make a decision on whether or not to join a union. Employers generally do not know if a union is trying to organize them until a majority of the workers sign cards.
During the election process the employer has an opportunity to make their case to their workers — this is after the union has likely campaigned for months. Shortening the election will decrease the employers ability to make their case.
If the process were an election for president, Candidate A has could have over six months to campaign, while Candidate B would only get around 45-60 days. The new rule would only give Candidate B 10-21 days to campaign. The results would be heavily skewed in the union’s favor.
Congressional Republicans have already blasted the new regulations.
[click to continue…]
Republicans in both Houses of Congress are answering the Obama administration’s overreach in union favoritism.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee announced he was going to look into whether the National Mediation Board (NMB) was trying to “advance a partisan policy agenda.” Last year the NMB changed organization elections rules for the airline and railroad industry to ease union formation.
On Tuesday Issa and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), chair of the House subcommittee on labor policy, sent a letter to the NMB Chairman Harry Hoglander, saying:
We are concerned by the National Mediation Board’s decision to advance a rule which allows a minority of employees to determine union representation,
For over 75 years, the board conducted union representation elections according to the principle that a union would be certified as the collective bargaining representative only if a majority of the eligible employees in the relevant craft or class voted in favor of union representation.
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) praised the decision to investigate NMB releasing a statement Wednesday, saying:
I applaud the House Oversight Committee for investigating the National Mediation Board’s action that throws out 75 years of precedent and makes it easier for airline and railway employees to unionize,” Isakson said. “By taking this action without Congressional approval or adequate reasoning, the National Mediation Board has recklessly tossed aside fairness and impartiality to benefit their former bosses in the labor movement.
On Monday, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), ranking member on the Heath, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, blasted the National Labor Relations Board’s attempt to prevent aircraft manufacturer Boeing from moving from the forced unionism state of Washington to the right-to-work state of South Carolina.
[click to continue…]
Speaking to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis admitted she was biased toward unions. Unions only account for 11.9 percent of the workforce, but Solis’ favoritism puts them ahead of the other 88 percent of the American workers.
From the Washington Examiner:
President Obama is staying mostly quiet about the union battle going on in Wisconsin. His labor secretary, Hilda Solis, is not.
“The fight is on!” Solis told a cheering crowd at the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting over the weekend in Washington. Giving her support to “our brothers and sisters in public employee unions,” Solis pledged aid to unionized workers who are “under assault” in Wisconsin and elsewhere.
It’s no surprise Solis sympathizes with the unions against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget reform proposal. After all, Solis often tells audiences how proud she is that her father was a Teamsters shop steward and her mother belonged to the United Steelworkers union. “Admittedly, I am a little biased,” she told the DNC, “because … I come from a union household.”
But is it the role of the secretary of labor to take sides in a fight that pits public employee union members against workers and taxpayers who support Walker’s reforms? After all, the Labor Department mission statement says its purpose is “to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States.” It doesn’t say anything about unionized wage earners, job seekers, and retirees.
“The Labor Department should not represent only that part of the work force that is unionized,” says Elaine Chao, labor secretary under George W. Bush. “It should be responsible for the overall welfare of the entire American work force.”
[click to continue…]
If there was ever an “I told you so” moment on government unions becoming too powerful, this is it.
The Wisconsin State Capitol is under siege by unions. Thousands turned out to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s emergency budget bill. According to anecdotal reports, police advised workers in the Capitol to “lock [their] doors” after protesters marched through the halls of the building yelling and banging drums. A teacher “sick out” strike closed schools, and Gov. Walter put the National Guard on alert in case the public safety unions went on strike. Finally, all 13 Democrat senators fled the state to stop a vote on the bill.
Despite the last election where the voters of Wisconsin ousted the big spending Democrats — the state is expecting a $3.6 billion deficit over the next two years — unions want to overturn the democratic process. Gov. Walker and Republican candidates campaigned heavily on lower taxes, less spending, and curbing the power of government unions. Wisconsinites approved of these ideas and responded in kind when they elected Walker to the governorship and Republican majorities in both the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate. Gov. Walker told the Associated Press the actions are “not a shock … The shock would be if we didn’t go forward with this.”
The government union message from Wisconsin is loud and clear: Democracy be damned and the voters’ will does not matter if it takes away our benefits or power.
The proposed budget will require government employees to pick up 12.6 percent of their health care costs and contribute 5.8 percent of their pay to their pensions. They currently pay nothing. The amounts are roughly half of what workers in the private sector pay.
The contributions are not the real reason why the unions are upset. It is money and power. Before getting into what the bill will do, there are several things it does not do. It does not take away the right of workers to join a union. It does not take away their right to collectively bargain — although it does limit it to wages. It does not force Gov. Walker to lay off 6,000 state employees – the amount needed to fix the budget hole. It does not take away other civil service protections afforded to government workers.
The bill does give workers the right to say no to a union if they do not want to join. Currently, workers are forced to pay union dues simply to keep their jobs. It also takes away the union privilege of automatically deducting money from workers’ paychecks. Unions are truly incensed because now workers will have a choice and will have to affirmatively pay for union representation. If the unions do not perform, they will see their dues and their power decrease.
Image credit: Madison Guy’s flickr photostream.
Yesterday The Washington Examiner showed how public sector unions are buying their power though campaign donations. In their excellent editorial “Public employee unions versus working Americans,” the Examiner contrasts the grassroots movement of the Tea Party with the big money interests of government employee unions. It also shows the hypocrisy of President Obama going after (with false allegations) so called shadowy, unnamed “foreign interests,” while much of the money on the left comes from unions fighting for larger and more expensive government at taxpayers’ expense.
With the 2010 midterm congressional election campaign entering its final week, the fundamental divide in American politics has rarely been defined with more raw clarity than it is now.
On the one side are voters representing a vibrant private sector that creates jobs, builds prosperity and throbs with opportunity. Here are found the Tea Party movement, most congressional Republicans and a few of their Democratic colleagues, millions of independent voters, Main Street and small-business associations, and, increasingly, seniors. The other side is led by government employee unions who take from the private sector to further enrich and empower themselves and their political allies, including President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the Democratic majority that has controlled both chambers in Congress since 2007. The unions’ supporting cast includes radical Big Green environmentalists, trial lawyers, most precincts of the mainstream media, and college professors.
Obama and company have been on a demagogic spree in recent weeks, attacking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a host of shadowy, unnamed “foreign interests” for allegedly pumping millions of anonymous dollars into U.S. politics to buy the election. The charge is demonstrably false, but that doesn’t prevent its endless repetition. On Friday, however, we learned courtesy of the Wall Street Journal that the biggest political spending in 2010 is by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. AFSCME will have funneled an estimated $87.5 million into the campaign by Nov. 2, all of it going to Democrats and an amount far exceeding the chamber’s $75 million. More millions are being poured into Democratic campaign coffers by other public-sector unions. On Friday, for example, the National Education Association spent $500,000 on ads aimed at helping Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak defeat former Rep. Pat Toomey, the Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate contest.
But there is a fundamental problem here that FDR understood years ago and that AFSCME President Gerald McEntee inadvertently highlighted when he told the Journal: “We’re spending big. And we’re damn happy it’s big. And our members are damn happy it’s big — it’s their money.” Actually, it’s not simply “their money.” Every dollar paid to a unionized government worker was taxed away from somebody who earned it in the private sector. So when these unions spend millions to elect Democrats who will vote for bigger government, they are literally using money from the productive part of America to enable more government taxing and spending. FDR might well have had this inconvenient fact in mind when he wrote in 1937 that “meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government … the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”
The interests of government employee unions are inextricably opposed to the public interest. It’s time campaign finance law recognized this truth.
While setting up for an Obama rally in California, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 33 fired, Duane Hammet, a stagehand union member for wearing a Bush sweatshirt and hat. The Hammet says the union showed him the door because his clothing had Bush on it.
The “Bush” in reference was not either president but The George H.W. Bush, the aircraft carrier. Hammet was wearing the sweatshirt as a tribute to his son, who is serving on board. In the video Hammet claims he tried to explain the situation to his bosses but they would not listen.
If the allegation are true, Hammet deserves an apology from the union as do the men and women serving on The George H.W. Bush.
Here’s a video report: