NILRR Weekly News Clips January 25, 2013

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Pay Up or Get Sued

Washington Free Beacon, January 23, 2013 

Steven Cook, president of the Michigan Education Association, circulated an email to local union officials and staff instructing them to monitor revenue streams in light of the right-to-work laws, which are set to go into effect on March 27, 2013. The law allows workers to opt out of union membership unless they have an existing contract with their employer. 

“We will use any legal means at our disposal to collect the dues owed under signed membership forms from any members who withhold dues prior to terminating their membership in August,” Cook wrote.

New Try At Right-To-Work

Times Observer Online, January 23, 2013

“The greatest reason is not economic, it’s moral,” Justin Davis, director of legislation for the National Right to Work Committee, said at Tuesday morning’s session. “They (unions) force themselves into employee/employer relationships preventing employees from being rewarded for their hard work. Make no mistake; the villains in this fight… are union bosses insisting on remaining the gatekeepers to employment.”

Constitutional right-to-work law advances in subcommittee, January 24, 2013

Republicans seeking to amend Iowa’s Constitution with right-to-work protection weathered a stormy subcommittee meeting Wednesday by steering through strong union opposition.

Federal Court Upholds Wisconsin Governor’s Public-Sector Unionism Reforms

Green Mountain, January 19, 2013

With free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, three Wisconsin public employees moved to intervene in the lawsuit in favor of the law after lawyers from seven unions, led by the Wisconsin Education Association Council, challenged it in federal court. The three civil servants, Pleasant Prairie teacher Kristi Lacroix, Waukesha high school teacher Nathan Berish, and trust fund specialist at the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds Ricardo Cruz, were permitted to file amicus briefs in the district court.

Guest view of Stacy Swimp: Right to work works for Black Americans, January 20, 2013

In response to Michigan’s stunning enactment of a state right-to-work law which prohibits the firing of employees for refusal to pay union dues or fees, diehard proponents of compulsory unionism are now mounting a desperate bid to sow racial division over such legislation.

A taste of the future

New York Post Online, January 17, 2013

There’s a major labor action going on in New York City, as the unionized drivers who man the city’s school buses have gone out on strike — making life immeasurably more difficult for 152,000 kids, their parents, their grandparents, their friends, their babysitters and everybody else in their lives.

You should watch this one closely, whether you have kids who’ve been kicked off a bus or not, because it’s a sneak preview of what is likely to be coming over the next decade in municipalities across the country.

Republican House Members Who Voted Against Right-to-Work

Michigan Capitol Confidential, January 24, 2013

Republicans in the Michigan House widely supported giving workers the freedom to choose whether they wanted to financially support a union as a condition of employment.

But six GOP members voted against legislation (House Bill 4003 and Senate Bill 116) that made Michigan the nation’s 24th right-to-work state.

Right-to-Work Law Means Less Money For Union Political Power Grabs

Michigan Capitol Confidential, January 24, 2013

Gov. Rick Snyder said he wasn’t interested in a right-to-work bill, but when labor unions pushed the Proposal 2 ballot initiative, his stance on the issue changed.

Prop 2 would have guaranteed public employee collective bargaining and overridden state laws that conflict with local contracts. And, as union leaders noted at the time, it would have prevented a right-to-work law from ever happening.

Unions to continue fight against right to work, Snyder

Detroit News Online, January 17, 2013

Union leaders looking for an olive branch from Gov. Rick Snyder in his third State of the State address say he left them empty-handed, but they vow to keep fighting to bring down right-to-work legislation enacted last month.

“We’re going to lobby every time we feel it’s necessary,” said Mike Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 652. “Not just the UAW, this is working people.”

Sources: NBA player representatives never approved union leader’s $15 million contract

Yahoo! News Online, January 17, 2013

National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter and union general counsel Gary Hall failed to get proper player representative approval for a five-year, $15 million contract extension for Hunter in 2010, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

Players Association executive director Billy Hunter guided the union through last year’s lockout. (AP)The possible violation of the NBPA’s constitution raises questions about the legitimacy of Hunter’s contract and his future as executive director.

Nat’l. Union Accuses MN Father, Son of Embezzlement

Twin Cities Business Magazine Online, January 17, 2013

The charges against longtime Teamsters members Bradley Slawson Sr., and his son, Bradley Slawson Jr., were brought by the Teamsters Independent Review Board (IRB), which will hold a hearing in late February, the Minneapolis newspaper reported. The IRB is a quasi-governmental body tasked—partly by the U.S. Department of Justice—with cracking down on corruption within Teamsters.

Supreme Court Considers NLRA Case (“Mulhall Case”)

Workforce Freedom Initiative Blog, January 1, 2013

If the Supreme Court takes this case, it could be that demands for organizing assistance may be in jeopardy.  Were the Court to rule that it does represent a “thing of value,” unions may no longer be able to accept or demand such assistance, which could mean corporate campaigns seeking card check or employer neutrality would, at the very least, be circumscribed. 

Democrats’ Labor Piggybank Returns, January 21, 2013

This summer, organized labor went out of its way to say it was no longer beholden to the Democratic Party’s agenda. But the checks coming in now show that the Democrats and labor never really broke up.

But this should not come as a surprise. Labor cutting off its support for the convention and having its own gathering in Philadelphia was no more than an “expensive temper tantrum.” Unions still hosted “Hug-a-Union-Thug” events in Charlotte.

The Vindication Of Act 10

620, January 19, 2013

Yesterday’s ruling upholding Act 10 in its entirety doesn’t end the legal challenges to Governor Scott Walker’s collective bargaining reforms, but it is a major victory … as the reactions from both sides make abundantly clear.

The governor is clearly savoring the sweet vindication:

“As we’ve said all along, Act 10 is constitutional.

County declines to bargain with AFSCME for now

Portage Daily Register Online, January 18, 2013

It would be premature for Columbia County officials to engage in collective bargaining with the union that formerly represented almost 400 county employees, the county’s corporation counsel told a staff representative of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees in a letter this week.

County Board Chairman Andy Ross said Corporation Counsel Joseph Ruf’s response represents the County Board’s position on the issue.

The Steadily Self-Destructing Labor Movement

Labor, January 19, 2013

For years, we’ve contended that laws and other measures said to be “pro-worker” are in reality, only benefiting labor union bosses. It turns out that the last four years were the experiment that proves our hypothesis.

With President Obama in the White House, and pro-union leadership at the Department of Labor and National Labor Relations Board, unions have faced a greater decline than in the eight years of the Bush administration, says Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute. In her opinion piece at Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, she makes the case that Obama’s first term has been disastrous for organized labor:

Unions may not suffer on dues

Battle Creek Enquirer Online, January 19, 2013

For decades, few Michigan workers have taken advantage of a federal court ruling allowing them to opt out of paying some union dues, suggesting a newly passed right-to-work law could have little impact on unions.

An analysis of Michigan unions by the State Journal shows a small percentage of union members — mostly under 1 percent — now choose not to pay those union dues targeted for political lobbying or campaign contributions. Under the right-to-work law passed last month, union members soon will be allowed to refuse to pay any union dues, for the first time, and still receive labor representation.

Right-to-work legislation, which has roiled several Rust Belt states, could be coming to PA — or not, January 22, 2013

Right-to-work legislation — legally clearing the way for workers to hold union-represented jobs without joining unions or paying dues — could be about to touch off a heated debate in Pennsylvania.

Sponsors of what’s called the “Pennsylvania Open Workforce Initiative” — a package of right-to-work bills — along with leading right-to-work advocates are hosting a news conference this morning to introduce what they bill as “zero-cost legislative measures to create jobs and restore basic freedoms to Pennsylvania workers.”

Sacramento takes stock of its debt in sobering report, January 22, 2013

To understand the fiscal picture in California you need to look below the level of state debts and unfunded liabilities to the municipal picture. A city of 477,000 with a general fund budget of just $366 million, Sacramento owes some $2 billion, the city report concluded.

Not-So-Big Labor Keeps Getting Smaller

Investors Business Daily, January 23, 2013

The long slide continues in the private sector, and now even public-sector union ranks are shrinking. A friendly White House can’t save a movement that prices its members out of the market.

But after seeing the latest union membership data, labor leaders have to wonder if 2012 was their last hurrah. They may have a friend in the White House, but they continue to lose the loyalty of American workers.

Former Hotel Owner Sues Marriott, Union Over New York City Card Check Agreement

Daily Labor Report online, January 25, 2013

The former owners of a New York City hotel Jan. 13 filed a complaint against Marriott International and the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council alleging they unlawfully signed a “secret agreement” to control which New York City Marriott-branded hotels would become unionized (Madison 92nd St. Assocs. v. Marriott Int’l, S.D.N.Y., No. 13-cv-00291, complaint filed 1/13/13).