NILRR Weekly News Clips, February 28, 2014



Hofstra Univ. professor calls for “aggressive, illegal actions” in response to Harris vs. Quinn, February 23, 2014

CHICAGO – Yesterday, Dr. Alan Singer, a Professor of Secondary Education at Hofstra University, called for “aggressive, illegal actions” as “the only way” to save America’s labor movement. His statement was read as a not-so-veiled threat toward Pam Harris and her family.

VW workers challenge UAW attempt to dismiss election

Times-Free Press, Feburary 25, 2014

Mix said the workers and his foundation need to be able to challenge the UAW claims made to the NLRB hearing officer to ensure fairness in the process.

“Otherwise, UAW officials with the approval of VW and a pro-union NLRB will be able to continually throw out election results until they get the result they want,” he said.

Labor to the Rescue in Southern Senate Races? Not Exactly

National Journal Online, February 25, 2014

Memo to some vulnerable Senate Democrats: Don’t wait for labor to swoop in and save you with a chest full of money and a brigade of foot soldiers to get out the vote.

In a handful of the most contested Senate contests this cycle—including Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina—the AFL-CIO has conducted a cost-benefit analysis and the results are in: There just aren’t enough union members in those states to make it worth the investment of scarce resources.

Union violence in Phila. area rarely prosecuted, February 24, 2014

After his Chestnut Hill Quaker meetinghouse construction site was torched in December 2012, builder Robert Reeves Jr. immediately knew whom to blame.

“This type of retaliation has been going on all of my lifetime, my entire career,” he said. “What was going to change here?”

Big Labor, ‘looking for revenge,’ expects to dump $300 million into 2014 elections, February 24, 2014

Michael Podhorzer, political director of the AFL-CIO, in a New York Times piece last week said the nation’s labor unions look to spend at least $300 million going after Republicans in this fall’s elections.

Ford, Chrysler, GM frets UAW could be absorbed by a more hostile union

cbc News, Canada, February 24, 2014

Even as it struggles, the UAW remains the wealthiest union in the nation, with assets of more than $1 billion (all figures US) at the end of 2012. Officials point to a revived U.S. auto industry and more hiring at UAW-represented factories, moves that have stabilized membership dues that have been falling since 2006.

Right to Work Kansas Is Eating Forced-Unionism Missouri’s ‘Economic Lunch’, February 24, 2014

This winter, grass-roots proponents of making Missouri America’s 25th Right to Work state are facing off against union officials and other supporters of the current policies that empower Organized Labor to get employees fired for refusal to bankroll a union they don’t want, and never asked for.

Australia’s auto industry collapses as America’s booms

Library of Economics and Liberty, February 28, 2014

Although the US does have a comparative advantage in making cars and trucks, it’s not obvious to me that we have a comparative advantage in managing auto production facilities in the US. Over time a larger and larger share of the US auto industry is being managed by foreign forms. Today only GM and Ford remain American-owned. Without the bailout only Ford would have remained US-owned. American workers are quite good at making cars, as long as they are not in US managed and UAW organized facilities.

Former KC union official faces federal charges, February 26, 2014

The former president of the union representing Jackson County Department of Corrections employee faces charges accusing him of embezzling more than the $185,000 from the union.

Two members of Congress subpoenaed in nursing homes’ fight with SEIU

Washington Examiner, February 26, 2014

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., have been pulled into a lawsuit between two local chapters of the Service Employees International Union, which represent health care workers, and nursing homes. At issue is whether a campaign to pressure the management of the nursing homes during labor disputes crossed the line into extortion.

Collective Bargaining Delivers (?), February 26, 2014

Employees at Mercy Health Partners Hackley Campus in Muskegon and Luther Manor skilled nursing facility in Saginaw are a prime example of this sort of treatment. It started when the health care workers left SEIU Healthcare Michigan (well known for last year’s $34 million home-based caregivers scheme) after their officials stopped addressing the concerns of union members. Then, they voted in the National Union of Healthcare Workers who essentially sold those members to the Machinists union for $2.3 million without member consent. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has filed unfair labor practice charges on behalf of the employees.

Watch as pensions, health care, debt gobble up NJ taxes, February 26, 2014

The fiscal future of states and cities that have neglected their pension systems and bolstered their budgets with debt gimmicks is on view in New Jersey, crowd out njwhere Gov. Chris Christie announced yesterday that rising pension, health care and debt service costs will eat up 94 percent of the increase in tax collections the state is projecting. At the same time the Washington Post reminds us what a city in the same predicament, San Jose, looks like as it cuts services and raises taxes thanks to pension liabilities.

Casey urges Pa. legislature to sidestep union bill, February 26, 2014

“I think we have to be cognizant in states where this kind of threat was underestimated, it didn’t turn out very well for workers,” Casey told the AP, citing the cases of Michigan and Wisconsin, where GOP-controlled legislatures passed similar right-to-work laws. “The real goal here is political and ideological, to weaken workers’ right to fight for better wages and benefits.

Will Kentucky become the 25th right-to-work state?

Bluegrass Institute, February 27, 2014

Legislative leaders were joined by policymakers and representatives from the commonwealth’s business, building and manufacturing industries at a news conference today announcing history’s most serious bid to make Kentucky a right-to-work state.

Lawsuit Alleges Solis Failed to Report Free Jet Trips from Los Angeles-Area IUOE Local, February 27, 2014

On February 10, the Cerritos, Calif.-based Hews Media Group revealed that Solis, now campaigning for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, had accepted thousands of dollars worth of free private jet travel more than five years ago from International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12, but without disclosing these trips, as required by federal law. This finding is a material fact in a federal civil racketeering suit filed in January by four members of the Pasadena-based local against some two dozen people, which include top union officials.  While Solis is not listed as a defendant, the details suggest her tenure as labor secretary during President Obama’s first term was seriously ethically challenged.

Paying the price for Detroit’s fiscal irresponsibility

Washington Post Online, February 27, 2014

As Mr. Orr’s report explains, however, Detroit’s pension funds might be less vulnerable today if their trustees, many of them city union officials, had not repeatedly dipped into them to make bonus payments, sometimes known as “the 13th month,” to retired and active city workers. That ploy cost the city’s two largest pension funds $1.92 billion between 1985 and 2008, according to Mr. Orr’s filings.