NILRR Right to Work News August 03, 2018


US Supreme Court ruling in union dues impacts case in Oregon, July 30, 2018

Debora Nearman, a systems analyst with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in her lawsuit filed in April in federal court that the state’s practice of forcing her to pay fees to fund union activity violated her First Amendment freedoms. She said the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, opposes her political and religious views and even led a campaign against her husband Mike when he successfully ran as a Republican candidate for the state Legislature in 2016.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which was involved in both the Supreme Court case and Nearman’s, is handling some 200 other cases across the country, including a class-action lawsuit in California by 30,000 state employees, said Patrick Semmens, the group’s vice president.

If the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of the plaintiffs in the California case, they stand to be refunded more than $100 million, Semmens estimated.

Nearman said in a telephone interview the mailers sent by a political action committee funded by the union were “disgusting.”

Nearman will be refunded the almost $3,000 she paid over two years. A statute of limitations prevented her from recovering earlier payments, Semmens said.

“The Janus case said it violates public employees’ First Amendment rights to be forced to fund a labor union,” Semmens said. “This (Oregon) case takes the precedent and follows it to its logical conclusion.”


Retired St. Louis Police sergeant Gary Wiegert has joined the National Right to Work Committee (NRWC) in campaigning for Missouri ballot initiative Prop A, which would prohibit unions from requiring dues from members and nonmembers in unionized workspaces, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association (SPLOA) is calling Wiegert, its former president, “anti-worker” for taking part in an ad by the NRWC.

The SPLOA has taken the step of calling for the NRWC and Wiegert to cease airing the ad starring the former union leader. In the ad, Wiegert is wearing a union polo with the union’s symbol showing, but Wiegert was expelled from the union in 2012 and forbade from ever representing the organization, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“This type of bullying is exactly why Missouri needs the protections Right to Work laws offer,” NRWC president Mark Mix said in a statement. “The fact that these are the lengths union officials are willing to go silence any dissent among rank-and-file workers demonstrates exactly why every worker should be able to refrain from supporting a union if they choose.”

Lawmakers in Blue States Try to Protect Organized Labor, August 01, 2018

And the National Right to Work Committee and other groups that backed the Supreme Court decision say they’re prepared to sue to protect workers’ right to refuse to pay union fees.

“There are a lot of state laws that don’t comply with the Janus decision,” said Patrick Semmens, spokesman for the committee, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Springfield, Virginia. The group’s sister organization, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, represented Mark Janus.

But even before the high court ruled, eight of the 22 states that allowed unions to charge such fees took steps to cushion the blow — often citing the broader battle between liberals and conservatives over organized labor and “right to work” laws.

Policymakers in Democratic-leaning states affected by the Janus decision have rushed to help unions make a better pitch to members and potential members.

The National Right to Work Committee’s Semmens said new hire orientation requirements aren’t a big change. But he questioned laws that make it harder to leave unions whenever members want.

Cuomo’s Janus “Fix” Challenged, July 31, 2018

It did not take long; on June 13, 2018, a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York challenging amendments to the New York Civil Service Law that were designed to blunt the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, Municipal and County Employees. In the lawsuit, Pellegrino v. New York State United Teachers, et. al, the two named plaintiffs representing the class are a teacher who is a union member and a second teacher who is an agency fee-payer.

In addition to seeking a refund of union dues and fees paid, the Pellegrino plaintiffs also seek to have the provision of the amended New York Civil Service Law which permits unions to set the window period within which an employee may revoke the employee’s union membership declared unconstitutional. If the plaintiffs are successful, provisions that are contained in the membership cards limiting when an employee can opt out of a union will no longer be valid, and employees will be able to opt out at any time.

Important Element Omitted From “Company Union” Scheme

eiaonline. com, July 30, 2018

Speaking of government agencies and school districts, Sotomayor asked, “Why can’t they assess all of their employees a tax for that contribution [to collective bargaining]?”

The scheme has gained enough traction to become the subject of proposed legislation in New York and Hawaii, and the topic of a debate on the pages of Labor Notes, a pro-union publication.

Even though these two men come down on opposite sides of this cozy arrangement, they both leave out a crucial element that would probably lay waste to their best-laid plans. “The employer” to whom Tang refers is not some corporation with an independent source of revenue – it’s us, the taxpayers.

If there was no constitutional basis to allow unions to charge teachers for the costs of collective bargaining, how can the public be obliged to pay? And even if it were constitutionally sound, why should we compensate a private organization for the task of lobbying us for more money?

Who knew that when the time came, public employee unions would argue in favor of using a taxpayer-funded voucher to cover their private expenditures?

Union Payments Rhode Island Style, July 29, 2018

In the payroll that went out on Friday, the Raimondo administration stopped collecting union payments — known as “agency service fees” — from about 250 state employees who opted not to join a union.

Michael DiBiase, the director of administration, told Political Scene the state is working with the unions in an attempt to find out if there is anyone else in this category. Part of the difficulty: the state’s payment system does not in all cases differentiate these now-banned payments from the union dues — ranging from $2.06 to $28.75 — that the state deducts every two-week pay period from the paychecks of about 11,000 state workers.

A pay period earlier, the Raimondo administration collected $236,468 in union fees and “agency service fees” from state employee paychecks. That equates to $6.1 million a year.

Editorial: Unions must stand on their own, July 29, 2018

Yet Speaker DeLeo has other­ notions in mind. “We as a House will be taking some action … to soften the blow, shall we say, relative to our unions here in Massachusetts,” DeLeo told reporters recently after a Democratic caucus at the State House. He said the Janus decision “could be quite a bit of loss in terms of revenue for our unions.” DeLeo is treading on shallow ground here. If he tries to usurp the Supreme Court’s decision, he could soon find the Legislature entangled in its own Janus-type lawsuit. Plus, his approach only serves to strengthen the belief that the Democratic Party is an arm of the state’s government unions — and vice versa.

DeLeo and other Democrats should be only too happy to shed the yoke of union leadership, which regularly exerts undue and misguided pressure on politicians to do their bidding — against the interest of a majority of the state’s nonunion workers and taxpayers.

DeLeo’s job is to represent all citizens and workers fairly and not to kowtow to special interests. Let the unions get better at what they are supposed to do — serving their memberships openly and honestly — and just maybe they’ll increase their ranks on their own — without government’s helping hand.

Pro-Union Law in California Survives, for Now, July 30, 2018

Since 2017, California employers that receive public funds for construction projects can get wage credits for payments made to industry advocacy groups only if those contributions were agreed to in a collective bargaining agreement. The law was passed in part to give workers input over how employers spend their paycheck deductions.

One such employer and an industry advancement fund say that discriminates against nonunion employers.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit disagreed.

The Ninth Circuit’s decision preserves the pro-union policy, at least for now. The ABC-CCC plans to appeal the ruling to a full panel of Ninth Circuit judges or to the U.S. Supreme Court, Anastasia Boden, a Pacific Legal Foundation attorney for ABC-CCC, told Bloomberg Law July 30.

Boden said the Pacific Legal Foundation is still deciding whether to appeal to a full panel of Ninth Circuit judges or directly to the Supreme Court.

On Heels of Supreme Court Decision, Mayor de Blasio and 22 Mayors Deepen Commitment to Working Families and Municipal Employees, June 27, 2018

The pledge by the mayors referenced in the article is worth reading. It is basically a euphemistically worded list of the primary ways that unions and their politicians will attempt to coerce employees into unions

Mayor de Blasio has joined 22 mayors from across the nation in signing a pledge committing to defending the rights of working families and municipal workers. The commitment comes on the heels of an unfavorable Supreme Court decision in the case of Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, which strikes a blow against “fair share” fees that unions receive from employees who elect not to join the union but nonetheless benefit from the collective bargaining of union members. By targeting unions’ resources, the decision puts all workers at risk by weakening their bargaining position and ability to collectively negotiate.

Complaint: Kate Brown’s initiative deal with Nike, unions was illegal, August 01, 2018

The Oregon Department of Justice is investigating a complaint that an agreement struck by Gov. Kate Brown, Nike and public employee unions in late June to keep an initiative off the ballot violated state elections law.

The union-backed proposal, Initiative Petition 25, would have required Nike and other large companies to disclose tax payments and other closely held business details. The unions said they collected more than enough signatures to get it on the ballot but decided not to proceed.

More Bad News for Unions — Many May Have to Disclose Their Finances Union Report, August 01, 2018

That’s how things stood until last year when, as you may also recall, another new President of the United States was sworn in. Eventually his Labor Department quietly announced it would return to the 2003 interpretation.

I would expect NEA and other public employee unions to mount another legal challenge with the hope of at least running out the clock on the Trump administration. The previous court rulings will make that more difficult this time.

If the regulation goes into effect and is enforced, many teacher union affiliates will have to disclose how they spend virtually every dues dollar, at the very time when teachers are free to decide whether or not they will hand over those dollars to the union. The LM-2 could become the Consumer Reports for teachers as they make that choice.

Workforce Development: More Leads, Projects and Jobs

The Lane Report Online, August 01, 2018

As a senior managing director with Los Angeles-based global real estate company CBRE for the past 13 years as well as with Ernst & Young before that, Seth Martindale is a site-selection consultant to 20 to 40 business and industry clients a year.

“We are the largest real estate company in the world, and they ask us where we should go and why,” Martindale said, noting that being a right-to-work location is a plus.

“Whether it’s fair or not, it’s definitely a filter,” he said. “In a lot of these analyses we are running, that is one of the first cuts. If you are right-to-work you’re in, and if you’re not right-to-work you’re out.”

New York’s Charter Mugging

Wall Street Journal Online, August 02, 2018

Mess with a politically connected union, and you’ll be driven out of New York. That’s the message the Cuomo Administration sent to businesses last Friday as the Public Service Commission revoked its approval of Charter Communications ’ merger agreement with Time Warner Cable. The official narrative is that the telecom company is failing to live up to its merger obligations, but in reality this is political retribution.

The story began after the 2016 merger, as Charter negotiated a new collective-bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3, which represents about 1,700 cable technicians. Charter, which does business in New York under the trade name Spectrum, offered union workers an average raise of 22%, effective immediately.

Supreme Court rules San Diego skipped key legal step in taking pension reform to voters

San Diego Union Tribune Online, August 02, 2018

The California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that San Diego’s six-year-old pension cutbacks were not legally placed on the ballot because city officials failed to negotiate with labor unions before pursuing the measure.