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NILRR Right to Work News November 02, 2018

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Forced-Dues State Households Have Less Real Income

www.nilrr.org, October 22, 2018

MERIC’s annual data for 2017 show that, among the 14 states with the highest overall cost

of living last year, not one has on the books and in effect a Right to Work law barring the

termination of employees for refusal to join or pay dues to an unwanted union.3 But all of the seven lowest-cost states, and 16 of the 18 lowest-cost states, were and are Right to Work.

Along with housing, food and utility costs, overall tax burdens are substantially lower in

Right to Work states than they are in forced-unionism states.

Naperville bargaining unit loses union representation after half members use Janus rights, opt out of paying dues

Chicago Tribune Online, November 01, 2018

A collective bargaining unit made up of six field supervisors from Naperville’s Public Works Department is no longer represented by a union after half of its members opted out of paying for union representation, an action allowed as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling made this summer.

In October, the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150 filed a “declaration of disinterest” petition for the Naperville collective bargaining unit, meaning it would no longer represent the six employees. It’s the first “revocation of prior certification” the city of Naperville has seen as a result of the court ruling, said Dwight Pancottine, labor and employment attorney for the city of Naperville.

The Illinois Labor Relations Board on Oct. 11 issued a “revocation of prior certification,” stating it “removes any question concerning representation and the duties and responsibilities of the labor organization to that bargaining unit shall cease.”

“Since the decision was issued, we have been looking into all of our rights and options with the intent to provide as little representation as legally possible to people who choose to pay nothing,” Maher said. “(We) clearly communicated to these members within the bargaining units that if individuals chose to exercise rights under the Janus decision and it becomes a growing portion of the bargaining unit, we would have to consider whether we would disinterest that group and walk away.”

Homecare Provider Files Class Action Lawsuit to Stop SEIU’s Unconstitutional Collection of Union Dues

nrtw.org, November 02, 2018

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys have filed a class action complaint challenging a union scheme to violate the rights of California homecare providers. The complaint challenges union officials’ “window period” policy that blocks the provider from exercising her constitutional right to refrain from financially supporting a union, despite the fact that she only became a member under pressure during an unsolicited phone conversation.

Delores Polk, who provides home healthcare to her daughter, is not a voluntary member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2015. However, an SEIU telemarketer called her and read Polk the terms of the local union’s membership and dues deduction authorization. Pressured by the unsolicited phone call, Polk reluctantly agreed to join.

WMATA Exec, Metro Unions Warned: Stop Violating Workers’ First Amendment Rights Protected by Janus Supreme Court Decision

nrtw.org, October 30, 2018

Today, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation sent a letter to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority warning WMATA against failing to comply with the legal protections for public workers under the U.S. Supreme Court’s June Janus v. AFSCME decision.

However, Foundation staff attorneys have received reports that WMATA continues to deduct union dues or fees from the wages of employees who do not consent to those deductions. The Foundation letter urges WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld to immediately stop deducting union fees from the wages of all such employees.

The letter notes that any deduction authorization signed prior to Janus does not constitute legal waiver of a workers’ constitutional right to not pay. If WMATA does not comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling, the letter explains that “Foundation staff attorneys will bring a civil rights action seeking class-wide injunctive relief, damages, and attorneys’ fees for any injured employees who request their assistance.”

Fenway Worker Wins Too: Ballpark Worker Wins Back Pay After Being Illegally Fired for Resigning from Union

www.nrtw.org, October 29, 2018

With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a service worker at Fenway Park in Boston has secured back pay for lost wages after he was fired for exercising his legal right to resign from formal union membership.

Oscar Milandou is an employee of food service provider Aramark, which is contracted to provide vending services for the Red Sox at Fenway. According to charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Mr. Milandou was fired for resigning from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32.

Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employees have the right the refrain from union membership and activities. Although Massachusetts is not a Right to Work state and does not protect employees from being forced to pay union fees to keep their jobs, it is illegal under the NLRA for an employer to discriminate or terminate an employee for exercising his legal right to resign from the union.

The Next Big Fight Over Organized Labor May Already Be Here

Reason.com, November 02, 2018

June’s Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) freed public sector workers from being required to pay dues to unions to which they do not belong.

The associate justice was likely talking about something called “exclusive representation.” Section 9 of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947—the federal law that set many of the rules still governing American labor unions today—established that only one union may represent workers in a given “bargaining unit.”

There are already some relevant cases in the pipeline. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which represented Mark Janus in his lawsuit, has two ongoing challenges to exclusive representation requirements in Minnesota and Washington state. Both plaintiffs argue their First Amendment right to freedom of association is being violated. According to Patrick Semmens, a vice president of the legal defense group, Alito’s nod to the issue indeed “strengthens those cases.”

Comment Period for NLRB’s Highly Anticipated Joint-Employer Rule Extended

natlawreview.com, November 01, 2018

The NLRB extended the comment period for its proposed new joint-employer rule, giving the public another 30 days to weigh in on what has been a hot-button issue for businesses who use staffing companies or franchise models.

United Auto Workers vs. Workers

Wall Street Journal Online, November 01, 2018

Government investigators are also probing the union’s use of worker dues. As the Detroit News reported this week, UAW leaders tapped the union strike fund to build a 1,885-square- foot cottage on Black Lake in Onaway, Michigan, for retired President Dennis Williams. The woodsy cabin’s luxury amenities include a wine cooler and even a room hidden behind a bookshelf. Sweet.

The kicker is that the UAW employed non-union contractors to save money. A UAW spokesperson says that the union “always hires union members and contracts with union contractors when available,” but the two union contractors that bid on the cabin submitted estimates that the UAW believed were too high. In other words, the union didn’t want to pay more for union labor if it meant sacrificing the wine cooler.

Thanks to Michigan’s right-to-work law that Republicans enacted in 2012, autoworkers can choose whether to belong to the union and fund its high-rolling executives—though perhaps not for long. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer has been endorsed by the UAW and is campaigning to repeal the law, which she calls an “assault on working people.”

UAW using non-union labor to build home for ex-president

detroitnews.com, November 01, 2018

The United Auto Workers is using nonunion labor to build a lakefront home for retired President Dennis Williams, a money-saving move prompted by bids showing the project would have cost more than $1.3 million.

Instead of using more expensive union laborers, the UAW has hired a nonunion electrician, a nonunion excavation company and is in talks to hire a nonunion plumber to work on the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath, 1,885-square-foot stone home at the UAW Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center in Onaway. The 1,000-acre retreat in northern Michigan is financed with interest from the union’s $721 million strike fund, which is bankrolled by worker dues.

“This changes it from a story of suspected misuse of union funds, which some union members have a surprising tolerance of, to a story of hypocrisy,” Erik Gordon, a University of Michigan business professor, said.  “A union that is in favor of union labor until it costs more is the same as any company that fights against union labor.”

East Greenwich town manager reveals several ‘side’ agreements with unions

providencejournal.com, October 28, 2018

The term “subterranean agreements” made several appearances late in a Town Council meeting last week.

Some were costing the town hundreds of thousands of dollars, Corrigan said.

Ten of the 12 memoranda are with the International Association of Fire Fighters, she said, one is with Public Works and Parks Department laborers, and one is with town office workers represented by the National Education Association of Rhode Island.

It’s getting worse

poltico.com, November 01, 2018

Fifteen more multiemployer pension plans have notified regulators they are failing, bringing the total number of underfunded plans to 121 (up from 114 last year) and the multiemployer shortfall to $48.9 billion (up from $36.4 billion last year), according to a new analysis from the actuarial consulting firm Cheiron Inc. A select joint pensions committee in Congress is tasked with producing a bipartisan solution by the end of this month, but it hasn’t met since July. If nothing is done, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which insures multiemployer pensions, will go bankrupt as soon as 2025.

The pensions “supercommittee” is deadlocked over whether to support the Democratic-backed Butch Lewis Act, which would extend to struggling plans low-interest federal loans that could be repaid over 30 years. Republican committee members oppose anything that smacks of a bailout, even though more than two dozen business and industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have urged lawmakers to embrace low-interest loans.

As the clock ticks, insolvent plans have been lining up at Treasury to request permission to trim benefits under a 2014 multiemployer reform bill. Of the eight multiemployer cuts approved by Treasury since the 2014 law was enacted, four were approved in 2018. Another eight are under review.

New York City Joins the Imminent Bankruptcy Club

dollarcollapse.com, November 02, 2018

The “public pension crisis” is the kind of subject that’s easy to over-analyze, in part because there are so many different examples of bad behavior out there and in part because the aggregate damage these entities will do when they start blowing up is immense.

But most people see pensions as essentially an accounting issue – and therefore boring – so it doesn’t pay to go back to this particular well too often. Still, New York City’s missing $100 billion can’t be ignored:

The point? While Chicago and California hog the “unfunded pension liability” spotlight, it turns out that good old New York City has quietly been accumulating unfunded liabilities sufficient to make them members in good standing of the “imminent bankruptcy” club.

UAW Local offering free rides to polling places in Winnebago and Boone County

mystateline.com, October 31, 2018

“We send a courtesy vehicle with two people,” said UAW Local Political Coordinator John Gedney. “That vehicle will bring them to the polls regardless of their party affiliation.”

UAW offers rides every weekday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Rockford Board of Elections executive director Stacey Bixby says this service is crucial for many in the Stateline.

Democrats in prime position to take House, but battleground district poll shows wild cards remain

washingtonpost.com, November 01, 2018

Democrats maintain a strong position to retake the U.S. House, but the party’s base of less-frequent voters and concerns about illegal immigration stand out as wild cards in the final days before Tuesday’s midterm elections, according to a new Washington Post-Schar School poll of likely voters in battleground congressional districts.

If Dems take Lansing, repealing pension tax, Right to Work tops agenda

freep.com, November 01, 2018

“The very first bill that we will pass will be a repeal of the Right to Work law,” said Rep. Brian Elder, D-Bay City, one of three Democrats vying for the role of speaker of the House. “Then we’ll move to a repeal of the pension tax.”

“The single most dangerous thing anyone could do would be to throw the certainty of our Right to Work law into question,” said Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “It would dry up investment capital in a minute. It would be huge mistake to even contemplate it.”

Employers, unions clash over compulsory workers’ membership suggestion

timesofmalta.com, November 01, 2018

Three main employers’ associations are up in arms over the General Workers’ Union suggestion to force workers to join a union – which was supported by the prime minister in Parliament – insisting that this would impinge on people’s rights.

. . . according to the trade unions’ annual declarations to the Registrar of Trade Unions at the Department for Employment and Industrial Relations, Malta has among the highest rate of unionised employees in the EU.

Flint union boss directed improper purchases from UAW funds, court filing claims

mlive.com, November 01, 2018

The Detroit News has reported that the training funds were used to purchase a $2,180 shotgun given to Jewell as a birthday present in 2015 and for a party in his honor —  an event that the newspaper reported included ultra-premium” liquor, more than $7,000 worth of cigars and more than $3,000 worth of wine with custom labels.

But in addition to those purchases, King says she was “regularly asked by superiors … including Norwood Jewell, and Mr. Jewell’s administrative assistant … to make improper purchases that personally benefited them and which totaled at least another $25,000 to $30,000.”

Veering Toward a Teachers Strike in Los Angeles as Union Rejects Sweetened Offer From School District

the74million.org, November 01, 2018

And the sweetened offer did not seem to put a damper on the union’s threats to strike. In a statement, its president called for members to “continue to organize and build strike readiness” and announced a Dec. 15 march in downtown L.A.

The district has said UTLA’s demands would bankrupt L.A. Unified “and lead to the unprecedented layoffs of about 12,000 employees, including teachers.”

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said in the press release of this week’s new offer, “As anemic as it is, is a result of our demonstrated power. Let’s continue to organize and build strike readiness. On December 15, we march in downtown L.A. for public education and show Beutner that we will not let him undermine our schools and our futures.”

UPS Tells Shippers to Prepare for Freight Strike

Wall Street Journal Online, November 01, 2018

United Parcel Service Inc. UPS -1.00% is telling customers to make alternative shipping plans in case of a strike in its smaller freight division, where unionized workers are set to vote on the company’s final contract offer next week.

UPS Freight workers rejected a tentative contract last month and are voting on an updated offer from the company. A contract extension expires on Nov. 12, after which the 11,000 Teamsters members could go on strike. The Teamsters have already authorized a strike, which would be the first work stoppage at UPS since 1997.

UPS is already preparing for disruption. The company notified shippers that the last day for freight pickups is next Wednesday and that it can only guarantee ground freight shipments through next Thursday. The company aims to clear its network of all freight by the end of that week.

Opinion:  Tennessee has overtaken Texas as national Model for Free Market Innovation

thedailycaller.com,  November 01, 2018

Texas has boasted one of the most impressive economic engines for many years. If it were its own country, Texas would have the 10th largest economy in the world. But while Texans themselves may not want to hear it, Tennessee is hot on their heels.

Both states have long been known for their free-market tendencies. Neither has an income tax on labor, both shun statewide minimum wage laws, and each state has long protected the right-to-work. And yet perhaps because of its size, Texas has always overshadowed the “other T.” But Tennessee is making a run at surpassing its long-time competitor.