This Week’s Right to Work News Update



“The court rejected a desperate attempt by union bosses to re-impose their power to have a worker fired for refusing to pay dues or fees to a union they oppose,” National Right to Work Foundation (NRTW) President Mark Mix said in a statement. NRTW attorneys represented defendants in the case. (RELATED: The Supreme Court Just Handed Down Its Big Decision On Mandatory Union Dues)

Right to Work Wins Out in Kentucky, November 18, 2018

The state’s highest court upheld a lower court judge’s ruling dismissing the lawsuit filed by Teamsters Local 89. The 4-3 majority affirmed that the law, which prohibits mandatory union fees as a condition of employment, passed state constitutional muster and was appropriate under federal labor law.

“We hold that the Unions’ constitutional challenges to the Act are without merit,” the majority ruling in the 4-3 case says. “In this area of economic legislation, the legislature and the executive branch make the policy, not the courts.”

USC Verdugo Hills employee continues effort to dissolve union, appealing labor board’s decision, November 16, 2018

A surgical buyer has appealed the rejection of his petition by the National Labor Relations Board to dissolve a union of healthcare workers at a USC-owned hospital in Glendale.

Taubman and another lawyer from the anti-union group National Right to Work are providing Brown free legal counsel.

Brown said all he wants is a secret election, so employees can express their views about SEIU, “but the union and NLRB are working overtime to prevent that from happening by using a bunch of legal technicalities to prevent an election.”

Pelosi Has Union Support in Bid for House Speaker   

bloomberglaw news, November 19, 2018

“Nancy Pelosi has the support of working people, and deserves the support of the Democratic Caucus as it chooses its candidate to be the next Speaker of the House,” United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard said in a Nov. 14 written statement. “What drives her is fulfilling the ambition of average, hardworking Americans who want fair wages, a safe workplace, health care, retirement security, opportunity, equality and justice.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Nov. 10 tweeted that Pelosi is an “effective advocate for working families.” A group of six labor unions also pledged support for Pelosi’s bid to lead the 116th Congress, according to a letter addressed to Pelosi and obtained by Bloomberg Law Nov. 14.

Top spending Massachusetts PACs linked with labor unions, November 18, 2018

Eight of the top ten Massachusetts political action committees that spent thousands in the months leading up to Election Day were representing the interests of labor unions.

The top-spending PAC from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 was the 1199 SEIU MA PAC, associated with the union representing tens of thousands of health care workers throughout the state. The union reported spending more than $428,000 according to the state Office and Campaign and Political Finance.

Labor Racket Weekly: October Round-Up, November 19, 2018

In Oklahoma, former bookkeeper for Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 270, was sentenced to three months of incarceration, five months of home confinement, and three years of supervised release.

In Virginia, Benjamin Wisecarver, former President of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 264, was indicted on three counts of embezzlement, two counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and embezzle union assets, for participating in an embezzlement of $57,310 from the union.

As Unions Step Up Pressure on Major Logistics Group so it Begins New Freight Driver Initiatives, November 20, 2018

In the US the Teamsters has been running a campaign attacking the company and now it seems that XPO warehouse workers in Indianapolis, Indiana and XPO freight drivers in Rockaway, New Jersey have filed for Teamster representation. This is the the latest action by workers across the US and adds to a growing number of sites with similar plans with XPO freight workers in Laredo, Texas; Los Angeles; Miami, Florida; Aurora, Ill.; King of Prussia, Pa.; Trenton, N.J. and Cinnaminson, N.J. and warehouse workers in North Haven, Conn. having already joined the Teamsters.

COLUMBIA CAVES, November 20, 2018

Columbia University said Monday that it will start bargaining with its graduate student employees union more than two years after the NLRB handed down a precedent-setting ruling that allowed student workers to unionize. Columbia refused to recognize the student union after the 2016 decision, saying it would seek a review in federal appellate court. But the university backed down Monday, facing a Dec. 4 strike deadline, the Columbia Spectator reports.

Meanwhile, a 60-percent majority of Brown graduate students voted to unionize, the university announced Monday. Stand Up for Graduate Student Employees and the American Federation of Teachers will represent approximately 900 doctoral and master’s students working as “teaching assistants, research assistants or proctors,” according to a university press release.  The actions at Columbia and Brown follow the news earlier this month that Georgetown University graduate students voted overwhelmingly to unionize. Read the press release from Brown here and AFT’s statement here.

‘Blue wave’ helps push Thurmond to victory in California schools chief race, November 19, 2018

Thurmond’s win was crucial for the CTA in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus ruling in June that union members not wanting to join their union no longer had to pay “agency fees” — a decision that threatens to reduce the CTA’s membership, revenue and clout at the ballot box.

But on Saturday, CTA president Eric Heins welcomed Thurmond’s victory with satisfaction, noting that electing him and Newsom had been the CTA’s “top priority.”  Despite the

narrowness of the win — Thurmond currently leads Tuck by 1.6 percentage points — the CTA can send a strong message to its members, telling them that their dues matter, helping elect a governor and a superintendent who’ll have their backs.

Kokomo Teachers Association dwindling, November 19, 2018

Within Kokomo School Corporation (KSC), the Kokomo Teachers Association (KTA) has suffered declining membership rates. So much so that now the association technically could be dissolved by a petition of the teachers who could opt to either replace the representative body with a new union or opt to not utilize a union at all.

Once a teachers’ union falls below the 50-percent threshold, notification begins to be sent out by the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board.

The notification is sent directly to teachers within the school corporation, and it notifies them that there is a process teachers can embark on to either form a different representative body or dissolve the union, opting to not have a representative body.

Lawmakers consider multibillion-dollar bailout for troubled pensions, retirees, November 20, 2018

Top lawmakers are considering a taxpayer-funded bailout for retirees who are members of certain failing pension plans, scrambling to solve a retirement crisis that threatens more than 1 million Americans.

The federal bailout is one of multiple proposals being considered by a special congressional committee tasked with addressing the pension crisis. The committee has a Nov. 30 deadline to submit a proposed solution, and aides cautioned that negotiations were extremely fluid and that there is a risk talks will unravel.

Negotiators are considering a number of other potential changes to try and shore up multiemployer pension plans, including new fees paid by union members and companies as well as higher premiums levied on pensions, according to the draft reviewed by the Post.

A Test Case In Labor Solidarity After Fair Share, November 19, 2018

In the first month after the ruling came down, the university payroll office failed to deduct dues from hundreds of card-signed union members from several unions on campus, including UIC United Faculty (UICUF) (link is external), the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) (link is external), SEIU Local 73 (link is external), and my own union, the UIC Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) (link is external). In the case of GEO, this cost our relatively small local of graduate student workers a whopping $10,000.