NILRR Right to Work Clips January 19, 2018

A man standing in front of a brown background.

The Insider’s Tale: Looking Through a (Union) Glass, Darkly

Ben Johnson,, January 17, 2018

I don’t expect to convince any union officers or staff still wandering the union wilderness that my way is the right way. To them, my arguments are reactionary, tools the forces of capitalism have always used to bust unions. The only analysis that unions countenance support a dire assertion: without bargaining unit contracts and agency fees unions will become terminally weak. A weak union might as well not exist; any arguments against unfair practices is nothing but the buzzing of the saw that cuts down the workers.

Congress Should Ban Union Violence, January 16, 2018

Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) proposes to close the union loophole by introducing the Freedom from Union Violence Act of 2017 (H.R. 4422). The proposed bill states that “nothing… shall be construed… to preclude Federal jurisdiction over any violation of this section, on the basis that the conduct at issues… occurred during the course of a labor dispute or in pursuit of a legitimate business or labor objective.†This would eliminate the “legitimate†cause loophole created by the Supreme Court and increase the probability of convicting union members who use or threaten the use of violence as a coercive measure.

A Very Bad Bargain

Wall Street Journal Online, January 16, 2018

Two Cornell academics— Michael Lovenheim, an associate professor of policy analysis and management, and Alexander Willén, a doctoral student—have recently completed a study that tries to answer it. In “A Bad Bargain: How teacher collective bargaining affects students’ employment and earnings later in life,†the professors conclude: “We find strong evidence that teacher collective bargaining has a negative effect on students’ earnings as adults.†Given that 34 states since 1959 have mandated collective bargaining with teachers and only seven prohibit it, the finding is also a call to reform.

Big Labor Sends $1 Billion to the Left—Without Prior Approval, January 18, 2018

New research from the Center for Union Facts shows that, from 2010 to 2016, labor unions sent more than $1.1 billion in member dues to anti-Republican advocacy groups—without prior member approval. It is the most comprehensive analysis of union advocacy spending ever done.

The Supreme Court’s coming decision could put unions past the point of no return, January 18, 2018

Government unions won a major assist from the Supreme Court in the landmark case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977). The court ruled that a public employee could be forced to pay for union representation, even if the money supported causes the employee opposed.

Yet even this model of forced unionism shows strain, brought on by union overreach.

Political intersectionality led unions, particularly the National Education Association, to embrace causes that have little to do with the workplace.

A ruling for Janus will trigger an exodus of union members who held their nose over union politics. We saw this in Michigan; after the state enacted a right-to-work law in 2012, the Michigan Education Association lost 25 percent of its membership.

Nearly five million workers will be affected by the Janus ruling, a fact not lost on the Democratic Party, heavily dependent as it is on union cash and activists. Legislatures in blue states can be expected to test the limits of Janus; some will try to directly subsidize unions with taxpayer funds.

Organized Labor’s Lawbreakers

Wall Street Journal Online, January 15, 2018

Organized labor has a long history of corruption, but federal records show it’s not improving. In the past two years a total of 143 labor leaders and staffers have pleaded guilty or been convicted of federal crimes, according to the Labor Department’s recently updated disclosures on criminal enforcement actions.

Bracing for a Supreme Court attack, labor unions make plans to survive, January 18, 2018

The free-rider problem can also be dealt with by giving non-members fewer opportunities to free-ride. If workers can’t be compelled to subsidize union activities, argues University of California Berkeley law professor Catherine Fisk, then unions probably can’t be compelled into representing non-dues-payers. If members have exclusive access to union representation during grievance proceedings, that provides an incentive for workers to keep paying their dues.

“There are a few examples of unions in different states — in right-to-work states — that I believe have experimented with not handling individual grievances,†Fisk told ThinkProgress. Whether unions could (or should) also negotiate contracts exclusively on behalf of dues-paying members is a “harder question,†she added.

“It’s not obvious that a union would be better off negotiating only on behalf of its members,†she said. “Because they would be setting up the possibility that the non-members could get paid more than the union members, which would obviously prompt some members to resign their membership.â€

Possible school bus driver strike looms over Seattle schools, January 17, 2018

A labor dispute between the company providing school bus service for Seattle’s public schools and the drivers of those buses has multiple agencies preparing for what could be an lengthy strike.

Paul Booth, Antiwar Organizer and Union Stalwart, Dies at 74

New York Times, January 19, 2018

He also became a leader of the radical Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky’s movement to help poor residents of metropolitan neighborhoods and, later, the chief assistant to Gerald W. McEntee, the president until 2012 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the nation’s largest public employee union.

Column: Michigan’s comeback took work, January 17, 2018

And they enacted landmark right to work reforms that gave every Michigan worker the right to choose whether or not to join a union, and whether or not to part with a big chunk of their own paychecks.