Public Employees Hit Operating Engineers Union with Federal Charges and more news

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Journalists Turning to Union Protection in Turbulent Times, October 26, 2018

Unionization can be problematic when all employees are forced into a “one-size-fits-all contract,†National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation spokesman Patrick Semmens told Bloomberg Law in an email.

“The problem with unionization under current U.S. labor law, whether of a newsroom or a factory, isn’t that some workers decide to voluntarily join the union and pay dues, which is of course their right,†Semmens said. “It’s the injustice of compulsory unionism where once a union is installed as the monopoly representative, union officials become empowered to force even those opposed to unionizing under a one-size-fits-all union contract.â€

Semmens said that in states without “right to work†laws, workers can be fired for refusing to pay unions dues or fees.

Fate of union at USC Verdugo Hills uncertain as members revolt, October 24, 2018

A group of healthcare workers at a USC-owned hospital in Glendale are trying to dissolve a union they fought to form just three years ago, citing disappointment with wage and benefit negotiations.

The decertification petition is supported by a majority of SEIU-UHW employees, according to Brown, who is receiving free legal counsel from anti-union group Nation Right to Work Foundation.

Public Employees Hit Operating Engineers Union with State Unfair Labor Practice Charges for Illegal Intimidation, Discrimination, October 18, 2018

Ryan Wagner, Brett Day, and Mark Pipkin, with free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, filed the unfair practice charges after they received notification by their employer that a union official had requested their work email records and other documents under the California Public Records Act.

The Operating Engineers official requested copies of all three employees’ emails with keywords such as “decertification,†“PERB,†“union,†“decertify,†“how to get rid of union,†“Public Employee Relations Board,†and “Meyers Milias Brown Act.†The terms are related to the employees’ legal rights under California law, specifically the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) which covers county and municipal workers, to remove a union that has lost the support of a majority of workers.


In the first quarter of 2018, the income-growth leader by far was Texas, with 6 percent growth, followed by Louisiana, North Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, and Iowa. All are growing faster, often considerably faster, than liberal states like California, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, and New York.

By the end of last year, key metro areas including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston were falling behind competitors like Nashville, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, and Salt Lake City. The Bay Area economies, which ranked in the top five for income growth over the last decade, ranked 15th and 16th last year. Tech and business-service growth, though still strong in Silicon Valley, is now much more rapid in Sunbelt hotspots.

Union Report Exclusive: Internal Report Shows NEA Losses of 17,000 Members and 87,000 Fee Payers Since Janus Decision, October 24, 2018

New membership numbers obtained by Union Report show that NEA now stands at 3,001,570 total members — a decline of 17,000 since the last report in April. This erased much of the membership increase the union saw in 2017.

More damaging to the union’s coffers is the loss of its more than 87,000 former agency fee payers nationwide after the court’s ruling. The percentage losses are comparable to those of the Maryland State Education Association, reported here two weeks ago.

Labor Racket Weekly, October 24, 2018

In New York, Rocco Fazzolari, former President of International Brotherhood of Trade Unions Local 122, plead guilty to an information for Embezzlement of Union Funds, Embezzlement from an Employee Benefit Plan as well as Conspiracy to Embezzle from an Employee Benefit Plan.  More than $128,000 was embezzled from the union and more than $1.1 million from the benefit fund.

In Wisconsin, Teresa Adkins, former business manager of Heat & Frost Insulators Local 127, plead no contest to one count of theft in a business setting of more than $10,000 and one count of forgery. Adkins was then sentenced to five years of probation for the first count and three years of probation for the second count.  Adkins was also ordered to pay $73,618 in restitution and $8,418 in fines.

National Labor Relations Board Released Proposed Rule to Undo Browning-Ferris, October 24, 2018

With this new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the NLRB is attempting to provide clarity on the joint employer standard and return it to the original precedent pre-Browning-Ferris. The federal rulemaking process does require regulators to respond to the substance of every comment they receive, which will most likely be a daunting task given the existing controversy. However, it is a welcome sign of movement into a move favorable direction for those in the franchise industry.

California union local has a unique way around Janus — just ignore and disobey the decision, October 26, 2018

AFSCME Local 3299 has continued to involuntarily extract “voluntary” service fees from Hernandez’s paycheck, despite her repeated attempts and requests to quit the union. Because California historically defers to unions rather than workers, if Hernandez succeeds in suing the union for violating Janus, then it could also void the state legislature’s attempts to circumvent Janus.

Cabin for retired leader rises as feds question UAW spending, October 26, 2018

Public records, blueprints and interviews offer insight into how UAW leaders spent money amid a widening corruption scandal that is expected to lead to additional criminal charges. One previously undisclosed expense is the Williams cottage under construction at the UAW Black Lake Conference Center, a 1,000-acre retreat in northern Michigan financed with interest from the union’s $721 million strike fund, which is bankrolled by worker dues.

The UAW’s nonprofit real-estate arm Union Building Corp. started building a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath, 1,885-square-foot cottage for Williams this year on the shores of Black Lake in Onaway, a half-hour drive south of Cheboygan. Williams retired in June and was implicated in the scandal one month later when prosecutors said he directed subordinates to use funds from Detroit’s automakers, funneled through training centers, to pay for union travel, meals and entertainment.

“This is absolutely ridiculous, it’s a dereliction of duty and a complete misappropriation of member dues,” said autoworker Terry Bowman, 53, an outspoken critic of UAW leaders and a right-to-work activist who works at Ford Motor Co.’s Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township.

The Daily 202: To win the Midwest, labor-backed coalition pursues minorities who haven’t voted before in midterms, October 26, 2018

Mobilizing infrequent voters is much harder than turning out those who reliably participate in elections and thus need little prodding, but the 2-million-member union has spent tens of millions of dollars on a massive field operation to try expanding the electorate in 2018.

Democrats are well positioned to make significant gains in the Wolverine State, including picking up the governorship and two or more House seats, but it will take precinct-level returns to show whether organized labor’s investment paid off.

– The SEIU is part of a coalition called Win Justice that includes three other groups: Planned Parenthood Votes, Center for Community Change Action and Color Of Change PAC