UAW Scandals Grow and more newsclips

A car assembly line with cars in the process of being built.

My Take: UAW scandals show why Michigan needs to keep workers’ right-to-work protections, November 03, 2018

Forced unionism is an important and under-reported aspect of the UAW/FCA scandal, in connection with which more indictments are expected.

As a consequence of a handful of special-interest provisions in federal labor law, tens of thousands of employees at auto assembly plants in Illinois, Missouri and Ohio, three states that currently lack Right to Work protections, are forced to pay dues to the tainted UAW. If they refuse, they can be fired.

Unfortunately, if Gretchen Whitmer, the Democrat nominee to be Michigan’s next governor, has her way, Michigan auto workers will soon lose their freedom of choice. In order to keep their jobs, they will have to pay dues or fees to UAW officials who are under FBI investigation.

Whitmer cynically labels a statute that simply protects the individual employee from being fired for refusal to bankroll a union that’s corrupt or ineffectual or takes positions that are antithetical to what the employee believes as “an assault on working people.†She is publicly pledging to repeal Michigan’s nearly six-year-old Right to Work law if she gets the opportunity.

Thanks largely to the massive “in-kind†electoral support from the forced-dues laden treasuries of national unions, Whitmer is currently ahead in the polls. That’s a shame, because a Whitmer victory would also be a victory for apparently ethically impaired union chiefs like those at the UAW who are now answering to prosecutors or potentially heading to prison.

Hospital Employee Challenges “Contract Bar†and Other Restrictions on Employees’ Right to Hold Vote to Oust SEIU Union, November 15, 2018

Despite having followed the NLRB website’s instructions on union decertification petitions, including collecting signatures from over 30 percent of his colleagues as required, union officials claimed Mr. Brown’s decertification petition was untimely.

In the Request for Review, Brown and his Foundation staff attorneys argue that the so-called “contract bar†rule is contrary to the stated purpose of the National Labor Relations Act which the NLRB is charged with administering, because the rule results in workers trapped in union monopoly ranks even when a majority of them oppose unionization.

“It’s long past time for the NLRB to fundamentally reform its arbitrary rules used to trap workers in union forced dues ranks, even when a majority of workers oppose unionization,†said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

Nebraska Worker Files Federal Charges Challenging Teamsters Officials’ “Window Period†Scheme Obstructing Right to Stop Dues Payments, November 15, 2018

Dairy industry worker Idalberto Jimenez Destrade has filed a federal unfair labor practice charge against Teamsters Local Union 554 for the union officials’ scheme to block him from exercising his legal right to stop paying union dues after resigning his union membership. Destrade filed the charge at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.

Union officials responded to Destrade in a letter sent on October 24, acknowledging that they had received his request, but that he had missed the 15-day “window period†to revoke his dues check-off authorization between October 5 and October 20. Teamsters officials rejected Destrade’s request to revoke his checkoff authorization because it arrived prior to this so-called “window period.â€

Lawsuit alleges state, NJEA violating Supreme Court ruling on union dues, , November 15, 2018

After three decades of union membership with the New Jersey Education Association, Sue Fischer had enough.

“I am not anti-union. I am a team player. I’ve been a teacher for 30 years,†she said. “You have to pay if you join and pay if you don’t join. That was so un-American to us.â€

In an unprecedented step, the Ocean Township middle school teacher and a colleague are taking the NJEA to court by filing a federal class action suit against the state of New Jersey, the NJEA and their local union. They’re claiming the labor groups are violating Janus, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from June that prevents unions from collecting dues if a public employee opts out.

“Unfortunately, New Jersey passed a law saying employees who authorized dues deduction in the past could only exercise their rights under Janus during one, 10-day period per year, which basically means for 355 to 356 days of every year, public employees in New Jersey can’t exercise their Janus rights,†said William Messenger, who is representing the teachers in the lawsuit.

Is Big Labor Anti-Worker?

Wall Street Journal Online, November 08, 2018

Union leaders are quick to accuse CEOs of not sharing the wealth with their employees. But what happens when the employers accused of exploiting workers are unions?

This is the charge that hourly employees are now leveling against Richard Trumka’s AFL-CIO and Mary Kay Henry’s Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The workers, who range from janitors to accountants staffing the Washington offices of these unions, are themselves represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU).

Mr. Trumka and Ms. Henry are not shy about what workers deserve. “We’re demanding nothing more—and certainly nothing less—than our fair share of the immense wealth we create every day,†says Mr. Trumka. Ms. Henry has warned that “ordinary Americans are losing patience with chief executives ‘richsplaining’ to us that another round of corporate tax breaks will somehow lead to better days for the rest of us.â€

At a recent protest outside the AFL-CIO in Washington, OPEIU workers carried signs saying “AFL-CIO is anti-union.†A letter of support from Iowa state representative Bruce Hunter dropped the ultimate in labor insults when he accused the AFL-CIO of behaving like . . . Walmart . Ouch.

We leave it to the OPEIU and its union employers to sort out their contracts, but perhaps the labor chiefs could start by treating their own workers with more dignity.

“Money for Nothing: An Introduction to Chapter 313 Tax Abatementsâ€, November 15, 2018

The paper’s author Stanley Greer, a senior research associate with the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, offered the following statement:

“Chapter 313 of the Texas Tax Code, known as the ‘Texas Economic Development Act’, is one of the best, or worse, examples of corporate welfare in America today. It enables local school districts to offer large tax breaks to renewable-energy and other businesses at no loss of revenue to themselves, but at a great cost to state taxpayers.â€

In Texas, school districts, along with cities and counties, collect property taxes, the largest single source of funding for public schools. But under Chapter 313, a school district may make an agreement with a private business operating within its boundaries to allow the latter to pay less, often far less, in property taxes than it would ordinarily owe over the course of a decade.

Right-to-work law upheld by Kentucky Supreme Court, November 15, 2018

In a 4-3 decision, the high court affirmed Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate’s ruling in January when he dismissed a challenge by labor unions to the law, which prohibits any requirement that a worker pays union dues as a condition for holding a job.

“We hold that the Unions’ constitutional challenges to the Act are without merit,” wrote Justice Laurance VanMeter for the court’s majority. “In this area of economic legislation, the legislature and the executive branch make the policy, not the courts.”

Right-to-work campaign targets Spanish speakers in NM radio ad, November 15, 2018

Democrats are set to control an even larger majority of the state Legislature in addition to control of the governor’s office, so Republican-backed efforts are not likely to become law next year. But right-to-work legislation on the local level has not lost steam and at least one group is focusing on Spanish speakers in southern New Mexico.

The Libre Initiative, a non-profit group that proclaims advocacy for the “U.S. Hispanic community†and “limited government, property rights, rule of law, sound money supply and free enterprise,†started running an ad Thursday on a Spanish-speaking radio station in Las Cruces. The ad asks listeners to call on Doña Ana County commissioners to pass a local right-to-work law.

“Hola, soy Carlos con La Iniciativa LIBRE,†the ad begins.

It goes on to reference the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, barring mandatory union membership as a condition of employment in public sector jobs.

Why Is New York Paying Amazon More Than Virginia?, November 15, 2018

Over the last decade, Scabby the Rat has been awfully busy. Although construction unions once had a stronghold on high-rise construction in New York City, that’s not remotely true anymore. Since the financial crisis in 2008, the construction unions have lost half their market share in residential construction; they’re now down to 30 percent of the market. They are losing commercial jobs as well.

Which is why, if you want to understand why New York is giving Inc. $1.5 billion in incentives for its new headquarters, while the other winner, Virginia, is offering only a third that amount, Scabby the Rat is a pretty good place to start.

Indeed, given chief executive Jeff Bezos’s libertarian bent, and Amazon’s tendency to use technology to keep costs down, it seems likely that it wouldn’t use the construction unions.

Judge: IL A/G’s pro-union statements don’t disqualify her from defending vs union lawsuit over fees, November, 2018

A federal judge has determined a state employee — notable for his public anti-union stances — can’t intervene on behalf of the state in a lawsuit it faces from a union leader asking courts to declare unions aren’t obligated to represent employees who refuse to pay membership dues.

On Sept. 12, Bryan Trygg, an Illinois Department of Transportation employee, filed a petition asking Judge Sharon Coleman to let him intervene in the lawsuit in which James Sweeney, president and business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, said a law forcing unions to represent all workers in a bargaining unit, even those that aren’t in the union, violates the constitutional speech rights of the union and its dues-paying members.

Trygg further argued, if Sweeney prevails, he and other non-union employees will lose legal protections governing the relationship to the unions designated by the state to represent them in labor matters.

UNIONS SUE VA, November 15, 2018

The National Federation of Federal Employees, the American Federation of Government Employees, and the National Association of Government Employees filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Veterans Affairs Department’s move to “repudiate“ parts of its collective bargaining agreements with employees and reassign more than 400 physicians who work for government unions. (More on that here.) The lawsuit argues that the VA is illegally barring employees from utilizing “official†work time where they can weigh grievances. The VA notice was slated to go into effect today and will impact more than 100,000 employees. Read a press release here and the complaint here.

TEAMSTERS TO DC, November 15, 2018

Members of the Teamsters union gathered on Capitol Hill Wednesday to put added pressure on Congress to support the Democratic-backed Butch Lewis Act, which would shore up failing pension plans with low-interest federal loans that could be repaid over 30 years. A bipartisan supercommittee faces a Nov. 30 deadline to come up with a bipartisan solution; the expectation is that it won’t.

“It’s time for lawmakers to get back to work and ensure that hard-working Americans who played by the rules all their lives and paid into their retirements get the pensions they were promised,†Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. Read the press release here.