NILRR Weekly News Clips March 22, 2013

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A black and white image of an eagle with its wings spread.

Private sector union decline dates to the late-50s 

Washington Examiner Online, March 21, 2013

Slate columnist Matt Yglesias posted the above chart yesterday  as part of a post arguing that  â€America’s Private Sector Labor Unions Have Always Been in Decline“. He notes:

[P]rivate sector labor unions have been in decline in the United States pretty consistently since World War II. There was a little uptick associated with the Great Depression, but really mass private sector labor unionism in the United States was an element of wartime economic planning. Then, in the immediate postwar years, we were at something of a political economy tipping point. We could have become a country where the overwhelming majority of large private sector firms were unionized, but instead congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act. It’s been a long steady decline since then, partially masked by the unionization of a large swathe of public sector workers in the 1960s.

German union backs UAW effort to organize VW’s Tenn. plant

Chicago Tribune Online, March 20, 2013

The United Auto Workers has won the backing of the head of an influential German union in its effort to represent the hourly workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga, Tenn., assembly plant.

Time To Strike? ‘Quite Possibly’ City Union Leader Says, March 21, 2013

Earlier this week, we talked to the mayor, who said: “The unions have said, specifically DC 33, we don’t want to talk about anything other than give us more money in raises, give us more money for our health and welfare, and we don’t want to talk about anything else. That’s not negotiating – at all. And what they’ve said is no to everything else. So, you know, I’m not going to get into a back-and-forth. That’s just a fact. That’s what it is. That’s what’s been going on. We’re trying to get a resolution, and they’re just trying to maintain the status quo.”

Corrections officer unions at odds with prison reformers

Washington Examiner Online, March 21, 2013

Efforts to close prisons and end use of solitary confinement are getting pushback from the American Federation of Government Employees, the American Federation of  State, County and Municipal Employees, the Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union. Their argument: Hey, the closures affect our members’ jobs and solitary is needed to isolate the worst prisoners:

Union, district reopen talks after appellate court ruling, March 21, 2013

The Stoughton Area School District and its teachers’ union have reopened contract negotiations after a state appellate court last week left in place, at least for now, a lower court ruling that struck down parts of the state’s controversial collective bargaining law, school officials said Monday night.

Collective bargaining transparency bill HB 2689 shot down in House Committee

Illinois Policy Institute, March 14, 2013

Yesterday a bill that would allow the public to see union contracts and comment on them before they are signed stalled in committee, becoming yet another victim of pressure from union officials who want to keep the public in the dark about the deals they make. The bill actually had both supporters and opponents from both parties (votes are listed below). If a handful of lawmakers had been more willing to take a stand in favor of the public’s right to know, the bill might have made it to the House floor.

Is Indiana’s Right to Work Making an Impact?

Barnes & Thornburg LLP, March 21, 2013 

Early statistics indicate that Indiana’s passage of Right to Work legislation is already showing benefits to the state, according to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).

Labor Board Alleges Repeated Retaliation at Walmart’s Top US Warehouse

The Nation Online, March 20, 2013

The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against four companies involved in staffing and managing Walmart’s largest distribution center in the United States. The NLRB complaint—similar to an indictment—alleges that the companies repeatedly threatened and punished warehouse workers for labor organizing, including by firing activists involved in a September strike that helped to inspire November’s Black Friday retail walkout.

UMaine System claims some faculty members’ labor tactics illegal

Bangor Daily News, March 20, 2013

In an effort to put pressure on the system to accept a 4.5 percent cost-of-living increase for faculty, which a fact-finding panel appointed by the labor relations board recommended in November, AFUM chapters at the different campuses have voted to adopt what’s known as a “work-to-rule†arrangement.

Central Coventry Fire Union Officials Misleading Taxpayers, Says Rep. Morgan, March 21, 2013

State Representative Patricia Morgan (R-Coventry, West Warwick, Warwick) charged Wednesday that officials of the Central Coventry firefighter’s union were misleading taxpayers who are now being asked to accept a whopping 36% increase in their fire district taxes.

NAIOP event focuses on “right-to-work†law, March 21, 2013

Albuquerque Business First Online,  March 21, 2013

The New Mexico chapter of NAIOP — Commercial Real Estate Development Association is hosting a national expert to speak on the “right-to-work†law March 25.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is scheduled to keynote the NAIOP event. Mix also serves as president of the National Right to Work Committee, a 2.6 million-member public policy organization. He is a frequent guest on Fox News, CNBC and CNN.

The Free Press is suddenly OK with political shenanigans where right to work is concerned

Detroit News Online, March 21, 2013

In December, they were shocked – shocked! – by the Republican Legislature’s decision to push through right to work in a lame-duck session. It was an abuse of the process! It was a subversion of democracy! No way the editors of the Detroit Free Press would stand for such legal maneuverings.

Now? Well. Now is different. Writes the Freep:

Lawmakers should fully fund CalSTRS, LAO says

Sacramento Bee Online, March 20, 2013

In a 13-page report to the Legislature, the nonpartisan LAO said the time has come for California to remedy the $73 billion funding gap confronting CalSTRS.

The funding gap represents an estimate of the long-term shortfall in money needed to pay benefits. Hurt by the recession and a decision more than a decade ago to raise benefits, CalSTRS has plenty of cash to meet needs for the foreseeable future, but it’s projected to run out of money in 2044.

House panel passes bill to temporarily shutdown NLRB

Washington Examiner Online, March 20, 2013

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed a bill today on a 23-15 vote to require the National Labor Relations Board to cease all activity until the question of whether it has a legal quorum to act is resolved by the Supreme Court.

According to a statement by the committee, the bill would require the NLRB “to cease all activity that requires a three member quorum. The bill also prohibits the board from enforcing any action taken after January 2012 or making any interagency appointments that require a quorum.â€Â  The bill “does not prevent the NLRB regional offices from accepting and processing unfair labor practice charges filed by an injured party – worker, employer, or union.â€