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Posts Tagged ‘big labor’
July 28th, 2014 at 9:28 am
Big Labor’s Latest Targets: Women and Student Athletes
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In an interview with CFIF, Aloysius Hogan, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, discusses the recent SCOTUS decision in Harris v. Quinn, labor unions’ targeting of women, and the latest on the proposed unionization of student athletes. 

Listen to the interview here.

July 1st, 2014 at 4:23 pm
Yesterday’s OTHER Supreme Court Ruling
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Lost in all of the media hyperventilation about the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision yesterday (where the left is truly embarrassing itself over an extremely narrowly tailored decision) is the equally good news that came out of the case of Harris v. Quinn, which challenged Illinois’ requirement that home care workers had to contribute dues to the SEIU even if they didn’t want to join (an arrangement that was set up through a back room deal with now-imprisoned former Governor Rod Blagojevich). From The Hill:

The Supreme Court on Monday chipped away at the power of organized labor by ruling that some state workers cannot be forced to pay union fees.

In a 5-4 decision, the justices struck down a requirement that home care workers in Illinois contribute to a branch of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), even if they choose not to join.

“A state may not force every person who benefits from this [union’s] efforts to make payments to the [union],” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority’s decision.

It’s always the same story with big labor: their supposed benevolence relies on coercion. If people don’t want to join the union, by what right should they still be forced to pay them? And if the unions think the lack of dues leaves them vulnerable to free riding, then why not limit the terms of collective bargaining only to those workers who are actual members? The answer, of course, is that labor negotiates deals far better than they could receive in a competitive market, leading them to attempt to lock out anyone who might be willing to work for a lesser rate.

Expect to see the same outcome in Illinois that you did in Wisconsin when workers there got out from the unions’ thumbs: dues payers rushing for the exits. If big labor wants a viable future, they’ll have to start standing on their own two feet. The days when they can live off of others are quickly coming to a close.

July 5th, 2012 at 12:52 pm
The Best News Out of the Public Sector in Some Time …
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… comes from a despondent teachers union of incredible heft. Here’s how USA Today reported it on Tuesday:

The National Education Association (NEA) has lost more than 100,000 members since 2010. By 2014, union projections show, it could lose a cumulative total of about 308,000 full-time teachers and other workers, a 16% drop from 2010. Lost dues will shrink NEA’s budget an estimated $65 million, or 18%.

NEA calls the membership losses “unprecedented” and predicts they may be a sign of things to come. “Things will never go back to the way they were,” reads its 2012-14 strategic plan, citing changing teacher demographics, attempts by some states to restrict public employee collective bargaining rights and an “explosion” in online learning that could sideline flesh-and-blood teachers.

Herb Stein’s famous maxim is that “If something is unsustainable, it won’t go on forever.” It looks like teachers unions are keeping their date with inevitability.

June 21st, 2012 at 1:30 pm
Podcast: Big Labor’s Antics Continue
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From breaking state budgets to disrupting private airline industry reorganization, CFIF’s Timothy Lee discusses the latest antics of big labor unions.

Listen to the interview here.

June 7th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
Video: Big Labor is at it Again
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses Big Labor’s destructive tactics in both the public and private sectors, including labor union efforts to undercut the bankruptcy restructuring process of American Airlines.

April 12th, 2012 at 1:40 pm
As California Bleeds Money and Citizens, Unions Call for Higher Taxes
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California, as has become universally known in recent years, has become a fiscal and political basket case. Take a look at the state as it stands in the spring of 2012: it has a $9.2 billion budget deficit, approximately half a trillion dollars in unfunded public pension liabilities, and a business environment ranked worst in the nation by Chief Executive magazine (in 2010, the periodical referred to the state as “the Venezuela of North America”).

Part of the problem, of course, is the liberal-labor union coalition that dominates Golden State politics, in which the most nefarious force is the California Teachers Association, the hulking union that overwhelmingly outspends any other special interest in the state. Now, in the midst of this economic crisis, the CTA is getting behind Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to increase state sales and income taxes, a move that would only hasten the state’s decline.

I tackle the issue in my new column for City Journal California. From the coda:

CTA officials contend that Brown’s proposal—an extra quarter of a cent added to the sales tax and up to three extra percentage points on the state income tax, depending on income levels—represents only a modest increase, a cost that the Golden State’s economy can easily absorb. But the margin of the increases is less significant than the final rates they will produce. If Brown’s package passes, California would have both the highest state sales tax in the nation and the highest top income-tax rate. That will only continue to drive economic activity out of the state, a trend that recent IRS data shows cost California $27 billion in tax revenue from 1999 to 2009.

The lesson should be clear: the kind of punitive taxation that Brown’s initiative promotes is precisely what depletes the tax base necessary to finance California’s public schools and pay the salaries of CTA members. Raise rates and you only dim the prospects for public education further.

In a 2009 piece for National Affairs, I noted that, “from 2004 to 2007 more people left California for Texas and Oklahoma than came west from those states to escape the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.” Yet in the intervening years California’s political class has done nothing to improve conditions for those who might be tempted to leave the beauty and cultural dynamism of the Golden State behind for more economically palatable environs. One wonders exactly what natural disaster they’ll have to approximate before the lesson sinks in.

March 19th, 2012 at 4:37 pm
Spectrum Stall: FCC and Big Labor Impeding Innovation and Economic Opportunity
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With the unemployment rate holding steady above 8% for over three long years now, it’s obvious that the United States must pursue policies that spur rather than retard job creation and economic growth.  One continuing economic bright spot already exists in the telecommunications sector, where several prospects for generating new jobs exist.  Unfortunately, federal bureaucrats continue to obstruct those prospects.  The leading current example is spectrum and, specifically, Big Labor special interests pressuring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block telecom companies from buying unused wireless broadband.  That pressure only serves to obstruct economic recovery, because more access to spectrum for service providers would mean greater incentive to invest, and in turn more business opportunities that would raise revenue and create jobs.

For example, a recent study by NDN found that from April 2007 to June 2011, broadband companies created some 1,585,000 new jobs in their transition from 2G to 3G wireless technologies and Internet infrastructure.  NDN also noted that “the investments being undertaken today to upgrade wireless network and Internet technologies from 3G to 4G hold comparable promise for job creation.”  Similarly, a Deloitte study from last year agreed with NDN’s assertion, estimating that U.S. investment in 4G networks could generate anywhere from $25 to $53 billion in economic revenue between 2012 and 2016.  Furthermore, according to their study, these investments could produce between 371,000 and 771,000 new jobs and account for $73 billion to $151 billion in GDP growth.

Unfortunately, union bosses oppose spectrum transactions in favor of their own self-interest.  For instance, in comments filed with the FCC, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) falsely claimed that the transaction “agreements would appear to limit the availability of competitive services, dividing up geographic service areas for particular companies, leading to reduced investment in infrastructure, job losses, and ultimately, higher prices for consumers.”  As noted above, however, independent studies refute their allegation and attest to the economic and job benefits of allowing spectrum to be sold to companies that will apply it toward better customer service.  The spectrum sale will not only boost the economy and create jobs, but also benefit consumers by alleviating the oncoming spectrum crunch.   Greater access to spectrum will also create additional incentive to invest more toward innovation, which in turn means new devices, applications and services.  Providers will be able to upgrade their networks to a 4G LTE that has further geographic reach, faster downloads and greater capacity.

If the FCC continues to obstruct the sale , however, the quality of Internet service and our economy more generally will suffer due to the gradual exhaustion of existing spectrum.  In order to ensure that the domestic telecom sector continues to flourish, spectrum must therefore be made available to those who need it and who have the ability to use it in the most constructive way.   Union leaders should stop playing games that harm actual workers, and the FCC must put an end this obstruction.

January 27th, 2012 at 2:10 pm
Union Membership Falls to New Low, NLRB to Compel Employees’ Private Phone Numbers and Email Addresses
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Today, the Department of Labor announced that the 2011 union membership rate fell to a new record low of 11.8%.   Disturbingly, the rate among public-sector workers now stands at 37%, whereas the membership rate for private-sector employees stands at a historic low of just 6.9%.

Now, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) chairman Mark Pearce has announced that Obama’s NLRB will push for new rules forcing employers to turn over lists of employees’ private phone numbers and email addresses in a shameless attempt to assist Big Labor in its desperate organizing activities.  After all, unless labor leaders can wrench more dollars from employees’ paychecks, they won’t have as much to spend on Obama’s reelection campaign.  Meanwhile, the government also announced today that the U.S. economy only grew a lackluster 2.8% in the fourth quarter of 2011.  That illustrates once again that Obama’s policies aren’t helping the economy, they’re subduing what should by now be a much sharper recovery.

As we have observed, if the Obama Administration behaves this thuggishly during an election year, just imagine how heedlessly it would behave during a second term when it needn’t worry about reelection.

August 26th, 2011 at 10:56 am
CFIF Joins Coalition Against Union “Flash Elections,” Big Labor’s Version of “Flash Mobs”
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You’ve heard of “flash mobs,” the growing phenomenon of thugs descending upon, assaulting and robbing convenience stores or vulnerable people on the street? Well, “flash elections” are Big Labor’s economic version of flash mobs.

Flash elections, or “ambush elections,” reference a proposed rule that would shorten the election window in union organizing campaigns to as little as 10 days.  Big Labor, which we noted this week elevates its own political power over American jobs and employee welfare, loves the ambush election proposal and is currently pushing it within Barack Obama’s  rogue National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  Ambush elections are dangerous for many reasons, including the fact that they would drastically limit employers’ free speech window and ability to present both sides of the story to employees.  In contrast, union bosses would have many months to present their skewed arguments to employees without even allowing employers to become aware that a union organizing campaign was underway.  Moreover, ambush elections are a toxic “solution” in search of a problem, considering that the current median election time is 38 days, and 95% of elections already occur within two months, hardly an eternity.

Accordingly, CFIF is proud to announce that it has joined the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and 275 other employers and associations in petitioning the NLRB to withdraw this destructive proposal.  Big Labor and the Obama NLRB have already killed enough jobs.  We simply cannot afford to lose even more due to their ideological shenanigans.

August 17th, 2011 at 5:37 pm
Citizens Can Stop Obama’s Big Labor Giveaway
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Ever since the health care debate permanently damaged President Obama’s credibility with the American people, his administration has avoided major legislative confrontations. Instead, the White House has pursued many of its most controversial initiatives through the administrative process, hoping that Americans won’t notice major changes crafted through esoteric rule changes. Now’s your chance to prove the president wrong.

As the Daily Caller reports, the National Labor Relations Board is proposing a rule change that would dramatically shorten the period of time between when union organizers file a petition and when an actual unionization vote is held. The policy, intended to make it harder for management to counter union initiatives, would shorten the period from around six weeks down to 7 to 10 days. 

The Caller characterized one former board member as saying “the Board appears to be rushing to finalize its new policy before more Americans can flood the government with disagreeable comments.” But that looks to be a losing endeavor. The public comment period, which began on June 22, has already resulted in more than 17,000 comments, most of them negative.

There’s still time to stop the NLRB’s anti-business onslaught. The comment period remains open through Monday, August 22. If you’re interested in making your voice heard, you can comment here. The job you save could be your own.

August 11th, 2011 at 7:45 pm
Voters Kill the Messenger When It’s a Union Member

The Fix notes that Big Labor is looking awfully small in recent election cycles.  Citing organized labor’s unsuccessful primary attacks on Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and this week’s failure to recall enough Wisconsin Republicans to take back the state senate, one Democratic strategist speaks the obvious – if anonymous – truth.

“The unmistakable lesson is that every time labor makes it about labor, they lose,” said one senior Democratic strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly. “It’s a messenger problem.”

With public employee unions eating up ever larger amounts of taxpayer money, it’s no wonder the majority of non-union members are revolting at the thought of strengthening labor’s hand.  In reality, the unnamed source mentioned above doesn’t quite draw the right lesson from Big Labor’s election problem.  It’s not just the messenger – it’s the message of more money in a tight recession that’s the problem.  Unless unions get on-board with the national belt-tightening, they’ll experience a lot more rejections in the elections to come.

March 18th, 2011 at 10:32 am
Gallup Survey: Unions Reduce Workplace Wellbeing
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Apparently, whatever jobs labor unions don’t drive overseas or eliminate entirely are made worse by them.

According to a just-released Gallup survey, “U.S. Union Workers Score Lower on Work Enforcement Index.”  On a variety of measures, from the sense of employee/supervisor partnership to overall trust, unionized workplaces simply maintain substantially lower levels of workplace wellbeing.  Ultimately, as the Gallup report states, unionized workplaces impact the factors that “in turn have well-documented associations to various desirable business outcomes, including customer engagement, turnover, absenteeism, and productivity.”

As critical standoffs between taxpayers and intransigent labor bosses in Wisconsin and across the nation continue, this new Gallup survey sheds some important information on the matter.

February 25th, 2011 at 10:27 am
Video: A Revolution Brews in Wisconsin
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino comments on the budget clash in Wisconsin between taxpayers and public-sector unions, noting that the standoff and issues surrounding it have the potential to completely change the shape of American politics.

 

February 21st, 2011 at 1:04 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Obama in the Pocket of Big Labor Unions
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

August 9th, 2010 at 9:53 am
If This Is How Union Staff Treat One Other, Imagine the Thuggery if “Card-Check” Passes
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If union representatives treat each other thuggishly, just imagine how they’d behave outside the homes of skeptical employees under card-check legislation.  Consider the words of Dolores Huerta, United Farm Workers co-founder, as reported in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal commentary entitled “California’s Union Shakedown”:

Dolores Huerta, a co-founder of United Farm Workers and a historic labor figure in California, published an ‘open letter’ to [SEIU leader Mary Kay] Henry on the Huffington Post that accuses the SEIU of intimidating Kaiser workers.  Saying that she visited four Kaiser hospitals to talk to workers about the NUHW, Ms. Huerta wrote that at each, ‘SEIU staff surrounded them and began chanting and yelling insults, refusing to let workers talk.’  Ms. Huerta called on the SEIU to put ‘an end to a mistaken campaign of aggression.'”

Under the so-called Employee Free Choice Act – which remains on the legislative wish list of Big Labor, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama – union campaign reps would have access to employees at their homes, supermarkets and elsewhere.  If union agents treated Ms. Huerta, one of their own, that way, just imagine how thuggish they might behave at the home addresses of reluctant employees.  Yet another illustration of the need to maintain the democratic secret ballot during union elections, rather than allow union leaders to eliminate it via card-check.

July 27th, 2010 at 5:19 pm
First Amendment Victory: Senate Blocks DISCLOSE Act
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Amid the flurry of inanity brought upon this nation by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, it is important to stop and smell the roses of triumph.  One arrived today when the Senate blocked, at least for now, the DISCLOSE Act. 

That act would violate the First Amendment rights of free speech and free association in its attempt to reverse the Supreme Court’s correct Citizens United v. FEC decision, while effectively exempting politically powerful labor unions.   Obama, Pelosi and Reid will surely follow with their usual bromides about “the people versus the powerful,” but the fact is that the DISCLOSE Act is nothing more than a scheme to enable the powerful, namely partisan Big Labor, at the expense of everyday citizens.  It’s a welcome victory for free speech and freedom of association, and a stinging defeat for an Obama Administration that manages to pioneer new realms of cynical partisanship on a daily basis.

April 28th, 2010 at 6:06 pm
…And Speaking of Big Labor, WaPo’s Harold Myerson Does Some Water-Carrying
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Why is it that defenders of the Big Labor agenda never seem to engage in honest, straightforward, factual debate?

Washington Post columnist Harold Myerson provides the latest illustration in his commentary today.  Myerson carries Big Labor’s water by arguing that FedEx, which is a longtime target of Big Labor’s ire due to its failure to capitulate to union campaigns, should be regulated in the same way as more heavily-unionized UPS.  UPS falls under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), whereas FedEx falls under the Railway Labor Act (RLA).

And for very good reason.

Approximately 85% of FedEx parcels are shipped by air, whereas UPS delivers 85% of its packages locally via truck.   That makes FedEx subject to the RLA, and UPS to the NLRA, which Congress specifically determined.  But Myerson, unsurprisingly, avoids mentioning this critical distinction in his column.  As one predictable consequence of UPS’s NLRA classification, it was brutalized by a costly 1997 strike.  So now, UPS, Congressional liberals and Big Labor seek to cripple FedEx by shoehorning it into the same classification as UPS.

UPS seems to follow the adage “if you can’t beat ’em, unionize ’em,” but it would be nice if Big Labor and its apologists could at least argue honestly once in a while.

April 28th, 2010 at 9:41 am
Ramirez Cartoon: In the Pocket of Big Labor
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

April 22nd, 2010 at 4:46 pm
Could Private-Sector and Public-Sector Unions Begin Squaring Off Soon?
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Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has earned high praise from conservatives by making good so far on his promise to clean up the state’s fiscal debacle using established conservative principles.  Christie inherited a $2.2 billion deficit this year and a projected $10.7 billion deficit for next year (over 1/3 of the total budget size), but has managed to cut $13 billion in spending in just eight weeks.  In so doing, he has naturally enraged the usual leftist entitlement class and unionized public employees.

Notably, however, Governor Christie has attracted some support from state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who is a Democrat and leader of a local private-sector union.  The reason?  Perhaps Mr. Sweeney has recognized that the same public-sector unions whose exorbitant wages and benefits busted New Jersey’s budget also eat into the wages and livelihoods of private-sector union members who pay taxes to subsidize those public sector employees.

Now that the number of public-sector union members exceeds the number of private -sector union members, could we be witnessing the first signs of an intra-labor deathmatch?  This could be interesting…

March 1st, 2010 at 12:03 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Puppet of Big Labor

Below is one of the latest cartoons from Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.