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Legislating from the Bench: Court Strikes Down Wisconsin Right-to-Work Law 

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Right-to-work laws prohibit businesses and unions from reaching agreements that require all workers, not just union members, to pay union dues. Twenty-four other states have such laws.

Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker as he was mounting his run for president, was struck down Friday as violating the state constitution.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, also a Republican, promised to appeal the decision and said he was confident it would not stand. Schimel has not made a decision on whether to seek an immediate suspension of the ruling while the appeal is pending, spokesman Johnny Koremenos said.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Associated Press

“We are confident Wisconsin’s freedom-to-work law is constitutional and will ultimately be upheld.”

Governor Scott Walker, on Twitter

Three unions filed the lawsuit last year shortly after Walker signed the bill into law. Right-to-work laws prohibit businesses and unions from reaching agreements that require all workers, not just union members, to pay union dues. Twenty-four other states have such laws.

The unions argued that Wisconsin’s law was an unconstitutional seizure of union property since unions now must extend benefits to workers who don’t pay dues. Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust agreed.

“Once again, a liberal Dane County judge is trying to legislate from the bench. No one should be forced to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.”

— Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester

He said the law amounts to an unconstitutional governmental taking of union funds without compensation since under the law unions must represent people who don’t pay dues. That presents an existential threat to unions, Foust wrote. Read the rest of this entry »

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Workplace Democracy Gets Ambushed

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The National Labor Relations Board’s new election rule runs roughshod over the rights of nonunion workers.

Peter Schaumber writes: You may have heard of the National Labor Relations Board’s new “ambush election” rule—so-called because it hurriedly schedules union elections within as little as two weeks, depriving employers of the time needed to learn about the union and express their views to employees.

But what you may not know is that the rule requires an employer to provide union organizers with the personal cellphone numbers and email addresses of its employees before they vote in a union election. So much for the right to privacy.

It doesn’t seem to matter to the Obama-era NLRB that a worker may have provided this personal information on condition that it be kept confidential and used only in an emergency. Read the rest of this entry »


Gawker Employees Vote to Unionize, Join Writers Guild of America

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In a Web posting, Gawker Media writers said they voted 75 percent to 25 percent to join the Guild. The union said 90 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.

Gawker first said it was planning to unionize in April. The employees said in the post Thursday that the next step will be determining what they want to bargain for and forming a bargaining committee.

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While no digital media sites have been unionized, The Associated Press, The New York Times and other newspaper staffers have union representation. Read the rest of this entry »


Scott Walker’s Righteous Victory in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Associated Press

The Editors, National Review: We are halfway there: On Friday, the state assembly of Wisconsin voted to make the state the 25th to pass right-to-work legislation, and Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the bill with some satisfaction. That’s 25 down, 25 to go. (Our optimism is not so unanchored as to consider the sorry case of the District of Columbia.)

[read the full text here, at National Review]

Right-to-work laws end the practice of union bosses’ enriching their organizations through a legal variety of extortion under which all workers are required to pay the equivalent of union dues, whether they wish to be represented by a particular union or do not. The traditional position of Democrats, toward whose campaign coffers a great deal of that money is destined, is that this practice is necessary to ensure “fairness” — that workers enjoy the unions’ protection whether they want it or not. But the correct term for an arrangement like that isn’t “fairness” — it is “protection racket,” and Governor Walker’s signature will put an end to this particular brand of racketeering.

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“The face of the American union member in 2015 is not a working man in a hardhat or Rosie the Riveter, but a bored DMV clerk twiddling his thumbs on a government-mandated break while a taxpayer waits six hours to renew a driver’s license.”

A great deal of attention is being paid, and will be paid, to what this means for the presidential aspirations of Wisconsin’s governor, who confronted and trounced entrenched public-sector interests and then trounced them again when they tried to recall him. Governor Walker is an impressive man offering a welcome infusion of ordinary good governance to the Republican presidential pageant, but the political concerns here are secondary. The most important consideration is the excision of a cancer from the American economy and the American body politic.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“Unions are not a mechanism by which the rights of ordinary workers are secured; they are a mechanism by which the enormous streams of taxpayers’ dollars shunted into inefficient and criminally wasteful bureaucracies are laundered into campaign donations and political muscle for Democrats.”

The prominent American labor unions mainly are in steep decline, but, because of certain legal privileges, they punch above their weight politically and economically; they are corrupt, sometimes in the formal legal sense and often the more general moral sense; they are an appendage of the Democratic party whose remarkably well-compensated bosses ransack their members’ paychecks in order to exchange political donations for political favors; and, perhaps most important, they are today a prominent presence mainly in the public sector… Read the rest of this entry »


SMIDGEN REPORT: Email Reveals Lerner Ignored Union Political Expenditures

Shulman, Lerner and Wolin take their seats to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on targeting of political groups seeking tax-exempt status from by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington

Connor D. Wolf reports: The official at the center of the Internal Revenue Service tea party scandal once dismissed complaints that labor unions were not reporting millions of dollars in political activities on their tax forms, according to an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.smdg-tv2

“We believe this difference in reporting does not necessarily indicate that the organization has incorrectly reported to either the DOL or the IRS.”

In 2007, Lerner responded directly to a complaint that some major labor unions reported completely different amounts of political expenditures when filing with the IRS and the Department of Labor.

At the time of the email, Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS. Read the rest of this entry »


Thugocracy: Most Union Members Have Ties to Government

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For the Associated Press, Tom Raum reports: Unions representing government workers are expanding while organized labor has been shedding private sector members over the past half-century.

A majority of union members today now have ties to a government entity, at the federal, state or local levels.

Roughly 1-in-3 public sector workers is a union member, compared with about 1-in-15 for the private sector strike-union-tallworkforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, 11.3 percent of wage and salary workers in the United States are unionized, down from a peak of 35 percent during the mid-1950s in the strong post-World War II recovery.

The typical union worker now is more likely to be an educator, office worker or food or service industry employee rather than a construction worker, autoworker, electrician or mechanic. Far more women than men are among the union-label ranks.

In a blow to public sector unions, the Supreme Court ruled this week that thousands of health care workers in Illinois who are paid by the state cannot be required to pay fees that help cover a union’s cost of collective bargaining.

The justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with stances taken by unions.

The ruling was narrowly drawn, but it could reverberate through the universe of unions that represent government workers. The case involved home-care workers for disabled people who are paid with Medicaid funds administered by the state.

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Chart shows change in union membership as percentage of wage and salary earners; 2c x 3 inches; 96.3 …

Also in June, a California judge declared unconstitutional the state’s teacher tenure, dismissal and layoff laws. The judge ordered a stay of the decision, pending an appeal by the state and teachers union.

“The basic structure of the labor union movement has changed, reflecting changes in the economy,” said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University. “Manufacturing is a diminishing segment of the economy. Also, a lot of the manufacturing that’s being done today is being done nonunion.”

unionthugs-cartoonUnion members continue to be a powerful political force in politics, and Baker said he didn’t see the role of unions diminishing. “I just think the colors of the collars are changing,” Baker said.

In 2013, 14.5 million workers belonged to a union, about the same as the year before. In 1983, the first year for which comparable figures are available, there were 17.7 million union workers.

The largest union is the National Education Association, with 3.2 million members. It represents public school teachers, administrators and students preparing to become teachers. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Administration Wants to Require Companies to Give Workers’ Numbers, Addresses to Unions Before Labor Elections

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For  The Daily CallerPatrick Howley reports: The Obama administration is poised to change regulations to allow for union “ambush elections” in which workers have less time to decide whether or not to join a union — and in which workers’ phone numbers and home addresses are provided to unions.

The administration’s National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) proposed rules would allow for union elections — in which workers at a company vote whether or not to unionize — to be held 10 days after a petition is filed. And what, exactly, would be happening to the unions during those 10 days? The new rules require employers to disclose workers’ personal information, including phone numbers, home addresses, and information about when they work their shifts.

Insiders close to the situation believe the new rules will almost certainly go into effect with few or no fundamental changes. Read the rest of this entry »


Inside Deal Hidden in Plain Sight: ‘Unions May Get Health Law Tax Relief’ Says Report

union-thugsIt looks like labor unions might be getting tax relief from Obamacare, according to a report from kaiserhealthnews.org.

“Weeks after denying labor’s request to give union members access to health-law subsidies, the Obama administration is signaling it intends to exempt some union plans from one of the law’s substantial taxes,” reads the report.

Buried in rules issued last week is the disclosure that the administration will propose exempting “certain self-insured, self-administered plans” from the law’s temporary reinsurance fee in 2015 and 2016. Read the rest of this entry »


Federal workers want everyone on Obamacare except… federal workers

obamacareJazz Shaw writes: It’s really turning out to be an Obamacare kind of weekend, even in the midst of all the Syria news. First, Erika reported that labor unions were out of luck when it comes to getting an exemption from Obamacare, and Ed reminded us that the system is fraught with security problems. Well, the administration will need to keep an eye on how many horses are getting out of the pen, because virtually all Federal Employees would prefer not to be enrolled, thank you very much.

Read the rest of this entry »