DOL’s ‘Persuader Rule’: An Unpersuasive Boost for Union Organizing

Department of Labor logoAttorney-client privilege is a basic protection of liberty.  Yet this Friday, people may begin to find out how little the Obama administration thinks of it.  That’s when a Labor Department rule, issued in March and launched in April, fully kicks in, forcing employers to divulge the identities of outside legal help on how to avoid unionization.  This "persuader rule," as it is called, also requires such consultants to reveal their own client rosters.  Union officials laud the rule as a blow for transparency and a corrective to “union-busting.”  In reality, it is a power play designed to minimize the opportunities for nonunion workers to hear an employer’s side of the story during a union organizing drive.  Conveniently, the regulation doesn’t apply either to unions or their consultants.  As employers gear up to comply, they've gotten unexpected help from federal judges.

Union Corruption Update described this rule back in

Sanders Campaign Consultant Is Convicted Steelworkers Official

steelworkers-logoHis blinkered economic ideas aside, Senator Bernie Sanders at least seems to work within the law.  The same can’t be said for one of his presidential campaign outreach advisers, Charles “Chuck” Rocha.  Early last month, the webzine Politico reported that Rocha, former political director for the United Steelworkers and now head of a consulting firm called Solidarity Strategies, had been convicted in 2013 of stealing funds from the union.  Union Corruption Update has reported on this case.  Rocha’s company thus far has received over $200,000 in Sanders campaign disbursements.  The revelation suggests that despite the senator’s frequent denunciations of establishment corruption, his populist instincts are less than sound when it comes to hiring campaign help.

It’s difficult to imagine any presidential candidate, even in the Democratic Party, outflanking Bernie Sanders from the Left.  The second-term U.S. senator from Vermont, now 74, who previously had served eight terms in the House …

Wisconsin Enacts Right to Work Law; Unions, Obama Strike Back

walker-signs-right-to-work-billGiven the roiling conflict in Wisconsin these past four years over the limits of public-sector unionism, it only was a matter of time before the scene would shift to the private sector.  This Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed Right to Work legislation.  The law, which took effect immediately, bars unions from forcing private-sector employers to fire workers who don’t pay dues.  Two dozen other states have similar laws.  Yet what really is getting under the skin of organized labor is the triumph of their nemesis, Gov. Walker.  More than ever, he looks like a top-tier Republican presidential candidate in 2016.  Union leaders are preparing accordingly.  And they’re getting help from President Obama.

Readers of Union Corruption Update are familiar with all this.  Back in early 2011, Scott Walker, who had just taken office, inherited a two-year budget deficit estimated at $3.6 billion.  This shortfall had a number of explanations, but …

AFL-CIO Gears Up for 2016 Election Cycle; Hypes Sen. Warren

trumka:warrenExpanding union monopoly privileges and the welfare state is a full-time job, especially when it comes to electing political candidates committed to advancing these causes.  The AFL-CIO, never late to rise, is getting an early jump for 2016.  For the last few months, federation President Richard Trumka has touted freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a Left-populist, as presidential material.  The federation has yet to issue a formal endorsement.  And the senator has denied plans to run.  Yet she could be persuaded to change her plans.  The push for Warren is part of a larger effort to identify “pro-worker” candidates who support dramatic hikes in the minimum wage.  “That’s the stick we’ll use to measure every candidate,” Trumka said at an AFL-CIO executive board meeting in Atlanta in late February.

For several decades, unions have been the prime engine of the Democratic Party, most of all, in national elections.  Endorsements by …

Supreme Court Curbs Public-Sector Union Power; Sides with Non-Joining Home Care Workers

home health care workerPublic-sector unions largely owe their growth to their authority to force non-joining workers to put money in their coffers. The Supreme Court believes this authority needs some restraint. By a 5-4 margin, the Court ruled on Monday, June 30, in Harris v. Quinn that nonunion private-sector home health workers cannot be required to support a public employee union even if their wages come from state Medicaid funds. The class-action suit originated in 2010 when several home care workers sued the State of Illinois and two unions, challenging two executive orders issued, respectively, in 2003 and 2009 classifying thousands of these service providers as state employees. The orders, wrote Justice Samuel Alito, violated worker freedom of speech. At the same time, the ruling did not overturn the 1977 decision that justified the public-sector union shop and applied it to non-members.

Union Corruption Update discussed this case at length last November. The previous month the Supreme Court had …

Big Labor Joins Left-Wing Attack on North Carolina

Richard TrumkaIn recent months NLPC reported how Big Labor has vowed to make an aggressive push to “Organize the South,” and has joined the media-amplified “Moral Monday” protests as part of their strategy to infiltrate right-to-work states, especially in North Carolina.

Last week the unions upped the ante. The president of the national American Federation of Government Employees, J. David Cox, and his chief of staff Bryan DeWyngaert, were two of 20 labor organizers and other protesters who were arrested last Monday for failing to leave the N.C. Legislative Building when instructed to do so. In addition, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka called attention to the Tar Heel state demonstrations.

“North Carolina has quickly become a shining example of a people-driven movement and a microcosm of what’s to come,” Trumka said. “When the labor movement and the entire community band together to stand up for what is right, everyone wins. …

NLRB Revives ‘Ambush Election’ Rule to Thwart Opposition to Union Campaigns

nlrb-logoA fair election campaign operates on the principle of a “level playing field” – while neither side is guaranteed victory, each should have an equal opportunity to state its case. The National Labor Relations Board has an unusual interpretation. On February 5, the NLRB reissued a rule that would curtail the ability of nonunion employers and employees to oppose union organizing drives. This ‘quickie’ or ‘ambush’ election rule, is a near rewrite of its 2011 rule change that briefly made it onto the books before being struck down on procedural grounds by a federal court in May 2012. Here, as before, the allowable time frame for opponents of a union drive to express their views would be reduced from 42 days to as few as 10 days. Union officials say the regulation promotes fairness. Yet the effect, and one suspects the intent, would be an erosion of freedom of speech …

Union Leaders Prepare for Final Push on Immigration; Ignore Member Concerns

Richard Trumka“Comprehensive immigration reform,” like virtually any initiative containing the magic word “comprehensive,” looks good on the surface. But the details of the comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate in June by a 68-32 margin reveal much wrong underneath. Oblivious to this, top union leaders are gearing up for an all-out blitz this fall to secure passage of a similar bill in the Republican-majority House of Representatives. Led by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (in photo), they are obsessed with providing 11 million or more persons illegally in this country with amnesty and eventual citizenship, and with enabling millions of family members to come here to join them. Yet the campaign underscores a lack of accountability to dissenting voices within their own ranks. 

National Legal and Policy Center on April 18 explained in detail the egregious nature of the Senate’s immigration bill, and the large role that labor unions played in shaping it. The measure had been …

AFL-CIO, Senate Snub ICE Employee Union on Immigration Bill

AFL-CIO President Richard TrumkaThe AFL-CIO normally is quick to defend the interests of its 57 member unions. But the Washington, D.C.-based labor federation seems happy to make an exception in the case of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council. And the reason lies with the union’s objections to the new Senate proposal to grant amnesty to virtually all 11 million or more illegal immigrants and expand work visa availability. In its current form, argue council officials, the measure would hamstring ICE agents from protecting the public from dangerous criminals. Toward that end, Council President Chris Crane and nine other members last August filed suit against three top immigration officials in their carrying out of a June executive order by President Obama. And they’re still getting the cold shoulder, especially from their own AFL-CIO. So, in fact, are a couple of other AFL-CIO enforcement unions. 

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)-affiliated National ICE Council, based in …

Michigan Enacts Pair of Right to Work Laws; Unions Erupt

Union demonstrators in MichiganAnd now there are two dozen. This Tuesday, December 11, the Michigan House of Representatives passed, and Governor Rick Snyder signed, a pair of laws designed to protect employees from having to pay dues (or “agency fees” in lieu of joining) to a union in order to keep their jobs. The measures, one each applying to the private and public sector, make Michigan the nation’s 24th state with “Right to Work” legislation. “We are moving forward on the topic of workplace fairness and equality,” stated Gov. Snyder during an evening press conference following passage. Unions are taking the opposite view. About 12,500 opponents showed up at the State Capitol Building in Lansing to protest, with about 2,500, many of them shouting slogans, jamming the interior. In the wake of defeat, labor officials are vowing to reverse the laws. For now, Michigan has eclipsed Wisconsin as a focal point for labor conflict.…

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