Obnoxiousness is a universal human trait. But for unions, it’s a tool of persuasion. Large employers, with good reason, are wary. A new paper from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Hardball: The Tactics of Union Corporate Campaigns,” summarizes organized labor’s frequently aggressive, predatory shakedown tactics in the search to win concessions from supposedly morally errant employers. These campaigns, which seek to discredit a targeted firm’s brand name in hopes of winning concessions, involve extensive groundwork; these campaigns can last for years. Unions and their allies test the legal limits of protest, while raising the costs of business. Undeterred by reality, certain lawmakers on Capitol Hill, led by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., are sponsoring bills to repeal safeguards against such behavior.
Few things say “money in the bank” to a public-sector union quite like Medicaid. A proposed federal rule would end this freebie. On July 12, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to bar states from using Medicaid funds as a source of dues for unions representing home health care providers. Workers still would have the right to join a union. But non-joiners no longer would be captive of a state agency deducting dues and forwarding them to a union. Over a dozen states now engage in this practice. For organized labor, this arrangement generates around $200 million a year. That’s why unions and the states are resisting the proposed rule in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling in June. A recent development in Washington State has strengthened the hand of reluctant dues payers while the department finalizes its rule.… Read More ➡
New York City residents finally are digging out of a devastating post-Christmas blizzard, aided by unexpectedly warmer weather. But a growing number are sounding as if they want to use their shovels against union snowplow workers and their supervisors. Various news outlets have reported that leaders of the Service Employees-affiliated Sanitation Officers Association ordered their Teamsters-affiliated work crews to slack off as a protest against recent City Department of Sanitation budget cuts and demotions. The apparent work slowdown not only paralyzed traffic, but also led to two deaths and any number of commuters trapped overnight in subway cars. On the hot seat, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has demanded, and is getting, a full investigation. Union leaders deny culpability, insisting fiscal austerity had reduced manpower. But evidence appears to undercut such claims.
That a king-sized blizzard slammed New York during December 26-27 is something nobody debates. It was the sixth-most powerful in … Read More ➡
It began on June 15 of this year as a rump faction within the AFL-CIO. And now the Change to Win Coalition, on Tuesday, September 27, made it official: It is now a federation in its own right. The group split from the AFL-CIO after several years of growing acrimony. Change to Win (CTW) unions came to believe that the AFL-CIO was pouring enormous amounts of money and energy into political advocacy at the expense of organizing. The result of misguided priorities was a decaying labor movement. “Organizing is our core principle. It is our North Star,” declared Change to Win founding chair, Anna Burger, before a large, cheering convention in St. Louis. Burger, longtime (and still) political director for the 1.8 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), added, “We will put our money where our mouth is, with three-quarters of our resources going to a groundbreaking organizing crusade.” … Read More ➡
People saw it coming a mile away. The Teamsters’ James P. Hoffa and the Service Employees’ Andrew Stern each made good on their threats to take their unions out of the AFL-CIO at the start of that labor federation’s 50th anniversary convention in Chicago. In the process, they and several other dissenting unions have left observers wondering if the fortunes of organized labor have been irrevocably damaged. While that’s a possibility, the most likely long-run outcome probably will be the opposite. Indeed, unions may emerge with more members, revenues and political clout. As for battling corruption, they don’t seem to view this as a high-priority item. But this requires some context. And the context is the convention.
Populism ran deep, proud and far to the left inside the large air-conditioned convention hall along Chicago’s Navy Pier Monday through Thursday, July 25-28. There was no mistaking the left … Read More ➡