INK: January 6, 2009

by | Jan 6, 2009 | Labor Relations Ink

inkquill22 Labor Relations INK Download a PDF of this issue with links here.   “Big Labor” Secretary Solis

It is no surprise that Obama would appoint a Labor Secretary that is strongly in support of Big Labor. The comments of several from the Labor sphere can be read here.

A NYTimes article put it quite succinctly:

“Ms. Solis has championed a bill, called the Employee Free Choice Act, that is the No. 1 priority of organized labor… She is the only member of Congress on the board of American Rights at Work, a pro-union group pushing for the bill.”

Some insiders believe that Solis’ pro-labor stance will add weight to the contest over the EFCA. Although it is now being called “controversial” by even the mainstream media, and as prior proponents in Congress are beginning to wane in vocalizing their continued support, Solis may be the trump card pushing the bill to near the top of the legislative priorities.

********** Airlines a Reflection of Big Three Auto? The oil price fluctuations and a weakened economy have taken their toll on the airlines, but the ongoing challenge of dealing with unions and union rules could be the albatross around the neck that brings this industry to it’s knees. American is wrestling with flight attendants, while Delta is struggling to merge the recently acquired Northwest employees, many of whom were unionized, into it’s ranks, and pilots at Continental have been grappling to reach a new contract since July of 2007. Meanwhile, JetBlue is facing another organizing threat as its pilots work to form an independent union. ********** How to Ride the Fence

Finally, American companies are becoming aware of the dangers of the pending Employee Free Choice Act. That’s good! Unfortunately, many of these companies will fail to join the public fracas over the bill so as not to jeopardize other legislative agendas. That’s not so good!

Many businesses are remaining on the sidelines and while allowing the Chamber of Commerce and other advocates to fight the legislative battle. Yet there is another way to fight back while remaining under the radar: make your company a hardened target to union encroachment. One possible (great) outcome is that Big Labor wins the EFCA battle, but then can’t make hay from it because US businesses have properly educated their employees about the facts of unionization.

If you’re willing to at least fight on this front, start here.

********** HR Under Obama About 1200 HR managers responded to a recent poll: Do you think President-elect Obama’s policies on employment law will:

Make your job more difficult — 69%

Have no effect on you — 22%

Make your job easier — 9%

The article lists 10 pieces of pending legislation that will affect most businesses – and HR personnel – including the Employee Free Choice Act.

********** McDonalds Ignites Union Ire

WalMart was the first large enterprise to be chastised publically by the press and unions for providing information to their management about the perils of the Employee Free Choice Act. McDonalds recently joined the ranks of those excoriated for doing the same thing – explaining to their franchisee owners the impact the passage of the EFCA could have on their operations. As is typical of Big Labor, the result was to attempt to intimidate the fast food giant.

William Whitman, spokesman for McDonalds USA, clarified McDonald’s position: “Regarding this legislation, as a restaurant organization with 3,100 independent small businesses, we have a responsibility to inform and educate our system about legislation that could impact their business. This was the intent of the communication in question. Unfortunately, the message was leaked to the media and excerpts were used to create the impression that McDonald’s is engaged in anti-union activities. Again, this was not our intent.” ********** Jack Welch Chimes In In an admonition to business owners to educate their employees about the Employee Free Choice Act, the business icon stated, “union work rules are one of the main reasons that the auto industry is close to bankruptcy…In 2009, Americans couldn’t less afford a resurgent unionization movement.” **********

ULP Charge of the Month

Seems the ITPE Local 4873 in Tacoma doesn’t want it’s employees talking to their collective bargaining representatives!

ULP charge

Download the ULP here. ********** Devious Strategy The SEIU has been accused of signing contracts that are not necessarily in the best interests of its members, and of playing cozy with management. However, US businesses may find a sting in these “management-friendly” contracts.

“Stern has every intention to paralyze the businesses he now has sway over by holding over the heads of management the sheer size of his membership as newer contracts come up for negotiation. These businesses are signing their own death warrants by imagining that the SEIU has any long term interest in working with management.”

********** Sticky Fingers! Current charges or sentences of embezzling union officials: Van T. Barnes – IBT: $97,661 Fidel R. Garza – AFGE: $84,000 Thomas Brown – IBEW: $6,467 Diane Martin – IBT: $1,535 ********** Labor Relations INK is published semi-weekly and is edited by Labor Relations Institute, Inc. Feel free to pass this newsletter on to anyone you think might enjoy it. New subscribers can sign up by visiting: If you use content from this newsletter please attribute it to Labor Relations Institute and include our website address: Contributing editors for this issue: Phillip Wilson, Greg Kittinger Labor Relations Institute 7850 South Elm Place – Suite E Broken Arrow, OK 74011 US


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