INK: May 14, 2009

by | May 15, 2009 | Labor Relations Ink

inkquill22 Labor Relations INK Download a PDF of this issue with links here.   Labor Relations Insight from Phil Wilson The Employee Free Choice Act:  When Should I Start Talking To My Employees? This week we posted a blog item on an interesting study about the Employee Free Choice Act. In it a solid majority of employers (nearly 60%) say they think some form of EFCA will pass this year. This note is to them. The other 40% of company leaders in that survey are smoking crack … a compromise bill is being negotiated as we speak and will become law this summer.  I’ve been doing a series of strategy calls with companies around the country over the last month. These calls are a blast (if you’re interested in doing a Free Choice Act strategy call for your company you can learn more here – until EFCA passes I’m doing them for free). The companies we’ve talked to range from large, multi-facility organizations who are already doing a lot of the right things to companies that are just learning that EFCA is coming. For the bigger companies we are able to really roll up our sleeves and work on advanced communications strategy. We work on a basic game plan for the smaller companies. But one question comes up in every call, no matter how big and sophisticated the employer: When should I start talking to my employees about EFCA? It’s a great question. read the rest of the article here… ********** EFCA Update There is no let-up in the furor over the Employee “Forced” Choice Act. Almost every day, a new editorial in some local paper comes out either pushing the act as the one piece of legislation to save the middle class, or aghast at the end of democracy. The list of Democrats coming out against the bill continues to grow, while Dem stalwart George McGovern spoke out a second time, this time attacking the arbitration provision. McGovern nicely quotes former AFL-CIO head George Meany condemning mandatory arbitration as “an abrogation of freedom.” New studies decrying the negative economic impact of EFCA arrived. The government’s own recent data even dispelled the myth that the unions are playing on an “uneven field.” Big Labor and their allies are scrambling to salvage the bill, continuing to float alternatives, including “card checks by mail.” What a ride! ********** Companies Fight Back Two supermarket chains have had enough of the lies and bullying tactics of unions, and have mounted a public defense of their businesses. Arizona-based Bashas’ mailed flyers to homes in Phoenix, countering the smear campaign being waged by the United Food and Commercial Workers. Times Supermarkets in Hawaii actually filed a defamation suit against the Teamsters. “The union has carried on a campaign of negative, untrue and unlawful attacks against us and our customers in an effort to smear Times Supermarkets’ name and extort concessions from the company,” said John Quinn, president and CEO of the chain. When the Times workers decertified the union, they intensified a radio and web boycott campaign. Even with the economy as soft and fragile as it is, unions are still willing to toss the strike trump card on the table. In Colorado, 17,000 part-time workers in the grocery industry were on the trip-wire of strike, part of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, over contract issues with Safeway and other grocery chains. In response, the grocers began advertising for potential replacement workers. ********** Stacking The Deck While the EFCA rollercoaster continues to careen wildly, the administration continues to steadily work in numerous other ways to provide every possible advantage to Big Labor. Both of his recent nominees to the National Labor Relations Board are former militant union operatives, one of which is on record espousing the elimination of any role of the employer in union representation elections. In another deft move, the Department of Labor drastically reduced funding for the Office of Labor-Management Standards, which monitors the fraudulent activities of unions (obtaining 929 convictions of corrupt union officials and the recovery of more than $93 million on behalf of union members from 2001 to January of this year), while increasing the budgets of other offices within the Employment Standards Administration, which monitor employer behavior. Meanwhile, the courts created a scare from out of left field when one appellate court canceled 300 NLRB decisions made last year, while another court contradicted this ruling by upholding the decisions as valid. No telling where this one will settle, but if Obama has his way with court appointments, the outcome is easy to predict. ********** SEIU Raiding Techniques Here is another reminder that unions care nothing for America’s workforce but are only interested in growing their own power base and bank accounts. This under-three-minute, well-constructed video describes the sophisticated raiding process deployed by Big Labor’s most aggressive attack dog, the Service Employees International Union. [flashvideo file= image=wp-content/uploads/seiu.jpg /] Find this YouTube video here. ********** ULP Charge of the Month It’s always amusing to see how unions treat their own employees, especially when it involves SEIU. Download a PDF of this ULP here. ********** SEIU Imbedded If you have any questions about how “pay to play” works at the federal level, this short video should answer them! Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, brags that “SEIU is on the field, it’s in the whitehouse, it’s in the administration…SEIU members and staff are now all throughout the White House.” You don’t have to look far to see how this plays out. Witness the sway the SEIU apparently has in withholding stimulus funds to the state of California in an attempt to prevent the state from implementing needed wage cuts to some of its labor force (SEIU members). Any questions? [flashvideo file= image=wp-content/uploads/stern.jpg /] Find this YouTube video here. ********** Union Members Picket Their Union “Anna Burger is a hypocrite,” said Malcolm Harris, president of the Union of Union Representatives, which represents 210 employees of the SEIU. Anna Burger is a top executive in the SEIU and head of the Change To Win coalition. SEIU recently laid off 75 workers in a way that violated their contract, and according to the picketers, used “union-busting” tactics to quell opposition.   ********** SEIU Abandons Members A group of employees who were discriminated against in an internal job reshuffle, filed a grievance with their union, the SEIU. Since the union had agreed with the changes made to the status of the workers, the SEIU did not pursue the grievance. The employees, having no other option, filed suit against the company. Here’s where it gets fun! The SEIU negotiated with the employer that any such issue would be handled by arbitration only. By rejecting the grievance, the union had refused to submit to arbitration. When the workers lawsuit ended up at the Supreme Court, the court agreed that the workers had signed away their right to sue by allowing the union to bargain such a clause into their contract. The only entity left for the workers to sue – is their union! ********** EFCA Threat Provokes Action A recent study indicates that companies are at least beginning to plan on taking action in anticipation of upcoming labor law changes. According to the survey, • 64% of those taking action are planning, considering adding, or increasing supervisor management and training programs • 47% are planning or considering improvements to unit climate and engagement While, most of the respondents (70%) rated their current work climate as positive, only 35% had actually administered employee opinion surveys to address union avoidance and vulnerability. Our recent blog post addressed this concern and provides some details about the proper use of the survey process. ********** Sticky Fingers Current charges or sentences of embezzling union officials: James Decker – ISDWU: undisclosed Don Padgett – AFGE: $186,997 Donna Simpson – USW: $87,823 Christine Throckmorton – HERE: $9,674 William “Willie” Brown – UA: $4,942 ********** 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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