IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Jury Awards Significant Damages Against Big Labor’s Defamation Campaign

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
September 23, 2016                                                                                            202-677-7060

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Jury Awards Significant Damages Against Big Labor’s Defamation Campaign

Heather Greenaway
September 22, 2016
Daily Caller

Bullying and intimidation tactics – that’s what we’ve come to expect of Big Labor today.  Last week in Texas, a jury awarded $5.3 million in damages to Texas-based Professional Janitorial Services of Houston (PJS) after a local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was found to have waged a campaign of misinformation and defamation against them.

SEIU Local 5 had been trying to unionize Houston’s large janitorial companies through their “justice for janitors” campaign for years, and but for the Professional Janitorial Services (PJS), they were successful.  PJS remained their final hold out – causing them to resort to nefarious and even illegal behavior.

When Local 5 failed to win a union election at PJS, they began a coordinated attack of disparagement and harassment.  Their goal was to “cost PJS money” and “cost PJS accounts,” according to emails obtained during discovery.  They sent letters to companies that contracted with them, circulated defamatory flyers and staged disruptive demonstrations at properties where PJS worked.  They alleged labor violations, which were later found to be fabricated.  They cost PJS business and they damaged their reputation.  This went on for years.

Seeking legal recourse, PJS sued SEIU Local 5 in 2007 for “harassing and intimidating our customers along with companies and individuals that may be contemplating doing business with us.”  And last week, they won.

Those who study union tactics will acknowledge that these practices, while abhorrent, are nothing new.  In fact, they’re taken right from a page out of the SEIU playbook.  This reprehensible conduct is employed throughout the country to bully businesses and employees into forming collective bargaining units – and many times, it works.  Their own manual advises union officials to “disobey laws which are used to enforce injustice against working people” and goes as far as to advise unions to threaten managers with accusations of even racism or sexism.

But thankfully, the justice system is working. The Texas court decision is big – and should be spread far and wide, because, despite widespread claims of Big Labor abuse and defamation around the country, this is the first time that a jury has found the SEIU responsible and it sets a critical precedent.  Often in these cases, malice is exceedingly hard to prove.  Now that some light has been shed on these practices, other businesses who’ve faced similar intimidation and smear campaigns on the part of union bosses should be encouraged to come forward and fight back.  And it’s crucial that they do.

Unfortunately, instead of standing up for American workers and employee freedom, the Obama Administration has been enabling this bad behavior.  Obama’s reckless National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has passed rule after rule making it easier to forcibly unionize workers: by speeding up union elections, which makes it exceedingly more likely for union bosses to get a favorable result; by chilling business owners’ freedom of speech; by paving the path for the formation of micro-unions; and by undermining the relationship between employers and their employees.

Indeed, this administration’s track record, both through the NLRB and Department of Labor, has undermined decades of defined labor practices and statutes, and rigged the system entirely in favor of Big Labor.  Perhaps that’s why the SEIU continues dolling out millions of dollars to compliant politicians in the ultimate quid pro quo.

Enough is enough.  It’s time for Congress to act – and pass the Employee Rights Act, which would curb these dishonest tactics by union bosses and hand back the levers of power to American workers.  It time to put a stop to Big Labor’s assault on freedom.  And it is good to see courts ensuring union bosses are held to account for their actions.

Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI)

To access the op-ed, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Examining The State Of Organized Labor This Labor Day

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
September 6, 2016                                                                                              202-677-7060

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Examining The State Of Organized Labor This Labor Day

Heather Greenaway
September 5, 2016
The Hill

It’s Labor Day weekend – and while many families are enjoying three-day weekends and barbeques at the beach, union bosses are scheming to come up with additional ways to take more from your hard-earned paychecks.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise.  For them, things are getting desperate.  Fifty years ago, nearly one third of U.S. workers belonged to a union – but today, membership is in steep decline.  Only one in 10 workers belong to a collective bargaining unit.  And the organized labor rate in the private sector is continuing to drop – with only 6.7 percent of the private sector belonging to a union today compared to 24.2 percent – nearly one in four workers – in 1973.  But in today’s day and age, workers have come to realize that unions sell an antiquated product that many workers feel is unnecessary in modern workplaces where employee to employer contact and negotiations remain the norm.

With union unpopularity soaring, it’s no wonder that 30 percent of union members said they would opt out of their union, if given the chance, according to new survey data commissioned by the National Employee Freedom Week.  And 60 percent of respondents agree that workers who opt out of union dues and fees should be free to represent themselves in negotiations with an employer.  It is, after all, a free country.  But not if union bosses have their way.

As membership continues to dwindle, Big Labor has fallen back to relying on their liberal allies in Congress and the Obama Administration to do their bidding.  And unfortunately, it seems those years of filling politicians’ campaign coffers have paid off – the federal government, in particular Obama’s reckless National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), continues to take steps to forcibly unionize workers.

The past few years have seen some of the most disruptive, pro-union rulings by the NLRB.  From the Joint Employer Standard, which has drastically undermined decades of defined labor policies, to the ambush election ruling and allowance of micro-unions, which speed up union elections and allow mini-units of a workplace to unionize, respectively, Obama’s NLRB has made decisions which have fundamentally altered the workplace and rigged the system in favor of organized labor.

And his Department of Labor is no better, issuing extreme new overtime rules that stunt professional growth by more than doubling the salary threshold for workers who qualify for overtime and enacting the Persuader Rule, which limits the free speech of employers and undermines attorney-client confidentiality.

Instead of giving workers an even landscape so that they have the tools to decide for themselves whether or not they want to join a collective bargaining unit, the Obama Administration and its Big Labor benefactors seem hell bent on forcing workers into the collective.

And they’re coming up with more creative ways to accomplish their goal.  For example, Big Labor has been at the forefront of the national “Fight for $15” movement – spending millions of their members’ hard-earned dues money to advocate for a raise in the minimum wage.  But these efforts have the same effect of forcing employers to unionize.  How?  While unions on the one hand publicly support a higher minimum wage, they’ve been privately negotiating side deals with cities or even whole industries for exemptions to the new minimum wage laws – so that they are able to present themselves and their members as a better, lower wage alternative.  U.S. cities like San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Long Beach, San Jose, Milwaukee and Chicago are ripe with carve-outs for unionized labor, where unionized businesses pay their employees far less than the minimum wage they pay other, non-unionized workers.  See for yourself the full list of exemptions and carve-outs, here.  If this doesn’t demonstrate union bosses’ complete disregard for America’s workforce, I don’t know what does.

For years, Big Labor has waged a protracted assault on employers and small businesses, under the guise of putting workers first.  This Labor Day, let’s pull back the veil.  Workers must be knowledgeable about their rights and cognizant of their options to leave the unions that have ceased to work for them.  Whether it’s opting to become an agency fee payer or in the case of someone living in one of the 26 right-to-work states around the country, quitting entirely, this Labor Day, employees should be empowered with the facts to make their own decisions as government stacks the deck in favor of Big Labor

Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).

To access the op-ed, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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Workforce Fairness Institute Celebrates Empowering Workers With The Facts On Labor Day

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
September 5, 2016                                                                                              202-677-7060

Workforce Fairness Institute Celebrates Empowering Workers With The Facts On Labor Day
As Government Stacks The Deck In Big Labor’s Favor, Workers Must Make Their Own Workplace Decisions

 Washington, D.C. – Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) spokesperson Heather Greenaway released the following statement on Labor Day:

“On this Labor Day, fewer Americans are able to find work as the small businesses that drive our economy are the targets of an all-out assault by union bosses under the guise of putting workers first.  As union membership continues to dwindle, Big Labor has enlisted its liberal allies in Congress and the Obama Administration to push government agencies, like the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor, to burden employers with more regulations in a desperate attempt to enlist more dues paying members,” said Greenaway.  “Workers must be knowledgeable about their rights and understand their options to leave unions that have ceased to work for them.  Whether it’s opting to become an agency fee payer or in the case of someone living in one of the 26 right-to-work states around the country, walking away entirely, this Labor Day, the Workforce Fairness Institute believes employees should be empowered with the facts to make their own decisions as government stacks the deck in favor of Big Labor.”

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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In Case You Missed It: State Minimum Wage Hikes Lead To Millions In Job Losses

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
August 30, 2016                                                                                                  202-677-7060

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
State Minimum Wage Hikes Lead To Millions In Job Losses

 

Heather Greenaway
August 30, 2016
Townhall

How many jobs in your state would be lost by a $15 minimum wage mandate?  Well, thanks to a study just out from The Heritage Foundation, we’ve now got a pretty good idea.  And the numbers are terrifying.

But that shouldn’t come as a surprise.  It’s a well-established fact that arbitrary minimum wage hikes are a jobs-killer – the country’s leading economists have admitted as much, as has the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped states and localities across the nation, and progressive politicians in Washington, from pushing these policies.  Washington, D.C., New York, California and Seattle have all passed legislation increasing their minimum wage to $15 an hour, with more on the way.

So now to the numbers: Heritage’s study, conducted by research fellow in labor economics James Sherk, found that state minimum wage hikes would directly lead to the loss of nine million jobs across the country.  Nine million.  Let that sink in.

According to the study, the states that would be hit hardest include Texas, California and Florida.  Both Texas and California would lose more than 900,000 jobs, with Florida not far behind with 700,000 job losses.  New York, which passed their $15 wage law this year to phase in fully by the end of 2021, will likely lose over 400,000 full-time-equivalent positions.

Even in small states like West Virginia, where 52,000 jobs would disappear, the effects would be huge.  More than 37 percent of West Virginia’s wage and salaried workers would be detrimentally impacted.

If you think the ramifications would be negligible, think again. These drastic job losses would fundamentally alter these states’, and the nation’s, economies.  These policies won’t lift people out of poverty, they’ll put them there.

Arbitrary price floors don’t work in a free market and dangerous market manipulations will lead to a trove of unintended consequences.  From layoffs to reduced hours, to automated kiosks, outsourcing and a sharp increase in consumer prices, a $15 starting wage will have reverberations across all sectors of our economy.  And forget job growth.  In fact, policies like this will force the inequality gap to grow even larger.

Not to mention that misguided wage policies harm the very people they are intended to help.  They stifle the employment opportunities of less-skilled and less-experienced workers – the ones most likely to be working in a minimum wage job in the first place.  These types of “starting wages” jobs were designed to be entry level – not positions for life.  The fact is that these low-skilled and low-income workers will be hit very hard and many left without anywhere to go.

Unfortunately, Big Labor groups – who seek exemptions from these same policies – have hijacked this effort through the spread of myths and misinformation under the guise of “fair pay.”  But for them, this isn’t about a “living wage” or fighting for “income equality,” it’s about carving out a special section of the labor market where they can present themselves as the more affordable option.

A $15 minimum wage was once considered a fringe idea.  You can’t find many studies on the near-term effects of such a policy because economists never seriously considered it.  But this Heritage study fills that gap.  And should be shared far and wide.

To access the article, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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Workforce Fairness Celebrates National Employee Freedom Week

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
August 15, 2016                                                                                                  202-677-7060

Workforce Fairness Celebrates National Employee Freedom Week

Washington, D.C. – The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) today celebrated National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW).

The below statement was issued by WFI spokesperson Heather Greenaway:

“The Workforce Fairness Institute is proud to celebrate National Employee Freedom Week.  National Employee Freedom Week is a critical tool to educate workers about their individual rights in the workplace.  Far too often, employees feel coerced to join a union and aren’t informed that they have a choice in the matter.  This week is dedicated to empowering employees with the information they need to make their own decisions about unionization in the workplace and inform them of the alternative options at their disposal.”

The NEFW campaign will educate Americans about alternative professional organizations available to them outside of big labor unions.  These organizations can provide the same professional development and insurance benefits that unions provide at a fraction of the cost.

According to National Employee Freedom Week’s 2016 survey, more than two-thirds of union households – or 66.9 percent – believe workers should be able to negotiate directly with their employer and completely opt-out of union dues or agency fees.  And almost 30 percent of respondents said they would opt-out of union membership if it were possible to do so without penalties.  These survey results highlight how important the work undertaken by National Employee Freedom Week leadership is to educate workers and empower them with a choice.

National Employee Freedom Week is August 14-20, 2016.  To learn more, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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In Case You Missed It: Obama Labor Board’s Joint Employer Rule Negatively Impacts Small Businesses

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
August 8, 2016                                                                                                    202-677-7060

In Case You Missed It
Obama Labor Board’s Joint Employer Rule Negatively Impacts Small Businesses

Some Small-Business Owners Trim Expansion Plans, Cite New Labor Law
Change Also Could Pull Franchisers, Such As McDonald’s, Into Local Labor Disputes

Melanie Trottman
August 5, 2016
The Wall Street Journal

Small-business owners say they are shouldering higher costs and scaling back expansion plans because of a revised federal rule that gives employees more leverage in settling workplace grievances.

The new policy, intended to hold businesses accountable for labor-law violations against people whose working conditions they control but don’t claim as employees, was put in place last year through a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, which referees workplace disputes and oversees union-organizing elections. The rule, expected to affect fast-food, construction and other industries reliant on contract workers and employees of franchisees, also aims to ensure workers can unionize and collectively bargain with businesses that help control their fates.

The policy broadens the circumstances in which two businesses can be counted as employers of the same group of workers, reversing the NLRB’s 30-year-old standard for determining such “joint-employer” status.

The agency is now beginning to rule on a body of test cases that could detail how the standard will apply, but some businesses—particularly those in the franchising industry—have started making decisions based on potential outcomes, underscoring how just the prospect of a regulatory change can impact U.S. workplaces.

The change could pull franchisers—ranging from big brand companies such as McDonald’s Corp. and Golden Corral Corp. to smaller operations—into labor disputes involving workers at their networks of independent owner-operators, or franchisees. The brand companies face the risk of having to pay back wages to workers fired for protesting low pay or trying to join a union; the companies also could be swept into collective-bargaining talks alongside store owners they say have total control over the workers at the stores.

Franchisees, meanwhile, say they could lose their independence to hire, fire and manage workers as they please. They are also concerned about becoming too independent: Some say their franchisers have scaled back worker training tools and other guidance, fearing regulators would view such involvement as joint-employer-like control.

Businesses say they are in a regulatory limbo because the new standard is vague about what constitutes control.

The previous test measured the direct control one business had over working conditions of people employed by another business. Now, even indirect control can count.

So far the impact seems to be largely on the franchisees. A home health-care business in Wisconsin is taking on $10,000 in annual recruiting costs because its franchiser stopped providing assistance to steer clear of regulators, and a small hotelier in Florida is abandoning expansion plans in small markets because one of its franchisers scaled back worker training it provides. A printing business owner in Washington state said he canceled plans to open an eighth store because he doesn’t want to risk the investment until it is clear his franchiser wouldn’t be considered a joint-employer.

“I could lose my ability to control my business,” said Chuck Stempler, an owner of the seven printing stores that operate under the AlphaGraphics brand in Washington and California.

Shelly Sun, co-founder of BrightStar Care, a Chicago-based franchiser that provides home health-care services through its network of more than 300 franchisees, used to help the businesses talk through employment problems, such as difficult employees. Now, “we refer them to a human resources attorney,” she said.

Her company also stopped paying to host an online system where franchisees could post job openings and screen applicants, Ms. Sun said.

BrightStar franchisees Susan Rather and her husband Jeffrey Tews have since established their own system for $10,000 a year. “That sort of thing will impact the bottom line,” said Ms. Rather, who together with her husband owns four BrightStar home-care locations in Southern Wisconsin.

To read The Wall Street Journal article in its entirety, click here.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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Workforce Fairness Institute Launches Campaign Highlighting Union Hypocrisy & Unfair Worker Treatment At Democratic Convention

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
July 25, 2016                                                                                                      202-677-7060

Workforce Fairness Institute Launches Campaign Highlighting Union Hypocrisy & Unfair Worker Treatment At Democratic Convention

Effort Includes Geo-Targeted & Digital Advertising, Targeted Taxi & Hotel Advertising, & Mobile Bicycle Advertising

Washington, D.C. – The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) today announced that it is undertaking a digital and mobile advertising campaign during the Democratic National Convention to highlight union hypocrisy on the $15 minimum wage as they seek and receive exemptions in cities where it has been approved by lawmakers that target their own members.

Heather Greenaway, spokesperson for the WFI, issued the following statement:

“Big Labor has lied to the public and worse their own members about the minimum wage.  As they seek to have it raised at the municipal, state and federal levels, in backroom deals with politicians, they are carving out exemptions for rank and file with one purpose, facilitating the unionization of non-unionized workplaces.  With the national Democratic platform supporting a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation, union bosses’ hypocrisy is on full display in Philadelphia and stands in stark contrast to the national party’s policy.  The Workforce Fairness Institute will not rest until the deceit perpetrated by organized labor is fully exposed both locally and nationally.”

BACKGROUND:

Anti-Union Ad Campaign Launches In Philadelphia Over Minimum-Wage Waivers

Reid J. Epstein
July 25, 2016
The Wall Street Journal

One big victory Bernie Sanders supporters won when the Democratic Party wrote its platform was including his call for a $15 minimum wage.

But this week in Philadelphia, Democratic delegates and other convention-goers will get a series of stark reminders that the union organizers who have been among the loudest advocates for a $15-per-hour wage floor have also sought carve-outs to allow companies to pay their own members less if they hire union workers, giving unions a key bargaining chip.

The Workforce Fairness Institute, which has for years fought union-backed legislation in Washington, is airing advertisements across the Democratic National Convention – targeted to mobile devices in and near the convention’s arena and conference center, delegate hotels and Philadelphia’s airport.

“Are big labor bosses giving you less than you bargained for?” the ad asks.

The institute’s ads will also air in local taxi cabs and on signs carried by bicycles being ridden near the convention on streets where vehicular traffic is banned this week.

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has proposed raising it to $12 per hour, less than the $15 Mr. Sanders and union organizers have sought. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is set to the federal wage floor, but Philadelphia municipal law requires paying workers at least $12 per hour.

Several municipalities – including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington – have in recent years increased their minimum wage floors but allow exemptions to pay some unionized workers less.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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Bipartisan Concern Grows Over Obama Labor Department’s Overtime Rule

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
July 18, 2016                                                                                                      202-677-7060

Bipartisan Concern Grows Over Obama Labor Department’s Overtime Rule
House Democrats Join Republicans In Efforts To Put Brakes On Burdensome Regulation

Washington, D.C. – The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) today reacted to news that Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced legislation seeking to delay for three years the new overtime rule put in place by President Obama’s Department of Labor (DoL).  The news comes on the heels of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations passing a funding bill which cuts off taxpayer dollars for this same, deeply flawed regulation.

Heather Greenaway, spokesperson for the WFI, issued the following statement:

“While we believe the Obama overtime rule must be completely stopped due to the damage it will inflict on American workers, House Democrats deserve credit for drawing attention to this important issue and seeking a delay for three years.  There are few issues today it seems where Republicans and Democrats agree, even marginally, and yet, here, in response to actions undertaken by a Labor Department intent on rewarding union bosses at the expense of employees and employers, consensus has emerged between both parties that something must be done.  We will continue to work with elected leaders irrespective of political persuasion to derail this giveaway to Big Labor which will further harm an economy that continues to struggle leaving hardworking American families behind.”

BACKGROUND:

POLITICO: “Four House Dems Attack Overtime Rule.” “Four House Democrats – Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Henry Cuellar of Texas and Collin Peterson of Minnesota – introduced legislation Thursday to delay by three years the Labor Department’s new overtime rule.” (Brian Mahoney, “Pence On Labor – Four House Dems Attack OT Rule – The Future Of The Persuader Rule,” POLITICO’s Morning Shift. 7/15/16)

  • “‘Since the DOL’s immediate phase-in date was announced, we’ve heard from business owners and their employees who are worried about implementing this increase overnight,’ Schrader said in a statement Thursday.” (Brian Mahoney, “Pence On Labor – Four House Dems Attack OT Rule – The Future Of The Persuader Rule,” POLITICO’s Morning Shift. 7/15/16)

The Workforce Fairness Institute is an organization committed to educating voters, employers, employees and citizens about issues affecting the workplace.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.workforcefairness.com.

To schedule an interview with a Workforce Fairness Institute representative, please contact Ryan Williams at (202) 677-7060.

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