Obama Labor Board At Center Of Big Labor Giveaways

The Wall Street Journal reports that a “group of cosmetics and fragrances workers at a Macy’s store in Massachusetts are a big enough lot to try to unionize, the National Labor Relations Board decided in a ruling that could advance organized labor’s quest to unionize subsets of workers in varied industries.”

Is it any surprise that the ultra-biased NLRB found in favor of Big Labor, especially on one of their biggest strategic gambits?

It’s a very old story: Big Labor and their political allies colluding to make sure an ever-increasing number of bennies flow to both: union dues to the labor bosses, contributions and votes to the politicians.

These are the kind of shenanigans WFI was built to fight.

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Labor (Election Mobilization) Department?

Check out this Daily Caller article:

“The Obama administration’s Department of Labor is running a social media campaign this week to encourage people to lobby Congress for a minimum wage increase – a move raising eyebrows because it is similar to the campaign messaging being used by Democrats to drive voters to the polls this year.”

The problem?  They are using taxpayer dollars to promote what is essentially a campaign benefitting a political party, raising questions about whether it is appropriate or not.

For example: “The department is asking supporters of a minimum wage increase to tweet a graphic made by taxpayer-funded staffers at the Labor Department.”

Ryan Williams of Worker Center Watch said, “The Department’s audacious actions are even more troubling because it shows that DOL leadership has no qualms about lobbying for labors’ wish list in an election year…Union bosses have plenty of well-funded, front groups to push their job-killing policies, and taxpayers should not be forced to pay for a government sponsored effort to promote their destructive agenda.”

 

Here, here! 

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Berkley & Big Labor: Blurring The Lines Between Academia & Union Activism

It looks like Big Labor has found yet another avenue to advance their pro-union agenda: American universities.  According to The Washington Free Beacon, “a coalition of foundations and union front groups is funding an academic post at the University of California at Berkeley” for a prominent labor activist to fund studies bolstering the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a coalition of pro-Big Labor activists and unions.

The labor activist at the heart of the issue is Saru Jayaraman, who, conveniently enough, is also executive director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center—a worker center that is trying to organize food service workers.  Jayaraman founded Berkley’s Food Labor Research Center in 2012.

Anyone can see clear as day how this could present a conflict of interests.  Jayaraman is essentially being funded by Big Labor groups and worker centers to produce pro-union “studies” under the guise of academic research—in some cases, even relying on unions for her research.  Mike Paranzino, spokesman for a food industry group, ROC Exposed, put it best, saying:

“This gives her credibility that she otherwise wouldn’t have as someone with a vested interest and a clear agenda…These documents show how a public university is using its good name and academic reputation to advance the union agenda.”

While university staff claims any research from Jayaraman cannot directly advocate for pro-unionization campaigns in order to keep a “firewall between activism and academics,” Jayaraman’s own words prove otherwise in a study commissioned by none other than the United Food and Commercial Workers (UGCW) union.

Ryan Williams from Worker Center Watch sums this entire mess up nicely, saying:

“Labor bosses are simply trying to install a puppet who can produce dishonest and inaccurate information with the Berkeley imprimatur that will be used to push their agenda,” he said.  “This is nothing more than an elaborate shell game, and it is disgraceful that a public university like Berkeley would be willing to compromise its integrity to help Big Labor.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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Minimum Wage Hike Challenged In Seattle

The effort to raise the minimum wage in Seattle by a staggering 60 percent – from the current $9.32 an hour to $15 an hour – over the next several years is being challenged by a local business group, Forward Seattle, which represents a number of restaurants, retail outlets and other businesses in the Seattle area.

Passed by the City Council and signed into law by Mayor Ed Murray, the minimum wage hike was never voted on by Seattle residents.  The proposal has since garnered its fair share of criticism from the Seattle business community.  Forward Seattle, by handing in “just under 20,000 signatures to the Seattle City Clerk” last week, is seeking to put the matter up to a vote – and it’s looking like that’s exactly what will happen in November.

Citing concerns that the measure would encourage businesses to “move from Seattle or halt expansions,” Forward Seattle co-chair Angela Cough said, “Right now, the (city) ordinance on the table we think is going to be pretty damaging to the city from the business perspective, and from the workers’ perspective.”

Cough certainly has good reason to think a forced minimum wage hike would be bad for Seattle businesses and workers.  As we’ve previously mentioned, even a smaller minimum wage hike than what Seattle has planned could force business owners to freeze hiring, lay off employees or even shutter operations.

This isn’t even the only attempt to stop the disastrous wage hike plan in Seattle.  Separately, the International Franchise Association also “filed a federal lawsuit last month that alleges the measure illegally discriminates against franchises because it would force them to pay employees $15 an hour within three years while other business owners would have more time.”

Now that it appears Forward Seattle has submitted more than enough signatures required to put forth a ballot measure repealing the minimum wage hike, it will be interesting to see how voters respond in November.

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Congress Fights For Workers’ Privacy

Last week, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee introduced legislation in the Senate that would “prevent the National Labor Relations Board from implementing a rule requiring businesses to turn over employees’ personal phone numbers and email addresses during union organizing drives.”

Not surprisingly, Big Labor has been hoping the NLRB would pass such a measure to allow them greater access to workers for the purposes of forcibly organizing them for a long time now.  In fact, if they got their way, union bosses would be able to contact, harass and/or coerce workers at home, by phone or email.

While Big Labor cries foul, saying it is “unfair of businesses not to allow them contact with the workers” (because apparently knowing their names and home addresses are not enough), businesses have been quick to point out that turning over employees’ phone numbers and email addresses “violates worker privacy.”

In introducing this legislation, Senator Alexander is taking a stand to protect worker privacy by attempting to rein in the “far too politicized” agency.

After previously attempting to introduce such a rule in 2011, a federal court struck it down the next year citing a “lack of proper quorum at the time the rule was adopted.” That won’t be the case this time as the board currently has all five seats filled.

As always, we’ll be keeping our eye on this issue and will keep you updated as more details unfold.

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“Worker Centers” Are The New Big Labor

We’ve talked about worker centers before.  They’re the Big Labor-funded “charitable organizations” that take the fight to force unionization on American companies and workers one, two or in some cases several steps further than unions are legally allowed.

Well, now according to analysis from the Workforce Freedom Initiative – a pro-workers’ rights group formed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Big Labor is pumping big money into worker centers.

Does this come as any surprise?  No.  But that doesn’t make it any less reprehensible.  According to the analysis, in 2013 alone, union bosses “pumped nearly $35 million” into these so-called worker centers, which “have skirted federal labor laws.”

One of the most notorious worker centers is the group Fast Food Workers Committee, which “received more than $1.8 million from the SEIU” in exchange for staging protests at McDonald’s and other national fast food chains last year.

As union membership has dropped dramatically in recent years, union bosses have invested even more in worker centers.  Perhaps that’s why “AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka called worker centers the ‘future of unions’ at the labor giant’s annual conference in September.

If worker centers truly are the “future of unions,” then it’s time our government take another look at them to ensure they follow the same rules and regulations as traditional labor unions are supposed to.

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A Tale of Two Editors: Sparring over the Minimum Wage Fight

On June 8, Wall Street Journal opinion editor Paul Gigot faced off against The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel on ABC News’ “This Week” program (check out the video)…

During the debate, vanden Heuvel—a strong supporter of a job-killing minimum wage hike—made four big claims, all of which are dead wrong.

Claim 1: Only one out of 10 minimum wage workers are teens or young people (i.e., most people working for minimum wage are adults, with all the financial responsibilities that entails).

The Truth: According to Politifact.com (based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), “workers who are 16 to 24 years old comprise 50 percent of workers who earn at or below the federal minimum wage.”  vanden Heuvel “was wrongly describing a study of who would get a raise from increasing the minimum wage.  According to the liberal Economic Policy Institute, teens would make up 12.5 percent of people who would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $10.10.  We rate her claim False.

Claim 2: Better paid minimum wage workers create growth.

The Truth: According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if a $10.10 minimum wage were to be fully implemented in the second half of 2016, it “would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent.”  And “as with any such estimates, however, the actual losses could be smaller or larger; in CBO’s assessment, there is about a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1.0 million workers.”  If employment drops by half-a-million to a million workers, how will this benefit growth?

 —

Claim 3: Walmart employs the most low-wage wage workers.

The Truth: The average full-time hourly wage for a Walmart associate is $12.81 per hour, and less than one-half of 1% of associates earn minimum wage.

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Claim 4: The current minimum wage is about the values of this country (i.e., not raising the minimum wage is antithetical to our values).

The Truth: Besides being totally subjective (and intellectually wishy-washy), this isn’t even true.  If employment drops by a million workers (as the CBO says could happen) or even a half million, how is that consistent with our values?  And what about stories of businesses adding “living wage” fees to the costs of their products and services?  Those won’t hurt the wealthy or upper-middleclass much, but they will very much hurt blue collar and low wage workers, who’s gains in wages would be more than eaten up by cost increases.

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Big Labor Reaches New Low Exploiting Tragedy

If there’s anything sadder than a tragic, fatal accident, it is the shameless exploitation of such an unfortunate incident to score cheap political points.  Friends and family are still mourning the victim of a recent New Jersey highway crash involving a commercial trucker, while loved ones are waiting for word as others, including Tracy Morgan, continue to recover.  Already, however, Big Labor is seeking to use the tragedy as fuel for a petty political skirmish.  This tactic is not only in poor taste, insulting to all those affected and patently cynical, it’s also being deliberately used to spread inaccurate information.

The president of the Teamsters – one of North America’s biggest unions – has sent a letter to Congress seeking to connect the New Jersey tragedy to a recently-adopted amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations legislation currently under negotiation.  Teamster President James Hoffa claims the amendment would keep truck drivers on the road too long and lead to driver fatigue, which he links to this accident.  The crash is still under investigation, and attempts by outside groups to discern the cause of the accident without access to all the evidence is irresponsible and counterproductive.

In addition, the amendment in question would not change the daily or weekly work limit or the daily rest break requirement to which truckers are currently subject.  These “Hours of Service” rules require that drivers work no more than 14 hours for any shift and 11 hours of driving, and mandates a “reset period” between shifts.  By all accounts, the driver involved in Saturday’s accident was in compliance with the rules.  But that’s not important to Hoffa.

He and the Teamsters are going after this bipartisan amendment because it would fix a unilateral rule changed that they helped engineer.  Last year, the Obama Administration – with the Teamsters’ backing – changed the “Hours of Service” rules to cut the number of trucks on the road in the low-traffic overnight hours, which thereby increased the number of trucks on the road during peak travel times.  This leads to not only congestion, but a greater likelihood of traffic accidents.  It also means more trucks on the road, which means more union drivers and more dues money for Hoffa’s coffers.

This is another desperate move by a Big Labor movement that’s anxiously struggling for relevance.  Union membership and collected dues are both on a steady decline, and along with them, the political clout of labor bosses like Hoffa.  It’s a shame that in order to preserve it, he feels he has to resort to exploiting tragedy.

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