Trial Lawyers Stimulus?

Bloomberg reports that President Obama has signed an executive order regulating “working conditions for employees of federal contractors, some of whom have gone on strike over what they contend are unfair labor practices by companies doing business with the U.S. government.”

The order “requires companies to disclose labor-law violations from the past three years, and provides guidance to federal agencies on how to weigh the black marks when awarding contracts, according to a White House fact sheet.”

According to John Engler, President of the Business Roundtable, “a Washington-based group that includes chief executives of the largest U.S. companies,” the order may “encourage more lawsuits against businesses.”

Said Engler: “It’ll be dressed up – we’re protecting these rights or this rights – but when you strip it all away, more work for trial lawyers.”

Added Geoff Burr, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Associated Builders and Contractors, a “Washington-based group for construction companies,” the “subjective nature of the order opens the door to favoritism and abuse of government contractors by administration officials.”

Hmm.  Let’s see… helping trial lawyers… opening the door to favoritism… over-regulation… imposing a Big Labor agenda…

Sounds about right for this administration.

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McDonald’s Decision: Why Does The NLRB Hate Job Creators?

The Chicago Tribune reports that, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), “McDonald’s shares responsibility for working conditions with its franchisees who operate roughly 90 percent of its restaurants.”

McDonald’s “has long maintained that its franchisees are independent owner-operators who set their own policies, including wages.”  Which is, you know – the truth.

Of course, “McDonald’s and other fast food operators have been pressured by union groups in recent months to raise wages and improve working conditions.”

McDonald’s and other restaurant operators “have said that franchisees are independent business owners who set their own policies.”  Again – the truth.

Fortune gets to the heart of the matter, if the NLRB decision is upheld, it could “hold the company responsible for employee conditions and ease the fast food industry’s path toward unionization.”  Yet again, labor bosses set their sights on forced unionization, no matter the cost, and find a willing ally in Obama’s Labor Board.

The Hill reports (correctly) on the many problems with the decision, “[R]estaurants say the NLRB’s decision could have a devastating impact on not just McDonald’s but all companies that operate franchises.”  According to their report, the “National Restaurant Association says the ruling ‘jeopardizes the success of 90 percent of American’s restaurants, which are independent operators or franchisees.’”

And that’s not all – while “the NLRB’s decision makes corporations such as McDonald’s liable for the actions of their franchisees, this in turn would also take away the ability of franchise owners to operate independently.

Says International Franchise Association President Steve Caldeira, “If franchisors are joint employers with their franchisees, these thousands of small business owners would lose control of the operations and equity they worked so hard to build … Millions of jobs and the livelihoods of thousands of independent franchisee small businesses are now at risk due to the radical and unprecedented nature of this decision.”

From the beginning, the Obama Administration has demonstrated its hostility towards job creators,and business in general.  The irony?  They are undercutting the very people who could turn around the nation’s economy which still affects millions of people every day.

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Big Labor’s Big Hypocrisy On Work Schedules

The Washington Examiner reports that union allies in Congress are promoting legislation (the Schedules that Work Act) that would “give employees more rights to demand flexible work schedules and demand an end to long, irregular work shifts.”

The language of the bill “essentially makes it unlawful for an employer to punish an employee for demanding a different work schedule.” 

As the Examiner notes, however, this bill “will come in handy for anybody applying for the lead organizer position at the Retail Action Project [a Big Labor organization], since its listing on states that applicants must have a ‘[w]illingness to work long, irregular, evening or weekends as needed.’”

Same goes for the AFL-CIO’s senior field representative position for Arizona and Colorado, who must be willing “to work long hours and weekends as required” and have an “[a]bility to travel on a regular basis as needed, and for extended periods of time.”

And jobs such as these aren’t the only ones in labor organizations.  Apparently, with Big Labor, it’s “do as I say, not as I do.” 

Which is hardly surprising.

More from the The Washington Free Beacon.

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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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