Watchdog Highlights ‘Union Thuggery’ For Labor Day

Bill McMorris

September 2, 2015

Washington Free Beacon

From racketeering to bribery and money laundering, 2015 has been a banner year for union malfeasance, according to a top labor watchdog.

The Workforce Fairness Institute is celebrating Labor Day by counting down 2015’s best examples of “union thuggery.”

Topping the list is former Ironworkers Local 401 honcho Joseph Dougherty, who was sentenced to 19 years in prison for racketeering, arson, and extortion in connection to burning down a Quaker church that employed non-union labor.

Dougherty and nine other union executives were indicted for the Christmas season arson. The FBI said that the leaders used the union as a vehicle to enrich themselves, rather than represent the interests of workers.

“Ironworkers Local 401 [was charged] with allegedly participating in a conspiracy to commit criminal acts of extortion, arson, destruction of property, and assault in order to force construction contractors to hire union ironworkers,” the FBI said in a press release. “Specifically, the indictment charges RICO conspiracy, violent crime in aid of racketeering, three counts of arson, two counts of use of fire to commit a felony, and conspiracy to commit arson. Eight of the 10 individuals named in the indictment are charged with conspiring to use Ironworkers Local 401 as an enterprise to commit criminal acts.”

Local 401 did not respond to request for comment.

The ironworkers weren’t the only Philadelphia labor group on the list. A suburban city council president was sent to prison for political money laundering through a local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

The union allegedly poured money into the campaigns of Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer (D.). Spencer then gave large donations to Philadelphia politicians in order to skirt campaign finance laws, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Francisco Acosta pled guilty to accepting a $1,800 bribe in exchange for backing the repeal of campaign contribution limits. Union president John Dougherty was not charged in connection to the case. IBEW Local 98 did not return requests for comment.

“Local headlines from coast to coast show that union bosses and organizers continue to foster violence in the workplace, bribes, embezzlement and money laundering. Yet, the union led NLRB continues to gift unions with more power over American businesses through ambush elections, micro unions, and most recently ruling against small business owners in the joint employer decision,” watchdog spokesman Heather Greenaway said.

Sometimes union officials are on the receiving end of bribery schemes. The Oakland United Food and Commercial Workers official in charge with organizing marijuana dispensary employees has been charged with accepting $600,000 in bribes to undermine those efforts. The union fired top official Daniel Rush when the charges were announced. The UFCW did not respond to request for comment.

Sometimes union members themselves were the victims of union actions. Cops in Riverside California saw hundreds of thousands of dollars in dues money embezzled by a union employee, who used the money to finance lavish Italian vacations, her husband’s child support payments to an ex-lover, and tattoos. Former Riverside Police Officers Association secretary Alis Archibeque pled guilty to stealing about $350,000 from the accounts and was sentenced to more than three years in prison. The association did not return request for comment.

A Broward Teachers Union president in Florida is now on trial for stealing $300,000 from union coffers, as well as illegally taking contractor kickbacks and using the union to launder money. Former president Pat Santeramo pled not guilty to the charges. The teachers union did not respond to request for comment.

WFI spokesman Greenaway said the cases show union officials take advantage of the trust of members when given the opportunity. This should disturb workers, given the National Labor Relations Board’s new election rules that force employers to hand over sensitive personnel information to unions seeking to organize a workplace. Employees do not have the option to opt out of the system.

“Employee personal contact information will now be handed over to these union organizers, and who will oversee the use of this information and look out for employees? Certainly not the union-enabling NLRB,” Greenaway said.

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NLRB Not Looking Out For Workers’ Rights

Hector Barreto

August 20, 2015

Washington Examiner

When it comes to workers’ rights, it’s critical for employees to have the facts and information required to make an educated and informed decision to form, join, or decline membership in a labor organization.  In light of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) newly-enacted “ambush election rule,” which sped up the process in which union elections can be held, it’s important for workers to use National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW) to arm themselves with the facts and review their rights.

The ambush election ruling was enacted by the NLRB as a tool to increase workplace unionization.  Despite the fact that the previous system and timeline was working just fine – 90 percent of organized elections already occurred within a reasonable timeframe of 56 days – the new rule speeds up the election time from a previous average of 38 days, to now as little as ten.

This rule doesn’t benefit American workers; it does nothing but help Big Labor increase their declining membership rolls.  Since the rule took effect, as expected, the number of election petitions have dramatically increased – with a 15 percent surge in the first three months alone.

The employer-employee relationship is an important one, but the new NLRB rules limit employers’ right to free speech with their workers.  Employers must rush to submit their “statement of position,” and then are prohibited from speaking to their workers about anything outside of their statement.  However, organized union campaigns have as much time as they want, with no limits on what they can say and promise, since many campaigns begin well before a petition is filed.

Because of these limits on speech, employees are unable to learn what unionization would logistically look like day-to-day in their place of work.  How are they supposed to take a vote or make an informed decision in such a limited window of time?  How can they even begin to understand the impacts of collective bargaining if they are unable to speak freely with their employer, the one who works with them day in and day out?

The new rules violate workers’ privacy, as well.  Employers must turn over their employees’ private information, including home and cell phone numbers, personal email addresses, job classifications, shift times and home mailing addresses, in just two days after the petition has been filed.  Your personal information is released without any safeguards in place to ensure it remains confidential, or is safely disposed of after the election.  Union bosses can now camp outside your homes in order to coerce you into organizing – nowhere is off limits.

Under this confusing new system, it’s important that workers know their rights.  Recent polls show that many union members don’t realize that they have the right to opt out of union membership entirely.  Every employee should be able, and have the time, to make the decision that’s best for them.

Employees who live in one of the 25 Right-to-Work states can choose to opt out of their union membership.  For those that live in the other half of the country, they can decide to become an “agency fee payer” and only pay for the non-political components of union membership.  They can also become a “conscientious objector” and would not have to contribute to the union at all.

There are alternatives to joining unions, like joining other professional organizations at a fraction of the cost.  For example, teachers have multiple other organizations to choose from, like the Association of American Educators, or the Christian Educators Association International, which both offer insurance benefits for less.  Union membership is costly, and workers have no say where that money goes.

With 91 percent of unions’ political spending money filling the coffers to help elect Democrats, it’s not surprising that the Obama administration’s NLRB is filled with union bosses enforcing pro-union policies.  But employees shouldn’t be forced into affiliations without the adequate time and information to make an informed decision.  Fortunately, members of Congress are taking steps to protect American workers and defund these NLRB efforts.  In the meantime, during National Employee Freedom Week, take a moment to learn the facts, assess your rights and educate your colleagues on the options available.

Hector Barreto is the former head of the Small Business Administration.


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Know Your Rights This National Employee Freedom Week

Heather Greenaway
August 18, 2015
The Washington Times

Sunday, August 16 marks the beginning of National Employee Freedom Week, an event celebrated by a coalition of 97 groups in 42 states across the country.  Its purpose, as you may very well guess, is to educate union workers on their freedoms and rights to opt out of their collective bargaining units.

According to a recent, nationwide poll released by the Nevada Policy Research Institute, nearly 40 percent of union households polled didn’t know that they had the option to opt-out of union membership and the automatic deductions of dues from their paycheck.  This is a troubling statistic, and American workers should be cognizant of their rights and freedoms.  That’s why National Employee Freedom Week is making a nationwide effort to educate union employees on their options, so that they can make the best individual decision for themselves — without union coercion.

Unions are an outdated relic of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency, when labor laws were enacted in order to protect against workplace abuse.  Today, we have strong laws to protect workers and alternative professional organizations workers can join, at a fraction of the cost.

Lately, workers have been leaving unions by the droves.  Big Labor is struggling to recruit members, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership has hit its lowest rate in 100 years.   Membership has been in steady decline over the past thirty years.  That’s why union bosses who sit on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are getting desperate and doing everything they can to pass anti-competitive rules to pressure employees to unionize.  We see this with the NLRB’s rash ambush election rule, which took effect in April, and has already proven to have its intended effect of helping pad union rolls.  Since its enactment, the number of election petitions has surged 15 percent.

The NLRB’s new recruitment tactics coerce workers into affiliations without adequate time or information to make an informed decision.  The new policy speeds up election times from a previous average of 38 days to now, as few as ten.  Ten days is not adequate time for a workplace to prepare for an election or for employees to gather information on the potential impacts of unionization on their workplace or from their paychecks.  The rule chills employee free speech, limiting what employers can talk to their workers about, while giving union organizers carte blanche to make empty promises and coerce workers into unionizing.

Unions not only use coercion and intimidation to encourage workers to join, but they also continue to intimidate workers who wish to leave and are not forthcoming with the options workers have to opt-out.  And of course they aren’t – all they care about is getting their cut from your paycheck, helping fill their coffers and further boosting their influence.

The ambush election rule has opened the door even wider, granting union bosses access to troves of employees’ personal information, including their home and cell phone numbers, personal email addresses, job classifications, shift info, and home addresses.  Unions have limitless ways to now coerce employees into the collective.

Unions are selling a product few need or want anymore.  Workers would rather keep that additional $1,000 plus a year and use it to help pay off their mortgage or take their family on a vacation – not hand it over to big labor bosses who have a history of misusing funds or spending them on political causes not everyone agrees with.

In fact, a staggering 91 percent of political spending by unions goes to support Democratic candidates, while 43 percent of union households vote Republican.  Why should workers be forced to make political donations to candidates they don’t even believe in?  Many workers are wising up, and realizing that there are much better uses for their money.

That’s why this National Employee Freedom Week, it’s critical that workers educate themselves on their rights.  If you are currently in a union and want out, you have options.  Workers should be free to make the decision that’s right for them, not big labor cronies.  Get the facts; understand the alternatives.

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


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National Employee Freedom Week

WFI FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  CONTACT: Ryan Williams August 17, 2015                                                                                     202-677-7060

National Employee Freedom Week Educating Union Employees About Their Rights

Washington, D.C. (August 17, 2015) – The Workforce Fairness Institute issued the following statement in response to National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW), an annual national campaign that informs union members about their workplace rights, specifically their right to leave their union. NEFW runs Sunday, August 16th through Saturday, August 22nd and consists of a record 97 organizations in 42 states.

“According to a recent, nationwide poll released by the Nevada Policy Research Institute, nearly 40 percent of union households polled didn’t know that they had the option to opt-out of union membership and the automatic deductions of dues from their paycheck.  This is a troubling statistic, and American workers should be cognizant of their rights and freedoms,” said Heather Greenaway, spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute.  “That’s why National Employee Freedom Week is making a nationwide effort to educate union employees on their options, so that they can make the best individual decision for themselves — without union coercion.”

View a list of the grassroots coalition that makes up NEFW 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:

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


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Union Official Charged With Accepting Bribes From Marijuana Dispensaries



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  CONTACT: Ryan Williams
August 14, 2015                                                                                     202-677-7060


Union Official Charged With Accepting Bribes From Marijuana Dispensaries

WFI States Need For Employee and Employer Protection from Coercion and Intimidation

Washington, D.C. (August 14, 2015) – Recent articles have exposed court documents unsealed on Wednesday, showing that union official Daniel Rush was charged for allegedly accepting bribes from marijuana dispensaries.

Rush was a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union official and was found to be accepting money in exchange for his role as a UFCW official.  Court documents show that Rush was using his influence and power as a union official in exchange for cash and other benefits for close to four years.

“UFCW is a union that has access to personal employee contact information, thanks to the new NLRB Ambush election rules—which is worrisome since coercion and intimidation are alive and well with unions.  We need laws that will protect employees, employers, and their personal information—not make it easy for them to be harassed,” said Heather Greenaway, spokesperson for Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).

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:

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


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Workplace Democracy Gets Ambushed

Peter Schaumber

July 29, 2015

Wall Street Journal

You may have heard of the National Labor Relations Board’s new “ambush election” rule—so-called because it hurriedly schedules union elections within as little as two weeks, depriving employers of the time needed to learn about the union and express their views to employees.

But what you may not know is that the rule requires an employer to provide union organizers with the personal cellphone numbers and email addresses of its employees before they vote in a union election. So much for the right to privacy.

It doesn’t seem to matter to the Obama-era NLRB that a worker may have provided this personal information on condition that it be kept confidential and used only in an emergency. Nor does it matter to the board that union organizers may use the information to bombard the worker with pro-union messages and demands anywhere, anytime.

The NLRB defended its new disclosure requirement by claiming that there has been no evidence of union “abuse of voter lists” in the 50 years that the board has required they be handed over to unions. But that depends on what you mean by “abuse.”

On Oct. 1, 2008, two employees at the Boulder City Hospital in Nevada complained during a union-organizing campaign that they were being harassed to “sign up for the Union.” In response, the hospital posted a reminder of its anti-harassment policy.

Seems reasonable enough. Yet the NLRB—with the current chairman, Mark Gaston Pearce, in the majority—found that the hospital’s posting was an “unfair labor practice.” According to the board, “persistent union solicitation even when it annoys or disturbs the employees” may be considered harassment to some but cannot be interfered with by an employer or its representatives.

The NLRB rejected calls that workers be allowed to opt out of the requirement that their personal contact information be disclosed to the union. Demonstrating a callous disregard for the rights of workers who are not actively pro-union, the board said the new disclosure requirement “maximizes the likelihood that all voters will be exposed [to messages they] may not be predisposed to.”

The rule also transforms what has been a largely informal pre-election process aimed at helping the parties identify and resolve issues into a formal, adversarial one. The rule requires employers to complete a written “Statement of Position” form on all contested election issues within as few as seven to eight days after the employer is served with the union’s election petition. These can include complex, arcane legal issues that most employers are unlikely to know anything about.

The most pernicious impact of this change will be on smaller employers. Without experienced labor counsel, they might unknowingly waive their right to challenge issues important to the workplace, such as whether the union is entitled to file a petition and whether the size of the “bargaining unit”—the group of employees the union seeks to represent—is appropriate. A unit that is too small threatens to have a detrimental impact on non-bargaining-unit workers, involving them in workplace disputes, even work stoppages, in which they have no interest. Making matters even more unfair, employers are not allowed to amend their Statement of Position forms without a showing of “good cause.”

The new rule also guts the significance of the pre-election hearing that the Supreme Court has held was intended by Congress to give all parties “full and adequate opportunity to present their objections.” The rule does this by postponing until after the election consideration of fundamental pre-election issues, such as who is eligible to vote.

This may result in workers voting to be members of a bargaining unit that may be transformed after the election into something very different. This is analogous to workers voting for one candidate but getting another. If, after the election, the unit is certified by the NLRB over the employer’s objections, the employer can continue to contest the issue but only if it refuses to bargain with the union over the terms of a collective-bargaining agreement, which will trigger litigation.

The employer may reasonably hesitate before doing so, without regard to the strength of his position. Under decades-old NLRB law, if the employer loses the litigation, the union can require that any changes made in the terms and conditions of employment since the election was certified be undone. This can include far-reaching changes that will be incredibly costly to undo, like requiring the employer to reinstate a production line that was discontinued during the litigation due to market conditions.

For the Obama NLRB, this is the new normal for workplace democracy: disclosure requirements that do not honor worker privacy and election procedures that skew results in favor of unions.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to protect workers and employers by rolling back the overreaching ambush-election rule. The bills don’t stand a chance of becoming law while President Obama occupies the White House. But with a new president and perhaps less biased NLRB appointments in 2017, change should come.

Mr. Schaumber was a member of the National Labor Relations Board from 2002-10 and chairman in 2008.

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Data Shows Ambush Election Ruling Helps Unions

Hector Barreto

July 28, 2015

Washington Examiner

The ambush election ruling is perhaps one of the most egregious National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rulings to date, significantly speeding up the unionization process while providing no tangible benefit to American workers.  With union membership steadily on the decline—from nearly one-third of workers in the 1960s to one in ten American workers today—it appears as though the union-backed NLRB will stop at nothing to increase union rolls and pad big labor bosses’ pockets.

As expected, since the ambush election rule went into effect in April, the number of petitions for elections to unionize rose dramatically.  In the first three months of the rule taking effect, case filings increased by 15 percent.  According to data provided by the NLRB, from April to July, election filings totaled 773, up from 668 during the same period last year.  Since April 14, 20 ambush elections have been held, taking an average of 25 days.

The shortest election to take place, according to National Law Review, was in Region 22 in Newark, New Jersey, where an election was conducted in just 9 days.  In this instance, employers and employees had just over a week to educate themselves on the facts.

Historically, employers had an average of 38 days—a little over a month—to combat and plan for a union election.  In fact, in 2014, more than 95 percent of these elections occurred within 56 days.  The extra time was important, allowing small companies who don’t have in-house counsel to hire an outside legal expert to ensure they are complying with labor laws and election practices.  Before this rushed ruling, employers had that extra time to speak with their employees and explain what unionization would mean for their individual workplace, and for their paychecks.  But not anymore; the ambush election ruling stifles an employers ability to speak freely with their workers and increases the likelihood that a workplace will unionize.

History shows that the shorter the amount of time an election takes place after the petition is filed, the greater the likelihood that a company will unionize.  From 2004 to 2014, unions won 86 percent of elections that took place in less than 21 days, while they only won 60 percent of those that occurred within 36 to 42 days.

Workers should have the right to make informed choices when casting a ballot in workplace elections, just as they do when they cast a ballot for their government officials.  Ambush elections seek only to benefit union bosses, who often use coercion and misinformation in order to get a favorable vote.  Workers shouldn’t be forced to make rash decisions without having time to gather the facts.

The new rules also violate worker privacy.  Previously, employees were only required to provide names and home addresses.  Now, however, they must provide all contact information they have for their employees, including personal email addresses and both cell and home phone numbers.  Union bosses now have the ability to harass you and your family at home, in hopes of getting a favorable vote.

Fortunately, business-friendly members of Congress included provisions in both the House and Senate appropriations bills earlier in July to defund the NLRB and took action to block the board from implementing these rules.  If these provisions remain in these “must pass” appropriations bills, President Obama may have little choice but to sign them.  I applaud Congress for coming together in a bipartisan way and attempting to roll back this NLRB overreach, and encourage them to keep at it.

Backed by taxpayer dollars, the NLRB was originally created to protect workers, not tip the scales in favor of union membership.  But the Obama administration’s NRLB has proven to be one of the most ideological in America’s history, stifling employers’ free speech, hurting workers’ free choice, and invading employee privacy.  It’s time to rein in the board’s power.  Workplace elections, like all elections in our American democracy, should be fair, impartial, and transparent.  Unfortunately, thanks to this new ruling, they are anything but.

Hector Barreto is the former head of the Small Business Administration.


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For The NLRB, Unionization Is The End That Justifies Any Means

Peter Schaumber
June 30, 2015
The Washington Times

When the NLRB chairman claimed in a press release that the agency’s controversial new election procedures would give “businesses and workers a process they deserve that is effective, fair, and free of unnecessary delays,” the devils in hell must have blushed. The Board’s new “Ambush Election” rule has nothing to do with fairness. It was adopted to limit, if not eviscerate, an employer’s protected speech on the issue of unionization before an election and to stack the deck in favor of a union outcome.

The rule rewrites the Board’s election procedures to shorten the time for a Board election from a median of 38 days with 94% of all elections taking place within 56 days—a time-line considered “remarkable” by the first Obama-appointed Acting General Counsel—to only 13 days.

Although preventing “unnecessary delay” is the principal reason for the rule, the Board does not examine the relatively few elections that have taken too long and the reasons why. Instead, it slashes time from all pre-election procedures and orders that all elections take place “at the earliest date practicable.”

The Board bobs and weaves indecorously with half-truths to explain why the rule provides no time for a debate on the most important workplace decision an employee is likely to make.

For example, the Board informs the public that the “current [now former] rules and regulations do not set forth any such time periods [either].” The former rules did not set aside a specific time for a pre-election campaign, but they allowed time for one. For example, 25–30 days was provided between the order for an election and the election. Claiming that “[t]his delay served little purpose,” the Board summarily removes it, well aware that it gave the parties and the employees time to debate the issues.

And to address the argument that it is interfering with protected employer speech, the Board responds that it does not “change any rules regarding speech,” while failing to acknowledge that it does everything it can to limit the time within which that speech can occur.

The NLRB is controlled by committed members of a labor movement threatened by a continuing loss in union membership. They sincerely believe that unionization is the only avenue available for workers to achieve equal dignity and respect and are determined to turn the decline around.

Union decline in the private sector is the result of a combination of political, social, and economic factors—mostly beyond their control, but Big Labor and movement members ignore that reality and claim that the cause of the decline is intensified employer opposition.

That claim is the unstated reason for the Ambush Election rule, and it is indefensible for two reasons. First, lawful employer opposition benefits the workplace by allowing for a more informed electorate, and it is expressly protected by law that contemplates an “uninhibited, robust and wide-open” debate on labor issues.

If the employer steps over the line, the same law authorizes the Board to set the election aside. Second, the research Big Labor consistently relies on to support its claim of increased unlawful employer opposition is dubious at best—specifically on unreliable anecdotal evidence and unproven allegations of misconduct.

For example, Professor Kate Bronfenbrenner’s conclusions are based on interviews of 562 union agents. Not surprisingly, her conclusions are inconsistent with the Board’s statistics, which show a significant drop in employer unfair labor practices since 1980.

The Board denies that the rule’s goal is to curtail employers’ protected speech. “[T]he dissent acknowledges—as it must—that the final rule expressly disclaims any such purpose.” Translation: It is so because we say it is so.

But the day has long past when representations of the Obama NLRB can be taken at face value. The second reason given by the Board demonstrates why.

According to the Board, just because some commentators—”someone, somewhere”—claim that silencing the employer is the reason for the rule, that does not make it so. But in fact, two commentators are among the principal authors of the Ambush Election rule—former Board members Craig Becker and Nancy Schiffer—both have forcefully advocated for eliminating the employer from the election process, claiming that employer participation intimidates employees and denies them free choice.  Before he was named to the Board, Becker pushed for changes in the Board’s election procedures to achieve that very result.

If the courts look beneath the surface of the Board’s justifications for the Ambush Election rule, they will not be deceived, and the rule will be denied enforcement in whole or in part. This outcome is in the interests of workplace democracy and the nation as a whole.

Peter Schaumber was a former Chairman of the NLRB appointed by President George W. Bush.

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