Did Big Labor Just Get Bigger?

We saw this coming, but that doesn’t make it any less of a shock.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled Wednesday that “Northwestern University football players on scholarship are employees of the school and therefore entitled to hold an election to decide whether to unionize.”

So now scholarships count as salaries?  Does that mean anyone on scholarship can be counted as an employee of the school?

Will players be able to negotiate how long their practices are?  Whether they only travel in first class?  Whether the meal plan is generous enough?  Whether they deserve off campus housing?  And on and on and on.  It’s a slippery slope.

Wednesday’s ruling is a potential game-changer for not only the world of college sports, but for how much authority Big Labor has in pushing its agenda on college campuses nationwide.  According to a piece from The Chicago Tribune, this decision “opens the door for athletes with scholarships at public universities to move more quickly to unionize because state labor boards, which govern public universities, usually follow labor law interpretations issued by the NLRB.”

It also leaves several questions unanswered, including whether student-athletes “should be treated as employees under the state Workers’ Compensation Act” should they be injured and demand compensation.

In response, Northwestern University officials released a statement saying they strongly believe their athletes to be students, not employees, which is only logical.  After all, they are on scholarship to play football and study; they are not “hired,” and they do not receive a salary, benefits or anything else that comes with traditional employment.  Northwestern went on to reiterate that “unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address the concerns raised by student-athletes.”

Leading the effort to unionize Northwestern football players is the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), a union “backed by the United Steelworkers, which is covering the group’s legal expenses.”  So that’s where Big Labor’s big money is going – not to protecting the workers in their own union (steelworkers), but to funding completely unrelated unionization efforts.

This is just further proof that Big Labor is more concerned with pushing their pro-unionization agenda than they are with representing the workers paying into their system.

Prediction: these student athletes are about to get a real education about how Washington works by the time the NLRB gets done with them. You can bet they’ll learn where they have to send the check for union dues.

For more on this story, read the full article.

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Letter From Union Member Exposes UAW

For the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, the truth hurts, especially when it comes from someone the union supposedly represents.  In a recent letter sent to LaborUnionReport.com, a “concerned and fairly disgusted UAW member” unleashes a tirade of epic proportions lambasting labor bosses.

The letter starts off by acknowledging that, although the writer is a UAW member, he or she believes that, like political ideologies, unions “are frequently better in theory and on paper than in practice.”  The author then goes on to touch upon the recent events surrounding the UAW and their quest to silence workers who voted against them at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

However, the letter primarily focuses on “the UAW’s hypocritical behaviors regarding claims of it being a ‘democratic’ union.”  The letter goes on to explain that, despite a pretense of democracy, the UAW is distinctly undemocratic and rife with “political backstabbing” of those who have “dared to disagree with the leadership at the regional or international level.

These so-called leaders have “never had to run in an open, honest and fair election.”  Instead the UAW administrative caucus simply chooses who can run and who will be elected.  Regional directors choose their assistant regional directors, and generally base those decisions on “an expectation of fealty and obedience” rather than on “skill, experience and service.”  This hardly seems like the best model of democracy.

The letter also points out that the requirement to appoint leaders from the UAW membership is often pushed to the wayside.  “That ‘requirement’ is flaunted and often ignored so that members who have worked their way up and often dedicated countless hours to their union often for free as volunteers are overlooked for a patronage hire or in some cases nepotistic hire.  (Our assistant Regional Director’s wife was hired as an organizer for example.)”  Nepotism and cronyism have no place in a democratic system, and they should have no place in union politics – but then again, nothing surprises us when it comes to Big Labor these days.

There’s one thing to be thankful for: that this UAW union member had the bravery and fortitude to tell his or her story.  Read the full letter to get a better understanding of the underhanded, self-serving tactics the UAW bosses use to stifle democratic principles and processes, while hurting the people they claim to care about, rank and file. 

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Survey: Minimum-Wage Increase Would Hurt Employment

The Wall Street Journal reports that “over half of U.S. businesses that pay the minimum wage would hire fewer workers if the federal standard is raised to $10.10 per hour, according to a survey by a large staffing firm.”

In addition, about “two-thirds of employers paying the minimum wage said they would raise prices for goods or services in response to an increase,” and 38% “said they would lay off employees if the wage increase favored by President Barack Obama becomes law.”

This is just more evidence that Big Labor bosses aren’t interested in a better economy – they just want to continue to push an agenda that uses highly dubious arguments to force more workers into unions. 

This latest report comes on the heels of a Congressional Budget Office report released last month that found that an increase to a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour would cost our economy about a half million jobs by the end of 2016.

The Journal also reports that a recent survey by Duke University and CFO magazine “found that 47% of retail firms and about a third of service and manufacturing companies would reduce jobs if the minimum wage rose to $10 per hour.”

Another survey, this one from Wells Fargo and Gallup (released late last year) “found that 28% of small-business owners said they would reduce their current workforce in response to a minimum wage increase to $9 per hour.”

Whatever the exact numbers, all the surveys cited above point inextricably in one direction: a fair portion of business owners are certain that a minimum wage increase will force them to cut hiring or even lay people off.

Even if the reality turned out to be on the lower end of the survey spectrum, this would still mean huge portions of the business community would freeze hiring and/or cut workers.

Few have yet studied the economic impact of the radical proposals put forth by union front groups such as Fast Food Forward and Restaurant Opportunity Center for a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers. While these extreme proposals haven’t yet been taken seriously by mainstream economists, the extreme damage to our economy should be taken seriously by policymakers before these ideas gain much traction. The kind of wage increases proposed by these so-called “Worker Centers” have the potential to wipe out literally millions of entry-level jobs that are the first rung on the economic ladder for young people.

And these proposals to dramatically increase the minimum wage come at the same time the Obama Administration is proposing to change the overtime pay rules for salaried employees, and when businesses are trying to cope with the ever-changing rules and burdens under ObamaCare. Coming all at once, there is the risk that America will turn into a nation of part-time hourly employees, when the cost of full-time salaried employment stands to skyrocket under this administration.

What lesson would a rational person draw from this?  Forcing a minimum wage hike down businesses’ throats is bad for the economy and hurts the very people Big Labor bosses pretend to care about – workers. 

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Fred Wszolek Talks “Wage Theft” Protests

Fred Wszolek recently spoke with WTVN radio in Columbus, Ohio about the recent wage theft protests. Find out what he had to say below:

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VW Faces Backlash In UAW Fight

The hits just keep coming with the United Auto Workers. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the “increasingly bitter battle” over the UAW’s failed attempt to organize Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga “is complicating the German auto maker’s bid to get its U.S. operations back on track.”

Well, that’s certainly ironic given the company’s vocal support for the UAW and unionization.

Volkswagen, “suffering from declining sales and market share in the U.S.,” has been looking for a site to build their new sport-utility vehicle.  Currently, two locations are in the running – Chattanooga and a new plant in Mexico.

The UAW’s actions are not only hurting the very workers they claim to want to be concerned with, but also the company they seek to organize risking American jobs.

All because labor bosses can’t accept the fact that workers in Chattanooga don’t want to be forcibly unionized.  There is a silver lining, however.  Perhaps, now that Volkswagen has seen how their involvement with the UAW is hurting their ability to grow in the U.S., they will reconsider and defend the vote by their workers rejecting the union.

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Big Labor Thug License To Be Revoked?

Last week, we brought you the story of how Big Labor has a license to intimidate, harass and even terrorize Pennsylvanians.

It seems we weren’t the only ones who noticed. 

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, after “a recent federal indictment against iron workers in Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania] House Republicans are reviving an effort to remove the exemptions from state law.”

Last month, federal authorities charged 10 members of the Ironworkers Local 401 in Philadelphia “in a racketeering case” that alleged harassment that included union members setting “fire to a crane at a Quaker meetinghouse.”  Previous reports alleged non-union workers had been hit with crow bars. 

Despite these despicable and horrendous actions, labor bosses and their allies in Pennsylvania have protested the new bill, “saying the clauses are needed to protect workers engaged in lawful activity such as picket lines.”

This is pretty rich considering the harassment meted out by union thugs. 

As the bill’s sponsor was reported as stating to The Associated Press (AP), the current Pennsylvania law “enhances that culture of conflict that leads to more dangerous behavior.”  And how.

Luckily, it seems like reason is taking hold on this issue: the AP reports that Pennsylvania House members “voted 115 to 74 on Wednesday to send the bill to the Senate.”  The bill would “change the law regarding harassment, stalking and threatening the use of a weapon of mass destruction in labor disputes.”

Think about it: it actually takes a new law to ban threatening the use of weapons of mass destruction if you’re a union boss. And think about this: 74 elected representatives thought that was a terrible idea. Draw your own conclusions.

Let’s hope the Pennsylvania Senate and Governor have as much sense as the House and put an end to Big Labor’s reign of terror.

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Volkswagen Backs UAW Over Workers

After a second group of Volkswagen workers filed a petition to intervene in the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) appeal to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Volkswagen has come out in support… of stifling its own workers’ voices.

In a letter to the NLRB, Volkswagen said that “the company doesn’t support groups representing some Chattanooga plant workers seeking to intervene in the United Auto Workers appeal of last month’s union vote.”  As you’ll recall, the UAW is appealing their historic loss in the secret ballot election that resulted in workers soundly rejecting unionization.

It comes as no surprise that VW is backing the UAW in their appeal to overturn the election results instead of the very workers that are having their rights threatened.  From the beginning, VW has clearly been in collusion with the UAW to force unionization onto Tennessee workers.  This letter merely codifies their pro-union agenda – especially since it “is in response to a request of VW’s position” coming directly from the NLRB.

Saying Volkswagen “does not believe there is any basis for the motions to intervene to be granted,” the company’s attorney, Steven Swirsky, indicated that VW “defers to the NLRB to make the appropriate decision.”

It’s safe to say, if VW workers in Chattanooga didn’t know before where their employer stands on this issue, they do know , and unfortunately, it isn’t with them. The company and the union claimed they wanted to give workers a voice at the plant, but can’t bear them having a voice at the NLRB.

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In PA, Big Labor Has License To Be Thugs

Yesterday, we brought you news about how, in Philadelphia, federal prosecutors brought indictment charges, including assault and arson, against 10 members of a Philadelphia-based Ironworkers union.

We also told you about an old (and absolutely insane) Pennsylvania law that exempts union organizers in a labor dispute from certain criminal statutes – basically making it impossible to prosecute them.

Fox News also had a story about this law this week. According to their report, “a Pennsylvania businesswoman” says she has been “repeatedly harassed by union workers,” but, “because of a little-known state law from the 1930s, nothing can be done about the menacing tactics.”

The reasons for the dispute will surprise nobody who is familiar with Big Labor’s thuggish intimidation tactics: “The dispute between Sarina Rose and local Philadelphia union members started when her employer, Post Bros., hired some non-union workers to build apartments.”

“Non-union workers were routinely harassed on their way to and from work and their vehicles were damaged as the behavior became more and more violent … ‘In a couple of incidents, guys were chased with crowbars. Some were actually hit,’ she explained.”

But, according to the report, “prosecutors are handcuffed by a clause in state law that protects parties in labor disputes from charges of stalking, harassment, and terroristic threats.” In short, union thugs can do their best to coerce non-union workers and others, without fear of legal consequences.

Nice work, Pennsylvania. How about you get that gem off the books?

Fortunately, state Senator Ron Miller has proposed a bill that would do just that. Let’s hope the rest of the Pennsylvania legislature has his good sense.

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