IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: NLRB’s Micro-Union Ruling Hurts Workers

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
November 16, 2016                                                                                    202-677-7060

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
NLRB’s Micro-Union Ruling Hurts Workers

 

Heather Greenaway
November 15, 2016
Real Clear Policy

Once upon a time, unions had to win elections fair and square to organize the workplace. And it required a majority of workers to form a collective bargaining unit. Today, though, thanks to the tools handed to Big Labor by the Obama Administration’s radical National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), workplaces across the country are bracing for a new type of union.

In 2011, the NLRB changed decades of longstanding labor laws in its decision on Specialty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Mobile. In effect, the Specialty Healthcare ruling made it easier to unionize workplaces by allowing the creation of “micro-unions” — or the unionization of sub-units of a workforce — fundamentally changing the traditional bargaining unit standard that union elections operated under for decades.

What seemed like a game changer in labor law was downplayed by the NLRB, which initially assured employers and policymakers that the ruling would apply only to bargaining units in the non-acute health care setting, such as Specialty Healthcare, not industries outside it. In the years since, however, micro-unions — or what some call micro-units — have sprung up in nearly every industry, from retail, manufacturing, delivery services, and telecommunication to rental cars.

The NLRB may have underplayed its hand, but it knew exactly what it was doing.

The reality, as outlined in a recently released report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is that unions are using the Specialty Healthcare ruling to gain influence in the workplace even if the majority of the workforce doesn’t want to unionize.

By grouping workers together in ad hoc ways, union bosses now have the ability — and, indeed, the federal government’s blessing — to cherry-pick individuals who are predisposed to support unionization, in turn increasing their odds of winning organizing elections and increasing membership. And that’s exactly what they’ve done. In the five years since Specialty Healthcare, several companies, including T-Mobile, Panera, and VW, have faced micro-union elections and successes.

Take Macy’s, for example. In May 2011, the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) tried to unionize all 120 sales associates of the Macy’s department store in Saugus, Massachusetts. The majority of sales associated weren’t interested, and the UFCW lost.

The next year, however, the UFCW came back and filed a petition to represent the 41 cosmetics and fragrance sales associates within the same store. Using the precedent set by Specialty Healthcare, the UFCW was able to form a new bargaining unit and win, resulting in a micro-union comprised only of the store’s cosmetics and fragrance reps.

These carve-outs have been music to the ears of Big Labor, and the spread of micro-unions are on the rise. The Specialty Healthcare ruling suggests that the NLRB will approve just about any proposed bargaining unit a union throws its way — with little regard to how small, fragmented, or discordant.

This is exactly what the Board’s lone dissenter, Brian Hayes, warned against. In his dissent, Hayes recognized that the Specialty Healthcare decision represents a dramatic change in precedent. As he put it: “Today’s decision fundamentally changes the standard for determining whether a petitioned for unit is appropriate in any industry subject to the Board’s jurisdiction,” making “the relationship between petitioned-for unit employees and excluded coworkers irrelevant in all but the most exceptional circumstances.” In other words, it’s an outrageous re-characterization of the workforce.

Today’s employers are facing an assault from Big Labor like never before, and the NLRB is simply paving the way. This isn’t the first time the Board has downplayed a significant policy change with national ramifications; and, unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last.

The NLRB cannot be trusted to stand as an unbiased arbiter of disputes and champion of America’s workforce. From micro-unions to the joint employer standard to sped-up, so-called “ambush” elections, the Board has gotten completely out of control.

It’s time for Congress to stop talking and start acting by using the power of the purse to curtail the NLRB’s egregious overreach as well as passing legislation to overturn its anti-worker and anti-business rules.

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: Defund Wasteful, Corrupt NLRB

WFI

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

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Defund Wasteful, Corrupt NLRB
Heather Greenaway
October 17, 2016
Inside Sources

It’s no secret the Obama administration’s National Labor Relations Board [NLRB] is stacked with union bosses, doing more to promote Big Labor than protect American workers. But did you know they were terrible stewards of taxpayer dollars, as well?

An audit just released by the agency’s inspector general shows that not only has the NLRB run roughshod over workers’ rights but it has been lavishly spending taxpayer funds at extravagant board conferences, too – all while the board comes together to conspire on more ways to infringe on America’s business community and diminish worker rights.

According to the audit, such wasteful spending included line items for Starbucks coffee totaling $6.48 per eight-ounce cup, designer fruit juices at $6.10 per bottle, granola bars for $4.47 a pop and $5.80 per piece scones served with “Devonshire cream,” to name one selection – a lineup sounding more like the refreshments provided at a corporate retreat than a government conference.

The inspector general thought so, too, and has determined that “four of the five conferences with break refreshments exceeded the Contracting Officer’s reasonableness guidelines for the expenditure of appropriated funds for food,” and that an excess of $20,225.37 for food and bartending – yes, bartending – services were unapproved and in question.

Aside from that, the inspector general also found that the NLRB had improperly approved training for its employees taking college courses toward a degree, when the NLRB doesn’t even have an academic degree program. These approvals of college courses were not supported by proper documentation, resulting in $36,095.60 in questioned costs.

These expenditures are a sharp departure from the tone of the agency’s 2015 congressional budget request, where it writes, “The NLRB prides itself on being a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars.”

And from the congressional testimony of Richard Griffin Jr., the NLRB’s general counsel told Congress in May 2015 that the “agency has taken a number of proactive steps to ensure that we are serving the public in the most effective and fair manner possible” and “I assure you that, in Fiscal Year 2016, the agency will continue to ensure that our congressional mandate is executed, and in a fair, timely and quality manner.”

It’s laughable. Clearly, the government bureaucrats who determine the rules and regulations for America’s workforce don’t think government rules and regulations apply to them. And they have no hesitation sticking workers, small businesses and now taxpayers with the bill.

If the NLRB is supposed to be a “check” on American business, who stands to serve as a check on it? The answer should be Congress. Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate have long fought to compel the agency to do more to respect the rights of workers and small businesses – but now it’s clear they must do more to respect America’s hardworking taxpayers as well.

Whether it is taking steps forcibly to unionize workers while passing rules speeding up union elections or rewriting decades of defined labor policies in order to push people into mini collective bargaining units, Obama’s reckless NLRB has fundamentally altered the state of the American workforce and rigged the system on Big Labor’s behalf. We shouldn’t be picking up the tab for their $6.48 cup of coffee and $5.80 scone, while at the same time the NLRB erodes worker rights.

Enough is enough. It’s high time Congress curb the agency’s expensive tastes and excessive power, and take immediate steps to defund Obama’s wasteful, corrupt NLRB.

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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POLITICO Shift: BUSINESS GROUPS SEEK INJUNCTION AGAINST CONTRACTOR RULE

BUSINESS GROUPS SEEK INJUNCTION AGAINST CONTRACTOR RULE: Business groups requested Thursday evening that a Texas federal court issue an emergency temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against final regulations from the Obama administration that require federal contractors to disclose previous labor law violations. The final guidance and rule, which implement a 2014 executive order, require companies seeking a federal contracts worth $500,000 or more to disclose any labor law violations they committed during the previous three years. The Obama administration will begin phasing in the regulations October 25. In Thursday’s motion, the business groups warned that “absent preliminary injunctive relief” the rule will cause “irreparable harm to Plaintiffs’ government contractor members.”

The lawsuit, filed last week and led by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeast Texas, the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc., and the National Association of Security Companies, alleges that President Barack Obama exceeded his executive authority by issuing the executive order and that current labor law preempts the order because those laws already have remedial provisions for bad actors. In addition, the lawsuit alleges the regulations violate the First Amendment by “compelling speech as to controversial matters on the part of government contractors, forcing them to make public declarations about ‘violations’ which they are contesting or have settled without final adjudication of the claimed transgressions.”

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Houston Chronicle: Judgment Against Union Grows To $7.8 Million

Judgment Against Union Grows To $7.8 Million
By L.M. Sixel
Houston Chronicle
October 4, 2016

A judgment against the Service Employees International Union grew by another $2.5 million, according to an order signed last week by Harris County District Court Judge Erin Elizabeth Lunceford.

The organization got hit last month with a $5.3 million judgment after a jury found the labor union’s aggressive organizing campaign went too far when it maligned the reputation of a local janitorial company. The total award grew to $7.8 million when $2.5 million of interest was added.

The jury sided with Professional Janitorial Service in a suit the company brought nine years ago against the union. SEIU had targeted the company as part of its “Justice for Janitors” organizing campaign and wrongly claimed Professional Janitorial Service had violated wage, overtime and other labor laws, the jury found. The $5.3 million verdict represented the actual damages the janitorial company faced when it lost clients.

Interest accrued at a rate of 5 percent a year going back to 2007 and will continue to grow until the judgment is paid. The union has indicated it would appeal the verdict.

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Workforce Fairness Institute Applauds House Passage Of Bill To Stall Labor Department’s Overtime Rule

WFI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Ryan Williams
September 29, 2016                                                                                            202-677-7060

Workforce Fairness Institute Applauds House Passage Of Bill To Stall Labor Department’s Overtime Rule
Regulatory Relief For Small Businesses, Schools & Nonprofits Act Addresses Obama Administration’s Job-Killing Rule

Washington, D.C. – Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) spokesperson Heather Greenaway released the following statement in response to last night’s U.S. House passage of legislation to stall implementation of the Department of Labor’s egregious overtime rule:

“The Department of Labor’s overreaching overtime rule, which would more than double the salary threshold under which employees must be paid overtime, would kill American jobs and fundamentally alter the way companies do business.  We appreciate the leadership of Republicans and Democrats alike in the U.S. House who voted for this delay and supported common sense postponement.  While we urge Congress to completely overturn the Labor Department’s rule, a six-month delay is a good first step in providing business owners the time to make the necessary preparations for implementation of this onerous regulation,” said Greenaway.  “Raising the overtime threshold burdens business owners and hurts the very workers it intends to help.  It also limits employee upward mobility and is especially disastrous for entry-level workers, students and non-profit organizations.  This mandate is another clear example of the Obama Administration’s dramatic overreach and overregulation of America’s workforce.  We urge the U.S. Senate to swiftly act to pass the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools and Nonprofits Act, and hope that both chambers continue working toward full repeal.”

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: Jury Awards Significant Damages Against Big Labor’s Defamation Campaign

WFI

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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