In previous articles, the connection between the SEIU and President Obama and their desire to turn America into a socialistic totalitarian dictatorship have been presented. President Obama’s actions since the 2014 Midterm Elections, as outlined below, support this position. The President is utilizing the SEIU’s “Persuasion of Power” by incorporating its corporate campaign strategy to fundamentally transform America, just as he promised within five days of taking the oath of office. In essence he is acting to force Americans and their representatives in Congress to sign a Neutrality Agreement and impose Card Check on America.
Card Check is a concept used by big labor to eliminate people’s choice when voting for union representation, and ultimately disenfranchises them from their employers, free choice and the free market. President Obama, trained by the SEIU (see Obama and the SEIU), is attempting to force Americans to agree to the same process with respect to government in order to achieve his agenda, to replace our free enterprise system with socialistic totalitarianism. Among his actions to accomplish this:
- Executive Amnesty Order: Refusal to close the borders and provide immediate amnesty for illegal immigrants and provide them with tax refunds. See IRS Confirms Illegal Immigrant Tax-Refund Ruling, Sparking GOP Outcry and Reprise: DREAM Act, the Truth behind the Nightmare
- NLRB Ambush Election Rule: Forced Unionization program so his Big labor cronies can force unionize people and control American business (See Quickie Elections and Reprise: Beware the Ambush).
- Racial Divide: See tactics as described in Same Old SEIU.
- Executive Order establishing “Net Neutrality” and infringing upon American freedoms.
- Proposing additional budget deficit increases. See Obama Proposes Nearly $4 Trillion Budget for Fiscal 2016.
All of the above, and likely more behind the scenes, are designed to allow the President to establish a socialistic totalitarian regime potentially before the 2016 Presidential Election.
When is America going to wake up and realize that the President is controlled by the likes of the SEIU, the union labor bosses, and people like George Soros (see George Soros and Barack Hussein Obama). Obviously some have awakened, but are immediately censored as seen in 12-Year Old has Facebook Account Blocked after Criticizing Obama. The real question is When Will Congress and the Mainstream Media Wake Up and begin Identifying the Devil at Our Doorstep!
Maybe the following e-mail testimonial from a former in-house SEIU attorney to talk show host Chuck Wilder, whose show I was on, will wake up America to what I have been preaching all along:
Subject: A salute to David Bego for his courage
As former chief in-house legal counsel for what was then SEIU-Local 660, the largest local union west of the Mississippi representing some 25,000 Los Angeles County Employees, I salute David Bego for standing up for freedom against the SEIU.
Under the leadership of former “social worker” become socialist president of SEIU, Andy Stern, SEIU members were transformed from public servants to public enemies, grasping for salary, benefits, pensions and power over the taxpayers who pay them.
I just bought David’s book for my daughter for Christmas.
Good to see a modern David taking on the SEIU socialist Goliath.
For God & Country Forever; Surrender To Tyranny—Never!
It is time to expose this President’s Divide and Conquer agenda, and The Taking of American Freedoms. It is time for Americans to stand up like Governor Scott Walker has with his recent passage of RTW (see Wisconsin Becomes 25th Right-to-Work State), and to punch the bullies in the nose to Restore America’s Prosperity before all is lost! Beware the Neutrality Agreement, America.
The U.S. Senate HELP Committee recently contacted me about my experience with labor elections and my insight about how this ruling would harm businesses and employees across the country. This week, the points expressed in my original blog and documented in The Devil at Our Doorstep will be debated and voted upon, as reported in recent headlines “Republican-Controlled Congress to Vote to Repeal NLRB Rule.” Additionally, in a show of support the US Chamber Asks Judge To Nix NLRB’s Election Rule. Hopefully, Senate Democrats will stand behind movement, recognize the injustice, and provide enough votes to override an expected Presidential veto.
Employees and employers across the country need to be wary of the forced union ambush being promulgated by President Obama and his big labor “Gasping Dinosaurs” and the radicals the President has appointed at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The President is utilizing Rule by Fiat to fundamentally transform America as he promised when he was first elected, while also paying back his political supporters.
“NLRB Flexes Muscles” was definitely the theme this past week as the NLRB published its final rule making on “ambush elections,” and effectively reduced election periods from 41 to 21 days or potentially less (see Ambush,NLRB boosts unions’ organizing leverage, Elections, NLRB Issues its Ambush Election Rule, NLRB Representation Case Procedures Fact Sheet, Quickie Gifts to Big Labor, and NAM CEO Speaks Out ON NLRB Ruling). Even more damaging to both employees’ and employers’ rights and privacy is the fact that, in its rule making, the NLRB stated that employers must provide the names, e-mail addresses, home addresses and phone numbers of its employees to facilitate the “Quickie Elections.“ As described in The Devil at Our Doorstep, the current 41 day pre-election period is necessary, as employees are often coerced, intimidated and lied to by the organizers representing the labor unions. Often they are misled to believe that once they sign a union election card they must vote for the union when they go to the polls! While absolutely false, such conduct has been well established by the NLRB to be completely acceptable.
Unless the employer’s management team is well-versed on labor law and well-prepared to contradict these misrepresentations, their employees would never know the truth. The Quickie Elections rule making makes it virtually impossible for an employer to have the opportunity to refute the union’s misinformation and propaganda, particularly if the employer has not been faced with such organizing efforts in the past. In my own experience, if I would not have had the opportunity to meet and speak with our employees on several occasions — which would not be possible under the new ruling — they would have gone to the polls believing they had to vote for the union, despite the fact they had been intimidated into signing election cards.
As if that wasn’t enough, the NLRB boosts unions’ organizing leverage by allowing employees and union organizers access to employers e-mail systems so they can coerce, misinform, intimidate and misrepresent the truth about what is transpiring, and ignore big labor’s true goal, that It’s All About the Dues Money. In effect, what is happening is a rapid move towards “Card Check,” effectively allowing a union to force unionize an employer’s workforce behind the scenes virtually overnight.
These Quickie Gifts to Big Labor by the NLRB are A Death Penalty for Employees and Employers! They provide labor organizers great leverage to force employers to sign a Neutrality Agreement. This agreement is big labor’s current means of eliminating the secret ballot election by utilizing Death by a Thousand Cuts corporate campaigns to intimidate employers into signing it and achieving Card Check.
These actions are nothing more than political pay back by this Administration to the big labor bosses at the expense of the American people and the American economy.
* * *
David A. Bego is the President and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” as well as the just released sequel, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.
Over the past four decades, Big Labor has continued to see its membership shrink drastically as its leaders use the same failed tactics involving forced unionism. The argument that most workers are better off without unions today is supported by the fact that unions now represent approximately 11.3% of the total workforce and 6.6% of the private workforce, a steep fall from their heyday in 1945 when they represented about 35.5% of the workforce. Yet Big Labor has refused to change. Isn’t the definition of insanity, “continuing to do the same thing, but expecting different results?” The inability of Big Labor to generate new organizing strategies or to bring additional value to employees has put unions “between a rock and a hard place,” as succinctly described by pro-labor pundit Jack Rasmus, author of a 4-part essay on the Decline of Labor Unions. Mr. Rasmus’ work is worth reading, both to call attention to labor’s intransigence to make itself relevant to today’s workforce, and to read between the lines for potential strategy changes, if and when labor ever gets its act together.
A sample quote from part one of his essay:
“Had any other movement and its organizations produced so little, for so long, at such a growing financial and other cost to its membership, it would have undertaken a fundamental revision of its basic strategic approach long before now. However, union labor’s efforts to address its failing strategies over the last four decades have been token and tentative at best. Not much has been done to confront, or otherwise challenge and change, labor’s obviously failed strategies of the past four decades—neither at the ‘top’ among its national leadership nor at the ‘local level’ of local union membership. That fundamental strategic discussion is now long overdue.”
Despite its obvious failures, big labor continues, at great cost to its membership and reputation, to engage in ruthless tactics and pursue its own political agenda. It has maintained this course, despite the fact that people are moving away from forced-unionism areas and that membership is declining even in politically favorable locations (see Latest Census Data Show Families Continue to Flee Forced-Unionism States and Even in Liberal Minnesota, Labor Unions Are Losing Members. Big labor continues utilizing its political ties with the current Administration to focus on achieving Card Check, specifically thru rules and regulations recently implemented by President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board, the government agency charged with fairly administering the nation’s labor policy. The following articles outlining new rules and regulations recently handed down by the NLRB at the President’s direction accurately portray the reluctance of the unions to change their business model or otherwise reinvent themselves to serve modern America (see Reinventing America’s Unions for the 21st Century).
- UNIONS: Focus now is on new laws, not new members
- The NLRB’s New Election Rules: Quickie Elections and ‘The Mount Everest of Regulations’ to Trap…
- Federal agencies spend millions on union business
- NLRB Opens Door for SEIU at McDonalds
- NLRB General Counsel Announcement on Joint Employer Status for Franchisors Could Have Significant Implications
- NLRB ratifies actions taken by unconstitutional labor board
Confounding big labor’s position is the fact that it must go along with the President’s goals of increasing the minimum wage and providing amnesty for undocumented aliens, in an effort to attract a larger base for the President and the Democratic Party in exchange for the pro-labor rules and regulations recently propagated by the Rogue NLRB. These political initiatives are, in fact, not in the best interest of the labor movement. Nevertheless, Big Labor continues to support them due to their need for political backing from the Democratic Party.
First, significantly increasing or doubling the minimum wage — as being pushed by the SEIU — would have devastating consequences on those least able to handle them. As succinctly portrayed by Phil Wilson from the Labor Relations Institute in a recent article:
“If you double the labor costs in these businesses you force these small companies to come up with new ways to operate their business that account for the increased expense. They will hire fewer people and try to make jobs as efficient as they possibly can. They will replace labor with technology everywhere they can (you see this in many restaurants and convenience stores today – you’ll be ordering off an iPad everywhere you go). They will raise prices or reduce selection to just the most profitable items. Remember, we are not talking about a minor adjustment in the minimum wage – this is a massive shift in labor costs that companies will be forced to deal with. For every lucky person who keeps their minimum wage job and rejoices in their doubled income there will be several who cannot find any work, period. You will significantly increase the class of people who are unemployable, along with all the other problems that creates. Be careful what you wish for. Also, these small units would divert attention away from the other bargaining units the unions already represent. If officials take the eye off the ball on these bigger, more stable units they risk losing those units to decertification, further reducing cash flow and profitability of the union. Be careful what you wish for.”
One more comment on the minimum wage increase. It is basically the same fundamental tactic the United Autoworkers and other unions utilized to increase wages in the American auto industry. The American auto industry and Detroit today are a foreshadowing of the affect significantly raising the minimum wage would have on the entire American economy.
Big labor also has been supportive of the President’s executive order, granting amnesty to up to 5.5 million undocumented workers, thereby giving them the ability to legally enter the workforce (see Unions launch recruiting push for immigrants protected by Obama actions). On the surface, this may seem to be a great opportunity for new union members as the big labor bosses would utilize information from the Administration and union foot soldiers to identify these people, help them assimilate into legal jobs, and then use pressure to help them force unionize the employers. However, many of these people will be utilized by companies as independent contractors (see Open Borders Costing American Jobs and Depressing Wages). Big labor will in effect spend a lot of time and money in an effort to force unionize these people at the risk of taking its eye off the ball and disenfranchising and losing a large part of its current membership.
Unfortunately, the big labor Gasping Dinosaurs seem incapable of changing and embracing the need for change. Instead they continue to expose the fact that It’s All About the Dues Money, by utilizing member’s dues as political donations to elect politicians thus expecting political favors in a desperate attempt to protect their lifestyles and reverse the decline of union membership (see Big Labor’s Top 100 and If This Is True, The Amount Of Money The UAW Uses On Politics Is Shocking). Combined with the President’s amnesty and minimum wage agendas reversing union decline is truly a conundrum for the big labor bosses who seem incapable of working legally and professionally within the parameters of the free market system to be successful (see The 2014 Union Corruption Report: A Year In Review). Instead of polishing its approach and providing a quality product people would embrace, Big Labor continues to utilize unsavory political favors and bully tactics in a futile attempt to rebuild its membership at the expense of its current membership. It is Time for Republicans to Go On the Offensive with its majority in both Houses. They need to come to the aid of Americans, defund the Rogue NLRB and stop the Death by a Thousand Cuts being perpetrated on American employees and employers. There is no doubt that Unions Face Challenges in 2015. It is time to add to big labor’s conundrum!
* * *
David A. Bego is the President and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” as well as the just released sequel, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.
When it comes to organized labor, California is a friendly state. We long ago eschewed right-to-work status. Labor unions enjoy a web of laws that ease organizing workers, like farmworkers,refinery employees, teachers, and state and local government workers. Other laws give union contracts special status unavailable to nonunion employees, such as the ability to work longer days without triggering overtime and avoid the new sick leave mandate. Employers who obtain workers from a union hiring hall are not subject to the new joint liability mandate applicable to other labor contractors.
But who would have thought one of the most powerful union organizing tools may be the state’s premier environmental statute, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)?
CEQA is best known as the vanguard of disclosure, transparency and mitigation of environmental impacts. More recently, CEQA has been fingered as an easy ticket to litigation by project opponents, NIMBY activists, or even business competitors. Labor unions have leveraged the law to obtain sweetheart contracts for construction projects.
Add to that list – union organizing tool. And subtract 250 skilled manufacturing jobs.
Los Angeles County’s sprawling Metro system needs new rail cars, so the Metro board let a contract with Kinkisharyo International for 175 new cars. The company planned to assemble these cars in a new $50 million, 400,000 square-foot facility in Palmdale. They would eventually employ 250 skilled, well-paid workers.
Not so fast, said Local 11 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
As a public works project, it’s a given that the job would pay prevailing wages, and it’s virtually certain that union workers would fill these jobs. But IBEW further insisted that the company allow the union to organize the workers by “card check,” which permits the union to gain exclusive representation if a majority of workers sign cards in its favor, without a secret ballot election. Not surprisingly, the company rejected this attempted power play, countering that the union should attempt to organize workers the old fashioned way.
So how did IBEW respond? By threatening to file a CEQA lawsuit.
A local “citizens group” was organized by the local and its law firm. They complained that the project could cause “widespread environmental damage.” Not explicitly stated, but surely well understood, was that these environmental impacts could be mitigated by permitting IBEW Local 11 to use card check to organize the plant’s employees.
Let’s be clear – there is nothing illegal or even that surprising about this tactic. CEQA has developed into a blunt tool available to any party with the imagination to wield it. IBEW has joined a club that’s not terribly exclusive, but is frequently successful.
Sadly, the outcome was predictable.
The citizens group filed a CEQA appeal. Kinkisharyo has opted to look for a new out-of-state location for its plant in order to meet Metro’s delivery schedule. And the 250 jobs that could have bolstered the High Desert’s economy will be welcomed by a state that doesn’t prize litigation over economic growth.
Summary: Two current cases offer the U.S. Supreme Court opportunities to stop abuse. The National Labor Relations Act declares that “encouraging the practice and procedure of [monopolistic] collective bargaining” is “the policy of the United States.” Federal courts have often treated that declaration as if it authorized union officials to do whatever they deem necessary to bring employees into unions. Fortunately, in one case heard in November and another set to be heard this month, the U.S. Supreme Court may identify some important limits on union officers’ special legal privileges.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation provides legal representation to Americans who are fighting compulsory membership in labor unions, or compulsory payments by workers to those unions. Currently, the Foundation has two cases before the United States Supreme Court, the Mulhall case and the Harris case. Depending on the outcomes, these cases could have significant impacts on people’s right to choose whether to join labor unions.
First, let’s look at the case of UNITE HERE Local 355 v. Mulhall, which was heard recently by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case stems from a so-called “neutrality” deal forged in 2004 between hotel workers’ union bosses in UNITE HERE and an employer, Mardi Gras Gaming. Mardi Gras is the operator of a dog racetrack and a casino located in Hollywood, Florida. UNITE HERE is a union that represents mostly hotel workers and those in related fields such as food and laundry services.
Under the terms of the neutrality deal, Mardi Gras agreed to help officials of Local 355 of UNITE HERE secure monopoly-bargaining power over the company’s front-line employees. In exchange, the union brass agreed to divert a substantial sum of money from their treasuries, laden with workers’ dues, to back a casino gambling ballot initiative that the company wanted passed. Union bosses also promised not to picket or strike Mardi Gras as they sought to unionize its employees.
After the deal was reached, without employees’ input, it became clear that many of them did not want to be unionized by UNITE HERE. One employee, groundskeeper Martin Mulhall, was especially determined to prevent UNITE HERE from being imposed on him and his fellow workers. Mulhall was confident that, provided that employees had the opportunity to make their choice in the privacy of a voting booth, Mardi Gras’ front-line employees would never vote to make UNITE HERE Local 355 their monopoly-bargaining agent. He was chagrined to learn that, under the terms of the “neutrality” deal, UNITE HERE could unionize the workplace without having to face a secret-ballot election first.
Mardi Gras had acquiesced to “card check” recognition of Local 355. That is the sort of thing many businesses have done in recent years in order to avoid Big Labor harassment and negative public relations, or to get something in return from the union. The “card check” process essentially eliminates the secret ballot. Under the longstanding federal court interpretation of NLRA Section 9(a), union organizers may acquire monopoly-bargaining power by collecting signed “union authorization cards,” if the employer acquiesces. Consequently, under the peering eyes of union organizers individual workers may be intimidated into unionizing—signing not just themselves, but all of their nonunion fellow employees, over to union officials’ control.
Mulhall believed that UNITE HERE organizers would never be able to win over a majority of employees without coercion, but that absent the protection of a secret ballot, the union could prevail if given a “card check” process and the opportunities for intimidation it would provide.
That’s especially true because there’s little chance that union professionals would share a critical fact with hesitant employees: that the cards, if signed by a majority, bring the union in automatically, with no secret-ballot vote ever required. Under pressure from union organizers, employees often sign such cards because they incorrectly assume—or are dishonestly told by the union—that by signing they are just calling for an election in which they will later have a chance to vote against the union.
Mulhall was determined to stop the “card check” scheme, but he didn’t know how. He reached out to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, and in 2008 foundation attorney Bill Messenger filed, on Mulhall’s behalf, a federal suit alleging that key provisions of the “neutrality” deal between Mardi Gras and Local 355 violate the law. The deal has not (as yet) led to unionization of Mardi Gras employees; the company eventually concluded the deal was illegal and repudiated it. I say “as yet” because Local 355 has attempted to enforce the “neutrality” deal in court. Thus, the Mulhall case remains active and in need of resolution.
The case was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on November 13. Lawyers for Martin Mulhall do not contend that “card check” deals per se are illegal. However, as a practical matter, Mulhall represents a grave threat to “card check” organizing. That makes the case critically important because, according to the best available evidence, “card check” has become private-sector unions’ most important method of organizing.
No wonder Benjamin Sachs of Harvard Law School has referred to Mulhall as, potentially, “the most significant labor case in a generation.” Sachs’ assessment has been quoted in dozens of mainstream and specialized legal media reports on the case.
Gag clause a ‘thing of value’
The major issue in the Mulhall case relates to whether key elements of the agreement between UNITE HERE and Mardi Gras constitute a “thing of value.” The NLRA law’s Section 302(a)(2) makes it unlawful for any employer to pay, lend, or deliver, or agree to pay, lend, or deliver, any money or other thing of value . . . to any labor organization . . . which represents, seeks to represent, or would admit to membership, any of the employees, of such employer.
And Section 302(b)(1) makes it unlawful for any union or union officer “to request, receive, or accept, or agree to accept” any such “thing of value.”
As Bill Messenger, attorney for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, explained in a brief to the Supreme Court, Congress adopted Section 302 largely in recognition of the fact that union monopoly bargaining as authorized and encouraged by the statute “creates a fiduciary relationship.” A fiduciary relationship is one of trust, such as between a trustee and a beneficiary; a trustee must act in the interests of the beneficiary. For example, an attorney must operate in the interests of his or her client. The NLRA-promoted fiduciary relationship between union officers and unionized employees is another example.
Messenger argued that Congress had adopted Section 302 largely to forestall “conflicts of interest in labor relations.” In support of this view, he quoted a U.S. Senate report on the 1959 NLRA amendments that extended the section to cover any union seeking to organize an employer’s employees:
For centuries, the law has forbidden any person in a position of trust to hold interests or enter into transactions in which self-interest may conflict with complete loyalty to those whom they serve.
Agreements to “pay, lend, or deliver” things of value to employees themselves, rather than to union officials, are indisputably permissible. The only “things of value” prohibited are those rendered by employers to union officials (except for some explicit exceptions in the law).
In the case now before the Supreme Court, Mulhall contends that three types of organizing assistance promised by Mardi Gras to Local 355 as part of their “neutrality” deal constitute “things of value” prohibited by Section 302:
(1) lists of confidential information about Mardi Gras’ nonunion employees, including their “job classifications, departments, and addresses”; (2) use of Mardi Gras’ private property for organizing; and (3) control over Mardi Gras’ communications to nonunion employees regarding unionization . . . . The last provision [of the deal] stated that “[t]he Employer will not do any action nor make any statement that will directly or indirectly state or imply any opposition by the Employer” to unionization or any particular union.
The Obama administration involved itself directly in the case, filing a “friend of the court” brief. While urging the Supreme Court to find that Local 355 had not violated Section 302, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli conceded that “courts generally construe” the term “thing of value” to include “both tangibles and intangibles.” He noted:
Courts have found a wide variety of goods, services, and benefits to be “things of value” within the meaning of the criminal laws.
Mulhall’s brief added that to be a “thing of value” under Section 302, a service or benefit need only be of value to the union officials receiving it. Moreover, each of the neutrality pact provisions at issue has a market value, albeit one it is difficult to assess with any precision, and can be “delivered” to union representatives.
For example, the gag rule provision is legally comparable to one business agreeing with another (assuming the agreement is permissible under antitrust law) not to fight for customers in a particular market, in exchange for some other consideration:
. . . Coca-Cola certainly delivers something of great value to Pepsi if it enters into a noncompetition agreement that bars it from advertising or competing against Pepsi in a particular market.
No ‘successful union organizing’ without employer collusion?
Questioned during November’s Supreme Court hearing on the Mulhall case, UNITE HERE lawyer Richard McCracken had a tough time defending his claim that gag rules, lists of employee names and addresses, and use at no cost of an employer’s facilities are not “things of value” under Section 302. Even Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben, who also appeared before the Court to argue that UNITE HERE bosses had not violated the law, undercut McCracken on this key point when he admitted:
Certainly, read in isolation, the words “thing of value” are very broad. In other statutes, they cover intangibles. We would have no problem treating the things here as things of value under . . . 302 if that’s the only thing that existed.
But Dreeben contended all this shouldn’t matter, because union organizers have a right to seek recognition from an employer as employees’ monopoly-bargaining agent based on signed cards alone, without a secret-ballot election. That’s under NLRA Section 9(a), as interpreted by the Supreme Court in National Labor Relations Board v. Gissel Packing (1969). If the employer acquiesces, union bosses have a right to unionize employees through such “card checks” without a vote.
“Card check” recognition is obviously a thing of value to organized labor, Dreeben noted. Because it is permissible for employers to deliver such recognition to union officials, he claimed, it should also be permissible for employers to deliver to union officials virtually any other kind of organizing assistance, regardless of what Section 302 says.
The administration’s Dreeben and UNITE HERE’s McCracken evidently did not think it prudent to baldly claim, as Sachs of Harvard Law School had in a blog post the day before, that “effective union organizing” in the private-sector today relies on employer collusion in the form of gag rules, lists of information, and use of property. Yet Dreeben made the same point more circumspectly. He suggested the Justices should rule against Mulhall because employers’ “voluntary” recognition of unions through “card checks” is not merely a “permissible” element but a “favored” element of national labor policy.
But that’s wrong. In reality, the Supreme Court in the 1969 Gissel case acknowledged that “secret elections,” not “card checks,” are the “preferred” method “of ascertaining whether a union has majority support.” Therefore, there is no plausible reason to ignore the literal meaning of Section 302 in order to avoid hindering Big Labor from securing monopoly-bargaining privileges through “card checks,” even though “card checks,” with organizing assistance from employers, have become unions’ favored modus operandi.
As the attorney Bill Messenger observed in response to question from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “nothing gives [UNITE HERE] any right to the three things it demands from Mardi Gras. So enforcing 302 in this case cannot conflict with the NLRA.”
Case #2: Forcing caregivers to join unions
If it comes out wrong, the Supreme Court case of Harris v. Quinn, set to be argued this month, could take the country much further down the road of Big Labor coercion. Or it could go in the other direction, revoking forced-dues privileges that government unions have exercised in many jurisdictions for more than four decades.
The lead plaintiff in Harris lives in a Chicago suburb and is the mother of a young adult son with severe developmental disabilities. In fall 2009, Pam Harris received a form letter from agents of Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Ill.). It informed her that, as a care-provider for her son in the state Disabilities Program, she now could cast a mail-ballot vote on which of two unions would be installed as her monopoly-bargaining agent in her dealings with the state. The letter Harris and several thousand other Disabilities Program providers received did not clearly state that they could opt for no union representation at all.
How did top bosses of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) get the opportunity to compete for control of Disabilities Program providers? They owed it all to Executive Order 2009-15, issued by Quinn on June 29, 2009.
Participants in the Illinois Home Based Support Services Program for Mentally Disabled Adults receive taxpayer-funded subsidies from the state to help cover the cost of care. Adults, or their legal guardians, may use their subsidies to compensate care-providers. Executive Order 2009-15 was crafted to enable one union to secure recognition from the state as these providers’ exclusive representative in their dealings with the state, and then to extract forced dues or fees from the providers.
For many years before, Big Labor had wanted to corral taxpayer-subsidized home care providers across Illinois into government unions, but had not been legally able to do so. The courts had held the providers were not public employees, because they are not supervised, hired, or fired by the state.
Quinn’s edict did nothing to change the underlying facts, of course. It simply declared that, even though citizens like Pam Harris aren’t supervised, hired, or fired by the state of Illinois or any of its subdivisions, the fact that they are paid and regulated by the state suffices to justify classifying them as public employees solely for purposes of unionization.
If the schemes concocted by Pat Quinn and other opportunistic Big Labor politicians in multiple states over the past few years—schemes to expand the reach of public-sector monopoly unionism—are constitutionally permissible, the implications are enormous. Doctors who accept patients under Medicare and/or Medicaid could be forced by gubernatorial executive order or state legislation to accept a particular private organization as their lobbying agent. Moreover, doctors could be forced to pay mandatory dues and fees to such an organization. Similarly, impoverished parents who participate in the “food stamp” program could be forced to join or pay fees to a government-designated lobbying agent.
Pam Harris and other care-providers cry halt
Over the course of the rigged Disabilities Program provider “election” in fall 2009, Harris and other parents pooled their money to print and distribute a flyer countering the Quinn team’s propaganda. The independent-minded providers’ shoestring effort succeeded. Providers ultimately voted two to one for “no union.” Nevertheless, SEIU and AFSCME union officers continued to press ahead with their efforts to gain forced-dues privileges over caregivers.
In Harris v. Quinn, Pam Harris and other Disabilities Program providers are seeking relief from these unionization efforts (continued under a program established by Quinn’s predecessor, the now-jailed Gov. Rod Blagojevich). They have been joined by several at-home caregivers who are being forced to pay union dues as a condition of receiving state assistance. Like Martin Mulhall in his case, the plaintiffs in the Harris case are represented before the Supreme Court by Bill Messenger of the Right to Work Foundation.
During oral arguments on January 21, Messenger will ask the Supreme Court to protect his clients from compulsory payments to unions by overturning Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, a 36-year-old case that invoked the “free rider” excuse to force workers into unions. Under this theory, workers who don’t pay forced union dues would get a “free ride” with regard to the benefits of the union’s bargaining and contract administration (benefits unsolicited by the workers, of course). Messenger will respond by citing a recent Foundation-won Supreme Court case, Knox v. SEIU Local 1000, in which Justice Samuel Alito observed in his majority opinion that “free-rider arguments . . . are generally insufficient to overcome First Amendment objections.” Alito added that perhaps Abood had crossed “the limit of what the First Amendment can tolerate.” (For more on Knox v. SEIU, see Labor Watch, Oct. 2012.)
Messenger will also argue that, even should the Court balk at reversing Abood, his clients must not be forced to pay union dues or face the imminent threat of forced-dues payments, because they are not employed in any government workplace. Therefore, there exists not even a theoretical possibility of “labor peace” in the workplace being disrupted by so-called “free riding,” as the Abood opinion had envisioned.
‘First Amendment values are at serious risk’
A Harris ruling that neither revokes Abood’s constitutional waiver for public-sector forced union dues nor finds the plaintiffs outside of Abood’s reach would have very dark implications for personal liberty and the democratic process.
In a November 2011 petition asking the Supreme Court to accept the case, Messenger reminded the Court that, outside the realm of labor-management relations, it has up to now been very reluctant to uphold statutes or executive orders that impose “compulsory advocates” on individual citizens. He quoted the Court’s 2001 ruling in U.S. v. United Foods:
First Amendment values are at serious risk if the government can compel a particular citizen, or a discrete group of citizens, to pay special subsidies for speech on the side that it favors.
In short, Abood blew a hole in the First Amendment, but a victory for the Quinn Administration and Big Labor in Harris would greatly expand that hole and jeopardize the free speech rights of millions of citizens who have been protected up to now.
That’s why, as high as the stakes are in Mulhall, the stakes in Harris appear to be even higher.
Stan Greer is senior research associate for the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, a think tank located in Springfield, Virginia, that is affiliated with the National Right to Work Committee. The opinions presented here are his own. This article originally appeared in Labor Watch, a publication of the Capitol Research Center, and appears here with permission.
After a period of relative quiet, a recent flurry of rulemaking initiatives by the the National Labor Relations Board evidences the current Administration’s intent on satisfying big labor leading up to the crucial 2014 mid-term elections.
Ambush Election Rules
The NLRB originally adopted this rule in 2011, but the D.C. Circuit Court rejected the rule on procedural grounds, finding that the NLRB had improperly issued the rule because they did not have a quorum. Member Brian Hayes was active in office, but did not vote on passage of the rule. Initially, the NLRB appealed the Circuit Court’s decision. In December 2013, however, the Board requested that the court dismiss the appeal. It was generally presumed by those following the NLRB that the reason for doing this was to clear the slate and “start over.” It appears that’s what is being done. On February 6, 2014, the NLRB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking reissuing their proposed “Ambush Election” rules in substantially the same form as the 2011 proposal.
Among other things, the rulemaking: (i) narrows the scope of pre-election hearings (won’t consider campaign irregularities, eligibility to vote, etc.), (ii) shortens the timeframe prior to election, and (iii) gives the Board discretion over whether to hear post-election disputes (whether they would be heard at all).
The underlying goal of this rule is to achieve Card Check under the guise of an election process. In effect, big labor would indoctrinate employees through misinformation, propaganda and intimidation months ahead of petitioning for an election. Employers, under the new rule, would theoretically then have as little as 10 days to reverse the indoctrination, which based on my experience is almost impossible. This is just another step towards Card Check through Regulation vs. Legislation! Please read Obama’s NLRB deals big labor a winning hand: part 1 and National Labor Relations Board Pauses from Election Rules Amendments.
Revision of Arbitration Rules
The board is considering a proposal of radical NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin to change the way the Board considers the decisions of arbitrators in labor matters under the NLRA. In essence, in a situation in which an employer and a union or employee had agreed to utilize an arbitrator to resolve disputes, the NLRB would be empowered to disregard the arbitrator’s decision if it disagreed with it. This would permit labor unions to have “two bites of the apple” (as used by former NLRB Board Member Ronald Meisburg), to challenge employer action. Part of the Employee Free Choice Act (see EFCA Through the Backdoor) a.k.a. Card Check this rulemaking would basically tilt the collective bargaining negotiations process heavily in favor of big labor. It is a part of the process to enact Card Check through Regulation vs. Legislation. As the President said he has a pen and a phone and he will act on his own. Obviously, he is also delegating this authority to his appointees like Richard Griffin. Please read NLRB Invites Input On Arbitration Award Deferral Standard.
Richard Griffin and his radical pro-union teammates are also intent on establishing “Micro-Unions.” Griffin recently commented that NLRB guidance on micro-unions is forthcoming. The concept of “micro-unions” is an NLRB creation, stemming from its decision in the Specialty Healthcare case. It is nothing more than a ploy to allow unions to establish a foothold in a business with a small segment of employees then turn it into full-scale unionization of all employees within the company (see NLRB General Counsel: Guidance on Micro-Unions is Coming). This particular rule shows just how desperate the big labors interests really are to rebuild dwindling membership.
Basically this all boils down to two things, money and political power. Both the President and the labor bosses need big labor to rebuild its membership so they can maintain political power. It has little or nothing to do with helping employees or the citizens of this great country the United States of America.
David A. Bego is the President and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” as well as the just released sequel, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.
Shortly before returning from his 17-day vacation in Hawaii, the President resumed divisive rhetoric by reprimanding House Republicans for going on a “holiday break” and not staying in Washington D.C. to pass a measure to extend unemployment benefits for needy Americans. The benefits were allowed to lapse, as they were not included in the budget signed by the President prior to his vacation.
Now, Congress prepares for a battle over jobless benefits. The first vote by the U.S. Senate was to restore the expired unemployment benefits. The President and his fellow Democrats allowed the benefits to expire and agreed to the budget as part of their plan to distract the American people.The President understands just how important the upcoming 2014 mid-term Elections are, and is attempting to deflect attention from the miserable failure that is Obamacare. This is merely their opening salvo in a desperate attempt to “divide and conquer” the Republican Party and the American people.
Additionally, as President Obama Urges Steps to Resolve Income Inequality, the Democrats are planning a minimum-wage push to create a “National Living Wage,” supported by his allies at the SEIU. Much like the tactics of his mentors in big labor, the President will not explain the byproducts of such action – the loss of jobs and a weaker economy, which Thomas Sowell addresses eloquently in his article, No compassion in minimum wage laws. Common sense dictates that an Unprecedented Minimum-Wage Hike Would Hurt Jobs and the Economy. Even the democratic D.C. Mayor Vetoed the ‘Living Wage’ Bill (see also 5 Ways the Liberal Obsession With Income Inequality Hurts the Poor and Dems Believe Income Inequality To Be the Winning Issue In November).
Furthermore, in the background, the President has quietly had his radical appointees at the National Labor Relations Board (see “Rogue NLRB”), the Department of Labor (DOL), and OSHA imposing new regulations such as allowing “micro-unions,” requiring reporting by employer-supporting “persuaders” (see DOL Changes the Rules Again), and allowing union access to employer facilities during OSHA inspections (see OSHA Opens New Door For Big Labor). These new regulations are all aimed to provide Big Labor the opportunity to process their Death by a Thousand Cuts-style Corporate Campaigns, with the end goal of forcing businesses to sign a Neutrality Agreement and impose Card Check.
If this is accomplished, unions would be able to force unionize people quickly and collect badly needed dues. In turn, these unions will continue to provide political contributions to elect their allies and the ground game necessary to win the mid-term election. Make no mistake about it, big labor needs help and it is evident that they are Becoming Desperate. The UAW needs income so badly it is considering a 25% dues increase for its current members, which seems strange when their membership continues to diminish.
As discussed in Obamacare Provides Unfair Advantage to Big Labor, the President unilaterally postponed the “transitional insurance” fee for 2014, which eliminated millions of dollars in costs for the unions so they can pour the money back into the 2014 mid-term elections. The timing on all of this makes sense, as big labor has a vested interest in seeing Democrats win back both Houses and essentially providing the President Rule by Fiat, while trying to avoid extinction with support from their political friends.
Never a group to let an opportunity go to waste, the SEIU planed to disrupt travelers at major airports all over the country, and to attack retailers such as Wal-Mart during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Their plotting is all in the name of “social justice,” which is no more than a code name for forced unionism. The SEIU would have you believe that it has the best interest of employees at heart, and that employers like Wal-Mart “abuse” their employees through the payment of poverty wages, while lining their own pockets with the company profits. In fact, this past week, the SEIU sent out the following e-mail to its members stating that Wal-Mart pays such low wages its employees cannot afford a Thanksgiving dinner. Therefore, Wal-Mart is hosting a food drive so they can eat on Thanksgiving.
Walmart doesn’t pay workers enough for them to afford Thanksgiving dinner, so they’re holding a food drives for their employees. Seriously. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Walmart stores in Ohio have bins set up for underpaid associates to donate canned goods to other underpaid associates.
We have a better idea, Walmart: Pay your workers enough to put food on the table.
It’s great that workers are looking out for one another, but nobody who works for one of the richest companies in the world should have to worry about not having enough to eat.
This is hardly the first time Walmart has asked for charity so they can avoid paying employees enough to get by. Low-income workers still need food, housing and healthcare, so taxpayers end up paying up to $1.7 million in public benefits per Walmart Superstore.2
We’re proud to stand with the workers who think they should be able to afford their own Thanksgiving dinners.
The SEIU is in the midst of a Worker Center Scheme, recruiting new membership through force unionization, and attempting to bypass the National Labor Relations Act as discussed in Promises, Promises: Desperate Unions Grow Weary of Phony Distractions. They will be using these naïve recruits to bolster their ranks. The SEIU has created Worker Centers because they fall outside the rules of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and therefore are not subject to National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regulations. Through these Worker Centers, unions are able to operate and attack without restriction, allowing for even more deplorable and ruthless tactics. The real ticker is that these Worker Centers have a Tax-Exempt Status and are Funded by the American Taxpayer.
Additionally, the SEIU and other unions will be holding Union Rallies at Airports across the country, alleging these employers are paying low wages and offering sub-par benefits. The goal is to make Americans believe these employees are being abused and mistreated. Ironically most of the SEIU protestors will be hired off the street for small cash amounts and have no idea what they are protesting. The SEIU has decided to cause as much disruption and inconvenience during one of the nation’s biggest travel holidays to embarrass these employers across the country and call attention to their cause. This is all a calculated effort to intimidate companies into signing a Neutrality Agreement and imposing forced unionism on their employees through Card Check.
As Americans shopping and traveling to visit their loved ones are disrupted by the rallies and picketing during this great national holiday, it is important to remember the true objective of these Gasping Dinosaurs. It is not to improve wages and benefits for the employees of these companies, but rather to force unionize employees by embarrassing the employers on a national stage. The truth is, the SEIU and other unions want more money in the form of union dues to enhance their political power. Just as Unions Showed True Colors on Labor Day, these Thanksgiving attacks are all about big labor’s attempt to avoid extinction. Hopefully, Americans will see these tactics for exactly what they are, nothing more than Communism at the Highest Level, and relegate the SEIU and other big labor unions into the junk pile of history.
This past Wednesday, November 13, 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard the initial arguments in the case Unite Here Local 355 vs. Mulhall. The case of Mulhall, a 40-year employee of Mardi Gras in Hollywood, Florida, challenged the use of a Neutrality Agreement by Unite Here to force unionize Mardi Gras employees. A Neutrality Agreement eliminates the preferred standard of use of “secret ballot elections” to determine if employees want union representation, and in its place, institutes the insidious process known as Card Check. The focus of Mulhall is whether a signed Neutrality Agreement was lawfully obtained from Mardi Gras without bribery or extortion by Unite Here, which is prohibited by Section 302 of the Labor Management Relations Act. Unite Here contends the signatures were lawfully obtained, because no money changed hands; however, Mardi Gras and Mulhall believe there were direct benefits or “consideration” received in exchange for the signed agreement.
Unfortunately, after reading the transcripts of the oral arguments made by the attorney for Respondent Mulhall, it appears he has overreached. Perhaps most disappointing, counsel’s arguments did not succinctly and in “plain language” expose the extortion tactics utilized by Unite Here to force Mardi Gras to sign the Neutrality Agreement. These actions resulted in the use of Card Check to force unionize Mardi Gras employees. The attorney appeared to overreach when he suggested that the law bans all pre-recognition agreements whether obtained through mutual agreement or extortion. Additionally, his argument as to whether a benefit was received by the union and/or the employer solely revolved around the union’s support of a gaming license for Mardi Gras. He glossed over the true argument for rescinding the agreement, the use of extortion by the union, which ultimately provided benefits that could be quantified monetarily for both parties. Instad of hitting a home run, his argument resulted in a Mixed Reaction From the Justices. This was a missed opportunity to expose big labor’s ruthless tactics for what they are, coercive forms of extortion from which both parties benefit.
Further, the attorney missed the opportunity to elaborate on the devastating affects that Corporate Campaigns and Death by a Thousand Cuts strategies imposed by big labor have on an employer. Corporate Campaigns take advantage of a National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) loophole, allowing unions to circumvent the secret ballot election when there is mutual agreement of recognition by the union and the employer. The key word being mutual. Webster’s Dictionary defines mutual as, “Something shared in common…” — such as mutual respect. The use of Corporate Campaigns against employers, through use of the misnamed “Neutrality Agreement,” to eliminate the secret ballot election is anything but mutual and certainly does not involve respect. In fact, the most striking thing about the Neutrality Agreement is its utter lack of neutrality. The “agreement” is forced upon employers by big labor threats. Upon entering the agreement, employers are forced into a “card check” scenario, and in return, receives the agreement of the labor union not to make good on its threats.
Corporate Campaigns, as described in my first book, The Devil at My Doorstep, are designed to financially and psychologically cripple an employer, coercing the employer into capitulating and signing the one-sided Neutrality Agreement. Corporate campaigns are ruthless wars waged against unsuspecting employers by big labor bosses who have decided the employer is a financial target, not because of employee abuses, but rather because of the potential membership dues and big payday for big labor. Corporate campaigns are initiated on the disingenuous premise that the employees have invited them to town. This is rarely true. The unions are often nothing more than Uninvited Interlopers, whose services have not been requested by any employee of the organization.
The preceding recital of the intent of Corporate Campaigns and the resulting benefits for both unions and employers, supplemented by real life stories of such coercion (such as those chronicled in The Devil at Our Doorstep), overwhelmingly proves that extortion and bribery regularly exist within these attacks by big labor. The Supreme Court needs to grasp that Corporate Campaigns are vicious scams designed to “shame” employers into signing the Neutrality Agreement The extreme costs incurred in avoiding such campaigns overwhelmingly prove a benefit for both parties just as it does in the Mulhall case. My company would have saved almost $1 Million dollars in attorney, operational and other associated costs, while the SEIU would have not only saved the costs in prosecuting the campaign against my company, but would have been the beneficiary of dues collected from the forced unionization of thousands of employees in a relatively short period of time.
Employees and employers across the country can only hope the Justices do their due diligence in the Unite Here Local 355 vs. Mulhall case, and outlaw the imposition of the so-called Neutrality Agreement, benefiting both parties through Organizing by Extortion. The U.S. Supreme Court Has An Opportunity to Protect Fundamental Freedoms and set the future course for true, voluntary union recognition for all employees. Their decision will serve to protect workers like Martin Mulhall, because until they do, big labor bosses will not take no for an answer.
Now that two cases concerning forced unionism have made it to the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket (see “The Devil at My Doorstep” Introduced to the Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court: An Opportunity to Protect Fundamental Freedoms), it appears big labor’s Gasping Dinosaurs are becoming even more desperate in their attempts to avoid extinction. Events transpiring in the past several weeks make it apparent that Big Labor is doing everything it can to rapidly add membership in anticipation the Supreme Court will find the use of the coercive practice of “Corporate Campaigns” to violate the National Labor Relations Act. These “campaigns” consist of the use of intimidating methods designed to coerce employers into signing a Neutrality Agreement, by which they agree to accept “Card Check,” or the use of signed cards as evidence of their employees desire for union representation in lieu of secret ballot elections. Card Check allows big labor to force unionize a companies employees almost overnight, which is critical to resuscitating falling union membership!
One of the pending cases involves the question of whether the President’s recess appointees to the National Labor Relations Board, all of whom are very pro-union and trying to change governing regulations to enhance big labor Corporate Campaigns, were correctly and constitutionally appointed. The second case questions whether the use of Neutrality Agreements in the context of a corporate campaign, provides an impermissible benefit to labor unions, in violation of Section 302 of the Act. If the U.S. Supreme Court finds against labor’s position, the effect would be to virtually eliminate big labor’s ability to rely on their “bread and butter” — Corporate Campaigns and the resulting Neutrality Agreement. Loss of this means of forced unionism could very likely result in the extinction in unions as structured today. Apparently the big labor bosses anticipate a negative ruling as they are out in force utilizing Corporate Campaigns to unionize as many employees as possible. The following cases are illustrative.
In Chattanooga, Tennessee, the UAW has been conducting a campaign at the Volkswagen plant. Thankfully, the VW employees have seen the light and are taking action as seen in VW Workers at TN Plant Allege Misleading UAW Tactics and Chattanooga VW Workers Begin Antiunion Petition. Additionally, there were the recent UAW tactics at an auto plant in Kokomo, Indiana, chronicled in Unprecedented Union Corruption, that apparently cost eleven full time positions in the plant. All due to the fact the UAW would not allow a non-union company to be successful, and the fact it added a additional 25 employees. Apparently it does not bother the UAW that eleven people in the plant lost their jobs, as it has a net increase of 14 dues paying members, which was the ultimate objective!
The UAW really displayed its desperation as it enlisted employees and others to call the NAACP to join its cause to force unionize employees at a Nissan Plant in Canton, Mississippi. The charges, expressed in the article Why the NAACP Joined a Mississippi Union Battle, are eerily similar to the same charges my company faced when confronted by the Interfaith Workers Justice Group and their support of the SEIU. These charges were all found to be untrue and were dismissed. Of course, in the context of a corporate campaign, big labor does not have to care about the truth or falsity of the charges they bring. They care that the charges serve the purpose of pressuring the employer, “the ends justify the means.”
The SEIU continues its efforts to rally fast food and other service workers using the government shutdown as a stage for False Protests and disorder, as I discussed in Desperate Dinosaurs Show True Colors on Labor Day. Additionally, the SEIU teamed up with the AFL-CIO to host Camino Americano: March for Immigration Reform. Immigration reform is a number one priority for the SEIU and AFL-CIO since both organize service workers and they envision large Corporate Campaigns to force unionize these new workers. Evidently, the President got the message, because in a speech over the weekend he mentioned that the budget and debt ceiling issues needed to be resolved so they can move on to bigger things like immigration reform and jobs. Finally, from the home of Harry Reid in Las Vegas, Nevada comes news of “union bosses gone wild.” Apparently, the Culinary Union took offense to one casino that has remained union-free, and are using the typical “Death by a Thousand Cuts” approach against the casino and its guests!
All of these activities are supported and approved by the Obama administration, with little regard for America’s free market system and often in defiance of our Constitution. It is high time that the tricameral division of powers, wisely instituted by our founders, steps to the forefront and puts the President and his big labor henchmen in their place to restore American freedoms! Hopefully, the Supreme Court will put pressure on big labor and issue a favorable decision to protect all Americans.
Big Labor bosses are facing the increasing realization that their organizations are rapidly facing extinction. A trifecta of difficulties, consisting of recent revelations of the impact Obamacare will have on union costs and membership, the weakening of support for “Card Check” legislation, and the increasing popularity and passage of “Right-to-Work” laws have the Gasping Dinosaurs very nervous. Union membership is at a 50-year low, representing a mere 11.3% of the total workforce and 6.7% of the private workforce. These statistics have Big Labor bosses fighting mad at the lack of return from their campaign investments for the President and desperate enough to attempt any and all options to rebuild declining membership.
With the exception of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents healthcare workers across the country and anticipates membership gains from the implementation of Obamacare, Big Labor bosses representing other unions now realize that their once-beloved President has sold them down the river (see The Devil is in the Details: Buyer’s Remorse over Obamacare, Except for SEIU). The heads of the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, and other major labor unions are now realizing that not only is Obamacare void of separate exemptions or favorable provisions for unions, but it places unions at an economic disadvantage when organizing new members. In fact, it is so bad that the Teamsters are Begging Congress for Relief from Obamacare and the Laborers International Union Fears Destructive Consequences from Obamacare. Even the President-friendly IRS Employees Union Members are in an Uproar after realizing that they too will be subject to Obamacare. The President may continue his rhetoric to intimidate Republicans and to push for Obamacare to become functional, but he does so at the risk of losing his most ardent supporters.
The next likely disappointment for the unions is that the President has failed to enact Card Check. Despite that the President’s recent radical appointees to the NLRB were approved by the U.S. Senate and the fact that President Obama Brought in Griffin to Fill Vacant NLRB Position, the Rogue NLRB still faces an uphill battle if they plan to achieve card check. See “Card Check through Regulation vs. Legislation.” President Obama previously attempted to achieve card check like provisions through his appointment of board members such as Craig Becker and Richard Griffin. With the courts finding the President’s recess appointments to be unconstitutional, and thus their decisions invalidated, a delay in “union handouts” has resulted in further union membership deterioration and caused the Unions to Demand Payback.
Interestingly, this has resulted in an attempt by Big Labor to enforce desperate and creative measures to increase membership. The AFL-CIO Seeks Answers in Crisis by targeting Hispanics, NAACP, Sierra Club and other groups, and by Winning Back Other Unions into their fold, thereby increasing membership, revenues and power. Not to be outdone, the Desperate SEIU Resurrected the Persuasion of Power and is leading the charge by attempting to organize Home Health Care Workers and immigrants as discussed in the recent blog The Senate Immigration Law Hurts All Americans. Additionally, a new Worker Center Scheme crafted by the SEIU is in the works, utilizing organizations outside the auspices of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to attract and organize prospective members, which could be devastating to businesses attacked by these type organizations.
Meanwhile, the SEIU has once again embraced the Living Wage Argument to unionize workers. This tactic, described in The Devil at Our Doorstep, is now being used against McDonalds and other service/food providers under the veil of the “Fight for Fifteen” campaign, fighting to shift wage rates to $15 an hour for these workers. McDonald’s is now feeling pressure from the typical Corporate Campaign tactics, including threats to Contaminate Food. These threats will directly impact McDonald’s revenues, a standard focal point of the SEIU’s campaigns. Of course, all of their actions are being pushed in the name of Social Justice.
The U. S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases in the next year which will determine whether persons will be protected in their exercise of the fundamental right to either choose whether to engage in union representation or to abstain from such representation, and to make such decision absent intimidation from either the union or their employer via the secret ballot election — the same process we use to elect our local, state and federal government officials. Interestingly, both cases stem from the President’s attempt to provide political payback to his allies in Big Labor through the Rogue NLRB.
In the first case, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if the President acted unconstitutionally when he made several recess appointments to the agency charged with oversight of labor-management disputes, the National Labor Relations Board. The lower courts, culminating in the U.S. Third Court of Appeals both found the appointments unconstitutional (see Supreme Court to Consider Obama Recess Appointments and Appeals Court Nixed Obama’s Recess Appointments). This case not only has important implications concerning the further shredding of our constitution through ignoring the tenant of the separation of powers of the branches of government by appointing his nominees without review and agreement by the legislative branch.
In the case of the NLRB, the Obama appointees seek to achieve Card Check through Regulation vs. Legislation. Simply put, the goal is to eliminate employees’ rights to a secret ballot election and replace it with Card Check as the means for employees to determine if they wish union representation. If you listened to the Administration’s and Big Labor’s rhetoric, what could be more simple and fair? Unfortunately, it is a process of coercion and intimidation as chronicled in The Devil at Our Doorstep. A process aptly named Death by a Thousand Cuts, which forces employers and employees to capitulate and be subjected to the terms of the so called Neutrality Agreement through ruthless Corporate Campaigns. The so-called “neutrality agreement” is hardly neutral and subjects both the employees and the employer to labor intimidation.
The second case involves a question of the validity of Big Labor’s sacred cow, the aforementioned Neutrality Agreement (see BNA – Supreme Court Agrees to Review LMRA Case Involving Section 302, Neutrality Agreement). To appreciate this case and its relevance, one must understand why this agreement is so important to big labor. As documented in previous blogs, unions have been on a steady decline since 1947 when Congress, following more than a decade of union corruption, passed the Taft-Hartley Act. Of the many important provisions of the Act, perhaps none was more so than the guarantee of the secret ballot election which, for all intents and purposes, eliminated card check.
Since its peak prior to passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, union membership has dropped from approximately 35-40% of the workforce to a low of 11.3% today. Statistics gathered by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, included a drop of approximately 400,000 members in the last year alone. Big Labor, realizing its imminent demise, understands it must reinstate card check to survive and is relying on the President and his rogue NLRB to allow them to exploit a little known and hidden clause in the Taft-Hartley Act that allows unions and employers to mutually agree to representation through card check. Unfortunately, it is very rarely an agreement achieved through mutual consent. It is predominantly achieved by Big Labor through outright intimidation of employers and employees. What is interesting about this particular case is that it has been brought by an employee disgusted with the intimidation and the fact he believes his rights to a secret ballot election and protection of privacy have been violated.
One thing certain about these cases is that the justices of the Supreme Court will receive a tremendous amount of pressure from the Administration and its Big Labor buddies to overturn the decisions of the lower courts. The Gasping Dinosaurs, already headed toward extinction, understand all to well that if these decisions are upheld it will be the end of Big Labor as we know it in this country (see If ruling goes Against Labor Union, Organizing Could Get Even Harder). Additionally, the President and his party know all to well they need Big Labor’s financial and ground support to continue to win elections, as well as increase their grip on and expand an already oversized government.
Even more frightening for the future of the United States is what could occur if these decisions are overturned. If they are, the current administration will feel empowered to continue to appoint radical people to high positions, not just in the NLRB, but all areas of government. If they can eliminate the secret ballot election for union recognition and trample on the constitution to appoint government officials how long will it be before they expand these programs to every corner of the government? Can you imagine no secret ballot elections to determine our government officials and instead all being appointed by the President? These are landmark cases.
Having been involved in discussion regarding Right-To-Work legislation in Indiana and Michigan, I can attest to the tireless efforts of grassroots movements – by local businesses in Indiana and concerned United Auto Worker employees in Michigan – to achieve the goal of protecting worker freedoms. Statistical data shows that the implementation of a Right-To-Work law is positive, as such states see statistical growth in both population and jobs. Right-To-Work laws are important guarantees of the freedom of choice and the assurance of a lack of intimidation in the organizing process, but there is growing evidence that workers and management in RTW states are still subjected to union intimidation.
A recent article by Diana Furchtgott-Roth of The Manhattan Institute, suggests not. Ms. Furchtgott-Roth points out that RTW states not only have the highest employment growth over the last 4-5 years, but they also have the highest growth rate for union membership! The statistics she presented were absolutely astonishing, but few people have picked up on the significance and logic behind the union growth in these states. The truly frightening part is the number of cases recorded, since Card Check is virtually unregulated and therefore untraceable.
“Why Union Growth: According to data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in 38% of all union recognitions in 2009, the latest year for which data is available, unions bypassed secret ballot elections and instead used card checks to unionize employees. Specifically, the NLRB reports that unions won 794 single-union representation elections. During that period, the NLRB recorded 485 notices of card check union recognition.”
Unfortunately, Big Labor’s “Gasping Dinosaurs” are a resourceful lot. Their political contributions have bought them the support of President Obama and his Administration, who has, in turn, appointed a Rogue NLRB. The NLRB is currently lead by heavily pro-union favored board members, many of whom were unconstitutionally appointed by the President (see Appeals Court Nixed Obama’s Recess Appointments). The result of this support is that Big Labor bosses see RTW states as a shining new opportunity to rebuild its declining membership. Unions understand that with the support of the indebted President and pro-labor support from the NLRB, they can achieve membership without an election through Card Check by utilizing their insidious campaigns of “Death by a Thousand Cuts.”
Once they have infiltrated the masses, Big Labor can then use the same type tactics against the newly forced unionized employees to ensure that they don’t exercise their right not to pay dues (or in some cases, belong to the union) under RTW laws. This can be accomplished by making sure that the uneducated are not advised of these rights, or by the specific targeting of persons who choose not to pay dues. This can be accomplished because, unions are legally allowed to broadcast a list of those individuals who choose not to pay dues (see Worker’s Allege Improper Collection of Union Dues).
This raises concern, as it is unclear how the “dues-paying” union membership will choose to use this list. Membership who view non-payers as “freeloaders,” may be inclined to use unlawful force, threats, and/or intimidation in an attempt to alter a non-member’s decision. Unfortunately, most members ultimately cave, as employees subject to such intimidation have few options. While this type of activity is unlawful, the sole oversight of these actions belongs with the National Labor Relations Board, a partisan governmental “agency” whose devotion to labor unions is well-documented and unquestioned. The process is timely, difficult to understand, and expensive – as it generally includes the involvement of an attorney to represent ones interest. With little oversight, Big Labor can continue to grow its membership in RTW states through a combination of employee and employer intimidation, with no government regulation to hinder its actions.
Although RTW has been a Godsend for many states, employees and employers, RTW laws need more “teeth” in order to truly protect employees and employers from ruthless forced unionization tactics. The following changes would eliminate the “behind the scenes” intimidation and allow for fair representation in union elections. Additionally, these changes would impose collective bargaining restrictions that would allow members to make decisions free of coercion as to whether they wished to remain part of the bargaining unit.
1. Reinstate Secret Ballot Elections: Uphold the long standing belief in allowing people to vote their conscience through a “Secret Ballot Election” by inserting language that requires all union representation be achieved by secret ballot conducted under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Currently Indiana State Senator Jim Banks has introduced such an Amendment to the Indiana state constitution and Virginia has already passed such a law (see New Employee Privacy and Union Voting Rights Laws in Virginia Go Into Effect July 2013).
2. Eliminate Check Off Clauses: Such clauses in collective bargaining agreements require unionized employers and government entities to deduct union dues from member paychecks and forward them to the union. These clauses are utilized by Big Labor through intimidation to force employees to remain part of the bargaining unit in RTW states. Unions should be required to be their own accountants and collect dues directly from the employees without third party involvement. In essence members would then have the ability to decide, just like in the free market, if the services/products they are receiving are worth paying for directly. This is no different than a person paying when satisfied for legal, real estate, investing, or other services/ products. It only makes sense, but is often a non-starter for Big Labor in contract negotiations (see Teachers Silenced by Teachers Union).
3. Eliminate Monopoly Representation and Outlaw Neutrality Agreements: In The Devil at Our Doorstep, I presented the following as the first two points in my “Ten-Point Plan to Battle Big Labor.”
a) Replace the current union monopoly representation with a secret ballot election every three years, so unions have to justify their actions to the employees. Unions must obtain written consent from every dues paying member before using money on anything other than collective bargaining activities.
b) Institute a new regulation that outlaws neutrality-type agreements, which allow card check in lieu of secret ballot elections.
4. Rewrite State Extortion and Blackmail Laws: James Sherk of The Heritage Foundation accurately proposed that we should modify state extortion and blackmail laws to include unions, which are currently not implicated under labor law. This would prohibit pressure campaigns which are designed to force an employer to surrender, rather than trying to persuade the employees to unionize.
Leveling the Playing Field through these changes and passing a National Right-To-Work Law are necessary steps to improve the economy and continue to create jobs absent the threat of Big Labor intimidation! It is imperative for this great country and the freedom of its citizens that new “teeth” are introduced to support and assure the success of the recently passed Right-To-Work laws.
Control. It is the most pressing priority for the leadership of Big Labor. They need to control the masses, and in order to do that they most control the terms of employment, and they must control the benefits of employment. For this reason, the Big Labor bosses oppose employee incentive raises. They create discord and jealousy, and thus, the union’s ability to control its membership. But such incentives also create ambition, initiative, and increased productivity. While important to the employer, these traits are potentially damaging to the union. Complacency, mediocrity and sameness benefit the union, as the results are that it takes more employees to produce the end product, translating into more union members and more union dues, which is the ultimate objective.
As has been documented in previous blogs, unions have been on a steady decline since 1947 when Congress, following more than a decade of union corruption, passed the Taft-Hartley Act. Of the many important provisions of the Act, perhaps none was more so than the guarantee of the secret ballot election which, for all intents and purposes, eliminated Card Check. Since its peak, union membership has dropped from approximately 35-40% of the workforce to a low of 11.3% today. Per statistics gathered by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, included in this trend is a drop of approximately 400,000 members in the last year alone.
It is no surprise then that the Big Labor bosses are opposed to any initiatives that would, in their minds, result in decreased membership and would eliminate traditional union “selling points.” Characterization of ambition and incentive has often been that such persons are “being taken advantage of” or “overworked,” and that such companies are “sweat shops.” These traditional arguments, however, do not necessarily reflect the truth of the modern work environment, and the protections of our modern laws. At one time unions served an important purpose in defending employee rights. However, Big Labor has fallen victim to the money, lifestyle and political power realized from increased union membership, and has lost their way and forgot their responsibility was to serve the membership and not vice-versa. Their greed, inability or resistance to compete in a free market society, and the advent of government agencies such as the NLRB, EEOC, and DOL unions in effect became obsolete.
Facing extinction, Big Labor has yet to face reality and change its model to one that truly benefits productive employees and its membership in general. Instead they continue to attempt to impose their outdated and ineffective tactics of control, intimidation, coercion, and misinformation in a frantic effort to survive. Instead, they continue to wish to return to the days of Card Check where they forcibly unionize employees then keep them under their thumbs by negotiating oppressive contracts that control employee rights instead of expanding them. They firmly believe this outdated approach is their only means of rebuilding their once vast empire.
Unfortunately for American employees, Big Labor does not realize time has passed them by; that the United States is a republic, not a socialistic country where people are controlled and herded like sheep. Hence Big Labor’s propensity to control and promote sameness at every juncture, and to prevent businesses from doing the right thing by rewarding productive employees through incentive programs, which drives American Exceptionalism by rewarding those who are the most productive, safe, innovative, and cost-effective team players. This philosophy is illustrated by Big Labor bosses like Andy Stern (see The Drama Queen is at it Again), who were never successful in the free market, because they lacked the exact attributes they strive to suppress. They admittedly only became successful when they became part of an environment where they could use the Persuasion of Power over employees and employers to achieve their goals. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka summed it up succinctly in a speech this past week when the bellicose mouthpiece of the AFL-CIO, confirmed the Big Labor survival doctrine: “forget the workers – focus on politics.” This statement tells you everything you need to know about Big Labor’s agenda and why we need Congress to pass laws to allow employers and government agencies restrained by outdated collective bargaining agreements to incentivize employees.
During my recent trip to Washington D.C. I was asked to speak to the Republican Whip Committee, a group of approximately 50 Republican U.S. House members charged with the responsibility of preparing and securing support for passage of “priority” legislation. I used this time to provide the Whip Committee with the background of my battle against the SEIU and the tactics the SEIU utilized against my company, employees, customers and family, and then drew the parallel to the tactics utilized by the current Administration and the Democratic Party to push forward their progressive agenda. I concluded by encouraging the Committee to adopt the tactics that led us to victory — to go on the offensive; to make the opponent defend its lies; and to expose the misinformation, propaganda, coercion, intimidation and diversion tactics utilized to achieve their goals.
After briefly explaining my background and providing a short history of the SEIU’s use of thuggish tactics through a Corporate Campaign in attempt to force unionize my employees by means of Card Check, I then laid out our successful strategy. We were able to turn the tables by utilizing the SEIU’s very tactics, but did it in a manner which did not sacrifice our integrity or professionalism. We went to the press, and exposed that the unions representations about how we mistreated employees were not true, but simply SEIU fabrications. In fact, we took out an advertisement, not only challenging the SEIU’s misinformation campaign, but challenging the SEIU to “put its money where its mouth is.” We publicly agreed to a secret ballot election where employees could vote their conscience without fear of intimidation or retaliation, knowing that they would wilt at the challenge.
We also accumulated significant evidence of SEIU engaging in conduct in violation of the National Labor Relations Act, and filed 33 “Unfair Labor Practice” charges (ULP’s) against them in one day. By doing this, we confronted them with their own deplorable tactics, and forced them to defend their actions. Most importantly, we made a concerted effort to meet with all of our employees and our customers on site to explain our position and the reality of the SEIU propaganda, misinformation and its goal of elimination of their rights to a secret ballot election to decide if they desired SEIU representation. In essence, we developed a “big tent” approach to the problem — and it worked. The people listened, they understood, and the SEIU disappeared.
I implored the Committee to take the same “big tent” approach with the Obama Administration. The President’s tactics are learned from his days as a community (a.k.a. union) organizer. They are learned directly from the SEIU (as explained in Time to Connect the Dots).
The time has come to expose the Rules of Obama Power War, which, like the SEIU tactics misinformation, misdirection, intimidation, coercion and diversions, are all designed to put the Republicans on the defensive. Instead, the Republicans should stand tall and go on the offensive by burying Obama with investigations into his unconstitutional conduct (see Strategy: Bury Obama In Investigations). Utilize the same strategy that EMS used when it filed the 33 ULP charges against the SEIU in one day.
I explained that just as Ralphie learned in the movie “A Christmas Story,” the bully only understands and responds to the punch in the nose. Finally, the Republicans need to reach out to traditionally non-Republican groups, and to explain the reality of the President’s socialist designs and its impact upon their prosperity and freedom. They must do this again and again until the message resonates.
I sincerely hope I made an impact with this gracious and attentive group, as I truly believe that the future of this great nation is at stake and we must have representatives who are willing to stand up and fight for our survival; people who are willing to stand up to the abuse and be prepared for the political and financial cost it will take to save America by going on the offensive. In the days following my speech I began to notice an momentum towards and offensive, and then this past week an article in the Wall Street Journal GOP Issues Scathing Self-Analysis attracted my attention and the attention of the nation. I was happy to see that the underlying theme and tactics proposed during my speech were entwined within the new direction laid out by the RNC. Now, we need our representatives to have the intestinal fortitude to take the fight to the Administration and its socialist cronies like the SEIU and other far left organizations and individuals who only care about themselves. It is time to take the offensive and save this great nation for our children, grandchildren and future generations.
Entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley should pay close attention to the experiences of Dave Bego, the Indiana businessman who started a company from scratch. By 2006, after years of unrelenting toil and sacrifice by Bego and his family, Executive Management Services, Inc. (EMS) had expanded into 38 states and had 5,000 employees. Bego now had something so valuable it became an attractive target for unionization.
Bego’s story, which he has written about in two books and has turned into a one-man information crusade, is not unique. But his decision to fight back is very unusual, and his account of how his company was targeted has gone largely unreported. The details of his fight reveal a frightening lack of legal protection for company owners and their workers from union intimidation, as well as a dated, shamelessly abused set of exemptions shielding over-zealous union organizers from legal sanctions. A UnionWatch article from December 2012, “The Special Privileges And Exemptions of Public Sector Unions,” references several compilations of how unions escape many of the laws that govern the rest of us, but hearing about what actually happened to Dave Bego makes it far less academic.
It is conventional to assume that if somebody is critical of a union’s tactics, they must be anti-union. But even Dave Bego, who fought the SEIU for years, believes that unions have a legitimate role to play in a capitalist democracy. Because Bego, in an ad placed in the Indianapolis Star, offered to hold a secret ballot election among the employees to decide whether or not they wished union representation. As stated publicly in this ad: “EMS is very willing to let its employees vote in a secret ballot election conducted by the federal government to decide whether they want to be members of your union or not… we have encouraged you to seek an election since your first contact with EMS” (view EMS ad).
The problem unions have with a secret ballot election, apparently, is that the union might lose. When union representatives met with Dave Bego, and during all of their subsequent campaign of pressure and intimidation, what they wanted him to do was sign a “neutrality agreement” (view actual neutrality agreement presented to Bego). Here are highlights of what a neutrality agreement does:
- The employer shall not “take any action or make any statement that will directly or indirectly state any opposition by Employer to the election by its Employees of a collective bargaining agent.”
- The employer will sign a letter provided by the union, and distribute this letter to all employees, that is “assuring Employees of Employer’s neutrality in the matter of their union organizing.”
- “Employer shall provide within five (5) business days a list of the names and addresses of all Employees within classifications subject to this Agreement.”
- “…union will then present Employer with signed authorization cards or a petition memorializing individual Employees’ desire to be represented by Union for purposes of collective bargaining.”
- Once the union has submitted union authorization cards from 50% of the employees, if management cannot come to terms with the union during the collective bargaining process, they must submit to binding arbitration.
What a neutrality agreement does is enforce the process known as “card check,” whereby instead of voting in a secret election whether or not employees want union representation, the union organizers gather individual signatures on consent forms. Armed with the home addresses of every single employee, the union has three years to target individuals, one by one, until 50% of them sign the card. This process, currently only legal if and when an employer signs a neutrality agreement, would become law of the land if the union-supported, misleadingly named “Employee Free Choice Act” ever becomes federal law.
Because the unions wanted Bego to sign a neutrality agreement, he refused on principle, because doing so would have denied his employees the right to a secret ballot election. That’s when the troubles started.
As summarized in Bego’s book, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” the SEIU embarked upon a campaign of persuasion that relied on laws designed to give unions an advantage over employers. Here are some examples of rules that impose double standards on the conduct of unions vs. employers during union organizing campaigns:
- The “Persuader Rule,” which requires employers to publicly disclose all relationships with outside firms who may assist them to resist unionization. Not only are unions exempt from this rule, but because most employers have never encountered a union campaign before, they have no choice but to solicit outside advice on the legal issues as well as on how to effectively communicate with their employees. This rule gives the unions an opportunity to then attack anyone consulting with the employer.
- The “Posting Rule” requires employers to post union provided printed material in their workplace, saying, for example, that all employees have the right to unionize – with contact information. But the employer does not have the right to post anything reminding employees that they are not compelled to vote for unionization.
- Rules prohibiting “Interrogation,” or “Promising,” meaning an employer cannot meet with employees during a union campaign and ask them (i.e., “interrogate” them) what is wrong, or what can be done to improve work conditions. Similarly, during a union campaign an employer cannot remedy work conditions; that is “promising.”
- Unions are exempt in many states from laws that make stalking an individual a crime, as well as laws that make many forms of extortion a crime.
In order to hold a secret election, the union has to get 30% of a company’s employees to sign a petition asking for a vote. To do this, their operatives approached EMS employees – over and over – on their way to work, in the parking lots, and sometimes even followed them home. They enlisted the support of local clergy, who organized blockades of buildings where Bego’s employees worked. Because EMS provides contract janitorial services, the unions organized demonstrations outside these buildings, intimidating the building owners in an attempt to get them to change vendors. They sent letters to the press and to EMS clients alleging “unfair labor practices” which in most if not all cases were without merit. Indeed, in November 2007, EMS filed a set of counter-charges (view EMS Unfair Labor Practice Charges Against SEIU), and in the subsequent NLRB hearing the ruling was in favor of EMS. Even the NLRB felt the union had gone too far.
These “corporate campaigns” occur every day across America. Most employers cannot withstand the pressure from the unions. At one point, the union campaign against EMS included enlisting children on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating in Bego’s neighborhood, and after being given candy, they gave each resident a union flyer:
While Bego has managed to successfully fight the SEIU, at least so far, most people can’t stand up to the intimidation that appears to be standard procedure for unions who operate a corporate campaign. Not only the company owners, but their family, their employees, their suppliers, and their customers face harassment. Sometimes this harassment escalates into vandalism and violence, with laws in place that create for unions a higher threshold before such acts become criminal. But the unions are lobbying for even more laws to assist them in their corporate campaigns. For example:
- Unions have now won the right to form “micro-unions,” where they can carve out small groups of employees and hold a union election. If a union can’t get 30% of an entire retail store to sign cards calling for an election, they can now get 30% of the employees in one department of that store to sign the card, and an election will be held for that particular department.
- Unions are pushing to lower the time period between when cards are submitted requesting an election from 48 days to 18 days; the so-called “Quick Elections” rule. This creates a significant advantage for the unions, because it takes time to communicate to employees that they are not compelled to vote for unionization. Many employees who have signed cards calling for an election believe that they are required to vote for unionization because they signed the card requesting the election.
- Legalizing the “Card check” method of unionization, via the perennially introduced “Employee Free Choice Act,” would enforce the terms of a neutrality agreement on employers without their consent. Unions could then approach employees individually until they collected signatures from 50% of the workforce, eliminating the secret election ballot.
Eliminating unfair union advantages, currently built into federal law, would not necessarily eliminate unions. In a recent speech at an event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation (view speech – begins at 5:40), Bego emphasized that some workplaces probably would benefit from unionization. But unions must play by the same rules as the companies they negotiate with, employees should have a right to a secret ballot in elections concerning unions, and nobody should be forced to join a union.
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs come from a variety of ideological leanings, but it is accurate to state that most of them support Democratic political candidates. Perhaps this, combined with their extraordinary personal wealth, blinds them to the agenda of unions, despite the fact that public sector unions already control California’s state and most of its local governments and their unsustainable financial demands are contributing to the insolvency of those institutions.
If the Silicon Valley business elite want to maintain control of the companies they founded, and preserve the vitality of the new industries they helped create, they should take a careful look at the proper role of unions in 21st century America. Because the rules governing unions and union organizing are at a tipping point. If union-friendly legislation continues to emanate from Washington D.C., and Sacramento, the Silicon Valley may find itself on the front lines of a battle for which they are entirely unprepared.
President Obama’s Rogue NLRB, driven by Chairperson Mark Pearce and the President’s radical recess appointees, have encountered serious roadblocks the past several weeks as they continue their quest to achieve EFCA Through the Backdoor (see Labor Board Chief to Push Union Organizing Rules). This past week, the GOP Senators pushed back when they announced they are Suing Obama Over Sham Labor Board Nominees. It is clear that the GOP has tired of the Obama NLRB’s attempted run around of Congress through the creation of regulations such as the “Posting Rule” – requiring employers to post notices of employee rights under the NLRA in the workplace, and “Quickie Elections”– substantially reducing the time frame during which elections are conducted for the purpose of eliminating the employer’s ability to educate its workforce. Further push back has come in the form of a joint senate resolution currently pending which seeks to overturn the NLRB’s “Quickie Election” rule,while simultaneously sending a message to the President to stop attempting to bypass Congressional authority (see Will Senate Stand Up to Obama’s Union Strongmen? and New NLRB rule that allows labor unions to foist surprise “ambush elections” on businesses and employees).
The purpose of the NLRB’s proposed regulations is to accomplish the Obama agenda of assisting Big Labor in executing Corporate Campaigns, such as the one crafted against my company, chronicled in The Devil at Our Doorstep, and ultimately increasing membership. Corporate Campaigns are no more than an onerous attempt to force employers to sign a Neutrality Agreement, and bypass the secret ballot election process for employees.
Despite the fact that NLRB statistics show unions win 70% of these elections, Big Labor’s ongoing problem is that currently, there are very few elections being held. This is primarily because a decreasing number of employees are interested in signing union cards to petition for an election. Consequently the “Gasping Dinosaur’s” alternative is to force unionize employees through Card Check,a process fraught with danger from intimidation, in which the labor union could avoid an election and be recognized simply upon the execution of union cards and without an election by the employees.
Thankfully, the separation of powers among the three branches of the U.S. government, so diligently established by our nation’s forefathers, is working to save what otherwise would have been A Death Penalty for Employees and Employers. Over the past few weeks, several important events have occurred. First, within the legislative branch, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Workplace Fairness Act, which, if enacted, would restrict the NLRB’s overreach and in the process eliminate the “quickie” election process (see Workplace Fairness Act Set to Move to the House Floor). Then, 44 Senators Challenged NLRB’s Ambush Election Rules, which further delayed implementation of the “quickie” election process. The most encouraging news came recently, when it was announced that the Senate will be voting this week to overturn the NLRB’s onerous Ambush Election rules. Businesses around the country are counting on them to do the right thing and hoping they have the intestinal fortitude to defeat these overreaching regulations!
Even more encouragement came last week, when the separation of power structure further proved the sagacity of our founding fathers. In the judicial branch, a South Carolina federal court judge struck down an NLRB proposed rule requiring employers to post notice of employee rights to unionize, finding that the board lacked the congressional authority to implement such a rule. Thankfully, the “Posting Rules” are now postponed indefinitely! The decision went a step farther than a previous decision by a federal district court judge in the District of Columbia, who recently ruled that the penalty portions of the “Posting Rule” would be blocked (see the NLRB Notice Posting Rules were Partially Blocked).The decision by these courts are an important victory. While posting alone would be no more than an annoyance to employers, the penalty portions of the law, if upheld, would have been a field day for Big Labor! That would mean that Big Labor bosses could organize Corporate Campaigns with impunity to force employers to sign a Neutrality Agreement and achieve Card Check. Just as the SEIU did against my company, EMS, Big Labor bosses would have union thugs file multitudes of ULP’ s in an attempt to bring the employer to its knees and sign the Neutrality Agreement.
The filing of ULP’s against an employer forces the employer to expend significant amounts of money and time to defend itself, with the result being that many employers eventually cave to union demands in order to avoid the vast expenditure of time and resources. Increased regulations and associated penalties just make it easier for Big Labor bosses to succeed in their “organizing” attempts. An imposition of increased regulation as a gift from the present administration through the auspices of the Rogue NLRB is the only chance the “Gasping Dinosaurs” have of avoiding extinction, unless of course they change their ways and actually provide true benefits and service to their members (see Card Check through Regulation vs. Legislation). What a novel idea, Big Labor acknowledging that they are there to serve the members and not vice versa, and realizing that each employee should have the right to decide if they wish to be a member.
Unfortunately, despite the fact Obama and NLRB Continue to Cost Union Jobs, Big Labor has not realized that the President has no loyalty to anyone but himself. Perhaps they will finally get a wakeup call when Obama decides whether to pass or veto the Keystone XL Pipeline bill approved by Congress! Obama’s Keystone Delay Flouts the Law and his narcissism allow for the continuation of Rule by Fiat and put his Political Aspirations & Payback Ahead of American Jobs. No matter the outcome of the Keystone XL Pipeline, Big Labor will continue to push its selfish agenda and utilize Obama’s coattails to prosecute its Persuasion of Power at the cost of American freedoms, the American economy and American jobs.
Big Labor bosses will attempt to keep anyone from standing in their way, but it appears that Congress has finally recognized their tactics and knows that President Obama will continue his rule by fiat if he is not held accountable for his actions, including Constitutional violations and an overreach of the separation of power within our government. America is at a tipping point and the decisions made in the next week, combined with the upcoming November election will determine if America will go with the ways of past democracies, or if in fact, American Exceptionalism will be revived.
About the author: David A. Bego is the President and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” as well as the just released sequel, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.