Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

The real costs of minimum wage hikes

By Norm Groot, April 12, 2016, The Salinas Californian

Just this past week, our governor and Democratic legislators reached a compromise on the state’s minimum wage, mostly to avoid a costly ballot initiative fight precipitated by the unions that was due to occur this fall. While we all can say it’s desirable to have living wages for everyone, and indeed locally that is important to our community, there must be a thorough examination of the real costs of these minimum wage increases. In summary, signed into law on April 4, the minimum wage in California will begin increasing next year until it reaches $15 in 2022. (read article)

L.A. workers would get 6 paid sick days under new proposal

By Emily Alpert Reyes, April 12, 2016, The Los Angeles Times

Workers in Los Angeles could get at least six paid sick days annually under a proposal backed by a committee of city lawmakers Tuesday — twice as much as the California state minimum. Labor and community activists heralded the move as a victory for workers and families, allowing many Angelenos to take more time off if they fall ill or have to take care of an ailing child or loved one. “Forcing workers to choose between their families’ health and paying bills is not fair — and it’s no way for anyone to live,” said Isela Castro, a parent leader with Green Dot Public Schools. (read article)

Teachers approve new labor agreement

By Anne Ward Ernst, April 12, 2016, Napa Valley Register

The teachers union and school district reached agreement on a new labor contract that was approved by teachers two weeks ago and is scheduled to go before school trustees next week, union officials said. The latest agreement was approved by the union “after a secret ballot was counted after a CAT meeting on Tuesday, March 22,” said Ivan Miller, president of CAT (Calistoga Associated Teachers). Under the new agreement, which is retroactive to July 1, 2015, the certificated salary schedule will increase by 4.67 percent for the 2015-2016 school year, with an additional 4 percent boost for the 2016-2017 school year, bringing the average teacher salary to $101,000 annually, according to the Calistoga Joint Unified School District. (read article)

National Labor Relations Board suspends pro-union official for conflict of interest

By Thomas Lifson, April 12, 2016, American Thinker

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is a relic of the New Deal, set up to regulate both sides of labor-management disputes in the private sector. With private-sector unionism on it deathbed, the NLRB’s once important function (it shone brightest in World War II, keeping production going by avoiding strikes) no longer serves a vital role. And it is also very reluctant to admit when its officials get caught outright promoting unions. (read article)

Labor groups take sides after Dane County judge strikes down Wisconsin’s ‘right to work’ law

By Olivia Barrow, April 11, 2016, Milwaukee Business Journal

The fight over labor unions’ right to charge non-members dues in Wisconsin has begun again with a recent ruling overturning the so-called “right to work” law in Dane County. Dane County Circuit Court Judge William Foust reignited the fight over the law with a ruling on April 8 that declared the law unconstitutional. On March 9, 2015, the state enacted Act 1, known as Right to Work, which made it illegal for labor unions to require non-members to pay anything as a condition of employment. Foust’s ruling called Right to Work unconstitutional because it means unions are forced to provide representation services without pay from the non-members, since it must still represent all employees in its bargaining.(read article)

Union hypocrisy on $15 minimum wage: Asks exemption for employers who unionize

By Thomas Lifson, April 11, 2016, American Thinker

The labor union that led the charge for a $15 minimum wage hike in cities across California is now moving to secure an exemption for employers under union contracts. The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor buried the exemption on the eighth page of its 12-page proposal for the Santa Monica City Council to review Tuesday while deciding whether to follow Los Angeles and increase the minimum wage. The loophole would allow employers with collective bargaining agreements to sidestep the wage hike and pay their union members below the proposed $15-per-hour minimum wage. (read article)

California labor union pushes $15 minimum wage, with a clause to exempt unions!

By John Binder, April 10, 2016, BizPac Review

How do liberal justify something like this? The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which led the fight for a $15 minimum wage, is now working to make sure employers under union contracts don’t have to implement the wage hikes, according to the Daily Signal. The federation hid the exemption on the eighth page of its 12-page proposal for the Santa Monica City Council, as it decides whether or not to follow Los Angeles and hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The labor union notes in the proposal all the reasons why the minimum wage should be hiked, then demands it be given an exemption so that it would not have to follow the minimum wage requirement. (read article)

Cal State Faculty To Get 10.5% Raises Over 3 Years In Labor Deal

By CBS Editorial Staff, April 8, 2016, CBS Local

A salary agreement that forestalled an unprecedented faculty strike at the California State University’s 23 campuses would increase salaries by 10.5 percent over three years and double how long it takes newly hired instructors to be eligible for retirement benefits, university and union officials said Friday. The tentative deal between the 26,000 member California Faculty Association and the nation’s largest public university system represents a compromise and comes as both sides girded for an unprecedented five-day work stoppage. (read article)

New Persuader Rule Creates Labor Law Dilemma for Employers

By David Sparkman, April 8, 2016, Material Handling & Logistics

When the Department of Labor released its new “Persuader Rule” in late March the Secretary of Labor and unions greeted it as a major tool promoting union organizing, while Republicans in Congress and employer groups said it will discourage companies from obtaining needed legal advice. The basis for the rule has been around since 1959 when a law was passed requiring employers to report to DOL contracts with what were termed “labor persuaders,” including attorneys. Those reports were limited to situations where the consultant or attorney communicated directly with the workforce during an organizing campaign. (read article)

In Victory for Unions, Law on Dues Is Struck Down in Wisconsin

By Monica Davey and Julie Bosman, April 8, 2016, The New York Times

A Wisconsin law barring unions from requiring workers in the private sector to pay the equivalent of union dues was struck down late Friday after a judge deemed it a violation of the state’s Constitution. Democrats and union leaders in the industrial Midwest, a region where organized labor has been weakened by a series of new laws in recent years, cheered the ruling, but its fate almost immediately seemed uncertain. (read article)

Are Grad Students Employees? Labor Board To Again Weigh In

By Yuki Noguchi, April 7, 2016, NPR.org

Graduate students at private universities are asking regulators to consider these questions: Are we employees, or not? Can we join a union? The National Labor Relations Board recently decided to review its previous position, reigniting debate within the ivory tower. For Paul Katz, who’s three years into a history Ph.D. program at Columbia University, the 15 to 20 hours a week he spends teaching university undergraduates should mean he’s an employee. He teaches in addition to conducting his own research. “I grade all of their papers, their exams, I run review sessions, I meet with them one-on-one, basically support them throughout the semester,” Katz says. “The university should treat me as an employee because I do work for them.” (read article)

Union Effort to Create Super PAC Stalls

By Brody Mullins and Melanie Trottman, April 6, 2016, The Wall Street Journal

A fight among labor unions over who would control a proposed $50 million super PAC has slowed the creation of a unified effort to boost the chances of labor-friendly Democrats winning the White House and control of Congress in the November election. A senior political strategist for unions first laid out the plan in February before dozens of union presidents and other labor leaders at the winter meeting in San Diego of the executive council of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union federation. (read article)

Scalia’s Death Saves Public Labor Unions

By Donald Scarinci, April 6, 2016, PolitickerNJ

Few Supreme Court observers disagreed that former Justice Scalia was a vote against labor unions in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. When the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision last week it was no surprise that the lower court’s ruling would be affirmed due to a 4-4 split. The split vote brought a very anti-climactic end to one of the most significant labor cases to reach the Court in several years. More importantly, it highlighted the impact of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death and the reason it matters who is appointed to fill his spot. (read article)

Big Labor’s Maximum Leverage in California

By Allysia Finley, April 6, 2016, The Wall Street Journal

Five years ago Jerry Brown arrived in Sacramento for a second turn as governor promising government restraint. Yet he has fallen victim to Sacramento syndrome, the phenomena in which Democratic politicians get taken hostage by labor unions and begin to identify with their captors. On Monday Mr. Brown signed legislation raising California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, from $10. The bill also gives in-house health-care workers three days of sick leave annually. (read article)

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