Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

California Senate Bill Benefits Taxpayer-Financed Union Slush Fund

By Katy Grimes, August 23, 2016, Canada Free Press

The Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978 is rearing its ugly head once again in the California Legislature, as it roars to the end of the 2015-16 session. Senate Bill 954 by Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, would redefine what benefits employers can pay into as part of their obligation to pay workers on public works projects the prevailing wage. Specifically, the bill qualifies certain prevailing wage benefit payments, but only if they are made by an employer “obligated under a collective bargaining agreement.” (read article)

Labor board rules student assistants can form union

By Sean Higgings, August 23, 2016, Washington Examiner

The National Labor Relations Board, the main federal labor law enforcement agency, ruled Tuesday that student assistants are employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act and therefore eligible to form a union. The ruling could have a profound impact on higher education, as student assistants are widely used at private colleges and universities in lieu of traditional teachers. The labor board ruled 3-1 in a case called Columbia University that student assistants are statutory employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act. (read article)

NLRB: State of Michigan workers union broke law with own employees

By Paul Egan, August 23, 2016, Detroit Free Press

A union representing state workers broke federal labor laws in actions it took against its own employees, including illegal firings and discipline and refusals to turn over information, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled. The federal board, in a 2-1 ruling, ordered the 4,500-member MSEA and Moore to stop violating the Labor Relations Act, reinstate central office employees who were wrongfully fired, and restore back wages, pay, benefits and seniority. (read article)

California teachers’ unions win in big case

By The Washing Post (AP), August 22, 2016, NOLA.com

The California Supreme Court on Monday (Aug. 22) declined to hear a case challenging the state’s laws on teacher tenure, dismissal and layoffs, a decision that leaves the laws in place and hands a major victory to teachers’ unions. It was a new civil rights argument against teacher tenure laws, and at first it seemed successful. After a 10-week trial in 2014, the trial court sided with the plaintiffs, whose lawyers described the California case as the first in a series of state-by-state legal challenges to tenure laws. But in April, an appeals court overturned the lower court’s decision, finding that though “deplorable staffing decisions” have harmed poor and minority children in the state’s public schools, those decisions are the fault of principals and other administrators — not the result of the laws themselves.” (read article)

Right-to-work law would help business, workers, unions

By Ariel Gordon, August 22, 2016, Forbes 

Although many labor unions were created with a noble purpose, over the last few decades some unions have done less to protect their members and more to enrich themselves. Unions increasingly spend less time bargaining and fall victim to increasing amounts of corruption. Many unions are spending more and more time – and worker dues – lobbying for political causes that their members may disagree with. (read article)

California lawmakers revive farmworker overtime bill

By Jonathan J. Hooper, August 22, 2016, San Diego Union-Tribune 

California’s state Senate on Monday revived a bill that would make the state the first in the United States to give farmworkers the same overtime pay as people who work in other industries, a last-ditch effort to reverse a nearly 80-year-old practice of exempting field hands from wage rules. Hourly workers in California are generally entitled to pay at one-and-a-half times the hourly rate after they have worked eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. But for agricultural workers, the threshold required to get overtime pay is 10 hours a day or 60 hours a week. (read article)

Some Labor Unions Refuse to Join Establishment Praise of Clinton

By Michael Sainato, August 22, 2016, Observer

During the Democratic primaries, unions that held member votes over support of a particular candidate almost invariably chose Sen. Bernie Sanders, while unions that made an endorsement based on the decision of its leadership mostly supported Hillary Clinton. As a result of Clinton’s troubling political record on behalf of the labor movement, several unions have refused to either switch their initial endorsement from Sanders to Clinton, or make any endorsement for president this election. (read article)

Appeals court upholds NLRB actions in labor dispute

By Lydia Wheeler,  August 19, 2016, The Hill

The nation’s second most powerful court on Friday sided with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a case challenging actions the board took against a company that tried to keep employees from joining a union. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said it found no basis to disturb the NLRB’s “well-reasoned decisions” and denied Ozburn-Hessey Logistics’s petition for review. NLRB found that the Ozburb-Hessey committed multiple unfair labor practices during the months leading up to the 2011 union representation election, which the union won by a one-vote margin. (read article)

Talks stall on $400 million in California affordable housing

By Juliet Williams & Alison Noon, August 18, 2016, Albany Times Union

California’s Assembly speaker conceded defeat Thursday on negotiations over a plan to inject $400 million into affordable housing projects, a deal that was included in the $122 billion budget compromise legislative leaders negotiated with Gov. Jerry Brown this spring. The funding was contingent on lawmakers approving Brown’s controversial “by right” housing proposal to speed approval for developments that include affordable units. The proposal would give automatic approval to projects that meet existing zoning requirements and set aside at least one-fifth of the units for low-income residents. (read article)

Minimum Wage Hikes Mean Major Job Losses

By Michael J. Webert, August 18, 2016, Daily Caller

California, New York, Seattle and Washington D.C. are some of the jurisdictions where the minimum wage has been increased to $15 an hour. Advocates of increasing the minimum wage claim that this proposal is the best means for lifting workers in low skilled positions out of poverty. However, mandating employers increase wages will likely have the opposite effect — decreased economic opportunity. Reducing employment opportunities likely isn’t a concern of the labor union supported “Fight for $15” campaign. While labor groups ostensibly advocate for the $15 minimum wage as a means to reduce poverty, in reality they are waging this campaign to inflate their membership rolls. (read article)

Employers Beware: NLRB Likely To Drop More Pro-Union Rulings By End Of August

By Daniel Fisher, August 17, 2016, Forbes

The National Labor Relations Board may hand down some big decisions in favor of labor unions before the expiration of Board Member Kent Hirozawa’s term on Aug. 27, including a “clear successor” rule making it easier to impose union contracts on the buyers of companies and a decision in favor of Columbia University graduate students seeking to form a union. (read article)

CTU Prepping Teachers for ‘Strong Possibility’ of Strike

By Matt Masterson, August 17, 2016, Chicago Tonight

The Chicago Teachers Union is “likely to strike” this fall, according to an email distributed to teachers this week advertising a daylong strike training session this weekend. The email – sent to teachers by CTU with the subject line “Sat. 8/20: Prepare to strike with Labor Notes” – offers to connect teachers with other public sector unions in order to better leverage their “combined power.”Lewis says contract talks are stuck on the desire by CPS to end the pension pick up. For three decades, the district has paid 7 percent of the 9 percent employee contribution to the teacher pension system. (read article)

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