Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

$15 Minimum Wage Sends California Businesses Fleeing

By Connor D. Wolf, April 26, 2016, Daily Caller

California businesses are already starting to move out of state less than a month after lawmakers raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, according to reports Monday. California beat New York by a couple hours April 4 to become the first state to raise its minimum wages to $15. The new law is a huge victory for advocates who had previously only seen success on the city level. Now, businesses are already starting to leave the state in response to the upcoming increase. “It’s been less than a month since California passed legislation to hike the minimum wage to $15 and disastrous impacts are already being felt,” America Rising Squared Communications Director Jeremy Adler said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. (read article)

Union leaders praise Wisconsin courts for Right to Work reversal

By PR News Staff, April 26, 2016, PR NewsChannel

Labor supporters in Wisconsin were given a reason to celebrate last week when a Circuit Court judge in Dane County entered a final order declaring the state’s controversial Right to Work law unconstitutional. It’s a move that has drawn praise beyond the borders of “The Badger State.” “Despite the recent labor onslaught brought on by the Walker administration, it is great to see that Wisconsin still has leaders that understand the issues facing union workers and most importantly, are willing to stand up for them,” said Rick Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in neighboring Ohio. “We couldn’t be happier with the court’s decision and we’re optimistic about where the issue will go from here.” (read article)

Union Election Reform Bill Gets Ad Boost

By Connor D. Wolf, April 26, 2016, The Daily Caller

A workplace choice advocacy group released a newspaper ad Tuesday in support of a bill that would add increased scrutiny to union elections.The Employee Rights Act (ERA) was introduced July 8 by Republicans Sen. Orrin Hatch  and Rep. Tom Price. The measure would essentially guarantee secret ballot elections and require unions to hold re-certification votes. The Center for Union Facts (CUF) has been an adamant supporter of the proposal and promoted its benefits in an ad published in USA Today. “Union officials have put a stranglehold on employees at the expense of democracy and individual rights,” CUF Executive Director Richard Berman said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.(read article)

Constitution Check: Do labor unions have a new answer to right-to-work laws?

By Lyle Denniston, April 26, 2016, Constitution Daily

Lyle Denniston, the National Constitution Center’s constitutional literacy adviser, looks at the debate over “right-to-work” laws and a potentially important case in Wisconsin. For decades, labor unions in America have chafed at what they call the “free rider” problem, but that very problem has been more aggravating to them with the spreading success of “right-to-work” laws. Lately, though, their lawyers have fashioned what is potentially an effective answer to that problem: the U.S. Constitution. (read article)

Unions’ $15 Minimum Wage About-Face

By Rex Sinquefield, April 25, 2016, Forbes

Recent discussions within Los Angeles labor groups reveal inherent hypocrisy within the “Fight for $15” campaign. Unions paid plenty of lip service toward this effort, which would raise the minimum wage to $15. The Los Angeles City Council is considering a measure that would raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 by 2020, and this month California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2022. It seems that unions should be celebrating this supposed win for workers – yet union leaders are currently seeking an exemption to the $15-an-hour minimum wage for union members. (read article)

Labor unions sue state of Michigan over election law

By Kathleen Gray, April 25, 2016, Detroit Free Press

A coalition of labor unions sued the State of Michigan in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Friday over a law that allows corporations, but not unions, to use payroll deductions for contributions to political action committees. The sweeping law was one of the final ones passed in last year’s legislative session, after it transformed from an innocuous bill on campaign finance law into a 53-page wholesale revision of campaign finance law. One of the provisions allows corporations to use payroll deductions for employees to make contributions to the business’ political action committee. But it also prohibits unions from having the companies where their members work make payroll deductions for the union’s PAC. (read article)

Sanders snags another union endorsement

By Nick Gass, April 24, 2016, Politico

Bernie Sanders on Sunday announced that he had earned the backing of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, in the Democratic candidate’s latest endorsement from a major national labor union as he looks to gain momentum ahead of Tuesday’s five primaries. Peter Knowlton, the union’s national president, called the Vermont senator in a statement released through his campaign “the most pro-worker pro-union presidential candidate I have seen in my lifetime,” adding that Sanders’ candidacy “is a unique opportunity that workers and unions must not pass up.” (read article)

Richard Berman: Big Labor’s big issues in California and beyond

By Richard Berman, April 22, 2016, Monterey Herald

After Gov. Jerry Brown signed off on a $15 minimum wage, the law’s proponents couldn’t contain their excitement. “The fearlessness of the workers has made elected officials understand that there is huge wind at their back,” Mary Kay Henry — the president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) — proclaimed. But jubilation soon gave way to uncertainty. When the dust settled, the SEIU — which has pulled the strings for a $15 minimum wage since 2012 — was left with a grim reality amid legislative success: Its membership is on the decline. According to the SEIU’s federal filings with the Department of Labor, the union’s membership dropped from 1,893,775 employees in 2014 to 1,887,941 in 2015, a decrease of almost 6,000 members in just a year’s time. Reminiscent of the labor movement writ large, the SEIU has lost almost 34,000 members since 2011 — before the Fight for $15 began. (read article)

Why Airbnb is in talks with one of America’s largest unions

By Heesun Wee, April 21, 2016, CNBC

Start-up Airbnb and the SEIU, one of the nation’s largest labor unions, are in talks for a potential alliance. The San Francisco-based home rental company offers a platform and income stream for home renters. The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, represents some 2 million workers. The union has also been a major force and financial supporter in the fight for a $15 minimum wage. Now as the SEIU and activists work to expand support for higher pay in the absence of congressional action, the large union seems to be making friends in unlikely circles in pursuit of more $15 union jobs. (read article)

Agreement Between Airbnb and Labor Union Falls Through

By Deanna Ting, April 21, 2016, Skift

After a reported attempt to woo one of the nation’s largest labor unions, Airbnb is seemingly back to square one in its quest to win over one of its foes: organized labor. Following a meeting on April 19 between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Unite Here, it appears the reported SEIU agreement with Airbnb is no longer (or never was). In a press statement obtained by Skift, a spokesperson for the SEIU said: “As we have stated before, there is no formal relationship or agreement between SEIU and Airbnb. Further, any claims that SEIU is currently in the process of advancing or on the verge of closing such a deal are inaccurate and based on speculation and hearsay.” (read article)

State labor board chair says CTU’s one-day strike was illegal

By Juan Perez Jr., April 21, 2016, Chicago Tribune

A State labor panel on Thursday agreed to ask a judge to issue a temporary injunction against strikes like the one carried out by the Chicago Teachers Union on April 1 until the larger issue of whether such walkouts are legal is resolved. The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board still has to hold a full hearing on the legality of the strike. But in Thursday’s preliminary hearing, the panel clearly found merit in Chicago Public Schools’ argument that the CTU’s one-day strike was illegal. The district filed an unfair labor practice charge against the union on the day of the walkout. As part of that, the district asked for a preliminary injunction to prevent the union from striking outside the mandates of state law in the future. (read article)

New NLRB Election Rules Haven’t Helped Unions Grow as Expected

By Melanie Trottman, April 20, 2016, Wall Street Journal

A new federal rule imposed last year to speed up union-organizing elections hasn’t helped increase labor’s foothold in private-sector workplaces, as business groups feared. New data released Wednesday by the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that enacted the rule, show elections have been happening 40% faster as a result of the rule, but unions have been winning about the same percentage as they did before the rule took effect: about two-thirds. Labor pushed for the rule arguing it would increase the odds of them winning elections by giving employers less time to unlawfully pressure workers into voting against unionization. (read article)

Hillary Clinton to building unions: ‘Organized labor will always have a champion in the White House’

By Emily Peiffer, April 19, 2016, Construction Dive

Hillary Clinton told North America’s Building Trades Union that she will “not let anyone undermine prevailing wage standards or project labor agreements” during the group’s legislative conference Tuesday in Washington, DC. The crowd of union organization leaders and members booed as she addressed Sen. Ted Cruz’s statements that he would support a national “right to work” law. “That’s a law that would gut unions, drive down wages and benefits, and take away even more power from working people,” Clinton said to cheers from the crowd. “Right to work is wrong. It’s wrong for workers, and it’s wrong for America.” (read article)

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