Union In the News – Weekly Highlights

Union In the News – Weekly Highlights

How a $15 minimum wage went from ‘extreme’ to enacted

Katrina Vanden Heuval, April 5, 2016, Washington Post

What once was considered “pie in the sky” is slowly becoming law. In New York, state legislators just agreed to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, with the full effect beginning in New York City by December 2018. California just passed a compromise raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. New Jersey and the District are planning to move similar laws. After New York and California, nearly 1 in 5 (18 percent) in the U.S. workforce will be on the path to $15 an hour. (read article)

Meet the Bosses: America’s highest-paid labor union officials

By Jason Hart, April 4, 2016, Watchdog.com

President Barack Obama’s policies may not be working out for the average American, but they’re terrific for labor bosses. Obama’s National Labor Relations Board and staunchly pro-union Labor Secretary Tom Perez have tilted the field for union organizers whose compensation clashes with their appeals to worker solidarity. Across the country, thousands of union officers and employees are paid six figures each year. Using the president’s definition of millionaire — anyone with $250,000 in annual income — hundreds of union executives are millionaires. Workers’ dues pay for union officer and employee salaries and other compensation. (read article)

Hillary Clinton Offers A $10 Billion Gift To Labor Unions

By Investor’s Daily Business, April 4, 2016, Investors Business Daily

Industrial Policy: Hillary Clinton’s $10 billion “investment” plan for manufacturing didn’t get much attention. But it should, since it would be a disaster if she ever had the chance to act on it. Clinton calls her plan “Make it in America,” but you will look in vain to find any part of it that would actually help manufacturing. There’s no talk of reforming corporate taxes, lifting the heavy burden of needless EPA regulations, or reducing the cost of hiring new workers. Instead, she wants to get government more deeply involved in the industry — by punishing those that dare to move jobs or investment offshore, while rewarding those that do her bidding. (read article)

Washington Examiner: Bad union rule pursued by administration

By Washington Examiner Editorial Team, April 4, 2016, NewsOK.com

The late Justice Antonin Scalia’s absence was felt acutely on the Supreme Court last week. The remaining eight judges deadlocked 4-4, thus sparing public-sector unions the fate they feared most — being stopped from plundering government workers’ paychecks against their will. Because the court lacked Scalia’s vote, state and local governments elected with union money and union backing can continue to give unions a sweetheart deal at the expense of unwilling workers. They can let unions compel financial contributions from government workers who just want to do their jobs and would rather have no part of a union. (read article)

Home builders sue over new labor union rule

By Ryan Smith, April 4, 2016, Mortgage Professional America

The National Association of Home Builders and the National Federation of Independent Business have joined with other industry groups to sue the Department of Labor over a new rule – a rule they say violates business owners’ First Amendment rights. The Department of Labor’s new “union persuader” rule, set to take effect July 1, would require employers to report whether and when they consult with an attorney to discuss union organizing. Labor unions, meanwhile, don’t face a similar requirement. (read article)

Labor rules prompt lawsuit

By Frank Lockwood, April 2, 2016, Arkansas Online

State and federal industry groups sued the U.S. Department of Labor in federal court this week, saying expanded financial disclosure rules targeting anti-union activities are unconstitutional and go beyond the scope of existing labor law. The suit, filed Wednesday in Little Rock, was the first in the nation to challenge the new disclosure requirements. Similar suits were subsequently filed in Minnesota and Texas. The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) of 1959, as interpreted by previous administrations, required businesses to file reports whenever they hired consultants to “directly persuade” employees. (read article)

After Friedrichs, What’s Next for Teachers’ Unions in the Supreme Court?

By Mark Walsh, April 1, 2016, Education Week

What’s next for teachers’ unions in the U.S. Supreme Court?

The court’s deadlocked outcome March 29 in the major case over teachers’ union fees for non-members was greeted with great relief by organized labor, and rightly so. The 4-4 tie in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association meant that the high court affirmed a lower-court ruling rejecting a challenge by dissident teachers to a key precedent authorizing unions to collect fees for collective bargaining from those who refuse to join. “Abood is the law of the land, and this week’s decision leaves that unchanged,” Alice O’Brien, the general counsel of the National Education Association, said in reference to the 1977 precedent, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. (read article)

CPS files labor charge against teachers union over walkout

By Juan Perez Jr., April 1, 2016, Chicago Tribune

Chicago Public Schools has filed a charge against the teachers union with a state labor board over Friday’s one-day strike. In a filing to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, CPS repeats its long-held argument that Friday’s walkout by the Chicago Teachers Union is illegal because it doesn’t follow the state law governing teacher strikes. The district sees damages “incurred by CPS as a consequence of the CTU’s illegal acts” and an order prohibiting any future strikes from occurring outside the state law. (read article)

Labor Union’s Donald Trump Endorsement Draws Fire From Immigration Activists

By Dave Jamieson, March 31, 2016, The Huffington Post

A prominent immigrants rights group is asking the AFL-CIO labor federation to expel a member union that represents border patrol agents after it endorsed Donald Trump for president. The National Border Patrol Council praised the Republican candidate’s hardline immigration stance when it announced its support on Wednesday. That, in turn, prompted the group Not1More, which seeks an end to deportations, to appeal to the AFL-CIO to boot the union from its ranks. The group launched a petition on Wednesday. (read article)

Purdue Students’ Attempt To Form Labor Union An Uphill Battle

By Claire Mcinery, March 30, 2016, Indiana Public Media

A group of graduate students at Purdue are attempting to form a labor union so they can collectively bargain benefits, wages and grieve unfair labor practices. Michelle Campbell is a doctoral student in literary studies at Purdue, and says many graduate students work for the university teaching undergraduate classes or work in research labs. Campbell says the doubling of responsibilities makes being a graduate student employee confusing. (read article)

Will This New Labor Department Rule Give Unions an ‘Edge’?

By Leah Jessen, March 30, 2016, Daily Signal

The Labor Department is imposing regulations requiring more information to be disclosed about agreements between employers and labor relations consultants. The new “persuader” rule, which takes effect April 25, interprets a section of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 covering employers and the consultants they hire. The House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform estimated that the Labor Department’s new rule could cost employers more than $200 million a year. (read article)

Alpha Seeks to Sever Labor Agreement, Cut Retiree Benefits

By Jacqueline Palank, March 29, 2016, Wall Street Journal

Alpha Natural Resources Inc. is asking a bankruptcy judge to let it slash retiree benefits and tear up existing labor agreements with its mine workers union, warning that its survival is at stake. Taking a page from fellow mining companies Patriot Coal and Walter Energy, Alpha said it is bleeding cash and that time is running out on efforts to broadly cut costs and offload liabilities, including those related to United Mine Workers of America-represented workers and retirees. (read article)

Calif. Lawmakers Strike Tentative Minimum Wage Hike Deal With Labor Unions

By Raven Clabough, March 29, 2016, The New American

Threats by labor unions have forced California lawmakers to strike a deal this weekend that could increase minimum wage to $15 an hour, generating concerns from business owners that the deal will drive up their costs, force them to cut back on the number of employees, and even put them out of business. Despite fears over the long-term negative effects such a wage increase would have on businesses and the availability of jobs for low-skilled workers, lawmakers have apparently caved to union threats to launch fully funded political campaigns that would take the issue directly to the voters in November. (read article)

Justices deadlock on public-employee-union case; Calif. teachers must pay dues

By Robert Barnes, March 29, 2016, The Washington Post

An evenly divided Supreme Court delivered a major reprieve to organized labor Tuesday in a case that could have affected millions of public-sector workers and dealt a severe blow to the most muscular segment of the union movement. The justices said they were split on a challenge brought by a group of California teachers who claim their free-speech rights are violated when they are forced to pay dues to the state’s teachers union. (read article)

Labor Unions Dodge A Bullet At The Supreme Court

By Dave Jamieson, March 29, 2016, Huffington Post

Labor unions can breathe a sigh of relief. On Tuesday, an equally divided Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s ruling in a case that posed an existential threat to public-sector unionism. As a result of the split decision, the system unions use to collect fees from workers will remain intact. It’s unlikely that unions would have survived the case unscathed had Justice Antonin Scalia not died earlier this year, leaving behind an ideologically split court. (read article)

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