Unions in the News – Weekly Highlights

Unions in the News – Weekly Highlights

California teachers unions face new legal challenge over dues

By Emma Brown, April 7, 2015, Washington Post

Four California teachers are suing their unions over the use of member dues for political activities, opening a new legal front against unions that are already facing a separate challenge to their ability to collect dues from all teachers. The plaintiffs argue that unions are violating their constitutional right to free speech by forcing them to either support union-favored causes and candidates or lose access to important job benefits. At stake are tens of millions of dollars in dues collected by the state’s two largest teachers unions. (read article)

Look Carefully for the Union Label

By Jon Coupal, April 7, 2015, Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Because of Proposition 13, the unions representing California’s government employees—employees that are the highest paid in all 50 states according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—have a huge stake in who is elected to the state Legislature. While most Californians are aware that Proposition 13 limits increases in property taxes—they can be increased by two percent annually—they are less familiar with the requirement that new or increased state taxes receive a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature. (read article)

Are unions and Democrats still happy together?

By Jean Cummings, April 7, 2015, Bloomberg News

Unions may be weaker, smaller and more embattled, but they remain crucial players in Democratic politics. When wealthy Republicans began pouring millions into super-PACs in 2010, unions worked to shield Democratic candidates from the onslaught, becoming their biggest source of super-PAC donations. (read article)

Automakers, labor union face a long, hot summer of contract talks

By Doron Levin, April 7, 2015, Fortune

At the heart of Detroit’s mission to compete globally is a labor relations strategy that has often pitted workers and management against one another, to their mutual disadvantage. (read article)

O.C. puts pensions front and center

April 6, 2015, Orange County Register

At 20 years since Orange County’s 1994 bankruptcy, county and city budgets face a new threat: public pension liabilities. The causes are several. Contract negotiations long have been held out of the public eye, lacking scrutiny and oversight from all but the most dedicated reformers. (read article)

See which state lawmakers are most (and least) likely to back unions

By Allen Young, April 6, 2015, Sacramento Business Journal

The California Labor Federation on Monday released a legislative scorecard showing how the state’s 120 legislators line up on union-backed bills. The scorecard tallies votes on 33 bills in 2014. Two Sacramento-area legislators, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson and Assemblyman Richard Pan, entered a 100 percent club by supporting every bill pushed by organized labor. (read article)

Top 4 Reasons Why People Say Today’s Unions Are a Joke

By Katy Troutman, April 6, 2015, CheatSheet.com

Last year, the percentage of working Americans who were unionized reached a ninety-seven-year low, and public opinion of labor unions has been in the gutter throughout much of the past decade. Yet, labor unions have played an important role in U.S. history, and some experts have suggested that the time is nigh for unions to make a comeback. (read article)


By Chriss W. Street, April 5, 2015, Breitbart.com

Governor and stealth Presidential candidate Jerry Brown last September passed the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act,” It declares employees in companies of all sizes must receive at least three paid sick days, which appears to be a huge expansion of the welfare state. But the law’s exemption for unions is aimed at forcing small businesses into healthy union workplaces. (read article)

In Chicago’s Reshaped Politics, Unions Are Divided Over Mayoral Race

By Monica Davey, April 5, 2015, New York Times

An exuberant crowd that included public-school teachers, union bus drivers and nursing home workers packed into New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church on this city’s West Side on Saturday afternoon as Karen Lewis, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, issued an urgent plea. (read article)

Government labor union spends $65 million on politics

By Jason Hart, April 3, 2015, Watchdog.org

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees funneled more than $65 million to politicians, lobbyists and activist groups last year. Would you believe taxpayer money taken from government workers’ paychecks was sent to MSNBC host Al Sharpton? It was. AFSCME donated $126,500 to Sharpton’s National Action Network, one of many examples of AFSCME spending member dues on polarizing “progressive” causes. (read article)

Rand Paul’s Favorite Union-Buster

By Josh Eidelson, April 3, 2015, Bloomberg

Last year, the Democrats who control the Kentucky House of Representatives killed a Republican proposal that would have made it illegal for unions to charge workers at private companies mandatory fees—in other words, to run union shops. One of the bill’s sponsors, Representative Jim DeCesare, assumed his option was to try again in the next General Assembly session. (read article)

Union Caucus Backs West Coast Ports Pact

By Laura Stevens, April 3, 1015, Wall Street Journal

A union caucus representing laborers at U.S. West Coast ports recommended approval of a new five-year labor contract to members Friday, paving the way for a final agreement to end the labor dispute that for months had a chokehold on much of the U.S. supply chain. (read article)

A Union Resurgence Attempt Undermined by Right-to-Work

April 3, 2015, EconomyWatch.com

An effort to weaken organized labor is sweeping the Midwest, a region with a rich history of union activism. The strategy takes advantage of a curious provision of US labor law, section 14 (b). It allows states to pass laws that prohibit unions from negotiating the collection of union dues with employers and, more specifically, from compelling workers covered by the bargaining agreement to pay them as a condition of employment. (read article)

Government Union Boss Apparently Equates Valuing Work with Taxpayer Shakedowns

By Vicki Alger, April 3, 2015, Independent Institute

On the heels of the worst jobs report in over a year, Watchdog.org’s Jason Hart reports that Americans “are footing the bill for six-figure government union pay.” As Hart explains: Taxes siphoned by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees let the union pay its staff and officers an average of $103,623 last year. (read article)

American Apparel hit by labor union pains

By James Covert, April 2, 2015, New York Post

American Apparel can add labor unrest to its laundry list of woes. The cash-strapped clothing chain has hired a consultant to warn its factory workers about labor unions as an effort to organize the company’s workforce escalates, The Post has learned. (read article)

South Carolina governor takes aim at union ‘bullies’ in Boeing labor vote

By Colleen Jenkins, April 02, 2015, Reuters

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley considers the bid to unionize workers at Boeing Co’s North Charleston plant a threat to one of her state’s corporate crown jewels, and she is turning to radio, speeches and social media to denounce the campaign. “We don’t need their bully middleman tactics between our associates and their employer,” she wrote on Twitter last month. (read article)

CALPERS board worries more about union employees than taxpayers

April 1, 2015, San Jose Mercury News

When I served on the City of Milpitas Budget Task Force, six of us worked through most of the significant expenses in the city budget, to locate which costs could be reduced. We received a lot of help from the city staff in response to our endless list of questions. One of our key questions was, “What can be reduced under existing law and what cannot be reduced?” (read article)

Postal Workers’ ad assails Faust for ties to Staples

By Taryn Luna, April 1, 2015, Boston Globe

How do you get the attention of the president of Harvard University? A full-page attack ad in a student newspaper will probably do it. The American Postal Workers Union is taking out an advertisement in the Harvard Crimson later this week telling readers that president Drew Faust is “smearing Harvard’s good name” by sitting on the board of directors at Staples Inc. (read article)

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