Tag: Labor

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Decline of Unions Is Good News

 

The United States Department of Labor released a report last week that chronicled the continued decline of the American labor movement in 2019. In our boom economy, more than 2.1 million new jobs were added to the market last year, but the number of unionized workers fell by 170,000. The percentage of union workers, both public and private, fell from 10.5 percent to 10.3 percent, or roughly 14.6 million workers out of 141.7 million. The percentage of unionized workers dipped even lower in the private sector, from about 20 percent in 1983 to 6.2 percent of workers in 2019, a far cry from the 35 percent union membership high mark last seen in 1954. Decline was lower in the public sector, where just over one-third of workers are union members, as a modest increase in state government employees partially offset somewhat larger declines in federal and local unionized workers.

This continued trend has elicited howls of protest from union supporters who, of course, want to see an increase in union membership. It has also led several Democratic presidential candidates to make calls to reconfigure labor law. Bernie Sanders wants to double union membership and give federal workers the right to strike, as well as ban at-will contracts of employment, so that any dismissal could be subject to litigation under a “for cause” standard. Not to be outdone, Elizabeth Warren wants to make it illegal for firms to hire permanent replacements for striking workers. They are joined by Pete Buttigieg in demanding a change in federal labor law so that states may no longer pass right-to-work laws that insulate workers from the requirement to pay union dues in unionized firms. All of these new devices are proven job killers.

Member Post

 

Here in Chicago amid the teachers’ strike, it’s easy to complain about the influence of public sector unions on the city and our daily lives. Hell, I just did so this week (and my thoughts have only calcified). But since I and, I assume, most on this site are true individualists at heart, it’s worth […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Two Pyrrhic Union Victories

 

The Chicago Teachers Union strike and the nationwide strike at General Motors are two troublesome signs of our nation’s increasing political instability. The losses suffered by all parties to these disputes will not be recouped going forward, no matter what the outcome. The difficulty here does not stem from the strategies adopted on either side of the bargaining table; it is that the current structure of management-labor relations requires the bargaining table at all. That “table” is symbolic of the monopoly power, protected by statute, that unions can exert on management in both the private and public sectors. Sadly, the resulting losses are borne not only by the immediate participants of these struggles, but also by students, parents, suppliers, coworkers, taxpayers, citizens, and so on. Their dislocations, though, are blithely dismissed by the unions as “incidental” damage.

The precise issues in most labor strikes vary in their particulars, but they all share several features in common. In the CPS strike, the teachers insist that they are out on strike not just for themselves, but for their students and coworkers. As Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, has stated, “It’s about making the sacrifice to help create welcoming and safe environments for our kids and not taking ‘no’ for an answer.” But her protestations aside, the demands always look the same: salaries must be higher, class sizes must be reduced, and more nurses, social workers, and other staff must be hired. Questions of excessive job security and low public-school performance are never mentioned.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Perils of Compulsory Labor Arbitration

 

The Supreme Court currently has before it a petition for certiorari in Gerawan Farming Inc. v. Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), which arises from a six-year labor dispute between Gerawan and the United Farm Workers (UFW). The petition asks the Court to invalidate the California ALRB’s Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation process (MMC), which forced a three-year contract on Gerawan Farming against its will, and over the objections of hundreds of Gerawan employees.

The case has added urgency because compulsory arbitration is likely to return to the national stage in lead up to the 2020 election. Progressive Democrats are sure to push yet again to amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by reintroducing the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)—an oxymoron. That bill seeks to realign the balance of power among unions, workers, and employers by imposing compulsory government arbitration for first-time union contracts upon initial organization. Such mandatory arbitration strips employers of the key rights they now enjoy under the NLRA, which requires them to bargain in good faith with unions that win a representation election, but states explicitly that this obligation “does not compel either party to agree to a proposal or require the making of a concession.” Under current law, the union keeps the right to strike, and the employer keeps the right to lock out union members if they cannot resolve their differences. However, the NLRA does not apply to agricultural workers, which left a space for California to pass in 1975 its own Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA), closely patterned on the NLRA. Powerful progressive political forces in California worked to pass the state’s MMC process in 2002.

Member Post

 

“Let us each Labor day, hold a congress and formulate propositions for the amelioration of the people. Send them to your Representatives with your earnest, intelligent indorsement [sic], and the laws will be changed.” Rep. Lawrence McGann, D-IL, Labor Day 1894 Most of the world celebrates labor on May 1st, designated International Worker’s Day to […]

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Member Post

 

New Hampshire state employees who don’t wish to join a union will save more than $1 million a year in compulsory union fees following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in Janus vs. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, according to data obtained by the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy through a […]

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Richard Epstein looks at Janus v. AFSCME, a Supreme Court case out of Illinois with the potential to dramatically reduce the power of public sector unions.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Labor Lessons from Canton

 

In the end, it was a landslide. The United Auto Workers (UAW) pulled out all the stops to unionize a Nissan Motors automobile assembly plant in Canton, MS. Yet after a bitter campaign, it lost convincingly, by a 62-to-38 percent margin, with 2,244 employees voting against and 1,307 for unionization. Prior to the vote, the UAW had rolled out the heavy artillery, enlisting the support of Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, as well as a raft of left-leaning Hollywood stars and a large cadre of skilled union organizers. Their expensive and well-orchestrated campaign hammered home this familiar union theme: workers will only receive fair treatment on the job if they join forces to resist management, which seeks to wring every last cent out of its captive workers.

The UAW hoped that success in Canton would give it an entry point in the union-resistant American South, where it might augment its membership rolls, which have plunged from about 1,528,000 workers in 1980 to about 409,000 workers in 2015. And if the UAW could make a comeback, perhaps other unions could rebound as well and reverse the long-term trend: Union membership in all market sectors, public and private, has dropped from about 35 percent of the work force in 1954 to about 11 percent today—all with no major change in the statutory framework governing labor relations.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Believing in Free Markets and Exploitation of Labor: A Conundrum

 

I am an adjunct history professor. I love my job. I love teaching. I love students. I love engaging with the material I try to help students understand. I have never minded the paltry sums I am paid because I also believe strongly in free markets and understand the invisible hand passes out checks to labor.

However, I’m starting to reconsider this position.

Richard Epstein examines efforts by the new Republican Congress to restrict the power of federal regulators, and explains the history of how unelected administrators came to hold so much political power.

Victor Davis Hanson examines the constituent parts of Donald Trump’s political beliefs and attempts to deduce the animating principles of Trumpism.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Obama’s Labor Market Mischief

 
Labor Thomas Perez
President Obama with Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and its subsequent amendments (FLSA), Congress has delegated to the President the power to set overtime regulations for all public and private employees throughout the United States. On March 13, 2016, President Obama directed Thomas E. Perez, head of the Department of Labor (DOL), to “modernize and streamline the existing overtime regulations for executive, administrative, and professional employees,” which, in his view, “have not kept up with our modern economy.” The Department of Labor conducted exhaustive hearings on the matter, during which it received comments from close to 300,000 individuals and organizations.

In May 2016, following these hearings, the Department issued its Overtime Final Rule that showed how little it had learned from the process. It did nothing to adjust the definitions of EAP (executive, administrative, and professional employees) workers. But it did raise the minimum salary level for exempt EAP workers from $23,660 per year, or $455 per week, to $47,892 per year, or $921 per week. The regulation also included a provision that automatically raised the minimum salary level every three years to take into account the effects of inflation.

Member Post

 

The source of much of the angst of this election season is the perceived waning work prospects of the average American. This may have reached a critical mass now, but it is the culmination of trends long in the making. The purpose of this post is to review them, and how they have created a […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Proper Relationship Between Government and Business

 

imageBack when I was moonlighting as a Pinkerton security guard in 1976 or 1977, there was some labor trouble at the manufacturing plant where I worked. I don’t recall the exact order in which things happened, but the workers replaced the UAW with the Teamsters in an acrimonious process, and a Teamsters guy came to help them conduct negotiations for a new contract.

One night, when things had been getting heated, my supervisor stopped by at the beginning of my shift and told me what had happened during the day. Congressman Rick Nolan, a leftwing Democrat, had made an appearance at the plant to insert himself into the process. The plant manager accosted him, asking “What the hell are you doing here?” and ordered him off the property.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Rejoice! The Storm Troopers of Leftism Are Being Crushed!

 

TAA_Rally_in_the_Capitol,_2012_(6879367837)This is the second in a series on the importance and durability of conservative successes since Reagan took office and since Obama lost his supermajority; we do win battles and they can stay won.

Though FDR created the modern Democratic Party as a diverse array of government entities and sales pitches to attract various identity groups, its heart was legally-empowered unions. In what might be considered the first individual mandate, Americans under a pro-union government would be forced to pay dues to a third party who would spend it, in part, on getting Democrats elected. There’s a raft of ways in which that system was enhanced; since 1931, for instance, Davis-Bacon prevailing wage laws have meant that government had to overpay for contracts, with much of the surplus going to unions, who were also helped by the additional red tape. Because people rarely give much of their own free will, declared union spending on the 2012 cycle topped $1.7 billion, while the Obama campaign ($0.5 billion), DNC ($0.3 billion), and declared outside spending on the Presidential race ($0.1 billion) didn’t compare.

Member Post

 

I saw this article on Facebook today. I am an adjunct professor. I find it pretty easy to find adjunct teaching jobs. Getting a full-time teaching job, however, seems like a distant dream. Anyone familiar with colleges and universities is familiar with “adjunctification,” the shift away from full-time professors to part-time adjuncts. The standard line on […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Indigo Labor Day

 

shutterstock_87947731The front-page headline caught my attention: “Tide may be turning for working-class Americans.” Really? We just learned on Friday that a record 94 million Americans are not participating in the labor force. How can this be good news seven years after the Great Recession? Bloomberg columnist Al Hunt explains why we are in fact on the verge of Morning in America, Obama-style:

On the surface, this Labor Day holiday caps another dark year for U.S. unions and many working-class Americans.

Member Post

 

Washington, D.C., August 13, 2115 — bi-gender-stamped, android Independent Senator, Rob-Roberta Otik of California has introduced labor legislation to limit the number of human beings that can apply for low-skilled manual labor careers. In his/her defense of the bill, Senator Otik stated: Read More View Post

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Left vs. the Sharing Economy: Where Are the Atari Democrats of Today?

 

Atari-2600-Wikimedia-commons-500x293Vox’s Timothy Lee looks at how Republicans and Democrats view the emerging sharing economy. Republicans — at least nationally — seem almost uniformly positive. They see Uber, for instance, as a feisty, innovative startup vs. regulators and the cronyist taxicab cartel. But Democrats are sort of split. Lee:

Some liberals dislike Uber on ideological grounds, but others — especially in the media, politics, and technology centers of New York, Washington, and San Francisco — are regular Uber customers. On one side of this debate are old-school liberals with strong ties to the labor movement and urban political machines. For them, Uber is a conventional story about worker and consumer rights. Labor unions believe Uber is flouting the law by classifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees. And they would love to unionize Uber’s fast-growing workforce.