Tag: unions

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Labor unions have dramatically declined as a percentage of the American workforce over the last 30 years. A new proposal from presidential candidate Bernie Sanders seeks to double union ranks, City Journal senior editor Steven Malanga reports, which would mean adding nearly 15 million new members. Malanga joins associate editor Seth Barron to discuss Senator Sanders’s proposal, which would put new […]

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Oren Cass joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss his new book, The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America. The American worker is in crisis. Wages have stagnated for more than a generation, and reliance on welfare programs has surged. Life expectancy is falling as substance abuse and obesity rates climb. Work and its future […]

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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.

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In my USA Today column for Labor Day weekend, I recommend that public-sector unions drop the political activism and focus on providing their members with great service at a great price. You know, like every other organization in a competitive marketplace has to do. Public-sector union bosses haven’t seemed to notice that by ending agency […]

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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 reacts to the recent Supreme Court decision in Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis, defending the right of employers to use arbitration and avoid class action lawsuits. More

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Teachers Are Revolting

 

Last week, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin gave each Oklahoma public school teacher a massive 15 to 18 percent pay raise funded by the largest tax increase in state history. To show their appreciation, teachers went on strike demanding even more money. Today, 200 Oklahoma school districts are shut down, with students going uneducated and parents scrambling for daycare.

Similar protests have been taking place in Kentucky, Arizona, and West Virginia. What do all these states have in common? Republicans hold the governorship and both legislative chambers. But it’s totally non-partisan and for the children … or something.

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Richard Epstein explains how public pensions came to be a ticking time bomb for states and cities throughout the U.S., what the financial ramifications are, and why the road to reform is so perilous. More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Pension Abuse in California

 
Mark Janus, the plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME.

One of the main themes in the blockbuster case of Janus v. AFSCME—currently before the United States Supreme Court—is the risk of having unions sit on both sides of the table in public-sector contract negotiations. Nowhere is that risk more pronounced than in California, where the perverse and pervasive effects of union political influence are on display in Cal Fire Local 2881 v. California Public Employees’ Retirement System, now before the California Supreme Court. Between 2009 and 2013, California law allowed state and local employees with over five years of service to purchase with their own funds up to five years of “fictional years of retirement service credits”—commonly called “airtime”—that they could then add to their years of actual service in order to increase the value of their pensions at retirement.

This novel airtime benefit was supposed to be cost-neutral to public employers, but it never was: each unit of airtime represented a huge windfall to the lucky state employees and a drain on the public treasury. The Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) sought to end the practice moving forward, without taking away airtime rights that had already been purchased by public employees. The union’s position is that the right to purchase future airtime rights was vested in all current employees on passage of the statute, so that PEPRA violates the state constitution’s contracts clause by preventing employees hired before 2013 from making purchases after 2013. The California Court of Appeal rebuffed that union effort by holding that the union did not meet its “elevated” burden of showing that the legislature had indeed intended to create these vested rights going forward. The California Supreme Court should follow suit.

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With the recent derailment in the news, and with it looking increasingly like operator error, this is as good as time as any to discuss the peculiarities of the rail labor unions. Regardless of whether self-driving cars are ever safe enough, self-driving trains operate under more predictable constraints and limitations, which should make the implementation […]

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My brother and sister-in-law are visiting New Zealand and Australia (knocking items off their bucket list). He just put this photo up on Facebook and I had to share it with you: More

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Falsity and truth in teacher’s unions, ObamaCare, and the Boy Scouts. More

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Recorded on July 24, 2017 With schools in session across the country, Hoover senior fellow Paul Peterson details this year’s survey of American education by Education Next. Among the more notable results: teachers are wary of their colleagues’ performance; parents are increasingly dissatisfied with charter schools. Like Area 45? Please rate, review, and subscribe now! […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Andy Puzder on Withdrawing as Labor Secretary

 

Andy PuzAndy Puzder joined us at Freedom Fest to discuss the minimum wage, small business regulations, his withdrawal from his Labor Secretary nomination, the poignant discussion he had with Mike Pence, and his last marketing effort at Carl’s Jr., creating possibly one of the greatest commercials in modern times (video below).

In February 2017, fast-food executive Andy Puzder withdrew his nomination to be Labor Secretary as the White House realized the CEO of CKE Restaurants would go down in defeat due to infighting even on the Republican side of Congress. Only a couple of days following the termination of Mike Flynn, seeing one of President Trump’s cabinet picks walking away was a victory for Democrats, unions, and liberal groups. The New York Times attacked Mr. Puzder’s business record and, more importantly to Andy, his character. Mr. Puzder said his treatment had been “an unprecedented smear campaign.” Democrats vocally lauded Mr. Puzder’s withdrawal as “a victory for working Americans.” Many Conservatives were dismayed as Mr. Puzder, while running both Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, staunchly opposed the Affordable Care Act, spoke out against the Progressives’ effort to increase the minimum wage to $15, and overtime rules. The unions despised his policies and made it personal.

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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.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Should a Policy’s Racist History Matter?

 

shutterstock_54864934It’s funny. Left-wing opponents of school choice frequently carp about the fact that some segregationists thought school vouchers would be a swell way to avoid sending their kids to school with blacks, as though that’s a reason to oppose them today, even though research shows that school vouchers foster racial integration and their primary beneficiaries tend to be black and brown kids.

If so, why isn’t the extremely racist history of the minimum wage also relevant?

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Misguided Judge Invalidates Wisconsin’s Right-to-Work Law

 

WalkerIn these turbulent times, it is quite amazing how rapidly the fortunes of the political wars can shift, especially on matters of labor law. Earlier this year, the question before the United States Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was whether teachers had a constitutional First Amendment right to steer clear of mandatory union membership. During the oral argument it was clear that five members of the Supreme Court believed that the association improperly forced unit workers to contribute to a cause in which they did not believe. Four members believed that the traditional accommodation under Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), made it permissible for the state to distinguish between economic matters for which dues had to be paid, and political matters on which union members could opt out. The cases ended, without a decision in a 4 to 4 vote, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Left standing until another day was the decision in the Ninth Circuit that rejected the First Amendment challenge.

As this matter remains unresolved, a new thunderbolt has come from Dane County, WI where Judge C. William Foust held at the request of three unions that the Wisconsin right-to-work law was unconstitutional because it deprived unions of the property in their own labor without just compensation, “[b]y prohibiting the unions from charging nonmembers who refuse to pay for representation services which unions continue to be obligated to provide by law.”

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Friedrichs Decision Is a Blow Against Educational Excellence

 
rebecca_friedrichs
Rebecca Friedrichs, a veteran Orange County, Calif., public school teacher.

Today, an evenly divided Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association to permit unions to continue charging nonmembers “agency fees” to cover collective-bargaining activities that the union supposedly engages in on their behalf. About half the states require agency fees from public-sector workers who choose not to join a union.

Not only do agency fees violate the First Amendment rights of workers by forcing them to financially support inherently political activities with which they may disagree (as my Cato Institute colleague Ilya Shapiro and Jayme Weber explained), but the unions often negotiate contracts that work against the best interests of the workers whose money they’re taking. For example, union-supported “last-in, first-out” rules and seniority pay (as opposed to merit pay) work against talented, young teachers. Moreover, a teacher might prefer higher pay to tenure protections, or greater flexibility over rigid scheduling rules meant to “protect” them from supposedly capricious principals.

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So I stole most of that head line, but this is an interesting article. There’s enough background in the article so you won’t have to search the internet for the back story of LA’s theatre union woes. More

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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.

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