Daily Archives: May 13, 2010

Steelworkers’ Leo Gerard Posts a Funny…sort of

Sometimes union bosses are just plain ol’ gooberheads.

Take Leo Gerard, for example.  He’s the president of the United Steelworkers and he seems to like to making his points by conflating two different issues.

Earlier this week, the union-controlled National Mediation Board (the federal agency that governs labor relations in the airline and railroad industries) set more than 70 years of precedent on its head by changing how union votes are counted.

We noted how the voting change is nothing more than a payback for union bosses who can now concentrate their resources on unionizing an airline’s workers by concentrating only on hub cities and ignoring smaller outlying cities, even though workers in those smaller cities become unionized as well.

Nevertheless, in today’s true union fashion, Gerard posts an antagonistic op-ed in the Hill entitled: Hey, Union-Busters: We’ll Give You Supermajority. Aside from the provocative title [perhaps we should just start calling today’s unions ‘Company Killers’], Gerard’s post was more perplexing to the average reader than enlightening–even for those who don’t immediately see through his sad sophomoric sophistry .

Gerard makes the mistake of trying to tie NMB elections (which are entirely different than NLRB elections) into the uber-union desire for the job-destroying Employee Free Choice Act. His problem with doing that is that one has nothing to do with the other. 

The anti-worker-rights groups wanted the NMB to retain a different kind of election – one that requires the winner to receive votes from the majority of all of those qualified to participate — essentially, a supermajority.

This is an exciting new development. Up until now CEOs, union-busters, and particularly conservative Republicans, have actively opposed the Employee Free Choice Act, mainly because of a provision they call “card check.” But card check provides exactly what they now say that they want – a determination made by the majority of all of those qualified to participate. So, clearly, since they’re so upset by the end of supermajority rule for airline and railroad workers, they’d be happy if Congress intervened and instituted it for all workers by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.

Under the NMB’s new voting procedures (regardless of whether one agrees with it or not), the voter’s preferences (presumably) are kept secret.  Under the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act’s ‘card-check’ provisions, worker preferences are not secret.

Under card-check, workers are left exposed to pressure, manipulation and deception. And, most importantly, under card-check there is NO ELECTION, period.

Gerard’s post would be funny, if it weren’t such a pathetically poor attempt at subterfuge.


“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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Filed under Card-check, Employee Free Choice Act, Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers

Reading the Tea Leaves: Anna Burger will be stepping down at the SEIU

Okay.  We’re going out on a limb here, but it’s not without some solid foundation:  If we’re reading the tea leaves correctly, Anna Burger will likely be leaving her post as Secretary-Treasurer of the SEIU.

In less than a month, the (former) Queen of Labor has gone from being the assumed-next-in-line to lead, to being unceremoniously dethroned by a coup led by the union’s top generals.

Yesterday, CQ Politics laid out the strongest evidence yet that Andy Stern’s “partner” may have reached the end of the rope.

Major changes to the Service Employees International Union’s downtown operations could be under way soon.

In an interview Tuesday, new SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said she is conducting a monthlong review of her top deputies, including Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger, Henry’s main opposition in the union’s recent election to replace longtime head Andy Stern. Burger mysteriously dropped out of the race two weeks before the May 8 election.

“She and I have begun discussions and are committed to reaching an agreement by the end of May. … Every officer is now in a review process about what role they will assume,” Henry said in the interview. “It is the prerogative of the president to reassign responsibilities.”

Reading between the lines, it appears that the new SEIU leader doesn’t want or need Anna Burger undermining the union’s “new” direction, or stabbing her in the back in trying to re-take the union.

It should be noted, we’re not suggesting that Anna will be leaving the SEIU or the labor movement.  For the moment, she is still the head of the failed Change to Win federation and has a seat at the White House dinner task force table.  However, it appears that her power within the SEIU will almost certainly be diminished if when Mary Kay Henry gets her way.

“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

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Filed under Andy Stern, Anna Burger, Change to Win, Mary Kay Henry, SEIU, Service Employees International Union

Secretary of Labor & Union Bosses Want to Shut You Up

With 9.9% of America’s workers unemployed, and the United States facing Greece-like deficits, you would think that America’s leaders would focus on helping the private sector create jobs, instead of proposing rules to make it easier for unions to help cripple companies.

President Obama and his union cronies wants you and your company unionized, period. As a result, Washington’s union assault on America’s job creators continues and, if you are an employee or an employer, you need to be aware of this.  If you have a friend or relative that happens to own a small business (with two or more employees), you need to make them aware of this too.

Forget about EFCA and the Craig Becker at the union-controlled NLRB for a moment, because this latest tactic will probably leave you shaking your head in disbelief.

With the job-destroying (and hallucinogenically-named) Employee Free Choice Act on the back burner for the moment, President Obama’s Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is pushing new rules to make it extremely difficult for employers to talk to their employees about unions.

Unions want to shut you up
Although unions win more than 60% of all NRLB elections, that is not enough for union bosses. You see, employees currently have a right to discuss unions with their employers through individual as well as group discussions. Union bosses do not believe employers should have any right to discuss unionization with employees and they are doing everything in their power to take that right away, without having to go through Congress.

Their plan? To use a little known 1959 law called the Labor-Management Reporting & Disclosure Act and changing the application of this law.

The OLMS “Union Meeting” on May 24th

Earlier this week, a notice to a meeting taking place on Monday, May 24th, at the US Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) was issued. The meeting ostensibly is to “seek comments” and is a mere formality in the Administration’s attempt to help union bosses unionize America.  However, you need to know about the meeting and its likely outcome.

Here is what the meeting is about:

If your Company is targeted by a union, the Secretary of Labor wants your company to file financial disclosure reports if an attorney (or consultant) is hired to give advice, even if the attorney or consultant never speaks directly to employees. 

If your company is targeted by a union and an officer of the company, a supervisor, or an “employee” (such as human resources or employee or labor relations) speaks directly to employees about unionization, the Secretary of Labor wants to require your company to file financial reports on the amount of money spent on the “officer, supervisor, or employee” for such purposes

Note: Since 1959, any consultant, attorney, or firm that is hired to speak directly to employees regarding the exercise of their Section Seven Rights, has been required to file financial reports called LMs with the Office of Labor Management Standards.  These new proposed requirements are a blatant attempt to make it harder for employers to oppose unionization.

[Read the Department of Labor’s notice here.]

Practical examples of the DOL’s intent
Example A:

Suppose ABC Company is targeted by the Teamsters. One day, “Supervisor Joe” is having lunch with Bob (a union mole) out in the field.

Bob casually says to Supervisor Joe, “Hey, Joe. I got a letter in the mail last night from the Teamsters. It had a union card attached. What do you think I should do?”

Supervisor Joe responds, “Bob, that’s your choice. Personally, I don’t think a union is necessary here.”

Example B:
ABC Company has a meeting with its new hires. During the new hire orientation, the Company’s Human Resources Director, Barbara, gives the new hires the Company’s position on unions.

Example C:
Mom & Pop Diner has three waitresses who have been targeted by the United Waitresses Union, one day Mom & Pop’s get a petition from the NLRB. Mom & Pop do what most employers do, call their attorney. The attorney gives Mom & Pop a lot of information about the law, Mom & Pop’s legal rights, the waitresses’ legal rights, as well as some talking points that Mom & Pop can use in discussing the union issue with the waitresses.

Do these examples seem innocuous?
Well, these are the types of scenarios that the Secretary of Labor, under the propsed rules, could view as “reportable” to the Office of Labor Management Standards.

And, what happens if an employer (or attorney or consultant) ignores their reporting requirements?

Go directly to jail cardJail and/or Fines
Willfuly violating the requirements under the LMRDA could land you in jail.

Any person who willfully violates this section shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

Any person who makes a false statement or representation of a material fact, knowing it to be false, or who knowingly fails to disclose a material fact, in any report required under the provisions of this section or willfully makes any false entry in or willfully withholds, conceals, or destroys any documents, books, records, reports, or statements upon which such report is based, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

Yeah. They’re that serious about it.

Again, the meeting at the OLMS will take place on Monday, May 24th, from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon. Although we’re fairly certain that the bulk of the attendees will be union lobbyists, it is a public meeting and we should have a report on this meeting for you the following morning (if not sooner).

As always, we’ll have the scoop for you.


“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

Follow laborunionrpt on Twitter

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Filed under Hilda Solis, Office of Labor Management Standards, OLMS