Category Archives: Employee Free Choice Act

SEIU’s New Burger Queen? Internal Documents Expose Plan to Unionize Fast-Food Industry

If you’d like to see how a union plans to exploit and target workers if the hallucinogencially-named Employee Free Choice Act (aka “card-check”) is passed, read this post.

Last weekend, we reported on what appeared to be a new union battle that the SEIU was going to wage by invading the UFCW’s turf and attempting to unionize grocery workers.  The foundation of this was an interview new SEIU boss Mary Kay Henry gave to a reporter.  On Tuesday, the SEIU was forced to issue a press release reassuring the UFCW it had no plans on invading (also known as raiding) the food sector.

SEIU fully recognizes the food sector as a core industry of sister union United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents more than a million supermarket workers.

Well, it turns out that the SEIU’s “correction” (see above) may not be entirely accurate.

Internal SEIU documents have exposed a December 2009 plan hatched to unionize the nation’s fast food workers.  The SEIU plan details how the purple behemoth plans on targeting fast-food chains in Los Angeles first, the using L.A. and an “east coast” city as a spring board into other cities.

The SEIU’s plan is based on a labor landscape that is post Employee Free Choice Act, but its strategies demonstrate how the SEIU plans to use EFCA to unionize an almost-entirely union-free industry.  While there is much to comment on about the SEIU plan and how a union targets workers within an industry (see highlighted text), we’re just going to show you the plan itself.

In its plan, the SEIU states:

Our initial probing in this industry has taken place in the Los Angeles metro area.  Los Angeles County has over 60,000 fast food workers in just the top ten chains.  When we mapped out the restaurants of the major chains, we saw that they encompass large groupings of low income tracts.  While just over 20,000 workers are employed in the top 10 chains in Fast Food in LA, we have broke [sic] down 75% of the geography into 4 Clusters.  This encompasses just over 15,000 of the 20,000 workers.

The SEIU’s One-year goal:

Organize 15,000 food service workers in LA County and thousands of additional workers in an east coast market within the first 6 months, and begin raising the standards for these workers.

The SEIU lays out its strategy, as follow:

  • Initiate a focused experiment in one or two metro areas to test the organizing theory and bring resources to bear on a limited geographical target.
  • Choose metro areas with a favorable local political environment and workforce composition (Los Angeles and an east coast market)
  • Target 7-10 of the largest chains to keep bargaining manageable and map out geographic clusters where field work can be concentrated.
  • Build broad-based support for targeted workers via extensive community outreach and organizing and political work with prominent local elected officials
  • While staying focused on the 7-120 chains, bring workers together across companies within geographic clusters to build a sense of movement and solidarity.
  • Use a living wage as a vehicle to excite, build momentum, build worker lists/ID potential leaders and potentially support collective bargaining.  We believe we will have enough traction with an ordinance to use as a legitimate tool for organizing and potentially as legislation to raise standards.
  • Move fast and furious with an army of 200-300 Staff/MOs/VOs/other volunteer organizers and the necessary number of leads to:
    • Petition for living wage
    • ID leaders 
    • Bring workers together within geographies
    • Sign authorization cards
    • File on dozens of restaurants per week 

While the SEIU’s plan was prepared during the reign of Andy Stern and presented to the SEIU’s Executive Board, there is no indication to believe that this plan has changed as Mary Kay Henry has committed $4 million to organizing and was part of the Executive Board at the time of this proposal.

You can read the rest of the SEIU plan here (captured just before it was mysteriously ‘scrubbed’)…

h/t: SternBurgerWithFries.

__________________ 
“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 EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, fast food, Mary Kay Henry, SEIU, UFCW, United Food and Commercial Workers

    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.


    Gooberhead.
    __________________
     

    “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

    A Good Catch: NLRB footnote may signal things to come

    One of the three components of the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act (after card check and binding arbitration) is monetary fines.  Given that EFCA is currently stalled in Congress, there is well-founded speculation that, with a union-controlled National Labor Relations Board, the various components of EFCA could be pushed through by using the NLRB’s rule-making authority.

    Labor Relations Today, a cool new blog by some attorneys, has some interesting insight on one recent case that may be an indicator of where the NLRB may be heading with monetary penalties:

    In San Juan Teachers Assn., 355 NLRB No. 28 (Apr. 30, 2010), without much discussion the Board affirmed the Administrative Law Judge’s finding that the employer violated Sections 8(a)(1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act by unilaterally reducing the hours of two unit employees. Regarding the remedy, the Board states in footnote 1:

    In his exceptions and supporting brief, the General Counsel seeks compound interest computed on a quarterly basis for any backpay or other monetary award. Having duly considered the matter, we are not prepared at this time to deviate from our current practice of assessing simple interest. See, e.g., Cardi Corp., 353 NLRB No. 97, slip op. at 1 fn. 2 (2009); Rogers Corp., 344 NLRB 504, 504 (2005). 

    For years, General Counsel Ronald Meisburg has sought to add compound interest as a routine remedy available to the Board. In General Counsel Memorandum GC 07-07 (May 2, 2007), Meisburg declared simple interest “inadequate” as a “make whole” remedy, and directed all Regional Offices as follows:

    …Regions should begin seeking quarterly compound interest in all future unfair labor practice cases where a monetary award is available.[] Regions should plead this remedy in their complaints and should include in their briefs to administrative law judges a model brief section containing standard arguments in support of this new position.

    Even before this GC Memo, prior General Counsels had sought compound interest in Board cases. Each time, however, the Board has similarly declined to “deviate” from the practice of assessing simple interest.

    While you can read the rest here, it is interesting to note that the issue of compound interest, while not a fine per se (as envisioned under EFCA), could substantially increase employer penalties for back pay and other forms of monetary awards.

    __________________
    “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 EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, National Labor Relations Board, NLRB, NLRB Scorecard

    BREAKING: AFL-CIO’s Trumka on EFCA: ‘We’ll find something to tack it on…’

    Politico’s Ben Smith seems to be a reporter embedded with labor leaders.  He’s the guy that broke the Andy Stern resignation story and has had a lot of the scoop on what’s happening in the bedrooms within the House of Labor.

    As a result, his tweet on twitter this afternoon is particularly relevant as it relates to the job-destroying and hallucinogenically named Employee Free Choice Act:

    Lunch w/AFL-CIO prez Trumka, says they took down #efca banner bc it ripped, but that the issue lives: “We’ll find something to tack it on.”   via UberTwitter

    If this is indeed the back-door route that the new BMOC in DC is going to take on a bill that is bound to kill millions of more jobs, then politicians had better start reading the bills before they vote on them.

    UPDATE: 4:13 PM:

    Politico’s Ben Smith adds to his discussion with AFL-CIO boss Trumka, which includes optimism on a labor re-unification:

    The AFL removed a giant EFCA banner from its Washington headquarters today, prompting speculation of a quiet concession of defeat.

    “It was just starting to rip,” he said. “We’ll put up another one. We’re still working hard.”

    “We’ll find something to tack it on,” he said (of the legislation, not the banner)

    Trumka also said he was optimistic that incoming SEIU President Mary Kay Henry would bring that giant union back into the AFL-CIO.

    “Obviously, the door is open. I think she has shown an interest in it,” he said, adding that he hadn’t spoken to Henry since she consolidated internal SEIU support. “She has said and her supporters have said they’re tired of being isolated.”

    “You had six leaders at the international level who tried an experiment that obviously didn’t work, and now it’s time to bring everybody back,” he said of the breakaway Change to Win group.

    For the banner views, go here.
    __________________
    “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 AFL-CIO, EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, Richard Trumka

    EFCA: What a year…

    What a difference a year made for a really badly-named bill called the Employee Free FORCED Choice Act 
    Last May Day

    This May Day (at the AFL-CIO’s posh HQ building)…

    Despite the visual, Kool Aid drinkers EFCA backers vow to press on…

    __________________
    “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 AFL-CIO, EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act

    The Employee Free Choice Act: ‘When there’s no more room in hell…’

    The hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act is a bill that, like George Romero’s flesh-eating zombies, just refuses to die.

    As the DC rumor-mill has it, EFCA proponents realize that taking away the secret-ballot isn’t too popular and is hurting their hopes for passage.  However, the other main component of the job-destroying bill is equally dangerous for employers and their employees: Binding arbitration.

    What is binding arbitration?

    It’s a process that, under EFCA, allows for a federally-appointed arbitrator to dictate what would be spelled out in a union contract.  This would include things like forced union dues (where legal) from employees, super-seniority for shop stewards, restrictive work rules, management rights, as well as wages and benefits.

    Now, you might be wondering: What’s so bad about binding arbitration?  I mean, arbitrators are pretty reasonable people, right? They don’t make bad decisions, do they?

    Well, our friends over at the Truth About EFCA blog have a great example of a bone-headed decision that one arbitrator in a recent case made::

    A federal judge has ordered Illinois Central Railroad Co. to reinstate a conductor who spent 16 months in federal prison for embezzling union funds (United Transp. Union v. Illinois Central R.R. Co., N.D. Ill., No. 08 CV 4001, 3/16/10). Enforcing an earlier arbitration award under the Railway Labor Act, Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan’s ruling also determined that the company has no obligation to provide back pay for the period of William Miller’s imprisonment.


    Miller began work as a machinist for Illinois Central and was represented by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) Local 498. During a two-year term as secretary-treasurer of the IAM local union, Miller embezzled $63,000 from treasury funds. In November 2005, he pled guilty to charges of embezzlement and obstruction of justice. Miller claimed that he notified his supervisor of his felony conviction, in accordance with company “Rule H.” The railroad asserted that it had received no notification and fired Miller for violating the company rule. He entered prison in July 2006.


    By this time Miller was working as a conductor represented by the United Transportation Union (UTU). His claim for reinstatement with back pay went to arbitration before the Public Law Board (PLB). The PLB draft decision, dated July 18, 2007, ordered his reinstatement with back pay. Illinois Central sent a reinstatement letter in August 2007 ordering Miller to report to work within 15 days. However, since the conductor was not released from prison until early November 2007, he failed to meet the company’s deadline and was refused reinstatement. The UTU filed suit to enforce the arbitration award.


    The effective date of the PLB award was central to the case. Although the draft decision was issued in July 2007, Judge Der-Yeghiayan found that the PLB award was not effective until it had been signed by two of the three board members. The award received the required two signatures on November 30, 2007 – a date when Miller was out of prison and available to work. Upholding the arbitration award, the judge ordered the conductor’s reinstatement with back pay for the period following his release from prison. Der-Yeghiayan rejected the UTU’s argument that the award intended Miller to receive back pay for the period of his incarceration when he was unavailable to work.

    Hmmm. Let’s see if we can summarize this:  1) Union boss steals money from union (IAM), 2) claims to have told supervisor of conviction, but was fired anyway; 3) goes to prison, 4) wins arbitration ordering  reinstatement with backpay, 5) fails to make it back by reinstatement date (because he was still in prison), 6) UTU sues to enforce the arbitration award and argues that back pay should include the time in prison and (drumroll please)… 7) guy gets job back, with back pay (except for the time in prison).

    Now, under EFCA, imagine federally-appointed arbitrators controlling private enterprise.

    Would you trust an arbitrator with your business?

    We think not.
    __________________

    “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 binding arbitration, Employee Free Choice Act

    Collective Sacrifice: Why would unions want to destroy millions of jobs?

    For the past five years, our efforts have been to awaken the American people to the devastating consequences of a job-destroying bill misleadingly named the Employee Free Choice Act (or EFCA, for short).
    As the bill that just won’t quite die a deserved ignominious death, unions and their Democrat pols know that 2010 might be the last time they have an even slim chance for bringing it out of the graveyard of bad legislation.

    While we have always based our opposition to the job-destroying effects of EFCA on our experience in the field and, more importantly, the history of unionized jobs, companies and industries, there has been of late studies to back up what we’ve known all along.

    The Evidence is There: Unions Add to Unemployment

    While unions, in order to build support for EFCA, still try to convince an already wary public that unions are good for jobs, there is a plethora of evidence out there that completely contradicts their claims.  Such evidence exists in the American auto, steel, textile and trucking industries, just to name a few.

    In fact, even President Obama’s Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Summers, wrote that unionization is a cause of long term unemployment:

    Another cause of long-term unemployment is unionization. High union wages that exceed the competitive market rate are likely to cause job losses in the unionized sector of the economy. Also, those who lose high-wage union jobs are often reluctant to accept alternative low-wage employment….

    There is no question that some long-term unemployment is caused by government intervention and unions that interfere with the supply of labor….

    Last year, a study by Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar (in PDF) found that the hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act could, in fact, destroy up to five million jobs.

    The precise effect on unemployment will depend on the degree to which EFCA increases union density, but for every 3 percentage points gained in union membership through card checks and mandatory arbitration, the following year’s unemployment rate is predicted to increase by 1 percentage point and job creation is predicted to fall by around 1.5 million jobs. Thus, if EFCA passed today and resulted in an increase in unionization from the current rate of about 12% to 15%, then unionized workers would increase from 15.5 to 19.6 million while unemployment a year from now would rise by 1.5 million, to 10.4 million. If EFCA were to increase the percentage of private sector union membership by between 5 and 10 percentage points, as some have suggested, my analysis indicates that unemployment would increase by 2.3 to 5.4 million in the following year and the unemployment rate would increase by 1.5 to 3.5 percentage points in the following year.

    A Disproportionate Impact on Small Business and Workers With Low Skills and Education

    To add to the already-big pile of evidence on EFCA’s job-destroying ramifications, a new study (in PDF) has just been released by the American Enterprise Institute* that pretty simply sums up the effects of the delusionally-dubbed Employee Free Choice Act as: EFCA = Unemployment.

    Findings:

    • If the EFCA returns unionization rates to 1970s levels, it could reduce economy-wide employment and gross domestic product by close to 4 percent. This translates to about 4.5 million jobs lost and over $500 billion in lost output and income.
    • Job loss resulting from EFCA will tend to fall disproportionately on workers with relatively low levels of education and skills. Ironically, these are the very workers the proposed legislation is intended to help.
    • EFCA will be particularly costly to small businesses, which typically start out with small profit margins, face high initial failure rates, and are less likely to have specialized human resources staff to deal with labor disputes and union organization. Between 2003 and 2006, 84 percent of new union certification elections were held at companies with less than 100 employees.

    Conclusion:

    • In this increasingly globally competitive economy, increasing wages and expanding the pool of high paying jobs requires increasing worker productivity, not suppressing competition through increased unionization. Alternative policies, including subsidies for education and job training, can promote wage growth for lower-skilled workers more efficiently than unionization.

    So what gives?

    While unions have tried to downplay the negative effects of EFCA by using such bromides as “unions will help restore the middle class,” the reality is, there is very little credible argument from the unions or the Left on EFCA’s job-destroying effects. This raises the question as to why?

    If union leaders understand the fact that EFCA will destroy jobs, why do they continue pushing it?

    The answer to this question lies in the hope that the growth in union membership will supercede the job losses EFCA will cause.  According to outgoing SEIU president Andy Stern, EFCA could add “1.5 million members annually for the next 10-to-15 years with passage of EFCA.”

    Clearly, for the unions, the addition of a greater number of new members would offset the losses of workers whose companies could not compete in a unionized environment and, as unions have moved more toward the services sectors of the economy, they believe that the ends justify the means.

    For those whose jobs are lost due to their companies closing or their jobs being outsourced as a result of unionization, the union justification seems to be:  Too bad.  They can always apply for a union job somewhere else. 

    * – hat-tip: Stop the Assault
    __________________

    “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 EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act