collective bargaining Archives - Shopfloor

Labor Secretary Solis: ‘The fight is on!’ Against Whom, Exactly?

By | Labor Unions | No Comments

The taxpayers of Wisconsin? Governors and legislators who seek to balance their state budgets? People who disagree with lawmakers who flee their responsibilities as elected officials?

Byron York, Washington Examiner, “Labor secretary steps out in Wisconsin union fight“:

President Obama is staying mostly quiet about the union battle going on in Wisconsin. His labor secretary, Hilda Solis, is not.

“The fight is on!” Solis told a cheering crowd at the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting over the weekend in Washington. Giving her support to “our brothers and sisters in public employee unions,” Solis pledged aid to unionized workers who are “under assault” in Wisconsin and elsewhere….

But is it the role of the secretary of labor to take sides in a fight that pits public employee union members against workers and taxpayers who support Walker’s reforms? After all, the Labor Department mission statement says its purpose is “to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States.” It doesn’t say anything about unionized wage earners, job seekers, and retirees.

Guess we now have a good idea of what Vice President Biden, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka were chatting about last week in their White House get together: Messaging.

More …

Do we understand, then, Secretary Solis, that the Administration will now push for collective bargaining for federal employees? If it’s a right …

Misdirection and Attacks Amid the Union Protests

By | Labor Unions | No Comments

From AP, Nevada, “NV Rally Supports Fight vs. Wis. Anti-Union Bill“:

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – More than 100 protesters turned out in Carson City to support thousands of public workers who’ve set up camp at the Wisconsin Capitol to fight Republican-backed legislation aimed at weakening unions.The Nevada Appeal of Carson City reports protesters waved signs in front of the Legislative Building on Saturday and chanted “Money for Kids, not for Koch.”

We can imagine the exchange.

Hey, you here for the protest? Great! Now take this sign and chant along with us.

OK. Sure. Who are the Kochs?

Doesn’t matter. Just wave the sign.

Um, all right. Boo, boo!

If ever you want to see a cynical PR campaign in operation, take a look at the coordinated rallies in state capitals organized by the labor unions. All around the country, unions protested Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to control state spending by limits on collective bargaining for public employees.

There was a consistent talking shouting point: Unions built the middle class! In New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, even at the Oscars, the rhetoric was all the same.

It’s misdirection.  AFSCME and the SEIU did not build the middle class.  Even if one agrees that industrial unions contributed to rising private sector wages in the 1950s, the growth of American middle class had next to nothing to do with public sector employees and collective bargaining. Those unions took off with the explosion of state and local governments in the ’60s and later.

The rallies also featured a consistent target: Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries. Labor’s modus operandi requires picking a target to attack, personalizing their campaigns by demonizing an individual, or in this case individuals. You fire up the troops and discourage a more reasoned discussion of the issues. This time the target is the Kochs. Read More

Friday Factory Tune: Wanted Man

By | Friday Factory Tune, General | No Comments

This one goes out to all those state legislators who flee their responsibilities…

And in keeping with Shopfloor’s preference for aging new wave artists, here’s Nick Cave doing the same song in his pre-superannuated days with the Bad Seeds.

In other rock news related to collective bargaining for public employees, we read that the Pogues/Green Day tribute band, the Dropkick Murphys, have recorded a song in solidarity with union workers in Wisconsin. It’s a very civil shoutalong called “Take ‘Em Down.” Who’s the ’em? Must be the taxpayers.

The Murphs should have just brushed off their old song, “Walk Away.” The lyrics already work:

Somewhere it all went wrong
And your plan just fell apart
And you ain’t got the heart
to finish what you started
You walked out that door
To find out where you belong
To fulfill your own selfish dreams

VP Biden, Labor Secretary Solis to Meet with AFL-CIO’s Trumka

By | Economy, Labor Unions | No Comments

From The Los Angeles Times“:

Public schedule of Vice President Joe Biden for Thursday, Feb. 24:

At 10:45 AM, the Vice President and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will meet with President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka and with presidents of AFL-CIO labor organizations.

Here’s a good conversation starter, discussing this statement: “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

That’s George Meany, former head of the AFL-CIO.

Meany’s comments were backed up by the advice in 1959 from AFL-CIO’s Executive Council: “In terms of accepted collective bargaining procedures, government workers have no right beyond the authority to petition Congress—a right available to every citizen.”

Odd timing for a meeting. It almost looks like counter-programming from the White House, as the President later today convenes the first meeting of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Oh, wait, Trumka’s on the council.

Here are a few questions reporters might pose to him in conjunction with this afternoon’s public meeting: “The AFL-CIO’s affiliate in Madison, Wisc., has endorsed calling a general strike if the Gov. Scott Walker’s budget and collective bargaining bill passes. Do you support a general strike? Did you think a general strike would improve America’s global competitiveness and standing in the eyes of employers as a good place to do business?”

More from James Sherk at the Heritage Foundation, who supplied the Meany quotes.

Card Check, the Continuing Possibility of Congressional Action

By | Labor Unions | No Comments

From the EFCA Labor Law and Reform Blog published by Jackson Lewis LLP, reporting on the American Bar Association’s winter meeting last week in Puerto Rico and the AFL-CIO Executive Council’s meeting in Orlando.

Fred Feinstein, former General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, spoke at the Bar Association meeting.  He thinks EFCA in a compromised form is still a possibility.  Card check is gone but mandatory arbitration and increased penalties might remain, along with expedited elections.

Mr. Feinstein attributed the delay for passage of EFCA to more pressing items, such as health care, having to take priority.  Since the health care legislation appears to be coming to a climax, it seems that the “health care” rationale for delaying an EFCA vote will no longer justify inaction. EFCA, at least in some form, will have to be brought up for a vote or buried.

Labor certainly hasn’t given up on its campaign to use federal government to restructure the U.S. economy. Here’s just one more example, a hearing Wednesday by a House Education and Labor Committee subcommittee on H.R. 413, Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2009, designed to force states into collective bargaining with public safety unions.