John Kline Archives - Shopfloor

Attacking For-Profit Schools Threatens Training, Opportunity

By | Education and Training, Regulations | 2 Comments

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has chaired a series of hearings by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to pummel for-profit, private colleges as exploiters of students and the working class. The hearings reinforce the Obama Administration’s regulatory “crack down” on the institutions, which attempts to deny their students access to federal financial aid.

One of the primary documents used to justify these attacks was a report delivered last August to the Senate HELP Committee from the Government Accounting Agency. As Mark Hyman chronicles at The Washington Examiner, the report, which lambasted the colleges’ financial aid practices, proved to so flawed — a “fraud” — that the GAO withdrew it and quietly reissued a new report. Still, the continuing attacks and Obama Administration’s regulations caused the educational companies’ stocks to drop. And now we learn of serious allegations of insider trading at the Department of Education.

As Hyman calls it, it’s “the biggest GAO scandal you never heard about.” (See also Heritage’s Tina Korbe, “Government made major revisions to for-profit colleges report, didn’t tell public.”)

Alarms have been raised about recruiters making misleading pitches and students surprised by the debt they assumed. OK, let’s apply regulation, oversight, enforcement and a renewed sense of caveat emptor to put a stop to the practices.

But we also know that for-profit colleges provide a valuable educational resource for many students, especially adults looking for new career paths or training not immediately available elsewhere. These schools adapt to the needs of the students. Yet these  businesses offering a service to willing buyers are being demonized in the political sphere. Read More

House Committee Asks for Information on NLRB’s Google Ads

By | Briefly Legal | 2 Comments

Citing a Shopfloor.org post on the National Labor Relation Board’s use of Google ads to promote the formation of unions, the chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee has sent a letter to NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman asking for information about the board’s advertising.

In a March 4 letter (available here), Rep. John Kline (R-MN) asks for the information “to better evaluate the NLRB’s use of taxpayer funds for advertising…”

The letter draws on Shopfloor’s March 3 post, “Should the NLRB Be Buying Google Ads? To Promote the Formation of Unions?” Subsequently, the NLRB issued a “Fact Check” stating that Google had provided the ads gratis and that the board was discontinuing the practice. (Shopfloor, March 5, “NLRB Discontinues Google Ads, Says It Didn’t Pay for Them.“)

Chairman Kline’s letter:

Page 2 below the fold.
Read More

Congress Recognizes Importance of All American Workers‬‪‬‪

By | Human Resources, Labor Unions | One Comment

America’s high-skilled manufacturing workforce is one of the most important contributors to our economy, producing 1/8 of the  nation’s GDP. Through their hard work, manufacturing workers in the U.S. make over 1/5 of all things made on the planet. This dynamic workforce includes employees who are represented by labor unions and those that are not.‪

This week marks the start of the 112th Congress, and the Committee that has jurisdiction over issues facing American workers begins with a new name – the Committee on Education and Workforce. Government institutions including cabinet agencies and Congressional Committees often change names to reflect changing dynamics and priorities: the Department of War is now the Department of Defense, the House Committee on Banking and Currency is now the House Committee on Financial Services, etc.‪

It is fitting the House Committee with jurisdiction over issues facing American workers will have a new name – the House Committee on Education and Workforce. It is true that historically that Committee had been named the Committee on Education and Labor, with the exception of brief periods of time when it was referred to differently.

This latest renaming indicates that the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), intends to focus on all workers in the economy and not just the 12.3 percent of American workers (and only 7.2 percent of private sector workers) who are members of labor unions.

Bill That Increases Threat of Litigation Speeds to House Floor

By | General, Human Resources | 2 Comments

Today the House of Representatives is considering a vote on the Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Legislation Act (H.R. 5851), a bill that was sped to the floor this week. No committee hearing, no mark-up, no careful consideration and no debate other than a few minutes on the floor. So what is this bill and what does it do? The bill expands the OCS Lands Act to provide new whistleblower protections for all employees of any company engaged in supporting or carrying out exploration of oil and natural gas in our nation’s Outer Continental Shelf. However, this bill goes far beyond affirming a process for employees to go to the Department of Labor to seek protection from retaliation, creating an entirely new mechanism that allows employees to sue their employers in district court.

As we’ve noted previously, few whistleblower claims put forward that actually have merit. The language of this legislation will significantly increase the threat of litigation for a wide array of employers, suits from a new universe of employees far beyond oil rig workers.

Many of the bill’s proponents assert that oil rig workers now have no whistleblower protections. And in truth, there are many questions as to the application of existing whistleblower protections. As Congressman John Kline (R-MN) observed on the House floor:

Safety on offshore oil rigs is overseen by the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, unlike most workplaces, where safety is overseen by OSHA. As a result, it is not clear whether these workers are covered by the OSH Act’s whistleblower protections or any of the 17 other statutes enforced by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program. Some might argue oil rig workers are covered by the Maritime Transportation and Security Act, while others point to a 1983 agreement in which OSHA retained whistleblower authority for these workers.

More importantly, as Rep. Kline notes, these questions could be answered if the bill were to go through regular order, with its committee hearings, research, testimony and inquiry. Unfortunately, the bill and its hastily cobbled together provisions are being rushed to the floor for a vote.

This Week On ‘America’s Business’

By | America's Business, General | No Comments

Americas-Business-logo.jpgThe so-called Employee Free Choice Act takes center stage this week on America’s Business with Mike Hambrick.

President-elect Barack Obama cosponsored this bill as U.S. Senator and organized labor has made its passage a top priority. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) is on the program to share his strong opinion on the bill, which would eliminate secret ballot elections in the workplace when unions attempt to organize a business.

Senator Chambliss said of the bill, “That’s the most dangerous piece of legislation that we may deal with in the session of Congress and I expect we will have it on our plate early in the process.” Chambliss also talked about his recent run-off victory in Georgia.

Here to explain some of the finer details of the Employee Free Choice Act is attorney Peter Kirsanow.  This former member of the National Labor Relations Board says the legislation contains provisions beyond the secret-ballot-attacking “card check” that could cause major headaches to business owners in America

The Employee Free Choice Act isn’t the only troubling labor bill on the horizon.  The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act are also approaching.  With innocuous sounding names these bills sound good and just, but that just isn’t the story.  Here to explain what these bills could do to employers across America is Congressman John Kline (R-MN).

Back again for part two of a discussion on China’s economy and global impact is Atlantic Monthly’s James Fallows.

Find out about a small business that is doing very well by finding a large market by exporting.  We’ll speak with Ray Heelan, President of Allegheny Coupling Company in Warren, PA, to find out how to best start an exporting relationship with other countries

In our regular segments, Renee Giachino of American Justice Partnership gives us the latest on tort reform and commentator Hank Cox recalls “The Way It Was.” And the National Association of Manufacturers President Gov. John Engler will close the program with “The Last Word.” For more on America’s Business go to www.AmericasBusiness.org.