11 Sep 2007

Kaiser Admits to Confusion During Organizing Drive

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When it comes time for union officials to corral employees into forced dues-paying ranks, they are increasingly using coercive "card check" organizing schemes.

Lisa Eklund, an administrative specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, experienced this first hand. Service Employees International Union-United Health Care West (SEIU-UHW) union officials attempted to force Kaiser employees into signing union "authorization" cards that would later be counted as "votes" favoring unionization.

Just like that, the SEIU-UHW union gained monopoly bargaining privileges. But union officials and Kaiser could not prove that the union had actual support of a majority of employees. In fact, in a memo that Kaiser Permanente sent to its employees, they even admit that the company did not know how many employees were in the bargaining unit, yet claimed there was majority support for unionization anyway, and was prepared to enter into negotiations with union officials.

Previously, Lisa and three of her coworkers filed federal charges against the union and their employer for manipulating the size of the bargaining unit in order to obtain a majority. Despite requests, union officials were unable to disclose the names of the employees who were eligible to participate in the drive and couldn’t indicate which employees were inside or outside the alleged bargaining unit.

The National Labor Relations Board agreed to investigate and issue a complaint, but within two weeks of that announcement, SEIU-UHW and Kaiser suspiciously abandoned the card count. Having filed follow-up charges, Lisa and her coworkers are currently awaiting an outcome to the board’s investigation.

You can read about several other employees like Karen Mayhew and Mike Ivey who fought back against "card check" organizing schemes with help from the National Right to Work Foundation.

10 Sep 2007

Right to Work Laws are an Economic Boon

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In South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel today, Gene Mechanic of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) writes that Florida should scrap the state’s highly-popular Right to Work law.

His outrageous claims including "Right to Work laws harms workers" and "the economically damaging effect of ‘right to work’ laws is well documented" are completely bogus.

In fact, Mechanic’s perversion of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data is misleading. According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR), since 2001, Right to Work states lead in job growth 5-to-1. Between 2001 and 2005, real personal income growth increased 37% in Right to Work states. Comparatively, forced-unionism states had a real personal income percentage growth of only 26%, below the national average of 31% growth.

There’s no doubt that Right to Work laws are an economic boon. In fact, a recent special on CNBC television shows that Florida was ranked the 8th best state in which to do business overall. And, the top six states to do business were all long time Right to Work states.

But aside from providing economic prosperity, Right to Work laws give employees the freedom to choose. Florida’s Right to Work law, on the books since 1944, ensures Floridians’ long and proud tradition of supporting freedom of choice when it comes to union membership.

Governor Charlie Crist couldn’t have put it better when he said Florida’s Right to Work law provides "greater freedom" for his fellow citizens.

10 Sep 2007

Drive Compulsory Unionism-Free

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Fall is the time of year when car companies release their new model automobiles. It also is the time of year when United Auto Worker union bosses release their list of so-called “union made” cars – with the hope that the label will attract consumers.

Of course, the UAW International union officials aren’t actually making anything. Rather by “union-made” they mean that the rank-and-file workers who make the cars are forced to affiliate with the union and those in non-Right to Work states are forced to pay dues.

For many, such a list has the opposite effect, as nearly 80 percent of Americans oppose the injustice of forced union dues and compulsory unionism.

So for those who want to support American workers who are not forced to affiliate with or pay dues to a union, here is a list of cars assembled at compulsory unionism-free auto plants here in America:*

  • Acura: TL
  • BMW: X5, Z4 Roadster
  • Honda: Accord, Civic, Element, Odyssey, Pilot
  • Hyundai: Sante Fe, Sonata
  • Infiniti: QX56
  • Mercedes: GL-Class, M-Class, R-Class
  • Nissan: Altima, Armada, Frontier, Maxima, Pathfinder, Quest, Titan, Xterra
  • Subaru: B9 Tribeca, Baja, Legacy, Outback
  • Toyota: Avalon,Camry, Sequoia, Sienna, Solara, Tundra

*Note: Determining the suppliers of parts of every car is very difficult. The above list is of cars assembled at facilities where our research indicates that a union does not have a monopoly bargaining power over individual employees. If you want to ensure that the parts of your car are not produced by employees forced to affiliate with a union, we encourage you to do your own research and let us know your results.

7 Sep 2007

“Card Check” Bullying

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Following up on Patrick’s post from yesterday, the testimony in this video details just a few types of bullying workers often endure under coercive "card check" unionization drives. This is the story of Freightliner employee Mike Ivey of Gaffney, SC.

6 Sep 2007

Exposing the Secret Ballot Hypocrisy

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In the Sacramento Bee, Daniel Weintraub observes the legislative efforts of United Farm Workers union officials to eliminate the secret ballot elections for California’s farm workers:

Thirty years ago, legendary union organizer Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers made history by winning the right to a secret ballot for migrant field hands in California who wanted to join a union. Today, in an odd twist, the UFW is trying to take that right away.

The article echoes a 2001 letter written by George Miller (D-CA) and a group of other Congressmen urging Mexico to adopt the secret ballot for its unionization elections. In it Miller wrote:

[W]e feel that the secret ballot election is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose.

Now Miller is the sponsor and lead advocate of Big Labor’s “card check” bill that would eliminate the secret ballot election for unionization here in America.

Sure the hypocrisy is overwhelming, but upon further review it is not so surprising.

Unions were granted powers under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) that remain unparalleled for a private organization. Among other unique special legal privileges, unions can forcibly represent people and then force those already coerced workers to pay, under threat of termination, for the unwanted “representation.”

Back when the New Deal-era NLRA passed, unions shrouded their extraordinary powers over individual workers with a secret ballot election in attempt to legitimize their ability to coerce employees.

Now, having used the forced dues collected with their extraordinary powers to amass the political influence necessary, union officials are scrapping the secret ballot altogether in an effort to further expand their power to coerce individual employees.

It’s a move Tony Soprano would be proud of.

6 Sep 2007

The Camel’s Nose Under the Tent

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This 1977 article from the Right to Work archives underscores that union officials have long sought to establish beachheads for seizing forced dues in Right to Work states by simply dubbing certain land a "federal enclave." So it seems, the latest battle in Texas is nothing new.

In also noting that compulsory unionism abuse cuts across every cross section of America, the article notes:

"…this is everybody’s fight, whether they realize it or not, or fight it or not."

Peggie King Article

5 Sep 2007

Happy Labor Day, I Quit!

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Mark Turek of Unfairshare.org, a grassroots citizens’ group in Maine opposed to compulsory union dues for State employees, became the latest in a line of employees to quit in protest. Turek resigned Labor Day Monday, blasting the compulsion that he feels has poisoned his workplace.

"There are so many inappropriate things happening within Maine State Government, I am no longer able to work in that environment," stated Turek. Vowing to persevere despite leaving his job, he continued, "Our general taxpayers and the hard-working state employees all deserve a better system, and I sincerely hope that happens some day. Happy Labor Day!"

How many more employees have to jump ship before the powers that be in Maine ditch forcing workers to pay dues’ Bravo to those employees that have stood fast in the face of this continuing injustice.

5 Sep 2007

“I work to get paid, I don’t pay to work”

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The Foundation’s ongoing effort to prevent erosion of the 40-year-old Texas Right to Work law widened today with yet another worker named Ramona Trevino standing up to forced union dues.

When will union officials learn that Texans don’t want them messing with their Right to Work”

If you haven’t yet, take a look at the inspiring story of Juan Vielma, a brave Texan who stood firm on principle against forced union dues in the face of immense pressure. Refusing to cave, Juan told his home town newspaper, "I work to get paid, I don’t pay to work."

Couldn’t have put it better.

5 Sep 2007

Forced Dues Fraud

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Yesterday there were articles in both the DC Examiner and Washington Post about efforts by a group of union lawyers to force employers to bargain with unions that have not even been chosen by a bare majority of employees. In the Post, Bloomberg columnist Cindy Skrzycki writes:

The United Steelworkers, United Auto Workers and five other unions petitioned the National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 14 to require employers to bargain with small groups of union members, even if the union doesn’t represent a majority of those in the workplace… The petition would force employers to recognize unions that would bargain only for their dues-paying members — so-called members-only unions.

What is most striking about this rulemaking petition is that union officials have conceded the falsity of their flimsy justification for compulsory unionism. National Right to Work Foundation vice president Stefan Gleason addressed this when the petition was originally filed last month:

Filing of this NLRB rule-making petition may be one of the biggest political mistakes union officials have ever made. The Steelworkers and its coalition of other unions have conceded that they are not actually forced by law to represent employees who are not union members and who do not want their "representation."

Through their rule-making petition, union officials have totally undercut their justification for compulsory dues privileges. Big Labor’s opposition to Right to Work laws (which ban compulsory unionism) has been predicated upon union complaints about the so-called "burden" of representing nonunion members. Today’s filing demonstrates that this common union argument is disingenuous at best, and a fraud at worst.

4 Sep 2007

“They just want my money”

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16 year-old Danielle Cookson took a job at an Albertsons grocery store so she could save money for college. She soon saw the ugly face of forced unionism when UFCW union bosses sent her a letter saying she had to pay up or be fired:

More information on this case here.