Boots & Sabers

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Tag: Unions

Dane County Judge Supports Voter Intimidation

A Dane County Judge strikes again.

Madison — A Dane County judge on Monday ruled a state commission violated the open records law last year when it refused to quickly turn over information about a union election.


The elections are overseen by the commission and held over 20 days, with ballots cast over the phone and over the Internet. Unions want to monitor who is voting so they can encourage those who haven’t done so to cast their ballots.

The union Madison Teachers Inc. on Nov. 10 sought documents under the open records law that would show who had voted so far in the election that ran from Nov. 4 to Nov. 24. The commission’s chairman, James Scott, denied the request while the election was ongoing.

After the election — which the union won overwhelmingly — the commission released records showing who had voted.

The union then sued the commission, a three-member panel appointed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the architect of Act 10.

The commission had to promptly make available information about who had voted because the records law requires documents to be produced “as soon as practicable and without delay,” the union argued in its lawsuit.

Anderson agreed the records were wrongly withheld. He said the matter was important to resolve because it could come up again this fall, when hundreds of public-sector unions will hold elections.

The commission maintained it could not release the records while the election was pending because doing so could result in “voter coercion.” It also contended releasing the records would undermine the secrecy of the ballots because non-votes are considered “no” votes.

If the union truly wanted to just “encourage” people to vote, they wouldn’t need a list. They would just run campaigns encouraging everyone to vote. If they are doing calls, then they can simply mark someone as having voted if they are told so. No, the union wants the ongoing list of who voted while the election is going on so that they can bully and intimidate people.


94% of Private Sector Union Employees Never Voted for It

Wow. That’s a stunning statistic.

Of the 8 million unionized, private sector employees in the United States, 94 percent have never voted for their own labor union representation.

An hourly autoworker at the Ford Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Terry Bowman, told The Daily Signal that during his 20 years of employment at Ford he has never voted for the union that represents him.

“I have no power to represent myself in any way, shape, or form,” Bowman, aUAW-Ford (United Automobile Workers) employee, told The Daily Signal. “Everything that I have and do is based on that collective bargaining agreement that I have basically been forced to accept if I want to work at Ford Motor Company.”

Bowman, 50, said union representation is forced upon the workers as a condition of employment. His union representation negotiated a collective bargaining agreement on his and other employees’ behalf with employer management.

Thank goodness workers have a choice in Wisconsin now.

UW No Confidence Votes Were Really About Agitating for Union Membership

Heh. You didn’t think it was about the students or Wisconsin, did you?

United Faculty and Academic Staff (UFAS) circulated the resolution of no confidence in UW System leaders that was overwhelmingly endorsed by the campus faculty senate earlier this month, setting off a series of union-led actions across the state.

Chad Alan Goldberg, the UW-Madison sociology professor who drafted the resolution and helped marshal forces in support, is president of UFAS, Local 223 of the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin.


But UFAS leaders say the votes, and the media attention they received, were important because they got people talking. And they hope the attention convinces more faculty and academic staff to join the union.


Beyond fostering public discourse on public higher education, UFAS leaders say the energy around the no confidence votes translates into increased membership, which has hovered around 100 for years, they say.

Teachers Unions Focus on Community

Here’s another great byproduct of Act 10.

But the influence of unions has diminished in Madison. WEAC spent about $2.3 million on lobbying in the two legislative sessions leading up to the passage of Act 10. But by 2013-14 the union spent just $175,540, and so far has spent $93,481 in 2015-16.

Union leaders say they instead are focusing on local communities. The associations also invest in training and other support services for members.

“We offer professional development for things like license renewal, classroom management or teacher effectiveness,” said Cathey, who also is a Wisconsin representative on the National Education Association’s board and was in Washington, D.C., last week. “In the past it was more about politics, but now it’s more community oriented.We want to talk about our schools and share who we are with the community.”

Despite drops in membership numbers, Cathey said GBEA is more active than before Act 10.

For a lot of union members, they are getting better services from their unions. The unions have to provide better services for their members in order to justify their existence.

Act 10 Leading to More Competitive Pay for Teachers


Whereas nearly all teachers were once paid based on experience and education level, some Wisconsin school districts are experimenting with new ways to pay teachers.

In the Oregon School District, for example, technology education teachers receive $10,000 in supplemental pay annually for four years and a $2,500 annual retention bonus after that to remain in the district for four years.

School boards are also developing new compensation plans that take teachers’ evaluations or leadership qualities into consideration when figuring raises. Those new pay plans can cost a district more in salaries in some cases.

It’s great that school districts have the latitude to adjust their compensation plans to their needs instead of having a blanket tiered structure that doesn’t reflect the reality of the labor market.

But of course, here is the real reason that there was so much consternation over Act 10.

Meanwhile, the influence of teachers at the state Capitol has diminished. The state’s largest teachers union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, spent $2.5 million and $2.3 million in the two legislative sessions leading up to the passage of Act 10. But by 2013-14 the union spent just $175,540, and so far has spent $93,481 in 2015-16.

Follow the money… so teachers with skills that school districts need are benefiting from the flexibility afforded in Act 10, but the union (read: special interest group) doesn’t have as much money to lobby. Why are we supposed to be upset?


Choice spreads throughout Wisconsin

My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. Here it is:

Wisconsin has long been a state in which labor unions have thrived. With the state’s strong manufacturing and mining background, it always seemed natural that many Wisconsinites would be members of a union. As it turns out, it wasn’t so natural after all.

The most recent report about union membership from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that union membership in Wisconsin dropped precipitously in the last year. Between 2014 and 2015, membership declined by a whopping 29 percent to the lowest level in modern times. This was the largest single-year drop in union membership of any state in the union. Only 8.3 percent of Wisconsin’s workers are union members.

While the data does not attribute the cause of such a decline in union membership, it is not difficult to discern the reason. In 2015, the Wisconsin Legislature passed right-to-work legislation and Gov. Scott Walker signed it into law.

Prior to 2015, Wisconsin was a forced-unionization state. If a labor union convinced a company’s workers to unionize, then people who worked for that company were required to be members of the union as a condition of employment forevermore. Generations later, workers were still required to be a member of the union even though they never had the opportunity to vote on it.

Right-to-work is common in other regions — particularly the South — and is a simple concept based on workers’ rights. It says that a worker cannot be forced to be a member of union as a condition of employment. Workers can, of course, join a union of their free will. But just as the government should not force a person to be a member of the Masons, Rotary, Republican Party or other private organizations to work, nor should it force a person to be a member of a union as a condition of their employment. With the freedom to choose, 83,000 Wisconsin workers chose not to be a member of a union last year.

The last time Wisconsin had such a large drop in union membership was after the passage of Act 10 in 2011. In the year after Act 10, total union membership in Wisconsin dropped by almost 16 percent. Act 10 was essentially rightto- work for most government workers, but it did not go into effect until after the contracts in place at the time expired. As such, many unionized workers did not have the choice to leave the union for several years after Act 10 was passed.

When looking at union membership in Wisconsin since the passage of Act 10 and including the passage of right to work last year, union membership declined almost 38 percent as Wisconsin’s workers decided that being a member of a union was not right for them.

While it is wonderful to see the progression of liberty in Wisconsin as most of us are allowed to exercise our First Amendment right to belong to a private organization without the intervention of our government either way, there remains one bastion of forced unionization left untouched by both Act 10 and right to work. Police and firefighters are still forced to be in a union if they want to serve the public in either of those capacities.

When the new Legislature begins its session next year, it should take up the task of extending the same right to choose to police and firefighters as has been extended to the rest of Wisconsin’s workers. There is no reason why some of the best among us — our first responders — should not have the same ability to exercise their freedom of association as the rest of us. Given the nature of their jobs, maintaining their unions might well be in their best interests. But that should not be determined by the people who did the job 80 years ago when they were first unionized. It should be determined by the people doing the job today.

Unions Sue over Right to Work

Of course they did.

Machinists Local Lodge 1061, United Steelworkers District 2 and the Wisconsin AFL-CIO filed a lawsuit against the state of Wisconsin on Tuesday, the day after Gov. Scott Walker signed the contentious bill into law.

The unions argue that the law results in an unconstitutional taking of their property without just compensation and that enforcing the law would cause them irreparable harm.

A hearing is scheduled for March 19 before Dane County Circuit Judge C. William Foust. Unions are also asking the court to permanently prevent the implementation of the law.


The unions argue that the right-to-work law violates the takings clause of the state Constitution: “The property of no person shall be taken for public use without just compensation therefor.”

Their argument is that the law transfers property from unions to nonmembers to a degree that will cause irreparable injury to the organizations.

The argument is similar to one made by unions suing against Indiana’s right-to-work law a few years ago. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled against that argument, upholding the law. Indiana’s law was also upheld by a U.S. Appeals Court.

Let me ruin the surprise and tell you what’s going to happen… the Dane County judge will issue the injunction. It will be appealed and, eventually, Wisconsin’s right to work law will be upheld, but not before a lot of time and money is spent to prove the obvious. In the interim while the law is enjoined, unions will push hard for long term contracts. The unions know they will eventually lose, but this tactic will give them time to hang onto those dues as long as possible.

And….. scene.

Union Boss Prefers Right to Work


Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the United Auto Workers, said he prefers organizing in a right-to-work environment.

“This is something I’ve never understood, that people think right to work hurts unions,” Casteel said in February, according to a July 1 piece in the Washington Post. “To me, it helps them.”

The blog was written by the Post’s labor reporter Lydia DePillis, and headlined “Why Harris v. Quinn isn’t as bad for workers as it sounds.” The U.S. Supreme Court decision put the brakes on compulsory union dues for some home-care employees.

“You don’t have to belong if you don’t want to,” Casteel said. “So if I go to an organizing drive, I can tell these workers, ‘If you don’t like this arrangement, you don’t have to belong.’ Versus, ‘If we get 50 percent of you, then all of you have to belong, whether you like to or not.’ I don’t even like the way that sounds, because it’s a voluntary system, and if you don’t think the system’s earning its keep, then you don’t have to pay.”

Palermo Controversy Over – If it Ever Existed

And so it ends with a whimper.

Workers at Palermo Villa Inc., the holding company that owns Milwaukee-based Palermo’s Pizza, were scheduled to vote on Aug. 14 on whether to form a union, but the employees withdrew their request from the voting process back in July, according to a recent memo from the National Labor Relations Board to Palermo Villa.

“We have received confirmation from the National Labor Relations Board that the group seeking to form a union at Palermo’s has voluntarily withdrawn its request for a vote. We are glad that this effort has now ended,” Giacomo Fallucca, chief executive officer of Palermo Villa, said in a statement.

After all of the false accusations and screaming by outside activists who were using the Palermo workers for their own political ends, the workers at Palermo don’t want a union at all. They never did.

American Airlines’ Agents Unionize

Well then. I see that American Airlines will be going bankrupt again sooner than expected.

Reservation agents at Texas-based American Airlines have voted overwhelmingly for union representation, in a move that labor organizers hailed Tuesday as a historic win in the South.

The agents chose to join with US Airways agents to form a bargaining unit of 14,500 employees at the new American Airlines. The two airlines merged this year, taking American’s name.

AFSCME To Unload on Walker

Here it comes

The nation’s largest public sector union is mounting an intense effort to eject Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from office this fall, determined to oust the Republican who punctured the power of organized labor in the state.

“We have a score to settle with Scott Walker,” Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said in his first interview about the union’s midterm strategy.

“We’ve lost 70% of our membership in the state,” said Saunders, adding that the union is down to about 25,000 members there. “But let me tell you something: the members that remain are some of the most committed and dedicated members that we have all across this country.”



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