Big Labor

In wake of Supreme Court’s anti-union ruling, nonmembers seek repayment of dues

The labor movement unions suffered a major hit to the pocketbook after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public sector unions could not force nonmembers to pay dues — and now some of those who had paid for years say they want their money back. Mark Janus, the Illinois state employee who won the Supreme Court case in June, became the latest to demand repayment from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, for what he estimates is roughly $2,000 in dues he is owed. All told, billions of dollars could be at stake for hundreds of thousands of government workers. But first they will have to prove they’re entitled to collect on the old payments. “It’s quite clear workers can go and get refunds for whatever the statute of limitations is in their state,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, who represented Mr. Janus. Others aren’t so sure, saying the justices didn’t say anything about repayments. “In my view, it’s very unlikely that there will be any retroactivity with respect to this decision, and the reason for that is the Janus decision overruled 41-year-old precedent,” said Mitchell Rubinstein, a New York based lawyer. “It changed existing law.” The high court overturned a 1977 case when it ruled 5-4 in Mr. Janus’ favor. The justices said Mr. Janus was right to complain about being forced to pay dues to a labor union that then used his money to advocate for public policies on education or health care that he disagreed with. The court said the dues were an infringement on Mr. Janus’ free speech rights. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said losing access to non-members’ money could be “unpleasant” for the unions but Americans’ First Amendment rights needed to be maintained. “It is hard to estimate how many billions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment. Those unconstitutional exactions cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely,” Justice Alito wrote. Even before the ruling, Mr. Semmens‘ organization was battling on behalf of Debora Nearman, an Oregon state employee who objected to her union’s dues. She recently settled with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503 for roughly $3,000, the amount permitted under the statute of limitations in Oregon for claims brought when civil rights are violated. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation also is representing a class-action lawsuit of more than 30,000 employees in California who are suing the SEIU over its policies, and seeking reimbursement in light of the Supreme Court’s latest ruling. “We actually estimated for them that the over 30,000 workers could be entitled to over a $100 million in refunds,” Mr. Semmens said.

Supreme Court deals big setback to labor unions

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that government workers can’t be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining, dealing a serious financial blow to Democratic-leaning organized labor. The court’s conservative majority, re-empowered by Justice Neil Gorsuch, scrapped a 41-year-old decision that had allowed states to require that public employees pay some fees to unions that represent them, even if the workers choose not to join. The 5-4 decision not only will free non-union members in nearly two dozen states from any financial ties to unions, but also could encourage members to stop paying dues for services the court said Wednesday they can get for free. Union leaders said in reaction to the ruling that they expect to suffer some loss of revenue and also predicted that the same anti-union forces that pushed to get rid of the so-called fair shares that non-members had to pay will try to persuade members to cut their ties. “There are already plans,” said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association. “They are going after our members.” But American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said unions would not be dissuaded: “Don’t count us out.” The labor leaders spoke after the court ruled that the laws requiring fair share fees violate the First Amendment by compelling workers to support unions they may disagree with. “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees,” Justice Samuel Alito said in his majority opinion in the latest case in which Gorsuch, an appointee of President Donald Trump, provided a key fifth vote for a conservative outcome. Trump himself tweeted his approval of the decision while Alito still was reading a summary of it from the bench. “Big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!” Trump said in the tweet. The court’s majority said public-sector unions aren’t entitled to any money from employees without their consent.

YES!!!!!   It’s about time!!  Excellent decision by the Supremes today!!     🙂

USPS broke law in allowing workers to boost Clinton campaign, watchdog says

The United States Postal Service violated federal law by letting employees do union-funded work for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and other Democratic candidates while on leave from the agency, according to an Office of Special Counsel report obtained by Fox News. The OSC determined the USPS “engaged in systemic violations” of the Hatch Act, a federal law that limits certain political activities of federal employees. While employees are allowed to do some political work on leave, the report said the Postal Service showed a “bias” favoring the union’s 2016 campaign operation. The investigation was launched months ago after Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., brought constituent complaints to the OSC in October. The constituent, identified as a USPS employee, was concerned the Postal Service “incurred unnecessary overtime costs” and “improperly coordinated” with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) when it released members for several weeks of “union official” leave without pay to participate in campaign work. “The Labor 2016 program sought to ‘elect Hillary Clinton and pro-worker candidates across the country,’” the report said, citing campaign work like door-to-door canvassing, phone banks and other get-out-the-vote efforts. According to the report, roughly 97 NALC members requested the leave without pay to participate. The NALC, which endorsed Clinton last June, compensated those USPS workers using the Letter Carrier Political Fund, the union’s PAC. According to the report, 82 percent of the work took place in 2016 battleground states: Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Officials at multiple levels apparently were involved. According to OSC Acting Special Counsel Adam Miles, the NALC provided lists of letter carriers to participate in campaign activity to a senior headquarters USPS labor relations official, who then emailed the lists to other USPS officials across the country. According to Miles, the local officials “interpreted the communications as directives” from USPS headquarters to release the carriers on union official leave without pay. According to the report, local supervisors raised concerns about the impact this would have on postal operations and initially objected to releasing them, but USPS managers instructed local supervisors to let the workers participate. “We concluded that the USPS practice of facilitating and directing carrier releases for the union’s political activity resulted in an institutional bias in favor of NALC’s endorsed political candidates, which the Hatch Act prohibits,” Miles said in prepared testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which is set to hold a hearing Wednesday on the matter.

Wow…  This is huge!  IF true, people should be fired, fined heavily, and go to prison.  This story is developing…

South Carolina Boeing workers overwhelmingly vote against unionization

Nearly three-quarters of eligible production workers at Boeing’s South Carolina plant voted Wednesday not to join the International Association of Machinists in a major setback for organized labor. The Post & Courier newspaper reported that 2,097 of 2,828 voting workers — 74.2 percent — cast ballots against unionization. Under NLRB rules, workers must wait a year before another union vote. In a statement, Machinists organizer Mike Evans said the union was disappointed with the vote but vowed to stay in close touch with Boeing workers to figure out next steps. “Ultimately it will be the workers who dictate what happens next,” Evans said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to talk with hundreds of Boeing workers over the past few years. Nearly every one of them, whether they support the union or not, have improvements they want to see at Boeing. Frankly, they deserve better.” The vote took place ahead of a scheduled Friday visit by President Donald Trump to attend the rollout of the first Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner from the aircraft maker’s North Charleston campus. The vote was an uphill battle for the union and its backers. The global aviation giant, which came to South Carolina in part because of the state’s minuscule union presence, did so with the aid of millions of dollars in state assistance made possible by officials who spoke out frequently and glowingly with anti-union messages.

Big labor was shown the door in South Carolina by the workers in overwhelming numbers.  What a great victory for workers, Boeing, and the local economy there in South Carolina!  Of course, this Mike Evans character, and other union thugs will continue to lean heavily on these poor workers.

Unions bankrolling DeVos opposition

Three of the groups challenging the reform agenda of President-elect Donald Trump and his education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos received more than $2.6 million from teachers unions and their allies, according to federal labor filings. DeVos, a pioneer in the school choice and charter school movements over the last two decades, has received vocal opposition from Democrats and some of the country’s most powerful unions. The National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and AFL-CIO, which serves as an umbrella group for dozens of unions including the AFT, have all called on the Senate to reject the nomination. They have also pumped millions of dollars into think tanks and activist groups that have supplied Democrats with intellectual ammunition to oppose her. DeVos, the head of the American Federation for Children, has come under scrutiny from a number of liberal groups and media outlets, along with unions. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and Center for American Progress (CAP) have each released reports critical of charter schools since President-elect Donald Trump announced the nomination in November.

..which is all the more reason to support her!  When rabid Dems and union thugs are spending millions to derail such a nomination, that’s reason enough to rally behind Betsy!  We hope she is confirmed swiftly, and gets to work soon to reform this corrupt federal agency.  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Colorado minimum-wage campaign demanding $12 can’t bother to pay their workers that much

In a move of ultimate hypocrisy, a Colorado group trying to get $12 minimum wage on the state ballot was found to be paying its signature gathers less than $12 an hour. According to a circulator and wage report filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office by proponents of increasing the minimum wage, 24 of the workers collecting signatures to get on the ballot were paid less than $12 an hour. The report was obtained Keep Colorado Working, the opposition campaign, in an open records request. Colorado Families for a Fair Wage, the group looking to increase the state’s minimum wage, is funded largely with union money. It hired Fieldworks, a Washington D.C.-based firm that collects signatures, to get the 98,492 valid signatures needed to make the Colorado State ballot. “The irony of paying someone less than $12 an hour to stand on a street corner to mandate a minimum wage increase to that amount is dripping off this story,” said Kelly Maher, executive director of Compass Colorado, a free-market advocacy group in a statement. “Unions are trying to force small businesses already operating on razor thin margins to increase pay just so they can line their pockets, and they aren’t even paying their own workers that. The hypocrisy is palpable.” On top of not paying its own workers minimum wage, Fieldworks was found to have forged some of the signatures. According to a local ABC news station, Denver7, a man who’s signature was included in the petition, told the news station not only had he not signed the petition, he actively turned down the opportunity when approached at the grocery store. Although some of the signatures were forged, based on a sampling of 5 percent of all that were turned in, Colorado’s secretary of state determined that enough were valid to make the state’s ballot. After the controversy broke, FieldWorks submitted an amended report to the secretary of state’s office showing all its workers were paid at least $12 an hour. The firm claimed its initial report had “clerical errors” in calculating pay for workers who were working multiple initiatives. “Upon a re-review of the previous circulator report, we discovered that wages for some circulators were mis-reported on the report that we pulled from our payroll company,” FieldWorks wrote to the secretary of state’s office, the Durango Herald reported. “This is because we had multiple projects in Colorado, and when some staff moved between projects in the middle of a payroll period, their wages were incorrectly applied to one project or another.” How convenient. If you ask me, it’s nothing more than a tired excuse after being caught red-handed not practicing what they preach. Despite the corruption and hypocrisy, the minimum-wage hike made the Colorado ballot, threatening thousands of Colorado jobs.

Indeed..  Thanks to Kelly Riddell for bringing us that great piece.  Hopefully this initiative fails.  It would be a disaster for those of us living in Colorado, and Colorado’s economy.

Unions pour $45 million into pro-Dem super PACs

Organized labor has poured about $45 million into pro-Democratic super PACs in the current election cycle, according to data reported to the Federal Election Commission. But only a small portion of that money has been spent, meaning that Republican candidates likely will face a heavy barrage of attack ads in the fall. Federal filings show, for example, that unions have donated about $10.7 million to Priorities USA Action, the top Democrat-aligned super PAC, accounting for about one-sixth of the group’s funds. That exceeds the donations by deep-pocketed liberal donors such as George Soros ($7 million), Univision owner Haim Saban ($3.5 million), and Herbert and Marion Sandler ($2.5 million), according to the Center For Responsive Politics. In the last presidential election cycle, unions donated $13.4 million overall to Priorities USA Action. With six months remaining this year’s election, the unions could easily top that figure before the year’s end. Super PACs are campaign organizations that, unlike traditional political action committees, can raise unlimited amounts from individuals, corporations and labor unions, and are not limited in the amounts they can spend to back or oppose a particular candidate. Legally, they are obligated to be separate from the candidate’s campaign, though most are run by people with close ties to the candidate or party the super PAC is aiding. Donations to super PACs are separate from direct donations to candidates’ campaigns, which are capped by law. Unions are major backers of virtually every large pro-Democratic super PAC. Working for Working Americans is entirely funded by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, who put $5 million into it. The AFL-CIO labor federation has put nearly $5 million into its own Workers’ Voices PAC. National Nurses United has put nearly $3.8 million into its super PAC. Labor groups also have spent at least $8.7 million to date on non-super PAC independent campaign-related expenditures, according to FEC records. The Service Employees International Union has spent about $3.8 million through its political action committee, SEIU COPE, which is funded by members’ donations. These funds can range from everything from TV and radio advertising to printing T-shirts for rallies. Overall, unions have donated $2.7 million to the Senate Majority PAC, which aims to help Democrats regain a majority there and $1 million to the David Brock-founded American Bridge 21st Century group. The National Education Association has put $2.2 million into its own super PAC. “The largest particular spenders in any election season tend to be individual unions, though total corporate contributions tend to exceed those of the unions. But unions can also spend in a lot of ways that are ‘off the books’ — through membership communications, manpower, etc.,” said former FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith, now a professor at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. “What strikes me, as always, is that both sides have pretty good funding. Most campaign finance wars are about one side trying to shut down the other side’s funding. That’s why Democrats and their allies in the media constantly go on about corporations and conservative billionaires. If they can get them out of the game, they’ll have a big funding edge.” Conservative super PACs have raised more money than liberal ones, at first glance suggesting that the liberal ones will be outgunned this cycle. But those numbers are deceiving because most of the conservative super PACs already have spent a majority of the funds they raised during the crowded, drawn-out Republican Party primary. The largest super PAC this election cycle, Right to Rise, raised an estimated $120 million to boost Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s bid and spent a reported $81 million for a campaign that failed to win a single primary. The Conservative Solutions PAC spent $55 million of the $60 million it raised backing Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida before he dropped out. Super PACs backing other failed candidacies including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, retired surgeon Ben Carson, businesswoman Carly Fiorina and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, spent an estimated $72 million backing candidacies that ultimately failed. Liberal super PACs, by contrast, have held most of their money in reserve. Priorities USA has raised more than $67 million overall, the second largest amount raised by any Super PAC this cycle, but has spent only $6 million, according to spokesman Justin Barasky. That makes it not only the largest active super PAC but one with the largest reported cash reserve. “We have been saving most of our most of our money for the general election,” Barasky said, adding that they intended to start spending in earnest in June. “We know the Republicans will be going full force against Hillary by then and we want to be on the front lines, correcting the record.” The Senate Majority PAC has raised $12 million but spent $4 million. American Bridge 21st Century has raised $13.5 million and has reportedly made no expenditures. The main exception is National Nurses United, which has spent the bulk of its money to boost Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Democratic primary bid.

This is but a fraction of the war-chest the DNC has backing up whatever funds it raises to throw at Trump and GOP candidates for the House and Senate…as well as at the state and local levels. Big labor will pull out all the stops to ensure princess Hillary is anointed, and that the Senate goes back to Dem control. This is what the GOP is up against..and it’s only the beginning. Keep that in mind as we get ready to go into the election cycle.