Monday, September 7, 2015
Big Labor Is Smiling Big This Labor Day
Big labor is happy for a change on Labor Day eventhough only 6.6% of the private employees in America are unionized. President Obama and his Democrat appointments to the NLRB came through for them this year. President Obama issued today an executive order which mandates federal contractors provide up to seven paid sick days a year for their employees. He earlier raised the minimum wage for these employees to $10. 10/hour. He mandated up to six weeks of paid leave for federal employees with the arrival of a new child. Finally, he improved overtime pay protections for private sector employees. The five number National Labor Relations Board is doing its best for unions. It adopted effective April “Quickie election” Rules it sped up the process and help inions organize workers. First, unions can now file their petitions electronically. Second, employers must now provide the unions the personal email addresses. Third, legal challenges will be delayed until after the representation election. Even more significant is the new “Joint Employer” rulings whereby two companies can be liable as an employer eventhough only one is technically the employer. The NLRB General Counsel ruled last year that McDonald’s could be a joint employer with its franchises in unfair labor practices cases. Thus, while the small business owner of the McDonalds franchise has been charged by the union with unfair labor practices in fighting a union organization campaign, McDonalds will also have to answer for those charges. The NLRB held late last month that Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) was a joint employer with one of its independent contractors who supplied several workers for a recycling facility. These vaguely worded decisions go against existing case law and thee decades of NLRB holdings, but the NLRB is defying courts to reverse them. The unions have also won other battles. They have gained wide support in Blue States and Cities for raising the minimum wage up to $15/hour as a “living wage.” The practical effect for unions in raising the minimum wage even for non-union members is that it pushes upwards wages for organized workers. The unins and their political backers are oblivious to the reality that the increase in the minimum wage will further increase youth unemployment in the inner citieis and accelerate the trend to replacing labor with technology, such as the self-service checkout registers at retailers. Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin may have joined the ranks of right to Work States, but there has been no further slippage, such as with Ohio. Also, no other city or county has entered bankruptcy, threatening medical and pension plans. They have also used courts to set back charter schools in several jurisdictions, and won a legal victory in Illinois against cutbacks to pension plans, that are threatening the solvency of the state and many cities, such as Chicago. They’re worried about the 2016 Election, but they found their man earlier today in a Labor Day Parade in Pittsburg with Vice President Joe Biden. They will support the VP in a nanosecond if he enters the race. On the other hand, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, may be displaying a Cheshire Cat Grin as he watches the Obama-Gore Administration destroy his former union, The United Coal Miners of America, through the Administration’s War on Coal.